Tuesday September 4 2018, Daily News Digest

Marketplace lenders have fared substantially worse on the stock market than other fintechs

News Comments Today’s main news: Zuckerberg, Bezos, Gates back Wagestream. Funding Circle plans 300M GBP IPO. P2P lenders take in 300M GBP in second year of IFISA. Hong Kong receives 29 bids for virtual bank licenses. Today’s main analysis: Does fintech has a vicious funding circle? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Samir Desai discusses Funding Circle’s IPO as plan to […]

Marketplace lenders have fared substantially worse on the stock market than other fintechs

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United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

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News Summary

United States

As Wonga Collapses, Zuckerberg, Bezos & Gates Back A Fairer Alternative To Payday Loans (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Samir Desai On Funding Circle’s $ 2 Billion IPO And His Plan To Conquer America (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Funding Circle has already facilitated over £5 billion ($6.37 billion) in loans since launching in 2010, mostly from its home U.K. market.

Funding Circle facilitated over £1 billion in loans to small businesses during the first six months of 2018 alone.

It’s now on track to become London’s biggest fintech IPO since global payments giant WorldPay’s bumper £4.8 billion ($6.1 billion) listing in 2015.

Source: Funding Circle

In the U.K. just 5% of businesses say Funding Circle when asked where they would go for finance, according to the company’s data, and 95% continue to chose their banks.

The Risk of a Vicious Funding Circle in Fintech (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

There are fintechs, and then there are fintechs. Cheerleaders point to payments startups like Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc., whose stock has soared 242 percent in a year, as evidence of a Silicon-Valley-style revolution in the making. But there are sob stories, too: loan platforms LendingClub Corp. and On Deck Capital Inc. are still trading well below their IPO prices. Promises of break-neck expansion often crash into the reality of regulated finance.

Source: Bloomberg

Lending Earnings Insights (2018 Q3) (PeerIQ) Rated: AAA

We remain in the late stages of the credit cycle. The US consumer has benefitted from record low unemployment, rising incomes and home prices, and a lower tax rate. The supply of credit and competition to offer loans is increasing. Lenders are optimistic about consumer spending and debt levels, and are reserving for potentially higher losses in the future.

We see divergent credit performance across FinTech asset classes. Enova (Subprime) and OnDeck (Small Biz) are seeing near cycle-low charge-offs, while LendingClub (Prime) is seeing higher delinquencies on newer vintages. LendingClub also increased its charge-off estimates across loan grades by ~40 bps QoQ.

Card issuers are increasing loan loss reserves at a higher rate than loan growth, indicating expectations of higher losses going forward. Loan loss provisions are increasing at roughly twice the rate of loan growth across card issuers, but overall reserve levels are still low.

Scratch Introduces First Loan Servicing Platform To Align Financial Interests of Lenders and Borrowers (Scratch Email) Rated: A

Scratch, a new financial technology company started in 2015 to transform the antiquated business of getting America’s $13 trillion household debt repaid, introduced the first loan servicing platform to align the financial interests of lenders and borrowers.

The Scratch loan servicing platform empowers borrowers with a simple web application for understanding, managing and paying back their loans while providing lenders accurate, real-time portfolio insights. And, by automating the back-office complexities of loan management, Scratch can devote more resources to giving borrowers the attention and guidance they deserve.

Loan Servicing Crisis Persists

U.S. household debt composed of mortgages, student loans, auto loans, credit cards, home equity lines of credit, and other consumer loans, is at an all-time high and growing daily.

Today, household debt is at a high of $13 trillion and 8 out of 10 Americans carry some type of debt, including mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and auto loans. And everyone who has a loan has a loan servicer.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle plans to raise £300m in London IPO (Financial Times), Rated: AA 

Funding Circle has announced plans to become the first of Britain’s new generation of financial technology companies to go public, in a deal expected to raise £300m and value the peer-to-peer lender at more than £1.5bn.

The initial public offering of Britain’s biggest peer-to-peer lender will provide a significant test of investor appetite for the breed of fintechs that have sprung up in the past decade to challenge high-street banks.  Funding Circle has arranged £5bn of loans to small companies in the UK, the US, Germany and the Netherlands since its launch in 2010 by connecting businesses looking to borrow money with retail and institutional investors willing to lend them money. 

However, the company’s prospective value of more than £1.5bn is above the current value of US-listed peers OnDeck and Lending Club, which have both suffered tumbling share prices since their lPOs.

Funding Circle IPO will be open to platform’s existing investors (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

FUNDING Circle has said it expects its existing investors will be able to become shareholders in the company after it goes public.

Funding Circle said that its initial public offering (IPO), if it goes ahead, would aim to raise around £300m, with at least 25 per cent of the company’s issued share capital to be placed on a free float.

In a blog post on its website, also on Monday, the P2P lender said that its customers would have the opportunity to apply to participate in the IPO and become a shareholder in Funding Circle via an intermediaries offer.

Don’t be blinded by the wizardry of tech darling Funding Circle (London Evening Standard) Rated: A

Given that Funding Circle’s flotation comes just days after the collapse of that other trailblazing fintech, Wonga, it’s hard not to compare the two.

Both were launched to fill the gaps in the lending market where traditional banks feared to tread. Both used tech wizardry to check they were lending to the right people at the right price. Both brilliantly deployed digital technology to make their services simple and fast to use.

Hopefully, for future investors, the similarities end there.

Funding Circle to host cryptocurrency event to promote women in fintech (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

FUNDING Circle is to host a panel event focusing on cryptocurrency, described by the organisers as “one of the most interesting but least understood areas of fintech.”

The event is being held in connection with FinTechWomen, a London-based meet-up group, and is sponsored by Funding Circle.

UK sub-prime lenders shrug off political cloud (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

UK sub-prime investors are shrugging off Wonga’s cloud. Customer complaints and a regulatory clampdown forced the payday lender to stop making loans. The likes of Amigo Holdings and Non-Standard Finance have different models, and regulators’ blessing. Yet, with Wonga out of the picture, they too risk becoming the focus of public ire.

Investors love it. Amigo’s return on equity will be around 40 percent this year, using Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, while it and Non-Standard Finance should grow revenue on average by more than 20 percent each year up to 2021, analysts reckon. NSF, which has a more diversified business including unguaranteed loans, is valued at over 17 times forward earnings. Amigo’s shares were priced at 12 times forward earnings even after a selloff promoted by disappointing results on Thursday. The consumer finance sector on average trades at less than 11 times forward earnings, according to Eikon.

Hedge fund Kreos Capital is first in line for Wonga payout deal after lending the collapsed payday loan company around £34m (This is Money) Rated: A

A Mayfair hedge fund is at the front of the queue to be paid by collapsed Wonga as fears grow that thousands of its hard-up customers will get nothing.

Kreos Capital lent Wonga about £34million two years ago and is understood to be still owed around £10million by the payday loan company.

Under the arrangement, it is thought to be in line to collect that sum ahead of other creditors.

P2P lenders record £300m intake in second year of the IFISA (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ALMOST £300m was invested across Innovative Finance ISAs (IFISA) in the previous tax year, HMRC data reveals.

The latest ISA statistics from the taxman shows £290m of subscriptions in IFISA for the 2017/2018 tax year across 31,000 accounts.

P2P lenders saved £9,355 on average.

Zopa revealed it received more than £150m in its IFISA during the previous tax year.

The data shows that savers subscribed to 10.8 million Isa accounts during the 2017-18 tax year, down from 11.1 million in the previous tax year. This represents a fall of 10%.

P2P marketing clampdown ‘may restrict IFISA takeup’ (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Stuart Law, who heads up the business P2P lender, warned that the strong take-up of the IFISA could be hampered by the FCA’s proposed marketing restrictions for the sector.

Under the proposed changes, platforms would be restricted to marketing to those who are certified as sophisticated or high-net-worth investors or those that certify that they will not invest more than 10 per cent of their net portfolio in P2P agreements.

Northern Irish housebuilder secures £250,000 from P2P platform (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

County Down Developments has received a £250,000 facility from Blend Network for the development of four luxury apartments in Bangor, Northern Ireland.

The loan from Blend Network came after the housebuilder was turned down for a loan by Barclays.

Mattress start-up Casper offered credit in UK without permission (Financial Times), Rated: B

A US online mattress start-up backed by rapper 50 Cent has been forced to stop offering credit to UK customers, after it emerged it had been doing so without permission from the regulator.

Casper, a five-year-old company that is on a major European expansion drive, was allowing UK customers to buy on credit from Swedish bank Klarna.

China/Hong Kong

China’s Fintech Giants Have The Money And Means To Dominate Despite The Wider Slowdown (Forbes), Rated: AAA

China has experienced a fintech explosion in recent years, with top companies dominating the industry. It’s not an accident that 

HKMA Receives 29 Bids for First Round of Virtual Bank Licences (Regulation Asia) Rated: AAA

Standard Chartered, WeLab, Zhong An Bank and HKT among several banking, technology and telecom firms applying for virtual banking licenses.

Twenty-nine financial and technology firms, including Standard Chartered and WeLab have submitted applications to obtain Hong Kong’s first online-only banking licenses.

Tencent-backed Airwallex to join push for Hong Kong virtual bank license (SCMP) Rated: A

The company shifted its headquarters to Hong Kong from Melbourne earlier this month as it prepares to submit a virtual banking license application, along with partners, ahead of Friday’s deadline.

Airwallex co-founder and chief executive Jack Zhang said the company will team up with a traditional bank and other local partners as part of the application process, although he declined to reveal their identities.

Another reason for the relocation to Hong Kong is proximity to major clients, including Tencent, online travel operator Ctrip, e-commerce JD.com as well as traditional lender Bank of East Asia.

Stable earnings growth expected by mainland banks, but bad-loan worries linger (SCMP), Rated: A

And Beijing’s crackdown on the peer-to-peer lending sector – the shadow banking system that saw rampant illicit and risky behaviour continue in the first half of this year – has helped increase demand for corporate lending levels too.

The country’s big four banks – Industrial and Commercial Bank of ChinaChina Construction BankAgricultural Bank of Chinaand Bank of China – reported profit rises of between 5.2 and 7.9 per cent in the three months ending June.

China’s state banks to boost lending as Beijing fans economy (Nikkei), Rated: A

First-half earnings showed the lenders rallying after several years of low growth. Collective net profit rose 5.7% year on year to 532.1 billion yuan ($77.9 billion), while the lenders’ average ratio of bad debt fell 0.06 percentage point in six months to 1.52% at the end of June.

European Union

INSTANTOR OPENS UP BANK API – PROVIDING UNIQUE ACCESS TO HALF A BILLION PEOPLE (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

Today Instantor, the Swedish fintech company making financial decisions easy, announces, WDSK, The World Domination Starter Kit. The WDSK is an initiative to support start-ups and scale-ups to develop next-generation products by giving them access to Instantor´s Bank API with no associated costs for new Instantor customers. By using Instantors bank API, developers will have access to transactional data from over 300 banks in 25 countries, with the potential to reach half a billion people. Instantor´s bank API has an unrivaled reach, and the WDSK initiative includes access to several markets outside new Open Banking legislation. The authentication and the end user’s interaction with banks are handled by Instantor, and the data can be accessed once the end user has given their consent.

International

Robo-advice not dead: GlobalData (Financial Standard) Rated: A

The analyst suggested robo-adviser may be ahead of their time, given high net-worth demand for robo-advice is on the rise among the next generation of investors.

“While robo-advice is here to stay, it will take time to cement itself. The digitally-savvy next generation will embrace an automated service and big banks should capitalize on this. However, a big brand is not enough to justify much higher fees,” Woldemichael said.

To succeed, incumbents will have to provide a level of service, and prices, that are genuinely competitive with those offered by startups.”

Australia

Collapse of UK payday lender Wonga sounds warning for Aussie fintech vigilance (Australian Financial Review) Rated:AAA

The collapse of Wonga, one of Britain’s most high-profile fintech lenders, provides salient lessons for Australia, which considers the UK a template for financial technology policy and where tighter laws to protect vulnerable customers from payday lenders appear to have stalled.

Wonga, built around a slick app allowing customers to get expensive loans via their mobile phone, was “notorious for its extortionate interest rates and was a toxic symbol of Britain’s household debt crisis”, said The Guardian last week.

The payday lender “failed because it was too greedy and at times crossed the ethical line”, it said, quoting prominent UK financial columnist Martin Lewis, who described Wonga’s loans as “the crack cocaine of debt – unneeded, unwanted, unhelpful, destructive and addictive”.

Micro lender makes big difference (Latrobe Valley Express) Rated: A

Her heartfelt story was told at Good Money’s one-year anniversary last week during what Carol described as a “life-changing event” after borrowing money to buy essential appliances like a new fridge and washing machine.

The low to no-interest lender was set up in July last year in partnership with Good Shepherd Microfinance and the National Australia Bank, following a $2.3 million investment from the state government.

More than 2900 people made enquiries in the hub’s first year, and the store has provided more than 500 no and low-interest loans for household appliances, car-related expenses, household furniture and costs such as medical and education expenses.

India

China’s FinUp, existing investors back digital lending startup SlicePay (VC Circle) Rated: AAA

SlicePay, a digital lending platform which caters to college students and young professionals, has raised an undisclosed amount in an extended Series A round of funding led by Chinese firm FinUp Finance Technology Group.

The company said in a statement that existing investors Blume Ventures, Japan’s Das Capital, and Russia’s Simile Ventures had also participated in the round.

A person close to the development who did not wish to be named pegged the deal at $14.9 million (around Rs 105 crore at current exchange rates).

Asia

Southeast Asia’s startups suffer from Series B funding crunch, says Kredivo’s Gar (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Having recently raised what is estimated to be the largest Series B funding round for a fintech firm in Southeast Asia, Indonesia-focused lending platform Kredivo says the process was far from smooth sailing.

The company was forced to look beyond the region to raise the majority of its fund, as it found that there were simply very few investors in the region that specialized in doing Series B investments.

MENA

Tel Aviv Climbs on List of Top 10 Undergraduate Programs for Entrepreneurs (CTech) Rated: B

Tel Aviv University is among the top ten global undergraduate programs in terms of producing venture capital-backed entrepreneurs, according to a report published last week by Seattle-based market research company Pitchbook. Pitchbook ranked Tel Aviv in eighth place, up from ninth last year, above Yale, Princeton, and Brown.

Two other Israeli universities made the top 50 list: the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology came in at 14, while the Hebrew University of Jerusalem placed at 35.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Small Dollar Lenders Are More Beneficial Than You Realize

Small Dollar Lenders Are More Beneficial Than You Realize

Sam has a side business repairing fences and one of his bids was just approved to begin work immediately. Now he needs to come up with the money to buy supplies a few weeks before he receives payment from the customer. Because of unpaid medical bills from several years ago, he has a low credit […]

Small Dollar Lenders Are More Beneficial Than You Realize

Sam has a side business repairing fences and one of his bids was just approved to begin work immediately. Now he needs to come up with the money to buy supplies a few weeks before he receives payment from the customer. Because of unpaid medical bills from several years ago, he has a low credit rating, and applications for small business loans have been denied.

Joan is an artist with a promising jewelry line. She’s invited to sell her products at a popular bridal show that will result in big sales and future business opportunities at local boutiques. However, Joan must come up with money upfront to pay for booth space, displays, and material to make the jewelry. Since Joan has high credit card debt, she can’t access traditional financing.

The FDIC says nearly a quarter of U.S. households used alternative financial services in the past 12 months. One major factor is that two out of five Americans experience income swings of more than 30 percent month to month. In fact, 15 percent of U.S. consumers — approximately 37 million adults— do not have a bank account, according to a 2016 Pew Charitable Trust Study.

These statistics underscore the need for alternative financial services to assist unbanked, underbanked, and sub-prime consumers who have credit scores under 600.

It’s clear that consumers need to be fully educated on responsible borrowing, managing finances, and budgeting. There’s a reason why the CFPB established new regulations on certain lenders, including payday loans, auto title loans, deposit advance products, and longer term loans with balloon payments.

In general, regulations seek to provide consumer protection and ensure that lenders are acting in an ethical and professional manner. The concern is regulation that impacts and limits consumers’ access to credit. In an ideal market, regulated lenders provide financial services that meet a market need. As lenders compete for business (providing credit), it becomes the consumer’s responsibility to review the options and make the best choices for themselves.

An open market will foster competition and ensure that the appropriate lenders survive. Competition fosters innovation and drives new choices for consumers without the need for externally imposed limits.

Consumers Need Access to Emergency Cash

A major consideration that can’t be overlooked is that certain customers with poor credit scores many times need access to emergency cash. If their credit scores are too low, they are not able to borrow from banks or may not be able to obtain help from friends and family.

By definition, a subprime consumer (550-620 FICO) is likely to default on a loan 50 percent of the time. That’s a costly business decision for any lender.

If the market steps in and imposes more regulations on alternative financial service providers, the likely result is that loan requirements will become more conservative. Banks and traditional financing options will remain unavailable for borrowers with the lowest credit scores, and the increased cost of doing business could push some small-dollar alternative lenders out of the market.

Now, before you jump for joy and say that this is exactly what needs to happen, consider the potential consequences.

With many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, getting laid off, medical bills, an unexpected car repair, or emergency trip to a sick relative may require quick cash. Where will the consumers with low credit ratings turn in difficult circumstances and emergency situations?

One possibility, in the absence of small-dollar lenders, is that borrowers will get loans from less desirable lenders that operate under the radar, off the grid. Consumers who are desperate to pay bills, rent and car repairs, or buy medicine and other necessities of life may turn to loan sharks and other nefarious entities.

Does this seem like an unlikely scenario? Probably not.

Another possibility is that these consumers who tried to take care of themselves by borrowing emergency cash simply give up. With fewer options to fix their temporary liquidity problems, the need for government assistance will rise. If these consumers can’t pay for car repairs, can’t get to work, and lose their jobs, the result may be increased unemployment claims. Even more troublesome, the snowball effect could increase welfare programs and housing subsidies.

The reality is that underbanked consumers and borrowers with imperfect credit need alternative financial services. There are responsible alternative financial services and lenders who can provide small-scale, short-term funding.

If underbanked consumers and borrowers with poor credit ratings aren’t permitted to access credit, social welfare programs will be required to offset the consumers’ inability to meet short-term cash needs. This catastrophic situation will increase the cost and number of citizens on social assistance. Ultimately, all taxpayers will be burdened with increases in social welfare.

The question is rather than over-regulating this sector of the credit market, doesn’t a free market on certain alternative financing options seem to be a better alternative?

Author:

Guy Dilger is vice president of marketing at Plain Green, LLC. With more than 12 years of experience designing groundbreaking marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies and financial technology brands, Dilger is known for generating engaging content and compelling concepts that resonate with targeted consumers. Prior to Plain Green, Dilger held senior positions within fintech and retail spaces where he managed national marketing campaigns and customer-centric loyalty initiatives for Sears and Kmart. Previously, he was part of the management team at Limited Brands where his marketing work in support of Express brand included CRM, email, web-based programs and the redesign and relaunch of a private label credit card. Dilger has an MBA, as well as a bachelor of science in economics, from Southern Methodist University.

FICO For Microcredit Lending

Scorista

Established in Russia in 2014, Scorista was born out of the need for a reliable risk-scoring model for Russian lenders. Leveraging the skills of famed Russian programmers, Scorista has created the go-to risk management solution for lenders operating in the sub-prime short-term lending segment. How Scorista Began Maria Veikhman, a business management, IT, and risk […]

Scorista

Established in Russia in 2014, Scorista was born out of the need for a reliable risk-scoring model for Russian lenders. Leveraging the skills of famed Russian programmers, Scorista has created the go-to risk management solution for lenders operating in the sub-prime short-term lending segment.

How Scorista Began

Maria Veikhman, a business management, IT, and risk management specialist is the founder and CEO of Scorista. It took off when a few lenders in Russia realized the dearth of reliable risk managers in the market and asked Veikhman to create a risk-scoring model for their lending businesses. Scorista was born as a disruptive innovation to automate the area of credit assessment and provide clients with an instant credit decision. They believe they can help lenders achieve the desired KPIs in a very short span of time with a guarantee of results.

What gave impetus to the company was the dearth of risk management solutions for short-term lenders and payday lenders. They only have access to the FICO score, which is not a very bankable option for payday lenders.

More On Scorista

Scorista offers a broad variety of products ranging from credit assessment to underwriting plans, verification plans, individual scoring, and variable kits, which facilitate scoring and dossiers that legally provide access to complete information about the borrowers. Its prime spot is borrowers looking for less than $5k for less than 12 months. According to Veikhman, Scorista has a 93% forecast accuracy rate. This is much higher than anything available for the segment currently.

This performance has led to profitable growth with offices in China and clients in Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Spain, and Latvia. It has just launched its services in the United States. More than 142 lenders are currently using the Scorista platform, and it is processing over 500,000 applications every month. According to its website, Scorista has helped its partners earn an additional $145 million.

The company has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Life.SREDA.

Scorista’s Business Model

Scorista’s business model is transactional-based. In Russia, Scorista charges an estimated $1K for every credit decision depending on the volume of applications. Credit lenders are provided with credit decisions instantly so that they can further approve or deny a loan. When the borrower files a loan application with the lender, the lender communicates the borrower file through an API or web interface. Its system receives the application, evaluates the same with its scoring algorithm, and provides a credit decision for approval or denial of the loan. In cases where the scoring algorithm depicts that the borrower can’t repay the loan, Scorista works out different models to predict the amount that the borrower can pay. So if a borrower is rejected for a $2,000 loan for a 3-month period, Scorista will additionally provide that he is a good bet for $1,000 for a 1-month period.

Scorista has developed artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered proprietary algorithms for its scoring systems. It keeps fine tuning its algorithms to ensure optimum performance. It is focusing only on its specialization of short-term micro-borrowers to ensure highest efficiency rates in the segment.

Competitive Advantage

The money-back guarantee is Scorista’s USP. Scorista is ready to refund the fees to its clients if they are not satisfied with its services. Others in the industry are generic players looking to cover the entire market rather than specializing in any one segment. In the name of alternative data, many peers focus exclusively on the social media footprint. However, research shows that decision-making based on social networking is not very reliable as the quality and quantity of information available on borrowers is circumspect. Moreover, about 40% of borrowers do not have extractable social media information available.

Scorista has also introduced Mindscore, a psychometric scoring method that uses a social networking profile and psychometrics to score borrowers. It helps in predicting repayment ability, and the default rate of the applicant.

According to Veikhman, using alternative data in the credit model is dependent on the country. Credit bureaus across Russia have a lot of data on borrowers, and, as such, alternative data is not able to add a lot of weight. But there are no reliable credit bureaus in China so a lot of e-commerce data from Alipay, Wechat, and other social media is put to use. The company is also using mobile data in some cases and incorporates details like the workplace of the borrower to make a credit decision.

The Russian and Chinese branches of Scorista have launched a white label product for mobile applications for lenders. It facilitates fast issuance requiring the borrower to download the application and then submit information to the lender. Scorista performs the function of scoring and the lender can directly issue money through the application, credit card, debit card, or bank account.

Integration

Scorista mainly integrates with short-term lenders and specializes in facilitating short-term loans. Although banks have a broad line of products, Scorista can work with banks that deal in short-term loans apart from full-term loans.

The sub-prime segment that Scorista specializes in is growing across the world. The global economy is not getting better, and many economists agree that it is in the last legs of the growth phase. The last recession was in 2008-09, so considering a cycle of 10 years, we are looking at a recession sooner rather than later. Also exacerbating the trend is the fact that the number of people drawing a lower than average income is increasing in every nation across the world.

Borrowers with low credit scores can improve their credit ratings by following a regular, structured repayment schedule. This will enable them to have access to better loans and banking products with lower rates of interest. Scorista,, with its credit models, helps borrowers gain that access to credit at the right time for the right amount.

Scorista’s Future Goals

Scorista is looking to expand across global markets. It is looking for partners in multiple countries to expand its offering. It is also looking to onboard well-connected financial investors who can help introduce them to their lending networks.

Scorista wants to establish itself as the FICO score for the sub-prime borrower segment. Its key differentiator is its specialization in only short-term microlending and its money back guarantee. The company has been able to build a solid business and is on the precipice of breaking into the big leagues.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Wednesday May 23 2018 Daily News Digest

Interest rates & new delinquencies on CC debt

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to get into crypto investing by 2019. How Goldman Sachs predicts economic slumps. How SoFi personalizes the mobile experience. A Monzo case study. Klarna acquires Shop.co. Today’s main analysis: More Americans are struggling to pay with credit cards. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 4 in 10 Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense, Fed survey […]

Interest rates & new delinquencies on CC debt

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

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United States

SoFi will get crypto investing by 2019, says CEO Anthony Noto (CNBC) Rated: AAA

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto says the “modern finance” company wants members to be able to invest in cryptocurrency as soon as 2019.

“We want to accelerate our investment in some new products, one of which is our wealth products, and we want to add cryptocurrency to that,” Noto said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

Goldman Sachs has a novel method for predicting the next economic slump  (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

You might remember that Goldman Sachs is lending to subprime borrowers. Turns out, it’s all part of a plan to help predict the next credit cycle.

In February, Goldman Sachs surprised Wall Street when it said that more than 80% of borrowers for its Marcus consumer-lending product had a FICO score of more than 660 at year end. The implication was that nearly 20% had a score of less than 660, placing them in a group often referred to as subprime.

In September, the bank said it saw a $1 billion revenue opportunity in the Marcus loan-and-deposit platform based on a $13 billion lending opportunity over three years. Whether it reaches that goal will depend in part on how those subprime borrowers behave.

More Americans are struggling to pay their credit cards (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Interest rates, which influence the cost of borrowing, are on the rise after the Federal Reserve kept them near zero for years. That period of super-low interest rates achieved one key outcome: encouraging Americans to borrow, spend, and help grow the economy after the Great Recession.

Last June, credit-card debt finally hit a new high. But the share of borrowers who make payments more than 30 days late is rising along with interest rates.

Source: Business Insider

The Fed is set next month to raise its benchmark rate for the seventh time since late 2015.

Source: Business Insider

How SoFi is personalizing its mobile experience (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

SoFi is personalizing its digital customer experience by fusing event planning, career services and personal finance insights inside its mobile app.

SoFi is joining a group of financial institutions that are letting customers aggregate accounts to get a full financial picture — even if they’re not with the same institution, with recent examples including Citi and HSBC.

As it grows its digital offerings, the company is adding services to meet the needs of a fast-growing customer cohort. SoFi currently has 500,000 customers — up 200,000 from last year.

 

 

 

50. SoFi (CNBC) Rated: A

This has been quite a year for SoFi (short for Social Finance).

The company claims to have 500,000 members and has made $25 billion in loans to date. SoFi has raised $2.1 billion in funding, including $500 million in a round led by Silver Lake Partners. In early interviews after taking over the top spot, Noto spoke about eventually taking SoFi public, but did not outline a timetable.

For millennials, it’s about having a house, children and retiring early (CNBC) Rated: A

Julia Boorstin live with SoFi CEO Anthony Noto discusses running what he describes as a “modern day” financial services company.

Watch the interview here

SoFi Makes Graduation From Student Debt An Epic Experience (PR Newswire) Rated: A

In a video released today on YouTube, SoFi made that moment of relief from student debt a grand occasion for one Midwestern woman. The company surprised Candice, a SoFi member who had refinanced her student debt, with an epic surprise “debt graduation” ceremony with friends, family, and some unconventional surprises planned by the company, together with production and entertainment studio GenPop.

Guaranteed Rate Partners with DocMagic to Cut Closing Time (Florida Newswire) Rated: A

DocMagic, Inc., the premier provider of fully-compliant loan document preparation, regulatory compliance and comprehensive eMortgage services, announced that retail mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate can now cut closing time by electronically signing mortgage closing documents in advance.

Guaranteed Rate has branded the solution FlashClose, which allows customers to opt-in, review and complete most documents in advance of the notary arriving, saving an hour or more at the closing table – with some averaging a mere 10-minute appointment to provide inked signatures.

First wave of neobanks resets for new offensive (American Banker) Rated: A

BankSimple (now just called Simple) was bought by BBVA and went through a painful process of migrating accounts to the big bank’s systems; its founder recently announced he’s leaving. Moven became a seller of software to large banks including TD Bank and Westpac, while still maintaining its own mobile banking service. Varo Money has been trying for almost a year to get a banking license. Chime remained independent (in partnership with The Bancorp Bank) but is going through growing pains.

This year, all are taking up their swords again, renewing an anti-bank message of helping consumers lead financially healthy lives, with fewer fees and more helpful products and software than traditional banks. Following is a look at how the neobanks are fighting back.

Cadre seeks at least $ 100M from SoftBank (The Real Deal) Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform Cadre is seeking at least $100 million from a fund started by the SoftBank Group.

Representatives for the SoftBank Vision Fund met with a top executive from Cadre recently, Bloomberg reported. The fund gets nearly half of its $100 billion from the Saudi Arabian government and at least $15 billion from the United Arab Emirates.

Lending Express garners $ 2.7 mln (PE Hub Network) Rated: A

Lending Express, the only AI-powered marketplace for business loans, today announced the securing of a $2.7 million investment round led by Entrée Capital, iAngels, and existing investors. The funds will be used to build out their innovative loan-matching technology and scale up operations in the United States and Australia.

How fintech gave this SBA lender an edge (American Banker) Rated: A

Add Seacoast Banking in Stuart, Fla., to the list of community banks that now believe in working with fintechs.

The $6 billion-asset company is gaining traction in Small Business Administration lending after partnering with SmartBiz Loans to speed its approval process. The move halved the interval from application to funding, to as little as 10 days, said Julie Kleffel, Seacoast’s community banking executive.

Four in 10 can’t cover an emergency expense of $ 400, Fed survey finds (Market Watch) Rated: AAA

The Fed’s new survey of household economics and decision-making found 41% could not cover a $400 emergency expense using cash in 2017. That’s actually a slight improvement, since 44% could not in 2016, 46% could not in 2015 and only 50% could in 2013.

Those that couldn’t afford the expense turn to credit cards or borrowing from family or friends, while only 5% would turn to a payday loan or similar product.

Source: Federal Reserve

Read the full report here.

Why real estate tech won’t kill the middleman (The Real Deal) Rated: A

Not too long ago, it seemed like the real estate business was about to enter a new era. To some observers, websites like Zillow and Trulia or their office equivalents 42Floors and LoopNet threatened to put brokers out of business (although officially these firms said no such thing). Crowdfunding startups dreamed of doing the same to pricey fund managers. Why pay a cut to an agent if you can just find your house or office online, for free? Why give your savings to a pension fund, which gives it to an asset manager, which gives it to a real estate lender, which gives it to a developer, if you can just lend the money to a developer yourself, online, and save a fortune in fees?

ENACOMM Adds FoneLogix as Ally to Bring Data-Driven AI and Phone Banking to Financial Institutions (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

ENACOMM—a fintech company that empowers banks, credit unions and credit card companies with solutions for improving the customer experience (CX), fighting financial fraud, and increasing operational efficiency—today announced a new reseller agreement with FoneLogix, an Atlanta-based provider of cloud-hosted VOIP Phone Systems, Solutions and Support.

Through the partnership, FoneLogix’s bank and credit union customers will be able to take advantage of ENACOMM’s VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) Conversational Banking and the ENACOMM Financial Suite (EFS), which includes a hosted, dynamic interactive voice response (IVR) system for personalized customer interactions.

AI Challenging Bank Lending Practices (Forbes) Rated: A

CultureBanx notes 

The Best Business Loans and Financing Options for Freelancers (The Entrepreneur) Rated: A

Most banks view freelancers as high-risk, and as such, may be unwilling to enter a loan agreement. Because a freelancer is considered a sole proprietor, he or she alone is liable for all losses and debts his or her business may incur. If the freelancer gets hurt or sick and cannot work — or is just terrible at running a business — the bank is left holding the bag.

Online lenders offer an interesting alternative. Typically, these non-traditional lenders have more relaxed loan approval criteria and a swifter approval process. Importantly, your personal income, assets and credit score are assessed for loan approval, not the value of your business. You should expect to pay higher rates of interest, a natural trade-off for the perceived risk you present.

First Tech Federal Credit Union Personal Loans: 2018 Review (Nerdwallet) Rated: A

First Tech offers unsecured and secured personal loans as well as personal lines of credit. Annual percentage rates start at 9% on unsecured loans, or 3% on secured loans, which can be backed by a First Tech savings account, First Tech share certificates, or stock you own in the company you work for or one listed on the NYSE, Nasdaq or Amex.

You can apply for a loan of as little as $500, making First Tech a good option for borrowers looking for small loans. Payments for unsecured and secured loans are fixed over two to seven years, and you can choose between monthly or biweekly payments.

 

 

Trump signs resolution overturning CFPB auto lending rule (Consumer Affairs) Rated: B

President Trump has signed a resolution, passed by Congress, overturning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) auto lending rule, designed to prevent racial discrimination by dealers who finance purchases.

United Kingdom

Monzo Case Study (AWS) Rated: AAA

Monzo has grown from an idea to a fully regulated bank on the AWS Cloud. A bank that “lives on your smartphone,” Monzo has already handled £1 billion worth of transactions for half a million customers in the UK. Monzo runs more than 400 core-banking microservices on AWS, using services including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

Open banking regulations, which came in at the start of 2018, required the nine largest banks in the UK to provide an API for their users’ account information.

 

Meet the 35 most exciting young entrepreneurs, engineers, and advisors in UK fintech (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Business Insider has covered UK fintech since our 2014 launch. The UK Fintech 35 under 35 highlights the most promising young entrepreneurs, engineers, marketers, and sector experts under the age of 35. It spans both startups and big banks operating in the sector.

35. Pierce Glennie, iwoca

The company has lent over £400 million since its founding in 2011. Glennie was one of iwoca’s first outside hires and just 21 when he joined the business.

27. Aneesh Varma, Aire

Varma, who started his career at JPMorgan, set up Aire in 2014. It is his second startup, having previously founded enterprise software business FabriQate in 2005.

24. Anil Stocker, MarketInvoice

MarketInvoice is an online platform that lets businesses borrow against unpaid invoices. The lender isn’t MarketInvoice itself but institutional investors and high net worth individuals looking for strong returns.

23. Karen Kerrigan, Seedrs

Seedrs is one of the UK’s first equity crowdfunding platforms, letting ordinary people invest in startup businesses. 600 businesses have raised over £320 million since the platform launched in 2009.

17. Simon Miller, Scalable Capital

Scalable Capital is one of a number of so-called “robo advisors” — online investment advisors and platforms — that have sprung up around the world in recent years. The company already has £600 million in assets under management and has attracted investment from asset management giant BlackRock.

13. Joe Cross, TransferWise

Cross was one of TransferWise’s first employees and has seen the international money transfer business grow from a small East London startup to business worth over $1 billion.

6. Megan Caywood, Starling Bank

She is now chief platform officer at startup, app-only bank Starling, which is trying to make a new kind of bank that functions more like an app store than a traditional lender.

5. Martin Ijaha, Neyber

Neyber works with employers to let staff borrow money then repay through salary deductions. Neyber was founded in 2012 and now works with 160 employers with a combined 1 million staff. Last year Goldman invested £100 million into the platform.

3. Tom Blomfield, Monzo

The fully licensed bank now has over 500,000 current account customers who have spent £1 billion on Monzo’s iconic hot coral cards. The company has raised over £71 million to date and is valued at £280 million.

2. Samir Desai, Funding Circle

Their platform has now lent over £4 billion to businesses across the UK, Germany, US, and the Netherlands. Desai was awarded a CBE for services to financial services in 2015 and his company is tipped to float on the stock exchange later this year with a price tag of at least £1 billion.

1. Nikolay Storonsky, Revolut

Revolut began life as a foreign exchange card linked to an app that offered rock-bottom FX prices. The company is less than three years old but the popularity of its product has already seen it hit 2 million customers and a valuation of $1.7 billion.

Proptech Startup When You Move Raises £3M in Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

When You Move, a UK-based proptech startup, secured new funding which brings the total amount raised to £3m.

Backers included Fig, a proptech VC, and a hybrid network of friends and family, private HNW investors and incumbent shareholders.

The company intends to use the funds to build out it customer excellence teams, scale up the development team and solidify its position as the solution for professionals involved in property purchases.

The UK fintech economy will create different pockets of excellence all over the country (Computer Weekly) Rated: A

He said fintechs such as Leeds based White label Crowdfunding which build peer to peer lending software, business lender Rebuildingsociety.com also in Leeds, and Accespay in Manchester have been involved with the Fintech North events.

Mark Carney: Every household £900 worse off because of Brexit (The Telegraph) Rated: A

UK households are £900 worse off than they would have been because of Brexit, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has claimed.

Mr Carney revealed in a Treasury Select Committee grilling that growth has been up to 2pc lower than the central bank had expected because of the UK’s decision.

Banks ‘charging more’ for overdrafts than payday lenders (BBC) Rated: A

Unarranged overdraft fees can cost borrowers up to seven times more than a payday loan, a consumer group warned.

Which? compared the cost of borrowing £100 for 30 days in an unarranged overdraft across 16 high street banks with borrowing the same amount through a payday loan.

Ireland Issues Tax Guidance On Peer-To-Peer Lending (Tax News) Rated: B

A company that pays interest on finance raised via peer-to-peer lending or crowdfunding is obligated to withhold income tax at the standard rate of tax on interest payments made on the finance raised. The underlying lenders are liable to pay income tax on any interest they earn on which withholding tax has not been suffered.

‘Lenders need to be more transparent about portfolios’ (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: A

Far from deserting the sector, lenders are now presenting landlords with a wider range of borrowing options than ever before. New figures from financial information site Moneyfacts suggests that there are currently more than 2,000 buy-to-let mortgage deals available, a new record high.

And while the various regulatory and tax changes have spelt trouble for the small-time landlords, the professionals seem to be in the ascendency. A recent study by Aldermore suggested that more than four out of 10 portfolio landlords are looking to expand their portfolios in the next 12 months.

China

Chinese fintech’s global future is arriving now (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial recently raised an oversubscribed $10bn round which values the firm higher than Goldman Sachs, American Express and BlackRock; the Alipay product has more than 500 million users and is incredibly simple to use; they have integrated into Alibaba’s retail operation and have the world’s largest money market fund with Yu’E Bao; they have begun expanding globally as well as they have built partnerships with firms in Africa and have tried to enter the U.S. market through an acquisition of MoneyGram which was blocked by regulators; regulators will need to figure out how handle a company that doesn’t look to fade from the financial scene anytime soon.

Legal concerns heat up for wanted Founders Group leader as partner testifies in China (Myrtle Beach Sun News) Rated: A

Liu’s partner in the Chinese company Yiqian Funding, a peer-to-peer lending business that seeks investors, testified May 3 in her fraud trial in Nanjing that Liu was in control of the company when it became unable to pay many investors what prosecutors estimate to be $1.17 billion — or 7.4 billion yuan.

 

European Union

Klarna acquires universal shopping cart Shop.co (Ecommerce News) Rated: AAA

Klarna has acquired Shop.co, a small German startup that wants to simplify online shopping by offering a universal shopping cart. There’s little known about the deal, but according to Klarna it’s mostly about the acquisition of intellectual property and taking over a mere Shop.co employees..

According to t3n, a purchase sum somewhere in the mid double-digit millions is also likely. But later on, Klarna told another media outlet, Tech.eu, that the purchase price is far lower than some media have been speculating. It also said that it’s most acquiring intellectual property and employees.

Keeping on Top of Emerging Payment Solutions – Q&A with Klarna (Retail Tech News) Rated: A

Luke Griffiths: Klarna’s approach to online commerce is very different from that of traditional providers. Our overarching philosophy is to give consumers the freedom and flexibility to decide how and when they want to pay. At Klarna, we offer three payment options that cover all consumer needs for seamless shopping: ‘Pay now’, ‘Pay later’, and ‘Slice it’.

Pay now enables straightforward and immediate online payment purchases. This option allows customers to pay for their purchases in full via Klarna’s speedy online checkout and payment service using a card. Many of our merchants choose the Klarna checkout as it is proven to reduce abandoned baskets and provide a better user experience for shoppers.

Our second payment option, Pay later, allows shoppers to ‘try before they buy’. Customers have either 14 or 30 days to pay for their goods (depending on the merchant) after their items have been delivered, with no interest or fees – or they can return the items if they’re not what they expected.

EMaC launches ‘Drive Now Pay Later’ service for dealers (Motor Trader) Rated: B

EMaC, the service plan specialist, is widening the services it offers dealers and end consumers with the launch of a pay later credit facility for vehicle repairs and accessories.

The company, which is has also launched a new identity, has teamed up with credit provider Klarna to offer the “Drive Now Pay Later” service.

EMaC said its new Drive Now, Pay Later product would give dealers access to a credit facility to assist their customers in financing repairs and other vehicle related accessories.

Banks seek tech talent for digital shift (Financial Times) Rated: A

European Banks have increased advertising for IT and engineering roles by more than 10 times in the last 3 years; a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Temenos shows for the first time that bank executives believe technology like AI and blockchain will have a bigger impact than regulation; being about 10 years removed from the financial crisis has help shift the view of banks to focus more of their time on digitization instead of regulatory compliance.

 

 

International

Meet the Goldman Sachs-Backed Fintech Startup Aiming to Take Over North America (Fortune) Rated: AAA

Now Plaid, which raised $44 million in a funding round led by Goldman SachsInvestment Partners nearly two years ago, is looking to expand internationally. The company announced Tuesday that Plaid is available in Canada for the first time—and compatible with both U.S. and Canadian dollars—a move designed to both support current clients’ Canadian expansions as well as attract new Canadian fintech players.

Companies use Plaid’s APIs (or application programming interfaces) as a foundation for building their own fintech products, depending on that secure way to link customers’ bank accounts. Its extension into Canada is a sign that the nascent fintech industry is gaining traction in more parts of the world. TransferWise, a London-based cross-border payments startup that uses Plaid, recently expanded into Canada as part of a global push. And Toronto-based Drop, a loyalty rewards app, is one of Plaid’s first Canadian clients.

Is Fraud a Solved Problem? (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

But one statement stood out to me. Jeff Stewart, the Chairman and Co-Founder of LenddoEFL said that “fraud is a solved problem”.

That is quite a bold statement. So, I reached out to Jeff yesterday to get some more color on what he really means here. He stood by what he said on the panel at LendIt. While we can’t get rid of 100% of fraud what we can do is catch fake identities, fraud rings, and large-scale theft of identity.

It is not surprising that the type and amount of fraud varies between countries. We learned from Thomas Wang of China Rapid Finance in this same session that a staggering 97% of loan applications in China are fraudulent. Think about that for a moment. Only 3% of the applications that a Chinese online lender receives is from a real person. The rest is fraudulent activity often from established fraud rings.

Small Business Banking Catching Up in Innovation Race (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

There are quite a few lending solutions these days for small businesses — Funding Circle, OnDeck, Kabbage, and Square Capital, to name a just a few — but innovation and digitization are lagging in other areas, such as digital account opening. Enter Gro Solutions, a sales and marketing platform for financial institutions.

Australia

Understanding the SME mindset (Australian Broker) Rated: A

More than one in five SMEs – a total of 22% – opted for non-bank alternatives to funding their growth. A further 24% looked to borrow from their main relationship bank, and this bank lending percentage has trended down from 38% in our initial 2014 Index.

The most popular funding choices for SMEs using alternative working capital options in 2017 were debtor finance, which was used by 77%; merchant cash advances, used by 23%; P2P lending, with a total share of 10%; and crowdfunding, utilised by 9%.

India

Payday loan firm EarlySalary acquires CashCare (Media Nama) Rated: AAA

Payday loan firm EarlySalary has acquired CashCare. CashCare sells loans to customers on websites like Infibeam and Shopclues, and accepts repayments in EMIs at annual interest rates ranging between fifteen and 25%, according to CashCare’s website. The service is offered to people who don’t have a credit card too.

While CashCare’s 15% annualized interest rate is not too different from what credit card companies charge, EarlySalary’s payday loans come at a steeper cost. Charging ₹9 for each dayper ₹10,000 borrowed, their interest rate comes out to over 30%, compared to the 1.5–3% annualized interest credit cards charge, as we’ve pointed out before.

Xiaomi to start lending operations in India; to target salaried professionals (The Economic Times) Rated: AAA

IPO-bound Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi has launched its first lending product in India on the lines of the microlending product Mi Credit that it offers in China.

The new credit product, launched in partnership with lending platform KrazyBee, has already gone live and will be officially announced in a few weeks, as per a person aware of the development.

Called CreditBee, the credit product is a payday loan starting from Rs 1,000 up to Rs 1 lakh for a period of 90 days, as per the person cited above. The credit will be offered at an interest rate of 3% per month and will be targeted at salaried professionals, the person said.

P2P lending startup Cashkumar secures angel investment (VC Circle) Rated: A

Cashkumar, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup, has raised angel investment of Rs 5 crore (around $735,000) through deals platform LetsVenture.

The startup’s first external funding was led by Mohan Kumar, executive director at global investment firm Norwest Venture Partners, and telecom company Reliance Jio’s chief digital officer Vishal Sampat.

Capacity-building workshop by RBI (Tribune India) Rated: B

Rachna Dikshit, Regional Director, RBI, Chandigarh inaugurated the workshop. In the event, topics like RBI guidelines, credit guarantee architecture for MSME financing and recovery management, alternative tech driven approaches to financing MSMEs like big data, fintechs, P2P lending, TReDS, movable asset based financing, role of CERSAI, management of sick account, credit scoring and rating models for MSMEs, assessment of term loans and composite loans, effective communication were covered.

 

Asia

Fintech Firm Flywire Teams Up With SP Jain For New Student-Led Singapore-Based Startups Competition (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Flywire, a fintech firm that provides global payment and receivable solutions for education, healthcare, and commercial enterprises, announced this week it has partnered with SP Jain School of Global Management to launch a startup competition, the Flywire Challenge, to power a new generation of transformative entrepreneurship in Singapore and the APAC region.

According to the duo, this competition, which is set to launch this month, solidifies Flywire’s dedication to partnering with powerful regional universities, government bodies and industry, and investing in education and the start-up space, as well as their long-term relationships with international educational and healthcare institutions as a leading payments solutions provider. Flywire will host, sponsor and evaluate a contest following an open call for teams to submit proposals for innovative start-up ideas. Any and all students and graduates, not limited to SP Jain students, will be invited to compete for three awards in the Health Technology, Education Technology and Travel Technology sectors.

Latin America

Mexican investors back microlending startup Vola (VC Circle) Rated: AAA

Bengaluru and US-based Vola, which offers an alternative lending platform for students, has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.4 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round from Mexican insurance and credit firm Credika and unnamed angel investors from the North American nation.

MENA

AI Business Loan Company Lending Express Raises $ 2.7 Million (CTech) Rated: AAA

Israeli business loan startup Lending Express announced on Tuesday it has raised $2.7 million in a seed investment round led by Entrée Capital and iAngels, among other investors.

The company said it would use the capital to further develop its loan-matching technology and scale up its operations in the U.S. and Australia.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 23 2018 Daily News Digest

Interest rates & new delinquencies on CC debt

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to get into crypto investing by 2019. How Goldman Sachs predicts economic slumps. How SoFi personalizes the mobile experience. A Monzo case study. Klarna acquires Shop.co. Today’s main analysis: More Americans are struggling to pay with credit cards. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 4 in 10 Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense, Fed survey […]

Interest rates & new delinquencies on CC debt

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi will get crypto investing by 2019, says CEO Anthony Noto (CNBC) Rated: AAA

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto says the “modern finance” company wants members to be able to invest in cryptocurrency as soon as 2019.

“We want to accelerate our investment in some new products, one of which is our wealth products, and we want to add cryptocurrency to that,” Noto said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

Goldman Sachs has a novel method for predicting the next economic slump  (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

You might remember that Goldman Sachs is lending to subprime borrowers. Turns out, it’s all part of a plan to help predict the next credit cycle.

In February, Goldman Sachs surprised Wall Street when it said that more than 80% of borrowers for its Marcus consumer-lending product had a FICO score of more than 660 at year end. The implication was that nearly 20% had a score of less than 660, placing them in a group often referred to as subprime.

In September, the bank said it saw a $1 billion revenue opportunity in the Marcus loan-and-deposit platform based on a $13 billion lending opportunity over three years. Whether it reaches that goal will depend in part on how those subprime borrowers behave.

More Americans are struggling to pay their credit cards (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Interest rates, which influence the cost of borrowing, are on the rise after the Federal Reserve kept them near zero for years. That period of super-low interest rates achieved one key outcome: encouraging Americans to borrow, spend, and help grow the economy after the Great Recession.

Last June, credit-card debt finally hit a new high. But the share of borrowers who make payments more than 30 days late is rising along with interest rates.

Source: Business Insider

The Fed is set next month to raise its benchmark rate for the seventh time since late 2015.

Source: Business Insider

How SoFi is personalizing its mobile experience (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

SoFi is personalizing its digital customer experience by fusing event planning, career services and personal finance insights inside its mobile app.

SoFi is joining a group of financial institutions that are letting customers aggregate accounts to get a full financial picture — even if they’re not with the same institution, with recent examples including Citi and HSBC.

As it grows its digital offerings, the company is adding services to meet the needs of a fast-growing customer cohort. SoFi currently has 500,000 customers — up 200,000 from last year.

 

 

 

50. SoFi (CNBC) Rated: A

This has been quite a year for SoFi (short for Social Finance).

The company claims to have 500,000 members and has made $25 billion in loans to date. SoFi has raised $2.1 billion in funding, including $500 million in a round led by Silver Lake Partners. In early interviews after taking over the top spot, Noto spoke about eventually taking SoFi public, but did not outline a timetable.

For millennials, it’s about having a house, children and retiring early (CNBC) Rated: A

Julia Boorstin live with SoFi CEO Anthony Noto discusses running what he describes as a “modern day” financial services company.

Watch the interview here

SoFi Makes Graduation From Student Debt An Epic Experience (PR Newswire) Rated: A

In a video released today on YouTube, SoFi made that moment of relief from student debt a grand occasion for one Midwestern woman. The company surprised Candice, a SoFi member who had refinanced her student debt, with an epic surprise “debt graduation” ceremony with friends, family, and some unconventional surprises planned by the company, together with production and entertainment studio GenPop.

Guaranteed Rate Partners with DocMagic to Cut Closing Time (Florida Newswire) Rated: A

DocMagic, Inc., the premier provider of fully-compliant loan document preparation, regulatory compliance and comprehensive eMortgage services, announced that retail mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate can now cut closing time by electronically signing mortgage closing documents in advance.

Guaranteed Rate has branded the solution FlashClose, which allows customers to opt-in, review and complete most documents in advance of the notary arriving, saving an hour or more at the closing table – with some averaging a mere 10-minute appointment to provide inked signatures.

First wave of neobanks resets for new offensive (American Banker) Rated: A

BankSimple (now just called Simple) was bought by BBVA and went through a painful process of migrating accounts to the big bank’s systems; its founder recently announced he’s leaving. Moven became a seller of software to large banks including TD Bank and Westpac, while still maintaining its own mobile banking service. Varo Money has been trying for almost a year to get a banking license. Chime remained independent (in partnership with The Bancorp Bank) but is going through growing pains.

This year, all are taking up their swords again, renewing an anti-bank message of helping consumers lead financially healthy lives, with fewer fees and more helpful products and software than traditional banks. Following is a look at how the neobanks are fighting back.

Cadre seeks at least $ 100M from SoftBank (The Real Deal) Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform Cadre is seeking at least $100 million from a fund started by the SoftBank Group.

Representatives for the SoftBank Vision Fund met with a top executive from Cadre recently, Bloomberg reported. The fund gets nearly half of its $100 billion from the Saudi Arabian government and at least $15 billion from the United Arab Emirates.

Lending Express garners $ 2.7 mln (PE Hub Network) Rated: A

Lending Express, the only AI-powered marketplace for business loans, today announced the securing of a $2.7 million investment round led by Entrée Capital, iAngels, and existing investors. The funds will be used to build out their innovative loan-matching technology and scale up operations in the United States and Australia.

How fintech gave this SBA lender an edge (American Banker) Rated: A

Add Seacoast Banking in Stuart, Fla., to the list of community banks that now believe in working with fintechs.

The $6 billion-asset company is gaining traction in Small Business Administration lending after partnering with SmartBiz Loans to speed its approval process. The move halved the interval from application to funding, to as little as 10 days, said Julie Kleffel, Seacoast’s community banking executive.

Four in 10 can’t cover an emergency expense of $ 400, Fed survey finds (Market Watch) Rated: AAA

The Fed’s new survey of household economics and decision-making found 41% could not cover a $400 emergency expense using cash in 2017. That’s actually a slight improvement, since 44% could not in 2016, 46% could not in 2015 and only 50% could in 2013.

Those that couldn’t afford the expense turn to credit cards or borrowing from family or friends, while only 5% would turn to a payday loan or similar product.

Source: Federal Reserve

Read the full report here.

Why real estate tech won’t kill the middleman (The Real Deal) Rated: A

Not too long ago, it seemed like the real estate business was about to enter a new era. To some observers, websites like Zillow and Trulia or their office equivalents 42Floors and LoopNet threatened to put brokers out of business (although officially these firms said no such thing). Crowdfunding startups dreamed of doing the same to pricey fund managers. Why pay a cut to an agent if you can just find your house or office online, for free? Why give your savings to a pension fund, which gives it to an asset manager, which gives it to a real estate lender, which gives it to a developer, if you can just lend the money to a developer yourself, online, and save a fortune in fees?

ENACOMM Adds FoneLogix as Ally to Bring Data-Driven AI and Phone Banking to Financial Institutions (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

ENACOMM—a fintech company that empowers banks, credit unions and credit card companies with solutions for improving the customer experience (CX), fighting financial fraud, and increasing operational efficiency—today announced a new reseller agreement with FoneLogix, an Atlanta-based provider of cloud-hosted VOIP Phone Systems, Solutions and Support.

Through the partnership, FoneLogix’s bank and credit union customers will be able to take advantage of ENACOMM’s VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) Conversational Banking and the ENACOMM Financial Suite (EFS), which includes a hosted, dynamic interactive voice response (IVR) system for personalized customer interactions.

AI Challenging Bank Lending Practices (Forbes) Rated: A

CultureBanx notes 

The Best Business Loans and Financing Options for Freelancers (The Entrepreneur) Rated: A

Most banks view freelancers as high-risk, and as such, may be unwilling to enter a loan agreement. Because a freelancer is considered a sole proprietor, he or she alone is liable for all losses and debts his or her business may incur. If the freelancer gets hurt or sick and cannot work — or is just terrible at running a business — the bank is left holding the bag.

Online lenders offer an interesting alternative. Typically, these non-traditional lenders have more relaxed loan approval criteria and a swifter approval process. Importantly, your personal income, assets and credit score are assessed for loan approval, not the value of your business. You should expect to pay higher rates of interest, a natural trade-off for the perceived risk you present.

First Tech Federal Credit Union Personal Loans: 2018 Review (Nerdwallet) Rated: A

First Tech offers unsecured and secured personal loans as well as personal lines of credit. Annual percentage rates start at 9% on unsecured loans, or 3% on secured loans, which can be backed by a First Tech savings account, First Tech share certificates, or stock you own in the company you work for or one listed on the NYSE, Nasdaq or Amex.

You can apply for a loan of as little as $500, making First Tech a good option for borrowers looking for small loans. Payments for unsecured and secured loans are fixed over two to seven years, and you can choose between monthly or biweekly payments.

 

 

Trump signs resolution overturning CFPB auto lending rule (Consumer Affairs) Rated: B

President Trump has signed a resolution, passed by Congress, overturning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) auto lending rule, designed to prevent racial discrimination by dealers who finance purchases.

United Kingdom

Monzo Case Study (AWS) Rated: AAA

Monzo has grown from an idea to a fully regulated bank on the AWS Cloud. A bank that “lives on your smartphone,” Monzo has already handled £1 billion worth of transactions for half a million customers in the UK. Monzo runs more than 400 core-banking microservices on AWS, using services including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

Open banking regulations, which came in at the start of 2018, required the nine largest banks in the UK to provide an API for their users’ account information.

 

Meet the 35 most exciting young entrepreneurs, engineers, and advisors in UK fintech (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Business Insider has covered UK fintech since our 2014 launch. The UK Fintech 35 under 35 highlights the most promising young entrepreneurs, engineers, marketers, and sector experts under the age of 35. It spans both startups and big banks operating in the sector.

35. Pierce Glennie, iwoca

The company has lent over £400 million since its founding in 2011. Glennie was one of iwoca’s first outside hires and just 21 when he joined the business.

27. Aneesh Varma, Aire

Varma, who started his career at JPMorgan, set up Aire in 2014. It is his second startup, having previously founded enterprise software business FabriQate in 2005.

24. Anil Stocker, MarketInvoice

MarketInvoice is an online platform that lets businesses borrow against unpaid invoices. The lender isn’t MarketInvoice itself but institutional investors and high net worth individuals looking for strong returns.

23. Karen Kerrigan, Seedrs

Seedrs is one of the UK’s first equity crowdfunding platforms, letting ordinary people invest in startup businesses. 600 businesses have raised over £320 million since the platform launched in 2009.

17. Simon Miller, Scalable Capital

Scalable Capital is one of a number of so-called “robo advisors” — online investment advisors and platforms — that have sprung up around the world in recent years. The company already has £600 million in assets under management and has attracted investment from asset management giant BlackRock.

13. Joe Cross, TransferWise

Cross was one of TransferWise’s first employees and has seen the international money transfer business grow from a small East London startup to business worth over $1 billion.

6. Megan Caywood, Starling Bank

She is now chief platform officer at startup, app-only bank Starling, which is trying to make a new kind of bank that functions more like an app store than a traditional lender.

5. Martin Ijaha, Neyber

Neyber works with employers to let staff borrow money then repay through salary deductions. Neyber was founded in 2012 and now works with 160 employers with a combined 1 million staff. Last year Goldman invested £100 million into the platform.

3. Tom Blomfield, Monzo

The fully licensed bank now has over 500,000 current account customers who have spent £1 billion on Monzo’s iconic hot coral cards. The company has raised over £71 million to date and is valued at £280 million.

2. Samir Desai, Funding Circle

Their platform has now lent over £4 billion to businesses across the UK, Germany, US, and the Netherlands. Desai was awarded a CBE for services to financial services in 2015 and his company is tipped to float on the stock exchange later this year with a price tag of at least £1 billion.

1. Nikolay Storonsky, Revolut

Revolut began life as a foreign exchange card linked to an app that offered rock-bottom FX prices. The company is less than three years old but the popularity of its product has already seen it hit 2 million customers and a valuation of $1.7 billion.

Proptech Startup When You Move Raises £3M in Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

When You Move, a UK-based proptech startup, secured new funding which brings the total amount raised to £3m.

Backers included Fig, a proptech VC, and a hybrid network of friends and family, private HNW investors and incumbent shareholders.

The company intends to use the funds to build out it customer excellence teams, scale up the development team and solidify its position as the solution for professionals involved in property purchases.

The UK fintech economy will create different pockets of excellence all over the country (Computer Weekly) Rated: A

He said fintechs such as Leeds based White label Crowdfunding which build peer to peer lending software, business lender Rebuildingsociety.com also in Leeds, and Accespay in Manchester have been involved with the Fintech North events.

Mark Carney: Every household £900 worse off because of Brexit (The Telegraph) Rated: A

UK households are £900 worse off than they would have been because of Brexit, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has claimed.

Mr Carney revealed in a Treasury Select Committee grilling that growth has been up to 2pc lower than the central bank had expected because of the UK’s decision.

Banks ‘charging more’ for overdrafts than payday lenders (BBC) Rated: A

Unarranged overdraft fees can cost borrowers up to seven times more than a payday loan, a consumer group warned.

Which? compared the cost of borrowing £100 for 30 days in an unarranged overdraft across 16 high street banks with borrowing the same amount through a payday loan.

Ireland Issues Tax Guidance On Peer-To-Peer Lending (Tax News) Rated: B

A company that pays interest on finance raised via peer-to-peer lending or crowdfunding is obligated to withhold income tax at the standard rate of tax on interest payments made on the finance raised. The underlying lenders are liable to pay income tax on any interest they earn on which withholding tax has not been suffered.

‘Lenders need to be more transparent about portfolios’ (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: A

Far from deserting the sector, lenders are now presenting landlords with a wider range of borrowing options than ever before. New figures from financial information site Moneyfacts suggests that there are currently more than 2,000 buy-to-let mortgage deals available, a new record high.

And while the various regulatory and tax changes have spelt trouble for the small-time landlords, the professionals seem to be in the ascendency. A recent study by Aldermore suggested that more than four out of 10 portfolio landlords are looking to expand their portfolios in the next 12 months.

China

Chinese fintech’s global future is arriving now (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial recently raised an oversubscribed $10bn round which values the firm higher than Goldman Sachs, American Express and BlackRock; the Alipay product has more than 500 million users and is incredibly simple to use; they have integrated into Alibaba’s retail operation and have the world’s largest money market fund with Yu’E Bao; they have begun expanding globally as well as they have built partnerships with firms in Africa and have tried to enter the U.S. market through an acquisition of MoneyGram which was blocked by regulators; regulators will need to figure out how handle a company that doesn’t look to fade from the financial scene anytime soon.

Legal concerns heat up for wanted Founders Group leader as partner testifies in China (Myrtle Beach Sun News) Rated: A

Liu’s partner in the Chinese company Yiqian Funding, a peer-to-peer lending business that seeks investors, testified May 3 in her fraud trial in Nanjing that Liu was in control of the company when it became unable to pay many investors what prosecutors estimate to be $1.17 billion — or 7.4 billion yuan.

 

European Union

Klarna acquires universal shopping cart Shop.co (Ecommerce News) Rated: AAA

Klarna has acquired Shop.co, a small German startup that wants to simplify online shopping by offering a universal shopping cart. There’s little known about the deal, but according to Klarna it’s mostly about the acquisition of intellectual property and taking over a mere Shop.co employees..

According to t3n, a purchase sum somewhere in the mid double-digit millions is also likely. But later on, Klarna told another media outlet, Tech.eu, that the purchase price is far lower than some media have been speculating. It also said that it’s most acquiring intellectual property and employees.

Keeping on Top of Emerging Payment Solutions – Q&A with Klarna (Retail Tech News) Rated: A

Luke Griffiths: Klarna’s approach to online commerce is very different from that of traditional providers. Our overarching philosophy is to give consumers the freedom and flexibility to decide how and when they want to pay. At Klarna, we offer three payment options that cover all consumer needs for seamless shopping: ‘Pay now’, ‘Pay later’, and ‘Slice it’.

Pay now enables straightforward and immediate online payment purchases. This option allows customers to pay for their purchases in full via Klarna’s speedy online checkout and payment service using a card. Many of our merchants choose the Klarna checkout as it is proven to reduce abandoned baskets and provide a better user experience for shoppers.

Our second payment option, Pay later, allows shoppers to ‘try before they buy’. Customers have either 14 or 30 days to pay for their goods (depending on the merchant) after their items have been delivered, with no interest or fees – or they can return the items if they’re not what they expected.

EMaC launches ‘Drive Now Pay Later’ service for dealers (Motor Trader) Rated: B

EMaC, the service plan specialist, is widening the services it offers dealers and end consumers with the launch of a pay later credit facility for vehicle repairs and accessories.

The company, which is has also launched a new identity, has teamed up with credit provider Klarna to offer the “Drive Now Pay Later” service.

EMaC said its new Drive Now, Pay Later product would give dealers access to a credit facility to assist their customers in financing repairs and other vehicle related accessories.

Banks seek tech talent for digital shift (Financial Times) Rated: A

European Banks have increased advertising for IT and engineering roles by more than 10 times in the last 3 years; a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Temenos shows for the first time that bank executives believe technology like AI and blockchain will have a bigger impact than regulation; being about 10 years removed from the financial crisis has help shift the view of banks to focus more of their time on digitization instead of regulatory compliance.

 

 

International

Meet the Goldman Sachs-Backed Fintech Startup Aiming to Take Over North America (Fortune) Rated: AAA

Now Plaid, which raised $44 million in a funding round led by Goldman SachsInvestment Partners nearly two years ago, is looking to expand internationally. The company announced Tuesday that Plaid is available in Canada for the first time—and compatible with both U.S. and Canadian dollars—a move designed to both support current clients’ Canadian expansions as well as attract new Canadian fintech players.

Companies use Plaid’s APIs (or application programming interfaces) as a foundation for building their own fintech products, depending on that secure way to link customers’ bank accounts. Its extension into Canada is a sign that the nascent fintech industry is gaining traction in more parts of the world. TransferWise, a London-based cross-border payments startup that uses Plaid, recently expanded into Canada as part of a global push. And Toronto-based Drop, a loyalty rewards app, is one of Plaid’s first Canadian clients.

Is Fraud a Solved Problem? (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

But one statement stood out to me. Jeff Stewart, the Chairman and Co-Founder of LenddoEFL said that “fraud is a solved problem”.

That is quite a bold statement. So, I reached out to Jeff yesterday to get some more color on what he really means here. He stood by what he said on the panel at LendIt. While we can’t get rid of 100% of fraud what we can do is catch fake identities, fraud rings, and large-scale theft of identity.

It is not surprising that the type and amount of fraud varies between countries. We learned from Thomas Wang of China Rapid Finance in this same session that a staggering 97% of loan applications in China are fraudulent. Think about that for a moment. Only 3% of the applications that a Chinese online lender receives is from a real person. The rest is fraudulent activity often from established fraud rings.

Small Business Banking Catching Up in Innovation Race (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

There are quite a few lending solutions these days for small businesses — Funding Circle, OnDeck, Kabbage, and Square Capital, to name a just a few — but innovation and digitization are lagging in other areas, such as digital account opening. Enter Gro Solutions, a sales and marketing platform for financial institutions.

Australia

Understanding the SME mindset (Australian Broker) Rated: A

More than one in five SMEs – a total of 22% – opted for non-bank alternatives to funding their growth. A further 24% looked to borrow from their main relationship bank, and this bank lending percentage has trended down from 38% in our initial 2014 Index.

The most popular funding choices for SMEs using alternative working capital options in 2017 were debtor finance, which was used by 77%; merchant cash advances, used by 23%; P2P lending, with a total share of 10%; and crowdfunding, utilised by 9%.

India

Payday loan firm EarlySalary acquires CashCare (Media Nama) Rated: AAA

Payday loan firm EarlySalary has acquired CashCare. CashCare sells loans to customers on websites like Infibeam and Shopclues, and accepts repayments in EMIs at annual interest rates ranging between fifteen and 25%, according to CashCare’s website. The service is offered to people who don’t have a credit card too.

While CashCare’s 15% annualized interest rate is not too different from what credit card companies charge, EarlySalary’s payday loans come at a steeper cost. Charging ₹9 for each dayper ₹10,000 borrowed, their interest rate comes out to over 30%, compared to the 1.5–3% annualized interest credit cards charge, as we’ve pointed out before.

Xiaomi to start lending operations in India; to target salaried professionals (The Economic Times) Rated: AAA

IPO-bound Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi has launched its first lending product in India on the lines of the microlending product Mi Credit that it offers in China.

The new credit product, launched in partnership with lending platform KrazyBee, has already gone live and will be officially announced in a few weeks, as per a person aware of the development.

Called CreditBee, the credit product is a payday loan starting from Rs 1,000 up to Rs 1 lakh for a period of 90 days, as per the person cited above. The credit will be offered at an interest rate of 3% per month and will be targeted at salaried professionals, the person said.

P2P lending startup Cashkumar secures angel investment (VC Circle) Rated: A

Cashkumar, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup, has raised angel investment of Rs 5 crore (around $735,000) through deals platform LetsVenture.

The startup’s first external funding was led by Mohan Kumar, executive director at global investment firm Norwest Venture Partners, and telecom company Reliance Jio’s chief digital officer Vishal Sampat.

Capacity-building workshop by RBI (Tribune India) Rated: B

Rachna Dikshit, Regional Director, RBI, Chandigarh inaugurated the workshop. In the event, topics like RBI guidelines, credit guarantee architecture for MSME financing and recovery management, alternative tech driven approaches to financing MSMEs like big data, fintechs, P2P lending, TReDS, movable asset based financing, role of CERSAI, management of sick account, credit scoring and rating models for MSMEs, assessment of term loans and composite loans, effective communication were covered.

 

Asia

Fintech Firm Flywire Teams Up With SP Jain For New Student-Led Singapore-Based Startups Competition (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Flywire, a fintech firm that provides global payment and receivable solutions for education, healthcare, and commercial enterprises, announced this week it has partnered with SP Jain School of Global Management to launch a startup competition, the Flywire Challenge, to power a new generation of transformative entrepreneurship in Singapore and the APAC region.

According to the duo, this competition, which is set to launch this month, solidifies Flywire’s dedication to partnering with powerful regional universities, government bodies and industry, and investing in education and the start-up space, as well as their long-term relationships with international educational and healthcare institutions as a leading payments solutions provider. Flywire will host, sponsor and evaluate a contest following an open call for teams to submit proposals for innovative start-up ideas. Any and all students and graduates, not limited to SP Jain students, will be invited to compete for three awards in the Health Technology, Education Technology and Travel Technology sectors.

Latin America

Mexican investors back microlending startup Vola (VC Circle) Rated: AAA

Bengaluru and US-based Vola, which offers an alternative lending platform for students, has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.4 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round from Mexican insurance and credit firm Credika and unnamed angel investors from the North American nation.

MENA

AI Business Loan Company Lending Express Raises $ 2.7 Million (CTech) Rated: AAA

Israeli business loan startup Lending Express announced on Tuesday it has raised $2.7 million in a seed investment round led by Entrée Capital and iAngels, among other investors.

The company said it would use the capital to further develop its loan-matching technology and scale up its operations in the U.S. and Australia.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday April 25 2018, Daily News Digest

banking the nonbanks

News Comments Today’s main news: Wells Fargo still the largest bank to lend to nonbanks. Digit adds credit card payments to app. UK finance chief calls for regulatory crackdown on tech giants. Humaniq implements smart biometrics identification. Today’s main analysis: World Bank releases Global Findex Database. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Credit history, debt ratio are biggest constraints for would-be homeowners. Lending […]

banking the nonbanks

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Wells Fargo Leaves a Potential Subprime Smudge on Its Way to Squeaky Clean (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Sloan provided some evidence for that argument last week when the bank paid a $1 billion fine to regulators to close an investigation into abusive practices in its auto lending and mortgage unit.

But a look at one of its lending businesses suggests that exposure to questionable practices isn’t so much an oversight as a business decision. Wells Fargo, according to reports over the past few years, is by far the largest lender among the big banks to payday loan companies and others that make high-interest loans to subprime borrowers, including some that regulators have accused of predatory practices.

Source: Bloomberg

Banks don’t have to report how much they lend to subprime lenders, which falls broadly into the category of nonbank lenders. Wells Fargo, at the end of last year, had by far lent the most to nonbank lenders, with $81 billion in outstanding loans. Citigroup was the bank with next largest exposure, with just $30 billion outstanding.

Source: Bloomberg

Credit History and Debt Ratio are Biggest Constraints for Would-Be Homeowners (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the cities with the highest rates of denied mortgage applications and why mortgage shoppers in those areas have been denied.

Since the financial crisis, mortgage lending standards have tightened as underwriting has become more stringent. There are numerous reasons why a lender could deny a loan, from poor credit score to prior bankruptcies, but other reasons can include a lender’s inability to verify a borrower’s employer.

Source: Lending Tree

LendingTree delved into data from more than 10 million mortgage applications using the most recent available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data set to find out the main reasons would-be borrowers were rejected, and to see if location has any correlation for rejection.

Fintech firm Digit adds credit card debt payment to savings app (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Digit, maker of one of the first apps to help people save by automatically sweeping modest amounts of money from checking into savings, is turning its attention to credit card debt.

The app can now be set to automatically make an extra payment every month on a user’s credit card, the fintech announced Tuesday.

At the end of January, the Federal Reserve reported that U.S. consumers had $1.03 trillion in credit card debt.

Breaking Away From The Bi-Weekly Payroll Tradition (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Today, this payroll schedule means an estimated 70 percent of employees in the U.S. live paycheck-to-paycheck – and many struggle to make necessary purchases or payments in the days leading up to payday. It’s also linked to the rise in the payday loan industry, which has more U.S. storefronts today than McDonald’s, according to data from Pew. Lenders make a collective $7 billion in fees, according to analysts, and they stem from more than $46 billion worth of payday loans issued each year.

According to Steve Barha, CEO of Instant Financial, the rise of the payday loan industry and overdrafts certainly comes with its controversies, but it’s no mistake that the industry exists in the first place.

Unison Reports 1000% Growth Year over Year in Home Ownership Origination Volume (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Unison, a unique financing platform for home ownership investments, is reporting strong year-over-year growth. According to the company, following a solid 2017, the origination volume for the first quarter of 2018 has grown and increased 1000 percent over the comparable period last year. This is due in part to an expansion of the management team and the availability of their service in ten new states.

Unison says these new hires will help extend their company into more states. In April alone, Unison HomeOwner and HomeBuyer programs will be available in 10 additional states including Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Missouri and Delaware, bringing its total footprint to 22 states plus Washington D.C. Unison expects to broaden its reach over the course of 2018 to over 70 percent of U.S. single family residential housing units.

Mulvaney response to CFPB data security gaps baffles cyber experts (American Banker) Rated: A

Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney has repeatedly pointed to data security as a defect in the agency’s supervisory program, but security experts are scratching their heads over the bureau’s response to such problems.

Mulvaney has said hundreds of CFPB-related data breaches justified his announcement in December that the agency would halt collecting personally identifiable information from companies it supervises.

Elevate vs. LendUp Payday Loans: Everything You Need to Know (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Pros of a LendUp payday loan
Getting cash fast is the main reason you’d choose a company such as LendUp. But they have some other benefits, as well.

  • If you pay your installment loan on time, you could boost your credit score.
  • The lender has an incentive program called the LendUp Ladder. You’re awarded points as you take out LendUp loans and repay them on time. As you accumulate points, the lender will reward you by allowing you to borrow at progressively lower rates.

For the sake of a side-by-side comparison, we’ll focus on Rise. Here are some pros of a Rise loan.

  • You can apply for a seven-day payment extension if you can’t pay on time.
  • The company will provide you with free access to your TransUnion credit score.
  • If you borrow from the company more than once, your interests rates could decrease.
  • Rates are lower than those offered by payday loans.
Source: Student Loan Hero

Chase customers can now use their voices to unlock their accounts (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Chase card members’ voices will soon be their passwords when they call for help.

The bank is debuting a voice-authentication feature for credit card customers dialing the call center this spring to reduce the customer burden of having to remember multiple passwords and answer cumbersome security questions. The initial launch would only be for credit card customers, but the bank plans to expand the feature to all customers by the end of the year, a spokeswoman said.

 

Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen’s venture capital group is on a fintech tear (CNBC) Rated: B

On Tuesday, Point72 Ventures will announce it led a $3 million investment in a startup called Extend, which has built mobile technology business owners can use to share their corporate credit cards with employees and freelancers without handing over the actual cards.

Earlier this month, the venture capital arm was a co-lead in a $29.4 million round for a New Jersey startup, DriveWealth, that has developed a mobile site for investing in exchange traded funds and stocks, and it led an $18.5 million investment in Silicon Valley-based DeepScale, which is developing autonomous driving technology.

United Kingdom

UK finance chiefs call for regulatory crackdown on tech giants Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Two of the financial technology executives involved in the FT debate — Funding Circle chief executive Samir Desai and Rhydian Lewis, his opposite number at RateSetter — agreed that GDPR was a welcome protection for consumers.

UK Fintech Humaniq Implements Smart bioID System to Further Strengthen Outgoing Transaction Security (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based fintech Humaniq announced on Tuesday it has implemented additional bioID settings that will act as an extra safeguard be integrated into Humaniq app, which the company reports has already had more than 100,000 downloads in the Google Play store.

Humaniq also revealed that the total transaction volume has reached 400,000 HMQ in more than 250,000 transactions per month. The company noted with the introduction of an additional layer of biometric authentication, this means over 10,000 transactions will be totally secured from fraud, benefitting over 100,000 users of Humaniq App.

Regtech start-up ClauseMatch lands £3.6m funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

ClauseMatch, a UK-based start-up in the regtech space, has raised £3.6 million ($5 million) in its Series A funding round.

ClauseMatch, specialises in smart document management. It is a graduate of Barclays’ accelerator programme, Techstars, and has Barclays and Intesa Sanpaolo on its customer list.

Could a credit card cap protect chronically broke Brits? (Guardian) Rated: B

A credit card cap is needed to protect “chronically broke” Britons struggling to make repayments on high interest loans, ministers have been told.

Labour’s Stella Creasy warned that credit card firms were pushing millions into debt in the same way payday lenders did before action was taken to prevent anyone having to pay back more than double what they borrowed.

The Walthamstow MP made the comments as she moved an amendment to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill which would require the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to take tougher action on credit card firms.

Ministers must extend cap on payday loans to other high credit that’s targeting poor, vulnerable Brits, MPs say (The Sun) Rated: B

MINISTERS should “learn the lessons” of the payday loan cap and extend it to cover other forms of high-cost credit such as credit cards and doorstep lending, MPs have demanded.

In a boost for The Sun’s campaign to stop millions of families falling prey to doorstep and legal high street loan sharks, MPs called on the Government to take tough action to stop the nation “drowning in debt” and protect “chronically broke” Brits.

China

Hong Kong Approves Dual-Class Shares, Paving Way for Tech Titans (Yahoo Finance) Rated: AAA

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. approved the biggest change to its initial public offering rules in two decades, putting it in a position to battle New York for some of the world’s hottest companies.

Technology firms that have shares with different voting rights will now be allowed to go public in Hong Kong, overturning rules that barred the likes of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. from considering the former British colony. Businesses will be able to apply under the new regime starting April 30, HKEX said Tuesday.

 

European Union

Swedbank invests €3m in banking tech vendor Meniga (Fintech Future) Rated: AAA

Meniga, a white-label digital banking solutions provider, has received a €3 million equity investment from its customer, Swedbank.

The two firms partnered in 2017 to improve Swedbank’s digital customer experience through a personal finance activity feed and data aggregation platform. The new solution is intended to “give customers better control over their daily finances and a more personal, engaging experience than today”, according to Meniga.

The bank’s view of Open Banking (The Finanser), Rated: A

Another conversation about Open Banking, and an interesting point was raised by one bank. They said that they had been mapping financial moments – getting married, buying a house, having a baby, crashing your car, etc – and had started to reimagine the whole customer experience in those moments using APIs.

For example, I bring up my banking app 3-4 times a day. The bank probably thinks it’s love them as I bring up their app so often. Well I don’t love them at all. I’m just going into the app so regularly because, as a small business, I want to see if my customers have paid yet.

International

World Bank Releases the Latest Global Findex Database (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

The Global Findex Database and accompanying report give a clear indication of how fintech is impacting access to financial services globally.

Source: World Bank

Globally, about 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked—without an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider. Because account ownership is nearly universal in high-income economies, virtually all these unbanked adults live in the developing world. Indeed, nearly half live in just seven developing economies: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Fifty-six percent of all unbanked adults are women. Women are overrepresented among the unbanked in economies where only a small share of adults are unbanked, such as China and India, as well as in those where half or more are, such as Bangladesh and Colombia.

Read the full report here.

US fintech funding boomed at the start of 2018 — but early-stage funding is drying up in Europe (Business Insider) Rated: A

VC-backed fintech companies raised $5.4 billion across 323 deals globally in the first quarter, according to CB Insight’s latest fintech report, released on Monday.

The figures were supported by a big uptick in deal-making activity in the US. US fintechs raised $2.1 billion across 147 deals. Notable investments include a $165 million funding round for insurance startup Oscar in March and a $110 million capital injection for San Francisco’s Collective Health in February.

Source: CB Insights

While deal activity spiked in the US and Asia, it fell to a 5-quarter low in Europe with just 63 first quarter deals.

The slump was largely down to a decline in early-stage funding deals and came despite several $100 million-plus funding rounds for European challenger banks N26 and Atom. European fintechs raised $933 million in the first quarter.

 

Will Beijing Manage to Survive the US-Chinese Trade War? (Sputnik International) Rated: A

Beijing has kicked off a number of measures aimed at bolstering its economic growth, Chinese researcher Liu Dan told Sputnik. According to Liu, the country’s internal difficulties have not been triggered by the US tariff war unleashed by the Trump administration on China.

One should not overestimate the impact of Sino-American trade frictions on China’s economy, says Liu Dan, a researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies (RDCY) of Renmin University of China.

Australia

Lending continues to rise Down Under for RateSetter Australia (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

PEER-TO-PEER lending platform RateSetter continues to pass lending milestones in Australia as its loanbook reached A$250m (£136.5m).

The firm, which is the only Australian P2P lender open to retail investors, also announced that it now has more than 10,000 registered users on its site.

RateSetter has doubled its investor base in the country within a year, which it says is due to customer dissatisfaction with Australian banks.

P2P lender’s growth due to consumer ‘rebellion’ (Australian Broker) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has attributed its recent rapid growth to consumers actively rebelling against the big banks.

The amount invested by these investors has increased by 14% over the last 12 months, with average investment now sitting at close to $40,000.

Asia

House hunting? Soon you can crowdsource your downpayment via blockchain and smart contracts (E27) Rated: AAA

For millennials, this presents a major barrier to homeownership. While 70% of Chinese millennials have already managed to purchase their first real estate, only 35% of their Malaysian peers have followed suit according to HSBC data. For 64% of millennials around the world a combination of low income and soaring property prices make the prospects of owning a house rather gloomy. A lot of them also do not qualify for traditional loans and do not have the family support for making that downpayment.

Add to this new concept the technology of blockchain, and you have a method by which borrowers can access an alternative down payment funding source, and an immutable record of each borrower-lender agreement is permanently recorded. This serves four purposes:

  1. Blockchain eliminates the traditional borrowing method, with its middlemen and fees. The repayment details are worked out between the borrower and the individual lender.
  2. Blockchain democratises borrowing, because credit scores, history, etc., are not factors in obtaining the loans. If a borrower can show basic ability to repay, an individual lender will be willing to put up the money at an interest rate that is mutually agreed upon.
  3. The borrower-lender arrangement is codified and recorded in a blockchain that is secure and permanent. Both borrower and lender have the security of knowing that their agreement cannot be changed except by mutual agreement.
  4. Re-payments are also recorded in the blockchain environment, so there is never a question about the amount or the ultimate meeting of a borrowing obligation to any individual lender.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Financing Life’s Most Important Moments

LendingUSA

Camilo Concha’s experiences in building specialized online platforms taught him that there was a need to place potential clients and patients with the right professional for their situation, but there was also the need to help them finance their legal and medical bills. That’s when he started the two specialty companies mylegalloan.com and medicalfinancing.com. His […]

LendingUSA

Camilo Concha’s experiences in building specialized online platforms taught him that there was a need to place potential clients and patients with the right professional for their situation, but there was also the need to help them finance their legal and medical bills. That’s when he started the two specialty companies mylegalloan.com and medicalfinancing.com.

His ability to diagnose market needs and find viable, simple solutions brought about his latest, largest, and boldest venture yet, LendingUSA.

Prior to the 2015 founding LendingUSA, Concha attended a LendIt conference where he learned how to build a better platform. He connected with Cross River Bank, which now does all of the company’s loan licensing, and First Associates, who services the loans. He also connected with Howard Freedland. Freedland, in turn, brought Brandon Ross, CEO and founder of Direct Lending Investments, and the two partnered with online lenders to add $55M USD in debt capital to the $5M Concha had raised in equity funding. That $60M is the only funding the company has seen to date, and Concha says that it was possible to raise that amount due to the company’s $1B in loan application flows.

LendingUSA Continues Concha’s Successful Run

Simplicity is evident when we look at how LendingUSA got off the ground. “We basically built an underwriting model and started lending,” Concha said. Working with doctors and merchants at the point of sale (POS), the company has developed a strong vantage point, being able to offer their product to consumers who can’t or don’t want to do longer term financing.

Much of the client base is comprised of people who want to get elective medical procedures, such as liposuction, which are not covered by insurance. LendingUSA makes a loan to the customer but pays the amount straight to the doctor.

Loan pricing is set into the business model, and it is based on a credit profile, which includes credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and credit sought in the last six months. FICO scores are also a factor, but just one of the important things, with the company also assessing whether customers are maxed out on their credit and if they’re paying their bills. Risk assessment is measured by an algorithm, a process that allows the customer to be approved or declined on the spot.

Being a POS lender provides many benefits to the LendingUSA business model. Beginning the process with the provider, rather than the borrower, referrals come from the providers themselves, whether through an advisory role or by way of brochures available in providers’ offices. Providing loans at this point allows LendingUSA to offer financing in installment loans where other companies tend to deal in lines of credit. This allows the company to go higher on the credit scale than would be possible with lines of credit and to also go a little lower on the credit spectrum, as far as 620. Installment loans also prove more beneficial to the borrower as risk goes down every month.

The company charges a fee at the POS depending on their risk evaluation, and the merchant fee for these services usually runs about five to six percent.

LendingUSA’s Performance

During LendingUSA’s growth, the company has also acquired 30 branded websites including bridalloans.com, surgeryloans.com, petloans.com, and dentalloans.com. In all, the company currently does business with 3,700 different medical providers.

Working with customers who have an average credit rating of 682, the company currently has a loan volume in the neighborhood $225M. The average loan is $6K with an average interest rate of 22% and an annualized charge off rate of about 8-10%.

Choosing to focus on “life’s important moments,” LendingUSA focuses on “niche markets we think we can win in,” counting elective medical, dental, cosmetic surgery, chiropractic, pet loans, and funeral loans among the diverse group of industries it works in.

Competition and Customers

Concerning the competition, Concha shows another reason why he has proven successful in that he doesn’t worry himself with concerns about what other companies are doing, choosing to focus on what his is doing. “I don’t like to call it competition,” he said. “There are great companies like Care Credit, Affirm, and Green Sky that do similar things, but they work in other niche markets or do it differently by providing revolving lines of credit. We have our little niche and are a better fit for some people, [especially in that] installment loans are better for large amounts of revenue, and lines of credit better for smaller amounts.”

The typical LendingUSA customer is someone in their 40s and 50s who makes $60K to $80K a year. “We believe that a lot of people want to improve their lives,” Concha said. “Our customers are gainfully employed, but they don’t have the means to get the product they want. We make it available to them.” In doing so, the company provides a great service for their merchant partners by helping them to capture more clients and generate more revenue.

LendingUSA’s Goals and the Direction of the Industry

“Our initial goal was to reach $1B in sales in the next three to four years,” Concha said. “We’re looking to price loans better, securitize loans, and find new capital partners.”

Concha is positive about these goals as the cosmetic surgery and elective medical fields are growing every year. The growth is underscored by the fact that men are now gravitating toward cosmetic surgery, when the thought was taboo in the past. These procedures are now more generally accepted for men. He also says that fears of economic downturns, which might stunt growth in other industries, are less of a concern. “People still want to feel good about themselves; they might not buy a new house or car, but they want to look good,” Concha said.

LendingUSA’s Team and The Future

Concha considers himself fortunate enough to have built a strong team. This includes Mike Testa, the company president and the former president of Care Credit, who built a POS business in the medical industry from $80M to $6B; Sharad Shankar, the former chief risk officer of Lending Point, who now holds that title with LendingUSA; and
Jenann Shemisa, LendingUSA’s chief compliance officer, who served as a senior attorney for the enforcement division of the FDIC.

Understandably pleased with what he has built in less than three years since founding LendingUSA, Concha says the company is now focused on loan performance. “Because we’re at the POS, we’re able to compete more on service than on price. This means we can charge a little more, which allows our portfolio to perform at 500 basis points better on yield than most marketplace lenders. Everybody that advertises on LendingTree and online comparison sites is competing on price, which doesn’t help portfolio performance. By working at the POS, we get better yields because we’re not competing on price.” With this focus, the company has a goal of being number one in the markets it services.

Concha’s Past Comes Back to Reward Him

Concha came to the U.S. from Colombia with his family when he was 14. It only took him seven years to go from being a school boy who spoke little English to starting his first business, which he ran while he studied at California State University, Northridge and worked as a Spanish interpreter at the San Fernando Bar Association.

Seeing the desperate need for an attorney referral service, he founded the Attorney Search Network (ASN), which he ran out of his apartment until he could afford to pay for his first office space, a converted janitor’s closet that was so small he had to speak with clients in the hallway.

Concha then saw that he could create other companies to fulfill similar voids in different fields. This brought about the founding of 1800mysurgeon.com, created to help assist individuals who are looking for a board-certified and reputable cosmetic surgeon.

Concha now works out of one of the tallest buildings in the San Fernando Valley, employs dozens, and the two companies together have extensive databases with hundreds of doctors and lawyers from every legal and medical field. Add to that the lending businesses he has founded and he has quite the legacy. All of them are still growing strong. There’s nothing her to suggest that LendingUSA won’t maintain a similar trajectory.

Author:

Written by Paul Keenan.

Alternative Lending In Canada

Canada alternative lending

In many ways, Canada has long lived under the shadow of the U.S. The alternative lending industry has proven to be no exception. The last few years, however, have seen Canada turn the corner on marketplace lending (MPL). With MPL markets around the world (especially Europe, U.S., and UK) maturing, startups around the world are […]

Canada alternative lending

In many ways, Canada has long lived under the shadow of the U.S. The alternative lending industry has proven to be no exception. The last few years, however, have seen Canada turn the corner on marketplace lending (MPL).

With MPL markets around the world (especially Europe, U.S., and UK) maturing, startups around the world are scampering to find new locations and new opportunities to tap. Though it is not fair to term Canada as a new entrant to the fintech ecosystem, it has finally garnered the attention as one of the most promising alt-lending hubs.

Canadian Alternative Lending Numbers

 

Source: Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report 2016

As the above image indicates, the Canadian alternative finance industry is on a strong growth momentum. All segments of alt-lending (consumer, SMB, real estate) have shown multiple times growth albeit on a very low base. With a GDP of over 1.5 trillion dollars, it is a massive market for lenders. The current size of the market does not even reach a billion dollars, a paltry sum for a country with household debt over 2 trillion dollars.

A Supportive Regulatory Framework

Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), the fintech regulatory body of Canada, has been very supportive of the industry and is one of the major tailwinds for alternative lending in Canada. In October 2016, OSC started LaunchPad with an aim to support and guide fintech startups with compliance. This initiative was followed by the establishment of a Fintech Advisory Committee in January 2017, which helps apprise the regulator on fintech-related developments as well as regulatory challenges faced by businesses. Feedback from the committee will be used by OSC to frame future regulatory guidelines.

Lending startups will still have to comply with different regulatory compliance obligations depending on what kind of financial services are offered by them. Also, depending on which province they are operating in, they will be subject to different regulation and licensing requirements.

Leading P2P Lenders in Canada

  • Lendified was founded in 2015 by Troy Wright and is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. It raised $80 million in a couple of funding rounds. Small business owners can apply online in under 10 minutes, receive an instant quote, and get funded in as fast as 48 hours. It offers loans ranging from CAD $5,000 to CAD$150,000 with APR ranging from 8%-18% and terms ranging from 6-24 months.
  • Borrowell was founded in 2014 by Andrew Graham and Eva Wong.  It’s also headquartered in Toronto. It recently raised over $57 million in funding for aggressive expansion and offers free credit score monitoring, personal loans, and product recommendations. It has lent over $10 million to over 10,000 customers. Borrowell offers loans ranging from $1,000-$35,000 and offers two terms–36 months or 60 months–with APRs ranging from 5.6%-25%.
  • Financeit was founded in 2011 by Casper Wong, Michael Garrity, and Paul Sehr. Headquartered in Toronto, it has managed from inception to raise over $38 million and recently was acquired by Goldman Sachs for an undisclosed amount. Over the years, Financeit has worked with over 7,000 merchants and processed over $2.5 billion in loan applications. Financeit offers a platform that allows businesses to offer consumer financing to their customers from various devices in Canada. It works with multiple lending partners and automates the banking role for its partner financial institutions, entirely managing loan origination, credit adjudication, regulatory reporting, loan servicing, and collections.
  • FundThrough was founded in 2014 by Steven Uster. Its headquarters is in Toronto, and it has raised over CAD $26 million in multiple funding rounds. FundThrough is an innovative technology company helping American and Canadian small business owners improve their cash flow through invoice factoring and financing. It charges 0.5% fees on the top of the funding amount and the borrower has to repay within a period of 12 weeks. The average invoice ranges from $1000 to $100,000 while the average outstanding loan is around $50,000-100,000.
  • Lendful Financial was founded in 2015 by Alex Benjamin and is located in Vancouver, British Columbia. It has raised $15 million in multiple funding rounds and offers three-to-five-year, fixed-term loans to credit-worthy borrowers with a credit score of 650 and over. It offers loans up to CAD $35,000 with APRs starting from as low as 7.9%. Loan terms range from 3 to 5 years.
  • Lending Loop was founded in 2014 by Brandon Vlaar and Cato Pastoll. Headquartered in Toronto, it has raised $12 million in debt and equity. Lending Loop is Canada’s first and only regulated peer-to-peer lending marketplace focused on small businesses. Its core focus is on providing businesses with accessible capital at a fair rate of interest through a simple online process. Loans range from $5,000- $250,000 with rates starting as low as 5.9% and terms from 3-60 months.
  • Progressa was founded in 2013 by Ali Pourdad, David Gens, and Michael Jover. Since inception, it has raised over $11 million. Progressa is a direct-pay lending platform that helps Canadian individuals who are in debt pay back their due bills. It pays its users’ bills directly so they are able to manage debt, interest payments, and collections. The platform provides users with partial payment loans between $1,000 and $15,000 with payback terms ranging from 6 to 60 months. It enables its users to get access to automated interest rate reductions every six months helping them cut down borrowing costs with good payment behavior.

Conclusion

From a global point of view, Canada is a relatively small market and still at a nascent stage. But the supportive regulatory framework coupled with growing interest of VCs and investors in the Canadian market says that major expansion is just around the corner. The Canadian market would also be conducive for U.S. players looking to expand their geographical ambitions.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

How Subprime Lenders Can Leverage Debit Data in Our Cashless Society

How Subprime Lenders Can Leverage Debit Data in Our Cashless Society

For subprime lenders, three macroeconomic trends are affecting credit considerations on an applicant-by-applicant basis. Lenders caught flatfooted in response to these trends risk diminishing their ROI. Despite impressive job and market growth, 56 percent of consumers had subprime credit scores in 2015, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED). Cash is no longer king. The average […]

How Subprime Lenders Can Leverage Debit Data in Our Cashless Society

For subprime lenders, three macroeconomic trends are affecting credit considerations on an applicant-by-applicant basis. Lenders caught flatfooted in response to these trends risk diminishing their ROI.

  • Despite impressive job and market growth, 56 percent of consumers had subprime credit scores in 2015, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED).
  • Cash is no longer king. The average consumer uses their debit card at least 21 times per month, a 32 percent increase throughout the past decade, according to a 2015 debit issuer study commissioned by PULSE.
  • More lenders are beginning to understand the unreliability of the traditional credit score. Each year, 68 to 82 percent of borrowers are new to the subprime market, according to non-traditional credit reporting bureau Clarity Services. An even higher percentage of borrowers will be new to any given vendor. Almost 10 percent of these are thin- or no-file millennials with very different financial backgrounds than previous generations.

Here’s the good news: With access to targeted data, lenders can find reliable opportunities for growth while minimizing potential risks.

Subprime Credit Consumers: the New Majority

Subprime lenders are used to lower credit scores. Since new circumstances have put more consumers in the recent subprime majority, however, it’s worth exploring the circumstances of this larger share.

The financial crisis of 2008/09 occurred during the same time that millions of millennials came of age. In 2015, CreditCards.com found that a third of those aged 18 to 29 did not have credit cards. In 2009, the CARD Act limited the ability of companies to market credit cards on college campuses, cutting card issuance almost in half. As a result, the credit histories of millions of young adults are even more abbreviated than usual, contributing to the new subprime majority.

Additionally, a 2015 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) report explores the 26 million Americans who are “credit invisible,” and the 19 million considered “unscored” by the traditional credit bureaus. While one in 10 Americans don’t have any credit history, an additional 8 percent have insufficient histories, leaving them under-serviced in the credit industry.

These are the economic currents that have more subprime lenders seeking non-traditional sources for data.

Cash, Dethroned

Once upon a time, cash was how we paid for most things. Times have changed.

Today, cash accounts for about 14 percent of transactions, according to The Federal Reserve System Cash Product Office. The average American spends roughly $100 a day, according to Gallop, but walks around with only $20 cash, according to Bankrate.com.

A majority of younger adults in the developed world would have no problem with a completely cashless society, says data from ING Group/eZonomics. Given the difficulty of accurately determining a credit score for so many in today’s economy, now is a great time to consider additional measures for understanding an applicant’s financial stability.

Why More Data Is Needed for Scores

Before the Great Recession, lenders relied almost exclusively on traditional credit scores. The Big Three credit reporting agencies employ traditional models composed of criteria like bank loans, car loans, credit card bills, student loans, mortgages and various credit data. Unfortunately, for many millions of those in need of credit services, the above criteria simply won’t work.

But with the subprime majority of today, a number of creditors are looking at other factors.

  • Ability to pay: Regardless of income level or percentage of residual income, research shows that as long as an applicant for a subprime loan is earning money and has some residual income, they’re probably a safe bet. Of course, that’s assuming there aren’t any red flags for intent not to pay, such as an inability to prove bank account ownership.
  • Alternative data: Non-traditional credit data and alternative data are not the same. Non-traditional credit data is targeted squarely on credit behavior, whereas the latter often uses more peripheral sources. That can include data from social media to verify a job or location, histories from utility bills and Census data.

Connecting the Dots with Targeted Data

What is meant by “targeted data?” As the largest subprime credit bureau, Clarity Services leverages one of the largest targets available – debit cards. Every five seconds, one new debit card is issued in the United States (PULSE).

In recent years, debit cards accounted for the leading share of payment types. Their usage grew to 69.5 billion in 2015 with a value of $2.56 trillion, up 13 billion or $0.46 trillion since 2012, according to a recent Federal Reserve study. Non-prepaid debit card payments, the type typically connected to checking accounts, grew to 12.4 billion with a value of $0.42 trillion from 2012 to 2015.  This is after an increase of nearly 39 billion debit card payments from 2000 to 2012.

Half the time, Americans pay for groceries with debit cards, which are also used significantly at department stores, restaurants and other retailers, according to a TSYS 2014 consumer payments study.

What Debit Cards Say about Consumers

Why do so many prefer debit cards? The TSYS study shows that 66 percent of users like the ability to have purchases deducted directly from their checking account.

For subprime lenders looking to make better decisions in our cashless society, what could debit information reveal about an applicant’s financial circumstances? At a glance, debit and bank account info could yield immediate details to help confirm a high or low credit risk.

   Confirmation of primary bank account ownership status
            Total number of debit cards
            Number of social security numbers associated with a debit card
            Number of social security numbers associated with a bank account

Lenders may be able to see whether an applicant’s details are false, incorrect or somehow inconsistent by using the granular details offered by reason codes, which can answer the following yes-or-no questions:

  • Is the account in good standing?
  • Is the account associated with a high-risk bank?
  • Is the CVV a match?
  • Is the ZIP code incorrect?
  • Did retail transactions take place in the last 24 hours?

An Old Problem in a New Space

The details above not only yield insight to help manage risk of default, they also speak to another growing problem for lenders in spaces including rent-to-own, online and storefront installment – fraud.

As creative as fraudsters have been for things like payday loans, they are now applying many of the same tactics in the unsuspecting rent-to-own market. Lying on loan applications, account hacking and data leaked from the dark web are just some ways fraudsters are infiltrating the market.

The combined at-a-glance information with the more granular reason codes allow lenders to easily cross-reference data and glean a reliable impression of an applicant.

Adjusting to the New Normal

The “new normal” is an oft-cited term since the last economic crash. As subprime consumers have acclimated to today’s economy, lenders have benefited by adjusting to the market’s needs.

But have lenders fully capitalized on the new aspects today’s normal? For many, the answer is no. It’s worth analyzing the lifecycle of the consumer’s journey to subprime underwriting, and how lenders may simplify the process for the convenience of all parties involved.

Author:

 

Tim Ranney is president and CEO of Clarity Services, Inc., a real-time credit bureau providing credit-related data on subprime consumers. Prior to founding Clarity in 2008, Ranney spent 20 years as a leader in internet security and risk management, serving as COO of an industry leader and senior executive for both Network Solutions and VeriSign.