Thursday October 25 2018, Daily News Digest

Funding Circle Holdings PLC

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi CEO explains how market volatility, rising interest rates create opportunities. Amazon debuts no-fee AmEx card for small businesses. Funding Circle broker channel hits 1B GBP lending. China Rapid Finance is expected to break even. Today’s main analysis: Funding Circle’s short-lived rally. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Is student loan debt creating a millennial class […]

Funding Circle Holdings PLC

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United States

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto: Market volatility, rising rates create ‘opportunity for us’ (CNBC) Rated: A

Rising interest rates and market volatility, while feared on the Street, create an opportunity for online lending platform SoFi to gain new customers, according to CEO Anthony Noto.

“When the markets pull back, people evaluate: ‘Where am I putting my money from an investment standpoint?'” Noto said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Tuesday.

Made conscious decision to focus on quality, not quantity of loans: SoFi CEO Anthony Noto from CNBC.

Amazon Debuts No-Fee AmEx Card to Lure Small-Business Spending (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Amazon.com Inc. and American Express Co. are upping the ante in their bid for small-business spending.

The two companies unveiled a new co-branded card for small businesses on Tuesday. Cardholders with an Amazon Prime membership will be able to choose between an interest-free loan for 90 days or 5 percent back on purchases made at Amazon.com, Amazon Business, Amazon Web Services and Whole Foods Market, the companies said in a statement. The no-fee metal card will also offer 2 percent back on purchases at U.S. restaurants and gas stations and on mobile-phone services.

Student-Loan Debt Is Bringing on Millennial Class War (Vice) Rated: AAA

MagnifyMoney, an independent service that compares financial products and is affiliated with the loan marketplace LendingTree, recently analyzed 2016 data from the Federal Reserve and estimated the average millennial with student debt had 75 percent less net worth than their debt-free peers. Though many of the stats they calculated might have been skewed by extremes—think people with debt loads of $200,000 and trust-fund kids worth seven figures—they were able to reach some pretty startling conclusions. For instance, the median net bank account balance (checking and savings) of all grads under 35 who had loans, they found, was $5,500, while it was some $10,180 for those who didn’t.

So what’s the most meaningful difference between those with loans and without?
The one that’s really most costly is when you look at the retirement savings. On that side, the average grad under 35 with debt has around $21,000 in retirement savings. Someone who doesn’t have student loans has an average of almost $40,000.

Credit Card Stats & Studies (Hub Wallet) Rated: AAA

Source: Hub Wallet

Building Loyalty with Gen Z and Millennials Starts with a Better Experience (Globe Newswire) Rated: AAA

In particular, changes in the credit card market have been heavily influenced by the youngest generations. While TransUnion studies have found that consumers generally have a much higher propensity of opening their next credit product with a lender with whom they already have multiple relationships, this doesn’t appear to hold true for Gen Z. Younger consumers are engaging with new lenders rather than going to existing lenders for new products. In the report, Gen Z respondents indicated that they were the least likely to open a new credit product with a financial institution as a result of an existing relationship with that lender.

While consumers are carrying more credit cards in their wallets today than in 2010, the industry has seen five straight quarters of declining year-over-year origination growth. The study also found that the average duration for which a credit card remains open has shortened across the majority of age groups, which would indicate shifting loyalty.

Source: Trans Union

The Fintech 250: The Top Fintech Startups Of 2018 (CB Insights) Rated: AAA

The financial services industry is being transformed by insurgent startups. From capital markets to insurance and digital banking to wealth management, the Fintech 250 are among the most promising of these companies globally.

The entire 

Lendio Named to the 2018 CB Insights Fintech 250 List of Fastest-Growing Fintech Startups (PR Newswire) Rated: A

CB Insights today named Lendio to the second annual Fintech 250 list, a prestigious group of emerging private companies working on groundbreaking financial technology.

“It’s an honor for Lendio to be listed among the innovative companies driving the fintech industry forward,” said Brock Blake, Lendio CEO and founder. “Lendio is doing its part to power the economy by bridging the financing gap for small businesses. We are committed to shaping the future of marketplace lending to help business owners unlock their financial potential.”

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, recently announced it has facilitated over $1 billion in financing to more than 51,000 small businesses across the U.S. Through access to this growth capital, Lendio’s small business customers have generated an estimated $3.8 billion in gross economic output and created more than 25,000 jobs nationwide. Lendio’s milestone comes after an 80 percent increase in loans funded through its platform in the last year.

As Rates Rise and Recession Threatens, Alternative Lenders Batten Down the Hatches (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

The CEOs of Prosper Marketplace, Lending Club, and Social Finance Inc. all spoke to a common theme – preparing for the coming storm and choosing loans for quality, not quantity. JPMorgan Chase has predicted a 60% chance of recession by 2020, and it’s not clear how traumatic an event it will be.

JPMorgan signed a deal with Plaid for customer data sharing (Business Insider) Rated: A

JPMorgan on Monday signed an agreement with Plaid, a technology company that connects bank accounts with fintech apps like Robinhood, Venmo, and Acorns, that will give its customers better control over their personal data.

Plaid will access JPMorgan’s customer data through a secure application programming interface or API, allowing customers to share their financial information more easily and safely. Banks including JPMorgan have pushed back against so-called screen scraping, another way for fintech apps to companies to access customer data that generally is viewed as less secure.

Goldman shifts Marcus digital bank to its wealth unit (American Banker) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs Group is shifting a heavily touted business line into its wealth management unit as the bank eyes expansion through products that can be pitched to the division’s customers.

The firm is handing oversight of the Marcus business — its retail-banking effort, which offers personal loans online — to its $1.5 trillion investment management division, according to a memo seen by Bloomberg. The move is aimed at starting new business offerings under the Marcus brand that can be sold to the unit’s expanding roster of clients.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs confirmed the contents of the memo.

U.S. ‘Unbanked’ Population Continues to Fall (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

The number of U.S. households without a bank account fell to 6.5% in 2017, according to a federal government survey, as the improved economy helped bring mainstream banking services to more people.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday the number of ”unbanked” households reached its lowest level last year since the regulator began the biennial survey in 2009. The share of households without an account at a federally insured financial institution was down half a percentage point from 7% in 2015.

We’re Closer Than you Think to Autonomous Finance (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Autonomous finance isn’t a well known term within fintech, but it may be the biggest innovation in the consumer finance space in recent years. Ken Lin, the CEO and Co-Founder of Credit Karma talked with us recently on the Lend Academy podcast about this concept of autonomous finance, a concept that is slowly turning into reality.

Credit Karma is in the unique position to capitalize on this idea, particularly when it comes to the lending business, which still relies heavily on credit scores. The company has built a platform in which users can track their credit score over time and get suggestions on products based on their financial life. From my perspective Credit Karma has a monopoly of sorts on this business with no other serious competitors at scale. Due to their sheer size and the engagement with their members, Credit Karma is a significant lead generator for the major online lenders that exist today.

New UltraFICO score stokes concerns about data privacy (American Banker) Rated: A

A new credit score that includes a consumer’s cash flow alongside their credit score — dubbed UltraFICO — is winning praise for its potential to help expand access to credit but also stoking concerns about its data privacy implications.

FICO announced this week that it is testing a new credit score with Experian and data aggregator Finicity that draws on several months’ worth of data from consumers’ bank accounts. The idea, according to FICO, is to create a “second chance” score that could allow consumers who’ve been denied credit due to the traditional model another shot at obtaining it.

Short on Cash? Use Your Employer as a ‘Payday Lender’ (Nerd Wallet) Rated: A

In recent years, startups from Silicon Valley and beyond have stepped up to offer payday alternatives through the workplace. Some, including Earnin and PayActiv, have put a new twist on the two-week pay cycle to give people access to their wages as soon as they’ve earned them. Others, such as HoneyBee, SalaryFinance and TrueConnect, allow employers to offer low-cost emergency loans as an employee benefit.

Paycheck advances in the modern workplace

What technology companies like Earnin and PayActiv say they offer is a streamlined approach for employees that retains the employer’s traditional two-week pay cycle.

Navient eyes end of non-compete with Sallie Mae in January (Asset Securitization Report) Rated: A

Navient Corp. has been ramping up origination of refinance student loans even as rising interest rates reduce the potential savings for borrowers. Earnest, the online lender it acquired late in 2017, originated $903 million of refinance loans in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date originations $2 billion. But so far, the servicing giant’s ability to expand has been limited because of a non-compete agreement with the largest private student-lender, SLM Corp., better known as Sallie Mae.

Under the terms of their split in 2014, Navient is unable to refinance either private student loans made by Sallie Mae or any federally guaranteed student loans held by Sallie Mae.

The non-compete clause expires in January, and Navient CEO Jack Remondi doesn’t plan to waste any time. On a third quarter conference call Wednesday, Remondi made it clear that he sees plenty of potential to refinance loans made or held by Sallie Mae.

Kabbage Extends Access Of Small Business Lending (Benzinga) Rated: A

Kabbage is now lending over $10 million per day to small businesses, in congruence with the company’s recent addition of 30,000 customers in 2018. The company reported its first $500 million quarter this year, according to the press release.

The lender serves up to 1,400 businesses daily and has demonstrated a 68 percent increase of working capital accessed by Kabbage on mobile devices, as well as a 283 percent growth in use of the Kabbage Card since 2017.

“It was a great growth quarter for the company, and is a direct result of developing flexible and convenient solutions that simplify accessing capital for small businesses,” Kabbage CFO Scott Rosenberg told Benzinga.

Beyond Kickstarter: 10 Niche Crowdfunding Platforms for Startups (Entrepreneur) Rated: A

1. CrowdStreet

If you’re building a real-estate investment business — or developing real-estate projects — check out the online crowdfunding opportunities on CrowdStreet.

4. FundThatFlip

If your business is remodeling and reselling homes, FundThatFlip offers a place to get quick cash to fix up and resell. Investors put in a minimum of $5,000.

Guaranteed Rate Ranks as the Best Mortgage Lender for Online Mortgage Service by U.S. News & World Report (Bankless Times) Rated: A

Guaranteed Rate, an industry leader in technological innovation, tops the list of the Best Mortgage Lenders of 2018, according to U.S. News and World Report. The Chicago-based retail mortgage lender was named the Best Lender for Online Service with its groundbreaking advances to make the mortgage experience fast, simple and secure with its digital platform.

US News & World Report recommended the Guaranteed Rate mortgage process as best for borrowers who:

  • Want to complete most of the mortgage process online
  • Want help figuring out the right product for their situation
  • Want access to a variety of home loan options

Bought Mega Millions Tickets? Here’s What You Could Have Made If You Invested That Money Instead (Time) Rated: A

Americans spend a lot of money playing the lottery. Approximately 370 million lottery tickets were sold between Saturday and Tuesday before the Mega Millions drawing, according to a lottery official. The U.S. generated nearly $73 billion in lottery sales in 2016 and CNN reports that in 2017, U.S. residents spent about $73.5 billion on tickets. The average American spends about $223.04 per year on lottery tickets, loan marketplace LendEDU found in a report that calculated its average by dividing the 2016 lottery revenue by the U.S. population (325.7 million).

Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Minneapolis Are the Most Promising Places to Open a Restaurant (PR Newswire) Rated: A

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its study on the best cities to open a restaurant. The study found that while traditional foodie destinations like New York and San Francisco are saturated with restaurants, up-and-comers have room to grow. The restaurant population in cities like MilwaukeeCincinnati and Minneapolis cities is less dense than in other areas, and labor costs are lower.

LendingTree analyzed the 50 largest U.S. cities to see which offer prospective restaurateurs the best shot at success. Many top spots are in once-overlooked Midwestern cities now experiencing urban renewal. The least promising cities have historically been the restaurant industry’s most competitive.

Nav and Clover Partnership Streamlines Access to Business Credit Scores & Financing (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Today, Nav and Clover, a subsidiary of First Data, formally announced an integrated, multi-year partnership to deliver U.S.-based Clover users access to their free business credit scores, as well as custom-tailored business financing and credit card options.

The Federal Reserve Bank and other surveys consistently report around 70 percent of small business loan applicants are denied by their bank. As credit data is a primary way that banks and other financial institutions evaluate business loan applicants, the integration of business credit scores and insights directly into Clover’s dashboard enables these merchants to manage this important data.

Memorial Healthcare System Taps ezCarePoint to Provide Instant Online Financing for Patients’ Out-of-Pocket Medical Costs (AP News) Rated: A

Patients at facilities run by South Florida’s Memorial Healthcare System (MHS), one of the nation’s largest public healthcare systems, can now easily and quickly finance their out-of-pocket medical fees online, thanks to a new program powered by ezCarePoint, a next generation medical financing technology platform created by ezVerify, a Sunrise, Fla. based company and LendingPoint, a Kennesaw, Ga. based company.

RealtyFolio Updates Its Platform for a Big 2019 (PR Newswire) Rated: B

RealtyFolio, the online real estate investing platform has updated its interface, including a redesign, rebrand, and upgraded features. The upgrade was meant to “make it even more comfortable for clients to navigate the platform and for clients to be able to invest in real estate projects, quickly and easily,” according to the company’s CEO, Jonathan Klein. He went on to say that they “expect a very big year in 2019, with many projects in the works, and a lot of demand from clients.”

RealtyFolio is ushering in the future of real estate investing by allowing you to build a real estate portfolio online. With over 30 years of real estate investing and management experience on its team and a vast network of strategic partners across the United States, in cities such as New YorkMiami and Los AngelesRealtyFolio gives everyone a chance to swim with the sharks.

Tamarack Hires Seven and Expands Headquarters (ELFA) Rated: B

Tamarack, a leader in providing independent software solutions in the equipment finance and commercial lending industry, has moved to a new headquarters in the North Loop, doubling their space, and added seven new positions over the past three months to meet the growing demand.

With over 25 years of Leasing and Lending experience and an expert in InfoLease®, Tamarack hires on George Burke. Burke adds extensive experience to Tamarack’s back office software engineering team.

White Oak ABL Appoints Griffith to Managing Director (ABL Advisor) Rated: B

White Oak ABL, LLC, an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, announced the appointment of Clark D. Griffith to Managing Director, based in San Francisco. Griffith joins from Encina Business Credit where he held the position of Senior Managing Director in charge of West Coast originations, offering lines of credit and term loans from $5 million to $50 million.

PNC to offer online business loan option in 2019 (Delaware Business Now) Rated: B

PNC announced that in 2019 it plans to begin offering fully digital business lines of credit, up to$100,000.

PNC will partner withOnDeck and use its Platform-as-a-Service to simplify and accelerate the conventional lending originations processes for PNC Bank’s small and medium-sized business customers.

PNC will combine its expertise with ODX’s online origination technology and professional services to create PNC Small Business Lending.

TickPick Announces Affirm Partnership, Expands Payment Options at Checkout (PR Newswire) Rated: B

TickPick, the no-fee ticket marketplace that is transforming the industry, announced today a partnership with Affirm, the company founded by entrepreneur Max Levchin to provide fair and honest alternatives to traditional credit. This new payment option makes TickPick the first and only secondary marketplace to offer Affirm, which allows customers the ability to spread out the cost of their purchase over time through simple monthly payments.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle’s broker channel reaches £1bn lending milestone (Bridging and Commercial) Rated: AAA

After four consecutive record-breaking quarters, the in-house broker team has supported the growth of 9,600 British businesses.

Prior to the lending milestone, the P2P platform promoted Tom Shave to head of broker.

Tom has assisted in developing a diverse network of introducers, big and small, across the country.

UK regions come to the fore in producing $ 1bn tech companies (London Loves Business) Rated: A

The UK’s leading tech clusters are competing head to head with European capitals, according to new analysis of company growth, in a sign that the success of the UK tech sector is pushing far beyond its London heartland.

Following the IPOs of Farfetch and Funding Circle, the UK is now home to 15 unicorns and six cities have produced so-called unicorns – $1bn tech companies – according to research prepared for Tech Nation and the Government’s Digital Economy Council by venture capital analytics company Dealroom.co. This latest research is published ahead of the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s first meeting with the Digital Economy Council on 24 October 2018.

Looking at the creation of $1bn tech companies, Oxford and Cambridge combined have produced more fast-growing tech companies than both Paris and Berlin.

China

Loss-Making China Rapid Finance Limited (NYSE:XRF) Expected To Breakeven (Simply Wall St News) Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited’s (NYSE:XRF): China Rapid Finance Limited, through its subsidiaries, provides a consumer lending marketplace for lenders and borrowers in the People’s Republic of China. The US$156m market-cap posted a loss in its most recent financial year of -US$122m and a latest trailing-twelve-month loss of -US$49m shrinking the gap between loss and breakeven. As path to profitability is the topic on XRF’s investors mind, I’ve decided to gauge market sentiment. Below I will provide a high-level summary of the industry analysts’ expectations for XRF.

European Union

Klarna Talks Split Payments at Money2020 Conference (Cheddar) Rated: A

Klarna is launching a new ‘Slice it in 4’ product, allowing users to split up payments. Michael Rouse, chief commercial officer of Klarna, explains how it works.

INDOCHINO Chooses Klarna to Give Consumers the Power to Pay Over Time (PR Newswire) Rated: B

INDOCHINO shoppers can now Slice it at the checkout by using Klarna’s online consumer financing to easily spread the cost of their purchase over 6-36 months. Slice it has a simple 4-step credit application process, real-time decisioning and is offered within the merchant’s own website – no re-directs – for a frictionless and fast purchase experience.

By taking the premium made-to-measure experience direct to the consumer, INDOCHINO has created a superior alternative to off-the-rack clothing at ready-to-wear prices. Their immersive multi-channel experience enables customers to order their custom garments with ease online or in-person at one of 30+ showrooms across North America

German fintech poster child N26’s major security gap (Handelsblatt) Rated: A

Germany’s fintech darling N26 is potentially vulnerable to money laundering and terrorism financing, according to research by Handelsblatt’s sister magazine WirtschaftsWoche, which exposed a security gap at the online banking startup.

The apple of discord is how easily someone can open an account with a fake ID. A WirtschaftsWoche correspondent saw first hand how a man, Milo T., scanned a friend’s ID, added his own passport photo to the ID, printed it out and stuck it atop of a white plastic card that was the same size as the office ID card in his country. He cut the edges to make them round and voilà: a new identification card.

It took five minutes and the result is so blatantly a forgery that it would fail to convince even the laxest of nightclub doormen. None of the holograms or other security features found on original IDs can be seen on the fake. Regardless, Milo effortlessly used this ID to set up an N26 account, and this wasn’t a one-off occurrence. WirtschaftsWoche documented how several people opened N26 accounts using forged papers.

Robo.cash welcomes new loan originator (Peer2Peer Finance  News) Rated: B

LATVIAN peer-to-peer payday lender Robo.cash has added a loan originator from Kazakhstan to its platform.

Z-FINANCE provides short-term private lending in Kazakhstan with an average loan size equivalent to €60 (£52).

Investors on the Robo.cash site can now invest in these loans, which have a repayment period up to 30 days and an expected interest rate up to 12 per cent per annum.

Z-FINANCE was launched in July this year and currently lends through a network of 102 sales branches in Kazakhstan.

International

ID Finance Group reports 61% revenue growth for the nine months of 2018 (Fintech Finance) Rated: AAA

ID Finance Group has reported 61 per cent revenue growth and revenues of $141.3 million for nine months of 2018 following strong growth in Europe and Latam. The data science, credit scoring and digital finance company issued $215.7m in loans in the first nine months of the year, a 64 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Its European and LatAm operations comprising Spain, Poland, Brazil and Mexico demonstrated exceptional growth experiencing a 197 per cent revenue growth and revenues of $32.6 million for the nine months of 2018. It issued $63.8 million in loans, a 142 per cent increase on the same period last year, and has also grown its customer base to over one million registered users with 20,000 new users joining weekly.The Group has now separated its European and LatAm operations from its CIS businesses (comprising Russia, Kazakhstan and Georgia) and it is functioning as a separate entity under the ID Finance name.

Moven Enterprise Expands Availability of AI Smart-Banking Solution with Global Launch (Business Wire) Rated: A

Moven Enterprise, the smart-banking solutions division of Movencorp, Inc, today announced that it has expanded its footprint globally to help banks deepen their digital customer engagement and drive new revenue streams while significantly reducing attrition and acquisition costs.

After working successfully with TD Bank (TD) in Canada, Westpac in New Zealand, and others, Moven is now bringing its AI-driven digital banking platform to banks across LatAm, APAC, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The global expansion is well-positioned as Moven Enterprise received investment from SBI Group to enhance Moven’s footprint in Asia earlier this year. This included the formation of a joint venture, SBI Moven Asia. The company’s innovative platform leverages a bank’s data and uses proprietary algorithms to create contextual, individualized smart-banking experiences for consumers; providing them the right advice at the right time with the right offer and helping them move towards a better financial lifestyle.

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Private Lender—Pros & Cons (NuWire Investor) Rated: A

Private lending has picked up the pace in recent years. This is despite high-interest rates charged by private lenders. Many reasons have pushed lenders into this space including tightened requirements by banks.

In addition, banks tend to shy away from lending money to small businesses and startups. As a result, many borrowers look for other ways of funding, and such opportunities provide opportunities to private lenders.

However, starting out as a private lender is no easy walk in the park. Numerous risks lurk in the business, and you need to tread with caution. In this article, you’ll learn how to become a private lender and some of the pros and cons involved, so if you have an interest in becoming “a bank,” read on.

Fintech Streamlines Socially Responsible Impact Investing Via Robo-Advisors (Investor Place) Rated: A

What makes an investment socially responsible? There are several criteria. For instance, SRI investing avoids tobacco companies as their products cause health problems and death. Typically, a company’s social responsibility rating is based on its performance in three categories: environmental, social and governance (ESG). Positive practices across one or more of these spheres can land a company in the socially responsible category.

At the same time, robo-advisors are digital investment managers designed to grow your wealth through investing with models are based on sophisticated computerized algorithms, including ESG consideration. These fintech darlings have answered the call for socially responsible robo-advisors with a host of diverse options. Of course, you could choose a socially responsible mutual fund or ETF on your own. But, for the busy investor, let one of the many robo-advisors take charge of your investing, in line with your personal values.

Uphold Joins Crypto Lending Platform Cred for New Lending and Earning Solutions (Coin Speaker) Rated: A

In today’s business community, partnership has become one of the most promising tools on the way to new amazing developments and interesting projects that are aimed at offering customers really unique experience and opening new opportunities for them.

News about recently established collaborations regularly appears here and there. This time the headlines are made by Uphold which is a major global digital money platform, that has conducted transactions worth over $4.0 billion across 184 countries, and Cred that is a crypto-backed lending provider with over $250 million in credit facilities.

Joint Projects

Having announced their partnership Uphold and Cred have revealed their plans to launch two cutting edge blockchain-based consumer finance products: Uphold Earn and Uphold Borrow. Both products are aimed at helping customers to earn interest from stablecoin holdings and borrow money against the cryptocurrencies they have.

India

Indian P2P Lending Operators forms Association to Make P2P Industry More Credible (Indian Web2) Rated: AAA

After the Reserve Bank of India unveiled guidelines last October recognizing the need for peer-to-peer lending platforms as NBFC-P2P in the country, the regulatory authority had issued first license in May 2018 and since then 9 players have been recognized as NBFC-P2P companies. More than 12 companies are in the process of getting approval from the regulatory authority. Some of them are at advance to mid-level stage.

To represent the NBFC-P2P industry at various front as well as to represent country’s P2P lending industry at international forums, most of existing & new players have teamed-up and formed a registered body – Association of NBFC P2P Platforms.

The association has been registered under The Society Registration Act, 1860. Mr. Pramod Akhramka has been elected as President, Mr. Rajiv Ranjan as Secretary and Mr. Mukesh Bubna as Treasurer of the association.

Choose bank or online lender based on nature of loan (DNA Online) Rated: A

Unexpected expenditures often come knocking on your door when you want them the least. The reasons could range from maintenance for your vehicle to your old washing machine that needs to be replaced. The plus point of such expenses cropping up during the festive season is that you can always get a good bargain online (or at the store nearby). The fact still remains that these are expenses nevertheless. And that too when your festive expenditure is already lined up, leaving no financial bandwidth.

At times like these, loans bring a sigh of relief. But with so many options available in the market, whom should you approach with your loan requirement- banks or digital lending platforms?

Today, Indian consumers are benefitting from a range of financial products and financial institutions (FI) such as banks, non-banking finance companies, online lending platforms, etc, available at their disposal. If you are planning to take a loan or feel like there’s a possibility of availing the same in the near future, you must primarily understand that every lender has its own unique pros and cons. Some are quick in terms of loan approval and disbursal, some are cost-effective, some offer greater flexibility to their customers, while some offer innovative products that are more relevant for an applicant.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday October 3 2017, Daily News Digest

blooom

News Comments Today’s main news: blooom passes $1B in assets under management. SoFi rolls out new deal. DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-E LLC. The P2P Power 50. PeerStreet funds over $500M in loans with zero losses to investors. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub, Prosper after 10 years. FT Partners’ CEO monthly alternative lending market analysis (a […]

blooom

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United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

blooom Becomes Fastest Independent Robo-advisor to Pass $ 1 Billion in Assets Under Management (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

According to monthly Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ADV filings, blooom, inc. reached $1 billion in assets under management (AUM) faster than any other independent robo-advisor. blooom achieved this milestone faster than Betterment and Wealthfront – and with less capital raised.

blooom, a first-of-its-kind robo-advisor, helps anyone with a 401(k) or comparable employer-sponsored retirement plan. blooom’s mission is to make “do-it-for-you” financial advice available, simple and affordable, regardless of the client’s account size.

The $1 billion AUM milestone is one of many key achievements for blooom over the past year.

  • In mid-2016, Sheila Bair, FDIC Chair under two U.S. Presidents and “the second most powerful woman in the world in 2008 and 2009” by Forbes, joined the company as an Advisory Board Member.
  • In February 2017, blooom raised $9.15 million in Series B funding and surpassed the $500 million mark in AUM.
  • Since 2014, as part of its free product evaluation, blooom has analyzed the health of more than $2 billion of individual 401(k) plan balances.
Source: BusinessWire

SoFi rolls out new deal amid exec reshuffle (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

SoFi filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for the upcoming deal, under its SOFI shelf. Deutsche Bank, Goldman SachsJP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have been named in the documents as banks on the deal.

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-E LLC (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-E LLC (SoFi 2017-E):

— $72,850,000 Class A-1 Notes at AAA (sf)
— $303,000,000 Class A-2A Notes at AAA (sf)
— $161,000,000 Class A-2B Notes at AAA (sf)
— $55,000,000 Class B Notes at AA (sf)
— $34,500,000 Class C Notes at A (sf)

SoFi Unlikely To Damage Digital Lending Sector (Market Intelligence), Rated: AAA

The recent exit of Social Finance Inc. CEO Mike Cagney represents the third departure of a big-name digital lending CEO since the start of 2016. Social Finance, more commonly known as SoFi, was long considered a bright spot in the digital lending industry after making it through a rough 2016 unscathed.

Everything unravels

Heading into 2016, investors started to notice higher-than-expected defaults on loans from large marketplace platforms, especially in lower-graded loans. In order to compensate for these higher losses, some lenders increased interest rates to keep investors on their platforms. For institutions that had been purchasing loans and packaging them into asset-backed securities, the underperformance of loans in previous securitizations became a concern. By April, Citigroup Inc. was having trouble marketing a new securitization of loans from personal-focused lender Prosper Marketplace Inc., leading the two firms to end their partnership. Without this important source of capital, Prosper saw originations fall 55.5% during the second quarter of 2016.

Source: Market Intelligence

Past problems lead to a brighter future

Digital lenders entered 2017 with a renewed focus on operational efficiency and loan quality. For some, these measures are starting to pay off. LendingClub and On Deck both reached targeted profitability measures in the second quarter of the year. Prosper has reignited loan growth thanks to a $5 billion commitment to fund new loans, and the company reported positive adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter. Ex-LendingClub CEO Renaud Laplanche has launched a new personal-focused lender called Upgrade. Student-focused lender Earnest has taken a different approach and according to Bloomberg is seeking a buyer for its business. Originations have started to rebound as large lenders in the industry regain confidence in their models and continue to ramp up volumes.

Source: Market Intelligence

Lending Club and Prosper Data: 10 Years In (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Lending Club and Prosper have both been around over 10 years now. A lot has changed since both companies were founded, including the performance of the loans. In this blog post we’ll share the performance of each platform over the last 10 years. The fact that we have access to this data set is one of the things that makes marketplace lending unique. The screenshots from this post are taken from NSR Invest, a marketplace lending robo advisor that is also a sister company to Lend Academy.

Lending Club Data

For Lending Club investors, most loan grade returns peaked in 2013. As you look at this chart it is worth noting that the 2017 numbers are somewhat meaningless because the loans there have not seasoned yet.

Source: Lend Academy

Prosper Data

Prosper launched in 2006 as the first p2p lending platform in the U.S. Initially, they operated with a very different model allowing deep subprime borrowers on to their platform.

When they relaunched Prosper grew very slowly, they needed to prove out their platform to the many retail investors who had lost money in Prosper 1.0. Even in 2009 and 2010 originations were just $8 million and $27 million respectively. Prosper began to scale significantly in 2011 and onwards.

Prosper’s C grade loans are the closest to Lending Club’s D grade loans so this is the best side by side comparison.

Source: Lend Academy

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis (October ’17) (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Source: FT Partners

September was another active month for the FT Partners team as we announced three significant FinTech transactions and the appointment of two additions to our senior team.

We are pleased to announce our role advising:

  • Source: FT Partners

    Download the full report here.

    PeerStreet funds over half a billion in loans, maintains zero losses to investors (PeerStreet Email), Rated: AAA

    PeerStreet, the real estate investing platform for real estate debt, has just hit the milestone of having funded half a billion in loans and with zero losses to investors since the company launched in 2015.

    Platforms in the P2P and crowdfunding space are seeing increasing competition and scrutiny, but PeerStreet has continued to offer investors access to quality loans and high yields, earning the public testimonial of some high-profile users, such as 

    College Ave Student Loans Completes $ 161MM in Inaugural Securitization (BusinessWire), Rated: A

    College Ave Student Loans, the leading next-generation student loan marketplace lender, announced it has completed a $161 million securitization of private student loans, its first securitization. The CASL 2017-A transaction, completed over the summer, received an ‘A’ rating from DBRS and a ‘BBB’ rating from S&P for its highest-rated senior notes. The transaction was four-times oversubscribed. Barclays was the underwriter on the transaction.

    The securitization also marks a year of growth for College Ave Student Loans. To date, the company has secured more than $2 billion of committed loan purchasing power from multiple sources.

    Why are Amazon, PayPal meeting with bank regulators? (American Banker), Rated: A

    Technology giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are showing an increasing interest in engaging with federal banking regulators, a move that underscores Silicon Valley’s growing involvement in the financial services arena.

    Amazon lobbyists met with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency starting in the second quarter of 2016, and again this year to discuss “issues related to mobile payments and payment processing, financial innovation, and technology,” according to publicly available lobbying disclosures.

    PayPal, meanwhile, met with OCC officials in the second, third and fourth quarters of last year to discuss “mobile payment innovation” issues related to underserved customers and remittances and money transfers, according to its disclosures.

    Vestwell Raises $ 8 Million in Series A Funding led by F-Prime Capital Partners (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Vestwell, the industry’s first and only fiduciary-backed retirement platform for the financial advisor community, today announced $8 million in Series A Funding led by F-Prime Capital Partners, the venture capital group associated with the parent company of Fidelity Investments, with participation from Primary Venture Partners, FinTech Collective, and Commerce Ventures. Launched in late 2016, Vestwell received $4.5 million in its initial Series Seed of financing in September 2016.

    So far this year, the company has signed over 50 registered investment advisor (RIAs) firms, as well as independent broker-dealers, asset managers, and bank/trust custodians, with plans to onboard several thousand advisors this year.  The funding will be used to grow the team while further enhancing the technology.

    YieldStreet Adds Three Tech Disruptors to Its Advisory Board (YieldStreet Email), Rated: A

    YieldStreet, the fintech company seeking to change the way we invest and accumulate wealth, announced the addition of three new members to its advisory board: Ron Suber of Prosper Marketplace, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson of Gilt, and Mitch Jacobs of OnDeck.

    The three new members join an elite team of advisors whose deep expertise spans technology, investing, policy and financial services. The current members include economic policy expert Donald Marron Jr. of the Urban Institute, Rahul Gupta former Group President of Fiserv (NASDAQ: FISV), Mark Gerson founder of GLG, former House  Majority Whip Tony Coelho, and Todd Deutsch formerly of Goldman Sachs.

    The Risk Of Playing Alt Lending’s Rate Limbo (PYMNTS), Rated: A

    And while there are myriad explanations, one clear issue – according to Quick.me CEO Ola Okeshola – is the simple fact that access to capital for small businesses has dried up significantly since the Great Recession, as banks have either gone out of business or lost interest in lending to that sub-segment of the market.

    FinTech, Okeshola said, can offer SMBs streamlined access to funds in ways that are unprecedented. That’s the good news: There is a large, hungry and addressable market out there.

    The more challenging news is that finding ways to address that market isn’t necessarily as easy as flipping a switch – it’s addressing the right problem in the right way.

    For small business loans, he explained, giving an SMB a low interest rate or a very fast approval time nearly guarantees they will sign on, regardless of how much it cost the alt lender to acquire that customer.

    In Quick.me’s case, that means working with POS providers as their referral source, to basically cut their customer acquisition costs as much as possible. Because they can’t make money back spending hundreds of millions to acquire customers, they instead decided to explore how to work with someone who’s already spent that money.

    The Source Code: Max Levchin (Marketplace), Rated: A

    Max Levchin knows a thing or two about money. He helped found PayPal almost 20 years ago, and his new startup, Affirm, is in the business of lending.


    Source available: Finance Industry Files Lawsuit to Overturn CFPB Arbitration Rule (Ballard Spahr Email), Rated: A

    A coalition of chambers of commerce and consumer financial services associations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Bankers Association, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Friday seeking to block the implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final arbitration rule. The rule would prohibit the use of class action waivers in consumer financial services arbitration agreements. Class action waivers preclude consumers from participating in class action lawsuits and instead require them to individually arbitrate their disputes with companies.

    Fintech startup Curve partners with accounting software Xero to make filing expenses ‘frictionless’ (TechCrunch), Rated: A

    Curve, the London fintech startup that lets you consolidate all your bank cards into a single card and track your spending, has partnered with accounting software Xero to remove much of the friction involved in filing expenses. The move is part of the newly-launched ‘Curve Connect’ feature that will see Curve connect to a growing list of third-party apps and services to make managing your money easier.

    Specifically, the Xero feature gives you the option to connect the Curve app to Xero so that spending on your Curve card (and therefore any of the underlying cards you’ve linked Curve to) can be automatically added to the accounting software without the need to enter each expense manually.

    Here’s How Blockchain Will Change the Financial Services Industry (Business.com), Rated: A

    The blockchain is, essentially, a vast, distributed ledger capable of recording anything of value. It can record deeds, rental agreements, equities, contracts, money, titles and, realistically, any kind of asset. These records can be stored and moved privately between two parties independent of any financial intermediary. It is essentially a peer-to-peer transaction tool that does not rely on an intermediary for verification or identification of the involved parties.

    If financial intermediaries are not required for transactions, banks are the supposedly biggest losers in this equation.

    Lawyers, investment bankers, and venture capitalists come with high attached costs, but the emergence of peer-to-peer lending schemes and equity crowdfunding schemes have derailed this market for over a decade.

    First Data, Live Oak team up on fintech startup to take on big banks (Biz Journals), Rated: A

    A New York technology firm and a North Carolina banking company have joined forces on a startup that could help community banks compete with mammoth firms such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

    Checking account fees surge. Here’s how to dodge them (Bankrate), Rated: A

    There is a paradox in banking right now: Fees have never been higher, but it’s also easier than ever to sidestep them.

    The average cost of an out-of-network ATM withdrawal is $4.69, up 2.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the 2017 Bankrate checking account survey. Meanwhile, overdraft fees rose 1 percent to $33.38.

    But if you tweak your habits, assess priorities and lean on technology, you can dodge these charges altogether.

    Overdraft fees

    Source: Bankrate

    Link a savings account. This will serve as a backstop to your checking account. Your bank may charge you to move money when you overspend, but that fee might be $5 to $10, McBride says — significantly less than the cost of an overdraft. If you have an alert on, you can move money from your buffer account into your checkingwithout a charge.

    Instead, look for no-fee or low-fee accounts, like those offered by online banks and fintech companies, like Dave.com, Chime and Qapital.

    ATM fees

    The average ATM surcharge — the fee levied by the other bank — was $2.97, up 2.4 percent from a year earlier, according to our survey. The average fee banks charge to use another bank’s ATM was $1.72, up nearly 3 percent from a year earlier.

    Source: Bankrate

    If it is unwilling or if you want better options, shop around for other accounts. Some online banks not only have no out-of-network fee, but cover a set amount — say $15 — of ATM surcharges each month.

    Tamarack Launches 5 Clients with Lease/Loan Origination Accelerator (Monitor Daily), Rated: A

    Tamarack Consulting, a provider of independent software solutions in the equipment finance and commercial lending industry, has taken five new clients live on Salesforce utilizing Tamarack’s proprietary Lease/Loan Origination Accelerator.

    With more than 40 Salesforce clients utilizing the Lease/Loan Origination service, Tamarack added VFI Corporate Finance, TEAM Funding Solutions, Centra/4 Hour Funding, BSB Leasing and Dimension Funding to its list of clients that launched through the Lease/Loan Accelerator and are now processing leases and loans via Salesforce.com.

    Tamarack’s Lease/Loan Origination Accelerator on Salesforce is a scalable solution offering users the ability to automate work queues, increase throughput of loans without additional head count and customize notifications from lead generation through to funding.

    Average CEO Pay at Big RIAs Nears $ 800K (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: B

    If you’re trying to break away or simply want to see what the big boys are doing on The Street in terms of compensating key employees, then Fidelity has some salary benchmarking figures that might be of interest.

    In a new research report, the asset manager and custodian surveyed large RIAs and multi-family offices to see what they’re paying in 20 different job categories.

    Participants were handpicked by Fidelity and required to have at least $1 billion in assets under management. Compensation ranges from CEOs getting on average $458,900 in base pay — $797,300 with cash and other bonuses included — to $285,200 for a typical big company chief investment officer ($469,600 total).

    By contrast, chief financial officers have “a significantly lower portion of their compensation based on incentives,” the survey adds. Base pay for a typical CFO is listed at $243,100 with total compensation topping $328,000.

    Angelo State University Students Graduate With Very Little Debt (San Angelo Live), Rated: B

    Angelo State University has been ranked among the nation’s top 150 “Public Colleges That Give Students the Least Private Student Loan Debt” by The Student Loan Report (SLR), a news and information guide dedicated exclusively to college student loans and financial aid.

    ASU is ranked No. 57 in the nation, which puts ASU in the top 12 percent of the 480 public colleges in the U.S. that left students with private student loan debt. According to the SLR rankings, only 3 percent of ASU graduates leave school with outstanding private student loan debt, and their average debt load is $14,431.

    The fintech name generator (Vested Ventures), Rated: B

    Vested has launched a fintech name generator with categories for banking, investment management, lending, payments, personal finance, tax & accounting, wealth management, blockchain, private equity, insurtech, and more. Check it out here.

    United Kingdom

    What’s £38m of “other expenses” between friends? (Financial Times Alphaville), Rated: AAA

    Take Funding Circle, for example.

    The accounts showed sales up 59 per cent to £50.1m, while its operating loss worsened at a slower rate of 30 per cent to £51.8m.

    Despite the progress, operating expenses at £103m still stand at double the company’s sales.

    Rent on land and buildings, as well as depreciation and amortisation, make up another £9m or so of operating expenses.

    Source: Financial Times

    The P2P Power 50 (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

    So, who are the key players influencing the UK’s P2P sector? The inaugural Peer2Peer Finance News Power 50 list aims to identify the big names in the industry who have helped it grow into a force to contend with over the past decade and who will play a key role in its future.

    Our top 10 list gives particular acknowledgement to the most influential individuals that we believe have helped establish the P2P brand or will be the biggest drivers in its future.

    Source: P2P Finance News
    Source: P2P Finance News

    Read the full list of P2p powerbrokers.

    £200m UK SME funding programme launched by ThinCats (RealBusiness), Rated: A

    Lending platform ThinCats and parent company ESF Capital have introduced a £200m SME funding programme for British growth businesses.

    The launch of the SME funding scheme by ESF and ThinCats will support loans from £100,000 right up to £5m for leaders looking for an injection to take their companies to the next level.

    The company is joined by New York-headquartered Waterfall Asset Management, which has added £70m to the pot, a firm that currently manages $6bn of assets.

    Why financial services should be terrified of dispensing wealth management robo-advice (Banking Technology), Rated: A

    Robo-advice costs less than “bricks & mortar & human” services, hopefully harvesting a bigger market. Today it primarily invests clients’ money in mainstream investments aimed at generating attractive risk-adjusted returns over time.

    With mutual distributed ledgers (aka blockchains), there are going to be immutable versions of what was advised, what happened, and what the robo-code at the time decided. Robo-advice with blockchain leaves a permanent trail.

    London-Based Fin-Tech Platform Nebeus Championing Banks as Public Utilities (Business Insider), Rated: A

    London-based Nebeus.com – a crypto-currency platform enabling customers to buy, sell, store, remit, lend and borrow crypto-currency funds – is launching a pre-ICO campaign to fund its ambitious plans.

    Developed over the last three years, the company currently operates as a crypto-currency wallet, allowing consumers to buy, remit, loan, borrow and exchange. They are also proud to have recently joined LEVEL39 – the world’s most connected community for finance, cybersecurity, retail and smart-city technology businesses.

    Having raised over £1.5M GBP in private funding in previous years, the company wants to open up its platform to third-party developers; creating a ‘supermarket’ of financial products and services based on blockchain and smart contracts, while providing full transparency and security as it serves individual, corporate and developer communities.

    Download the Nebeus whitepaper.

    Landbay makes five new hires following record lending month (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

    Landbay has reported a record month of buy-to-let lending in September, with a total of £6.31 million lent across 31 mortgages.

    In response to the growth, as well as to the new PRA regulation surrounding portfolio landlords, Landbay has made five new hires.

    Among them, James Cooper-Smith and Joela Jenvey both join the lending team as Senior Lending Officer and Key Account Manager respectively, while Wing Chan joins the wider team as Operating Manager.

    How To Raise Finance For Your Business (The Voice), Rated: B

    1. THE SOURCE

    Equity has massive implications for dilution – so don’t ignore the debt option.

    2. THE FINANCIAL MODEL

    Put your figures into a spreadsheet and test them. Try out different scenarios – see what happens to the numbers.

    3. THE VALUATION

    To get a sensible, realistic idea of the value of your company, compare the most recent valuations for transactions in the space.

    4. THE MONEY

    For example, Sola Bank and Baldetton Capital work in the £100million arena. Whereas EIS/SEIS and VCT funds generally work in the £1-5million sphere. For smaller amounts contact angel investors.

    5. THE CONTACTS

    6. THE DOCUMENTS

    It is essential to prepare a one-page summary of the opportunity. Too much information is not helpful.

    China

    CBRC cautions on surging consumer loans (China.org), Rated: A

    China’s top banking regulator on Friday warned surging consumer loans may pose potential risks to the country’s lending system.

    It also cautioned against a fast rise in consumer leverage ratio.

    Recent inspections on banks by CBRC branches and the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, have found that some consumer loans were used to make a down payment for home purchases or as an investment, rather than using them for travel, education, home renovation or to buy consumer durables.

    International

    Souqalmal.com raises $ 10m in Series B funding with investment from UK’s GoCompare (The National), Rated: A

    Price comparison website Souqalmal.com has raised US$10 million in Series B funding to expand its regional presence and increase its offline service offering, with leading UK firm GoCompare joining the funding round.

    GoCompare Group, which operates the popular UK comparison site GoCompare, is a minority investor in the funding, which is led by Saudi-based Riyad Taqnia Fund (RTF), with UAE Exchange Group also participating.

    Asia

    TrueMoney finds a niche in Myanmar’s mobile fintech space (Myanmar Times), Rated: AAA

    TrueMoney, one of the newest additions to the string of fintech firms vying for a slice of the mobile money market in Myanmar, is upping its game in the face of rising competition.

    TrueMoney, a Thai company, provides mobile financial services allowing users to deposit cash in mobile accounts online or at physical point-of-sale outlets and transfer cash equivalents to a network of agents domestically or overseas.

    In ASEAN, TrueMoney is the only fintech company to have established a mobile money network in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, allowing users to transfer money between these countries.

    TrueMoney is also the only mobile payments firm that allows Myanmar workers in Thailand to send money home, all within the hour.

    Around 80 per cent of the population do not have bank accounts in Myanmar, where most prefer to carry large wads of cash. With mobile money technology, many operators see the country leapfrogging bank accounts altogether.

    Middle East

    This UAE Startup Secured an Investment of US$ 5M, and is Planning on Expanding to Saudi Arabia (Startup Magazine), Rated: A

    The leading MENA’s peer to peer lending platform, Beehive, has managed to secure US$5 million investment as part of a Series A round Riyad TAQNIA Fund.

    Up to now, Beehive has successfully arranged the lending of over US$ 35 million (AED 130 million) to more than 200 business finance requests. In addition to that, it also registered more than 5,000 international investors.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

Thursday April 20 2017, Daily News Digest

real estate technology

News Comments Today’s main news: California SC finds arbitration agreement waiver unenforceable. BondMason first P2P provider to launch SIPP. China’s internet finance thrives as fraud fades. Marvelstone plans robo-advisor for family offices. Today’s main analysis: Real estate tech deals tick up. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 5 areas of fintech attracting investment. UK still fintech unicorn capital of Europe. Millennials favor search […]

real estate technology

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

China

APAC

News Summary

United States

California Supreme Court Finds Arbitration Agreement Waiver of ‘Public Right’ Unenforceable (JD Supra), Rated: AAA

On April 6, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in McGill v. Citibank, finding that a pre-dispute arbitration agreement was unenforceable to the extent it required the plaintiff to waive her right to seek public injunctive relief. According to the court, the right to pursue a public injunction constitutes an “unwaivable public right” under California law. Therefore, “a provision in any contract ― even a contract that has no arbitration provision ― that purports to waive, in all fora, the statutory right to seek public injunctive relief . . . is invalid and unenforceable under California law.”

The California court further explained that its partial unenforceability finding is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Mitsubishi Motors Corp. v. Soler Chrysler-Plymouth, Inc., 473 U.S. 614, 628 (1985). In that case, the Court stated that “[b]y agreeing to arbitrate a statutory claim, a party does not forgo the substantive rights afforded by the statute; it only submits to their resolution in an arbitrable, rather than a judicial forum.”

The court also acknowledged, but found no reason to address, the plaintiff’s related claim based on what is known under California law as the “Broughton-Cruz” rule, asserting that a request for a public injunction cannot be decided in arbitration. Finally, the decision remanded the case to the California Court of Appeals to consider ― if either party should raise the issue ― the question of whether the rest of the arbitration agreement remains enforceable in light of language contained in the most recent version of the underlying account agreement stating that, “if any portion of the arbitration provision is deemed invalid or unenforceable, the entire arbitration provision shall not remain in force.”

Pepper Points

  • The decision of the California Supreme Court in McGill v. Citibank will likely be appealed.
  • In light of this decision, providers of consumer products and services should review their existing arbitration agreements to determine whether the consumer’s ability to pursue a public injunction or other “public rights” is completely foreclosed.
  • McGill v. Citibank also highlights the risks of including language in an arbitration agreement (or in any contract) stating that the agreement will be invalid if any portion of the agreement is deemed invalid or unenforceable. Given the impossibility of predicting how courts may interpret even well-settled questions of law, standard severability language is always preferable unless different language is specifically mandated.

Five areas of fintech that are attracting investment (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

At the same time, some of the steam has come out of the sector. Overall investment and merger and acquisition activity in fintech almost halved from a record high of $46.7bn in 2015 to only $24.7bn last year, according to KPMG.

Another negative factor was the governance scandal last year at Lending Club, the biggest online lender in the US, combined with disappointing performances by some of its rivals, which turned investors off peer-to-peer lending.

China

Total fintech investment in Asia inched up to a new record of $8.6bn last year, although the number of deals fell by more than 8 per cent. More than half the region’s total fintech investment came from one deal: Ant Financial’s $4.5bn funding round.

Artificial intelligence

The launch of voice-activated assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Voice has opened up possibilities for making online banking easier for customers. Banks such as Capital One have already latched on to this trend.

Cyber security

Cyber security shot to the top of the boardroom agenda for banks after one of the biggest bank robberies in history was carried out by cyber thieves on the Bangladesh central bank via the Swift payments system in February 2016. The crooks made off with $81m that was on deposit at the US Federal Reserve.

Blockchain

Most big financial groups remain convinced of the potential for blockchain to revolutionise parts of their industry and several central banks are examining the potential for using the technology to create digital currencies. Venture capital investment in blockchain companies rose by a fifth to $544m last year, according to KPMG.

Insurtech

The insurance industry has been slower than other areas of finance to wake up to the digital disruption at its door. But recently start-ups such as So-sure, Friendsurance, Lemonade, Guevara and Brolly have emerged with plans to transform the sector. Venture capital investment in insurance technology companies doubled last year to almost $1.2bn, according to KPMG.

Real Estate Tech Deals Tick Up, But Still Well Below Peak (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

2016 was a banner year for real estate tech with over $2.6B in funding to the category across 277 deals. At the current run rate, 2017 could very well reach another consecutive funding high, even as deals are on track to come in slightly below last year’s total.

So far this year, real estate tech companies have received $733M across 61 deals.  At the current run-rate investment activity is on track to reach $2.9B invested across 247 deals.

On a quarterly basis, deals have materially declined since Q3’16.

Funding, on the other hand, has increased in each of the last three quarters and Q1’17 received the second-largest quarterly funding total ever, behind Q2’16.

Why I Don’t Believe in the Hybrid Advice Model (Lend Academy), Rated: A

On paper, it looks pretty good: let the robot do the simpler stuff, like a modern-portfolio-theory allocation between a few ETFs, and have a human being intervene to provide more sophisticated and personalized advice.

In practice, I think it’s nonsense. If you believe the market is truly efficient, then there’s no point in using an advisor, robot or human. Just invest in a broad market ETF and be done with it (except for tax harvesting).

If you think the market is efficient-ish, then low cost optimization is the solution. Go robot. If you think you need an active manager, you should read the trove of statistical analysis that demonstrate you’re simply paying for someone’s yacht. Indexes beat stockpickers [92% of time]…

It does make sense for robo-advisors to move to the hybrid model, since it allows them to differentiate and de-commoditize their service, but for their clients, not so much.

Machine learning algorithms have become so good in the last 10 years, that any number-crunching and quantitative decisions a smart but junior employee can do, the machine will do better, faster, and cheaper.

Wealthfront Now Offers Securities-Based Lending (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

As its first move into lending, robo-advice provider Wealthfront has revealed it will let clients borrow money against their investments, Reuters reports.

Along with robo rival Betterment, the robo-advisor has increased competition in the wealth management space against the likes of wirehouses Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, brokerages like Charles Schwab and even fund houses with direct-to-consumer offerings like Vanguard.

Investors with at least $100,000 with Wealthfront can now borrow up to 30% of their balance for loans for anything except purchasing more investments on the firm’s platform, the company announced Wednesday.

Reuters reports loans will cost between 3.25% and 4.5%, and any money a client deposits into their account after taking out a loan will pay off the balance rather than investments.

Edward Jones partners with SixThirty to support financial technology startups (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Financial services firm Edward Jones today announced a multi-year partnership with SixThirty, a St. Louis-based venture fund that invests in financial technology (FinTech) startup companies. Backed by the St. Louis Regional Chamber, SixThirty was founded in 2013 and to date has funded more than 25 startups across the globe.

As part of the partnership with SixThirty, Frank LaQuinta, a general partner with Edward Jones, has joined the organization’s Investment Committee which evaluates the investment pipeline and selects FinTech startups that SixThirty invests in.

Pi Capital Advises Money360 on $ 250 million South Korean Financing Vehicle (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Pi Capital International LLC (“Pi Capital”) is pleased to announce that it was the exclusive financial advisor and placement agent to Money360, Inc. for a structured debt facility of up to $250 million. The financing vehicle is designed to allow Money360 to employ funding as it provides commercial real estate loans to its U.S. client base. The fund provides Korean investors with a short-duration, high-yield fixed-income instrument.

“The fund raise by Pi Capital will allow us to substantially increase our assets under management,” said Evan Gentry, M360 Advisors’ CEO. “We believe this gives us a competitive advantage with an anticipated $250 million investment from one of South Korea’s most reputable financial institutions.”

ApplePie Capital Announces Appointment of Chief Development Officer and Franchise Finance Company Acquisition (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

ApplePie Capital, the first online lender solely dedicated to the franchise industry, today announced the appointment of franchise industry veteran Ronald Feldman as chief development officer, as well as the acquisition of Funding Solutions, LLC, a well-established national franchise lending consultancy that specializes in SBA, conventional and equipment finance loans. Feldman and Funding Solutions’ managing partner Randy Jones will join ApplePie’s leadership team.

These additions position ApplePie’s financial platform to exponentially expand upon its hallmarks of speed, flexibility and efficiency with new product options, an expanded network of lending sources and an extraordinary wealth of franchise finance expertise for its growing list of franchisor partners. Currently, ApplePie serves more than 40 franchisors including Orangetheory Fitness, Jimmy John’s, Jersey Mike’s and Marco’s Pizza.

Responsible for growing ApplePie’s brand portfolio and contributing to product strategy, Ronald Feldman comes to the company with more than 20 years of experience in franchise leadership and franchise financing.  He previously served as chief development officer at FranData, the industry leader in market research, and as a principal and co-founder of Franchise America Finance (FAF) and The Siegel Financial Group. Feldman was also an early franchisee of The Goddard School system. As an active advocate of the franchising business model, Feldman currently serves the International Franchise Association (IFA) as chair of the Supplier Forum Advisory Board and sits on both the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the association.  Feldman was awarded the Sid Feltenstein MVP Award for service to the IFA’s Political Action Committee (FRANPAC) in 2013.

Why More Millennials Would Rather Visit The Dentist Than Listen To Banks (Forbes), Rated: A

Unfortunately, some Millennial stereotypes are rooted in fact. A 2015 PWC survey showed that only 24% of us have basic financial knowledge, and even so, only 27% of us seek financial advice on saving and investing.

When it comes to jobs, we’re not the deadbeats that people assume. In fact, a 2015 Deloitte report found that 54% of Millennials had started or had planned to start their own businesses by year-end. Although we may work differently than generations past, many of us are passionate, entrepreneurial and looking to make a difference.

“Advisors need to understand how truly connected this new generation is to each other and to information.” When it comes to trusting a financial advisor, Kamine highlights this outsider oversight as a road block.

Millennials currently represent a meaningful fraction of U.S. wealth that will grow as baby boomers continue to pass down an astounding $30 trillion over the next 30 years. When this transfer of wealth happens, an estimated 66% of Millennials will fire their parents’ financial advisor, according to InvestmentNews Data.

This year, 86% of Millennials said they are interested in socially responsible investing, according to Morgan Stanley.

The Millennial Disruption Index reports 71% of us would rather go to the dentist than listen to what banks tell us. In our financial planning, we have shorter-term goals that we’re trying to align with the things we care about.

With an average age of 51, many advisors still build financial plans based on their view of a traditional life cycle with set ages for when we start a family, buy a house, climb the corporate ladder and retire. But their view is not our reality. Kamine adds, “Financial advice has been like a structured box without much creativity or understanding of the individual. Advisors need to become more dynamic because we’re revolting against structure. I’ve told my advisors I don’t envision buying a house for at least the next five years. And I’m definitely not focused on planning for retirement 40 to 50 years from now.”

Miami fintech company DadeSystems receives $ 2 million in funding (Miami Herald), Rated: A

DadeSystems, a Miami-based provider of account receivable automation solutions, raised $2 million in funding to accelerate its growth from Miami early-stage venture firm Ocean Azul Partners.

New GAO Study Examines Fintech Industry Regulation (Banking Journal), Rated: B

The report, the first in a series on regulation in the fintech industry, focuses specifically on marketplace lenders, mobile payments, digital wealth management platforms and distributed ledger (also known as blockchain) technology.

While the GAO did not issue any recommendations in the report, it noted that regulation of these four subsectors was varied depending on the types of products or services offered and the way in which they are delivered to consumers.

College Ave Student Loans Kicks off the Naked Financial Truth Digital Tour Featuring Financial Advice for Parents and Students (BusinessWire), Rated: B

College Ave Student Loans, the leading next-generation student loan fintech lender, has teamed up with America’s #1 College Life Expert Harlan Cohen to help families get comfortable with the uncomfortable when it comes to college and money. Hosted by Harlan Cohen, author of The Naked Roommate, the Naked Financial Truth Digital Tour will feature a series of free webinars and videos focused on financial advice, strategies and tips to help parents and students plan for post-secondary education.

The first webinar, “The 7 Biggest Financial Mistakes College Students Make (And How Parents Can Help)” will be held on Tuesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. ET. Registration for the webinar is free and available online at

Ben Franklin’s Fintech Accelerator is First of its Kind in the Region. These 8 Startups Made the Cut (Biz Journals), Rated: B

These eight companies — which are required to have a presence in the region to receive an investment — will begin the 12-week accelerator on April 24, meeting with mentors and advisors selected to help guide them toward growth and fundings. They run the gamut of the financial industry, from creating data visualizations of personal assets to a student loan repayment benefit program. Four focus on putting financial technology to use solving social issues.

  • Asset-Map (Philadelphia)
  • Bright Idea Energy (Philadelphia)
  • College Affordability (Wynnewood)
  • Factury (Silicon Valley and New York City)
  • FinPay (King of Prussia)
  • FixList (Philadelphia)
  • NeedsList (Philadelphia)
  • PeopleJoy (Philadelphia)

RayJay Adds Real-Time Client Updates to Planning Tools (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: B

In the next several weeks Raymond James is setting its sights on rolling out a revamped suite of “longevity” planning tools. The updated software comes with the kinds of bells and whistles that advisors might expect from a nearly five-year-old package – a “new look and feel” as well as a “more conversational design,” as company execs put it.

Other notable enhancements, they say, include more flexibility for analyzing portfolio return patterns and capabilities allowing real-time updates as clients’ household budgets and retirement goals change over time.

TAMARACK IMPLEMENTS ITS SALESFORCE.COM LEASE/LOAN ORIGINATOR FOR CHANNEL PARTNERS CAPITAL (NEF Association), Rated: B

Tamarack, a leader in providing independent software solutions in the equipment finance and commercial lending industry, has added Channel Partners Capital as its newest client to utilize Tamarack’s Lease/Loan Origination Accelerator on Salesforce.

Channel Partners, a leading provider of small business working capital loans, will benefit from added flexibility, streamlined operations and enhanced audit controls, as a result of using Tamarack’s Lease/Loan Origination Accelerator on Salesforce.

Tamarack’s Lease/Loan Origination Accelerator on Salesforce is a scalable solution offering users the ability to automate work queues,increase throughput of loans without additional head count and customize notifications from lead generation through to funding.

United Kingdom

UK is capital of Europe for fintech unicorns (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

The UK dominates the European financial technology industry, with figures showing it boasts more billion-dollar fintech companies than the rest of the continent put together.

Britain houses four fintech “unicorns” – companies valued at $1bn (£780m) or more – with a combined valuation of $18.5bn, according to a report by the technology investment bank GP Bullhound.

This compares to two in the rest of Europe, which are worth $4.6bn between them.

Globally, fintech investment grew slightly to $13.6bn, although there was a decrease in the number of investments from 942 to 840.

BondMason is first P2P provider to launch a SIPP product (AltFi), Rated: AAA

BondMason has become the first peer-to-peer service provider to launch a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) product. The service aims to offer investors a flexible and tax-efficient way to save for retirement.

The new retirement product, which selects loans across P2P lending platforms, will grant UK savers exposure to higher-return assets than traditional pension savings products. Starting from a minimum investment of £5,000.

Just Google it! Millennials favour search engines over financial advice (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

MILLENNIALS are favouring search engines over professional financial advice when it comes to managing their own money, research claims.

A poll of more than 2,000 adults by Zurich UK claims 15 per cent of millennials, referring to those aged 18-34, are turning to search engines such as Google instead of seeking professional financial advice, more than any other age group.

Only three per cent of 35-44 year olds and nine per cent of those aged 45-54 and over 55 respectively, opt for web-based information.

Asked why they eschew professional help, one in five millennials cited confidence in their ability to sort their own financial futures as a reason for not initially seeking professional help, while 37 per cent felt they do not earn enough to need to speak to a financial adviser, and almost a quarter said they were too young.

Loan searches on the internet ‘may affect credit rating’ (BBC), Rated: B

High Street bank TSB said some loan providers make a “hard mark” on credit files when someone asks for a loan price or quote.

TSB chief executive Paul Pester said: “We estimate that consumers are losing out by as much as £400m each year, which is going straight into the pockets of aggressive loans providers. It is time the industry comes clean on these costly underhand tactics.”

P2P lending is fast becoming the go-to option (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: B

P2P lending offers an innovative funding option for businesses – including developers – and is fast becoming the go-to option.

It’s essential that the development finance sector stays competitive and vibrant, and alternative lending allows that to happen. Far from just being a back-up for situations that the traditional lending sector can’t cater to, crowdfunding and P2P platforms can actually be a more efficient source of funding.

European Union

2018 is shaping up to be a regulatory nightmare for financial services (Information-age.com), Rated: AAA

Achieving compliance will not happen overnight. Indeed, MiFID II is widely considered to be one of the most sprawling pieces of financial legislation ever devised, and thus it presents numerous challenges. One of which being that recording calls will become mandatory for all areas of financial advice.

Then, if you add GDPR (the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation), coming into effect in May 2018, into the equation, 2018 is shaping up to be a regulatory nightmare for financial services firms. Under GDPR, we all have a‘ right to be forgotten’ or a right to erasure of all personal information held on us by a particular company. This places a duty on companies to be able to quickly access and delete the information they hold on specific individuals, on request.

However, comparing the responses of IT professionals and those responsible for managing Risk & Compliance within a business shows IT teams have a better overall understanding of the consequences of non-compliance. 62% of risk and compliance managers admitted to not knowing a company can be fined up to five million euros or 10 per cent of annual turnover, compared to only 42% of IT managers and decision makers.

Tinder for microloans: How to share lending risk with strangers (Russia Beyond the Headlines), Rated: A

A stranger’s photograph appears on your smartphone screen, and you decide whether to give him or her a loan or not. The money is not yours, but instead is provided by microfinance organizations. That’s the main difference from traditional American P2P (peer-to-peer) lending, and with Suretly you can earn or lose depending on whether the recipient of your largesse proves to be a reliable borrower or not.

Suretly is geared exclusively to short-term loans of up to one month; in other words, those with the highest interest.

The money itself is loaned by the microfinance organization that the borrower applies to, but only if they attract enough sureties to cover the whole amount, plus interest. Users share the risks, and depending on whether the individual returns the money or not, they can lose or earn from $1 to $10.

On the app, borrowers are divided into seven categories from A to G depending on their trustworthiness. The higher the risk that the loan won’t be repaid, the higher the price of its surety. The maximum commission is $1.5.

Australia

Goldfields Money makes Australian BaaS play with Singapore’s Instarem (Daily Fintech), Rated: AAA

Listed Australian deposit taking institution Goldfields Money (ASX:GMY) looks to be making good on its intention to become a leading player in the digital banking product distribution and BaaS market in Australia, announcing last week that it had signed an MoU with Singapore headquartered remittance fintech Instarem.

What is interesting about the MoU is the intent to move beyond remittance towards a broader banking play for cross-border SMEs and products orientated towards visa holders visiting or living in Australia.

The two companies should have a healthy market ready to capitalise on. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over the last 10 years the proportion of the Australian population born in China alone has increased from 1.2% to 2.2%, coming in just behind New Zealanders and British immigrants. Those born in India currently make up 1.9% of the population, while citizens from the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia collectively add up to further 2.7%.

Migration isn’t going away. And the degree to which an individual’s assets are spread across countries is also on the increase thanks to globalization.

China

China’s Internet finance thrives as fraud fades (XinhuaNet), Rated: AAA

China has four large state-owned banks, and state-owned enterprises generally have easier access to financing. Many small companies are troubled by the financing bottleneck, creating pent-up demand.

Meanwhile, working-class families struggle to figure out where to invest their savings to seek higher returns, and many of them move money online. The country, home to the world’s biggest online population, also has a number of groups, such as college students, who are underserved by banks.

By March 2017, 3,607 Chinese P2P lending platforms had run into trouble or been forced to close, with only 2,281 platforms in normal operation.

On top of P2P lending, Internet finance also covers business such as third-party online payment, crowd funding, and other financial services.

Risk caused by the Internet finance industry has wide repercussions. Some P2P lending platforms resembled hybrid financial institutions providing clients with various financial services online, analysts said.

Businesses such as P2P lending, Internet-based insurance, third-party online payment, and online asset management were among key areas for strengthened supervision, industry observers said.

Internet finance last week appeared on the top banking regulator’s list of ten most important areas for enhanced risk control, with targeted measures to be taken to stem emergence of a financial crisis.

Wang said 2017 will be a watershed year for Chinese Internet finance as the rules are tightened, bringing the industry out of the wilderness.

Tishman Speyer, CreditEase team up to invest $ 1.4b in China (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

New York-based developer Tishman Speyer is teaming up with China’s CreditEase Wealth Management to invest $1.4 billion in China and other countries within the next three years.

The strategic partnership is aimed to extend “global cooperation in resource sharing, fund investment, buyouts and business development,” the firms said in a joint statement.

APAC

Marvelstone Capital plans a robo advisor platform for family offices (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Singapore-based Marvelstone Capital plans a robo advisor platform for the under-served family office market in Asia.

The platform is being developed with Singaporean fintech startup Smartfolios, and will be launched in the third quarter of 2017. It will be available on desktop and mobile for Marvelstone Capital’s clients.

Marvelstone will target family offices based in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, as well as India. The company points out that Malaysia is an important market and Cho added: “It is a huge market and the culture is quite unique as well, there’s a huge Shariah-compliant market, so it is definitely one of the most important markets for us.”

No Uber Moment for Fintech Just Yet (Broadridge), Rated: AAA