Monday October 2 2017, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending uk

News Comments Today’s main news: CEO-less SoFi will have to wait to get a bank. Zopa partners with Saffron Building Society. Zopa updates credit risk model. Assetz Capital lowers commercial mortgage interest rate to 6.9%. RateSetter reports 56% of investors switch from cash. Beehive raises $5M. African billionaire invests in digital bank. Today’s main analysis: UK marketplace lenders struggle to find […]

marketplace lending uk

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

MENA

South Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi’s CEO Hiatus Stalls Its Big-Time Banking Ambitions (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

One of the most valuable private financial technology startups in the United States, SoFi’s $4.3 billion valuation was based on expectations it could develop into a major lender but Cagney’s departure this month and the circumstances around his exit complicate efforts to create a new-generation bank that could compete against JPMorgan or Bank of America.

The company has hired headhunters over the past few days to help find his replacement, but an appointment is not expected to take place until the end of the year, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The gap at the top is likely to stall SoFi’s application for a banking license, according to the source, because regulators assess whether a company has a capable CEO before allowing it to accept deposits.

A banking license was a key part of Cagney’s push to grow SoFi beyond its core business of student loans and unsecured personal loans.

But without Cagney at the helm, the emphasis is expected to shift.

The company will be more disciplined about testing new products before selling them widely, a source close to the company said.

Square Wants To Be A Bank, And Real Banks Are Pissed (BuzzFeed), Rated: AAA

Small businesses love Square because it charges them less than the bigger, bank-owned payment processors, and the little white card-swipes that plug into a smartphone are easier and more convenient than handheld credit card terminals. Square also — through a partnership with a tiny bank in Utah — makes loans to small companies and entrepreneurs banks would turn away.

As much as small merchants love Square, smaller banks distrust it, particularly now that the company, which is based in San Francisco, has applied to become an industrial loan company (ILC), a controversial type of banking license offered in Utah and a few other states.

And while Square insists it only wants to make small loans to the merchants it serves, banks see this as a backdoor way into their bread-and-butter business of taking deposits and making loans, both to businesses and consumers.

And Square, with its at least 2 million merchant customers, may look to today’s bankers a lot like Walmart did a decade ago. The company has been aggressively soliciting the merchants who use it as a payment processor, offering them small-dollar loans by email.

Take Courtney Foster, who runs a one-chair salon in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan and has used Square to accept payments for years. One day she got an email from Square Capital with an offer of a loan of $1,000 to $1,500, which would be paid back directly out of her payments processed through Square.

She has since borrowed about $3,000 in total from Square using the money (supplied by Celtic Bank) to start her own line of hair products.

The average loan approved by Square is about $6,000, and the company has either advanced or loaned almost $2 billion since 2014. The amount due back is typically 10% to 16% more than the amount loaned out — which is on the low end for similar types of small business finance  with payments coming out of a fixed percentage of the merchant’s receipts received through Square. The whole balance is due after 18 months, though Square customers can repay early.

Utah has 16 industrial banks, and most fall into the latter category, while some are retailers that issue their own loans, like BMW. Other companies that operate Utah industrial banks include American Express, USAA, UBS, and Sallie Mae.

Acting OCC Head Noreika Comments on FinTech Charter and Online Lending (PeerIQ), Rated: A

Also, in a major shift from prior OCC Head Tom Curry, Noreika affirmed that the proposed FinTech charter could be granted to commercial firms. Former Chair of the FDIC, William Isaac, was also constructive on the concept of enabling commercial firms to engage in banking to drive greater competition, customer choice, and expand access to credit to the 60% of Americans that cannot access a loan from a US bank. Historically, the separation of banking and commerce under the Bank Holding Company Act has prevented commercial firms (outside the ILC charter) from offering banking services. Our interpretation of the above is that, under the FinTech charter, commercial firms such as Walmart, Amazon, Google, and Facebook would have a path to offering banking services.

Cross River Bank CRO Adam Goller moderated a panel including PeerIQ (Ram Ahluwalia), Affirm (Alex Karram), Marlette Funding (Jeff Meiler), and former Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks, David Cotney. PeerIQ cited data and research from Columbia and Harvard Law concluding that the lack of regulatory clarity stemming from Madden-Midland has reduced the availability of credit in District 2.

On Timing for Issuing Charters:
“Interest also remains in the possibility of the OCC offering special purpose national bank charters to nondepository fintech companies engaged in the business of banking. … We have not, however, decided whether we will exercise that specific authority to issue special purpose national bank charters to nondepository fintech companies. We will keep you posted.”

PeerIQ Context: The Conference of State Bank Supervisors and NYS Dept of Financial Services have challenged the OCC’s authority to issue charters. Also, the OCC may be waiting for the nominee of Head of OCC Joseph Otting to be confirmed by the US Senate before introducing the FinTech Charter. Otting was approved by the Senate Banking Committee in early September.

Will They or Won’t They: The OCC’s Fintech Charter (Payments Journal), Rated: A

“The Fintech Charter Decision is an unlawful assertion of power that usurps New York consumer protection laws and would preempt plaintiff’s ability to regulate any number of the over 600 non- depository institutions she currently regulates,” wrote Matthew Levine, the executive deputy superintendent for enforcement at the department.”

“Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim, representing the defendants, argued that DFS lacks standing in the complaint because the OCC’s regulations addressing the special-purpose national bank charter have resulted in no injury-in-fact, because the office has not reached a final decision on whether it will offer the specific type of national bank charter that does not take deposits and conducts activities other than fiduciary activities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also argues that the complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim.”

Scott Robinson of Plug and Play Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

One of the leading accelerator programs today is Plug and Play, they claim to be the world’s largest startup accelerator. Lending Club and many other big names have gone through their program. In 2014 they started a dedicated fintech accelerator program, founded by Scott Robinson, who is our latest guest on the Lend Academy Podcast.

The Massive Hedge Fund Betting on AI (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Man Group, which has about $96 billion under management, typically takes its most promising ideas from testing to trading real money within weeks.

What spooked him was an experiment at his firm, Man Group Plc.Engineers at the company’s technology-centric AHL unit had been dabbling with artificial intelligence—a buzzy, albeit not widely used, technology at the time. The system they built evolved autonomously, finding moneymaking strategies humans had missed. The results were startlingly good, and now Ellis and fellow executives needed to figure out their next move.

The program stayed in quarantine until 2014, when a senior portfolio manager with a Ph.D. in mathematical logic named Nick Granger decided it was time to take it out of testing. He gave the AI system a small amount of money from a portfolio he was managing—then more, then more again. At each step, the program was profitable.

Source: Bloomberg

Matic Insurance Services and LendingQB Team Up to Eliminate Stress, Mortgage Delays Related to Homeowner’s Insurance (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Matic Insurance Services (Matic), a digital insurance agency that enables borrowers to purchase homeowner’s insurance during the home-buying transaction, today announced a new partnership with LendingQB, a provider of “lean lending” loan origination technology. Matic announced the news as part of a live demonstration at San Francisco’s Digital Mortgage conference.

Matic’s integration with LendingQB’s flagship loan origination software (LOS) makes it easy for borrowers to upload or secure a homeowner’s insurance policy during the mortgage application process. The result is a less stressful experience for borrowers and the elimination of costly insurance-related delays for LendingQB’s lender clients.

Is Yahoo a fintech company now? (Quartz), Rated: B

Fintech generally refers to companies like SoFi, TransferWise, and Revolut, whose ambition is to use technology to challenge traditional banks. What Yahoo Finance is doing is a little different—its app will add online brokers like Fidelity and E-Trade to its platform, but it won’t make any money from the brokerage charges. Instead, Yahoo Finance (now part of Oath, a Verizon-owned company), which has about 41 million mobile users, is trying to boost usage of its app.

The platform is targeted at devoted investors and provides more financial data for free than you can get outside of a Bloomberg terminal, according to Michael La Guardia, Yahoo Finance’s head of product.

Alipay almost accidentally started the world’s biggest money market fund (paywall) when it gave users a way to park their money from mobile payments. Amazon, meanwhile, offers credit to its merchants and has made more than $3 billion of loans, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Facebook has ambitions for its app to do just about everything, including financial activities. Tencent’s WeChat in many ways already does.

United Kingdom

Zopa searches for new borrowers through Saffron Building Society loan partnership (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

Zopa is partnering with a building society to offer its loans as it seeks to add more borrowers to the platform.

The online peer-to-peer lender will provide loans at 11 bricks-and-mortar branches of Saffron Building Society across Hertfordshire, Essex and Suffolk, as well as online.

Zopa Announces Credit Risk Model Update (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Friday, online lending platform Zopa announced the latest update of its credit risk model. This news comes just a few weeks after the lender announced updated on improving loan sale time progress, rebate period, and ISA transfer-in. Chief Product Officer at Zopa, Andrew Lawson, revealed he and his team are continuing to monitor leading macroeconomic indicators carefully alongside how Zopa’s loans are performing compared to expectation:

Marketplace lenders struggle to find borrowers (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the world’s first peer-to-peer lending company, hoped the partnership whereby drivers for the ride-hailing app were directed to its website for loans would mark its entry into a multibillion-pound market for secured loans in the UK.

But barely six months after the deal was struck it collapsed, with the partnership failing to attract as many drivers as expected.

Zopa’s experiment with Uber underlines the enormous difficulty faced by marketplace lenders attempting to find new borrowers. These borrowers are crucial for the platforms to grow at a time when there is strong interest from institutional investors to provide crowdfunded loans.

Source: Financial Times

According to Mr Zhang, institutional investors such as hedge funds, asset managers, pension funds and family offices now account for between 30 and 40 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer and business lending, compared with less than 5 per cent before 2014. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, made its first significant retail investment in peer-to-peer loans last year when it bought a stake in Funding Circle’s investment trust.

So far, however, they have struggled to attract borrowers to match this demand. Competition is increasing from traditional banks — Goldman Sachs has its own online lending platform — especially for prime and super-prime debt that is less likely to default.

Source: Financial Times

Assetz Capital Lowers Commercial Mortgage Interest Rate From 7.9% to 6.9% (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Assetz Capital, one of the UK’s fastest growing peer-to-peer finance platforms and the largest property backed peer-to-peer lender, announced on Friday it has lowered its entry interest rate for commercial mortgages from 7.9% to 6.9% in an unprecedented move to give access to even lower rates for lower-risk borrowers looking for commercial mortgages. This is one of the lowest rates available from any alternative finance providers.

Three million small businesses still don’t accept cards, despite move away from cash (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

Around three million of Britain’s small businesses do not accept card payments, despite the UK rapidly becoming a nation of card-only shoppers.

One in six British shoppers now uses cards only to pay. A further 38pc would typically try to pay with a card first before they have to pay with cash, according to a study by Square, the payment company belonging to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

Small companies could be missing out on millions of pounds’ worth of business by not offering card payment facilities, Square warned.

Card payments overtook cash payments as the main method of purchases in the UK for the first time in July this year, according to the British Retail Consortium. The average Brit has just £32.54 in cash in their purse or wallet right now – not enough to cover more than one of the average transaction size of £18.42.

Wonga on course for profit this year after major changes (Express), Rated: A

The company, which has been overhauled under new management after being accused of targeting the vulnerable and being forced to compensate nearly 200,000 borrowers who overpaid owing to “system errors”, cut its annual pre-tax loss from £80.2million to £64.9million.

Revenue grew by 18 per cent to £76.7million as more products boosted customer numbers by 6 per cent.

Wonga confirms £64.9m loss in year it ended Newcastle United sponsorship (ChronicleLive), Rated: A

Britain’s biggest payday lender Wonga has revealed it remained deep in the red last year with losses of £64.9m, but confirmed plans to return to profit in 2017.

Nutmeg loss widens to £9.3m as it develops advice offer (Citywire), Rated: A

Nutmeg’s 2016 losses have widened £9.3 million as it continued to invest heavily, as it presses ahead with developing the ‘most approporate’ advice proposition for its customers.

The loss, revealed in its accounts published on Companies House, follows the £8.9 million loss it posted in 2015. Its operating expenses rose from £10.8 million to £11.9 million over the year.

At the end of the year Nutmeg managed around £600 million in assets under management on behalf of 25,000 clients.

Turnover rose by almost 50% from £1.72 million to £2.56 million.

Wealthtech is coming to the High Street (Banking Technology), Rated: A

One area of fintech that is of interest is wealthtech. This sub-sector is likely to become more visible over the next few months. Wealthtech has become defined as utilising technology to enhance wealth management and the retail investment process.

The most visible players in the UK are the robo-advisors with Nutmeg the best known (and RiskSave following behind!) but other concepts are also deserving of attention, such as Munnypot.

These developments will soon be more visible at branch level.

An offering of automated financial advice from the retail banks could go a long way towards alleviating this. Santander and HSBC have already launched product offerings in this space, RBS is trialling a service through its Coutts’ sub-brand and Lloyds (with a quarter of the UK market) are sitting on the sidelines awaiting the results of the regulator’s Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR).

Fintech start-up Curve adds cloud-based accounting software to its app to simplify expenses (CNBC), Rated: A

Fintech start-up Curve will now let users claim business expenses across multiple bank cards through its app.

The London-based firm’s app allows its users to link all of their bank cards to one contactless MasterCard. Curve said it hopes to automate the tedious process and remove any friction associated with business expenses. It is predominantly targeted at small business owners and the self-employed.

Curve said Monday it would add online accounting software developer Xero to the app, meaning users will now be able to claim business spending across all their accounts.

The hottest startups in London (Wired), Rated: A

As London’s startup community awaits the result of Brexit negotiations – and its impact on single-market access – one might think tech would have ground to a halt. But growth continues: the last 18 months have seen billion-dollar valuations for TransferWise, Funding Circle and Improbable, and a near-unicorn valuation for Deliveroo.

Monzo

Monzo wants to make banking smarter. Founded in 2015 by Tom Blomfield, Jonas Huckestein, Jason Bates, Paul Rippon and Gary Dolman, it offers pre-paid cards connected to an app that tracks spending and lets its customers analyse their financial activity.

Nested

One of a growing number of UK property – or proptech – startups, Nested guarantees that it will sell your house within 90 days, or buy it themselves.

Habito

Habito scours more than 15,000 mortgage products to suggest the best option, and takes a commission from the eventual lender. In January 2017, the startup raised £5.5 million in a Series A round led by Ribbit Capital.

Ravelin

Founded in 2014, Ravelin analyses online behaviour in real time to reduce payment-related fraud. According to its clients – including Deliveroo, Karhoo, and Easy Taxi, its technology reduces fraud incidence by more than 50 per cent. The company has raised £4.3 million to date from backers including Passion Capital and Errol Damelin.

P2P needs the FSCS stamp of approval (Citywire), Rated: B

Some commentators estimated nearly half a million new investors would try their hand at P2P lending when the Innovative Finance ISA brought eligible platforms into the ISA fold.

This is unsurprising given that, according to government statistics, British consumers have around £500 billion either saved or invested in ISAs.

However, the stampede has not arrived yet.

Plenty of people think the FSCS offers an insurance policy against poor investment performance. It does not. If a share portfolio tanks, for example, the scheme will not be there to save you. That is the risk you run by choosing to invest in the equity markets.

The FSCS is, however, on hand to compensate investors if a provider has been shown to mismanage its product, and has subsequently gone bust. Only then does it offer up to £50,000 (2017/18 tax year), not the larger amount doled out to savers.

Hull has fast become a profitable city for buy-to-let landlords (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: B

LendInvest’s buy-to-let index ranked the city as the fifth best buy-to-let postcode for landlords in the third quarter of 2017, up from 33rd in the second quarter.

“Cities such as Hull and Nottingham making significant gains in the Index (up #33 to #5 and #35 to #12 respectively) is encouraging, and points to competitive market conditions in those areas and higher than average levels of activity.

The top 10 areas for investors in order of ranking are Luton (#1), Colchester (#2), Manchester (#3), Rochester (#4), Hull (#5), Stevenage (#6), Romford (#7), Southend-on-Sea (#8), Ipswich (#9) and Ilford (#10).

China

Wealth-Management Industry at Turning Point (Caixin), Rated: AAA

China’s wealth-management industry is undergoing profound changes, shifting away from short-term, fixed-income products to longer-term, equity-based investment, said Tang Ning, chief executive of Beijing-based fintech conglomerate CreditEase.

Last year, the Forbes listed a record 400 billionaires from the Chinese mainland, compared to 335 a year ago. The listed members held a total of $947 billion assets, a 14% rise from the previous year. Meanwhile, China’s per-capita GDP exceeded $8,123 in 2016, up from $8,069 a year earlier, according to the World Bank.

Unlike investors in the U.S. and other developed market, Chinese investors have long favored most the fix-income products like bonds and bank bills, betting on governments’ implicit payment guarantee. But as China’s economy slows and its financial market liberalizes, the government has become increasingly hesitant to offer such sweeping guarantees.

A number of wealth management companies including CreditEase have launched private equity FOF over the past few years. In early September, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approved the first batch of six firms including China Asset Management, China Southern Fund Management and Manulife Teda Fund Management to set up publicly offered FOF products.

Tang estimated that there are 200 million active investors in China who do not have access to human advisers and asset managers because of their hefty fees.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma places bet on China’s online insurance market (Asian Review), Rated: A

When the heads of three of China’s most prominent companies join hands to launch a start-up, investors notice.

Jack Ma Yun of Alibaba Group HoldingTencent Holdings‘ Pony Ma Huateng, and Peter Ma Mingzhe of Ping An Insurance Group — collectively known as the “three Ma’s” — did just that. Looking to turn Ping An into a full-blown financial technology company within ten years, Peter also enabled the growth of Lufax, which started as a peer-to-peer lending platform in 2011 and became one of the most valuable e-finance company worldwide as of September.

Four years ago they founded China’s first online-only insurer. It was a company with an untested business model and making no money, but it sparked an investor frenzy.

Source: Asian Review

HSBC: Mobile banking in China begins with your face (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: A

Mobile banking continues to soar in China. According to China Internet Watch, total transactions of China mobile banking clients totaled 55.63 trillion yuan (US$44 trillion), up 5.1% quarter on quarter. China Construction Bank (26.1%) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (21%) have a combined market share of close to half of mobile banking in Q2 2017.

European Union

French Real Estate Crowdfunding Grows Steadily and Delivers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The French real estate crowdfunding market grew by 50% in 2016 and keeps growing at the same linear growth pace in 2017. While new platforms continue to join, first entrants strongly dominate the nascent market. With €160 million worth of real estate projects funded, the French platforms have a positive record of delivering expected returns.

It has since grown at a fast, but more linear pace of +53% to reach €68 million in 2016, and is expected to grow by 50% again in 2017.

French real estate crowdfunding attracts new platforms. In 2016, their number grew from 26 to 42, with 19 new entrants and 3 withdrawals. Indeed, more than 90% of real estate crowdfunds are raised by the top 10 platforms and 75% by the top 5. Between them, the two leaders, WiSeed and Anaxago, account for more than 50% of the market.

Top 10 French real estate crowdfunding platforms
Platform

Regulatory Status

Regulated Real estate since

Projects

Value

Repaid

Wiseed

PSI

2014

123

€53,197,600

33 %

Anaxago

CIP

2014

83

€38,908,333

18 %

Lendix

IFP

2014

14

€15,875,000

7 %

Clubfunding

CIP

2015

30

€10,075,500

27 %

Lymo.fr

CIP

2015

29

€8,196,500

45 %

Fundimmo

CIP

2015

23

€7,734,900

26 %

Homunity

CIP

2016

22

€6,732,200

18 %

Koregraf

CIP

2015

17

€4,935,500

47 %

Proximea

CIP

2015

5

€3,490,000

20 %

Immovesting

CIP

2016

7

€2,932,000

Source : , September 2017

 

Source: Crowdfund Insider

WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR INVESTOR ALLSTARS EVENT (BusinessCloud), Rated: A

The winners of the 15th annual Investor Allstars awards were announced this week, with Funding Circle co-founder and CEO Samir Desai being crowned Entrepreneur of the Year and CoderDojo winning the Tech4Good award.

The Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Samir Desai of Funding Circle and online property lending and investment platform LendInvest was announced as Europe’s Allstar Company.

The full list of award winners is:

  • Exit of the Year: Skyscanner (Scottish Equity Partners)
  • Growth and Buyout Fund of the Year: Livingbridge
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Samir Desai (Funding Circle)
  • VC Fund of the Year: Idinvest Partners
  • Europe’s Allstar Company: LendInvest
  • Corporate Development Team of the Year: Sage Group
  • Investor of the Year: Benoist Grossmann (Idinvest Partners)
  • VCT of the Year: Octopus Ventures Specialist
  • Debt Provider of the Year: Kreos Capital
  • Seed Fund of the Year: LocalGlobe
  • Service Provider of the Year: Orrick
  • Tech4Good Award: CoderDojo Foundation (part of Raspberry Pi Foundation)
  • Digital Innovation in Art: Articheck

That viral ‘mermaid dog’ video was too good to be true (The Daily Dot), Rated: B

It seemed too good to be real. A hairy creature, which some people guessed was an afghan hound, effortlessly floats underwater and moves its arms with the grace of a ballet dancer. It’s pure euphoria, captured in a video that lasts only a few seconds.

When Klarna, a tech bank with a focus on online shopping, posted the video to its Instagram account on Sept. 17 with the caption, “When you’re swimming into the weekend like… #noworries,” many people assumed it was a video of a real animal swimming in a pool. Or maybe they just wanted to believe.

It’s an animation that is part of an ad campaign for Klarna, which is trying sell people on the company’s “smooth” payment system.

International

Regtech Startups On Pace For Record Deals, Against Backdrop Of Shifting Regulatory Landscape (CCB Insights), Rated: AAA

Deals to regtech startups have increased steadily (if at times slowly) over the past few years, from 83 deals in 2013 to 147 last year. At the current run rate, deals in 2017 are on track to hit a new high, while funding is on pace to grow 14% to nearly match record funding levels set in 2015.

In 2017 YTD, regtech startups have seen 103 deals worth $894M in disclosed equity funding. At the current run rate, deals in 2017 are on track to reach a new high of 148 (up slightly from 147 in 2016). Funding is also on pace to grow, potentially bringing total disclosed equity investment over the last 5 years to more than $5B.

Source: CB Insights

Last quarter saw 34 deals, dipping 13% from Q1’17 to hit a 6-quarter low. Though deals were down, funding was up 14% from the previous quarter — and grew 64% year-over-year — to reach $326M.

H1’17 has seen 73 investments, up 3 deals from H1’16, while funding is up approximately 54% over the same period.

Source: CB Insights
Australia/New Zealand

Yield-hungry investors switch their cash to peer-to-peer lenders (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender, RateSetter, says 56 per cent of money invested with it is from savers withdrawing their money from their bank savings accounts.

Yield-hungry investors are understandably frustrated with earning next-to-nothing on their cash held at their banks, with interest rates at historic lows and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

With the the advent of peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, online platforms that match investors and borrowers, investors can get up to  three times the interest paid by term deposits.

NZ named Asia Pacific’s fintech champ (NZ Adviser), Rated: A

New Zealand has the highest per capita fintech lending volumes of any country in the Asia Pacific, and has embraced fintech faster than any other neighbouring Asia Pacific countries.

According to the research, peer-to-peer consumer lending forms the bulk of market activity in here. The second largest was donation-based crowdfunding, for which US$16.8 million was raised in 2016 – an increase of around 100% over the previous year. Equity-based crowdfunding was the third largest model in New Zealand with US$13.85 million across 2016 – up from US$11.86 million in 2015.

Appetise’s ASX listing; Study Loans & RateSetter close funding (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

UK startup Appetise looks to list on the ASX, Study Loans has secured seed funding and P2P lender RateSetter Australia has closed additional funding from a private equity (PE) fund.

Melbourne-based fintech Study Loans, which offers a credit engine targeted at the student loans sector, has raised A$2 million ($1.56 million) in seed funding from investors that include the Simonds family and RMY Corp, as well as A$5 million ($3.9 million) in debt equity.

RateSetter Australia, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, has secured A$8.5 million ($6.65 million) from private equity fund Five V Capital. The deal values the company in excess of A$100 million. Existing equity investors in RateSetter are RateSetter UK, Carsales and Strattons.

India

Chqbook – Gurgaon Based Fintech Startup Raised Funds (Bizztor), Rated: B

Chqbook – a fintech startup that allows customers to explore, compare, book and get personal finance products like home loans, personal loans and credit cards, raises undisclosed funds from Youwecan backed Startup Buddy, Apurva Chamaria, global head of corporate marketing, HCL, Sachin Arora, ex-CTO Myntra, Bharat Gupta, Founder of Net Asset Consulting LLP, Amit Manocha, Private equity professional based out of Singapore, and others.

APAC

Indonesian P2P lending platforms recorded 496.5 per cent year-to-date growth of funding allocation (e27), Rated: AAA

Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK) revealed that peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in Indonesia in total has channeled up to IDR1.4 trillion (US$106 million) in funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country. The number is a 496.5 per cent year-to-date (YTD) growth from December 2016’s number of IDR242.48 billion (US$17.9 million).

Funding Societies Dubbed First Southeast Asian Company to Win Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations’ ITU Telecom (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Singapore’s and Southeast Asia’s SME crowdfunding platform Funding Societies announced on Friday it was named the first southeast Asia company to win the Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations’ ITU Telecom, which was held this year in Busan, South Korea. 

PLDT unit disrupts businesses (Manila Standard), Rated: A

Vea, 67, now heads Voyager Innovations Inc., the digital arm of PLDT and the one behind digital platforms such as Smart Padala (mobile remittances), PayMaya Philippines Inc. (formerly Smart e-Money), Freenet (free sponsored data platform), VYGR (digital performance-based marketing), Tackthis! (electronic commerce platform), Hatch, (marketing technology and innovations platform), Lendr (digital consumer loan platform), FINTQ (financial technology unit) and Voyager DX (digital transformation).  Voyager, which has 600 employees, introduces solutions that allow customers to participate in the digital economy such as by using digital money.

Marzan presented data showing that 60 million or 58 percent of the Philippines’ 103 million people are Internet users.  Active social medial users are 60 million as well.

“In the Asia-Pacific region with 4.2 billion population, 46 percent are already Internet users and active social media users are 1.5 billion or 36 percent.  Mobile connection is 3.99 billion and active mobile social users are 1.44 billion. This is exponentially growing and we have to prepare for it,” Marzan said.

How FinTech uses technology to help the ‘unserved’ (Manila Bulletin), Rated: B

TrueMoney, a new financial technology player, seeks to have one TrueMoney center in each of the country’s more than 42,000 barangays to serve those who need a remittance network but have no bank accounts.

To meet that goal, TrueMoney teams up with cooperatives and groups in different regions. Its latest partnership is with Cebu People’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CPMPC), a community-based savings and credit cooperative with over 55,000 members to-date.

At this point, TrueMoney has over 5,000 centers in the Philippines.

MENA

Fintech Peer to Peer Lending Platform, Beehive, Raises $ 5m Investment (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Beehive, MENA’s leading peer to peer lending (P2P) platform, has secured $5m investment as part of a Series A round led by Riyad TAQNIA Fund and supported by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund (MBRF), the financial arm of Dubai SME, as well as several other regional investors. This latest fundraise brings the total raised by Beehive to $10.5m since its launch.

To date, Beehive has successfully facilitated finance over $35 million (AED 130 million) to more than 200 business funding requests and registered more than 5000 international investors.

South Africa

African Billionaire Patrice Motsepe Invests In Digital Bank (Forbes), Rated: AAA

South Africa’s first black billionaire Patrice Motsepe has reportedly invested in TymeDigital, an online lender that has recently been awarded an operating license by the South African Reserve Bank.

African Rainbow Capital (ARC), an investment firm founded by Patrice Motsepe, recently acquired a 10% stake in TymeDigital, which is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, one of the world’s largest banks.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 29 2017, Daily News Digest

C-PACE financing

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub completes 2nd self-sponsored loan securitization with $323M deal. Funding Circle restates IPO ambitions. Robo.cash tops 2M Euro, 1000th investor. AutoGravity surpasses $1B USD in finance amount requested. Singapore banks closing cryptocurrency, payments accounts. Today’s main analysis: Risk evaluation of commercial PACE securitizations differs from residential deals. Goldman Sachs’ aggressive push into consumer banking. Today’s […]

C-PACE financing

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International

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News Summary

United States

LendingClub Completes 2nd Self Sponsored Loan Securitization with $ 323 Million Deal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE: LC) has sponsored and contributed to its second securitization deal following the the last successful self sponsored deal this past June. The “Consumer Loan Underlying Bond” (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P1 (CLUB 2017-P1) issued $323.1 million in prime notes backed by consumer loan assets originated via the LendingClub platform. This is the sixth securitization supported or sponsored by LendingClub, and the fourth rated securitization of LendingClub facilitated loans overall. LendingClub described the deal as further expanding investor access.

LendingClub reported the transaction was backed by approximately $350 million of collateral and includes $217.3 million of Class A notes rated “A-(sf)”, $51.0 million of Class B notes rated “BBB (sf)” and $54.7 million of Class C notes rated “BB (sf)”.

Orchard’s Online Lending Ecosystem Update: “Lendscape” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orchard Platform, the nexus of loan originators and institutional investing, has updated their ongoing graphical view of the online lending  world or “Lendscape”.  As the online lending universe has moved from peer to peer lending, to marketplace lending to all forms of online lending, the Lendscape has changed and grown. New lending platforms have been launched, new verticals targeted, and a growing number of ancillary services have joined the space.  Orchard points to the addition of lenders like LendingPointLiberty LendingLendmartAllegro CreditUpLiftArtMoneyAscendOppLoans, and Lendistry.

Perhaps the most important shift in online lending is the growing participation by traditional finance firms.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Risk Evaluation of Commercial PACE Securitizations Differs From Residential Deals (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC believes the next iteration of property assessed clean energy securitizations will be in the commercial sector. While securitization of residential PACE assessments tops $3 billion, there have been no public transactions consisting primarily of commercial liens.

Evaluating Property Income Generated to Pay Debts In analyzing the credit risk of transactions backed by commercial assessments, Morningstar considers the debt service coverage ratio, because PACE lending is tied to the property rather than the owner’s creditworthiness.

Evaluating Property Income Generated to Pay Debts

Morningstar evaluates a property’s net operating income in relation to its annual debt-service payments. Among securitized commercial mortgages, the average DSCR is approximately 2.14x, according to Morningstar. C-PACE lenders and aggregators typically require a minimum total DSCR in the 1.00x to 1.15x range. Although, in some cases, the DSCR has dipped below 1.00x, especially if total debtto-value is low when operating expenses are higher than revenue. Factors possibly mitigating a lower DSCR, which include county support, property ownership affiliations within a network, liquidity account and equity position require case-by-case analysis. In addition, DSCR of the lien is more important than the DSCR of the overall debt.

Evaluating Divergent Leverage Metrics

The lien-to-value ratio is another leverage metric that Morningstar analyzes. Although a PACE assessment raises a property’s lien-to-value ratio, the increased risk to the underlying mortgage is likely minimal, as the obligation is usually small in comparison to the mortgage.

It can be more challenging to calculate the lien-to-value ratio for C-PACE levies, because the properties can run the gamut from hotels, farmlands, nursing homes, and gas stations to nonprofit buildings such as churches. Across residential PACE deals, we have seen lien-to-value ratios around 6.7% and combined PACE-lien-plus-mortgage-tovalue ratios at around 62.7%. In C-PACE, lien-to-value ratios hover around 25.0%, not including mortgage debt.

While we scrutinize total debt-to-value, the distribution of leverage offers insight into the financial health of the property. For example, we view a property with a 90% debt-to-value ratio that is composed of an 89% mortgage loan and a 1% PACE assessment more favorably than a property whose debt is composed of an 89% PACE obligation and a 1% mortgage because of higher subordination levels.

Growing Market Size

C-PACE financing has grown to about $482 million as of Sept. 1, encompassing 1,097 commercial projects, according to PACENation. More than 2,500 municipalities have C-PACE programs.

Compared with residential programs, C-PACE is in its infancy, as R-PACE financing totaled about $3.67 billion and R-PACE securitizations totaled around $3.40 billion. A sliver of
commercial assets was included in one of those securitizations, GoodGreen 2016-1, with commercial PACE levies representing approximately 4.8% of the pool’s assets.

Source: Morningstar

Get the full report here.

The Top Sources Of Small Business Financing Based On Approval Rates (Forbes), Rated: AAA

According to the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, the monthly analysis of more than 1,000 small business loan applications on Biz2Credit.com. Loan approval percentages of institutional investors have continuously reached new heights this year in terms of approval rates. In August Institutional lenders’ loan approval rates in August reached 63.9%.

Alternative lenders’ approval percentages continue to decline; in August the rate dipped to 57.1%. Approval percentages have dropped every month for more than a year.

Approval percentages at small banks rose one-tenth of a percent in August to 49.0% from July’s 48.9% figure. It is conceivable that the number may cross the 50% benchmark.

Big banks improved one-tenth of a percent to 24.6% in August, setting a new high for the Biz2Credit Index, which has tracked loan approvals since January 2011. The number is creeping up to one-in-four. It’s a good time for bank lending.

Loan approval rates at credit unions dipped to 40.3% in August, falling to a new low for this category of lenders on Biz2Credit’s index.

AutoGravity Surpasses $ 1 Billion USD In Finance Amount Requested, Launches Real-Time Dealership Inventory Nationwide (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer on a mission to transform car shopping and financing, today announced that it has reached $1 billion USD in finance amount requested on the AutoGravity platform. Additionally, AutoGravity has announced the launch of real-time inventory for new and used cars from partner dealership groups across the nation. Car shoppers can browse real vehicle inventory on dealership lots, find the specific car that’s right for them and secure up to four finance offers in minutes on the AutoGravity smartphone app.

More over 750,000 car shoppers have downloaded AutoGravity, collectively requesting over $1 billion USD in financing. These users can now search inventory by car brand and model year – as well as characteristics such as body type, drivetrain and color. Car shoppers can find their desired car waiting for them on the showroom lot for the payment they want. With car selected and offers in hand, users can pick up their car and drive off the lot with the confidence of knowing they have secured a fair deal.

AutoGravity partnered closely with the largest dealer groups in the country to design a seamless process by which dealers can easily load inventory feeds, including vehicle details and pictures, to AutoGravity’s secure platform. Inventory is updated and shown to users in real time.

ID-verification firms seize on Equifax moment (American Banker), Rated: A

The Equifax hack, combined with the rise of online lending, may have turned 2017 into a golden age for companies with new ideas for ID.

The software company Mitek plans to roll out a product in the coming year called Mobile Verify for Lending, which offers lenders a five-step process to quickly verify customer identities. Borrowers first share their online bank account information with lenders. They then submit four pictures taken from their smartphones: the front and back of their driver’s licenses, a selfie and a pay stub.

Other players are offering digital lending solutions to make it easier for banks to keep pace with speedy fintech competitors. Upstart, for example, is marketing software, called Powered by Upstart, to banks wanting to get into digital lending.

DFS to Court: OCC Fintech Charter ‘Undermines’ Its Authority (New York Law Journal), Rated: A

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s plan to offer a special-purpose bank charter for financial technology companies “undermines” the Department of Financial Services’ regulatory authority in New York, the state agency argued in court documents.

“The Fintech Charter Decision is an unlawful assertion of power that usurps New York consumer protection laws and would preempt plaintiff’s ability to regulate any number of the over 600 nondepository institutions she currently regulates,” wrote Matthew Levine, the executive deputy superintendent for enforcement at the department.

Stockpile Raises $ 30 Million to Make Stock Investing Easy for Everyone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Stockpile, a brokerage popular with millennials that is pioneering fractional share stock investing, announced today that it has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Fidelity backed Eight Roads Ventures, with participation by Mayfield, Arbor Ventures, Hanna Ventures, Wang Ventures, and others.

This latest investment brings the total raised by Stockpile to more than $45 million.  Mayfield led Stockpile’s $15 millionSeries A in October 2015, with participation by Arbor Ventures, Stanford University, and actor Ashton Kutcher.  Stockpile will use the new funds to bring stock investing to more millennial customers and expand its unique features, Lele said.

Chime raises $ 18 million for mobile banking without the fees (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Chime is raising $18 million in Series B financing for its mobile-first approach to banking. Cathay Innovation led the round with participation from Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Forerunner Ventures, Homebrew and others.

It’s a bank account and debit card built for the digital age.

Without monthly fees or overdraft charges, Chime tries to appeal to the millennial generation, touting its affordability and easy-to-use app. Since launching in 2014, Chime has signed up 500,000 customers, who are typically in their late 20s and making between $50,000 and $70,000 per year.

Shinola’s new pitch: the installment plan (Crain’s Detroit Business), Rated: A

Shinola/Detroit LLC is targeting millennials by adding an option to pay for its watches and other luxury goods in an old-fashioned way: the installment plan.

The average order value for Affirm customers is 70 percent higher than the sitewide average, Kopitz said. And about half of those using the service with Shinola are 18-34 years old, the release said.

Around 1,000 retailers now accept payment through Affirm.

Is marketplace lending maturing? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

As new as fintech and marketplace lending—once known as “peer to peer lending”—may still seem, Noreika suggested that the online lending fraternity may be moving toward maturity.

Noreika said the sweat that went into those ideas has hit $40 billion in consumer and small business credit, with volumes doubling every year since 2010. He noted that some project that at that rate, marketplace lending will hit $1 trillion by 2025—versus the $3.7 trillion in unsecured consumer lending as of yearend 2016.

Noreika pointed out that marketplace lenders have been seeing cracks in their credit since the fourth quarter of 2015.

‘Fintechs tend to march to their own rules’: former SEC chair Levitt (American Banker), Rated: A

“Hardly a day goes by where there isn’t a recording of some scandal or another,” Levitt said. “I think that’s generally true of emerging cultures and emerging standards and cultures. That makes the odds of winning much less than in well established companies with better established cultures.”

His fellow fintech panelists, Sarah Friar, chief financial officer at Square, and Scott Sanborn, CEO of Lending Club, both pointed out that established companies have had their own share of scandals.

Levitt said it’s difficult for startups to attract the kind of quality board members that larger, more mature companies are able to attract.

“Regulators are always playing catch up,” he said. “Regulation today trails the fintech world and often presents impediments and costs that are unnecessary. Regulators are constantly protecting their space so they don’t get caught up in a scandal they’re held accountable for, so there’s a tendency to over-regulate.”

McHenry and Booker Introduce Fintech Bill to Automate Income Verification (House.gov), Rated: B

Today, Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R, NC-10), the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the IRS Data Verification Modernization Act of 2017. This bipartisan bill will require the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to automate the Income Verification Express Services process by creating an Application Programming Interface (API) allowing small businesses and consumers to access accurate credit assessments more efficiently. Joining McHenry as an original cosponsor of H.R. 3860 is Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03), a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Plug and Play Selects Their Winter 2017 Batches (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Plug and Play formally announces the startups accepted into their Winter 2017 batches. Plug and Play will run five programs this quarter focused on Health & Wellness, Insurtech, Internet of Things, Mobility, and Travel & Hospitality.

Wunder Brings on Rich Mauro as Director of Capital Markets (Wunder Capital), Rated: B

We’re incredibly excited to welcome the newest member of Wunder Capital’s team, Rich Mauro. As Director of Capital Markets, Rich will lead Wunder’s institutional fundraising activities, bolstering our capital stack and helping us scale Wunder’s platform to the next level.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle hits £50 million in revenue as CEO restates IPO ambitions (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Accounts for 2016 filed with Companies House this week show:

  • Revenue rose 59% to £50.9 million;
  • Operating expenses rose by 43% to £103.1 million;
  • Losses dipped by 3% to £35.7 million thanks partly to a foreign exchange boost;
  • £1 billion lent last year;
  • Loans outstanding rose by 61% to £1.37 billion;

‘It goes without saying that international is really hard’

While Desai is bullish on international expansion, the accounts show Funding Circle stopped operations in Spain at the start of the year, a market it entered through the acquisition of Zencap in 2015.

International revenues grew slower than UK revenues last year and Funding Circle parted ways with the head of its continental Europe operations in the middle of last year.

In the UK, economic growth is slowing and consumer debt is ballooning, leading to fears of a possible economic slowdown that could hit lenders.

Funding Circle remains a loss-making business (accumulated losses stand at £116.6 million to date) but Desai says it is on a long-term path to profitability.

Funding Circle is onto a winning strategy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, however, has remained a firm market leader, and its annual results for 2016 show it continues to do well.

Its losses narrowed 3% from £37 million ($50 million) in 2015 to £36 million ($48 million) in 2016, as revenue grew 59% year-over-year (YoY) from £32 million ($43 million) to £51 million ($68 million), and originations saw a 61% boost from £846 million ($1.1 billion) to £1.4 billion ($1.9 billion).

Source: Business Insider

Funding Circle posts 59% revenue rise (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Post year-end highlights:

Ranger Direct Lending fund expecting substantial dividend cut (AltFi), Rated: A

The £220m Ranger Direct Lending fund could see its dividend pay-out for the second half of 2017 fall to nearly half of that in the first six months of the year, according to a statement by Ranger.

It is expecting NAV returns in H2 2017 to average 0.4 per cent-0.5 per cent per month (c.5-6 per cent pa), and then recover to 0.6 per cent-0.7 per cent per month (c.7 per cent-9 per cent pa) in 2018, assuming the resolution of Princeton this year.

As a result aggregate dividends of c.25p are expected for H2 2017, compared to 46p in H1.

Source: AltFi

‘Oscars of the start-up world’ has an exciting new winner looking to disrupt property finance (CNBC), Rated: A

LendInvest, an online marketplace platform for property lending and investing, was named the most valuable tech company at the prestigious Investor Allstars event in London on Wednesday evening.

These 20-something Oxford grads just raised $ 30 million for their fintech startup (Business Insider), Rated: A

A “RegTech” — regulation technology — company founded by three Oxford grads all under 30 has raised $30 million (£22.4 million) from investors including Microsoft’s venture capital arm.

Onfido, an identity verification startup, has raised the “Series C” fundraising from Crane Venture Partners, Microsoft Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures, as well as existing investors. It takes the total raised by the London startup to over $60 million.

Onfido’s latest $30 million funding injection follows a $25 million investment last April. Kassai says the latest funding will go towards technology investment and global expansion.

Payday lender Wonga records £65m loss amid overhaul (BBC), Rated: A

Wonga – Britain’s biggest payday lender – posted pre-tax losses of nearly £65m in 2016, but claims its business has been “transformed”.

The lender, which operates in the UK, South Africa, Poland and Spain, saw its losses shrink from £80m in 2015 to £65m in 2016.

How Fintech Is Disrupting Traditional Banking Models (Minute Hack), Rated: A

One of the biggest changes in the financial sector in the UK has been the introduction of challenger banks.

Crucially, these banks have not been mired by the many recent scandals and still rely on customer deposits to build their balance sheets. That’s why fledgling banks such as Metro Bank, Aldermore, Tesco Bank and United Bank UK and currently dominating the best buy tables.

Retail banking is the area that has seen the biggest change as a result of the FinTech sector, but that’s not to say there hasn’t also been a significant impact in the commercial banking sector.

A perfect example is Barclay’s mobile payments service Pingit, designed to compete with Apple Pay, while other banks have launched new mobile banking businesses away from their legacy businesses in an attempt to compete in a digital age.

Bringing financial services to small businesses

One example is peer-to-peer lending, a sector that has sprung up from nothing ten years ago to lend a total of £2.9bn in 2016. This is now filling the capital void for many growing businesses and lending at lower rates than many firms would be able to access elsewhere.

New trustees join Finance Innovation Lab’s board (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

SIX new trustees have been appointed to the board of the Finance Innovation Lab.

The new trustees include Caroline Ellis, a social and organisational change consultant who is taking on the role of chair of the board, and Kate Ormiston Smith, director of finance and operations at The B Team, who is taking up the post of treasurer.

The other new members of the board are: Hanna McCloskey, founder and chief executive officer of Fearless Futures; Toyin Ogundana – investment manager at CAF Venturesome; Paul Riseborough – chief commercial officer at Metro Bank and Julian Thompson, social innovation and fundraising strategist.

How and where to get Crowdlending to fund your Business (TechBullion), Rated: B

When considering your initial application for funding, crowdlending platforms will review your business plan, financial information and other details about your company. In other words, the platforms will review your company’s financial information as well as your personal information in much the same way as banks will do before offering you a loan. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that your business plan is engaging, comprehensive and well thought out.

Investors will usually seek to get more information about you and your business from social networks like FacebookTwitterand LinkedIn. It will serve you well to ensure that you have an online presence before you seek for funds through crowdlending.

Going by the FundingKnightresearch, most UK investors have a love for the community and would want to give back to some UK SME to ensure its prosperity.

China

More Chinese fintech firms to eye Hong Kong IPOs, says JP Morgan (SCMP), Rated: AAA

More Chinese fintech firms vying to go public could choose Hong Kong as their listing venue, after the city’s first fintech IPO received a hot response from investors, and that Hong Kong has unique advantages compared with other global financial hubs, said JP Morgan’s head of global investment banking in China.

Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, closed nine per cent up from its IPO price on Thursday in its Hong Kong debut. With an oversubscription of nearly 400 times from retail investors, the company had priced its IPO at the top end of the expected range, raising US$1.5 billion in the city’s biggest ever fintech offering.

“The next Zhong An could show up in online payment, P2P lending, [financial] product distribution, or online insurance.”

In particular, revenue from online payment is estimated to increase to 202 billion yuan by 2020. Revenue from online distribution of financial products could grow to 52 billion yuan by then, while that for online lending and online insurance may reach 142 billion yuan and 60 billion yuan respectively.

ZhongAn Insurance Starts Trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn’s IPO will likely make the company the 4th most valuable fintech company in the world with a market cap of about US$10.4 billion, following the top three fintechs, which are Paypal ($78bn), Ant Financial ($68bn) and Lufax ($18bn).

Peter Renton interviewed the CEO of ZhongAn Insurance, Jeffrey Chen, on the Lend Academy Podcast over the summer. Jeffrey said in the interview that ZhongAn has 492 million insurance customers as of December 31, 2016. That is more than four times that of insurance giant AXA’s customer base (107 million, as of December 31, 2016). By this measure, ZhongAn truly is the world’s largest insurance company. And this is just a four-year old company!

Why ZhongAn is So Succesful

For the technology part, ZhongAn has been using artificial intelligence and big data analytics in each step of the insurance value chain, from marketing, underwriting, pricing to claims processing.

Another example is that ZhongAn has partnered with a Chinese automaker to develop internet of things (IoTs) and telematics solutions. Telematics devices can capture drivers’ behavioral data, which can be fed to algorithms using big data techniques to tailor product pricing to observed risk levels.

In ZhongAn’s early days, the revenue generated by shipping return policies accounted for almost 90% of the total revenue. This product would not have been such a success were it not for its partnership with Alibaba. Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba, is also the single biggest shareholder (16.04%) of ZhongAn.

Source: :Lend Academy

KKR Invests in Shenzhen Suishou Technology (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Shenzhen Suishou Technology Co. (“Suishou” or the “Company”), a leading personal finance management platform in China, and global investment firm KKR today announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which KKR will invest in Suishou’s Series C funding round to support the Company’s expansion across China.

European Union

Robo.Cash Tops €2 million with 1000th Investor (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Emerging peer to peer lender Robo.Cashhas topped €2 million in loans with the advent of the 1000th investor.  According to Robo.Cash, investors are spread across most of Europe with lenders now coming from 28 different countries. The short term loans are coming from Spain and Kazakhstan.

The total sum of earned interests has amounted to more than €50,000 since the start of the platform’s work.

The End of Fintech Is Nigh (FiNews), Rated: AAA

Switzerland is one of the major global fintech centers and the industry is booming: Swisscom counted fewer than a hundred fintech startups in 2015, today there are 208 companies active in wealth management, comparative consulting, crypto finance, data management, payment services and lending (see illustration below).

Blurred Dividing Line

And this may also spell the end of fintech as we know it, in Switzerland, and abroad. That’s at least what Armands Broks (pictured below) believes. The founder and CEO of Twino, a peer-to-peer lending platform, thinks that the fine line between finance industry and fintech is about to be blurred and that fintech eventually will disappear.

The only way forward for fintech is through cooperation agreements and in doing so, «the fintech industry is signing its own death sentence,» Broks said.

PWC consultants said that about 60 percent of Swiss banks have links to fintechs. Four out of five banks are eyeing partnerships in the near future or are planning to expand existing ones.

International

Goldman Sachs’ foray into consumer banking is getting aggressive (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The same year it launched GS Bank, it began building a digital-only consumer loan product, Marcus, that was fully developed and on the market 12 months later. Without having the legacy infrastructure under previously existing consumer products and services, the overhaul other major banks have been experiencing don’t exist for Goldman.

“[The] platform approach has not been an obvious approach on Wall Street. Our competitors are generally structured in deep vertical silos and we have a different architecture: these shallower silos built on top of many layers of software, tech infrastructure, cybersecurity, enterprise platforms and increasingly, client platforms,” Marty Chavez, an engineer and Goldman Sachs CIO-turned-CFO this year, said in a keynote at Harvard University earlier this year.

46 percent of Goldman jobs are in technology 
CB Insights analyzed more than 2,000 open Goldman Sachs job listings by division and business unit to confirm it’s focused on building its technology and digital finance units.

Many of the jobs are in digital finance. Earlier this month it reportedly poached 20 employees from New York-based online lending startup Bond Street — engineers, product developers, and risk and marketing specialists — presumably to build out a lending product.

According to the research, published Tuesday, 46 percent of all of the firm’s jobs as of Sept. 14 are in technology, with the highest amount for core platform roles, followed by operations engineering and then equities technology.

Source: Tearsheet

Marcus is expanding in the U.K.

Marcus, the online lending startup built inside the investment bank, has been growing tremendously in the eight months since it launched in October 2016. It has one product: a customizable personal loan for Prime borrowers, with at least a 660 credit score, of up to $30,000. It promises no fees and straightforward repayment terms. It recently passed $1 billion in loan originations with expectations to originate $2 billion by the end of this year. By comparison: SoFi, which launched in 2011, reached its first billion after 14 months; Avant, founded in 2012, took 28 months; 10-year-old Lending Club took 65 months; and Prosper, launched in 2006, passed $1 billion in 98 months.

Goldmoney Inc. Adds Bitcoin and Ethereum to the Goldmoney Holding (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

Goldmoney Inc. (TSX:XAU) (“Goldmoney”) (the “Company”), a precious metal financial service and technology company, today unveiled the addition of vaulted Bitcoin and Ethereum as secure and fully-reserved offline investable assets within the Goldmoney® Holding, a major enhancement that allows qualified clients to buy, sell, and exchange cryptocurrencies with nine global currencies as well as gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion. With today’s launch, Goldmoney becomes the world’s first publicly traded and regulated financial service to offer insurable, auditable, and Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) compliant exposure to cryptocurrencies.

  • Buying and selling of digital assets that are safely secured in vaulted cold storage. Cryptocurrency offerings currently include Bitcoin and Ethereum; additional leading digital assets will be added over time.
  • Funding of Goldmoney Holdings with 50 types of cryptocurrency, enabling wallet holders to sell a variety of cryptocurrencies and fund their Goldmoney Holding with fiat currency to access precious metals and other Goldmoney service offerings.
  • Will seek the establishment of peer-to-peer (“P2P”) lending capabilities on digital assets in partnership with Lend and Borrow Trust, allowing owners of Bitcoin and other assets to safely borrow against their positions.

HNWs Would Use Amazon for Wealth Management (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The majority of high net investors would turn to GoogleAppleFacebook and Amazon for wealth management, Bloomberg writes.

If one of the four tech giants were to enter the advice space, 56.2% of wealthy individuals would entrust them with their money, according to a Capgemini survey of 2,500 individuals with a net worth of $1 million or more in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific cited by the news service. And among people under 40, more than 81% would use one of the four tech firms, according to the survey.

Australia

New fintech “Study Loans” aims to help cash-strapped students (Mozo), Rated: AAA

It’s called Study Loans and is said to be the first online platform dedicated to providing loans to students for both vocational and higher education.

Working closely with education providers, the fintech will track student performance and provide funds as you study through ‘tranches’ – which are based on the number of units you do and when they are completed.

Think of tranches as a ‘pay as you go’ kind of deal. So whether you pass one unit or four, Study Loans will release the funds according to your course progression.

Study Loans has raised $5 million debt equity so far, which is ready to be distributed as the first tranche to Aussie students who have already applied through the platform.

Financing options for students: 

  • Student loans – Student personal loans are designed to help fund your education. They often have a more lenient application criteria and have lower interest rates than standard personal loans. But you are expected to make monthly repayments – so you’ll need to make sure your budget can handle the amount.
  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • HECS-HELP – This is a Government funded scheme for students enrolled in Commonwealth supported institutions with no real interest charged on the loan. You won’t have to pay your student fees upfront, however, you are expected to make repayments once you start earning a salary of $54,869.

MONEFLY LAUNCHES FREE FINTECH PLATFORM WITH ENVESTNET | YODLEE FINANCIAL DATA (Yodlee), Rated: A

Monefly is an innovative new Fintech platform in Australia, focused on providing tools and resources that empower its members to grow income, reduce expenses, build assets, eliminate debt and protect themselves from risk. Some of these exciting tools include free property valuations, automated budgeting, credit scores, bank account consolidation and much more.

Monefly has partnered with Envestnet | Yodlee to help its members access comprehensive financial data available across banking and wealth management from over 15,500 data sources globally.

The data being integrated into Monefly includes superannuation, cash, credit cards, personal debts, mortgages, assets, shares, real estate, credit scores and other investment data.

India

MyAdvo Ties Up with Online Loan Advisor Square Capital for Loan Services (newKerala), Rated: AAA

MyAdvo, India’s leading Legal Tech Startup has entered into an agreement with Square Capital, the digital lending arm of India’s largest real estate transaction platform Square Yards to enable loan facilitation for lawyers on its panel.

Square Capital currently facilitates USD 30- 40Mn(INR 200cr – INR 260cr) of loan disbursals every month, contributed majorly by secured mortgages spread across 50+ banking partners for their different products in home loan, loan against property and business loan.

This exclusive tie-up will benefit MyAdvo registered lawyers in receiving immediate loan solutions without any hassle.

Indians are warming up to robo-advisers (livemint), Rated: A

Robo-advisers, or automated services based on computer algorithms, are catching on in the Indian market due to the relatively lower penetration of financial products in India compared to developed markets.

According to a Business Insider Intelligence forecast, robo-advisers (with some element of automation) will manage investment products worth $1 trillion by 2020, which will go up to $4.6 trillion by as early as 2022.

Scepticism notwithstanding, financial institutions in the country are realising the benefits of robo-advisory services by either building the product in-house or partnering with fintech companies to develop robo-advisers. Take the case of FundsIndia.com, which has a robo-advisory service for which it is forging partnerships with financial biggies. “We have a partnership with Axis Securities and one more company. There is a growing acceptance from the industry, and we are trying to enable better product design,” said Srikant Meenakshi, co-founder, FundsIndia.com. According to him, 15% of his company’s overall portfolio comprises robo-advisory services. Similarly, 5nance has an agreement with HDFC Mutual Fund for its robo-advisor.

Robo-advisory start-up ArthaYantra uses a patented methodology called the Personal Financial Lifecycle Management on its online platform, Arthos. Since its launch in 2008, the site claims to have helped 120,000 customers across more 650 cities and 30 countries.

Asia

Singapore Cryptocurrency Firms Facing Bank Account Closures (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Singapore banks have closed accounts of several companies which specialize in providing cryptocurrency and payments services, according to two local bodies which represent financial-technology firms.

Chia Hock Lai, president of the Singapore Fintech Association, which has broader membership than Access, said some of his organization’s members also experienced account closures, though he didn’t provide figures.

Access has 106 members and the Fintech Association has 185, though the two organizations said some companies belong to both groups.

How technology drives a new Taiwanese banking landscape (The Asset), Rated: A

According to Joseph Huang, president of E.Sun Bank, speaking in an interview with The Asset, payments is one area that every bank is looking to explore, although it does not generate huge profits for most banks.

Banks are also more frequently working with technology companies. E.Sun Bank partnered with IBM Taiwan in building its digital branch, which opened in February 2017, making it the first digital branch in Taiwan. Similarly, CTBC partnered with LINE Pay to help merge its banking services with communication apps and social media.

Taishin Bank’s e-banking application, Richart, which attracted over 120,000 subscribers, is targeting young Taiwanese users, while Cathay United Bank is also providing its products to retail customers through its platform My MobiBank.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 29 2017, Daily News Digest

C-PACE financing

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub completes 2nd self-sponsored loan securitization with $323M deal. Funding Circle restates IPO ambitions. Robo.cash tops 2M Euro, 1000th investor. AutoGravity surpasses $1B USD in finance amount requested. Singapore banks closing cryptocurrency, payments accounts. Today’s main analysis: Risk evaluation of commercial PACE securitizations differs from residential deals. Goldman Sachs’ aggressive push into consumer banking. Today’s […]

C-PACE financing

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News Summary

United States

LendingClub Completes 2nd Self Sponsored Loan Securitization with $ 323 Million Deal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE: LC) has sponsored and contributed to its second securitization deal following the the last successful self sponsored deal this past June. The “Consumer Loan Underlying Bond” (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P1 (CLUB 2017-P1) issued $323.1 million in prime notes backed by consumer loan assets originated via the LendingClub platform. This is the sixth securitization supported or sponsored by LendingClub, and the fourth rated securitization of LendingClub facilitated loans overall. LendingClub described the deal as further expanding investor access.

LendingClub reported the transaction was backed by approximately $350 million of collateral and includes $217.3 million of Class A notes rated “A-(sf)”, $51.0 million of Class B notes rated “BBB (sf)” and $54.7 million of Class C notes rated “BB (sf)”.

Orchard’s Online Lending Ecosystem Update: “Lendscape” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orchard Platform, the nexus of loan originators and institutional investing, has updated their ongoing graphical view of the online lending  world or “Lendscape”.  As the online lending universe has moved from peer to peer lending, to marketplace lending to all forms of online lending, the Lendscape has changed and grown. New lending platforms have been launched, new verticals targeted, and a growing number of ancillary services have joined the space.  Orchard points to the addition of lenders like LendingPointLiberty LendingLendmartAllegro CreditUpLiftArtMoneyAscendOppLoans, and Lendistry.

Perhaps the most important shift in online lending is the growing participation by traditional finance firms.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Risk Evaluation of Commercial PACE Securitizations Differs From Residential Deals (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC believes the next iteration of property assessed clean energy securitizations will be in the commercial sector. While securitization of residential PACE assessments tops $3 billion, there have been no public transactions consisting primarily of commercial liens.

Evaluating Property Income Generated to Pay Debts In analyzing the credit risk of transactions backed by commercial assessments, Morningstar considers the debt service coverage ratio, because PACE lending is tied to the property rather than the owner’s creditworthiness.

Evaluating Property Income Generated to Pay Debts

Morningstar evaluates a property’s net operating income in relation to its annual debt-service payments. Among securitized commercial mortgages, the average DSCR is approximately 2.14x, according to Morningstar. C-PACE lenders and aggregators typically require a minimum total DSCR in the 1.00x to 1.15x range. Although, in some cases, the DSCR has dipped below 1.00x, especially if total debtto-value is low when operating expenses are higher than revenue. Factors possibly mitigating a lower DSCR, which include county support, property ownership affiliations within a network, liquidity account and equity position require case-by-case analysis. In addition, DSCR of the lien is more important than the DSCR of the overall debt.

Evaluating Divergent Leverage Metrics

The lien-to-value ratio is another leverage metric that Morningstar analyzes. Although a PACE assessment raises a property’s lien-to-value ratio, the increased risk to the underlying mortgage is likely minimal, as the obligation is usually small in comparison to the mortgage.

It can be more challenging to calculate the lien-to-value ratio for C-PACE levies, because the properties can run the gamut from hotels, farmlands, nursing homes, and gas stations to nonprofit buildings such as churches. Across residential PACE deals, we have seen lien-to-value ratios around 6.7% and combined PACE-lien-plus-mortgage-tovalue ratios at around 62.7%. In C-PACE, lien-to-value ratios hover around 25.0%, not including mortgage debt.

While we scrutinize total debt-to-value, the distribution of leverage offers insight into the financial health of the property. For example, we view a property with a 90% debt-to-value ratio that is composed of an 89% mortgage loan and a 1% PACE assessment more favorably than a property whose debt is composed of an 89% PACE obligation and a 1% mortgage because of higher subordination levels.

Growing Market Size

C-PACE financing has grown to about $482 million as of Sept. 1, encompassing 1,097 commercial projects, according to PACENation. More than 2,500 municipalities have C-PACE programs.

Compared with residential programs, C-PACE is in its infancy, as R-PACE financing totaled about $3.67 billion and R-PACE securitizations totaled around $3.40 billion. A sliver of
commercial assets was included in one of those securitizations, GoodGreen 2016-1, with commercial PACE levies representing approximately 4.8% of the pool’s assets.

Source: Morningstar

Get the full report here.

The Top Sources Of Small Business Financing Based On Approval Rates (Forbes), Rated: AAA

According to the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, the monthly analysis of more than 1,000 small business loan applications on Biz2Credit.com. Loan approval percentages of institutional investors have continuously reached new heights this year in terms of approval rates. In August Institutional lenders’ loan approval rates in August reached 63.9%.

Alternative lenders’ approval percentages continue to decline; in August the rate dipped to 57.1%. Approval percentages have dropped every month for more than a year.

Approval percentages at small banks rose one-tenth of a percent in August to 49.0% from July’s 48.9% figure. It is conceivable that the number may cross the 50% benchmark.

Big banks improved one-tenth of a percent to 24.6% in August, setting a new high for the Biz2Credit Index, which has tracked loan approvals since January 2011. The number is creeping up to one-in-four. It’s a good time for bank lending.

Loan approval rates at credit unions dipped to 40.3% in August, falling to a new low for this category of lenders on Biz2Credit’s index.

AutoGravity Surpasses $ 1 Billion USD In Finance Amount Requested, Launches Real-Time Dealership Inventory Nationwide (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer on a mission to transform car shopping and financing, today announced that it has reached $1 billion USD in finance amount requested on the AutoGravity platform. Additionally, AutoGravity has announced the launch of real-time inventory for new and used cars from partner dealership groups across the nation. Car shoppers can browse real vehicle inventory on dealership lots, find the specific car that’s right for them and secure up to four finance offers in minutes on the AutoGravity smartphone app.

More over 750,000 car shoppers have downloaded AutoGravity, collectively requesting over $1 billion USD in financing. These users can now search inventory by car brand and model year – as well as characteristics such as body type, drivetrain and color. Car shoppers can find their desired car waiting for them on the showroom lot for the payment they want. With car selected and offers in hand, users can pick up their car and drive off the lot with the confidence of knowing they have secured a fair deal.

AutoGravity partnered closely with the largest dealer groups in the country to design a seamless process by which dealers can easily load inventory feeds, including vehicle details and pictures, to AutoGravity’s secure platform. Inventory is updated and shown to users in real time.

ID-verification firms seize on Equifax moment (American Banker), Rated: A

The Equifax hack, combined with the rise of online lending, may have turned 2017 into a golden age for companies with new ideas for ID.

The software company Mitek plans to roll out a product in the coming year called Mobile Verify for Lending, which offers lenders a five-step process to quickly verify customer identities. Borrowers first share their online bank account information with lenders. They then submit four pictures taken from their smartphones: the front and back of their driver’s licenses, a selfie and a pay stub.

Other players are offering digital lending solutions to make it easier for banks to keep pace with speedy fintech competitors. Upstart, for example, is marketing software, called Powered by Upstart, to banks wanting to get into digital lending.

DFS to Court: OCC Fintech Charter ‘Undermines’ Its Authority (New York Law Journal), Rated: A

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s plan to offer a special-purpose bank charter for financial technology companies “undermines” the Department of Financial Services’ regulatory authority in New York, the state agency argued in court documents.

“The Fintech Charter Decision is an unlawful assertion of power that usurps New York consumer protection laws and would preempt plaintiff’s ability to regulate any number of the over 600 nondepository institutions she currently regulates,” wrote Matthew Levine, the executive deputy superintendent for enforcement at the department.

Stockpile Raises $ 30 Million to Make Stock Investing Easy for Everyone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Stockpile, a brokerage popular with millennials that is pioneering fractional share stock investing, announced today that it has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Fidelity backed Eight Roads Ventures, with participation by Mayfield, Arbor Ventures, Hanna Ventures, Wang Ventures, and others.

This latest investment brings the total raised by Stockpile to more than $45 million.  Mayfield led Stockpile’s $15 millionSeries A in October 2015, with participation by Arbor Ventures, Stanford University, and actor Ashton Kutcher.  Stockpile will use the new funds to bring stock investing to more millennial customers and expand its unique features, Lele said.

Chime raises $ 18 million for mobile banking without the fees (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Chime is raising $18 million in Series B financing for its mobile-first approach to banking. Cathay Innovation led the round with participation from Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Forerunner Ventures, Homebrew and others.

It’s a bank account and debit card built for the digital age.

Without monthly fees or overdraft charges, Chime tries to appeal to the millennial generation, touting its affordability and easy-to-use app. Since launching in 2014, Chime has signed up 500,000 customers, who are typically in their late 20s and making between $50,000 and $70,000 per year.

Shinola’s new pitch: the installment plan (Crain’s Detroit Business), Rated: A

Shinola/Detroit LLC is targeting millennials by adding an option to pay for its watches and other luxury goods in an old-fashioned way: the installment plan.

The average order value for Affirm customers is 70 percent higher than the sitewide average, Kopitz said. And about half of those using the service with Shinola are 18-34 years old, the release said.

Around 1,000 retailers now accept payment through Affirm.

Is marketplace lending maturing? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

As new as fintech and marketplace lending—once known as “peer to peer lending”—may still seem, Noreika suggested that the online lending fraternity may be moving toward maturity.

Noreika said the sweat that went into those ideas has hit $40 billion in consumer and small business credit, with volumes doubling every year since 2010. He noted that some project that at that rate, marketplace lending will hit $1 trillion by 2025—versus the $3.7 trillion in unsecured consumer lending as of yearend 2016.

Noreika pointed out that marketplace lenders have been seeing cracks in their credit since the fourth quarter of 2015.

‘Fintechs tend to march to their own rules’: former SEC chair Levitt (American Banker), Rated: A

“Hardly a day goes by where there isn’t a recording of some scandal or another,” Levitt said. “I think that’s generally true of emerging cultures and emerging standards and cultures. That makes the odds of winning much less than in well established companies with better established cultures.”

His fellow fintech panelists, Sarah Friar, chief financial officer at Square, and Scott Sanborn, CEO of Lending Club, both pointed out that established companies have had their own share of scandals.

Levitt said it’s difficult for startups to attract the kind of quality board members that larger, more mature companies are able to attract.

“Regulators are always playing catch up,” he said. “Regulation today trails the fintech world and often presents impediments and costs that are unnecessary. Regulators are constantly protecting their space so they don’t get caught up in a scandal they’re held accountable for, so there’s a tendency to over-regulate.”

McHenry and Booker Introduce Fintech Bill to Automate Income Verification (House.gov), Rated: B

Today, Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R, NC-10), the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the IRS Data Verification Modernization Act of 2017. This bipartisan bill will require the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to automate the Income Verification Express Services process by creating an Application Programming Interface (API) allowing small businesses and consumers to access accurate credit assessments more efficiently. Joining McHenry as an original cosponsor of H.R. 3860 is Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03), a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Plug and Play Selects Their Winter 2017 Batches (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Plug and Play formally announces the startups accepted into their Winter 2017 batches. Plug and Play will run five programs this quarter focused on Health & Wellness, Insurtech, Internet of Things, Mobility, and Travel & Hospitality.

Wunder Brings on Rich Mauro as Director of Capital Markets (Wunder Capital), Rated: B

We’re incredibly excited to welcome the newest member of Wunder Capital’s team, Rich Mauro. As Director of Capital Markets, Rich will lead Wunder’s institutional fundraising activities, bolstering our capital stack and helping us scale Wunder’s platform to the next level.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle hits £50 million in revenue as CEO restates IPO ambitions (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Accounts for 2016 filed with Companies House this week show:

  • Revenue rose 59% to £50.9 million;
  • Operating expenses rose by 43% to £103.1 million;
  • Losses dipped by 3% to £35.7 million thanks partly to a foreign exchange boost;
  • £1 billion lent last year;
  • Loans outstanding rose by 61% to £1.37 billion;

‘It goes without saying that international is really hard’

While Desai is bullish on international expansion, the accounts show Funding Circle stopped operations in Spain at the start of the year, a market it entered through the acquisition of Zencap in 2015.

International revenues grew slower than UK revenues last year and Funding Circle parted ways with the head of its continental Europe operations in the middle of last year.

In the UK, economic growth is slowing and consumer debt is ballooning, leading to fears of a possible economic slowdown that could hit lenders.

Funding Circle remains a loss-making business (accumulated losses stand at £116.6 million to date) but Desai says it is on a long-term path to profitability.

Funding Circle is onto a winning strategy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, however, has remained a firm market leader, and its annual results for 2016 show it continues to do well.

Its losses narrowed 3% from £37 million ($50 million) in 2015 to £36 million ($48 million) in 2016, as revenue grew 59% year-over-year (YoY) from £32 million ($43 million) to £51 million ($68 million), and originations saw a 61% boost from £846 million ($1.1 billion) to £1.4 billion ($1.9 billion).

Source: Business Insider

Funding Circle posts 59% revenue rise (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Post year-end highlights:

Ranger Direct Lending fund expecting substantial dividend cut (AltFi), Rated: A

The £220m Ranger Direct Lending fund could see its dividend pay-out for the second half of 2017 fall to nearly half of that in the first six months of the year, according to a statement by Ranger.

It is expecting NAV returns in H2 2017 to average 0.4 per cent-0.5 per cent per month (c.5-6 per cent pa), and then recover to 0.6 per cent-0.7 per cent per month (c.7 per cent-9 per cent pa) in 2018, assuming the resolution of Princeton this year.

As a result aggregate dividends of c.25p are expected for H2 2017, compared to 46p in H1.

Source: AltFi

‘Oscars of the start-up world’ has an exciting new winner looking to disrupt property finance (CNBC), Rated: A

LendInvest, an online marketplace platform for property lending and investing, was named the most valuable tech company at the prestigious Investor Allstars event in London on Wednesday evening.

These 20-something Oxford grads just raised $ 30 million for their fintech startup (Business Insider), Rated: A

A “RegTech” — regulation technology — company founded by three Oxford grads all under 30 has raised $30 million (£22.4 million) from investors including Microsoft’s venture capital arm.

Onfido, an identity verification startup, has raised the “Series C” fundraising from Crane Venture Partners, Microsoft Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures, as well as existing investors. It takes the total raised by the London startup to over $60 million.

Onfido’s latest $30 million funding injection follows a $25 million investment last April. Kassai says the latest funding will go towards technology investment and global expansion.

Payday lender Wonga records £65m loss amid overhaul (BBC), Rated: A

Wonga – Britain’s biggest payday lender – posted pre-tax losses of nearly £65m in 2016, but claims its business has been “transformed”.

The lender, which operates in the UK, South Africa, Poland and Spain, saw its losses shrink from £80m in 2015 to £65m in 2016.

How Fintech Is Disrupting Traditional Banking Models (Minute Hack), Rated: A

One of the biggest changes in the financial sector in the UK has been the introduction of challenger banks.

Crucially, these banks have not been mired by the many recent scandals and still rely on customer deposits to build their balance sheets. That’s why fledgling banks such as Metro Bank, Aldermore, Tesco Bank and United Bank UK and currently dominating the best buy tables.

Retail banking is the area that has seen the biggest change as a result of the FinTech sector, but that’s not to say there hasn’t also been a significant impact in the commercial banking sector.

A perfect example is Barclay’s mobile payments service Pingit, designed to compete with Apple Pay, while other banks have launched new mobile banking businesses away from their legacy businesses in an attempt to compete in a digital age.

Bringing financial services to small businesses

One example is peer-to-peer lending, a sector that has sprung up from nothing ten years ago to lend a total of £2.9bn in 2016. This is now filling the capital void for many growing businesses and lending at lower rates than many firms would be able to access elsewhere.

New trustees join Finance Innovation Lab’s board (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

SIX new trustees have been appointed to the board of the Finance Innovation Lab.

The new trustees include Caroline Ellis, a social and organisational change consultant who is taking on the role of chair of the board, and Kate Ormiston Smith, director of finance and operations at The B Team, who is taking up the post of treasurer.

The other new members of the board are: Hanna McCloskey, founder and chief executive officer of Fearless Futures; Toyin Ogundana – investment manager at CAF Venturesome; Paul Riseborough – chief commercial officer at Metro Bank and Julian Thompson, social innovation and fundraising strategist.

How and where to get Crowdlending to fund your Business (TechBullion), Rated: B

When considering your initial application for funding, crowdlending platforms will review your business plan, financial information and other details about your company. In other words, the platforms will review your company’s financial information as well as your personal information in much the same way as banks will do before offering you a loan. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that your business plan is engaging, comprehensive and well thought out.

Investors will usually seek to get more information about you and your business from social networks like FacebookTwitterand LinkedIn. It will serve you well to ensure that you have an online presence before you seek for funds through crowdlending.

Going by the FundingKnightresearch, most UK investors have a love for the community and would want to give back to some UK SME to ensure its prosperity.

China

More Chinese fintech firms to eye Hong Kong IPOs, says JP Morgan (SCMP), Rated: AAA

More Chinese fintech firms vying to go public could choose Hong Kong as their listing venue, after the city’s first fintech IPO received a hot response from investors, and that Hong Kong has unique advantages compared with other global financial hubs, said JP Morgan’s head of global investment banking in China.

Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, closed nine per cent up from its IPO price on Thursday in its Hong Kong debut. With an oversubscription of nearly 400 times from retail investors, the company had priced its IPO at the top end of the expected range, raising US$1.5 billion in the city’s biggest ever fintech offering.

“The next Zhong An could show up in online payment, P2P lending, [financial] product distribution, or online insurance.”

In particular, revenue from online payment is estimated to increase to 202 billion yuan by 2020. Revenue from online distribution of financial products could grow to 52 billion yuan by then, while that for online lending and online insurance may reach 142 billion yuan and 60 billion yuan respectively.

ZhongAn Insurance Starts Trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn’s IPO will likely make the company the 4th most valuable fintech company in the world with a market cap of about US$10.4 billion, following the top three fintechs, which are Paypal ($78bn), Ant Financial ($68bn) and Lufax ($18bn).

Peter Renton interviewed the CEO of ZhongAn Insurance, Jeffrey Chen, on the Lend Academy Podcast over the summer. Jeffrey said in the interview that ZhongAn has 492 million insurance customers as of December 31, 2016. That is more than four times that of insurance giant AXA’s customer base (107 million, as of December 31, 2016). By this measure, ZhongAn truly is the world’s largest insurance company. And this is just a four-year old company!

Why ZhongAn is So Succesful

For the technology part, ZhongAn has been using artificial intelligence and big data analytics in each step of the insurance value chain, from marketing, underwriting, pricing to claims processing.

Another example is that ZhongAn has partnered with a Chinese automaker to develop internet of things (IoTs) and telematics solutions. Telematics devices can capture drivers’ behavioral data, which can be fed to algorithms using big data techniques to tailor product pricing to observed risk levels.

In ZhongAn’s early days, the revenue generated by shipping return policies accounted for almost 90% of the total revenue. This product would not have been such a success were it not for its partnership with Alibaba. Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba, is also the single biggest shareholder (16.04%) of ZhongAn.

Source: :Lend Academy

KKR Invests in Shenzhen Suishou Technology (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Shenzhen Suishou Technology Co. (“Suishou” or the “Company”), a leading personal finance management platform in China, and global investment firm KKR today announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which KKR will invest in Suishou’s Series C funding round to support the Company’s expansion across China.

European Union

Robo.Cash Tops €2 million with 1000th Investor (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Emerging peer to peer lender Robo.Cashhas topped €2 million in loans with the advent of the 1000th investor.  According to Robo.Cash, investors are spread across most of Europe with lenders now coming from 28 different countries. The short term loans are coming from Spain and Kazakhstan.

The total sum of earned interests has amounted to more than €50,000 since the start of the platform’s work.

The End of Fintech Is Nigh (FiNews), Rated: AAA

Switzerland is one of the major global fintech centers and the industry is booming: Swisscom counted fewer than a hundred fintech startups in 2015, today there are 208 companies active in wealth management, comparative consulting, crypto finance, data management, payment services and lending (see illustration below).

Blurred Dividing Line

And this may also spell the end of fintech as we know it, in Switzerland, and abroad. That’s at least what Armands Broks (pictured below) believes. The founder and CEO of Twino, a peer-to-peer lending platform, thinks that the fine line between finance industry and fintech is about to be blurred and that fintech eventually will disappear.

The only way forward for fintech is through cooperation agreements and in doing so, «the fintech industry is signing its own death sentence,» Broks said.

PWC consultants said that about 60 percent of Swiss banks have links to fintechs. Four out of five banks are eyeing partnerships in the near future or are planning to expand existing ones.

International

Goldman Sachs’ foray into consumer banking is getting aggressive (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The same year it launched GS Bank, it began building a digital-only consumer loan product, Marcus, that was fully developed and on the market 12 months later. Without having the legacy infrastructure under previously existing consumer products and services, the overhaul other major banks have been experiencing don’t exist for Goldman.

“[The] platform approach has not been an obvious approach on Wall Street. Our competitors are generally structured in deep vertical silos and we have a different architecture: these shallower silos built on top of many layers of software, tech infrastructure, cybersecurity, enterprise platforms and increasingly, client platforms,” Marty Chavez, an engineer and Goldman Sachs CIO-turned-CFO this year, said in a keynote at Harvard University earlier this year.

46 percent of Goldman jobs are in technology 
CB Insights analyzed more than 2,000 open Goldman Sachs job listings by division and business unit to confirm it’s focused on building its technology and digital finance units.

Many of the jobs are in digital finance. Earlier this month it reportedly poached 20 employees from New York-based online lending startup Bond Street — engineers, product developers, and risk and marketing specialists — presumably to build out a lending product.

According to the research, published Tuesday, 46 percent of all of the firm’s jobs as of Sept. 14 are in technology, with the highest amount for core platform roles, followed by operations engineering and then equities technology.

Source: Tearsheet

Marcus is expanding in the U.K.

Marcus, the online lending startup built inside the investment bank, has been growing tremendously in the eight months since it launched in October 2016. It has one product: a customizable personal loan for Prime borrowers, with at least a 660 credit score, of up to $30,000. It promises no fees and straightforward repayment terms. It recently passed $1 billion in loan originations with expectations to originate $2 billion by the end of this year. By comparison: SoFi, which launched in 2011, reached its first billion after 14 months; Avant, founded in 2012, took 28 months; 10-year-old Lending Club took 65 months; and Prosper, launched in 2006, passed $1 billion in 98 months.

Goldmoney Inc. Adds Bitcoin and Ethereum to the Goldmoney Holding (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

Goldmoney Inc. (TSX:XAU) (“Goldmoney”) (the “Company”), a precious metal financial service and technology company, today unveiled the addition of vaulted Bitcoin and Ethereum as secure and fully-reserved offline investable assets within the Goldmoney® Holding, a major enhancement that allows qualified clients to buy, sell, and exchange cryptocurrencies with nine global currencies as well as gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion. With today’s launch, Goldmoney becomes the world’s first publicly traded and regulated financial service to offer insurable, auditable, and Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) compliant exposure to cryptocurrencies.

  • Buying and selling of digital assets that are safely secured in vaulted cold storage. Cryptocurrency offerings currently include Bitcoin and Ethereum; additional leading digital assets will be added over time.
  • Funding of Goldmoney Holdings with 50 types of cryptocurrency, enabling wallet holders to sell a variety of cryptocurrencies and fund their Goldmoney Holding with fiat currency to access precious metals and other Goldmoney service offerings.
  • Will seek the establishment of peer-to-peer (“P2P”) lending capabilities on digital assets in partnership with Lend and Borrow Trust, allowing owners of Bitcoin and other assets to safely borrow against their positions.

HNWs Would Use Amazon for Wealth Management (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The majority of high net investors would turn to GoogleAppleFacebook and Amazon for wealth management, Bloomberg writes.

If one of the four tech giants were to enter the advice space, 56.2% of wealthy individuals would entrust them with their money, according to a Capgemini survey of 2,500 individuals with a net worth of $1 million or more in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific cited by the news service. And among people under 40, more than 81% would use one of the four tech firms, according to the survey.

Australia

New fintech “Study Loans” aims to help cash-strapped students (Mozo), Rated: AAA

It’s called Study Loans and is said to be the first online platform dedicated to providing loans to students for both vocational and higher education.

Working closely with education providers, the fintech will track student performance and provide funds as you study through ‘tranches’ – which are based on the number of units you do and when they are completed.

Think of tranches as a ‘pay as you go’ kind of deal. So whether you pass one unit or four, Study Loans will release the funds according to your course progression.

Study Loans has raised $5 million debt equity so far, which is ready to be distributed as the first tranche to Aussie students who have already applied through the platform.

Financing options for students: 

  • Student loans – Student personal loans are designed to help fund your education. They often have a more lenient application criteria and have lower interest rates than standard personal loans. But you are expected to make monthly repayments – so you’ll need to make sure your budget can handle the amount.
  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • HECS-HELP – This is a Government funded scheme for students enrolled in Commonwealth supported institutions with no real interest charged on the loan. You won’t have to pay your student fees upfront, however, you are expected to make repayments once you start earning a salary of $54,869.

MONEFLY LAUNCHES FREE FINTECH PLATFORM WITH ENVESTNET | YODLEE FINANCIAL DATA (Yodlee), Rated: A

Monefly is an innovative new Fintech platform in Australia, focused on providing tools and resources that empower its members to grow income, reduce expenses, build assets, eliminate debt and protect themselves from risk. Some of these exciting tools include free property valuations, automated budgeting, credit scores, bank account consolidation and much more.

Monefly has partnered with Envestnet | Yodlee to help its members access comprehensive financial data available across banking and wealth management from over 15,500 data sources globally.

The data being integrated into Monefly includes superannuation, cash, credit cards, personal debts, mortgages, assets, shares, real estate, credit scores and other investment data.

India

MyAdvo Ties Up with Online Loan Advisor Square Capital for Loan Services (newKerala), Rated: AAA

MyAdvo, India’s leading Legal Tech Startup has entered into an agreement with Square Capital, the digital lending arm of India’s largest real estate transaction platform Square Yards to enable loan facilitation for lawyers on its panel.

Square Capital currently facilitates USD 30- 40Mn(INR 200cr – INR 260cr) of loan disbursals every month, contributed majorly by secured mortgages spread across 50+ banking partners for their different products in home loan, loan against property and business loan.

This exclusive tie-up will benefit MyAdvo registered lawyers in receiving immediate loan solutions without any hassle.

Indians are warming up to robo-advisers (livemint), Rated: A

Robo-advisers, or automated services based on computer algorithms, are catching on in the Indian market due to the relatively lower penetration of financial products in India compared to developed markets.

According to a Business Insider Intelligence forecast, robo-advisers (with some element of automation) will manage investment products worth $1 trillion by 2020, which will go up to $4.6 trillion by as early as 2022.

Scepticism notwithstanding, financial institutions in the country are realising the benefits of robo-advisory services by either building the product in-house or partnering with fintech companies to develop robo-advisers. Take the case of FundsIndia.com, which has a robo-advisory service for which it is forging partnerships with financial biggies. “We have a partnership with Axis Securities and one more company. There is a growing acceptance from the industry, and we are trying to enable better product design,” said Srikant Meenakshi, co-founder, FundsIndia.com. According to him, 15% of his company’s overall portfolio comprises robo-advisory services. Similarly, 5nance has an agreement with HDFC Mutual Fund for its robo-advisor.

Robo-advisory start-up ArthaYantra uses a patented methodology called the Personal Financial Lifecycle Management on its online platform, Arthos. Since its launch in 2008, the site claims to have helped 120,000 customers across more 650 cities and 30 countries.

Asia

Singapore Cryptocurrency Firms Facing Bank Account Closures (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Singapore banks have closed accounts of several companies which specialize in providing cryptocurrency and payments services, according to two local bodies which represent financial-technology firms.

Chia Hock Lai, president of the Singapore Fintech Association, which has broader membership than Access, said some of his organization’s members also experienced account closures, though he didn’t provide figures.

Access has 106 members and the Fintech Association has 185, though the two organizations said some companies belong to both groups.

How technology drives a new Taiwanese banking landscape (The Asset), Rated: A

According to Joseph Huang, president of E.Sun Bank, speaking in an interview with The Asset, payments is one area that every bank is looking to explore, although it does not generate huge profits for most banks.

Banks are also more frequently working with technology companies. E.Sun Bank partnered with IBM Taiwan in building its digital branch, which opened in February 2017, making it the first digital branch in Taiwan. Similarly, CTBC partnered with LINE Pay to help merge its banking services with communication apps and social media.

Taishin Bank’s e-banking application, Richart, which attracted over 120,000 subscribers, is targeting young Taiwanese users, while Cathay United Bank is also providing its products to retail customers through its platform My MobiBank.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor