Thursday July 25 2019, Weekly News Digest

marketplace lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Equifax to pay up to $700M in data breach settlement. MoneyLion raises $160M. Monzo, Starling win top rankings among banking apps. Harmoney makes maiden profit. Today’s main analysis: Peter Renton’s quarterly MPL results – Q1 2019 (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Metro areas with the biggest jump in private million-dollar […]

The post Thursday July 25 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

marketplace lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Internationnal

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Equifax will pay up to $ 700 million to settle data breach lawsuits (CBS News), Rated: AAA

Equifax will pay up to $700 million to settle with the Federal Trade Commission and others over the massive 2017 data breach that exposed the private data of nearly 150 million people. Consumers are eligible to claim as much as $20,000 in cash payments, the FTC said.

The proposed settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, if approved by the federal district court Northern District of Georgia, will provide up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers, a $100 million civil money penalty, and other relief.

MoneyLion Announces $ 160M in Funding  (Finanzen), Rated: AAA

MoneyLion today announced $160 million in funding — $60 million in previously unannounced financing and a $100 million Series C funding round.

The round was co-led by Edison Partners and Greenspring Associates and included strategic investment from Capital One, a diversified bank that offers a broad array of financial products and services to over 45 million consumers. The round also included investment from MetaBank and FinTech Collective. Upon completion of the Series C round, the company will have raised over $200 million in equity financing.

OnDeck Taps Bank Veteran to Lead ODX Sales and Strategy (OnDeck), Rated: A

OnDeck today announced the appointment of Lonnie Hayes as the Head of Sales and Strategy for ODX, a wholly owned subsidiary of OnDeck that assists banks with streamlining and digitizing small business credit origination.

My Quarterly Marketplace Lending Results – Q1 2019 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

My overall returns for the twelve months ending March 31, 2019 was 6.09%. This is up from 5.35% that I reported in Q4 and 4.77% in Q3. My original six LendingClub and Prosper accounts had another full percentage point jump. Last quarter I reported the returns on those six accounts had jumped from 3.19% in Q3 to 4.16% in Q4. We see this quarter they are at 5.18%. This is quite a remarkable turnaround and while I still think 5% is not a high enough return for unsecured consumer lending, it is certainly moving in the right direction.

Source: Lend Academy

Metros With the Biggest Jump in Private Million-Dollar Businesses (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • Austin, Texas topped the list with a 15.1% increase in privately held companies surpassing $1 million in revenue between 2014 and 2016. The number of Austin firms in that category rose by 1,857.
  • Jacksonville, Fla. and Riverside, Calif. came in a nose behind, with an increase just under 15%. The number of firms rose by 963 and 2,359, respectively.
  • Buffalo, N.Y. was the only metro on our list to lose businesses with seven figure revenues: The city in upstate New York was down by four such firms, a reduction of 0.1%.
  • Baltimore and Oklahoma City made the smallest gains, at just over 1%, or 187 and 117 businesses, respectively.
  • Los Angeles had the largest number of firms to pass the million-dollar mark – 6,664 – followed closely by New York at 6,568. Those large numbers represent increases of almost 8% and 5.2%, respectively, leaving them in the 16th and 29th spots on the list.

Lendio Marries SMB Loan Management With Accounting (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Small business loan marketplace Lendio has announced the acquisition of bookkeeping software provider Billy.

press release Tuesday (July 23) said Lendio is rebranding Billy to Sunrise, a small business bookkeeping solution that integrates accounting, cash flow management, loan management and credit data into a single solution.

How AI can advance the cause of fair lending (American Banker), Rated: A

The rightful prohibition of ZIP codes in underwriting is one example of how financial regulators ensure fairness by protecting against discriminatory lending. But the increasing reliance on artificial intelligence and machine learning, or “automated insights” as I prefer to call it, has made testing a wide variety of inputs for specific outcomes a sophisticated, scientific process carried out by companies. Lawmakers should consider these varied new data options when they evaluate machine learning during a hearing later this week.

Aura Closes $ 28.7 Million Expansion Loan from Angel Island Capital (Business Wire), Rated: A

Aura, a mission-driven financial technology company that offers affordable loans to hard-working families, today announced it has closed $28.7 million in residual debt financing from Angel Island Capital (“AIC”) to help the company grow and keep pace with the demand for its loans.

Drip Capital raises $ 25 mn from Accel, Sequoia (IBS Intelligence), Rated:
A

Drip Capital, a technology-enabled cross border trade financier, has raised $25 million in Series B funding from investors led by Accel Partners. Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Wing VC and Y Combinator also participated in the round.

More options to save on student loans at Credible (Credible), Rated: A

With Ascent and MEFA on board, Credible’s student loan marketplace now provides access to eight lenders, including traditional banks, online lenders, and state student loan authorities.

This is how fintech solutions are speeding up mortgage closing times (Housingwire), Rated: A

Financial technology is transforming the mortgage industry by making the origination process more convenient and secure for borrowers.

In 2018, BOK began leveraging Roostify’s digital platform to provide its customers a secure way to upload, send and receive loan documents remotely.

Financial services newcomer Cross River blurs line between fintech, banking (ROI), Rated: A

Few would expect it was a good idea to start a bank right as the recession raged a decade ago.

Fewer still would say any bankers eager to do that, as Cross River Bank did, would go on to become one of the state’s most impressive growth stories.

Fitch Ratings: Questions Increase Around Fringe Players in U.S. ABS (ABL Advisor), Rated: A

While U.S. core ABS performance remains strong due largely to low unemployment, many investors are zeroing in their questions on some of the sector’s non-core assets, according to Fitch Ratings in its 2019 Virtual Investor Video Series for structured finance.

Should fintechs be regulated like banks? (BAI.org), Rated: A

According to the U.S. Treasury report, more than 3,330 new technology-based financial services industry were founded from 2010 to the third quarter of 2017, creating industry investment worth more than $22 billion: a thirteen-fold increase since 2010. Lending by these firms now makes up more than 36 percent of all U.S. personal loans, up from less than 1 percent in 2010.

Examples of Financial Services Business Ideas (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

If you’re financially savvy, you can start your own peer-to-peer lending business. This is when you give small amounts of money to a business or private person, while collecting interest on the returns. Before you start lending out money, here is a successful business you can learn some strategies from:

Business Name: RainFin

Website: 

Established date: 2012

About the business:

RainFin offers an online marketplace that enables borrowers to access affordable debt capital and investors to access new asset classes. RainFin is a registered credit provider and aims to remove traditional costs and barriers for borrowers and investors through innovative technology, designed to create a transparent and fair marketplace.

NASAA Warning on Initial Loan Procurements: “Crowdfunding Meets Blockchain” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

NASAA describes initial loan procurements as a crowdfunding method that allows borrowers and creditors to enter into loan agreements through legally binding smart contracts stored on the blockchain.

To quote NASAA:

“Companies using blockchain technology need to raise capital just like any other company. One way these companies accomplish that is through initial coin offerings (ICOs), which require the new company to create tokens that can be sold to investors and used for the development of new projects. An alternative fundraising method is catching the interest of investors. Initial loan procurements allow companies to raise capital without the added burden of creating tokens.”

Examples of Online Business Ideas (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

Online real estate investing platforms now exist, and they enable anyone to invest a percentage into a property instead of the whole amount. If you have the right skills, you can start your own online business.

Before you launch your business, learn a few strategies from this example of an online business:

Business Name: Real Estate Crowdfunding

Website: 

About the business:

Real Estate Crowdfunding offers its clients lower fees, the option to invest in a development nearby and transparency, which enables their customers to find out more about projects before investing.

Mynd Property Management Acquires HomeUnion, a Real Estate Investing Portal (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Mynd Property Management, a modern property management company powered by on-the-ground experts and technology, has acquired HomeUnion, a company that enables investing in small residential properties in 20 U.S. markets. The acquisition comes on the heels of Mynd’s recent merger with RentVest, which doubled Mynd’s property management footprint to more than 8,000 small residential rental units in a total of 16 markets.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a settlement with Think Finance, a payday lender that has targeted nearly 80,000 Pennsylvanians.
United Kingdom

Monzo and Starling took first and second place in a ranking of banking apps (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

UK-based Monzo has taken the top spot in a ranking of bank apps by MoneySavingExpert.com, beating out both peers and incumbents, The Irish News reports. Seventy-eight percent of the consumers surveyed said the neobank’s app had plenty of features and strong usability.

Competing neobank Starling picked up second place, with 70% of consumers approving of its app’s features and usability. The rest of the top five was rounded out by Barclays (57%), Lloyds Bank (49%), and NatWest (47%).

Source: Business Insider

Lord Myners heaps further pressure on FCA over Lendy failings (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FORMER City minister Lord Myners is keeping the pressure on the Financial Conduct Authority over its decision to authorise now-collapsed peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy.

A series of written parliamentary questions show Lord Myners is seeking answers on whether better regulation is needed and the creditor status of Lendy investors.

Lessons from Lendy (Brismo), Rated: A

– History of troubled lender shows the importance of independent verification of credit performance
– This is not a function the regulator can reasonably be expected to undertake
– Marketplace lending will fail to access deep pools of funding until these lessons are learned

Innovate Finance expands national network with three regions added (ComputerWeekly), Rated: A

Last week Innovate Finance announced the addition of Fintech Northern Ireland, Fintech Wales and Fintech West to the national network.

Growth Street pledges £75m overdraft funding for East Anglia (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

GROWTH Street has pledged to commit £75m of overdraft-style financing to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in East Anglia.

The peer-to-peer business lender, which provides a revolving credit facility for borrowers, said it is already 10 per cent towards its target having lent £7.5m in the region.

Is Short-Term Financing Right For Your Business? (Nav), Rated: A

If you need a short-term capital boost, there are a number of options available to you. Here are a few short-term financing examples that you may want to consider.

Superdry collaborating with Klarna (Fibre2Fashion), Rated: B

British contemporary fashion brand Superdry and leading payments provider Klarna have entered into a collaboration, enabled by Adyen. Superdry customers can now use the Pay later or Pay in 3 in the UK, and later this month will be able to Pay in 4 in the US. This will make everything from jackets to jeans more accessible to Superdry customers globally.

OakNorth completes £11.4m loan to Ocea for major new residential development in Redhill, Surrey (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

LendInvest boosts business development team with new hires (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

Nigel Robbins has joined LendInvest from specialist mortgage lender Magellan to source deals across the South West of England.

European Union

In-house marketing at Klarna: Interview with Elin Svahn (BannerFlow), Rated: AAA

In-house marketing is transforming the industry. It is a movement rising in popularity year on year, with over 91% of European decision-makers moving operations in-house.

How do you structure your in-house marketing at Klarna?

When I started, Klarna was in the process of a complete restructuring of their in-house operations. The brand was divided into many separate domains, with different teams having different priorities, and ‘issues’ to solve.

Today, we have four marketing domains: Branding, Merchant Aquisition and Growth, Communications and PR, Consumer Growth and Loyalty. Within each of these domains, we have different competencies. So for example, within the Branding domain, we have a mix of marketers, designers, and copywriters.

AdviceRobo has launched an open banking capability for lenders (Business Insider), Rated: A

AdviceRobo focuses on offering credit risk management solutions, and its latest API product enables lenders to categorize transactional data and predict defaults to make sound credit decisions.

The Netherlands-based fintech’s new API, dubbed CatRobo, is powered by PSD2 — a regulation that came into effect in January 2018 forcing banks to open up their data to third-parties.

Here’s what it means: The API will help lenders make better use of their data, better compete with alt lenders, and lend out more cash to underserved consumers.

Source: Business Insider
International

Justin Sun denied reports that he had postponed a charity lunch with the investing guru after attracting regulatory scrutiny. In China, where executives sometimes vanish, such reports are not unusual.

Embedded finance, or why fintech mega VC rounds have become so common (TechCrunch), Rated: A

This morning, it was personalized banking app MoneyLion,  which raised $100 million at a near unicorn valuation. Last week, it was N26, which raised another $170 million on top of its $300 million round earlier this yearBrex raised another $100 million last month on top of its $125 million Series C from late last year. Meanwhile, companies like payments platform Stripesavings and investment platform Raisintraveler lender Uplift, mortgage backers Blend and Better, and savings depositor Acorns have also raised massive new rounds this year.

Cryptocurrency loan site YouHodler exposed unencrypted user credit cards and transactions (TechCrunch), Rated: A

A cryptocurrency loan startup exposed reams of customer credit cards and user transactions for almost a month — because it forgot to protect the server with a password.

Security researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar found the database belonging to YouHodler, a lending platform designed for cryptocurrency, which claims to have processed $10 million in loans to more than 3,500 customers.

The database contained 86 million lines of daily updating records of the lending platform, containing streams of logs and computer commands based on users’ interactions on the front-end website. That also included sensitive information such as every time a transaction or a loan went through.

Source: TechCrunch

Crypto Lending Market ‘Continues to Experience Sustained Growth’ (CryptoGlobe), Rated: A

In the Q2 2019 edition of its quarterly ‘Digital Asset Lending Snapshot’ report, Genesis Capital made several interesting observations:

  • At the end of Q2 2019, the total value of “active loans outstanding” was $452 million versus $181 million in Q1 2019, i.e. a quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) increase of 149%.
  • Originations went up 48% QoQ, which means that Genesis Capital has just experienced its fifth straight quarter of “strong growth.”
  • Genesis Capital has originated over $2.3 billion in “loans and borrows” since the business was launched in March 2018.
Source: CryptoGlobe

What Is DeFi? (Bitcoin Market Journal), Rated: A

DeFi platforms leverage smart contract technology to provide decentralized financial solutions, such as digital currency-based peer-to-peer lending, dollar-pegged stablecoins, or investable tokenized asset baskets. The existing DeFi market is still at an early stage so we can expect more decentralized financial services that operate on a permissionless, transparent, and efficient manner on the blockchain to materialize soon.

Decentralised Finance in a centralised world (Business Times), Rated: A

THE growth of global financial markets has created enormous wealth, especially benefitting a few players who are closely connected to the world’s main financial centres.

The centralised nature of the industry has enabled these powerful intermediaries to position themselves in the middle of the system and thus extract rents from other participants.

This oligopolistic structure has stifled competition and decreased efficiency, while increasing the cost of financial services.

Time for a rethink? (Securities Lending Times), Rated: A

David Lewis of FIS discusses the dip in the securities finance industry’s global revenues and explains the factors changing the dynamics of the industry

Finacity Facilitates the Addition of UK Entities to USD $ 115 Million Receivables Securitization (Virtual Strategy Magazine), Rated: A

Finacity Corporation (“Finacity”), a member of the Greensill family of companies, and DZ Bank AG Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank (“DZ Bank”) announces the addition of Volt Information Sciences, Inc. (“Volt”) United Kingdom subsidiaries as sellers of receivables to Volt’s existing trade receivables securitization. The 2-year facility supported by Volt’s US and UK receivables allows for up to USD $115 million in funding with a $35 million sublimit for letters of credit.

Australia

Harmoney makes maiden profit (MSN), Rated: AAA

The company, which is partly owned by Heartland Bank (17 percent share) and Trade Me (15 percent), made a net profit of $7.2 million in the year ended in March, compared with a loss of $1.8m the year earlier.

Its revenue was up 25 percent to $32.9m, with net interest income of $728,000 – nearly 10 times more than the year before.

Why bank hybrids are far too expensive (Cuffelinks), Rated: AAA

Yield chasing has spilled into nearly every asset class, with Australian listed bank hybrids no exception. The current average margin of bank bills at +2.40% is close to the lowest level for at least seven years.

Source: Cuffelinks

Alternatives to bank hybrids

2. Marketplace lending

Institutional and retail investors can both access marketplace lending (also known as peer-to-peer lending) via a growing number of online platforms. There’s a mixture of residential and commercial property secured loans available, as well as unsecured business and personal loans. For more conservative investors, loans backed by residential property with an LVR of 60% or less typically yield 5-7%. Commercial property loans, business loans and personal loans usually come with higher yields. Investors in riskier loans should be expecting to lose a portion of their total return when some of the borrowers default and should set their return expectations accordingly.

India

India’s FinTech Cube Wealth expands asset management biz in UK, Hong Kong (IBS Intelligence), Rated: AAA

Cube Wealth, an Indian FinTech start-up for financial planning and wealth management, is entering the global markets in this quarter (July-September) of 2019. The plan is to set up a tech-enabled asset management company in the UK, Hong Kong and Switzerland to start with so that customers in those markets can get an access to some leading fund managers in the emerging markets, including India.

Southeast Asia

Hedge Funds Help Fuel Southeast Asia Consumer Lending Boom (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

A small but rising number of hedge funds are being established to help finance the boom in online and peer-to-peer lending across Southeast Asia.

Pilgrim Asia Consumer Finance Fund, founded by Brian Yonghui Tan and Paul Sheng, aims to raise up to $20 million in its first year and generate a return for investors of around 8% per annum. It will charge a 2% management fee.

OJK Condemns Fintech Lender over Indecent Post of Debtor (Tempo), Rated: A

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) condemns fintech lender Incash for posting a photo of one of its debtors online, with captions saying she was willing to have sex for money so she could pay her debts to the online lender.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday July 25 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday May 2 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintech deals india china

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck publishes Q1 financial results. LendingClub to move 350 jobs out of San Francisco to Utah. Salary Finance picks SoFi co-founder Dan Macklin as CEO. Klarna rolls out payment plans for physical stores in UK. HeZhong International sets terms for IPO. India tops China as Asia’s top fintech funding source. Today’s […]

The post Thursday May 2 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

fintech deals india china

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Reports First Quarter 2019 Financial Results (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck today announced first quarter 2019 net income of $5.9 million, Adjusted Net Income of $8.3 million and gross revenue of $110.2 million.

Net income was $5.9 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, and decreased from the prior quarter’s net income of $14.0 million, 0.18 per diluted share, primarily due to higher loan loss provision, higher operating expenses and an accrual for income taxes.  Net income significantly improved from a loss of $1.9 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, in the year-ago period reflecting higher interest income from asset growth.

Adjusted Net Income was $8.3 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, and decreased from $15.9 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, in the prior quarter and increased from $6.4 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, in the year-ago period, reflecting the  aforementioned drivers.

Loans grew 3% sequentially and 19% from a year ago to $1.2 billion. Originations were $636 million, down from $658 million in the fourth quarter and up 8% from $591 million in the year-ago quarter.  The annual growth was broad-based with increases from both domestic and international operations as well as in both term loan and line of credit offerings. The average term loan size was unchanged sequentially at $53 thousand and was down from $58 thousand a year ago. Unit volume decreased 5% sequentially and increased 15% from the year-ago quarter.

Gross revenue was $110.2 million, essentially unchanged from the prior quarter, and up 22% from the year-ago quarter driven by higher interest income. Loan Yield of 35.6% decreased from 36.6% in the prior quarter reflecting a decline in portfolio performance while pricing was generally stable, and was unchanged from the year-ago quarter.

Interest expense of $11.3 million was essentially unchanged sequentially and decreased from a year ago despite a higher debt balance as borrowing rates improved. The Cost of Funds Rate continued to improve to 5.4%, a 20 basis point sequential improvement and a 140 basis point improvement from the year-ago quarter, as we refinanced debt at lower costs. First quarter financing activity included the extension and upsizing of four debt facilities aggregating to $595 million with improved terms.

Net Interest Margin was 29.5%, down from 30.0% the prior quarter as lower asset yields more than offset the impact from improved borrowing costs.  The increase in Net Interest Margin from 27.8% in the year-ago quarter was driven by improved borrowing costs.

Provision for loan losses increased to $43.3 million and the Provision Rate increased to 6.8%. The 15+ Day Delinquency Ratio increased 120 basis points sequentially to 8.7%.  Approximately half of the increase was in loans 15-89 days delinquent reflecting credit testing and economic trends, and the balance was in loans 90-days or more delinquent reflecting the change in our collection strategy for late-stage delinquencies. The Net Charge-off Rate increased to 12.2% and remains near the low end of our 12%-14% target range. The Reserve Ratio increased 30 basis points sequentially and 50 basis points from a year ago to 12.5%, reflecting portfolio quality trends and a higher proportion of 90-day plus delinquent loans, which have higher reserves.

Operating expenses increased from the comparable periods to $48.3 million, reflecting growth in the business and investments in our strategic initiatives, primarily technology and analytics. The Efficiency Ratio was 43.8%, up from 41.1% the prior quarter but improved from 49.3% in the year-ago quarter, while our Adjusted Efficiency Ratio* of 41.0% increased from 39.4% in the prior quarter and 40.1% in the year-ago quarter.

Provision for income taxes was $1.7 million compared to zero in 2018 when taxable income was completely offset by operating loss carryforwards. The effective tax rate was 24% and reflected a 21% U.S. federal rate, local and state income taxes, and losses in international subsidiaries.

Total assets increased 5% sequentially and 18% from a year ago to $1.2 billion primarily reflecting loan growth. Cash and cash equivalents was unchanged from year end at $60 million and decreased from $70 million a year ago. Other assets and other liabilities increased over the comparable periods as we recorded a net $28 million right-of-use asset in other assets and an equivalent increase in other liabilities stemming from the adoption of a new lease accounting standard. The 3% sequential increase in debt to $842 million was consistent with the growth in loans.

Total OnDeck stockholders’ equity of $309 million increased $10 million, or 3%, from year end and $45 million, or 17%, from a year ago.  Book value per diluted common share outstanding of $3.89 increased from $3.77 at year end and $3.40 a year ago.

Food Truck Satisfies as OnDeck Small Business of the Month (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

OnDeck today announced that Me So Hungry, a food truck business based in California, is its Small Business of the Month for April 2019. Owned by brothers Cory and Mike Ewing, Me So Hungry is the first food truck business to receive the OnDeck recognition.

LendingClub to slash San Francisco office, move 350 jobs to Utah (Mercury News), Rated: AAA

LendingClub, the online-loan marketplace, plans to wind down customer support operations in its home city of San Francisco and shift staff to Utah as it seeks to trim costs.

In an internal memo to staff reviewed by Bloomberg, Chief Executive Officer Scott Sanborn said LendingClub aims to have its teams completely out of San Francisco by December.

About 350 jobs will shift to Lehi, Utah, where LendingClub recently opened a new office.

SoFi Co-Founder Steps Back Onstage with Salary Finance (newKerala), Rated: AAA

Salary Finance announces SoFi co-founder Dan Macklin will be joining as CEO, Salary Finance Inc. (the US arm of the group).

Strong GDP Growth Continues (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

LendingTree Study Finds Tesla Drivers Have Highest Average Credit Scores (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its study ranking car brands by their buyers’ average credit score. Tesla buyers have the highest with a score of 740. Chrysler buyers have the lowest scores, with an average score of 656.

Key findings

  • Luxury brand buyers occupied the top spots. TeslaPorsche and Lexus lead with average credit scores of 740, 727 and 699 respectively.
  • Chrysler buyers had the lowest average credit score at 656, but it’s worth noting that this still falls in the “fair” range. It’s also right around the average credit score for all used car purchases.
  • For most auto makes, a credit score in the good range (670-739) was enough to be approved for an auto loan. Of the 30 different makes analyzed, 22 had an average approved credit score fall into that range

Read the full report here.

Understanding Sequential Pay Structures (DBRS), Rated: AAA

In a January 2019 newsletter, DBRS discussed the Evolution of the Shifting Interest Structure in residential mortgage-backed security (RMBS) transactions. Another common structure in RMBS transactions is the sequential pay structure.

The sequential pay structure is one of the most elementary and straight-forward structures in RMBS. Post-crisis, the sequential pay structure and its variations have been widely used in seasoned re-performing loan (RPL) and non-Qualified Mortgage (QM) transactions. Such structure largely benefits the senior classes in payment priorities over the subordinates.

Source: DBRS

Read the full report here.

Finitive Raises $ 6 Million Series Seed Round Led By Atomic Labs (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Finitive (www.finitive.com), a financial technology platform providing institutional investors with direct access to alternative lending investments, announced today that the firm raised approximately $6 million in a series seed financing. The round was led by Atomic Labs with participation from Ninepoint Partners – one of Canada’s leading private credit fund managers – as well as other investors and members of the management team.

Goldman Sachs, Regions help raise $ 55M for construction-lending fintech (American Banker), Rated: A

Built Technologies, a construction lending fintech platform, has raised $55 million in funding through Goldman Sachs and a handful of investors including Regions Financial, the company said Monday.

The Nashville, Tenn., company finished $31 million in series B funding through Goldman Sachs with the remainder amount raised by venture capitalists and Regions. The funding will help the 5-year-old fintech invest in research and development while building out its national client base, according to the firm’s CEO and co-founder, Chase Gilbert.

A busy month for fintech funding (American Banker), Rated: A

Novo, a challenger institution in the field of small-business banking, and the no-code platform provider Unqork held Series A funding rounds.

The online lender Upstart, which raised $50 million in a Series D round, says it can both lower loan loss rate and increase the number of customers underwritten.

Extend is building a platform to distribute digital cards by partnering with payment networks and card issuers. Another startup, MotoRefi, claims it can save consumers an average of $100 a month on vehicle refinancing by connecting them to trusted credit unions and community banks.

Moving Beyond Financial Literacy to Financial Empowerment (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Some of my thinking was prompted by this recent column in American Banker by Jennifer Tescher, the CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI).

There are several companies in this space doing great work in creating high quality products: EvenPayActivTrueConnect and HoneyBee all offer options to employers that help their employees who need access to quick financing. Even has a groundbreaking deal with Walmart that has resulted in 300,000 employees using their pay advance app.

MoneyLion has four million users and they are focused on ending financial stress for all Americans by taking a holistic approach and being proactive in providing help. Dave helps the 30 million people who are hit by overdraft fees each year by advancing $75 from their next paycheck. Tally is a fully automated debt manager to help consumers get out of credit card debt.

Inside Varo Money’s three-year quest for a bank charter (American Banker), Rated: A

Just ask Colin Walsh, the co-founder and CEO of Varo Money, who began discussions with regulators three years ago to charter a national bank. Though the fintech won approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency last year to move forward, it is still waiting on an answer from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Cross River Teams Up With RS2 To Offer New Digital Banking Experience (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Cross River, a bank that delivers advanced financial and compliance products/services to the fintech industry, announced on Monday it has teamed up with RS2 to offer a new digital banking experience. Through the collaboration, Cross River and RS2 will provide merchants with a global payment experience for processing credit and debit card transactions, as well as digital banking for their workers and consumers.

Blend’s Erin Collard: Mortgages are the data superset of every other financial product (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Financial technology company Blend began building its platform by helping traditional institutions digitize mortgages, working with firms like Wells Fargo, US Bank and some regional banks and credit unions.

New York launches its own ‘mini CFPB’ (American Banker), Rated: A

New York has created a statewide financial protection division that will focus solely on corporate compliance and consumer issues, following similar efforts by New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The New York State Department of Financial Services on Monday named Katherine A. Lemire, a former assistant U.S. attorney, to be executive deputy superintendent of the agency’s newly created Consumer Protection and Financial Enforcement division.

Think Finance to Pay CFPB $ 7 for Loan Violations (Bloomberg Law), Rated: A

A bankrupt payday lender will have to pay a $7 civil penalty to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over nearly $50 million in loans it issued in states where they were not legal, according to bankruptcy court filings.

Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana granted a stay in the CFPB’s litigation against Think Finance LLC on April 30, pending activity in the bankruptcy court.

Capital One drives auto finance deal with CarGurus (Finextra), Rated: A

CarGurus today announced a partnership with Capital One Auto Finance that will benefit both consumers and dealers.

The Most Powerful Women in Banking (American Banker), Rated: A

Camille Burckhart, Popular Inc.

Chief information and digital officer

Jacqueline Howard, Ally Financial

Senior director, corporate citizenship

Carrie Lichter, Fifth Third

Chief operational risk officer

Now you can pay for your flights in instalments with these booking companies (Lonely Planet), Rated: A

Online travel apps CheapOair and OneTravel will soon operate a new feature that allows customers to pay for their airfare in instalments. It means that customers don’t have to pay for the full cost of their flight upfront and can instead spread the cost out into more manageable payments that suit individual budgets, choosing between three-, six- or 12-month instalments. Fareportal, the company that operates CheapOair and OneTravel, said its partnering with online lender Affirm to introduce the new feature.

For example, a $300 (£230) purchase at 10% APR spread out over three months would cost $101.69 (£78) per month.

A recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed that Mississippi, Nebraska and Maine are the three states where small to medium businesses have grown the most year over year. This is according to sales in Amazon stores, specifically. More than half of the items sold in Amazon stores are from small to medium businesses.

The top 10 fastest-growing states breaks down as follows:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Nebraska
  3. Maine
  4. Texas
  5. Indiana
  6. Colorado
  7. North Dakota
  8. Vermont
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Missouri

The third-party physical product sales, which is what gets sold on Amazon stores primarily, passed $160 billion in 2018. Nearly 20% of rural small businesses generate 80% of their revenue by selling products online.

Unlocking the Digital Potential of Rural America (American Innovators), Rated: AAA

Unlocking the digital potential for rural small businesses across the country could add $47 billion to the U.S. GDP per year.

Increased adoption could grow annual revenues of rural small businesses by more than 21% over the next three years – the equivalent of $84.5 billion per year – with states in the South seeing the greatest benefit

Online tools and technology have the highest potential impact on rural small businesses with revenue under $100,000

Read the full report here.

Proof of Work: the slow but steady process of institutional adoption (The Block), Rated: A

Antonio from dYdX

dYdX is a decentralized exchange for margin trading, borrowing, lending, and eventually derivatives. dYdX allows traders to trustlessly short and get leverage on crypto assets.

  • DAI lending rate has been high due to strong demand to go leveraged long on ETH, peaking at over 77% APR returns for lenders over the weekend

Brendan from Dharma

Dharma is the easiest place to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies. It enables non-custodial peer-to-peer lending through smart contracts on Ethereum.

  • #ReFi with #DeFi continued in full force, leading to over 1.7m in borrow volume (nearly all Dai-denominated)

Lendio Franchise Opens in Erie to Expand Access to Capital for Local Businesses (Lendio), Rated: B

Lendio has announced the opening of a new Lendio franchise in Erie. Through the Lendio franchise program, John Fee, a local business owner himself, will help other entrepreneurs in the community apply for loans, review their options and secure funding, easing their financial hurdles.

Fundbox Selected By Brandwise To Power Net Terms For Suppliers, Agencies, And Retailers (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Today Fundbox announced that the sales technology leader Brandwise and Fundbox have entered into an exclusive agreement whereas Fundbox will be Brandwise’s business-to-business (B2B) trade financing partner.  Brandwise will leverage Fundbox’s business capital platform to power financing terms within the Brandwise ecosystem of 250,000 retailers.

White Oak Commercial Finance Adds to its ABL Originations Team (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

White Oak Commercial Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, announced today the appointment of Michael Goletz to Director of ABL Originations, covering the Midwest U.S. region. Mr. Goletz joins from WNB Specialty Finance, a division of Woodforest National Bank, where he was responsible for sourcing and structuring asset-based lending debt facilities ranging from $5 million to $25 million.

Urjanet Announces 2019 SPARK Award Winners (PR Web), Rated: B

Urjanet, the global leader in utility data aggregation, today announced the winners of its 2019 SPARK Awards: AvidXchange, Bright Power, SimpleBills and Guppy – four companies at the forefront of using utility bill data to better serve their customers, community partners, and the environment.

  • Most Innovative Use of Utility Data: SimpleBills. In addition to utility bill management, residents can use SimpleBills to report their utility bill payment history to credit bureaus through a unique opt-in service.
  • Leader in Financial Inclusion: Guppy. Through its partnership with Urjanet to acquire user-permissioned utility data, Guppy enables greater access to financial services for consumers, as well as background and ID checks for businesses, all while keeping the end user in control of their own data.
United Kingdom

Klarna gets physical: All UK payment methods now available in-store (Fintech Finance), Rated: AAA

Global payments provider Klarna has today announced that all its alternative payment options are available both in-store as well as online.

Klarna’s alternative payment options include:

  • Shoppers can pay later, up to 30 days after delivery of goods
  • Shoppers can pay for purchases in 3 equal instalments collected monthly
  • For higher-ticket items, consumers can use Klarna’s consumer finance in 6-36 month payment plans

£1bn debt fund launched for UK non-bank lenders (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

EUROPEAN Risk Capital (ERG) has launched a £1bn multi-client debt programme for UK-based, mid-market non-bank lenders.

The programme – titled ‘CreditStream’ – has a minimum deal target size of £10m, making it primarily suited to mid-sized lenders including bridging and development lenders, second charge mortgagees, consumer and SME funders, auto/equipment finance companies, and fintech lenders. The maximum deal size can be in excess of £100m.

Lendy execs launch wage advance firm (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Companies House documents show Brooke and Kelly, whosecurrent role at Lendy remains a mystery, set up a firm called Copious Capital in July 2018.

Copious Capital’s launch product is Pay Me Today, described as an “antidote to payday lending,” which lets companies approve and arrange salary advances for staff who need access to money before payday.

Lendy’s operations manager Pamela Guillamón owns between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of Pay Me Today, according to Companies House documents.

Woodford’s peer-to-peer exodus continues with VPC sale (Citywire), Rated: A

Fund manager Neil Woodford has followed his £88 million sale of his stake in peer-to-peer lending trust P2P Global Investments (P2P) by offloading his entire £40 million stake in rival VPC Specialty Lending (VSLV).

Relendex ‘very keen’ to get behind modular housing (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

Relendex is “very keen” to get behind modular housing, according to its chief operating officer Max Lehrain.
Development Finance Today recently reported on the difficulties lenders faced when funding modular builds, however Fintan explained some ways Relendex was able to feel comfortable with supporting such schemes.

OakNorth continues supporting British SMEs with senior lending hires (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – is bolstering its regional presence with the appointment of four senior team members in Manchester, the Midlands and the South West.

Christopher Swarbrick, who has 18 years’ banking experience, joins as a Senior Director, Debt Finance. 

Christopher Richards joins from RBS where he spent 11 years and most recently held the role of Senior Relationship Manager, managing a portfolio of 40 complex banking relationships.

Mother tells of ‘devastating’ impact caused by collapse of Eridge firm London Capital & Finance (Times Local News), Rated: B

THE mother of two sons, one of whom is autistic, has told of the impact on their lives brought about by the collapse of a Tunbridge Wells based investment firm.

Around 11,500 people are set to lose a total £237million following the demise of the company based at Eridge Park.

LCF were selling unregulated mini-bonds, offering investors an eight per cent return for money that was purportedly being lent to a range of businesses.

China

HeZhong International sets terms for $ 5 million US IPO (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

HeZhong International Holding, which operates a peer-to-peer lending marketplace in China, announced terms for its US IPO on Wednesday.

The Shenzhen, China-based company plans to raise $5 million by offering 1.3 million shares at a price of $4. At $4, HeZhong International Holding would command a market value of $55 million.

European Union

Which digital banks have the best overdrafts? (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Starling Bank

The London-based challenger bank charges 15 per cent equivalent annual rate for arranged overdrafts.

Charges £2 a month for unarranged overdrafts as well as the standard rate of interest. Will waive charges if your monthly overdraft interest comes to less than 10p for the month. Operates a monthly fee cap of £2.

Runner up

Monzo

Customers with arranged overdrafts are charges a 50p charge every day your account is overdrawn by more than £20, up to a maximum charge of £15.50 a month.

The Rest

B

The digital lender, launched by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks in 2016, charges a 12.5 per cent equivalent annual rate on arranged overdrafts. On top of this it charges a fee of £6 a month. The bank charges £6 a day for unarranged overdrafts.

N26

The Berlin-based app-only bank, with more than 2 million customers in 24 countries, said it will launch an overdraft facility for its 200,000 UK account holders “soon.”

55 Investors Become the Co-Owners of a Building in Western Switzerland (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Foxstone (www.foxstone.ch) announces the acquisition, in crowdinvestment, of a residential building in Concise (VD) by 55 investors, of all ages and all backgrounds. They acquired a share of the building in co-ownership with a minimum amount of CHF 50’000.-

The total amount raised in co-ownership was CHF 3,250,000 for an acquisition price of the building of CHF 6,800,000, the remaining balance being financed by a mortgage. The net return on equity is 6.53%, which represents an annual return of CHF 3,265 for a CHF 50’000 investment. The Régie du Rhône takes care of the day-to-day management of the building.

How BBVA overhauled its mobile banking app (American Banker), Rated: A


International

Global fintech investment doubled in 2018 (HousingWire), Rated: AAA

Total global fintech investment increased from $50.8 billion in 2017 to a full $111.8 billion in 2018, according to KPMG’s The Pulse of Fintech, a biannual report that highlights key trends in fintech across the globe.

But the report showed something interesting when it comes to fintech – payments and lending continued to attract the most significant investment dollars globally.

China’s fintech funding dipped significantly in Q1 2019 (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Global fintech funding was down 13% from $7.3 billion in Q4 2018 to $6.3 billion in Q1 2019, according to a new report from CB Insights.

However, deal numbers increased from 427 in Q4 2018 to 445 in Q1 2019, despite early stage funding dipping, while mid- and late-stage funding increased. Moreover, funding actually ticked up 1.5% year-over-year (YoY) from $6.2 billion in Q1 2018.

P2P Industry is Likely to Shine Despite Troubles in China (Learn Bonds), Rated: A

According to a PWC report, the U.S. P2P market is likely to reach $150 billion by 2025. Another report from Allied Market Research indicates that Peer to Peer (P2P) market could grow at a CAGR of 51.5% from 2016 to 2022.

Efma White Paper Covers Potential of SME Ecosystem (Monitor Daily), Rated: A

Drawing insight from recent research, case studies and observations from bankers working closely with SMEs, this digest outlines the main challenges facing banks today when trying to attract SME customers, such as intense competition from new entrants like Alibaba-backed online lender MYbank and Tencent-backed WeBank in China. In other markets, like the UK, 63% of financial services players in 2018 didn’t exist a decade before.

Authors of the 2019 Geneva Report on the World Economy seek market participant input (Fintech Policy), Rated: B

The topic of this year’s Geneva Report on the World Economy will be “the future of banking.”

The authors of the report (Kathryn Petralia, Kabbage; Thomas Philippon, NYU Stern School of Business; Tara Rice, Bank for International Settlements and Nicolas Veron, Peterson Institute for International Economics and Bruegel) are asking for input from market participants.

Asia

India unseats China as Asia’s top fintech funding source (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

China’s massive fintech industry took a beating in recent months as the government continued to wind down online lending nationwide, rattling investor confidence.

Funding for fintech startups shrank 87.6 percent year-over-year to $192.1 million during the first quarter of 2019, a new reportfrom data provider CB Insights shows. India, which recorded $285.6 million raised for fintech startups in the period, overtook China to be Asia’s top fundraising hub for financial technology. Both countries clocked in 29 fintech deals, suggesting a cooling investor sentiment in China which saw its height of 76 deals just three quarters ago.

Source: CB Insights
India

Coming Together of Traditional Lenders and Fintech Players, Creating Better Opportunities (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

Fintech driven alternative lending is the second most funded and one of the fastest growing segments in the Indian fintech space. At last count, there were over 20 plus digital, alternative lending companies, each with their version of the truth, and probably another twenty in the stealth mode.

One thing common with most new age lending companies is that they rightly understand that they have a better chance of succeeding by collaborating with the existing lenders like Banks and NBFCs.

Canada

MOGO: A Rapidly Growing Canadian Fintech Provider (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Mogo (MOGO) is a rapidly growing Canadian fintech company with over 800K members that generates revenues from a series of innovative products to help consumers manage & control their financial health.

  • Mogo is a high growth disruptor. Was the company not fighting the headwinds of strategically exiting the short-term loan business that it phased out throughout 2018, it would have shown 71% revenue growth on what it calls “core revenues” or revenues of continuing operations. Core revenue, excludes the company’s legacy short term lending revenue which Mogo fully exited at the end of Q3 2018. In 2018, the company generated $61 million in total revenues representing 26% growth, spurred by a doubling of its subscription and services business to $27 million. In the most recently reported quarter, Q4 2018, Mogo’s core revenue increased 75% versus the same period in 2017 with Subscription & Services revenue having its fourth consecutive quarter of at least 100% year over year growth. In 2018, it added more than 210,000 new members to reach 756,000 members on December 31, 2018 (up 39%), and on March 21st it announced it has surpassed 800,000 members.
  • Based on a combined value of the company’s lending business and its subscription services and fee generation business we believe the company is worth $7.67 per share when compared with other companies in these spaces.
Africa

The Legal and Regulatory Framework Governing Financial Technology (Fintech) in Nigeria (Lexology), Rated: AAA

FinTech is also gaining traction in the areas of lending and alternative financing (such as peer-to-peer lending, business-to-consumer lending, and so on), as well as financial and insurance products.

Pursuant to the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, Chapter B3 LFN 2004, an entity that wishes to provide marketplace lending may do so by registering as a bank or Other Financial Institution (“OFI”).

The use of airtime for the repayment of loans to a mobile lender could constitute a premium rated service, the provision of which requires the approval of the NCC.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday May 2 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday April 5 2018, Daily News Digest

Thursday April 5 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-2. dv01’s Q1 securitization volume hits $2.58B. Revolut releases open API. RainFin acquires stake in 4AX. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for March 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Trends on millennials and money. A tale of two fintech sectors. Amazon could become the third largest […]

Thursday April 5 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Africa

News Summary

United States

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-2 (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-2 (“SCLP 2018-2”). This is a $544.6 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

This transaction represents SoFi Lending Corp.’s (“SoFi” or the “Company”) 14th rated securitization collateralized by a portfolio of unsecured consumer loans. SoFi currently originates personal loans through its state licenses or complies with certain requirements where a state lending license is not required.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-2

Class Preliminary Rating Initial Class Principal
A-1 AA (sf) $277,700,000
A-2 AA (sf) $127,900,000
B A (sf) $75,000,000
C BBB (sf) $64,000,000

DV01’S Q1 SECURITIZATION VOLUME TOPS $ 2.58B, ENCOMPASSING NINE DEALS FROM SIX ORIGINATORS (DV01), Rated: AAA

dv01 closed out Q1 with nine new securitizations, totaling $2.58 billion in total issuance. This represents a 141% increase from last year’s Q1 volume, which totaled $1.07 billion.

Deals were originated by six different lenders, including Prosper, Upgrade, LendingClub, CommmonBond, SoFi, and Marlette. Three of the deals (UPT I 2018-1, UPT I 2018-2, and CLUBC 2018-2) were trust certificates. dv01 was loan data agent on eight of the nine deals; loan level data and reporting tools for all the deals are accessible through dv01’s Securitizations portal.

Millennials and Money: 30+ Trends Financial Marketers Need to Know (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Here are over 30 facts, statistics and insights about Millennials banks and credit unions need to know to serve this essential market segment more effectively.

  •  Millennials want to learn how to feel financially empowered. Nearly three quarters say they feel confident in their ability to make financial decisions, but they still want to learn more. 92% believe that being educated on personal finances is important. (Source: CSpace)
  • Millennials are so serious about their financial health that more than a third (34%) have a written financial plan, much higher than the 21% of Gen X and 18% of Baby Boomers who have done the same. However, 78% rarely or never make spreadsheets for their finances, and 35% say they’d rather vomit than make a spreadsheet to help them manage their finances. (Sources: Schwab, Varo Money)
  • Maybe Millennials don’t need help from real human beings. With 85% saying artificial intelligence could help them better manage their finances, banks and credit unions should use digital tools and AI to deliver the financial insights they crave. Nearly half of Millennials say they want their bank to be able to anticipate their financial needs and offer them timely advice (Sources: Varo Money, Segmint).
  • Millennials’ top savings priorities are emergency funds (64%), retirement (49%), and buying a house (33%). Nearly half already have $15,000 or more in savings, and 16% have a whopping $100,000 or more in savings. (Source: Bank of America)
  • When it comes to saving, Millennials still have significant headwinds: three in four college graduates today will have a heavy student debt load. (Source: ABA)
  • The average graduate from the university class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt, up 6% from the prior year. (Source: Student Loan Hero)
  • Student loan debt is such a burden that 70% of Millennials say that financial circumstances were a key consideration in deciding whether or not to go to college. (Source: Harvard)

Publicly Listed Fintech Companies – a Tale of Two Sectors (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

(KFTX) is a good place to start.

Since inception in June 2016, the index has returned 46%, outperforming the broad market S&P 500 by a whopping 24%, and even the tech-heavy NASDAQ by a meaningful 9%.

Source: Lend Academy

Amazon could become the third-biggest US bank if it wants to: Bain study (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Amazon could rival the nation’s big banks in as few as five years, capitalizing off its digital prowess and massive consumer base, according to a Bain & Company report.

Pushing customers toward a co-branded banking account also allows Amazon to cut down on transaction costs, Bain said.

Amazon could – according to Bain calculations – avoid more than $250,000,000 in credit card interchange fees every year if finds a bank willing to partner on checking accounts.

Source: Bain & Company

Why Amazon won’t enter the advice market (Investment News), Rated: A

Despite what many see as the inevitability of tech giants entering the financial advice business, the economics of doing so — as well as the intensely regulated nature of the business — make their entry unlikely, according to a new report from Cerulli.

The Boston-based research firm says that “companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google (FAANGs) have the tools and data to excel, but face significant obstacles that will likely preclude their entry,”

One major obstacle, Cerulli says, is the relatively small size of the market. The firm estimates that the “digital advice opportunity segment” represents only about 12% of investors, or a segment “that would be difficult to scale to be of strategic interest to the world’s largest technology providers.”

The Credit Junction Secures $ 150 Million Credit Facility from MidCap Financial (Business Wire), Rated: A

The Credit Junction, the first data-driven, asset-based lender for small and mid-sized businesses, has secured a $150 million credit facility from MidCap Financial, a leading capital provider to the middle market specialty finance industry. The facility strengthens and expands The Credit Junction’s ability to deliver comprehensive capital solutions to businesses across the United States.

The Credit Junction combines traditional credit metrics with data intelligence and partners with business owners to deliver asset-based financing alternatives unique to the needs of each borrower. Since its launch in May 2015, The Credit Junction has helped businesses across the country achieve their growth objectives while supporting job creation and development in the communities they serve.

Real Estate Investment Platform, Sharestates, Changes the Game with User Experience (UX) (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Sharestates, an online real estate investment platform, announced today the launch of new online user portals that fully optimize the real estate investment process from beginning to end, providing investors with the first ever UX solutions in the real estate investment industry.

Sharestates’ unique solution was designed by the company’s development team alongside CEO and Co-Founder Allen Shayanfekr with UX and functionality in mind – now offering investors a streamlined “one stop shop” in real estate financing.

Banking Disruptors: Peer-to-Peer Lending and Payments (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Prosper and LendingClub (NYSE:LC) have changed the way people can borrow money, and apps such as Venmo and Zelle have made it easier and cheaper to send money.

In this segment from Industry Focus: Financials, analyst Michael Douglass and Motley Fool contributor Matt Frankel talk about the ways that technology is disrupting big banks, and what this trend could mean to the banking industry.

How Affirm Personal Loans Can Help You Finance Smaller Purchases (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

The average student loan payment is $351. Between such a high monthly payment and rent, finding the money to furnish your home or buy a new computer can seem daunting.

If approved, you can now shop. When you’re ready to make a purchase, you can enter the total from your online shopping cart on Affirm’s site. You then choose an amount between $50 and $10,000. You’ll be provided virtual card information to complete the purchase. With some partner retailers, you might select Affirm at checkout instead.

LendingTree Launches Credit Analyzer, a Free Credit and Debt Analysis Tool (Lending Tree), Rated: A

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced the launch of its Credit Analyzer, a free credit and debt analyzer tool, which was created to help consumers avoid common credit mistakes, improve debt management skills and find the right financial products for their needs.

Credit Analyzer is a free tool that provides a deeper, instant analysis of consumers’ credit and debt situations and offers personalized recommendations based on individuals’ financial goals. The user experience is designed to make it easier for consumers to understand the most important factors that impact credit scores.

 

What will the financial services industry look like in five years? (Lend Academy), Rated: A

This article briefly touches on many of the themes being explored at our LendIt Fintech USA 2018 conference, which is now just days away:

Audits Will Go the Way of the Dodo Bird

The protocol of trust is here to stay, and it’s going to disrupt everything.

While the blockchain has not rendered audits unnecessary yet, I believe we’ll see it happen within the next five years.

Smart Contracts Are In, Long, Paper-Intensive Financial Processes Are Out

As I write this, Lending Robot is raising a private round of growth capital. The closing process, called “papering” for very obvious reasons, is just as onerous and Microsoft Word-oriented as I remember it back in the early 2000s when I was a young VC.

Fintech is Everywhere

Fintechs are enhancing the customer experience along four axes: choice, price, convenience, and predictability. They are meeting the needs of educated, aware, demanding consumers and they are attacking traditional financial institutions at every angle.

 

Five Things Fintech Startups Must Do In 2018 To Get Noticed, Adopted And Funded (Forbes), Rated: A

Here are five things the winners nailed that newcomers must do to compete:

  1. Build a seamless digital customer experience (CX) customized to each set of eyeballs, across platforms — plus, make financial services ubiquitous, instead of an unfortunate necessity.
  2. Streamline their lead generation and nurturing through automation, machine learning and AI, plus intelligent CRM throughout the customer journey. This powers faster, more accurate processes like loan origination, mortgage underwriting and credit application decisions, among others.
  3. Instead of being scared of increased regulation, embrace it as a driver of innovation.
  4. Upend an established Wall Street business model both by undercutting fees and over-delivering on performance.
  5. Find novel, values-driven ways to increase millennial participation in financial services.

Financing Small Businesses- 6 Tips For Finding An Online Loan (Bizztor), Rated: A

Online business loans are a popular option for financing small businesses. Over the years more small business owners have been turning to online lenders as banks have cut down on loans to smaller businesses.

With the assistance of technology and algorithm, online lenders are able to assess conventional credit standards like cash flow and personal credit score.

DriveWealth Raises $ 21M in Series B Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

DriveWealth Holdings, Inc., a Chatam, N.J.-based fintech company, closed a $21m Series B funding.

The round was led by Raptor Group Holdings, SBI Holdings, Inc, and Point72 Ventures, LLC, as weel as existing investors Route 66 Ventures.

The company intends to use the funds to develop its technologies and scale its business.

Mosaic Readies New Solar Loan Deal (Global Capital), Rated: A

The San Diego-based company filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday for Mosaic Solar Loans 2018-1. The ABS-15G forms name Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas as banks on the deal.

The transaction, Mosaic Solar Loans 2017-2, was priced at 185bp over interpolated swaps for the senior class, yielding 3.854%. Energy related ABS such as solar and Property Assessed Clean Energy (Pace) deals were heavily subscribed throughout last year, with strong issuance of residential Pace bonds and the first ever issuance of commercial Pace ABS from Greenworks Lending.

Laurel Road And Darien Rowayton Bank Officially Rebrand Under Integrated Laurel Road Name (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Laurel Road, an online lender and FDIC-insured bank, officially announced today that Darien Rowayton Bank and its national online lending division will rebrand under the integrated national Laurel Road brand. The new, unified Laurel Road brand represents a deep understanding of its customer base, best-in-class technology and industry-leading compliance and risk management.

Bankrupt Payday Lender Can’t Move Pa. AG’s Suit To Texas (Law 360), Rated: B

Think Finance LLC, a financial technology firm that critics say uses Native American tribes to skirt payday lending laws, failed to convince a Pennsylvania federal judge on Tuesday to move an action brought by the state’s attorney general to Texas, where it has filed for bankruptcy.

The company has been hit with lawsuits over its alleged role in several “rent-a-tribe” schemes, where a high-interest lender affiliates itself with a Native American tribe to shield itself from legal challenges.

Sarasota-Manatee ranks last for millennials buying homes (Sarasota Herald-Tribune), Rated: B

Millennials rank as the key target in the economic development world setting sights on future prosperity. A new study casts a pall over efforts to build the Sarasota and Manatee population of this prized demographic. Out of the largest 100 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas in the country, Sarasota-Manatee ranked dead last among cities favored by millennial homebuyers.

The study, conducted by LendingTree, focused on the percentages of all loan requests to the online loan marketplace that came from millennials. That figure for Sarasota fell far from top-ranked Des Moines, Iowa — 17.9 percent versus 42.4 percent. Fort Myers ranked just above Sarasota, with 19.8 percent.

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI) Appoints Deputy Director (Lendit), Rated: B

Robert J. (Bob) Mullenbach, CRCM, Managing Director – Compliance Division Deputy at ProBank Austin – has been appointed as the Online Lending Policy Institute’s (OLPI) new Deputy Director. Mr. Mullenbach brings 25 years of regulatory compliance experience in billion-dollar financial institutions, regional and community banks, fintech’s, and leading consulting firms. In his current position, Bob audits clients on the myriad of regulatory requirements associated with consumer/commercial lending, bank secrecy act/anti-money laundering, privacy, and non-deposit investment products.

Microloans offer needy a better alternative (The Columbus Dispatch), Rated: B

Central Ohio chapters of the St. Vincent dePaul Society, an international charity run by Roman Catholic volunteers, give needy folks a better option through the society’s microloan program. Information is available through the organization’s website at svdpcolumbus.org.

Anyone of any faith who needs up to $500 for car repairs, school, home repairs or medical bills, can apply for a quick loan with a low interest rate and 12 to 15 months to pay it off.

Contrast that with the typical payday-loan operation, which loans a couple-hundred dollars and demands payment in two weeks. Many borrowers who are strapped enough to go to such a lender in the first place can’t pay it back that quickly. This leads to loans on top of loans, with tacked-on fees that can lead to an effective interest rate of nearly 600 percent.

SunTrust teams with fintech to offer loans for HVAC upgrades (American Banker), Rated: B

SunTrust Banks in Atlanta is teaming up with another fintech upstart to expand its reach in consumer lending.

The $202 billion-asset company said Wednesday that it has struck a partnership with the online lender Microf to offer point-of-sale loans to homeowners looking to replace aging residential heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

SunTrust will hold the loans on its books and a pay a fee to Microf for the referrals. Microf, based in Albany, Ga., offers the loans through its nationwide network of HVAC contractors.

United Kingdom

Revolut unleashes open API to all customers (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

APIs and open banking are hotter than a freshly tarmacked road in summer, and Revolut joins the mad-for-it crowd.

On its blog, the bank, which was launched in mid-2015 and offers a money transfer app, says account owners can generate sandbox and production keys, and set whitelisted IPs as an “extra layer of security”.

Away from these API days, the firm adds that over the last few months it’s been making updates to its business accounts.

New fintech fund could boost P2P sector (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: A

At a time when investment trusts such as Victory Park Capital Specialty Lending have signalled a shift away from P2P opportunities, Augmentum Fintech’s investment adviser has hinted that P2P lenders could be included in the portfolio.

Augmentum Fintech was launched by Augmentum Capital, a venture capital (VC) firm backed by Lord Rothschild’s RIT Capital Partners, last month. The VC firm already had a 7.4 per cent holding in P2P giant Zopa worth £18.5m that has been transferred into the investment company portfolio and its founder Tim Levene, who is acting as investment adviser to Augmentum Fintech, said that the firm is well geared to the P2P sector.

FCA reveals it intervened in Collateral administration to protect investors (Peer2Peer Finance News) Rated: A

THE FINANCIAL Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed that it intervened in the administration of Collateral because the peer-to-peer lender failed to seek its approval when it appointed an insolvency practitioner.

Wigan-based Refresh Recovery was selected by Collateral when the company shut down in February but it was revealed on Tuesday that the City watchdog was looking to appoint a different administrator.

“The Collateral companies were required to obtain the approval of the FCA when appointing an administrator,” the FCA said in a statement on Wednesday.

ISA countdown: The latest IFISAs on the market (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: A

March saw the introduction of tax wrappers from peer-to-peer property platforms The House Crowd and Safe as Houses, while EasyMoney, part of Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s easy family of brands, launched its second IFISA offering.

Safe as Houses

The Safe As Houses ISA, which invests in loans made to Safe as Houses Group to develop, regenerate and sell on distressed properties, offers investors a return of six per cent.

The IFISA has a five-year term and requires a minimum investment of £5,000.

The House Crowd

The House Crowd’s IFISA invests in secured P2P loans and property development investments and offers a target return of seven per cent.

The House Crowd requires a minimum investment of £1,000, and new investments can be added to the IFISA in £1,000 increments, up to a maximum of £20,000 across an investor’s entire ISA portfolio.

Investors will get a fixed return paid in twice a year in October and April.

EasyMoney

The latest IFISA to hit the market before the deadline came from EasyMoney, offering target returns of 7.28 per cent. This eclipses the 4.03 per cent returns offered by its first product that launched in February.

The P2P lending platform said its new ‘balanced’ IFISA allows individuals to invest in a broader range of property-backed loans, limited to 75 per cent loan-to-value (LTV).

MINOR INVESTOR: An Innovative Finance Isa with a 7% rate is a tempting idea but tread carefully in the investing Wild West (This is Money), Rated: A

Only the peer to peer lending element can be included in an innovative Isa, not the equity version where investors take a stake in a company.

Obviously, innovative Isas don’t qualify for the savings element of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme that protects up to £85,000 per licensed bank.

Crucially, however, neither do they get the FSCS investing element that covers up to £50,000 in case your investing platform goes bust and hasn’t done what it is meant to with your money.

European Union

Robo advisors and the Data Revolution (GDPR) (AltFiNews), Rated: AAA

With just a month to go until the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is implemented throughout Europe in May. We look at how the new regulatory regime will affect the nascent Digital Advice industry. Some of the upcoming regulatory changes issued from the EU and its commissioners should be positive for fintech asset managers.

With a clear focus on transparency, robo-advisors should look forward to the new era of information portability and openness.

The digital advice sector has from inception attempted to gain a competitive edge with clear transparent product engineering and pricing, but it won’t all be plain sailing and there may be headwinds ahead.

BANCO BNI EUROPA grows significantly in 2017 and attracts equity investor (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

2017 was once again characterized by the significant growth of Banco BNI Europa’s activity, increasing 41% in assets (from € 362M in 2016 to € 509M in 2017), 16% in customer deposits (from € 262M in 2016 to € 305M in 2017) and 379% in banking income (€ 2,8M in 2016 to € 13,2M in 2017). 

Net income reached € 2.3M, increasing regulatory capital to € 23.3M and the solvency ratio comfortably above the statutory limit at 13%.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes March 2018 (P2P Banking), Rated: AAA

Milestones achieved this month (overall volume since launch):

  • Landbay reached 100M GBP
  • Estateguru reached 50M EUR
  • Linked Finance reached 50M EUR
Source P2P Banking

Banking at a Tipping Point as Fintech Drives Change (Cash Lady News), Rated: AAA

According to Citigroup consumer banking currently generates around $870bn in revenues across Europe and North America, with digital innovators accounting for just 5% of that total. But if the report’s predictions are correct, by 2023, disruption by fintech companies will account for 17% of a total earnings pot of $1.200bn

Follow the Money

CitiGroup cites figures showing that global investment has risen from around $0.5bn in 2019 to just under $20bn today. And most of that investment – Citigroup puts it at 70% is focused on the key areas of personal and SME banking.

Read the full report here.

ROSCAcoin: A Self-Regulating, Autonomous and Decentralized Financial Platform for the Unbanked (BTC Manager), Rated: A

ROSCAcoin is a new decentralised autonomous and self-regulating platform built on the Ethereum blockchain. The project aims to develop an innovative financial infrastructure that allows creating solutions for people with little or no access to financial services. ROSCAcoin is set upon an ancient model of borrowing very popular in third world countries.

ROSCA, or Rotating and Saving Credit Association, is defined by a method of borrowing where a group of individuals agree to cooperate for saving and borrowing purposes within a pre-established period; is also a form of peer-to-peer banking and peer-to-peer lending. ROSCAcoin strives to introduce this method using the blockchain technology.

The platform is powered by its own currency RCA, which will be the engine of the whole ecosystem. By using smart contracts, ROSCAcoin is trying to build the ultimate financial solution for the unbanked.

“Stars are Aligned” for an Higher US Dollar Against the Swiss Franc (PoundSterling Live), Rated: B

The Dollar has risen 4.4% versus the Swiss Franc since mid-February and could be about to accelarate the move suggest analysts; this despite the sizeable global stock market sell-off which would normally be expected to support the safe-haven Franc.

Safe-haven currencies usually strengthen in times of fear, such as the present, however this does not appear to be the case with USD/CHF which has risen due to the USD outperforming CHF – not the other way round.

White Oak Signs Agreement to Acquire LDF Group (Globe Newswire), Rated: B

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC on behalf of its institutional clients (collectively “White Oak” or the “Company”), announced today that White Oak has agreed to expand its asset-based lending platform to serve clients in the U.K. and Europe through the acquisition of LDF Group (“LDF”), a U.K.-based finance company providing asset finance, business loans, commercial mortgages and education leases to small and middle-market companies.  Established in 1986, LDF is an industry leader and one of the largest independent finance providers for small businesses in the U.K.

India

Faircent brings Shalabh Gupta on-board as national sales head – lending (The Siasat Daily), Rated: A

Leading Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company Faircent on Thursday announced that the company has hired Shalabh Gupta as national sales head – lending.

As an industry veteran with over 17 years of extensive sales experience with brands like the Times Group, Reliance Capital, HDFC Bank, and ITC Limited, Shalabh will play a crucial role in furthering the company’s impressive growth plans and vision as a part of its leadership team.

Aadhaar-Based EKYC Limitations Cause Trouble For Fintech Startups (Ink 42), Rated: AAA

Since the Supreme Court extended the deadline for linking of Aadhaar to host of services, the fintech segment has been riddled with burdens of limited Aadhaar-based eKYC. The companies have been unable to access Aadhaar database for verification of their customers.

Impact Of Aadhaar KYC On Fintech Startups

According to reports, fintech startups across the insurance, lending and broking sectors are being denied access to authentication agencies for eKYC to verify customer antecedents on the Aadhaar database amidst rising concern over data privacy.

UIDAI revokes e-KYC services for some e-wallets, online lenders (The Times Of India), Rated: A

In a move that seems to have left fintech players scrambling, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) revoked on Tuesday their access to a dozen agencies that provide e-KYC verification and authentication services. Some of these agencies – KUAs (e-KYC user agencies) and AUAs (authorised user agencies) – will no longer be able to provide e-KYC verification to onboard new customers or authenticate financial transactions affecting e-wallets, online lenders, NFBCs and smaller fintech players.

Africa

RainFin acquires stake in 4AX (Business Tech), Rated: AAA

Fintech company RainFin has announced the conclusion of a transaction with 4 Africa Exchange Proprietary Limited (4AX), which will see the company sell to 4AX its corporate debt marketplace, in exchange for a strategic shareholding in 4AX.

RainFin’s credit marketplace technology has been utilised by companies to raise debt funding from both tradition and non-traditional sources since its formation in 2002.

Accra, Ghana to Host 2018 Startupbootcamp Africa (Tech in Africa), Rated: B

Accra, Ghana’s capital city will host the forthcoming Startupbootcamp (SBC) Africa Accelerator program. The SBC sponsors include the Old Mutual, BNP Paribas, RCS, PwC, and Nedbank. During the event, startups present to the panelists for about two hours.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

What Led to the Think Finance Bankruptcy?

Think Finance

Post-2008 financial crisis, the alternative lending industry flourished providing access to quick funds to individuals and SMEs left in the lurch by their banks. Behind it’s unprecedented growth was also a weak regulatory framework and a risky business plan that sometimes involved circumventing states’ usury laws. Think Finance is the latest addition to the list […]

Think Finance

Post-2008 financial crisis, the alternative lending industry flourished providing access to quick funds to individuals and SMEs left in the lurch by their banks. Behind it’s unprecedented growth was also a weak regulatory framework and a risky business plan that sometimes involved circumventing states’ usury laws. Think Finance is the latest addition to the list of high-flying fintech startups that got crushed due to their inability to navigate lending laws and/or placate their principal backers over their performance.

Introduction

Think Finance was started in 2001 by Mike Stinson in Fort Worth, Texas. Ken Rees replaced Stinson as CEO in 2004. The company raised $60 million in venture capital from Sequoia Capital and others, and secured a $90 million credit facility from Victory Park Capital Advisors in 2010.

Think Finance is an online provider of software technology, analytics, loan servicing, and marketing services. Working with other companies, the offer and service lines of credit and installment loans over the internet throughout the United States. In 2013, with revenues of over $500 million, Think Finance was ranked #2 on the Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies. In 2014, the company did a strategic restructuring, resulting in the spinoff of a new independent company called Elevate, which became a five-time honoree on the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies (2010-2015).

Trouble in the “Think Finance” Paradise: Filing for Bankruptcy

Think Finance former CEO Ken Rees is a serial entrepreneur, innovator, and veteran of the financial services industry. In 2001, he founded CashWorks Inc., a non-bank financial technology company in Dallas, served as CEO and president, and, in 2004, sold it to GE. After that, he founded Payday, one of the first online payday lenders. He moved on to head Elevate after the restructuring. Martin Wong, a financial industry veteran, with stints in Citigroup, Western Union, and Cigna, now leads the company.

Privately held Think Finance and five affiliated debtors filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Texas, lead case number 17-33964, on October 23, 2017. The company is represented by Gregory G. Hesse of Hunton & Williams.

According to documents filed with the court, “While Think Finance had intended to leverage its successful track-record and explore opportunities for continued growth and innovation in the fast-moving fintech industry, it has been forced to seek bankruptcy protection because of a liquidity crisis caused by hedge fund Victory Park Capital Advisors, LLC (‘Victory Park’). Victory Park has caused GPL Servicing, Ltd. (‘GPLS’) – an entity that owes Think Finance and its subsidiaries tens of millions of dollars – to stop paying Think Finance for its services and Victory Park has raided GPLS’s bank accounts. The scheduled payments from GPLS that Victory Park has intercepted represent a major component of Think Finance’s near-term cash flow. Without these funds, Think Finance soon could be forced to cease or substantially curtail its operations.”

Think Finance’s Chapter 11 petition indicates total assets greater than $100 million.

The debtors intend to continue in the possession of their respective properties and the management of their respective businesses as debtors in possession pursuant to sections 1107 and 1108 of the Bankruptcy Code.

What Caused This Meltdown?

Think Finance has been accused of being a predatory lender in multiple federal lawsuits. Along with the Chicago Hedge Fund, Victory Park Capital Advisors, the company was alleged to be running a “rent-a-tribe” scheme under which they were running investors’ money through a web of shell companies to make it look like legally-exempt Native Americans are making short-term, high-interest loans to needy borrowers.

Many lenders have used Native Tribes to dodge the usury law. The law targets the practice of charging excessively high rates on loans by setting caps on the maximum amount of interest that can be levied. But trouble brewed when Victory Park cut off Think Finance’s access to funds. Pennsylvania Attorney General has accused both of being active participants in this scheme.

Both parties are contesting the case on the grounds they do not fall under the scope of a “lender.” Think Finance is portraying itself as a financial technology provider, and Victory Park stated it merely provided money through “commercial transactions” that was used to make the online loans. Bankruptcy should help clear the air on how these transactions were actually structured. But for now, the company’s future looks bleak.

Final Nail? CFPB Sues Think Finance

“We are suing Think Finance for deceiving consumers into repaying loans they did not legally owe,” said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray. “Think Finance wrongly took money from people’s bank accounts, so we are seeking relief for consumers and a civil money penalty.”

The two main grounds for these accusations against Think Finance are:

  1. Think Finance allegedly conned consumers into making payments for a debt they did not owe – Usury laws void a loan if the rate charged exceeds the interest rate allowed by the state. Think Finance allegedly duped its customers into paying for the debt even though those loan agreements were void under the state’s usury laws. Moreover, ThinkFinance was allegedly unlicensed in some states thus rendering those loans void, as well.
  2. Think Finance allegedly collected loan payments that consumers did not owe – Think Finance, without the knowledge of its customers, allegedly transferred loan installments electronically from customer bank accounts and allegedly sent letters to customers asking for payments that they were not obligated to pay.

Therefore, the CFPB is seeking monetary relief for consumers, civil money penalties, and injunctive relief, including a prohibition on Think Finance’s collecting on void loans.

Conclusion

It is safe to say that Think Finance is in an extreme legal quagmire. In the bigger scheme of things, this situation throws light on the “shortcuts” used by fintech companies to grow their lending books. Think Finance’s bankruptcy feels like a tip of the iceberg. With regulations getting more stringent, more such cases are expected to pop up in the future.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

What Led to the Think Finance Bankruptcy?

Think Finance

Post-2008 financial crisis, the alternative lending industry flourished providing access to quick funds to individuals and SMEs left in the lurch by their banks. Behind it’s unprecedented growth was also a weak regulatory framework and a risky business plan that sometimes involved circumventing states’ usury laws. Think Finance is the latest addition to the list […]

Think Finance

Post-2008 financial crisis, the alternative lending industry flourished providing access to quick funds to individuals and SMEs left in the lurch by their banks. Behind it’s unprecedented growth was also a weak regulatory framework and a risky business plan that sometimes involved circumventing states’ usury laws. Think Finance is the latest addition to the list of high-flying fintech startups that got crushed due to their inability to navigate lending laws and/or placate their principal backers over their performance.

Introduction

Think Finance was started in 2001 by Ken Rees in Fort Worth, Texas. It raised $60 million in venture capital from Sequoia Capital and others, and secured a $90 million credit facility from Victory Park Capital Advisors in 2010.

Think Finance is an online provider of software technology, analytics, loan servicing, and marketing services. Working with other companies, the offer and service lines of credit and installment loans over the internet throughout the United States. In 2013, with revenues of over $500 million, Think Finance was ranked #2 on the Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies. In 2014, the company did a strategic restructuring, resulting in the spinoff of a new independent company called Elevate, which became a five-time honoree on the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies (2010-2015).

Founder and CEO

Think Finance founder and former CEO Ken Rees is a serial entrepreneur, innovator, and veteran of the financial services industry. In 2001, he founded CashWorks Inc., a non-bank financial technology company in Dallas, served as CEO and president, and, in 2014, sold it to GE. After that, he founded Payday, one of the first online payday lenders. He moved on to head Elevate after the restructuring. Martin Wong, a financial industry veteran, with stints in Citigroup, Western Union, and Cigna, now leads the company.

Trouble in the “Think Finance” Paradise: Filing for Bankruptcy

Privately held Think Finance and five affiliated debtors filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Texas, lead case number 17-33964, on October 23, 2017. The company is represented by Gregory G. Hesse of Hunton & Williams.

According to documents filed with the court, “While Think Finance had intended to leverage its successful track-record and explore opportunities for continued growth and innovation in the fast-moving fintech industry, it has been forced to seek bankruptcy protection because of a liquidity crisis caused by hedge fund Victory Park Capital Advisors, LLC (‘Victory Park’). Victory Park has caused GPL Servicing, Ltd. (‘GPLS’) – an entity that owes Think Finance and its subsidiaries tens of millions of dollars – to stop paying Think Finance for its services and Victory Park has raided GPLS’s bank accounts. The scheduled payments from GPLS that Victory Park has intercepted represent a major component of Think Finance’s near-term cash flow. Without these funds, Think Finance soon could be forced to cease or substantially curtail its operations.”

Think Finance’s Chapter 11 petition indicates total assets greater than $100 million.

The debtors intend to continue in the possession of their respective properties and the management of their respective businesses as debtors in possession pursuant to sections 1107 and 1108 of the Bankruptcy Code.

What Caused This Meltdown?

Think Finance has been accused of being a predatory lender in multiple federal lawsuits. Along with the Chicago Hedge Fund, Victory Park Capital Advisors, the company was alleged to be running a “rent-a-tribe” scheme under which they were running investors’ money through a web of shell companies to make it look like legally-exempt Native Americans are making short-term, high-interest loans to needy borrowers.

Many lenders have used Native Tribes to dodge the usury law. The law targets the practice of charging excessively high rates on loans by setting caps on the maximum amount of interest that can be levied. But trouble brewed when Victory Park cut off Think Finance’s access to funds. Pennsylvania Attorney General has accused both of being active participants in this scheme.

Both parties are contesting the case on the grounds they do not fall under the scope of a “lender.” Think Finance is portraying itself as a financial technology provider, and Victory Park stated it merely provided money through “commercial transactions” that was used to make the online loans. Bankruptcy should help clear the air on how these transactions were actually structured. But for now, the company’s future looks bleak.

Final Nail? CFPB Sues Think Finance

“We are suing Think Finance for deceiving consumers into repaying loans they did not legally owe,” said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray. “Think Finance wrongly took money from people’s bank accounts, so we are seeking relief for consumers and a civil money penalty.”

The two main grounds for these accusations against Think Finance are:

  1. Think Finance allegedly conned consumers into making payments for a debt they did not owe – Usury laws void a loan if the rate charged exceeds the interest rate allowed by the state. Think Finance allegedly duped its customers into paying for the debt even though those loan agreements were void under the state’s usury laws. Moreover, ThinkFinance was allegedly unlicensed in some states thus rendering those loans void, as well.
  2. Think Finance allegedly collected loan payments that consumers did not owe – Think Finance, without the knowledge of its customers, allegedly transferred loan installments electronically from customer bank accounts and allegedly sent letters to customers asking for payments that they were not obligated to pay.

Therefore, the CFPB is seeking monetary relief for consumers, civil money penalties, and injunctive relief, including a prohibition on Think Finance’s collecting on void loans.

Conclusion

It is safe to say that Think Finance is in an extreme legal quagmire. In the bigger scheme of things, this situation throws light on the “shortcuts” used by fintech companies to grow their lending books. Think Finance’s bankruptcy feels like a tip of the iceberg. With regulations getting more stringent, more such cases are expected to pop up in the future.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Tuesday November 21 2017, Daily News Digest

Purchase APR LendingTree

News Comments Today’s main news: Experian buys, integrates Clarity Services. Think Finance files for bankruptcy. PayPal offers robo-investing. Assetz Capital achieves 1.5M GBP funding through Seedrs. Elevate launches industry research repository. Nav Athwal steps down as CEO of RealtyShares. Ping An Insurance prepares for Lufax IPO. TransferWise doubles revenue. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree releases monthly mortgage offer report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The […]

Purchase APR LendingTree

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia/New Zealand

India

MENA

News Summary

United States

Integration of Clarity Services Inc by Experian (Experian Email), Rated: A

Dear Clarity Services Inc Supplier:

As a supplier to Clarity Services Inc, we are writing to formally notify you that as of October 6, 2017, Clarity Services Inc has been purchased by Experian Holdings, Inc.

Effective January 1, 2018, purchases and invoice payments will be processed by Experian’s centralized Procurement and Accounting departments.

Source: Experian

Think Finance Files for Chapter 11 (U.S. Bankruptcy Court), Rated: AAA

Read the court brief here.

PayPal in robo-investing venture (The Australian), Rated: AAA

The payments company was connecting its website and smartphone apps with those of Acorns Grow, a five-year-old automated savings and investment service, the two companies said on Monday.

PayPal users would be able to use their accounts to make contributions to Acorns and would be able to monitor and manage their Acorns investments from the PayPal app, said Joanna Lambert, the company’s vice-president of consumer financial services.

PayPal is rolling out the Acorns offerings in phases, with the first batch of users getting access on Monday and all US users by early 2018.

Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class Launches Industry Research Repository (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The Center for the New Middle Class, a research-focused body developed by Elevate to engage and educate the public about the growing needs of individuals who do not have access to traditional credit options, today announced it has launched an industry research repository for researchers, reporters, policy makers and the general public. Known as the Resource Database, it is a curated collection of the best research on non-prime Americans and their challenges, attitudes, and needs.

In addition to containing external research and editorial content from sources such as Pew, the National Bureau of Economic Research and “The Atlantic,” the database will house research and commentary from the Center for the New Middle Class regarding economic conditions that affect America’s New Middle Class.

By visiting the database here users can search for entries, filter the results, and see the full bibliographic reference of information provided.

The Cleveland Fed Retracts Their Report on “P2P Lending” (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The shame of all this is that all the sensational headlines have already been written and confirmed in many people’s minds the supposed shady nature of our industry. It would have been far better for everyone if the authors of this report had done their homework and produced a thoroughly researched report in the first place.

As Todd Baker pointed out, “we really should know which online lenders are adding to consumer financial health and which ones are detracting from it.”

Why The Cleveland Fed Pulled Their Online Lending Study (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

“[These borrowers] are not underbanked, they’re sort of overbanked,” observed Yuliya Demyanyk, a Cleveland Fed economist and co-author of the report. “Defaults on [marketplace] loans have been increasing at an alarming rate, resembling pre-2007 crisis increases in sub-prime mortgage defaults, where loans of each vintage perform worse than those of prior origination years.”

The authors of the Nov. 9 report “have received several questions about the composition of the underlying data set they used in their analysis,” the Cleveland Fed said on its website, and are “revising their paper to further clarify the data sample they used” and will post the new version as soon as it’s ready.

So, what happened?

One theory is that they may have stretched the definition of online lending so far as to make an accurate and credible apples-to-apples comparison implausible.

Karen Webster spoke with Lending Club’s head of government relations, Richard Neiman, to get a better sense of the source of discrepancy, since even Googling the definition of marketplace loan, Webster commented, might have saved the Cleveland Fed economists a lot of grief.

“The industry is so big now,” Neiman said, “that it is not easy for policymakers to fully understand the divergences between different platforms, the different products, the different modeling and the differences in levels of transparency that are now defined as online lending.”

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for October (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its first monthly Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network.

  • October’s best loan offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 3.75% for purchase and 3.70% for refinance, on conforming 30-year loans.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were down 3 bps month over month, to 4.31%, the lowest since November 2016. In contrast, the loan note rate of 4.18% was up 7 bps to the highest since July.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw an average APR offer of 4.18% vs 4.44% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 22 bps between these score ranges was 1 bps lower than in September. The spread represents nearly $12,600 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30-years for the average purchase loan amount of $228,730. Additional costs are due to higher interest rates, larger fees or a combination of the two.
  • Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were up 10 bps to 4.26%. The credit score bracket spread widened to 16bps from 15 bps, nearly $7,500 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $235,844.
  • The average proposed down payment for purchase mortgages have been rising for 7 months and reached $59,680 in October.
  • Average monthly payments were little changed at just over $1,100 for both purchase and refinance. The credit score bucket spread was $241 for purchase and just $77 for refinance.
Source: Business Insider
Source: Business Insider

Inflation and Counterfeit Credit (GoldSeek), Rated: AAA

Let’s take a look at an often-repeated idea that is popular in the gold and alternative investing communities. The government possesses a printing press. Therefore, it will never default. It will just inflate its way out of the debt. It will devalue the dollar.

The government does not set the value of the dollar. And it has no mechanism to set it. So, logically, it has no mechanism to reset it. It cannot devalue it. In the same way, you cannot lower yourself down by your bootstraps since you are not lifting yourself up by them in the first place.

We must emphatically state that the government does not print. It borrows. Congress does not have a printing press, to create greenbacks. It has a Treasury that can sell bonds to cover whatever payments the government is obligated to make that it has not got tax revenues for. Over the past year, for example, the government increased its debt by over 630 billion dollars.

Like any bank, the Fed borrows to fund its purchases of interest-paying assets. It earns a spread between what it pays (currently about 1.25%) and what its asset portfolio pays (over 2%). The commercial banks currently deposit over $2.1 trillion in excess reserves, and the Fed’s total liabilities are over $4.4 trillion including Federal Reserve Notes (on which the Fed pays zero). Unlike any commercial bank, there is a law that obligates us to treat the Fed’s liabilities as if they were money.

We are working on the problem that all borrowing and lending uses the dollar. We offer gold financing, simplified and a yield on gold, paid in gold.

Source: GoldSeek

Right now speculative mania is occurring in crypto currencies so that may (but not necessarily, beware correlation!) shunt such capital flows away from gold. As to default risk, there are signs of rising stress in high yield credit markets, but it’s early yet.

Nav Athwal Exits CEO Role at RealtyShares (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Nav Athwal, one of the more prominent founders in the real estate crowdfunding space, has announced his decision to step down from the CEO role at RealtyShares, a platform he founded four years ago.

Ed Forst, RealtyShares Board Member and former CEO of Cushman and Wakefield, has been selected as the interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

Crowdfund Insider spoke to Athwal regarding his decision to change his leadership role at RealtyShares and he explained he would continue to be engaged with the company;

“RealtyShares is in the strongest position it’s ever been in. The company is moving from the build phase to the scale phase of its lifecycle. To best position RealtyShares for the future, I made the decision to transition out of my role as CEO to a new role on the Board of Directors. I asked Ed Forst to take on the role of interim CEO, while we look for a permanent CEO who will fit the culture and profile we’re seeking. I am still very much a part of RealtyShares and will be actively involved in strategic decision-making. I am looking forward to supporting the company in this new capacity and getting back into principal real estate investing and agribusiness. As I begin to work on additional projects, I will be sure to let you know.”

Leading RealtyShares Into Its Next Chapter (RealtyShares), Rated: A

I started RealtyShares four years ago with the idea of creating a company that would make real estate more accessible, efficient, and transparent. RealtyShares has come a long way since those early days in my living room. It is now a 100-person operation and the leading platform for online real estate investing and capital formation.

My primary focus has always been to best position RealtyShares for future success. RealtyShares is now at an inflection point. I will remain on the Board of Directors supporting the company as it continues on its journey to build a global marketplace for real estate investing.

Kabbage Releases Research: On Building Successful Small Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Kabbage Inc., a global financial services, tech and data platform serving small businesses, released new data reporting on the similarities that connect all small business owners (SBOs), including personal sacrifices, professional challenges and growth expectations. Featuring responses from 400 SBOs, the data shows more than 67 percent expect to increase revenues by the end of 2017, with more than half anticipating an increase of 10 percent or higher.

In partnership with Bredin, a leading small-business market research firm, Kabbage polled small business owners across industries, including retail, education, manufacturing, food and beverage, healthcare, automotive, energy and finance.

RealtyMogul Tops $ 300 Million in Real Estate Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RealtyMogul has topped $300 million in total deal flow.

RealtyMogul has garnered over 140,000 investors, received over $300 million invested into deals presented on its platform and returned $65 million to its investors since its inception in 2012.

RealtyMogul Wins Gold in 2017 Stevie Awards for Women in Business (BusinessWire), Rated: A

RealtyMogul has been awarded the Gold Stevie Award in the Consumer Services category during the 14th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are the world’s top honors for female entrepreneurs, executives, employees and the organizations they run. All individuals and organizations worldwide are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. The 2017 awards received entries from 25 nations and territories.

The Postal Banking Solution (Jacobin Magazine), Rated: A

Fewer than two thousand people live in Bluff, but any one of them can walk into the post office and cash a check or apply for a loan.

Meanwhile, the United States is riddled with what are called banking deserts — inhabited areas, many of them urban, where residents have no access to a bank.

One in four US households is unbanked or underbanked, meaning they’re fully or partially boxed out of traditional financial services. Those 68 million people represent a growing market for payday loan sharks, and spend an average of 10 percent of their yearly income on the high interest and fees that go with alternative financial services — roughly the same proportion they spend on food.

But there’s a collective solution to the banking desert: we could set up a public postal banking system like New Zealand’s.

Fighting the fees: robo-advisers win followers, if only for lower costs (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Rated: A

But one day last year Mr. Hansen was complaining to his mother, an avid investor, about the high fees he was paying on his investment account. She suggested he look into an online investment company called Betterment that markets itself as a low-fee alternative to traditional financial advisers.

Some of the most popular robo-advisers — such as Betterment, Wealthfront and Charles Schwab’s Intelligent Portfolio — use exchange-traded funds to keep costs low. Betterment charges an annual fee of 0.25 percent of the account value. Wealthfront charges no fee for accounts $10,000 or less. Schwab’s robo-advising platform limits its fees to the operating expenses included in the ETF, which range between 0.07 percent and 0.21 percent of the fund balance.

Citizens Bank, a Providence, R.I.-based bank that claims the third-largest deposit market share in the Pittsburgh region, introduced a new digital investment and advisory platform on its online banking home page in September.

A July report by S&P Global Market Intelligence predicts that digital advice assets will grow from $98 billion at the end of 2016 to $460 billion at the end of 2021.

InterNex Capital Launches “Velocity” (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Digital asset-based lender, InterNex Capital (“InterNex”) is pleased to announce their Velocity platform for small and medium-sized businesses. Velocity provides borrowers on demand liquidity through the InterNex Line of Credit and delivers real-time access for working capital management. Velocity empowers accelerated growth and powerful analytics, traditionally only available to large enterprises.

Wells Fargo adds overdraft protection with Rewind (Bankrate), Rated: B

On Nov, 14th, Wells Fargo announced Overdraft Rewind, a new feature to help customers avoid fees for overdrawing their checking accounts right before payday, when overdrafts most commonly occur.

Going forward, the bank will not charge overdraft or insufficient funds fees if a direct deposit large enough to cover those charges is received by 9 a.m. local time the day after the account goes negative.

You don’t need to opt in; if you have a Wells Fargo account, you’re covered by default.

Fintech seeks to ‘democratize data’ with Nasdaq’s help (American Banker), Rated: A

The fintech startup Intrinio has partnered with Nasdaq to include the exchange’s real-time data feeds in its financial data marketplace.

Global Debt Registry Unveils Collateral Pledge Blockchain Proof of Concept (Global Debt Registry), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company, today announced it has developed a collateral pledge registry, the first of its kind in the structured credit space, using Hyperledger Fabric, one of the Hyperledger blockchain framework implementations hosted by The Linux Foundation.

Midwest is on the rise in attracting tech investors’ interest (Crain’s Cleveland Business), Rated: A

Among those quoted in the story is Mark Kvamme, a top venture capitalist in Silicon Valley who now heads Columbus-based Drive Capital. The firm has raised $550 million and invested in 26 companies, betting, The Timessays, that “the middle of America amounts to an undervalued asset, rich in markets, new business ideas and budding entrepreneurs.”

Even so, three-quarters of all venture capital invested in America goes to California, New York and Massachusetts, the National Venture Capital Association estimates, and Ohio gets less than 1%.

Getting Help with Credit Card Debt (Business Insider), Rated: A

For the many Americans who face unmanageable credit card debt, it’s time to get their financial lives in order, says Andrew Housser, co-founder and CEO of Freedom Debt Relief– and if they need outside help, time to know how to find the right firm.

People looking for a trustworthy debt relief organization to help win the battle against debt can ask Housser’s seven questions:

  1. Does the company provide actual consultations and free advice to consumers?
  2. Does the company provide educational material, including budgeting and financial advice, free of charge?
  3. What is the background of the firm’s management team?
  4. How long has the company been in business?
  5. Request and review the company’s dropout and completion rates.
  6. What are the fees, and how will the firm assess them?
  7. How will the company help with creditor calls?

Atomist is formally launching with the Developer Automation Platform, an open source client and API. The new Development Automation Platform is designed to bring automation into the development and delivery process so that developers can focus on more important tasks.

Companies such as NVIDIA, Pivotal, Kyyti Group, Marlette Funding and Barclays Africa use Atomist for automation.

Mphasis’ top trends in Cognitive Intelligence in 2018 (CIO), Rated: B

  1. Smart environments with Pervasive Human and Machine Networks
  2. Predictive Analytics driven Customer 360
  3. Artificial Intelligence driven Multi-structured analytics – Cognitive Intelligence can enable insurance companies in analysing contact centre as well as chat data interactions in real time to predict propensity for fraud based on voice, video and text analysis and correlating the same with other similar fraudulent customer behaviors. The long term objective in such scenarios is to build machine learning based intelligent systems which learn on an ongoing basis based on historical pattern based analysis of billions of user and machine data points and predicts events.
  4. Immersive Multi-modal User Experiences
United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Achieves £1.5 Million Through Latest Seedrs Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Less than a month after launching its latest equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, peer-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital has successfully secured £1.5 million from more than 700 investors. The online lender took to the funding portal to raise £1 million for expansion.

Banking bots advise NatWest customers on investments (ITPro), Rated: AAA

NatWest has launched a chatbot that allows customers to seek financial advice from the comfort of their sofa.

The bot will determine the best way for customers to invest their money by asking questions such as what they want to achieve from investments, their current financial situation, what they can afford, their debts and other personal information, plus their attitude to risk.

It will then suggest ISA products they could consider for investment, plus how much they should consider investing and the most effective way to use their ISA allowance.

Monzo plans crowdfunding push to deepen ties with customers (Financial Times), Rated: A

Banking app Monzo is planning to launch one of the UK’s largest crowdfunding efforts next year to give customers in the fast-growing bank what it calls “a greater share of ownership”.

Tom Blomfield, chief executive, said the start-up, which raised £71m in a private equity fundraising earlier this month, intends to make a further cash call of between £10m and £30m in 2018.

However, the main driver of the crowdfunding push would be “to enable the customer base to own part of the bank”, Mr Blomfield said, adding that crowdfunding created a “genuine sense of ownership”.

Payday loan firm used £1.2m pension liberation scheme to pay debts (Citywire), Rated: A

Three directors of an insolvent payday loan firm which received cash from pension liberation schemes have been disqualified.

Speed-e-Loans.com (SEL), used £1.2 million from private investors via the schemes to meet its existing debts.

Directors Philip Miller, Robert Alan Davies and Daniel Jonathan Miller have been banned from acting as directors for nine, six and five years respectively for breaching fiduciary duties and the duties of care, skill and diligence.

China

Ping An Insurance Preparing For IPO Of Online Financing Platform Lufax (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Ping An Insurance Group is working towards an initial public offering for its peer-to-peer online financing platform Lufax Holding, the Chinese insurer’s chief operating officer said on Monday.

She didn’t provide a timeline or size for the planned public offering. The company was valued at $18.5 billion after a round of fundraising last year.

Ping An Insurance sells tech, lightens assets to aid returns (Asian Review), Rated: A

Ping An Insurance Group will go light on assets and target technology exports as its next mainstay, China’s leading financial conglomerate said Monday.

European Union

TransferWise reports doubled revenue for last fiscal year (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The London-based firm’s annual revenue has grown by 140 per cent since last year, coming in at £67m this year compared to £28m in 2016. Its audited results show an adjusted operating profit of £2m, and an overall profit for the fiscal year of £7.4m.

As a result, TransferWise’s operating loss has decreased from £17m in 2016 to £56,000 in 2017.

Swiss Platform Launches ICO Engine to Host Start-ups (TheStreet), Rated: A

Switzerland headquartered Eidoo has today officially launched a initial coin offering (ICO)engine that allows companies and startups to host ICOs through the Eidoo mobile app.

According to data provider Coinschedule, $3.3 billion has been raised in more than 200 ICOsover the past 12 months alone and the popularity of this innovative ICO form of crowdfunding shows no signs of relenting.

BNP Paribas buys 10% stake in SME credit specialist Caple (AltFi), Rated: A

Through the alliance and a 10 per cent stake in Caple, BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) is establishing a new platform to offer alternative credit to European SMEs.

Australia/New Zealand

CEO Jeff Greenslade details why Heartland Bank is moving aggressively into digital banking (Interest), Rated: AAA

Greenslade also reiterated Heartland’s forecast for June 2018 year net profit after tax of between $65 million and $68 million, an increase of up to 12% from $60.8 million in the June 2017 year.

“While some understandably lament the decline of branch banking, the bricks and mortar approach is not something we can compete in and is showing signs of obsolescence,” said Greenslade.

He pointed to Heartland’s digital services offering livestock finance, personal loans, SME working capital finance and deposits, noting “significant opportunity” to build on these.

Heartland has just six branches in Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Riccarton in Christchurch, and Ashburton.

India

Lower interest rates for borrowers in offing? Read where things stand (Financial Express), Rated: A

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) guidelines for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending will attract more people to these platforms and help bring down the interest rates for borrowers, Bhavin Patel, founder and CEO of LenDen Club, told Shritama Bose. Players in the segment have sought the regulator’s clarifications on the permissibility of institutional lenders on P2P platforms, he added.

Will the RBI guidelines have an impact on the lending rates?

In the current scenario, the P2P lending market is a minuscule percentage of the huge lending market in India. But, due to the sentimental impact of the regulation, many more lenders may take to P2P lending, resulting in higher liquidity on such platforms. This will eventually lead to reduction of the interest rates offered to borrowers in this segment.

How Fintech is Shaping Up the Future of Financial Services (Dekh News), Rated: A

Traditional banking institutions have changed very little in the last hundred years. Most offer online banking and mobile apps these days, but behind the scenes, very little has changed.

In total, $49.7 billion was invested in fintech between 2012-16, which indicates just how important fintech is.

Fintech innovators are more cost-effective than traditional lenders. Their technology and business models are low cost. A traditional lender may have operating costs of around 7% compared to an online lender whose operating costs are as low as 2%.

A staggering 38% of customers no longer visit banks. The rise of online banks has proven that traditional bank branches are not essential. Online lenders such as Atom have become firmly embedded in the banking ecosystem.

MENA

A tale of how two cities thrive in FinTech world (Khaleej Times), Rated: A

Two cities thrive in this new world. Singapore and Abu Dhabi. Long before renewable energy was pervasive, Abu Dhabi had established Masdar. It has brought in the magic of the Louvre from Paris. Singapore has consistently been ahead of the curve of change. The world’s largest vertical botanical garden paves the way for urban farming. The Marina Reservoir is a masterpiece of engineering and vision that turned an inlet of the sea into a strategically critical freshwater resource for the “Little Red Dot”.

Recently, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) held its inaugural FinTech Abu Dhabi Summit.

Two major announcements were made at the event. The first was the launch of the ADGM FinTech Innovation Centre by the first half of 2018.

The second was about a collaboration. ADGM and Plug and Play, the world’s largest startup accelerator based in Silicon Valley, signed a new partnership to launch a startup acceleration programme in Abu Dhabi, focused on FinTech. The programme, first of its kind in the Mena region, will be housed within the ADGM FinTech Innovation Centre. The partnership was signed by Ahmed Al Sayegh, chairman of ADGM, and Saeed Amidi, CEO, Plug and Play. Some of Plug and Play’s success stories include Google, Paypal, Dropbox and Lending Club.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday November 17 2017, Daily News Digest

consumer debt

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage secures $200M credit facility from Credit Suisse for AI-based lending expansion. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) files suit against Think Finance. Royal Bank of Scotland to launch robo under NatWest brand. Hexindai names Citi depository bank for American Depository Receipt Program. ICICI Bank, Paytm partner on short-term credit. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ Lending […]

consumer debt

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Kabbage gets $ 200M from Credit Suisse to expand its AI-based business loans (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

After picking up $250 million in equity funding from Softbank earlier this year, the small business loans and finance company Kabbage — which uses only algorithms and machine learning (no humans) to determine an applicant’s eligibility — is announcing another big infusion of money. The company is picking up $200 million from Credit Suisse in a revolving credit facility that it will use for loans.

Specifically, Kathryn Petralia, who is the COO and co-founded the company with Rob Frohwein, said the funding will help the company increase the number of loans it can make to larger companies in the US. The average size of those loans will grow to “north of $200,000,” she said.

DBRS Assigns Ratings to Kabbage Asset Funding 2017-A LLC (DBRS), Rated: A

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) assigned ratings to the following classes of loans extended by a group of lenders to Kabbage Asset Funding 2017-A, LLC (the Facility):

— Up to $148,150,000 of Class A Loans rated A (sf)
— Up to $24,868,000 of Class B Loans rated BBB (sf)

The Facility is a warehouse financing arranged for the benefit of Kabbage, Inc. (Kabbage) to support originations of small business loan receivables. Kabbage acts as servicer for the Facility.

Study suggests many borrowers bungle credit card debt consolidation (Credible), Rated: AAA

Thanks in part to the rise of fintech companies that make loans online, more than 16 million Americans now have personal loans — an increase of 64 percent in the last five years.

Payoff — a personal lender that specializes in helping consumers tackle credit card debt — says its internal data shows borrowers who paid off at least $5,000 in credit card balances between August 2016 and January 2017 saw a 40-point increase in their FICO score within four months.

Cleveland Fed study: a cautionary tale

One year after taking out a P2P loan, borrowers had credit scores that were 16 points lower than those of the non-P2P borrowers they were matched to, on average — an impact that persisted for four years, the authors said in their working paper.

The study found no evidence that P2P lenders are providing access to credit for “underbanked” consumers — borrowers taking out P2P loans were obtain other credit from traditional banks at rates similar to other consumers.

But a number of companies on the list, including Lightstream, BestEgg, LendingPoint, Earnest, and RocketLoans weren’t around in 2012, when the most recent loans studied by the Cleveland Fed researchers were made. Several others — including Avant, CommonBond, Pave, and Upstart — were just getting off the ground at the time.

The growth in fintech lending has been a driver in overall personal loan growth, with 16.1 million consumers owing $106 billion in personal loan debt as of June 30, 2017. That’s up from the 9.8 million borrowers who owed $45 billion in personal loan debt in mid-2012.

Fed flags online lending as subprime redux, but market hits back (Global Capital), Rated: A

ABS participants, speaking with GlobalCapital this week, hit back at the report, written by Yuliya Demyanyk, senior research economist, Daniel Kolliner, research analyst, both of the Cleveland Fed; and Elena Loutskina a professor of business administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and contributing author at the Cleveland Fed.

The authors challenge the belief that peer-to-peer (P2P) loans have expanded credit to borrowers with limited access to debt since the financial crisis.

A central argument of the Fed’s report was that sector has not done much to expand access to debt for borrowers with low credit scores.

In securitization, subprime consumer ABS has thinned since the crisis. For the five major credit card issuers, the years 2008-2016 saw revolving credit available to US borrowers with a Fico score of less than 660 reduced by approximately $142bn, according to data published by online lender Elevate earlier this year.

Even portfolios backing recent marketplace loan ABS have a weighted average Fico score above 680, the level that defines so-called ‘near prime’ credits, despite the notable dip in collateral quality. Marlette, for example, had an average score of 705 for its most recent transaction which was priced in October, while Prosper had a weighted average Fico score of 709, according to data from Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

PeerIQ Lending Earnings Insights Report (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

We are pleased to release our inaugural Lending Earnings Insights report.

Below are some of the main themes that we explore in this tracker:

  • Large banks continue to retrench.  Wells Fargo’s loan portfolio is down $13 Bn YOY. Loss reserves are down at all major banks except at GS due to the ramp-up in their consumer lending portfolio. Goldman Sachs expects lending initiatives to add $2 Bn in revenue in the coming years. GS loan loss reserve increased 50% and GS had the highest improvement in ROE across its peer group.
  • Credit re-normalization trend continues remains a recurring theme across all major lending groups. Overall, loss-rates on recent vintages are increasing versus prior recent vintages, although performance remains stronger than pre-crisis levels.  Card issuers are increasing loan loss reserves at a higher rate than loan growth, indicating expectations of higher losses going forward. Discover and American Express increased loan loss provisions ~50% although loan growth is at 9% and 14% respectively.
  • Consumer installment lenders do not anticipate an increase in loss rates, after having recalibrated loss expectations and increased reserves in 2016. OneMain had the smallest increase in loss reserves at 4%.
  • Consumers now have access to greater supply of credit and credit demand continues to grow. Consumer average debt-to-incomes are below pre-crisis levels.
  • Several lenders cited the shifting competitive landscape and the role of technology in driving innovation and risk management. 
  • Where are we in the credit cycle? 
Source: PeerIQ

Goldman Sachs’ lending platform is booming (Business Insider), Rated: A

Other banks may be tempted to emulate Goldman Sachs’ move into lending, but they should proceed with caution. Although consumer credit demand in the US 

Source: Business Insider

LendingTree Holiday Shopping Survey Suggests Bigger Budgets, Selfless Spending and Mobile Shopping Among Parents this Holiday Season (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, recently conducted its Holiday Shopping Survey among 1,050 Americans aged 25 to 55 with at least one child. The results show that people generally expect to give more than they expect to receive, and although only 55 percent of respondents have a set budget this holiday season, 76 percent plan to spend the same amount or more on holiday shopping compared to last year.

According to the survey, the average holiday shopping budget across all age groups was $943, although 45 percent of respondents say they don’t have a set budget for holiday shopping this year. LendingTree’s 2016 holiday survey found that 56 percent of respondents planned to shop for the holidays without a pre-set budget.

Additionally, 29 percent say they plan to spend more on holiday shopping in 2017 than they did in the 2016 holiday season.

Source: LendingTree

Parents are setting a low bar for their children’s gift giving abilities in 2017, with 68 percent of parents expecting to receive no gifts from or on behalf of their kids.

Most parents (80 percent) plan to spend at least $100 per child this year while 37 percent of parents plan to spend at least $250 per child.  Although 62 percent of parents say they try to spend the same amount on each child, younger children have a slight advantage with 12 percent of parents admitting to spending more on younger children and only 6 percent of parents use a child’s behavior to dictate how much money is spent on their gifts.

A debit card is the primary form of payment for holiday shopping for 46 percent of respondents, as well as the primary form of payment for across all groups. Second to debit cards, 29 percent designated cash as their primary form of payment, and only 21 percent are primarily credit card users – although credit cards are considered more secure than cash or debit cards. A recent CompareCards by LendingTree survey found that 66 percent of Americans think debit cards are as safe or safer than credit cards for payments, when in fact debit cards don’t offer the same consumer protections as credit cards.

Respondents expect to do 50 percent of their shopping online and 34 percent of their shopping on their mobile phone. Millennials (age 35 and under) expect to do 40 percent of their shopping on their phone, the largest of any other age group.

LendingTree Inc. (TREE) Breaks into New 52-Week High on November 16 Session (Equities.com), Rated: A

Shares of LendingTree Inc. (TREE) broke into a new 52-week high yesterday, hitting a peak of $281.80. Shares closed at $279.40 after opening at $271.75 for a move of 2.83%. The company now has a market cap of $3.34 billion.

Sharestates, America’s Private lender, Launches Their One Click Closing Option (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Sharestates, an online real estate investment marketplace, announced today the launch of its new One Click Closing tool, a feature that will allow return borrowers to visit a page where they can upload all the details and documents required for a new loan, allowing for a seamless transfer of closing date information without further communications. The launch of this new tool coincides with the company’s overarching goal of providing borrowers with a streamlined funding process, while providing them the opportunity to solely focus on identifying viable real estate investment opportunities.

Bitcoin Tax Laws Are A Nightmare So People Ignore Them (International Business Times), Rated: A

A survey of 564 American bitcoin users by the online loan marketplaceLendEDU, revealed more than 35 percent didn’t plan to report bitcoin-related gains or losses on their tax returns. On average, respondents said the current fiat value of their bitcoin holdings were $2,930.85, although that will probably continue to rise along with bitcoin’s market price.

The Best Personal Loans of 2017 (U.S. News), Rated: AAA

Some of the most common requirements for a personal loan are:

  • Minimum credit score: Most lenders require that you have at least fair or good credit when applying for a personal loan. Each lender sets its own cutoff for what it considers to be excellent, good, fair or bad credit. In general, fair credit is a FICO score between 580 to 669 and good credit is a score between 670 to 739. Most companies require a score of at least 600, but some have greater requirements. A higher score will increase your ability to be approved, and the higher your score, the lower interest rate you’ll qualify for too.
  • Clean credit history: Lenders don’t like to see defaults, collections or bankruptcies. If you have one or more of these on your credit report, you might not be approved for a personal loan. If you’re approved, you may have to pay an exorbitant interest rate.
  • Stable employment: A lender needs to know that if it lends you money, you’ll have the means to repay it over time. Without a stable job, you could miss payments or default on the loan. Proof of employment validates your loan application.
  • Proof of identification: Lenders usually need to see proof of identification, such as a copy of your driver’s license or passport, before approving your loan. Identity theft is common and they want to prevent thieves from taking out loans under another person’s credit.

Choosing a Personal Loan Company

There are two types of lenders you can choose from: banks and peer-to-peer lenders. Banks offering personal loans include SoFi and LightStream and peer-to-peer lenders include Upstart, LendingClub, Prosper and Peerform.

Marketplace-based lenders usually have less strict credit score requirements than their bank-based counterparts. For example, LendingClub and Peerform only require a FICO score of 600 while bank-based companies such as SoFi and Payoff have minimum FICO scores of 660.

Every lender has a minimum and maximum loan amount. For example, SoFi will lend up to $100,000 while Payoff lends up to $35,000. If you need to borrow $45,000, then only look at lenders who offer that amount or more.

Best Personal Loan Companies of 2017

  • Best for very good credit, low APR and no origination fees: LightStream
  • Best for very good credit, low APR, no origination fees and a range of offerings: SoFi
  • Best for very good credit and low APR with merit-based qualifications: Earnest
  • Best marketplace for fair to good credit with merit-based qualifications: Upstart
  • Best bank for fair to good credit with merit-based qualifications: LendingPoint
  • Best for fair to good credit with a co-signer option: LendingClub

The Best Bad Credit Loans of 2017 (U.S. News), Rated: AAA

Bad credit usually is a FICO score below 640. FICO is the main scoring system for consumer credit, with credit score rangesdefined as:

  • Exceptional (800 to 850)
  • Very Good (740 to 799)
  • Good (670 to 739)
  • Fair (580 to 669)
  • Very Poor (300 to 579)

Payday Loans Versus Personal Loans

Payday Loans Personal Loans for Bad Credit
Lenders Online, brick-and-mortar Online, brick-and-mortar
Loan Amounts Typically less than $500 $1,000 to $50,000
Loan Terms Two to four weeks One to five years
Interest Rates 200 to 400 percent APR 36 percent APR or less

(Source)

Some alternative payday loan companies market themselves as more socially responsible than traditional payday lenders because they offer better terms. They also want to help consumers rebuild their shaky credit and make payments on time. For instance, LendUp provides financial education and rewards existing borrowers who repay their loans to be eligible for loans at larger amounts and lower rates. Fig Loans only charges fees to cover the costs of the loan.

Choosing a Bad Credit Lender

Consumers should evaluate lenders based on the following criteria:

  • Type of lending company
  • Credit history and general qualifications
  • Co-signer option
  • Additional eligibility qualifications
  • Employment requirements
  • Interest rates and types
  • Loan terms
  • Fees and penalties
  • Repayment options

The Best Small Business Loans of 2017 (U.S. News), Rated: AAA

According to the National Small Business Association, 69 percent of small businesses used financing in 2016, including loans, credit cards, venture capital and crowdfunding. The remaining 31 percent were not able to obtain adequate financing.

According to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, small business bank loans totaled nearly $600 billion in 2015. At the same time, lending from alternative sources such as finance companies and peer-to-peer, or P2P, marketplace lenders amounted to $593 billion.

There are two categories of alternative lenders, direct and peer-to-peer lenders:

1. Direct lenders: Direct lenders are finance companies that fund your loan with capital other than a bank and without a middleman such as a broker, investment bank or private equity firm. Some direct lenders, such as LiftFund, offer SBA loans. Typically, small to midsize businesses borrow from direct lenders.

2. Peer-to-peer lenders: Online peer-to-peer lending directly connects you with investors who usually have a diversified loan portfolio made up of small portions of loans. A loan is often divided among several investors.

Choosing a Small Business Loan

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum credit score
  • Minimum years in business
  • Minimum annual revenue

Best Small Business Loans of 2017

  • Best for very small businesses: Kabbage
  • Best for borrowers with low credit scores: OnDeck
  • Best for new businesses: Accion
  • Best for low APR: LendingClub
  • Best for invoice financing: Fundbox

Square Now Letting Some Users Buy & Sell Bitcoin Through Cash Mobile App (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Financial service company Square is reportedly now testing out bitcoin on some of its Cash mobile app users. The new feature will allow users to buy and sell the cryptocurrency through the app.

YieldStreet Surpasses $ 200M in Originations, Bolsters Leadership Team and Launches New Website amid Period of High Growth (BusinessWire), Rated: A

YieldStreet, the alternative investment platform that is working to change the way wealth is created, announced that it has surpassed $200 million in originations and has added two new executives to its leadership team: Volfi Mizrahi as Managing Director of Originations and Ivor Wolk as General Counsel. Their additions come on the heels of the appointment of Hrishi Dixit as CTO earlier this year.

$ 15 Million Investment Round Fuels Accelerated Growth at Goji (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Goji announced a $15 million investment round led by Hudson Structured Capital Management Ltd., doing business as HSCM Bermuda.

CFPB Guns for Think Finance. Files Suit Alleging Consumer Deception in Repaying Loans Not Legally Owned (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has filed suit in federal court against Think Finance, a Fintech that leverages its technology to power online lending platforms. The CFPB says the suit was filed for its “role in deceiving consumers into repaying loans that were not legally owed.”

The CFPB alleges that Think Finance illegally collects on loans that are void under state laws governing interest rate caps or the licensing of lenders.

The actual filing states:

“From 2011 through at least 2015, Defendant has performed critical functions for three separate lending businesses owned by Native American Tribes: (1) Great Plains Lending, LLC (Great Plains); (2) MobiLoans, LLC (MobiLoans); and (3) Plain Green, LLC (Plain Green) (collectively, the Tribal lenders). Defendant is therefore a “service provider” under CFPA. 12 U.S.C. § 5481(226).”

Read the filing here.

Richard Cordray’s CFPB Has Done Its Job Well (Bloomberg), Rated: A

As recently as a decade ago, the U.S. had no single regulator tasked with looking out for the interests of consumers in financial markets. Fragmented oversight allowed all kinds of bad behavior to fall through the cracks. Mortgage brokers hid the true terms of loans in piles of nearly indecipherable documents. Banks changed the order of transactions to extract the maximum overdraft fees from poor customers. Payday lenders offered products designed to trap people in an unending cycle of debt.

Cordray has accomplished a lot. The CFPB designed new, simpler mortgage-loan disclosures. It shed light on banks’ overdraftpractices. It created the first federal rules to make payday lending less predatory. It gave the public reams of valuable information, such as a database that allows consumers to compare credit-card agreements. Its practice of publishing complaints pushed financial institutions to be more responsive. Its investigation of Wells Fargo brought national attention to the fake-accounts issue.

Some of its practices (in particular, preferringdiscretionary enforcement over explicit rule-making) are less than ideal and ought to be revisited; in other areas (such as auto lendingand credit reporting) its authority should be expanded.

We need a watchdog at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Washington Post), Rated: A

Cordray’s departure gives President Trump an opportunity to appoint a new leader, and I’m concerned that this will derail the watchdog agency’s consumer-first mission.

In Cordray’s parting statement, he wrote that the agency has recovered $12 billion for nearly 30 million consumers.

Five opportunities and challenges in digital lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Despite the rapid growth of online and mobile lending in recent years, many banks are still just getting started.

Traditional banks should help govern fintech (Reuters), Rated: A

Traditional lenders should demand that online financial companies protect consumer privacy and money interests, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said on Thursday.

Banks often pay tech companies for the information they gather on borrowers. For that reason, Brainard said, those lenders can set high standards in consumer protection and privacy.

Under Trump, Banking Watchdog Trades Its Bite for a Tamer Stance (The New York Times), Rated: A

The regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees the nation’s biggest banks, has made it easier for Wall Street to offer high-interest, payday-style loans. It has softened a policy for punishing banks suspected of discriminatory lending. And it has clashed with another federal regulator that pushed to give consumers greater power to sue financial institutions.

Buffett’s ‘Million-Dollar Bet’ shows how much fees matter (Herald Tribune), Rated: A

One category of alternative investments includes hedge and private equity funds. I am not in favor of such investments, especially for the average investor, and I am not alone.

Typically, hedge fund fees are 2 percent plus an incentive, or “carry,” of 20 percent of the profits. The result is billions of dollars for the managers and far less for clients.

In 2015, Buffett lagged his hedge fund rival for the first time since 2008, gaining 1.4 percent versus Protégé’s 1.7 percent. However, 2016 saw Buffett gain 11.9 percent to Protégé’s 0.9 percent. At the end of 2016, Buffett’s index fund gained 7.1 percent per year, or $854,000 in total, compared with 2.2 percent per year, or $220,000, for Protégé.

United Kingdom

Royal Bank of Scotland to launch robo-advice under NatWest brand (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Royal Bank of Scotland is launching robo-advice for more than 5m customers as banks return to the investment market after a string of fines and as regulators attempt to plug the UK’s wide “advice gap”.

The state-backed lender is claiming to be the first in the UK to launch automated online investment advice when it opens on Monday under its NatWest brand. The service is designed for the majority of customers and for people with as little as £500 to invest as a lump sum.

The process, which costs £10 plus fees for the investment, is aimed at customers who lack the confidence to invest alone but do not wish to pay higher charges for full-blown financial advice, such as tax and inheritance planning.

Beyond the bank (Prospect Magazine), Rated: AAA

Five high street banks remain responsible for more than 80 percent of business lending, prompting calls for greater market choice both from challenger banks and from emerging FinTech (financial technology) firms. However, the introduction of new platforms and new players raises questions of integration, innovation and regulation.

Launched seven years ago, Funding Circle has since hosted 70,000 lenders and is responsible for 2 percent of total UK business lending. While going head-to-head with the banks it is worth noting that Funding Circle is also growing the market.

So what next for financial services? Will the disruptors get disrupted? Possibly. One attendee suggested that FinTech firms would soon be providing ‘white label’ versions of their services to traditional banks that would then offer those services to customers. Others suggested that the likes of Amazon and Google would provide the biggest future threat not just to banks but to today’s FinTech leaders.

RateSetter, Funding Circle, Zopa feature in Women in Fintech Powerlist (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FEMALE employees at RateSetter, Funding Circle, Zopa and Landbay have all made this year’s Women in Fintech Powerlist, which celebrates the achievements and talent of women across the sector.

RateSetter’s entrants are: Alexa McAlister, head of partnerships; Angela Yotov, head of legal; Joanna Wright, chief risk officer; Katie Brown, corporate counsel; Laurence Perrin, head of compliance; Lucy Bott, head of customer operations; and Maud Holma, finance counsel.

Women from Funding Circle who made the list are: Alysha Randall, global finance director; Lisa Jacobs, chief strategy officer; Lucy Vernall, global general counsel and global head of compliance; Maria Weaver, chief people officer; Panni Morshedi, managing director of international; Swati Lay, chief information security officer; and Vittoria Reimers, VP loan operations.

VPC takes majority stake in online lender Borro (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

VICTORY Park Capital Specialty Lending (VPC) has continued its expansion into balance sheet lending by upping its investment in online secured lender Borro.

The alternative finance-focused investment trust now has the largest stake in the firm, which provides loans secured on luxury assets, owning around 49 per cent.

How does LendInvest’s buy-to-let offering stack up to P2P rivals? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LendInvest said it will be offering buy-to-let loans through intermediaries ranging between £50,000 and £5m, with rates starting at 3.69 per cent depending on whether borrowers take a two, three or five-year fixed rate.

In comparison, Landbay facilitates fixed rate and tracker buy-to-let loans of between £70,000 and £500,000 from 3.55 per cent.

And fellow P2P lender LandlordInvest offers loans of between £30,000 and £300,000 from five per cent.

Crowdproperty Pitches to Raise 600K GBP through Equity Crowdfunding (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

UK p2p lending marketplace Crowdproperty is currently pitching on Seedrs to raise 600K GBP from the crowd at a pre-money valuation of 5.9M GBP.

Digital bank Monzo sizes up IPO (AltFi), Rated: A

In an advertisement for a new Chief Financial Officer, Monzo has let on about its plans for an IPO within three to four years time.

The posting, published today on Monzo’s job site, says:

Alongside the CEO, you’ll be heavily involved in future capital raising – pitching to investors and negotiating the best terms. In the next 3-4 years, it’s likely you’ll be responsible for taking the company through an IPO.

UK FinTech Beats Brexit Blues with New Funding Record (Digit), Rated: A

The UK fintech sector has enjoyed a record year of investment in 2017 with more than £2 billion invested across 182 deals, according to research body FinTech.Global.

Additionally, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7% experienced by firms valued below £75 million between 2014 and 2016 was supplemented with a further investment of £1.2 billion for this bracket in 2017. As for companies valued above the £75 million figure, a further £877.1 million has been committed across eight deals.

Investment in the UK’s top-10 fintech firms accounted for nearly 46.7% of the total investment between Q1 and Q3 2017. The largest of these deals went to Gryphon Insurance in June, valued at £179.6 million. Of the top 10 deals, four went to lending firms – Prodigy Finance1stStop GroupNeyber and Funding Circle, valued at £457.5 million. Of the remaining six deals, two went to challenger banks Tandem and Atom, two went to enterprise software companies Options Technology and Darktrace, and the final two went to insurtech companyies Gryphon Insurance and Revolut.

Millennials say advisers are inaccessible and too expensive (Financial Times), Rated: A

Millennials view financial advice as an industry of “exclusivity, inaccessibility and high cost,” according to research carried out by the financial advice trade body.

The poll of 178 millennials found 78 per cent of them believed they could only receive advice if they had investible wealth in excess of £50,000 but a significant number wanted advice when they had £10,000 or less.

Online-only options appealed to just 12 per cent of those surveyed.

Cardiff will host one of the first a new network of tech hubs being set up in a £21m investment (Wales Online), Rate: B

A new tech hub will be set up in Cardiff as part of a UK-wide network of regional hubs under a £21m investment announced by the UK Government.

China

P2P Lender Hexindai Names Citi As Depositary Bank for American Depositary Receipt Program (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Wednesday, Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Hexindai announced it has appointed Citi’s Issuer Services business as the depositary bank for its American Depositary Receipt (ADR) program. According to the online lender, the program was established through an initial public offering of its American Depositary Shares (ADSs), priced at $10 per ADS, which raised approximately $50 million.

Unified credit rating system expected soon, say experts (China Daily), Rated: A

A unified platform for collecting personal financial information and assessing people’s credit ratings is being planned, and it is expected to be launched soon as a part of the central bank’s regulatory framework, experts told China Daily.

It will complement the existing credit center of the People’s Bank of China, the nation’s central bank.

China Fintech Companies Dominate Top-10 List of Global Innovators (China Money Network), Rated: B

Compared with the ranking last year, two more Chinese firms were added to the top 50 list. Online marketplace lending company Dianrong and credit card and online financial service firm U51.com, or 51Xinyongka, rose to top 50. Among the 100 fintech companies, lending and payments focused companies lead in terms of sectors.

European Union

Online Lender WeShareBonds Raises €12 Million in Mission to Help Finance French SMEs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

WeShareBonds, an AMF-registered crowd lending platform, has raised €12 million to continue financing French SMEs. The new funding includes both the closing of WeShareBonds’ second credit fund (Prêtons aux PME 2018) to finance French SMEs for €10 million and an equity increase of €2 million to finance platform growth.

International

Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending in India: A positive disruption to traditional financing, albeit cautious approach required (CARE Ratings), Rated: AAA

The overall size of the NBFC sector in India has grown significantly during the last few years with increasing share of NBFC total assets to bank total assets (approximately around 15 per cent of the total banking assets).

P2P Lending in UK: In UK, the P2P market has seen active retail investor participation. The outstanding loan book in the UK industry is approximately around £2.9 billion (~Rs.25,000 crore) as on Q3-2017 as compared to £0.75 billion (~Rs.6,500 crore) as on Q4-20142 . Based on the outstanding loan book as on Q3-2017, the key players in the segment are Funding Circle, Zopa, FolktoFolk, Ratesetter and ThinCats capturing majority of the market.

P2P Lending in USA: P2P industry in USA is around $20 billion (~Rs.1.3 trillion) in 2016 up from $18 billion in 20153 . P2P lending in the USA has seen active participation of institutional investors (approximately 70 per cent of the total investor volumes) lending to borrowers through the platforms. In the USA, three dominant players capture majority of the market which include Lending Club, Prosper and Sofi.

P2P Lending in China: Globally, China has the largest market size of P2P lending which started in 2006. As of January 2017, there were total 2388 P2P platforms in China4with trading volume in 2015 touching $67 billion (~Rs.4.4 trillion) which is ten times that of UK and four times bigger than USA. However unlike USA and UK, the China P2P market is dominated by large number of small and medium size firms.

P2P Lending in India: Globally P2P lending has been in existence for more than ten years; however, it has been evolving in India in the last couple of years. Given the recent RBI guidelines, companies will now need to obtain NBFC–P2P license and will come under the purview of the regulator. There are more than 50 P2P online platforms operating in India. I-Lend, LenDenClub, Faircent, Lendbox, i2iFunding, Monexo, India Money Mart, Rupaiya Exchange are some of the leading P2P platforms operating in India. Currently, some of the leading P2P platforms claim to disburse loans amounting to ~Rs.1 to 2 crore a month. Outstanding loans under P2P model is estimated to have reached ~Rs.50-60 crore.

Source: CARE Ratings

Read the full report here.

TAURUS COIN OPENS FOR BUSINESS GLOBALLY (EIN News), Rated: A

United Kingdom’s leading peer to peer cryptocurrency lender Taurus Coin today launched its online lending marketplace with USD 150M lending capital, bringing the world’s fastest growing form of lending to the South-East Asia, Gulf, Africa, Europe, and India investors.

Australia/New Zealand

Sharesies to look at robo-advice once regulator rules on exemptions (The National Business Review), Rated: A

Start-up fund distribution platform Sharesies will develop a plan to provide personalised, automated financial advice, known as robo-advice, once there is more clarity about regulatory exemptions.

Last month the Financial Markets Authority decided to grant an exemption to enable the provision of robo-advice services under the current financial advice regime and said it aims to finalise the exemption and be open for applications in early 2018.

India

ICICI Bank and Paytm partner for short term credit for users (Medianama), Rated: AAA

ICICI Bank and Paytm have partnered to offer short-term credit to users. The credit given to customers will be interest-free for 45 days and the bank says that it will give loans up to Rs 20,000. Initially, this will be allowed for select ICICI Bank customers who are on Paytm and will be extended to other bank customers as well who use Paytm.

Once the credit limit is set up for a customer, a consolidated bill is generated on the first day of the next month, which has to be paid by the 15th day of the same month. Customers can use their Paytm Wallet, debit card or internet banking of any bank for an easy repayment of their dues.

In August, the bank launched product called Instant Credit Card where certain pre-approved customers of the bank will be able to get a virtual credit card much before the physical card is delivered to them. A physical card will be sent to the customer’s address in 5-7 days.

Meanwhile, the bank’s rival, HDFC Bank said that it would start offering a virtual credit card for customers through its PayZapp wallet, as indicated by this Financial Express report. HDFC Bank has the maximum number of credit cards in circulation with 9.03 million. Meanwhile, ICICI Bank has 4.34 million credit cards.

  • Paytm’s rival in the wallet space, MobiKwik has partnered with Bajaj Finance to to bring in credit facilities to a wallet business.
  • In April this year, PayU India will be investing $50 million in its product LazyPay over the next few years. The credit facility could extend for amounts from Rs 3,000 and even up to Rs 10,000, depending upon customer behaviour.
  • For the recently concluded festival season, e-commerce player Flipkart started to offer EMIs on debit cards on high-value purchases.

Narrow banking is an idea whose time has come (livemint), Rated: A

The most heartening takeaway from last week’s public sector bank executive jamboree was the discussion around differentiated lending structures. The ThinkShop (earlier editions were called Gyan Sangams) suggested that large banks focus on corporate lending, while smaller lenders focus on retail loans or specific geographies.

Taking differentiated lending to its logical end, the time has come to consider converting the worst performers among state-owned lenders to narrow banks, which won’t lend at all.

Narrow banks are safe banks. By not lending, and using their deposits to buy government bonds, they carry virtually no credit risk. There is no danger of non-performing loans and frequent injections of equity capital that has to be funded by taxpayers. For the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) too, supervision gets easier. There is no need for deposit insurance.

RBI likely to issue clarifications on P2P lending norms soon (Money Control), Rated: B

The Reserve Bank of India is soon likely to issue clarifications on the guidelines for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms relating to the lending limits, trusteeship and other operational norms.

Asia

Active.Ai raises over million in Series-A round (India Times), Rated: A

Singapore-based fintech platform Active-.Ai has raised $8.25 million in a series-A round, which was led by Vertex Ventures, Creditease Holdings and Dream Incubator. Existing investors Kalaari Capital and IDG Ventures also participated.

Canada

WEALTHSIMPLE, LEAGUE AMONG KPMG’S TOP 50 FINTECH COMPANIES (Betakit), Rated: B

Toronto-based WealthsimpleLeague, and SecureKey were among the company recognized in the top 50 category. In the emerging stars category, Toronto-based BorrowellWave, and Sensibill were recognized.

The list was put together by FinTech investment firm H2 Ventures and KPMG FinTech.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday December 2 2016, Daily News Digest

auto loan originations

News Comments Today’s main news: Subprime Auto Debt Grows Despite Rising Delinquencies, Today’s main analysis : Subprime auto debt and delinquencies. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 2017 will be good year for partnering with banks. Rapid growth of alternative finance. Does online lending create less systemic risk? United States Weiss comments at investors conference on marketplace lending. AT: “The […]

auto loan originations

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

India

Pakistan

News Summary

United States

Remarks by Counselor to The Secretary Antonio Weiss at The Second Annual Investors Conference on Marketplace Lending (Treasury), Rated: AAA

In recognition of the changing industry dynamics and in response to the feedback we received to the RFI, in May of this year, Treasury published a White Paper entitled Opportunities and Challenges in Online Marketplace Lending.

We proposed six recommendations to public and private sector participants.  First, we support exploring more robust small business borrower protections and effective oversight.  Second, we encourage companies to align interests of borrowers and investors by ensuring sound borrower experience and back-end operations.  Third, to promote a transparent marketplace, we recommend the creation of a private sector registry for tracking data on transactions, issuances, securitizations, and loan-level performance for the public.  Fourth, we suggest the expansion of access to credit through partnerships that ensure safe and affordable credit.  Fifth, we support the use of smart disclosures and data verification sources to improve the borrower experience and make loans and investments safer and more accurate.  And last, we proposed the creation of a standing, interagency working group on online marketplace lending to facilitate regulatory coordination.

Banks, particularly community banks, have traditionally provided the majority of credit to small businesses in the United States.  Community banks are often closest to their borrowers and in a unique position to assess and address the credit needs of their customer base.  This can lead to more effective risk assessments and better outcomes for lenders and borrowers.

However, small businesses are increasingly turning to online marketplace lenders as potential financing sources.  According to the 2015 Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey, one in five small businesses sought out online marketplace lenders in 2015 as potential financing sources.

Unfortunately, those same survey results found small businesses approved for financing were often dissatisfied with their experience using marketplace lenders.  The top three survey complaints were high interest rates, unfavorable repayment terms, and most critically, a lack of transparency.  These results echoed the comments Treasury received in the RFI.  Commenters across the spectrum, including some industry participants, argued that small business borrowers need enhanced safeguards to ensure terms are well understood.

The need for greater transparency and standardized terms across the full spectrum of small business credit products is necessary to promote competition and ensure customers have relevant and accurate information to make informed financial decisions.

Treasury’s White Paper showed that the use of data for credit underwriting is a core element of online marketplace lending.  It holds both the most promise and the most risk for borrowers.  Data-driven algorithms may expedite credit assessments and reduce operational friction.  In particular, data allows marketplace lenders to reduce the cost of customer acquisition, automate the origination of loans and the collection of loan documentation, and potentially reduce fraud.

However, these algorithms also carry the risk of disparate impact in credit outcomes and the potential for fair lending violations.  There is limited public research on these topics, and therefore, a lack of consensus on the potential benefits and risks.  This is partly because credit scoring models and operations are proprietary, and data sources are expensive to construct or unavailable to outside researchers.

These algorithms continue to evolve, and their ability to generate superior credit outcomes was tested in 2016.  Unsecured consumer loans across a composite of marketplace lending platforms saw delinquency rates rise 30 to 50 basis points from the same time a year ago.  To ensure continued investor confidence in the validity of these new underwriting models, marketplace lenders adjusted to demands by investors for greater transparency, independent due diligence reviews, and heightened data integrity and validation standards.

We also see the potential for marketplace lending to expand credit in underserved markets.  According to the CFPB, at least 45 million consumers have no access to credit because they have either no credit report or insufficient credit histories.  It is estimated that 26 million Americans are credit invisible and do not have credit records maintained by any of the three credit reporting agencies.  An additional 19 million lack a credit score.  Use of alternative data may mitigate this problem.  Importantly, alternative data can also be used to satisfy customer identification requirements and combat fraud.

However, with the proliferation of partnerships, it will be critical to ensure that financial institutions maintain oversight and compliance obligations under the distribution partnership model.  The proposed third party guidance by FDIC is critical in this regard, and extends beyond marketplace lending.

Given the rate of change and innovation occurring in fintech and online marketplace lending, this will continue to remain an area of focus for federal regulatory agencies.

Subprime Auto Debt Grows Despite Rising Delinquencies (Liberty Street Economics), Rated: AAA

The latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data showed a small increase in overall debt in the third quarter of 2016, bolstered by gains in non-housing debt. Mortgage balances continue to grow at a sluggish pace since the recession while auto loan balances are growing steadily. The rise in auto loans has been fueled by high levels of originations across the spectrum of creditworthiness, including subprime loans, which are disproportionately originated by auto finance companies.

Originations of auto loans have continued at a brisk pace over the past few years, with 2016 shaping up to be the strongest of any year in our data, which begin in 1999.

Although it remains true that banks and credit unions comprise about half of the overall outstanding balance of newly originated loans, the vast majority of subprime loans are originated by auto finance companies.

Auto loan delinquency data, reported in our Quarterly Report, show that the overall ninety-plus day delinquency rate for auto loans increased only slightly in 2016 through the end of September to 3.6 percent. But the relatively stable delinquency rate masks diverging performance trends across the two types of lenders. Specifically, a worsening performance among auto loans issued by auto finance companies is masked by improvements in the delinquency rates of auto loans issued by banks and credit unions. The ninety-plus day delinquency rate for auto finance company loans worsened by a full percentage point over the past four quarters, while delinquency rates for bank and credit union auto loans have improved slightly. An even sharper divergence appears in the new flow into delinquency for loans broken out by the borrower’s credit score at origination, shown in the chart below. The worsening in the delinquency rate of subprime auto loans is pronounced, with a notable increase during the past few years.

2017 Will Be A Huge Year For Bank Partnerships (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Both banks and fintech companies have come to the realization that they have core competencies that are complimentary.  According to a recent Manatt survey, a whopping 72% of regional and community banks said that they plan to collaborate with a fintech company in the next 12-18 months.

Banks are naturally conservative so it comes as no surprise that the early adopters have chosen to partner with fintech companies rather than buy or build.  We expect that partnerships are going to rapidly accelerate in 2017.

Bank-Fintech-Bank (BFB): In this scenario the bank uses their channel to originate borrowers, the online lender underwrites the loan, and the bank uses its depositor base to fund the loan.

Fintech-Fintech-Bank (FFB):  In this scenario, the online lender uses their own channel to acquire the borrower, they use their technology to underwrite the loan, and the bank provides the lending capital.

Bank-Fintech-Fintech (BFF):  In this scenario the Bank uses their channel to acquire the borrower but the fintech underwrites the loans and funds it themselves.

Co-Brand or White Label: Each partnership must also decide whether to co-brand or white label.  Regions Bank is most interesting because they chose to white label with Avant but co-brand with Fundation.

Last month Goldman Sachs officially launched Marcus, the first online lending platform built by a bank.  This was a major milestone for the industry.  It signaled that banks and online lending platforms can co-exist.

SunTrust is the only major bank to have actually acquired an online lending platform.

Online Lending Update (Orchard Email), Rated: A

I mentioned in last month’s newsletter that the feeling among most of the industry participants I’d spoken with was that the worst was behind us and the prevailing sentiment was that we’d likely end the year on a positive note. While I believe this is still the case, we won’t know it for sure until we start seeing it in the numbers. November was a month of mixed signals.

A recent

PeerIQ and TransUnion Forge Strategic Partnership to Bring Suite of Data Transparency Solutions to Marketplace Lending (Marketwired), Rated: A

PeerIQ, a leading provider of data and analytics in the marketplace lending sector, and TransUnion (NYSE: TRU), a global information solutions provider, today announced a core strategic partnership to bring enhanced transparency and insight to alternative lending markets. This newly launched partnership will target the most pressing issues facing lending markets to foster greater investor confidence. It also positions PeerIQ as a key facilitator of efficient investment between marketplace lenders and institutional investors.

In addition to building authoritative data and derived analytics solutions for the industry, PeerIQ and TransUnion will collaborate on distribution and integration opportunities. As part of the partnership, Steve Chaouki, executive vice president and head of TransUnion’s financial services business unit, will become a PeerIQ board observer.

Online lenders talk partnerships (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Banks that partner with online lending platforms can find new opportunities to expand their markets, but key challenges also need to be addressed.

Online lender Avant seeks financial-driven bank partnerships, according to Kevin Lewis, head of business development. Avant partners with banks to provide a bank-branded product for both existing customers and new online customers.

Manny Alvarez, general counsel and chief compliance officer for online lender Affirm, says his company seeks customers who either don’t have or don’t use a credit card for big ticket purchases.

Affirm—started by Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal—works with web-based merchant verticals in segments such as home goods, automotive parts, and luxury apparel.

Richard Neiman, head of regulatory and government affairs at Lending Club, said his company has over 30 bank partners on its platform. He says the banks find these partnerships “attractive and a strong value proposition” because it provides them with the ability to:

1. Acquire attractive assets (consumer credits)

2. Offer a digital system without having to build a new system or adapt a legacy system

3. Fill a product gap

4. Say “yes” to more customers because loans the bank doesn’t want to hold on its balance sheet could be funded by the other investors on its platform.

Lending Club partners with banks to originate and issue its loans. It also partners with large and small banks that invest in loans on its platform or originate loans through white label programs on its platform.

Mastercard roll out AI to detect fraud in card transactions (The Asset), Rated: A

Mastercard has launched Decision Intelligence, a comprehensive decision and fraud detection service. The solution uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help financial institutions increase the accuracy of real-time approvals of genuine transactions and reduce false declines.

Current decision-scoring products are focused primarily on risk assessment, working within predefined rules.

SFIG Issues First Marketplace Lending Best Practices Report (PR Newswire), Rated: A

The Structured Finance Industry Group, Inc. (“SFIG”) released the First Edition in a series of papers aimed at supporting the responsible growth of securitization in the marketplace lending sector. These papers, termed “Green Papers,” are a product of SFIG’s Marketplace Lending Committee Best Practices Initiative. The Best Practices Initiative was launched in February 2016, and seeks to identify a framework of market standards and recommended best practices through an open discussion among a broad cross-section of market participants.

The involvement by membership in SFIG’s Marketplace Lending Committee and the best practices effort is broad. Each working group differs in size, and SFIG’s Marketplace Lending Committee currently includes 250 individuals, representing more than 70 SFIG member institutions. The initiative has established the following five work streams related to marketplace lending:

  • Disclosure & Reporting;
  • Representations & Warranties;
  • Regulatory;
  • Operational Considerations; and
  • Enforcement.

RealtyShares Announcement: More Than $ 5.1M Has Been Raised For Nashville Dining Franchise Net Lease Deals (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RealtyShares announced on Thursday a total of $5,144,000 has been raised through its real estate crowdfunding marketplace for the acquisition and development of four free-standing triple net (NNN) leased quick service restaurants in Nashville, Tennessee.

According to RealtyShares, the tenants, which includes three Checkers and one Taco John’s, each raised more than $1 million through the crowdfunding platform at an 80% Loan-to-Cost (LTC) ratio. All were fully funded within two weeks of being featured on RealtyShares’ online marketplace, demonstrating the crowd’s strong interest in this type of deal.

FTC FinTech Forum Part II – Crowdfunding and P2P Payments (Venable), Rated: A

Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held its first FinTech Series forum exploring the benefits, risks, and regulatory issues applicable to the FinTech industry. The forum, which took place on June 10, 2016, focused on marketplace lending. The second forum in the series took place on October 26, 2016, and focused on crowdfunding platforms and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. The half-day forum featured opening remarks by FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, panel discussions on crowdfunding and P2P payments, a presentation by the FTC’s Office of Technology, Research, and Investigation, and closing remarks by Malini Mithal, the Acting Associate Director of the FTC’s Division of Financial Practices.

At the second FinTech Series Forum, the FTC discussed its planned regulatory direction for the crowdsourcing and P2P payments industries, and the level of compliance flexibility regulators expected to provide early-stage fintech companies (spoiler: not much). The FTC made clear that although FinTech-specific regulation is still taking shape, the agency will monitor this sector aggressively and expects compliance with long-standing consumer protection laws, including its guidance on unfair or deceptive acts or practices (UDAP).

While crowdfunding has created a new system for individuals and groups to raise money for personal and business projects, the FTC believes such platforms also create a potential for fraud and other abuse. The panelists noted that consumer understanding is always a source of risk and commented that some issues may be driven by consumers viewing crowdfunding platforms (particularly reward-based platforms) as online stores, rather than as an investment in a not-yet-extant product.

For its part, the FTC stated it would continue to take action against fraud by project creators, recalling the 2015 Forking Path case (discussed here), in which the FTC asserted that a project creator’s claims constituted UDAP in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.

During the forum, one panelist emphasized that regulations that govern existing funding mechanisms should apply to P2P payment with equal force. Indeed, there are multiple overlapping legal and regulatory frameworks that could apply to P2P payment systems, depending on how they are set up, including the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering regulations, money transmission laws, laws applicable to prepaid programs, payment card network rules, and NACHA rules, to name a few. In addition to such existing regulations, the CFPB’s Prepaid Rule, discussed here, will also likely apply to many P2P transfer systems in the near future.

Bank of America shows off new tech at renovated financial centre at Stanford (Finextra), Rated: B

Bank of America today celebrated the grand opening of its newly renovated Stanford financial center located at 3000 El Camino Real.

Specifically, the financial center features a new design layout and a host of new finishes, such as a digital demonstration counter with iPads showcasing mobile and online banking platforms, new waiting area amenities, and private offices for providing financial advice to clients.

The Final Chapter of the BillGuard Journey (Medium), Rated: B

Today, we mark the last page in the beautiful story of BillGuard. What an exhilarating journey it has been.

From BillGuard to Prosper Daily

Six weeks later, in October 2015, we announced BillGuard was joining forces with Prosper. Barely catching our breath, we felt reinvigorated that added resources and access to bleeding edge financial services capabilities could take the materialization of our mission to a new level. We suddenly could take BillGuard from read-only insights to actually impacting user’s accounts and saving them money, or at least reducing their debt. As a team, we could dream even bigger as we moved from our cash-strapped start-up phase, to aggressive growth planning, including plans to double our team and dramatically grow the product and its user base.

2016 A bad year for everyone, even unicorns

Lenders reacted by quickly changing their strategy from growth to profitability. They started cutting costs and hitting “undo” on all those scaling investments. Prosper, LendingClub and Avant were forced to lay off significant portions of their US workforce early in 2016. Lenders reduced other costs wherever they could and reduced borrower acquisition in pursuit of marketplace equilibrium.

Startup Reality hits hard: Scale down or shut down

Then came the time to set our 2017 strategy and budgets. Tight budgets would continue until market conditions and Prosper’s financials shifted back to growth. No matter how many times we ran the numbers, it was clear expenses had to be reduced further. This meant significantly reducing the size of the Tel Aviv office or consolidating the app operations in San Francisco.

Thus started our final BillGuard/Prosper Daily project — organizing and transferring our work to colleagues in San Francisco. It will take a couple of months to complete, and it comes with some sadness as you can imagine. Still, it’s good to know the app will live on and Prosper will continue to build on what we created at BillGuard.

The BillGuard Mafia — Unleashed

As we close the doors on the Rothschild office (and balcony) we’ve been so lucky to call home for the last four years, it is exciting to think of all the new chapters that will be started by this team. Whether they’re joining some of the most recognized companies or starting their own industry-revolutionizing ventures, they will take these BillGuard learnings and friendships and apply them in new ways.

What’s next?

During this difficult moment of seeing our incredible team disband, I struggle to find the words to articulate how much this group has taught me about what it means to be a team, about building beautiful things that people actually use and love, and about handling the great honor that it’s been to lead during this adventure.

New CTO Plants Product Innovation to Grow Kabbage (Hypepotamus), Rate: B

Chief Technology Officer Amala Duggirala joins lending startup, Kabbage at a great time. The Atlanta unicorn company has experienced astronomical growth over the past year, priming itself for technology advancements in processing direct loans to small businesses across the country.

Duggirala has two decades of experience in building large-scale systems and growing enterprises. Her history of transforming corporations, including ACI Worldwide, which she helped boomed from $260 million in revenue to $1 billion, will lend itself to taking the Kabbage platform to the next level.

Think Finance Leaders To Speak at the Marketplace Lending & Alternative Financing Summit (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Think Finance, Inc., the company behind CortexSM, which provides a flexible and complete solution for financial service providers to enter the online consumer lending market, announced two of its senior executives will speak at the Marketplace Lending & Alternative Financing Summit taking place December 4th through December 6th in Dana Point, California. The Summit gathers fintech industry leaders – including credit issuers, platform providers, underwriters, rating agencies, service providers, investors and other professionals – to share insights on the latest trends and tools in the growing area of marketplace lending.

Think Finance CEO Martin Wong will participate in a panel discussion focused on online consumer lending platforms in the United States>, and Think Finance Senior Vice President of Decision Sciences and Risk Management Scott Morrison will give remarks during a panel discussion on credit risk.

United Kingdom

Watson Wheatley implements iRecs platform at P2P lender ThinCats (Finextra), Rated: A

Watson Wheatley Financial Systems (WWFS) are pleased to announce the implementation of the iRecs reconciliation solution at online peer-to-peer SME business loan specialists ThinCats.

This new deal for WWFS marks the first time the iRecs platform has been used in a peer-to-peer lending environment and adds value to the operational control processes already established at ThinCats.

Lending company Kuflink moves in to former Blockbuster store in Gravesend (KentOnline), Rated: B

A former Transport Minister came to the county to cut the ribbon on a new headquarters for a peer-to-peer lending company.

Stephen Hammond, who is the MP for Wimbledon, was invited by Gravesham MP Adam Holloway to formally open the new base of the Kuflink Group.

The company, founded in 2011, is made up of Kuflink Bridging, which offers development funding, and its peer-to-peer lending platform focused on residential and commercial property.

European Union

THE RAPID GROWTH OF ALTERNATIVE FINANCE (International Banking), Rated: AAA

That being said, alternative finance as a concept still remains somewhat amorphous. Given that the industry has only recently established any significant presence—and given that new forms of alternative finance continue to be created—financing methods now commonly being identified as “alternative” are essentially those that do not originate from traditional sources such as banks and stock and bond markets. Others provide a more stringent definition of the industry as one that has a direct connection between market participants, generally via online platforms.

Furthermore, recent figures show that such financing methods have been experiencing startling growth over the last few years. According to a September report from Cambridge University’s Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), the online alternative-finance market in Europe grew by a massive 92 percent in 2015, hitting €5.4 billion. The UK currently possesses the lion’s share of the region’s industry, with the CCAF recording the country’s transaction volume at €4.4 billion, or 81 percent of Europe’s market share.

China is deemed to be the world’s largest alternative-finance market at $101.69 billion, which represents a rather dramatic ascent over the last few years. The country’s market in 2013 was only $5.56 billion before jumping to $24.3 billion by last year, and then exceeding $100 billion last year. Much of China’s growth has been attributed to the rapid rise of mobile Internet in China, which has allowed 685 million people to get connected, more than any other country in the world. The rest of Asia-Pacific pales in comparison to China, with a market value of just $1.12 billion; but with a staggering 313-percent growth rate from 2014 levels, alternative finance looks set to explode across the entire region.

The World Bank recently estimated that the world’s alternative-finance market could grow to $90 billion of investment by 2020 from $34 billion at present.

Does Online Lending Create Less Systemic Risk than Traditional Credit? (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

One of the frequently touted benefits of peer to peer/marketplace lending is the heightened transparency associated with loan originations processed online.

Today, many online lenders are providing credit from their own balance sheet or doing hybrid lending, perhaps using retail and institutional money. So in some respects, online lending is becoming less transparent than the early days, but these multiple capital channels are helping to propel sector growth. Arguably this added complexity comes with solid benefits and additional cost.

“Every originator and every lender have their own product structures and credit policies. They find ways of originating demand and then say ‘yes’ to some of the applicants.  Saying yes to the right customers using the right policies and products should result in a very resilient portfolio of loans regardless of whether you’re holding the loans or selling them downstream.”

Rotman is not overly enthusiastic about banks these days. He believes they resemble utilities.  Banks must hold higher levels of capital and endure steep overhead costs that are offset with products with a low ROA. All in an attempt to achieve a low return on equity.  The positive to all of this is that a bank can survive if profits fall to zero. For online lenders it’s different, “…zero for marketplace lenders is bad and negative ROA is toxic.”

BitLendingClub to Shut Down: Claims Closure Is Caused By Regulatory Pressure (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

BitLendingClub, a bitcoin peer-to-peer lending platform, announced on Thursday it was shutting down all of its services. The website claimed the closure was due to regulatory pressure.

BitLendingClub’s team shared they are planning to restrict the functionality of the website to either repaying of a loan, deposition to repay or withdrawing funds. They noted there would be no new registrations, loan requests, new users verifications, investments or any other service other than just repaying. They are expecting that service restrictions will begin sometime next week, without knowing a specific date, but will send an email to users when the changes occur.

Latvia’s VIA SMS Group Set to Launch New P2P Lending Platform Viainvest (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Latvia-based VIA SMS Group announced this week it is launching Viainvest, a peer-to-peer marketplace for both private and legal entities offering to invest into consumer loans originating from non-banking lenders.

It was also reported that loans available for investment on VIAINVEST are originated by VIA SMS group and its daughter companies across Europe, so investors are able to create diversified and secured investment portfolios.

China

Female users of online lending platform find their naked pictures leaked (Global Times), Rated: A

An Internet lending platform clarified on Thursday that it has not posted or stored any naked pictures, after a great number of nude pictures of female students were exposed online.

JD Capital’s Jiedaibao, a popular online peer-to-peer lending platform, said on its official Sina Weibo account that the naked pictures were from a small number of desperate users who resorted to private transactions with shady lenders while bypassing the platform.

The pictures, serving as a receipt of the loans, are transmitted through social network app WeChat and instant messenger QQ.

India

Lendingkart Group Featured as the Only Indian Digital Lending Company in the KPMG and H2 Ventures ‘FINTECH 100’ Global Report (Udaipur Kiran), Rated: A

India’s leading online platform that facilitates SMEs in obtaining working capital loans, Lendingkart Group, has been recognized as one among the world’s top fintech innovators by KPMG and H2 ventures in their prestigious 2016 FINTECH 100 Global report. Lendingkart Group’s consistent focus on seamless delivery of quality and hassle-free services in facilitating small business working capital loans, has enabled it to become a part of the celebrated report. It is the only Indian fintech company to be featured thus in the online lending SME space.

Lendingkart Technologies is a fin-tech startup in the working capital space. It has developed technology tools based on big data analytics that facilitates lenders to evaluate borrowers’ credit worthiness.

Lending marketplace IndiaLends gets mn from DSG Consumer, others (TechCircle), Rated: A

Online lending marketplace IndiaLends has secured $4 million (around Rs 27.3 crore) in its Series A funding round from existing investor DSG Consumer Partners. American Express Ventures, Chinese investment firm Cyber Carrier VC and Noida-based early stage fund AdvantEdge Partners also participated in the round.

The company had previously raised $1 million in a bridge round in October 2015 led by existing investor DSG Consumer Partners and two individual investors—Siddharth Parekh and Gautham Radhakrishnan.

India

14 graduating startups from a Google-backed incubator in Pakistan (Business Standard), Rated: B

The incubator is now almost two years old and has seen a total of 79 startups graduate from its four-month-long program.

Credvestor is a peer-to-peer lending platform that wants to circumvent banks by helping borrowers and lenders communicate directly with each other.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor