Thursday May 9 2019, Weekly News Digest

leveraged loans

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi launches ETF for gig market. LendingClub’s higher fees lead to earnings win. CrowdStreet hits $500M in real estate investments. Funding Circle offers manual lending in foreign markets. Marcus delays German launch. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub, GreenSky, and OnDeck earnings. Today’s thought-provoking articles: GDP growth continues. The pros and cons […]

The post Thursday May 9 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

leveraged loans

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United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

SoFi launches gig-focused ETF (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Today, the company announced a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) product focused on the gig economy. GIGE, which trades on Nasdaq, is an actively managed fund advised by Toroso Investments that allows investors to capitalize on this hot sector of the economy. Toroso offers a range of services around creating and managing ETFs.

The company also announced the creation of an ETF focused on high-growth stocks. That ETF, which trades as SFYF on the NYSE, is designed to identify and capture the growth of the top 50 of the 1,000 largest publicly traded issues.

LendingClub Records Higher Transaction Fees on the Way to Earnings Beat (TheStreet), Rated: AAA

Online-loan marketplace LendingClub (LC – Get Report) was rising more than 14% Wednesday to $3.70 after reporting a surprise profit in the first quarter, though the company’s guidance was short of expectations.

LendingClub reported a 22% increase in transaction fees that led to a 15% increase in revenue to $174.4 million and adjusted earnings of 2 cents per share. Wall Street was expecting the company to report revenue of $169.4 million and a loss of 3 cents per share.

Higher Fees Drive LendingClub’s Earnings Beat (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The marketplace lending platform reported adjusted net loss of $11.25 million, or 3 cents a share — red ink, but less than the 4 cents per share loss analysts were forecasting.

That stronger-than-expected revenue outcome was driven by stronger-than-expected loan originations during the first quarter, which rose 18 percent year-on-year to $2.73 billion. That increase in originations drove an increase in transaction fees, which were up 22 percent to $135.4 million.

For the second quarter, the company expects net revenue between $185 million and $195 million, with the high end slightly below the average analyst estimate of $196.7 million.

Why LendingClub Stock Leapt 12.4% Today (The Motley Fool), Rated: B

Wedbush believes LendingClub’s improving operating efficiency will help it produce an adjusted EBITDA margin of 20% by the end of 2019. The firm also expects LendingClub to grow revenue by 12%-15% annually in the coming years.

LendingClub, GreenSky and OnDeck Q1 2019 Earnings Results (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

LendingClub

LendingClub rounded out 2018 originating the most loans in the company’s history at $10.9 billion. With their Q1 2019 results, the company is off to a great start in 2019. Originations were $2.7 billion, up 18% year over year. The company reported that application growth was 31% over the same period.

Source: Lend Academy

Net revenues came in above high end guidance of $172 million at $174.4 million for the quarter, up 15% year over year. GAAP Consolidated Net Loss was $(19.9) million, compared to $(31.2) million in Q1 2018. Finally, the company delivered adjusted EBITDA of $22.6, up 47% year over year and well above their projections of $13-$18 million. LendingClub is on track to become adjusted net income profitable over the second half of 2019.

GreenSky Q1 2019 Earnings

In Q1 2019 GreenSky increased transaction volume on the platform 20% to $1.2 billion. They also grew revenue 22% to $103.7 million form the prior year period. GAAP Net Income in Q1 2019 was $7.4 million. The company had aggregate commitments of $11.8 billion from nine bank partners of which $4.5 billion remain unused. The company ended the quarter with $268 million in cash.

Source: Lend Academy

OnDeck Q1 2019 Earnings

Originations fell for the quarter to $636 million compared to $658 million for the previous quarter. This was attributed to OnDeck tightening their credit box during the quarter. The company shared that their line of credit product reached an all time high of $150 million for the quarter.

Strong GDP Growth Continues (PeerIQ Email), Rated: AAA

Unemployment fell to 3.6% – the lowest level since 1969. The last time unemployment levels were this low, the first humans landed on the moon. The inflation rate was 5.5% The DJIA was 800. The average cost of a new home was $15K, and the average salary was $9K. A gallon of gas cost a scorching thirty-five cents.

Source: PeerIQ

On the regulatory front, Senator Durbin introduces a bill to create a 36% APR Cap on Consumer Loans. The 36% cap matches a similar rate for loans offered to service members and is superseded by strict state-level caps, and offers no preemption of the patchwork of state laws for digital models.

Online marketplace reaches $ 500M in online real estate investments (Real Estate Weekly), Rated: AAA

CrowdStreet, Inc., a technology provider with an online marketplace for direct equity investment in commercial real estate (CRE), announced that in March it crossed the $500 million threshold in total online investments with a record number of new individual investors.

The news accompanies a record quarter with over $75 million invested.

The Pros And Cons Of Leveraged Loans (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Corporate America has taken on substantially more debt in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Today, the underlying structure of that leverage looks different. Fewer bonds are being issued. Bank loans to indebted companies now match junk bonds in total issue. This article will review the market for leveraged loans – a marketplace that has grown tenfold in the new millennium and has passed the $1 trillion threshold.

In 2017, nearly 70% of levered loans were refinanced at lower interest rates. That creates a lot of turnover.

BlackRock is building a team of 30 data scientists to create a next-generation stock-lending platform (Business Insider), Rated: A

BlackRock founded a Palo Alto, California-based group called AI Labs last year, directed by the Stanford professor Stephen Boyd. Now, according to job postings reviewed by Business Insider, the 30-member team is tackling projects ranging from next-generation lending platforms to automating human tasks.

ONLINE LENDER SETTLES WITH FTC FOR .85 MILLION (Lawyers and Settlements), Rated: A

Avant LLC, the online lending phenomenon which had previously been hailed as a “breakout financial success story,” has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for $3.85 million. Although the lawsuit largely relied on a different federal statute, it shares much of the consumer financial protection zeal of the excessive overdraft fee lawsuits recently leveled against credit unions, banks and payday lenders. But it also reveals shortcomings in federal consumer protection laws.

Providing Additional Liquidity to Some Delinquent Borrowers Can Actually be a Win-Win (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Consumers who fall behind on credit payments may find an unexpected lifeline—another loan from their lender. A new TransUnion (TRU) study found that, in some instances, both lenders and consumers can benefit when additional loans are extended to customers during difficult times. The findings were released today during the 2019 TransUnion Financial Services Summit, attended by more than 300 executives from across the globe.

In the study, 31% of delinquent borrowers experienced improvement on one or more of their delinquent debts when securing a new personal loan. In addition, 24% of borrowers also performed well on the new loan.

Monzo plots US launch as soon as this summer (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Monzo, the mobile banking app known for its coral coloured debit cards, is planning to launch in America as soon as this summer, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

The £1bn start-up challenger bank is in the process of hiring executives to lead its product and marketing arms in the US. It is expected that the company will choose Los Angeles as its base.

Affirm, Kabbage, Tala — The Big Three of Online Loans (Bitnews Today), Rated: AAA

Affirm is a company that provides payday loans online and at points of sale. To receive an approval decision, a potential Affirm client does not have to wait long — the company’s scoring system processes its questionnaire, profiles in social networks and other documents very fast.

Source: Bitnews Today

KABBAGE

Kabbage also provides loans online using an automated system. However, the clients of this company are not ordinary consumers, but owners of SMEs. When the founders of Kabbage decided to launch a new project in 2009, there was a gap between personal loans for consumers and credit lines allocated to small businesses in the lending system.

Source: Bitnews Today

TALA

  • the initial idea of the company’s founder Shivani SIROYA to start her own business was that “the existing credit system works very poorly”;
  • to assess the creditworthiness, Tala uses its own scoring system, which examines a set of data about the potential borrower, using machine learning technology and big data;
  • the intellectual service works in automatic mode: it investigates, makes a decision, issues loans.
Source: Bitnews Today

Resolve launches as a B2B online financing service (Digital Commerce 360), Rated: A

Financial technology company Affirm is betting that what works for online retailers will also work for B2B merchants who want to offer online financing to customers.

Affirm has launched Resolve as a B2B version of an online financing service that Affirm provides to retailers.

Kabbage Teams with BTEA to Fuel Access to Funding for Women- and Minority-Owned Businesses (Finanzen), Rated: B

Kabbage, Inc., a cash flow technology and automated lending platform for small businesses, has formed a strategic alliance with New York’s largest contractor association, the Building Trades Employers’ Association (BTEA), to provide access to fast and flexible small business funding for BTEA members through the Kabbage platform. The alliance will support women and minority-owned business enterprise (WMBE) contractors who often have difficulty accessing the funding required to procure contracts for New York’s largest construction projects.

The alliance between BTEA and Kabbage provides BTEA’s 1,300 contractor companies, including more than 100 MWBE contractor members, the opportunity to access lines of credit as high as $250,000 and attain greater financial capacity.

In The Face Of Growing Fraud Threats, Finance Firms Should Look At Managed Security (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions face a complex array of threats — from the immediate such as synthetic identities which have been used to defraud individual firms multiple times.

In 2018, more than 43,000 breaches across all industries involved the use of customer credentials stolen from botnet-infected clients, the Accenture report said.

Read the full report here.

Fig Loans Becomes First-Ever FinTech to Receive CDFI Certification (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Fig, a mission-driven FinTech company that offers credit building alternatives to predatory loans for low-income borrowers, has become the first-ever FinTech company to become both a Certified B Corporation and federally certified Community Development Institution (CDFI). VilCap Investments and Techstars are early Fig Loans investors.

CFPB plan a mixed bag for debt collectors (American Banker), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a plan Tuesday to restrict how often debt collectors can call borrowers about unpaid credit and to allow consumers to opt out of other types of communications.

The proposal to overhaul the debt collection industry would limit phone-based collection attempts for the same consumer to seven calls per week. Debtors could also opt out of allowing collectors to contact them via voice mail, email and text messages.

Read the full text of the proposed rule here.

Behind The Scoop: An inside look at Genesis’ lending business (The Block Crypto), Rated: A

  • $250m worth of outstanding loans gives it an estimated 2/3 share of the total outstanding crypto loan pie
  • Genesis has seen its total USD value of borrows increase 35% QoQ in 1Q19, vs. lending protocols which saw a ~20% decline; Genesis total borrow volumes were almost an order of magnitude greater than all of borrows on lending protocols in 1Q19

Ocrolus, inFactor Partner on End-to-End Automation for Merchant Cash Advance Lenders (Ocrolus), Rated: B

Ocrolus today announced a partnership with inFactor, the financing platform that brings clarity and security to small business financing. This partnership combines two powerful technology solutions to drive end-to-end underwriting automation for Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) lenders

United Kingdom

Funding Circle still offers manual lending in other markets (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle is still offering investors the option to self-select their loans in its three overseas markets, its annual report revealed last month.

The peer-to-peer business lender scrapped its manual lending option in the UK in 2017, saying that its auto-invest product ensures better diversification.

Digital Lending Platform Esme Loans Hits £50 Million of Lending to UK Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Esme Loans, the NatWest backed standalone digital lending platform for SMEs, announced last week it has hit £50 million of lending to UK businesses. The online lender reported that it has seen a continued period of strong growth, following an uplift in lending of 337% between 2017 and 2018.

Goldman Sachs’ digital savings account Marcus just reached a UK milestone (AltFi), Rated: A

Just eight months since launching in the UK, Goldman Sachs’ digital savings account has attracted a quarter of a million customers.

Investors are getting more comfortable with the P2P ISA (AltFi), Rated: A

In the 2016/17 tax year just 5,000 customers opened IFISAs with a total £36m subscriptions (these figures were disputed by some platforms as being too low). In the following 2017/18 tax year this shot up 31,000 investors backing the IFISA with £290m subscribed in the tax year and a total of £366m in outstanding balances in IFISAs at 5 April 2018.

What is the best provision fund structure? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PROVISION FUNDS are designed to cover peer-to-peer investors in the event that a borrower defaults on their loan, but the way they are funded and operated varies widely across platforms. So what should investors be looking for and is there an optimal structure to reduce their chances of losses?

One key difference is whether pay-outs from reserve or provision funds are automatic or discretionary.

RateSetter is credited with the invention of the provision fund concept, which has been part of its business model since it launched in 2010. It is funded by borrowers’ repayments and money is automatically reimbursed to investors if loans go into arrears.

Tandem Recognized as Best New Digital Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Challenger bank Tandem has been recognized by CFI.co (Capital Finance International) as the “Best Neo Bank UK 2019.”

OakNorth launches mortgages for HNWIs, SMEs, and clients with atypical income streams (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has today announced it is entering the retail mortgage market with lifetime tracker rate products, aimed at affluent individuals with atypical sources of income.

The six largest banks in the UK dominate 77 percent of the mortgage market, but often find it commercially unviable to create bespoke mortgages for these individuals as they lack the appropriate cost base and expertise to cater to them. These individuals therefore require more bespoke lending solutions, and as a lender that has provided over £3bn in bespoke loans to UK entrepreneurs since its launch, OakNorth has the necessary expertise and tailored credit analysis models to cater to this unique market niche.

China

Jiayin Group Readies $ 40 Million U.S. IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Jiayin Group (JFIN) has filed to raise $40 million in an IPO of ADSs representing underlying Class A shares, per an amended registration statement.

According to a 2017 Oliver Wyman report on Chinese FinTech firms, outstanding loan balances for online peer-to-peer lending platforms have exploded in recent years, from RMB 31 billion ($467 million) in January 2014 to RMB 856 billion ($129 billion) by January 2017.

P2P lending in crisis as regulatory bubble pops (Technode), Rated: A

Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Dianrong, once hailed as the “LendingClub of China,” appears to be in crisis following an announcement that it is closing around two-thirds of its offline branches and laying off as many as 2,000 employees. At around the same time, it was accused of falling behind on wages and severance payment. In mid-April, the company reportedly sought $100 million in investment to meet new capital requirements.

European Union

Goldman Delays Marcus’ Germany Launch (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs has decided to delay the German launch of its consumer bank Marcus until 2020.

International

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

The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 571 million Euro.

Milestones achieved this month (total volume since launch):

  • Mintos crossed 2 billion EUR
Source: P2P-Banking

This credit card won’t let you buy anything else after you’ve hit your annual carbon limit (Fast Company), Rated: A

Doconomy is launching two versions of the card later this year. One just tracks your carbon footprint as you spend, and the other, called Do Black, takes the additional step of setting a hard limit on your footprint for the year. Initially, the data used to calculate the impact of each purchase will be imprecise—the system pulls the category code of a merchant that classifies it as a particular kind of store, then makes a calculation based on the general carbon footprint of the industry, whether you’re buying something from a fast-food joint, a clothing store, or an airline. The limit is based on a country-specific calculation of how much carbon each citizen can emit to stay on track with the 2030 goal to cut emissions in half.

Others are working on similar solutions; a startup nonprofit called Poseidon Foundation is beginning to work with retailers to track the impact of specific purchases and let customers instantly buy a carbon offset equal to their emissions. Ben and Jerry’s tested the concept at an ice cream shop in London last year.

Over 50 Banks, Firms Trial Trade Finance App Built With R3’s Corda Blockchain (CoinDesk), Rated: A

ABN Amro, Standard Chartered, ING and around 50 other banks and companies have participated in tests of a trade finance application called Voltron.

The tests saw firms across 27 countries use Voltron, which was developed by R3 using its Corda platform, to make simulated letter of credit transactions.

Real Estate Tokens: What They Are and How to Invest (Bitcoin Market Journal), Rated: A

Put simply, a real estate token is a virtual asset used to represent ownership of land, apartments, homes, and various other real properties. The intent is to eliminate antiquated and outdated methods of dealing with real estate. Instead, buyers and sellers complete transactions with digital tokens.

Currently, it can be a challenge to find the right place to invest in real estate tokens; however, there are a few platforms that can get you started.

Harbor

The Harbor platform provides users with a way to trade real estate on a blockchain network. Assets available on Harbor include private REITs, real estate funds, building ownership, and land. Using blockchain technology means Harbor provides transparency, efficiency, fractional ownership, and, of course, liquidity.

Slice

Additionally, Slice gives users the ability to hold, trade, or liquidate their tokens with its built-in security exchange platforms. The platform is available to anyone who has $10,000 he or she is willing to invest.

Meridio

Meridio is a platform that gives its users the ability to invest in shares of real estate on the blockchain. Through Meridio, properties are split into digital shares, which gives investors and owners a way to interact with one another seamlessly.

Bitfinex Releases Whitepaper to Confirm $ 1 Billion Initial Exchange Offering (CryptoGlobe), Rated: A

Cryptoasset exchange Bitfinex has confirmed that it is planning to raise $1 billion through an initial exchange offering (IEO).

Dong has also been accepting pre-orders for Bitfinex’s upcoming token sale through his crypto-lending application Renrenbit. The well-known investor had reportedly taken pre-orders from users who wanted to participate in the public phase of Bitfinex’s upcoming $1 billion token sale, even before IFinex published an official whitepaper for it.

Cred Partners with Tron and Bitcoin.com to Provide Crypto Lending and Borrowing Services (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

Bitcoin.com has announced a partnership with Cred in which Bitcoin.com users will earn interests of up to 10% on their crypto holdings. Cred is a crypto borrowing and lending company whereas Bitcoin.com is an information portal that has over 4 million Bitcoin wallets.

Fvndit Launches $ 10M Equity-Back Digital Security Offering (Financial Buzz), Rated: A

Fvndit, Inc. (“Fvndit”), a California- and Vietnam-based fintech company, today announced the launch of a $10M digital security offering. Proceeds from the raise will be used to further propel Fvndit’s business objectives as the market leading SME-focused crowd-based funding platform in Vietnam.

Its wholly-owned subsidiary, eLoan, JSC (“eLoan”), operates an online Peer-to-Peer (P2P) funding and investing marketplace in Vietnam, its current local market. Today, SMEs account for more than 41% of Vietnam’s GDP (of $241B USD) and 97% of all enterprises but still remain largely neglected by traditional banks with 70% of them do not have access or have difficulty in accessing credit. eLoan was launched in late 2017 with a clear mission – to make credit more simple and investing more rewarding.

TomoChain teams up with Constant to bring first stablecoin to its platform (Cryptoninjas), Rated: B

Creci Wins its Category at the Innovate Finance Global Summit (PR Web), Rated: B

Creci, an early stage start-up, with headquarters in Hollywood, Florida and offices in Medellin and Bogota, was selected on April 30, 2019, as the category winner for Peer-to-Peer Lending, Alternative Funding, and SME Lending at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London.

Australia

YOZO a quick and open answer to business lending maze (Mirage News), Rated: A

YOZO is redefining lending for small business by offering a transparent and seamless experience for their borrowing needs. Firstly, by taking the guessing game out of an increasingly frustrating question, “how much can my business borrow?”. YOZO helps small business gauge their borrowing capacity in under a minute. Secondly, by providing an intuitive online experience to apply and receive funds in 48 hours for approved customers.

Southeast Asia

Brankas wants to bring Southeast Asia’s banks and e-commerce into the digital era (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Fintech continues to be among the biggest topics driving startups and investment in Southeast Asia. The region’s “internet economy” is forecast to grow massively as its 600 million people increasingly come online — already Southeast Asia has more internet users (350 million) than the U.S. has people, but developing a robust payment landscape underpins those heady growth forecasts.

Brankas,  an Indonesia-based startup that operates regionally, is one such young company — it operates a platform that gives banks and financial companies the tech to roll out digital products and embrace online services.

Singapore Fintech Firm Heading into Indonesia (Retail News), Rated: A

Following a successful Series B funding round, SME lending platform Validus Capital is launching in Indonesia. SME lending platform Validus Capital has launched in Indonesia, its first Southeast Asian market outside its home country of Singapore, the firm announced in a media release on Thursday.

Latin America

Brazil fintech Nubank opens Mexico office as it seeks Latam expansion (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Brazilian fintech firm Nubank will open an office in Mexico on Tuesday, an initial step in a potential expansion into other Latin American countries, a company executive said.

Nubank, a six-year-old startup that has raised $400 million from investors such as China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management and Kaszek Ventures, will start Mexican operations with 20 employees, Nubank executive and co-founder Cristina Junqueira said in an interview.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday May 9 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday April 4 2019, Weekly News Digest

soft spending

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm raises $300M. LendingClub charged with privacy violation. Funding Circle issues 187M GBP securitization. Zopa legacy portfolio drags. Fellow Finance facilitates 18.2M euros in March loans. Today’s main analysis: March 2019 debt report from LendingTree (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Interview with SoFi CEO Anthony Noto. The slowing U.S. economy. […]

The post Thursday April 4 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

soft spending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Max Levchin’s Affirm raises $ 300 million (Axios), Rated: AAA

Affirm, the consumer credit startup led by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, has raised around $300 million in Series F funding at a $2.9 billion post-money valuation, Axios has learned from multiple sources.

PayPal co-founder’s fintech company scores $ 300 million, plans massive hiring in S.F. (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Flush with a monstrous funding round, this San Francisco-based fintech company plans to ramp up its hiring from 580 employees to 850 by the end of the year – and the bulk will be in the Bay Area.

FTC Privacy and Data Security Report for 2018 (JDSupra), Rated: AAA

  • LendingClub, a peer-to-peer lending company, was charged with failing to deliver adequate privacy notices to consumers required by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’s Privacy Rule and Regulation P. The FTC’s complaint alleged that “LendingClub violated these rules by failing to provide its customers with clear and conspicuous notice before collecting consumers’ financial data and by failing to deliver the notice in a way that ensured that consumers received it.” Customers were instead forced to follow a series of links before being able to review the privacy policy, a method the FTC deemed to be improper.

Anthony Noto of SoFi (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The CEO of SoFi talks priorities, innovation, company culture, competition and what it will take to build a world class financial services firm

Read the full transcript of the interview here. Interview by Peter Renton.

US Economy Slowing (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US 4th quarter GDP growth slowed to 2.2%, as what is shaping up to be the largest expansion in US economic history starts to lose steam. Consumer spending also slowed in January, rising by just 0.1% MoM. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, PCE, rose by just 1.4% YoY, justifying the Fed’s decision to keep rates on hold. Overall signs point to a slowing economy in the late stages of an expansion.

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

LendingTree Debt Report – March 2019 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

After a brief respite in mid-2018, the debt-to-income ratio for consumer debt rose once more, reaching 25.41% by the end of 2018. That falls just shy of the all-time high of 25.49% set one year earlier.

Household wealth saw a $5 trillion decline last quarter

Losing $5 trillion of wealth may sound disastrous, but that’s what happened to American households last quarter. According to the Federal Reserve, total net worth of U.S. households fell from $108 trillion to $104.3 trillion in the last quarter of 2018. The loss was the biggest quarterly drop since the depths of the great recession of 2008.

PayPal Makes Its First-Ever Investment in a Blockchain Startup (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Announced today, PayPal has joined the extension of a Series A funding round in Cambridge Blockchain, a startup that helps financial institutions and other companies manage sensitive data using shared ledgers.

Neither PayPal nor Cambridge Blockchain disclosed the investment amount, but recent filings with the SEC indicate that Cambridge Blockchain has raised a total of $3.5 million in new equity from several investors over the past nine months. That follows the $7 million close of its Series A in May of 2018, and brings the total capital raised to $10.5 million.

Zillow is now a mortgage lender, launches Zillow Home Loans (HousingWire), Rated: A

Zillow announced Tuesday that it is launching its own mortgage lending operation, which it is calling Zillow Home Loans.

A payday lender in disguise? New York investigates the Earnin app (American Banker), Rated: A

As early wage access programs such as Even, PayActiv, FlexWage, ZayZoon and DailyPay gain traction, some other apps are copying their style while using a more traditional payday-loan model — sparking attention from law enforcement agencies in the process.

That’s what happened to Earnin, which is often referred to and bills itself as an early wage access provider, which give employees access to their paychecks before they are deposited. The New York Department of Financial Services launched an investigation of the firm over concerns it may be skirting state lending laws by, among other things, requiring tips from users in lieu of disclosing fees.

Crypto Lending Platform BlockFi’s Interest Account Customers Receive Their First Interest Payments (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

Leading crypto lending platform BlockFi recently announced that their Interest Account customers received their first interest payment for their Bitcoin [BTC] and Ethereum [ETH] deposits.

Since their public launch on March 5, BIA has grown by over 400% and counting. Approximately 75% of BIA clients have a balance of less than 5 BTC or 150 ETH. Their median account balance is $7,000 USD.

Crypto lenders push no-tax perk of leveraging bitcoin for cash (American Banker), Rated: A

Former Wall Street trader Edgar Fernandez used some of his bitcoin as collateral to borrow nearly $100,000, a move that let him keep his cryptocurrency and avert a tax bill on the newly acquired cash.

Genesis Capital, a cryptocurrencies lender in Jersey City, New Jersey, an affiliate of Genesis Trading, says it handed out more than $1.1 billion in cash loans and borrowed virtual cryptocurrencies in 2018. That total volume doubled in the last quarter of 2018 from the volume of the previous two quarters. Other lenders have also said they are doing more transactions, including Nexo, a cryptocurrencies lender that says it has loaned $330 million since launching last April.

Atomic Capital Goes On The Attack With New Crypto Loan Offer In The Market (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

The asset tokenization company, Atomic Capital, is making a very aggressive loan offer in the crypto lending field. Back on Wednesday, the firm will be giving USD loans for 85% of the value of the Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) used as collateral. In this way, the firm will be offering the most generous loan-to-value (LTV) in the space.

Just to put it into comparison, BlockFi offers a maximum LTV of 50%. Celsius Network, meanwhile, is giving customers 25%, 33% or 50% LTV.

Atomic will be charging interest rates of 11% and 13%. This is much more than the 4.5% or 8.95% that other competitors offer.

New $ 4.8m funding for SME bank Novo (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Novo has raised $4.8 million in venture seed financing to make banking accessible for small businesses by launching no-fee FDIC-insured digital banking.

Blend seeks to deepen bank ties with account opening product (American Banker), Rated: A

Blend is aiming to expand its customer base of banks and credit unions with a digital account opening product that it says takes some customers as little as two minutes to complete.

The account comes in addition to the mortgage products the digital loan origination fintech already offers and can stand on its own or be integrated as a package, the company said Tuesday.

Will Millennials Bring Non-banks into Their Finances? (deBanked), Rated: A

According to an Accenture surveyfrom five years ago, 34% of millennials said they would bank with Apple if such a product were available.

Best low cost franchises to get into (BM Magazine), Rated: A

Business Services Franchise

Success Member Inc.: It is the leading online loan marketplace that connects consumers with banks, credit partners and multiple lenders both nationally and internationally. They offer training with an expert to this industry of 33 years, along with a lifetime one-on-one dedicated support.

Minimum Cash Required:$25,000

  • Training and Support: Yes
  • Financing: Yes
  • SBA Approved: Yes
  • Home-Based: Yes

Goldman Sachs’ Marcus Loses Product Head (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Marcus, the consumer bank operated by Goldman Sachs, has seen its head of product Michael Cerda quit his job.

Tradeweb Raises $ 1.1 Billion in Year’s No. 2 IPO in U.S. (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Tradeweb Markets Inc. raised $1.1 billion in the second-largest U.S. initial public offering this year, after again increasing the number of shares it was selling and then pricing them above the marketed range.

Tradeweb’s IPO is also the biggest for a financial services company in the U.S. since online lender GreenSky Inc. raised $874 million in May.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Brendan Ross, Direct Lending Investments, and Others (deBanked), Rated: A

A class action lawsuit has been filed in California against Direct Lending Investments, LLC (DLI), Brendan Ross, Bryce Mason, Frank Turner, Rodney Omanoff, and Quarterspot Inc. alleging breach of contract, breaches of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary duty, and fraudulent inducement.

Read the full complaint here.

AI-Powered Asset Manager Pagaya Goes
After Real Estate (Institutional Investor), Rated: A

Pagaya, which manages money using algorithms created with artificial intelligence, has raised $25 million in a series-C financing round led by Oak HC/FT, a health care and financial technology venture firm.

The fund raise will support the company’s move into real estate, corporate credit, mortgages, and other asset classes.

White Oak Commercial Finance Adds Origination Talent in Texas (AP News), Rated: B

White Oak Commercial Finance (“White Oak”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, today announced the appointment of Andrew Bae to Director of ABL Originations, concentrating on Texas and the Southwestern U.S. region. Mr. Bae brings nearly 20 years of experience in commercial finance, most recently leading the establishment of the Dallas office for ExWorks Capital, a senior secured debt fund.

Charles Schwab Now Offers Investment Advice Digitally via Subscription (Subscription Insider), Rated: A

Clients pay a one-time fee of $300 and then $90 a quarter.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle back in securitisation market with £187m deal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has entered the securitisation market for the third time, with a £187m portfolio of UK loans originated by the peer-to-peer business lender.

Alternative asset manager Pollen Street Capital is the equity sponsor of the deal, having backed Funding Circle’s last securitisation eleven months ago.

While Funding Circle operates in the UK, the US, Germany and the Netherlands, the loans included in the securitisation are just from the UK.

Zopa legacy portfolio drags on P2PGI performance (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

P2P GLOBAL Investments (P2PGI) has blamed its poorly-performing legacy Zopa portfolio for its latest net asset value (NAV) dip.

The alternative finance-focused investment trust generated a NAV of just 0.31 per cent in February 2019, down from 0.45 per cent in January, and 0.75 per cent in December. This brings the trust’s annualised NAV to 3.7 per cent.

Will more challenger banks evolve as banking as a service providers? (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Starling Bank recently raised £75 million to fund a European expansion. As part of that announcement, the UK-based challenger said it had signed on three new clients to its banking as a service.

According to Starling, it has 20 institutional clients on its BaaS platform, which it launched in August 2018. Payment volume through the service is doubling month over month.

Monzo, following Revolut and N26, mulls new £11 per month premium offering (AltFi), Rated: A

Digital challenger bank Monzo crowned a bumper year in 2018 by coming first for customer service in an independent survey, stealing the title from regular winner First Direct. But will its growing legion of coral card-carriers ever pay for its expanding array of services?

The bank, which is now testing a new paid-for premium offering, thinks they might just do so. ‘Monzo Plus’ – as it is being called – even allows users paying a monthly fee to have Monzo cards in colours other than its famous ‘hot coral’ colour.

How to join the rush for a last‑minute Isa (The Times), Rated: A

There are now just over 48 hours left to make the most of the annual tax breaks on offer in an individual savings account (Isa). This year’s £20,000 allowance expires at midnight on April 5 and you can’t carry it over so it’s a case of use it or lose it.

Monevo Review – An Excellent Place to Begin Your Loan Search (DoughRoller), Rated: A

Through Monevo, you’ll be matched with loans of up to $100,000 with interest rates ranging from 3.99% to 35.99% APR; finding this many competitive options could take you hours to do individually. With Monevo, you can do it in about 60 seconds.

FCA warns that P2P Isas are ‘high risk’ (Money Observer), Rated: A

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned that mini-bonds and peer-to-peer loans held within the Isa wrapper are “high risk”.

Payday lending isn’t over yet – and now its victims are being shortchanged yet again (Independent), Rated: A

The administrators of WageDay Advance, which went under in February, have started contacting thousands of former customers owed compensation through being mis-sold loans by the company to urge them to join a growing list of creditors.

Compared with Wonga, WageDay was more of a piranha fish than a shark – but the problems it has created aren’t all that different.

Five ways to add IFISA diversity (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THIS WEEK is the busiest of the year for ISA providers and ISA savers alike. As the end of the tax year approaches, investors and savers are rushing to make the most of their annual ISA allowance, while ISA managers scramble to convince them that theirs is the right product.

I trust bricks and mortar and want to invest but what’s the best way to create an income from property? (This is Money), Rated: A

People are still making money from property and always will, sometimes lowering their exposure by jointly investing with friends and family, or looking at peer-to-peer lending. Investing locally can give first time investors more confidence as they know their own postcodes, and can keep an eye on what’s going on.

Finastra welcomes Sharon Doherty as Chief People Officer (Techapeek), Rated: B

Finastra today announced the appointment of Sharon Doherty, as Chief People Officer. Doherty joins from Vodafone, where she held the position of Global Organization and People Development Director. In her new role at Finastra she will have global responsibility for making Finastra the most loved and inclusive employer in the Fintech industry.

China

Regulators to pilot P2P lender registration program in back half of 2019 (technode), Rated: AAA

China is expected to start piloting a registration program for online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in the second half of this year. Regulators plan to start requiring P2P lenders in pilot cities, located in more developed regions, to register with the monitoring system. Regional and national players will have to meet certain requirements on registered capital, risk reserves, and lender risk compensation in order to be registered in the system. Regulators aim to roll out the national registration system by 2020.

European Union

Fellow Finance’s platform facilitated 18,2 million euros of loans in March (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

In March Fellow Finance investors funded business and peer-to-peer loans worth around 18,2 million euros. Cumulative loan volume grew over 415 million euros and the total number of investors grew to 12 031. You can always check the real-time peer-to-peer lending statistics on our website: www.fellowfinance.com/for-investor/statistics.

Finleap acquires German challenger bank Penta (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

European fintech ecosystem Finleap has acquired Berlin-based digital sector banking solution Penta, reports Jane Connolly.

CoinLoan Enables Borrowers to Obtain Fiat Currency Using Cryptoassets as Collateral (Cardrates), Rated: A

In a Nutshell: In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending arose as an alternative to credit offered by traditional banks. At the same time, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin also emerged. Now, CoinLoan is bringing the two together through its P2P lending platform that lets borrowers use cryptoassets as collateral for obtaining fiat (or traditional) currency. Lenders provide capital with a guarantee from CoinLoan that they will be repaid in full. Borrowers gain access to funds without needing to dispose of their cryptoassets or prove their creditworthiness.

International

Women in Fintech Demolish Glass Ceiling (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Valerie Kay, Chief Capital Officer at LendingClub, is responsible for overseeing LendingClub’s Investor Group. She addresses the need for diversity, inclusion, mutual respect and collaboration. She emphasizes the vital importance of diversity to drive better workplaces, happier customers and more profits.

Andrea Gellert, Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of online small business lender OnDeck, says she sees good progress being made by Fintechs in finding female candidates at all levels including C-Suite and board positions. She points out, “There are more female founders than there used to be. We are moving at a much more accelerated pace than previous industries did in terms of female management.”

Onfido scores $ 50 million investment (Finextra), Rated: A

Onfido, the global identity verification provider, today announced it has raised $50M in funding, bringing the total investment in the company to over $100M.

Australia

Australian neobanks target scale of UK rivals without growing pains (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Sydney-based digital bank Volt promises to offer a faster more personalised service than the country’s big four incumbents – National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac.

Melbourne-based small business bank Judo launched last June lends between A$250,000 to A$5,000,000, and is process of applying for a banking license from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

Brokers urged to seize opportunities in SME space (TheAdviser), Rated: A

According to research from small business lender OnDeck Australia, which involved a survey of 331 business with an annual turnover of less than $5 million, 25 per cent of SMEs plan to seek additional finance over the next 12 months.

India

P2P lending (Invest in India), Rated: AAA

India currently has about 30 online P2P lending platforms. Some of these are Faircent, i2ifunding, Lendbox etc. In 2018, as many as 11 P2P players received the RBI licence to operate as an NBFC – P2P company. RBI in its master directions has defined NBFC – P2P as a non – banking institution which carries on the business of a peer – to – peer lending platform. The estimated P2P lending to be generated in India over the next 5 years is pegged at around $ 4 bn. Whereas in China, the P2P lending book currently is around $ 100 bn.

Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE-based  leading SME lending platform Validus Capital (Validus) and Lighthouse Canton, an independent asset management and family office advisory services firm, jointly announce the reopening of the LCV Trade Finance Fund (the Fund) with additional capacity of US$14.8 million (S$20 million; RM60 million).

Canada

OnDeck merges Canadian ops with Evolocity (Finextra), Rated: AAA

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending to small business, today announced it has completed the transaction combining its Canadian operations with Evolocity Financial Group (Evolocity), a Montréal-based online small business lender. The combined companies are majority owned by OnDeck.

South Africa

For South Africa’s first challenger bank, conversational AI isn’t just a nice-to-have (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

South Africa’s TymeBank has launched Max, an AI-powered conversational assistant designed to help consumers learn about personal finance.

For South Africa’s first challenger bank, conversational AI is an important piece of its product roadmap.

Latin America

Why Fintech Startups Are Rapidly Becoming Unicorns in Latin America (Next Billion), Rated: AAA

Fintech was the #1 sector of venture capital investments in Latin America last year, and experts are estimating that the LatAm fintech market will exceed $150 billion by 2021.

In the past few years, over 300 fintech startups have been born in Mexico alone, coming in just second to Brazil, which boasts nearly 400 startups in its own fintech sector.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday April 4 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Tuesday May 15 2018, Daily News Digest

McKinsey Asia Personal Financial Services Survey Customers and Digital only Banks

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper loan originations up 27% year-over-year, over $2B co-sponsored securitizations closed. Funding Circle launches new borrower referral incentive. Renren investors seek to block asset sales. PayMate acquires Z2P Technologies. Today’s main analysis: Singapore’s biggest bank vs. China’s tech giants. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 80% of startup money goes to three states. The Sharestates story: $1B […]

McKinsey Asia Personal Financial Services Survey Customers and Digital only Banks

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Prosper Loan Originations up 27% Year-over-Year; Over $ 2 Billion of Co-Sponsored Securitizations Closed (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Prosper today reported financial results for the first quarter of 2018. Loan originations increased 27% year-over-year to $744 million, driven by strong demand for the company’s personal loan product and stable funding.

Financial highlights include:

  • Total Net Revenue, which includes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, was flat year-over-year at $30.5 million in Q1 2018 compared to $30.8 million in Q1 2017.
  • Core Revenue(1), which excludes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, increased $11.6 million or 34% year-over-year to $45.7 million in Q1 2018 compared to $34.2 million in Q1 2017.
  • Net Loss decreased by $12.6 million to ($11.4) million in Q1 2018 compared to a Net Loss of ($24.0) million in Q1 2017.
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased $13.6 million to $4.5 million in Q1 2018 compared to ($9.0) million in Q1 2017, the fourth consecutive quarter of positive Adjusted EBITDA(1) generated by Prosper.
Key Operating and Financial Metrics (Unaudited)
(in thousands)
Three Months Ended March 31,
2018 2017
Loan Originations $ 744,127 $ 585,590
Transaction Fees, Net 31,354 26,869
Servicing Fees, Net 7,184 6,154
Total Net Revenue 30,450 30,845
Core Revenue (1) 45,729 34,152
Net Loss (11,401 ) (24,021 )
Adjusted EBITDA(1) 4,520 (9,039 )

80% of start-up money goes to three states — here’s what one visionary is doing to help spread the wealth (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Baird: And the microfinance industry is — $30 billion a year around the world is lent in $500 chunks to small businesses, near a 100% repayment rate.

Microfinance is a tool. All investing is a tool. Every microfinance bank, every bank is neither good nor bad, they’re amoral. It’s just what are people trying to do with it. I’ve seen microfinance banks that act in extractive ways and their primary goal is extract as much profit out of poor communities as possible. I’ve seen payday lenders do the same thing. I’ve also seen microfinance banks that are very good and say, “Our core goal is building wealth for the community and we’ve structured our business in a way that works for us.”

One percent of start-up investment goes to African-Americans. Two percent of start-up investment goes to women. There are a lot of people who are overlooked.  So roughly 80% of start-up investment goes to three states: New York, Massachusetts, California. If you’re in Ohio or Florida or Nairobi or Mumbai, it’s really hard to get your idea into the system.

The Story of Sharestates: From Startup to $ 1 Billion in 3 Years (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Now, just over a year later, they have announced they recently crossed the $1 billion mark in originations. The company did so in just over 3 years, having officially launched in February 2015, just before LendIt USA that year. They are the second company in the real estate crowdfunding space to do so and are on our list as one of the ten options available for accredited investors in the marketplace lending space.

Originations in the lending space is only one metric. Any lending company’s survival depends on the quality of the loans they are making. According to the Sharestates’ website, investors have earned an average 10.54 percent annualized return. They also report 0% loss of principal for their investors. As of last year when we checked in the company was profitable which sets them up for continued success going forward. We’ve seen very few companies in the marketplace lending space broadly achieve this goal.

BuildDirect Partners With Affirm (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

BuildDirect, the first technology platform for the home improvement industry, today announced its partnership with Affirm Inc., a financial technology company that provides transparent payment alternatives to traditional credit. Now, U.S.-based BuildDirect customers have easy access to flexible and transparent financing options to pay for home improvement and renovation materials over time. At the point of sale, shoppers will see exactly how much they’ll pay in fixed monthly installments over the term they choose.

Banks struggle to combat the cyber crime bad guys (Financial Times) Rated: A

Digital banking has been a big positive for the financial services industry, though it has opened companies to greater cyber risk; cyber criminals now have a lot more entry points when it comes to getting access to funds illicitly; banks have increased their spending on defense but it isn’t enough as they also need to construct better, more secure systems; the CEO of Standard Chartered writes in the FT that banks can better utilize the data they collect, design tech better and work more closely with governments to catch bad actors.

Blockchains Could Be the Answer to Fairer Lending Systems (Nasdaq) Rated: A

The advancement of blockchain technology, this is poised to change. Through the technology, anyone anywhere in the world can raise financing from peers without having to rely on the traditional credit scores and the often heavily bureaucratic conventional mortgage processes.

Blockchain solutions such as Homelend  are making it possible for borrowers to directly reach lenders without depending on any intermediary and with no paperwork. The whole process is safeguarded by smart contracts to ensure that all parties in the deal adhere to their part of the bargain. According to Aneeza Haleem , a senior account manager at Cognizant Technology Solutions, blockchain-powered peer-to-peer mortgage financing significantly reduces the costs involved in the mortgage process.

Will Wells Fargo hurt Zelle by improving on it? (Payments Source) Rated: A

The irony of the explosive growth of mobile P2P is this: As consumers get more comfortable with paying one another through mobile devices, they’re thinking of P2P less as a service that one should find within a bank’s app.

This is a problem for Early Warning’s Zelle, the bank-run P2P network whose main selling point is its integration with banks. It’s a sharp contrast to rivals such as Venmo, which styled itself on a social media app; and Facebook and Apple, which took their own messaging platforms and blended P2P payments into the interface.

Capital One buys digital identity start-up Confyrm (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Capital One has acquired San Francisco-based digital identity start-up Confyrm as it seeks to capture the market for consumer identity services.

Financial details were not disclosed, but as part of the deal Andrew Nash, founder and CEO of Confyrm, has become managing vice-president of Capital One’s consumer identity services. No word on what happens to the rest of the staff.

Confyrm was founded five years ago and offers help against online fraud.

Where Bank of America uses AI, and where its worries lie (American Banker) Rated: A

Bank of America spends $3 billion developing and buying technology every year, and about three times that on keeping its existing IT infrastructure going, says David Reilly, global banking and markets technology chief information officer.

As you might expect, some of that goes to artificial intelligence technology. The bank does not disclose how much.

An old-school fraud analytics program might see a customer using a card in a place they have never used a card before and block the transaction.

AI can do better.

The one area where banks and fintechs want more regulation (American Banker) Rated: A

Banks, fintech firms and data aggregators are asking regulators to provide more clarity on how to handle consumer data and who is responsible for leaks when it is shared between firms — a request that’s seemingly a reversal from the deregulatory approach the industry often takes.

The potential liability stemming from consumer data has become a critical concern for the financial industry as more data aggregators and fintech firms rapidly enter the space, seeking access to customers’ bank account information in order to offer loans and other products.

Could US Post Offices Become Banks? Here’s How The Plan Would Work (10 News) Rated: A

Now, there are a couple different ways Congress could build banking into the U.S. Postal Service. The first approach would just cover the basics.

That means offering low-dollar checking accounts and debit cards to low-income earners. That would at least offer basic financial services to all Americans, regardless of wealth. And it probably wouldn’t be too tough politically because the big banks typically aren’t interested in these customers.

But Gillibrand’s proposal would go further, allowing the postal service to also make loans of up to $1,000 with a super low interest rate around 2 percent, even to the poorest Americans. Because many of those loans would be at risk of not being paid back, some experts say the interest rate will have to be higher, maybe 25 percent. But that would still be a lot lower than rates from payday lenders, which often have people pay back three or four times what they borrowed.

Citizens Financial To Launch Online Consumer Bank (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Citizens Financial Group announced on Monday (May 14) plans to launch Citizens Access, a nationwide direct-to-consumer online bank.

In a press release, Citizens Financial said the digital platform will offer FDIC-insured deposits products aimed at serving people who want to save and want the flexibility of an online banking service. The company said it will provide digital deposit services at attractive rates and lower costs to help consumers save more for the future. The platform will be launched in the third quarter and will be available throughout the U.S.

 

Now Is the Time to Refinance Student Loans (Pharmacy Times) Rated: B

Refinancing your student loans from pharmacy school can potentially save you a significant amount of money while providing the convenience of making one payment a month. Keep in mind refinancing may not be for everyone. Individuals with a poor credit history, low salary from a pharmacy residency or fellowship, or those who want to keep the provisions in federal loans may want to closely consider their options before jumping right into refinancing their loans.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle launches new borrower referral incentive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle is offering £1,500 in Amazon vouchers to anyone who refers a business that takes out a loan of £25,000 or more with the peer-to-peer lending platform.

The UK’s third-largest lender to small businesses said the borrowers may need the cash to grow, refurbish, buy stock or equipment, hire more staff or simply boost their cash flow.

HMRC updates crypto investors on tax confusion (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

However, a HMRC representative has told Peer2Peer Finance News that the tax office will deal with cryptocurrency related tax bills “on a case-by-case basis”.

The 2017-18 tax year saw huge volatility across the cryptocurrency sector, with Bitcoin reaching a high of £13,840 in mid-December before ending the tax year at approximately £4,750 per coin. This has led to confusion among retail investors regarding their tax liability, particularly if they sold out of the market at a high, then reinvested the profits only to see any gains wiped out.

Frederic Nze of Oakam (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What was the catalyst that led to the founding of Oakam.
  • The loan products that Oakam offers.
  • The difference between small dollar loans in the US and the UK.
  • How Oakam is able to find their customers.
  • What percentage of their customers apply for a loan on a smartphone.
  • Why they still have physical stores where people can apply for loans in person.
  • How they have refined their underwriting models over the years.
  • How they are dealing with increased fraud via their online channels.
  • The interest rates they charge.
  • How their customers are able to reduce these rates for future loans.

Technology not size is key to banking success (Financial Times) Rated: A

Antony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclays and now head of 10x Future Technologies, writes in the FT that technology is key to the battle with banks; having technology that is more nimble and focused on the customer will help to better position challengers; UK challengers banks have found it hard to compete against the big names, even with recent consolidation; understanding what the customer needs most and allowing them to access services anytime and anywhere is what firms should focus on.

Fintech most popular sector for HNW investors (Investment International) Rated: B

Capitama’s current registered investors have a total annual investment capacity of £7.6bn. Of this total capacity, investors have expressed an annual investment capacity of £5bn into private equity opportunities, with £2.3bn total annual investment in Debt and Income opportunities. The interest of the registered investors in Philanthropic and Social Impact opportunities currently stands at £300m per year. This is an additional theme on Capitama given the rise in interest in these organisations from wealthy individuals and organisations.

69% of Capitama investors are interested in fintech investment opportunities and 67% want to see software and technology deals. Of the nine different investment types available on Capitama, Growth funding is the most popular, with 83% of Capitama registered Investors interested in this area, followed by Early stage investments (72%), Buy-outs (63%), and Real Estate (47%).

 

 

China

Renren Investors Seek to Block Asset Sales to Chief, SoftBank (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

A group of Renren Inc. investors are trying to block the private sale of company-owned assets to a consortium that includes its own top executive and major shareholder SoftBank Group Corp.

Renren announced the complex deal in April, which it said was necessary to address concerns that the SEC might deem it an investment company — forcing its delisting if it failed to obtain relevant licenses.

The letter accused management of trying to transfer the assets at values equal to or lower than their book value, neglecting their duty to smaller shareholders and misrepresenting certain financial statements. For example, it says the shares in SoFi — one of America’s biggest student loan refinancers — are being sold at a valuation of $269 million when they could be worth double that amount.

US online lending model is unproven, Eisman of The Big Short fame says in Hong Kong (South China Morning Post) Rated: AAA

Steven Eisman, famous for successfully shorting the US subprime market before the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, has said the online lending business model used in the United States is unsustainable, and that losses from Canadian mortgages could widen.

The one pocket of financial market anomaly in the US was online lending, where, he said, the underwriting of peer-to-peer credit was unproven, as selling a loan to investors such as hedge funds and other financial institutions was an unsustainable business model.

“The problem [with P2P lending] is that selling a loan [online] is not the same as selling a book. You buy a book on Amazon and that’s the end of the transaction. When you make a loan, that’s the beginning of a relationship. The question is how you manage that relationship,” said Eisman.

Soft Chinese Tech IPOs Test Next Wave of Listings (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

More than a dozen technology companies from China are rushing to go public abroad, in an enticing opportunity for investors but one that has generated poor returns recently.

Shares of most Asian tech companies that have listed in New York and Hong Kong since the start of 2017 have notched lackluster performances, with the bulk trading below their initial public offering prices after strong early gains.

European Union

Bondora Go & Grow – Bondora Rolling Out New Product (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Go & Grow is designed for the passive investors as hands off p2p lending. One of the main advantages is that Bondora says it is tax optimised.

The Bondora Go & Grow product features a target interest rate of 6.75% which will accrue daily. It runs completly on autoinvest. The investor just needs to join it and pay money into the Go & Grow account (or transfer it from the normal Bondora account). The Go & Grow account promises daily liquidity. There is a 1 EUR withdrawal fee making small withdrawals expensive but for portfolios of 1000 EUR or more and usual investment horizons this fee is negligible.

Three Year Old Fintech Mintos is Profitable (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Latvian Fintech Mintos is reporting a profit in its brief three year old history. According to the company, the global online marketplace for loans has seen their revenue increase more than four-fold in 2017 to € 2.1 million generating a net profit for the year of € 197,000. Mintos says it has experienced significant growth, making it the “peer-to-peer lending market leader for continental Europe” with a 38% market share.

In aggregate, Mintos has topped € 660 million in investments by investors and the company expects the amount of loans funded to reach EUR 1 billion before the end of this year. As of May 2018, Mintos claims more than 58,000 investors using the platform and this number is expected to surpass 100,000 at some point in 2017. Currently, investors may expect an average 12.1% rate of return.

International

The 30 most valuable VC-backed companies in the world (Pitch Book) Rated: AAA

Ridehailing giants Uber and Didi Chuxing, based in San Francisco and Beijing, respectively, lead the list of most valuable private companies around the globe. And moving down the rankings, the pattern set at the top continues. A total of five of the companies are in the ridehailing industry, and 26 of the 30 are based in either the US or China.

 

Source: Pitch Book

What is Libra Credit: Digital Assets as the Future for International Credit (Coin Central) Rated: AAA

Libra Credit is offering a decentralized lending Ethereum-based ecosystem that helps users get open access to credit anywhere and anytime.

As long as a user has digital assets, they will be able to borrow money from Libra Credit by using those digital assets as collateral. Additionally, these users will be able to build an international credit history – a concept that Libra Credit and its partners plan to push to be recognized globally.

Source: Coin Central

Libra Credit plans to charge a fixed 8% annual interest rate charged by Libra Credit, which is party enabled by its partnerships with traditional finance institutions. The rate is competitive with that of other peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Lending Club and Salt, but isn’t tied to the availability of a peer match.

Source: Coin Central

How Misbehaving Australian Banks Are Causing Global Pain (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Australia’s four biggest banks — Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp.National Australia Bank Ltd. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. — have been plagued by a string of scandals. The accusations run the gamut from giving misleading financial advice to trying to manipulate a benchmark interest rate. Simmering public resentment — stoked by a sense banks were gouging fees to fuel record profits and executive pay — boiled over last year when Commonwealth Bank was sued for systemically breaching anti-money laundering rules.

The government has announced tough new penalties for corporate wrongdoing and beefed up the regulator’s powers; analysts have trimmed earnings forecasts and speculate future legislation could force the biggest banks to sell off advice businesses.  All this comes at a time when bank profits are under pressure from a slowing housing market, rising costs and increased competition. Most of the banks are trying to simplify their operations and sell non-core operations.

Citi Inks $ 100 Million Trade Finance Deal With Asian Development Bank (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Global financial institution Citi is expanding its existing partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to share risk in trade finance transactions, reports in The Financial said Friday (May 11).

The ADB’s Trade Finance Program reached a deal worth $100 million with Citi that sees the financial institutions (FIs) sharing risk on trade finance transactions in an effort to bolster support for trade and access to finance across Asia.

 

Australia/New Zealand

FINNIES 2018: Here are all the finalists for Australia’s fintech industry awards (Business Insider) Rated: A

89 companies and individuals were chosen for Australia’s only industry-backed fintech awards, from a record field of more than 200 entries.

Excellence in Business Lending
● Finstro
● Prospa
● Spotcap Australia
● The Invoice Market – tim
● Trade Ledger

Excellence in Consumer Lending
● HashChing
● MoneyMe
● MoneyPlace
● RateSetter Australia
● SocietyOne

Robot financial adviser granted FMA exemption (Radio New Zealand News) Rated: A

The country has its first robot financial adviser after KiwiWealth was given an exemption by the Financial Markets Authority from the current law which requires humans to give financial and investment advice.

But Mr Bishop said it would still have human advisors offer detailed advice and have control of the robot.

India

PayMate Acquires Digital Lending Platform Z2P Technologies to Benefit SMEs (BW Disrupt) Rated: AAA

PayMate, an early pioneer in India’s payments industry and a leading player in electronic Business-to-Business (B2B) payments space, announced today the acquisition of Z2P (Zaitech Technology Pvt. Ltd.), a digital lending platform which provides hassle-free and real-time credit using social and banking data along with proprietary analytics and AI.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by May 2018 and it follows the announcement in February of this year by PayMate of its B2B partnership agreement with Visa.

As a result of the acquisition, PayMate acquires an innovative and proven lending solution in Z2P, which when combined with PayMate’s proprietary B2B payments platform will revolutionize the way businesses manage their payment operations, cashflow, and access to growth capital. PayMate plans to partner with banks and NBFCs to improve the flow of credit to SMEs.

Canada

Last week, Power Financial CEO Jeff Orr told reporters he plans to invest more money in fintech startups as the company looks to find technologies that can be incorporated into its business model and avoid disruptions that have hurt other sectors.

Widely known on the Street for its empire of financial advisers and investment products, Power Financial has spent $320-million in the fintech sector – with more than half the funds being allocated toward online robo-adviser Wealthsimple.

Asia

Singapore’s Biggest Bank Takes on China Giants in Fintech Battle (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

 

Almost 55% of customers say they would consider branchless digital-only bank

Source Bloomberg

Gupta credits his early recognition of the threat to his early days in Citigroup’s transaction banking division, unusual for a bank CEO, who tend to hail from the retail or investment banking arms of their institutions. That background taught him both the nuts and bolts of banking and the importance of technology, Gupta said. He also dabbled briefly but unsuccessfully in the startup world, when he quit Citigroup in 2001 to found an Internet portal in India, around the time the dotcom bubble was bursting.

Latin America

Morgan Stanley Goes After Brazilian FinTech Market (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

Bloomberg, citing four people with direct knowledge of the matter, reported that Morgan Stanley purchased $14 million in local subordinated bonds from online consumer lender Geru Tecnologia e Servicos. The Geru bonds, which the company issued in December of 2017, have a four-year maturity and pay about 11.2 percent each year, noted the report.

The company is also reportedly in talks with international investors about raising $50 million via an equity round that QMS Capital is handling. QMS has a 10 percent stake in Geru. General Atlantic could also be an investor in the round of fundraising, noted the report.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday April 27 2018, Daily News Digest

Canada investments

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage buys Orchard.Ascentium Capital issues $330M securitization.LendingTree reports record Q1 results.Funding Circle issues second MPL deal.Revolut raises $250M, achieves unicorn status.BBVA issues first blockchain loan from a global bank.IOU Financial releases 2017 results. Today’s main analysis: Canadian fintech funding declines 60 percent in Q1. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Where the oldest […]

Canada investments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Canada

Other

News Summary

United States

It’s Official: Kabbage To Acquire Orchard (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

It was the worst kept secret in fintech. There were rumors flying around during LendIt Fintech earlier this month and then Bloomberg published this story a couple of weeks ago about the pending deal. Well, today it became official. In a press release this morning it was confirmed that Kabbage, the tech-focused small business lender, will acquire Orchard.

So, what will become of Matt Burton and his team? Some clues are provided in the press release:

Orchard’s CEO and co-founder, Matt Burton, as well as Chief Analytics Officer and co-founder, David Snitkof, will both join Kabbage in leadership roles upon the closing, helping oversee technology integrations and future innovations. In total, Kabbage will add more than twenty Orchard employees who are predominantly focused on advanced analytics, data science and engineering to its New York City office.

Kabbage plan in Orchard deal: Expand offerings to banks, small businesses (American Banker) Rated: A

Kathryn Petralia, president and co-founder of Kabbage, said the acquisition will help the company diversify its business and offer more data-driven services to small businesses and financial institutions. It currently works with ING, Santander and Scotia Bank. Kabbage’s U.S.-based loans are issued by Celtic Bank in Salt Lake City.

The Orchard name will not survive. “At closing we will be Kabbage,” Burton said.

Until now, Orchard has been providing loan and portfolio analysis to other online lenders. This business model will be discontinued and those relationships will most likely end. Orchard’s current clients are being told about its sale to Kabbage, Burton said.

Ascentium Capital Announces $ 330 Million Securitization (Ascentium) Rated: AAA

Ascentium Capital issued a $330 million small ticket equipment securitization of Ascentium Equipment Receivables 2018-1 Trust.

This represents the company’s ninth securitization since 2012 and the first time a non-investment grade, independent equipment finance company received triple AAA and Aaa ratings from both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

LendingTree Reports Record 1Q 2018 Results (Markets Insider) Rated: AAA

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com today announced results for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.

First Quarter 2018 Business Highlights

  • Revenue from mortgage products of $73.5 million represents an increase of 17% over first quarter 2017 driven by strong growth in both purchase and refinance revenues at 13% and 18%, respectively.  According to Mortgage Bankers Association, originations industry-wide were projected down 4% in the comparable period.
  • Record revenue from non-mortgage products of $107.6 million in the first quarter represents an increase of 55% over the first quarter 2017.
  • Revenue from our credit card offerings continued its momentum, growing to $46.1 million in 1Q, up 36% over the first quarter 2017.
  • Personal loans revenue of $26.0 million grew 53% over first quarter 2017.
  • Home equity revenue continued to climb, growing 81% over first quarter 2017.
  • More than 8.0 million consumers have now signed up for free credit scores and savings alerts through My LendingTree.  Revenue contribution from MyLendingTree grew 76% in the first quarter compared to the prior year period as new features, such as Credit Analyzer and free credit monitoring, are driving increased engagement.

LendingTree Study Reveals Which Places Buy the Oldest Used Cars (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the places that buy the oldest used cars. LendingTree analyzed auto loan offers for borrowers in the top 50 U.S. metros (based on population) to find the average age of used cars financed in each metro, as well as which makes of used cars were most popular.

The national average age of a used car people sought to finance was six years old, but some parts of the country prefer older used cars more than others.

Source: Lending Tree

Mobile Banking One of Top Three Most Used Apps by Americans, 2018 Citi Mobile Banking Study Reveals (Citigroup) Rated: AAA

Apps for mobile banking have become some of the most widely used by Americans, according to Citi’s 2018 Mobile Banking Study, released today. The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found that, measured by top two ranked responses, 31 percent of consumers use their mobile banking app the most, behind only apps for social media (55 percent) and the weather (33 percent).

“Over the past year we’ve witnessed this increase in engagement first-hand, with mobile usage in North America increasing by almost 25 percent, and we don’t see this trend slowing down any time soon.”

LendingClub was sued for the fees it charges — how you can avoid being overcharged (Market Watch) Rated: A

Pay attention to both the interest rate advertised, as well as the annual percentage rate (APR), Clements said. If they’re different, the lender is likely factoring additional fees into your annual percentage rate.

You may need to borrow more money than you expected if that’s the case, he said, because the total amount you would receive will be less than you asked for.

Research several lenders before choosing which one you want, he said. And if there are any unfamiliar terms, or any confusion about how much you’ll pay back monthly, ask.

Digital bank in a box: Fintech offers branding tool (American Banker) Rated: A

The core systems provider Nymbus is offering a new product for bank customers that want to get in on the burgeoning trend of having a stand-alone, digital brand.

Dubbed SmartLaunch, the offering enables financial institutions to create a digital brand under their existing charter in as little as 90 days, according to Nymbus. The product is built on Nymbus’ cloud-based SmartCore platform, and the company says it provides banks that use the service with all outsourced operational and technological requirements to run the digital bank. Also included are client support, digital marketing and website services.

Source: American Banker

RealtyMogul and Comunidad Realty Partners Close $ 30 Million in Texas Multifamily Properties (Citizen Tribune) Rated: A

RealtyMogul, a pioneer in providing private real estate to discerning investors, announced that MogulREIT II, its real estate investment trust or “REIT,” has completed investments in multifamily apartment complexes in Fort Worth, Texas and San Antonio, Texas, consisting of over 450 units.

The properties were acquired through a partnership with Comunidad Realty Partners, a dynamic real estate investment firm specializing in workforce housing communities in culturally diverse neighborhoods.

Scaling Real Estate Crowdfunding: PeerStreet Establishes a Culture of Excellence at the Top (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Loans on PeerStreet are sourced and curated from vetted private lenders throughout the United States. These lenders have real estate expertise and established borrower relationships. To date, PeerStreet has helped to finance over $900 million in loans by using this partnership approach. The properties they help finance are typically smaller in value – a segment of the industry that is usually overlooked by big institutional money. Loans range from 6 to 24 months and are first lien so investors have a good degree of security.  Most of the loans are below a loan to value of 75%. About a year ago, PeerStreet announced having funded $300 million in loans. In less than 12 months, PeerStreet has funded double that number.

PeerStreet is doing small loans commercial, some multi family and mixed used properties. The largest loan size is around $5 million but there can be exceptions. The rate of return for investors during 2017 stood, on average, at 8% net of fees. As for defaults, so far only five loans have gone into foreclosure but they have not experienced any loss of principle – a positive metric.

Citizens Bank Taps Finastra and Infosys for Trade Finance Solution (Citizens Bank) Rated: A

Citizens Bank, working with Infosys as its implementation partner, has selected Finastra to power the trade finance solution it offers to its corporate clients. This new capability will enable Citizens’ corporate clients to digitize traditionally paper-based trade processes, leading to increased efficiencies and reduced costs.

The new trade finance offering will allow the bank to meet increased client demand. Citizens picked Finastra’s Fusion Trade Innovation for its end-user experience, ability to support all trade products, capacity to integrate with downstream systems through open APIs and its high level of configurability.

Consumers in Columbus less likely to put fraud alerts on their credit reports (The Columbus Dispatch) Rated: A

However, a new study finds that consumers in the biggest Midwest cities, including Columbus, are much less likely to put alerts on their credit reports than those in other cities, such as Las Vegas, Houston, Miami and New York. The study by online lender Lending Tree was based on a random sample.

US banks to get more freedom to offer unsecured loans (Financial Times) Rated: B

Joseph Otting, Comptroller of the Currency, said he believed standards should be relaxed to allow banks back into the small dollar loan market; loans would range from $500 to $5,000 and be paid back in 45 and 90 days; right now payday lenders dominate this space and typically take advantage of borrowers by charging high fees and rolling over the principal; allowing banks back into the market will help to bring more regulation and cut down on abuses.

Growth plans: Both big and small banks set to expand locally (Orlando Business Journal) Rated: B

David Stahl, senior vice president, SunTrust Bank: We acquired an online lender called LightStream two years ago, and that has been a huge opportunity for us. The days of people walking into a bank and applying for a loan are pretty much gone.

Free Research Reports on These Credit Services Stocks — MoneyGram, Navient, Oaktree Specialty Lending and On Deck Capital (PR Newswire) Rated: B

This morning, WallStEquities.com observes MoneyGram International Inc. (NASDAQ: MGI), Navient Corp. (NASDAQ: NAVI), Oaktree Specialty Lending Corp. (NASDAQ: OCSL), and On Deck Capital Inc. (NYSE: ONDK). Credit Services companies originate, acquire, and service loans to individuals and corporations. Their products include student loans, mortgages, lines of credit, private equity, and venture capital. All you have to do is sign up today for this free limited time offer by clicking www.wallstequities.com/registration

Covr Financial Technologies appoints Chris Growney to Board of Directors; Gregory Fleming and Robert Kerzner, join Covr’s Advisory Board (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Covr Financial Technologies, a digital, multi-carrier life insurance platform for financial institutions, announced that Chris Growney, an advisor with venture capital and advisory firm Nyca Partners has joined Covr’s Board of Directors following Nyca’s role in Covr’s June, 2017 fundraising. Growney, a director, advisor and investor in a broad range of start-up and growth companies was most recently the founder of Clearwater Analytics, an investment analytics and accounting software company based in Boise, Idaho.

6th Avenue Capital Announces Promotion of Darren Schulman to President (deBanked) Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital, LLC (“6th Avenue Capital”) announced today the promotion of Darren Schulman to President, effective immediately. In his new position, Schulman has oversight over originations, underwriting, operations, collections and strategic initiatives. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer, and will continue to report directly to Chief Executive Officer Christine Chang.

The company also announced today that Chang and Schulman have been appointed to the company’s Board of Directors.

Best Egg Teams with Junior Achievement of Delaware on Financial Education Initiatives (Business Wire) Rated: B

Best Egg, the consumer lending brand of Marlette Funding, LLC, is providing both classroom education and other inspiring financially-related activities for Junior Achievement of Delaware (JA of DE). This announcement coincides with National Financial Literacy Month, being celebrated throughout the month of April.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle brings second marketplace loan deal (Global Capital) Rated: AAA

Sole arranger and lead manager Deutsche Bank announced Thursday a £207m UK SME securitization from Funding Circle, Small Business Loan Origination Trust 2018-1, the second ABS offering from the online lender.

In addition to being just the second deal from Funding Circle, and the third European marketplace loan ABS overall, SBOLT 2018-1 marks the first time Kroll Bond Rating Agency has assigned a public rating for a European securitization deal.

KBRA Europe Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (Business Wire) Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Europe Limited (KBRA) has assigned preliminary ratings to four classes of notes (“Rated Notes”) issued by Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (“SBOLT 2018-1”). This is a £206.6 million ABS transaction collateralised by unsecured loans made to small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) incorporated in the United Kingdom (“UK”).

This transaction represents the second ABS securitisation collateralised by unsecured loans to SMEs originated through the online lending platform operated by Funding Circle Limited (“Funding Circle”), and the first European rated ABS securitisation for KBRA.

Source: Business Wire

Confirmation of that came on Thursday as Revolut became the first of Britain’s digital-only banks to achieve “unicorn” status – in other words, a privately held start-up company with a valuation of more than $1bn (£720m).

Revolut, which was only founded in July 2015, has been valued at $1.7bn (£1.22bn) in its latest funding round.

The bank, which started out as a currency exchange app but later moved into providing personal banking and cryptocurrency trading services, raised $250m (£180m) from backers including DST Global, an investment firm backed by the Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, whose previous early-stage tech investments have included Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and Spotify.

Ranger Direct Lending rejects investor call to wind up (City Wire) Rated: A

Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) has criticised shareholder Oaktree Capital Management for trying to force the struggling alternative income fund to wind up.

Oaktree, the second largest shareholder in the fund that invests in and through lending platforms, has made public its correspondence with Ranger, which it described as a ‘sub-scale platform’ with shares ‘too illiquid to attract large institutional investors, especially in light of its persistent trading discount to net asset value (NAV)’.

Goji passes £50m in assets (Goji) Rated: A

Goji has now got more than £50m of assets on its platform a little over a year after opening its doors to investors.  With over 5,000 customer accounts, our hard earned growth is testament to the work the whole industry has done in selling the asset class to the UK public.

After campaigning hard to change the tax laws to open up the ISA rules so that non-lending platforms could also offer an IFISA, Goji was the first firm to offer investors diversification across a number of platforms through a single Innovative Finance ISA.  Goji’s Diversified Lending Bonds target 5%, whilst it’s Renewables Lending Bond targets returns in excess of 8%.

A lending site where you can rent anything just scored millions in venture capital (Business Insider) Rated: A

Fat Lama, which announced $10 million in its Series A on Wednesday in a round led by Blossom Capital, says it will use its latest funding to further its reach within the US and to create a mobile-first offering (so far, the site’s mobile app is only available in the UK).

Fat Lama lets users borrow everything from drones to camera equipment to printers.

The site insures any item listed on its site for up to $30,000, and Englander said his company has plans to raise that amount to $50,000 in the near future.

 

 

Artificial intelligence backed to reduce P2P defaults (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) could provide peer-to-peer lenders with greater lending security and less chance of defaults, a technology consultancy claims.

Nick Parham, technical pre-sales consultant at NashTech, said there is much P2P platforms can learn about AI from traditional lenders.

“The traditional lending market offers us a powerful insight into the potential for AI in P2P lending,” he said.

TURNING TO YOUR PEERS (BQ Live) Rated: A

They created ArchOver, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform that allows firms that have been operating for more than two years to borrow money from lenders using its website. Companies borrow a minimum of £250,000, with interest rates starting at 7.7% a year.

Since it launched in the autumn of 2014, ArchOver has helped its lenders to inject more than £65m into British businesses, bringing in more than £2.5m in interest at an average return of 7.3%. In an age when bank savings accounts are paying less than 0.5%, it’s easy to see the attraction for investors who understand the risks as well as the rewards.

European Union

Klarna integrates with Magento for streamlined checkout (Payments Source) Rated: AAA

Commerce platform Magento is giving merchants the option to activate Klarna instant credit for online checkouts.

Sweden-based Klarna is built into the latest version of Magento Commerce, giving merchants a streamlined path to offer goods consumers may opt to pay for immediately, within 30 days, or longer via installments, Klarna said in a Thursday press release.

Taaleri increases its ownership in Fellow Finance by 7.3 per cent (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

Taaleri Plc has decided to exercise its option to acquire an additional 7.3% holding in Fellow Finance Oy, as outlined in the shareholders’ agreement signed in 2015. After the transaction Taaleri’s shareholding in Fellow Finance, which offers a crowdfunding platform for companies and for consumers, will increase to 45.7%. The transaction is scheduled to be realized in April-May.

International

BBVA and Indra deliver the world’s first blockchain-supported corporate loan (BBVA) Rated: AAA

BBVA has successfully completed the first global corporate loan transaction using blockchain technology from the negotiation of the deal to its signing, in line with their close collaboration to leverage cutting-edge technologies to streamline business processes.

The pilot enabled the closing of a €75 million loan using a solution developed by BBVA based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). This demonstrates how BBVA continues to incorporate innovative and disruptive technology into its customer solutions, including those products that up to now have seen limited digital innovation, as is the case with wholesale finance.

BANKS VS FINTECHS: THE WAR FOR TALENT (International Banker) Rated: A

Many of these start-ups, moreover, are equipped with enough cash to be able to compete with their banking counterparts on salaries. According to assessments by recruitment site Glassdoor, for example, a London-based software engineer at online lender Funding Circle will earn a base salary of £51,000 on average, which is equal to the salary paid at Goldman Sachs for a similar role. At UBS, that figure is £59,000, while at challenger Monzo Bank it is currently £64,000. Speaking recently to Bloomberg, co-founder and CEO of property lending platform LendInvest, Christian Faes, asserted that between 30 and 40 percent of the company’s hires are from major financial institutions, while banks also account for 100 percent of its small-risk and compliance team. Similar trends are also being reported by UK online lender MarketInvoice Ltd., where three-quarters of its 85 employees have come from either the financial-services or accountancy space.

Source: International Banker

Deserve Raises $ 50 Million in Debt Financing (Finovate) Rated: A

In rebranding his company from SelfScore to Deserve, CEO Kalpesh Kapadia explained “we believe that access is everything and everyone deserves a chance to build a positive credit history. So we are making our products available to all students, U.S., and international, and to all those who seek to build and/or maintain a good credit history.”

And now Deserve is $50 million closer to serving this broader population of potential customers. The Accel-backed fintech has just secured a $50 million debt facility from Keystone National Group to drive growth in account receivables and help “jumpstart” first-time credit owners’ financial journeys.

 

Fintech for the Financially Excluded? (Stanford Social Innovation Review) Rated: A

At Bamboo Capital Partners, we believe fintech can help low-income people reduce vulnerabilities, build assets, manage cash flow, and increase income, and we have invested as such: In the last couple of years, we have made four equity investments in fintech companies in Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Tanzania, committing more than $16 million. Our investees are helping democratize access to finance through peer-to-peer lending platforms (KuboFinanciero), promoting access to insurance (ComparaOnline), enabling mobile payments and savings for low-income people through nano deposits (Movii), and providing a smart data platform for emerging market financial institutions (First Access).

APAC

Game-changing technologies at work in Asia Pacific’s real estate (JLL) Rated: AAA

Singapore-based mall operator Capitaland has a chatbot called Sparkle on its app that responds to shoppers’ queries and make reservations or hail a ride from its malls.  National Australia Bank is participating in a A$9 million investment round for real estate crowdfunding platform Brick X.

The rise of proptech, however, could be a cause for cybersecurity concerns, as highlighted in JLL’s report Clicks and Mortar: The Growing Influence of Proptech.

Source: Jill Real Views

 

Coast Labor MP Calls For Ban On Loan Machines (TripleM Network) Rated: A

There are calls for the Berejiklian Government to outright ban payday loan machines cropping up on the Central Coast.

There’s a Cash N Go kiosk at Wyoming offering up to $1000 at a time with minimal checks, while the devices, which look like ATMs, have also been spotted in the Hunter and Illawarra.

Latin America

Brazil’s Central Bank authorizes peer-to-peer lending (Rueters) Rated: AAA

Brazil’s Central Bank on Thursday released rules for credit start-ups that include authorization for peer-to-peer lending, as a way to increase competition in loans in a country with notoriously high interest rates for consumers.

Credit fintechs will be allowed to operate with a minimum capital of 1 million reais ($288,000), according to the new regulation. Peer-to peer lending had not yet been formally authorized in the country. The practice involves lending between individuals through online services.

Canada

Funding for Canadian Fintech Companies Declines 60 Percent in Q1 (Investing News) Rated: AAA

Canadian fintech companies received $88 million in investment over the first quarter of 2018, representing a 60-percent decline, says a new report from PwC.

Total investment in Canada in the first quarter of 2018 was over $1 billion, which is a 52-percent increase over the last quarter. A total of 105 deals were signed as compared to 81 in the previous quarter, representing a 30-percent increase.

Source: PwC

Read the full report here.

IOU Financial Inc. Releases Financial Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2017 (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV:IOU) announced today its results for the year ended December 31, 2017.

  • Reached profitability during the year with positive adjusted net earnings of $0.1 millionin Q4.
  • Surpassed the half-billion loan origination mark with loan originations of $91.3 million(US) for the year.
  • Increased interest revenue of 8.1% to $14.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2017 vs 2016.
  • Reduced operating costs (excluding non-recurring costs) by 20.3% to $9.0 million for the year ended 2017.
  • Raised $3.5 million via a private placement.

BlackChain Solutions Signs LOI With DMG Blockchain Solutions to Bring P2P Lending to the Cryptocurrency Market (Investing News) Rated: B

Under the proposed license, BlackChain will retain exclusive rights for use of the technology for P2P Lending. DMG will be entitled to a royalty on commercial revenues generated by Blackchain using the technology. The parties intend to negotiate and finalize a definitive agreement by May 15th, 2018.

 

MENA

Global REIT’s crypto-powered real estate investment model will be first of it’s kind… (Global Cryptocurrency Press) Rated: AAA

Moving this structure onto the blockchain, and powering the investments with cryptocurrency now means the average cryptocurrency investor can easily access the real estate investment market. Global REIT will begin in their home of Dubai, a place where real estate is currently exploding, and acquire assets within the U.A.E, before branching out globally.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Taking Trade Finance to SMEs

trade finance SMEs

The financial crisis of 2008 led to many developments in fintech generally and alternative lending specifically. We’ve heard many of those stories before. One of the problems the crisis revealed is the restriction of capital, particularly among international small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Another problem was the massive proliferation of mobile coupled with the “digital […]

trade finance SMEs

The financial crisis of 2008 led to many developments in fintech generally and alternative lending specifically. We’ve heard many of those stories before. One of the problems the crisis revealed is the restriction of capital, particularly among international small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Another problem was the massive proliferation of mobile coupled with the “digital self” that allowed lenders to identify the types of businesses people engaged with. Digital data became a game changer for a lot of companies employing new technologies. One company got the bright idea to solve both of these problems with a single solution aimed at SMEs making their first entrance into the online ecoystem.

Who Are Kountable, And Why Do They Count?

Kountable saw its genesis in 2013 with CEO and Co-founder Chris Hale getting together with co-founders Craig Allen and Kathy Numera.

“We looked at trade finance in a different way,” Hale said, adding that one of his co-founders spent 30 years doing trade financing at the institutional level. Typically being an instrument extended by banks, Kountable puts the emphasis on the finance rather than the trade part of the equation. The financial crisis, Basel III, and other regulations that followed handcuffed banks in their ability to extend capital to SMEs. Kountable stepped in to fill the void.

By using a cloud-based platform for the import and export of goods, Kountable gives SMEs access to trade. By outsourcing third-party logistics and bringing curated transactions so deals get institutional level treatment, the company helps SMEs sidestep problems they would typically have accessing top tier products.

Currency management is one area that requires Kountable’s due diligence. As they buy in one currency and deal in another, there are commercial terms, such as paying suppliers, during negotiations.

The company is successful when it simplifies the translation between big and small. Hale said, in most trade finance deals, you have big-to-big (that is, enterprise-level business trading with enterprise-level business). For example, Cisco might sell a network bridge to a multinational corporation. But when you have a small business involved (Cisco selling to a bank in East Africa, for instance), Kountable ensures that everyone gets the same retail treatment. By bringing users together in a mobile app on a cloud-based system, the company makes it seem institutional to both parties.

“The asset is a trade receivable,” Hale said. For example, an alternative credit fund that extends a $150M line of credit. “We align ourselves with the success of the transaction by pricing our service like a margin-sharing arrangement.” The four-step process includes:

  1. Kountable collects directly from the end customer
  2. The bank buys new servers from Cisco
  3. The reseller negotiates the margin for the procurement process, importation, and installing services
  4. Kountable takes a portion of the margin for the trade services it provides.

The Three Components of the Technology

The technology includes three key components:

  1. Identity management—The small business reseller downloads a mobile app and shares his or her data with Kountable. That includes social media, business registration, and personal info about the owners and shareholders. Kountable builds a “robust profile” on the SME and runs Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes for validation. The company also looks at supply, and, if it’s a private business, customs. The company looks at trade as a network. The more transactions they do, the more the network effect creates a safe environment for more transactions.
  2. Cloud-Based Control Management System—This digitally manages assets on the operating side and the financial side of a trade transaction. Hale said it’s tricky because there’s not a lot of financial data inside the transaction. Most of the info is operational. That is, goods are paid for and shipped–in transit, through customs, etc. Traditional financial institutions aren’t set up for this. This system manages the operations and payment of this trade asset. The reason it’s important to have collaboration taking place between the reseller and the in-country partners (who help with the documentation of the banking relationships, clearing customs, and more) through the mobile app with the Kountable team in San Francisco is that they all plug in to make sure transactions go smoothly. These two elements combine to create a financial asset.
  3. Trade Accounting Service—The investor who extended the $150M line of credit (LOC) is consuming trade receivables as collateral. The trade accounting service will be able to report on the synthesis of the financial and operating information in order to report the portfolio value to the investor.

Not being a formal venture fund, Kountable is a “traditional single family office with a portfolio of private companies with double bottom lines.” The company has raised $15M, 85% of which came from the family office with capital added from other investors. These are for-profit companies, of course, but the business focus is on the “larger good.” The concessionary returns the company receives by leaving some of the money on the table to make a significant impact is a part of the reward.

Kountable Key Differentiator and KPIs

“Our committed focus is to the SME,” Hale said. This led the company to build a network of enterprise-level participants and a technology platform to cater to that user. “Most other trade platforms focus on digitization of a two-party trade,” but it’s all “enterprise to enterprise.” Kountable was created to help the global SME population. “That focus on the SME as the user has created an ecosystem unlike any other platform I’m aware of.”

Kountable has about 5,000 SMEs registered and moves $3 million per month in trade transactions. That’s in two countries–Kenya and Rwanda. Interest from 40 other countries has led to building a platform to address the market demand.

“We have a line of sight to profitability just by working within these two markets,” Hale said. “[We’re] building
global expansion to go outside of the family office this year.”

SMEs in Kountable’s two markets buy goods from the U.S. and work with U.S. supplies to sell to customers in East Africa products they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. In the year ahead, Kountable plans to work with U.S. SMEs on similar transactions.

Kountable’s Competition and the Future of Trade Finance

Kountable’s competition consists of large procurement companies, groups like Tradeshift, and financial relationship companies. On the other side, there are e-commerce platforms, like Amazon, that are more consumer focused.

“There really isn’t a competitor that fits together a solution targeting our market specifically,” Hale said. The competition is mostly peripheral.

Hale believes the future is going to see trade financing dramatically influenced by digitization across the board. “The players are focused on enterprise-level digitization, where invoicing becomes an Application Programming Interface (API) and customs brokerage becomes digitized. As that continues, the nature of trade financing will evolve toward a a focus on operations.” He sees this evolution ultimately leading to the incorporation of the blockchain. “The elements of smart contracts and the distributed ledger are very well suited to the network approach to trade facilitation.”

Kountable’s near-term plans are to continue demonstrating the universality of its solution. Hale said they have significant demands in many regions of the world, including the U.S., and the goal is to plant some flags in some specific markets. Along with the U.S., he mentioned Southeast Asia and Latin America as potential growth regions. “There are many elements of our transactions that are replicable across different verticals and different regions,” he said.

Conclusion

The company is looking to internalize its engineering team and build its other respective teams. They have a number of product launches in the next quarter and a half including a redesign of the mobile app. Beyond that, Kountable is focused on growth capital for market expansion, enterprise sales, and putting in place the legal and financial structures needed to move into Southeast Asia markets like Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia.

By focusing on the double-bottom line, Kountable not only has a bright future in the spaces of trade and trade financing, but the company is also doing its part to improve the quality of life in areas of the world where goods, services, and technology would be otherwise less accessible. And while it isn’t evident if the company will ultimately succeed, it’s certainly evident that it should.

Authors:

Written with Paul Keenan.

Allen Taylor

Monday January 29 2018, Daily News Digest

financial advice market

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi buys Clara Lending product, engineering teams. LendingClub files 8K on $200 warehouse agreement. Raisin surpasses 5B Euro. Columbian lender LoanPie goes online. Today’s main analysis: UK P2P lending hits 3.1B GBP, borrowers shift to online lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: PeerIQ evaluates letter from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Mulvaney. Funding Circle in no […]

financial advice market

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

South America

News Summary

United States

SoFi Buys Teams From Mortgage Startup Clara to Boost Offerings (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. has acquired the engineering and product teams of mortgage startup Clara Lending, bolstering the financial technology company’s offerings beyond student-loan refinancing, according to people familiar with the matter.

SoFi confirmed the acquisition on Friday and said taking on the Clara teams allows it to “immediately ramp up our technical capabilities.”

San Francisco-based SoFi has plans to hire about 100 engineers, one of the people familiar with the matter said, and Clara filled about 20 of those spots.

How Credible.com Makes Refinancing Student Loans Easy (Pop Dust), Rated: A

While refinancing my own loans, it was a stressful situation to navigate, even with the help of my parents. Coming out of school with a $200,000 degree but only a $40,000 annual salary was a tough pill to swallow, and I wasn’t alone – several of my friends found themselves in a similar situation.

Credible is working to change all of that by simplifying the refinancing process. Instead of hopping from lender to lender and form to form looking for a good rate, Credible provides a one-stop shop where you can connect with a variety of vetted lenders and get real rates in about two minutes, without affecting your credit score.

LendingClub Files 8K on $ 200 Million Warehouse Agreement (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC), the largest marketplace lending platform in the US, has just posted an 8K regarding a warehouse funding agreement with certain lenders. LendingClub has enlisted the assistance of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. as administrative agent, and Wilmington Trust, National Association as collateral trustee. The warehouse is to provide a $200 million secured revolving credit facility.

LendingClub’s 8K filing.

Strong GDP growth, Mulvaney’s New Director for CFPB, SoFi’s New CEO (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In this week’s newsletter, we interpret key points of Mulvaney’s letter and how they may affect the lending industry.

Source: PeerIQ

The US economy grew by 2.6% in the 4th quarter, continuing the pattern of strong trend growth in 2017. Global economies continue to enjoy an unusual period of synchronized growth, a constructive pattern last seen in the mid-2000s. US growth was primarily driven by consumer spending of 3.8%. US consumer spending is supported by US consumer credit outstanding which grew at an annualized rate of 8.8% – well ahead of GDP growth.

Bank earnings continued to roll in this week. Retail banks reported that credit card losses rose 20% year-over-year to $12.5 Bn.  Credit card losses as a percentage of outstanding receivables have increased to 4.5% from 2.9% in 2015 as credit normalization trends continue. The combination of high consumer credit growth relative to GDP, full employment levels, and low productivity growth is casting doubts on whether 3%+ GDP prints are sustainable.

Earnest Co-Founder Steps Down a Few Months After Selling Startup (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Louis Beryl, co-founder and chief executive officer of Earnest Inc., left the online lender this week after selling his company in October.

The San Francisco-based startup was acquired by student loan provider Navient Corp. for $155 million after a lengthy search for a buyer. Beryl and his co-founder, Ben Hutchinson, were supposed to remain at the firm and continue running Earnest as a separate unit within the company. Hutchinson remains there as chief operating officer, Navient said.

Don Davis of Prime Meridian (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • When marketplace lending first got on Don’s radar.
  • Why he decided to start Prime Meridian.
  • How his offerings have expanded from one product to four.
  • The total AUM they are at today.
  • Who their typical investor is today and how that has changed over the years.
  • How his conversations with investors have changed.
  • What investors misunderstand about the space today.
  • What platforms his company is investing on today.
  • How they conduct due diligence on new platforms.
  • Don’s views on why some of platforms have failed.
  • How the investor pullback of 2016 affected Prime Meridian.
  • The state of the marketplace lending industry today.
  • What areas Don likes most and what he likes least.
  • The only two things that matter for marketplace lending platforms.
  • How he has been able to grow his company so quickly.
  • What’s next for Prime Meridian.

A bank’s unfolding plan to enter online consumer lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Meta Financial Group in Sioux Falls, S.D., has struck a deal to provide personal loans to customers of Liberty Lending, an online lender based in New York.

The $5.2 billion-asset Meta said it expects to originate $500 million to $1 billion in personal loans during the three-year partnership. The program marks Meta’s first foray into the direct-to-consumer credit business.

Discover CEO bashes online lenders (American Banker), Rated: A

Discover Financial Services CEO David Nelms said this week that many of the online lenders that have emerged in recent years do not understand how to underwrite the loans properly over the long run. He also jabbed at the technology-focused firms for their failure to achieve profitability.

JP Morgan Chase invests $ 20bn for new branches and jobs (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

JP Morgan Chase has unleashed a five-year $20 billion investment plan that includes 400 new branches, 4,000 jobs and an increase in staff wages across the US.

It is also a stark contrast to yesterday’s report concerning branches in 2017. Last year, US banks accelerated their pace of branch closures, shutting down 2,069 locations (an 18% increase compared to 2016).

According to JP Morgan Chase, these new branches and bankers will help the firm increase small business lending nearly 20%, or $4 billion, over three years.

7 failed fintech ideas that might succeed today (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

Blippy’s card-sharing social network

Contactless payment cards

Opendoor Raises $ 135M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Opendoor, a San Francisco, CA-based online home-selling service, raised $135m in funding.

The round was led by Fifth Wall Ventures and Lennar with participation from Rialto Capital Management.

Technology will have a massive impact on your financial future: here’s why (The Next Web), Rated: A

For consumers, that’s mostly good news; it means you have access to more services in a digital format, and at a much less expensive rate. For the finance industry, this is coming with big changes; as banks digitize more, Citigroup estimates that the industry will lose 1.7 million jobs or more to automation and digital environments.

On a level that’s probably more familiar with mainstream consumers, we can look to the emergence of money savings appsstock exchange appsbudgeting apps, and other tools designed to make financial management easier for the average customer.

As many as 45 percent of financial intermediary services are victims of economic crime every year, which makes security and privacy top concerns for the finance industry.

 

Ladenburg Thalmann Launches Tech Innovation Platform (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Brokerage and advisory firm Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services has announced the launch of its Enterprise Innovation initiative and Innovation Lab. The company said innovation strategist Dan Sachar has been named as the vice president of enterprise innovation.

United Kingdom

P2P Lending Tops £3.1 Billion in 2017, Q4 Sees Borrowers Shift to Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has published aggregate fourth quarter data for of 2017 for its member platforms. The P2PFA shows that during 2017 £3,145,098,842 in peer to peer loans were facilitated. Cumulative lending transacted through P2PFA member platforms exceeded £8 billion.

Funding Circle heads for market (The Times), Rated: AAA

Sources close to the lender said it was in “no hurry” to do an initial public offering but, if markets remain favourable, the float could go ahead in the second half of this year.

Atom Bank chairman to step down (AltFi), Rated: A

Anthony Thomson, the founder of UK challenger bank Atom Bank, is planning to step down from his role as chairman after it completes its latest £150m fundraise.

Existing non-executive director, Bridget Rosewell, will be taking over the helm of the Durham-based lender, subject to regulatory approval.

Best buy-to-let areas in the UK for 2018 (Simply Business), Rated: AAA

LendInvest’s latest buy-to-let index is out, and it makes great reading for landlords looking for the best buy-to-let areas.

  • Manchester is currently the best place to buy-to-let in England and Wales. It ranked highest for rental yields (5.55 per cent) and rental price growth (5.76 per cent). Manchester took the top spot after a steady climb up LendInvest’s rankings throughout 2017.
  • Colchester in Essex and Luton in Bedfordshire are in second and third position, with rental yields of over 3.78 per cent. Colchester has the strongest capital gains of all postcode areas over the last 12 months, while Luton remains a popular commuter town within easy reach of London.
  • The Midlands is still the buy-to-let location to watch, though – Leicester rose an incredible 17 places to reach ninth place in December’s index, while Birmingham narrowly missed out on the top 10, coming in at 11th.

According to the research, here are the 10 best buy-to-let areas 2018:

  1. Manchester
  2. Colchester
  3. Luton
  4. Rochester
  5. Southend-on-sea
  6. Hull
  7. Romford
  8. Norwich
  9. Leicester
  10. Ipswich

Top 10 areas for capital gains in the UK

Area Capital gains
Colchester 11.96%
Southall 11.09%
Hemel Hempstead 10.27%
Slough 10.19%
Harrow 9.89%
Ipswich 9.44%
Luton 9.16%
Southend-on-sea 9.12%
Ilford 8.82%
Hull 8.46%
Source: LendInvest

FCA reports increase in advice firm numbers (Money Marketing), Rated: A

Figures drawn from regulatory returns show 5,270 financial advice firms had at least one staff member advising on retail investments, with a total of 25,951 advisers recorded as at the end of November 2017.

The number of advisers at banks and building societies continued to decrease, however, from 3,525 to 3,374. 34 banks had at least one adviser as at the end of November last year, compared to 38 the December before.

Expert Tips to Keep a Close Eye on your Cash Flow this Year (NewBusiness), Rated: B

Find the right finance for you

Here are some examples of the various types of external finance that may be available if you need a helping hand:

Bank loan – one of the most commonly chosen finance options. The loan will be fixed over an agreed period, with a fixed rate and monthly repayments.  Eligibility for this can be dependent on how long you have been trading for.

Peer-to-peer lending – this is a form of borrowing without using a traditional financial institution such as a bank or building society. The lending involves individuals or ‘peers’ where you are matched up to people willing to invest in, and lend money to, your business.

Merchant cash advance – an alternative financial solution if you have strong sales and good volume of card transactions every month. You receive a lump-sum payment to be repaid via an agreed percentage of your future credit and debit card transactions.

Business credit card – stay in control of your business expenses and keep your cash flow moving. A business credit card is a short-term flexible way to manage expenses.

London fintech start-up Duco raises £20m (The Times), Rated: B

Duco, which was founded eight years ago by a computer science postgraduate from University College London, allows financial institutions to manipulate enormous amounts of data through remote internet servers, popularly known as the cloud. It is understood the funding round values the company at about $100m.

China

Future FinTech Announces Digital Assets Transfer Agreement (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Future FinTech Group Inc. (NASDAQ: FTFT) (“Future FinTech”“FTFT” or “the Company”), a financial technology company and integrated producer of fruit-related products, today announced that on January 23, 2018, one of its wholly owned subsidiaries, DigiPay FinTech Limited (“DigiPay”), entered into an agreement to acquire 60% of the digital assets associated with DCON, a blockchain development project that has developed 100 communities utilizing blockchain technology and which intends to conduct a variety of financial businesses to provide users with a diversified blockchain experience.

European Union

Deposit marketplace Raisin surpasses €5bn after record year (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Since its founding four years ago, Raisin has returned its first cash flow positive month after passing €5bn in brokered savings deposits.

The European marketplace for savings and investment products increased its total customer deposits by over €3bn in 2017, after its international expansion efforts bolstered growth. The company now serves over 30 European markets, with around 20 per cent of all new customer acquisitions coming from abroad.

Europe’s Alternative Finance Sector Accelerates (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Europe’s online alternative finance market continues to grow, but remains dominated by the UK, new research shows. The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance says the market was worth €7.7bn by the end of 2016, the most recent period for which data is available, with €5.6bn of that total accounted for by the UK.

The data means the alternative finance market across Europe grew by 41 per cent during 2016, providing a range of valuable funding for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises that was not available from traditional funding sources. Stripping out the UK, however, the market was up by 101 per cent, with the less mature alternative finance industries of continental Europe now growing very rapidly.
The UK’s share of the European alternative finance market fell to 73 per cent in 2016 from 81 per cent a year earlier as other markets grew faster. France, Germany and the Netherlands are now the three largest alternative finance markets outside the UK, followed by Finland, Spain, Italy and Georgia.
Consumer lending remains the single biggest sub-sector of the alternative finance industry, with peer-to-peer lending sites accounting for 34 per cent of the marketplace. However, SME funding is significant, with peer-to-peer business lending, invoice trading and equity-based crowdfunding together accounting for 40 per cent of the market.
International

FintruX – Disrupting P2P Lending and Unsecured Loans on the Blockchain (ChipIn), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platforms are also still on a global uptick. In just one country where this new kind of access to capital is having a major impact, the UK, over $3.3 billion in P2P loans were facilitated in 2017. That number is expected to continue to rise globally this year, and blockchain is likely to be right in the middle of it.

The FinTruX Network is one of the world’s first blockchain-based online marketplaces for unsecured lending that connects the dots in an environment augmented by specialized servicing agents who can configure and construct each borrower’s (smart) contract in real time.

Cascading levels of credit enhancement help borrowers improve creditworthiness. Lenders are provided with several forms of reassurances that their money will be repaid. Loans are over-collateralized. Local third-party guarantors and cross-collateralization act as an additional kind of insurance.

And here is the best part: All of this is enabled by a system token which creates not only a fee structure but a tracking device, authenticator, and payment system, all in one place.

Robo Advice: Are ETFs the Solution? (CFA Institute), Rated: A

RiskSave and True Link are examples of such emerging technology. The portfolios generated from a broader spectrum of assets improve on the current robo model, offering more efficiency and superior risk-return characteristics.

Robo advice and digital asset management will open up financial advice to a much wider market. People who previously were priced out of financial advice will now be able to afford it. The reduced costs of robo advice in the United Kingdom could give as many as 16 million more people access to financial advice, according to estimates from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Are ETFs the correct solution?

Much of the financial management industry has concluded that ETFs are the future of automated advice. That is naive.

Tradeshift explores new Frontiers with innovation lab launch (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Business commerce platform Tradeshift has unveiled Tradeshift Frontiers, an innovation lab and incubator designed to apply emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), distributed ledgers, and internet of things (IoT) to business networks, supply chains, and global trade, reports David Penn at Finovate (FinTech Futures’ sister company).

India

FinTech platforms providing robust loan disbursal to MSMEs (Outlook), Rated: A

CreditMantri helps small business connect with NBFCs and banks on its platforms and avail financial assistance. The easy and hassle-free digital procedure makes it easy for a business to avail a loan in lesser time.

Aye Finance, along with its commercial operations, also funds its non-profit initiative to coach MSMEs on market knowledge, business book-keeping and advising on operations techniques. These, in turn, help sustain employment at the bottom of the pyramid. Aye Finance has already impacted an ecosystem of over 40,000 MSMEs through its business enterprise loans.

CoinTribe is confident about the adoption of digital in the SME segment especially as younger generations enter the domain. With increasing digital adoption in the country and expansion of the MSME sector, CoinTribe aims to facilitate USD 5 billion of loans through its platform over a period of 5 years and is rapidly scaling up its marketplace operations.

Faircent’s P2P model serving business loan requirements is an example of how far lending industry has come to serve MSMEs. The platform has over two lakh registered borrowers and 18,000 registered lenders.

South America

Columbia business launches $ 1.8M investment website (Columbia Daily Tribune), Rated: AAA

LoanPie, an online local marketplace based out of Columbia for residential and commercial real estate investing, last week launched its website with over $1.8 million in investments available.

The company seeks to introduce more accredited investors to the secondary mortgage market using a web-based platform. LoanPie’s goal is to create return on investment for 25,000 subscribers by the end of this year.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 23 2016, Daily News Digest

CEO optimism

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi, Lending Club gear up for a busy quarter. RateSetter drops unsecured business loans. Zopa’s targeted returns rise to 4% and 4.5%. Monzo to phase out prepaid cards. Funding Societies surpasses SGD 100M in SME crowdfunding in SE Asia. Today’s main analysis: CEO optimism grows worldwide. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Which car brands borrowers stretch […]

CEO optimism

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Asia

News Summary

United States

SoFi, Lending Club gear up for busy quarter (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

Up to four transactions from marketplace lenders SoFi and Lending Club are slated to hit the market this quarter, including prime and non-prime consumer and student loan refinancing offerings.

SoFi is preparing to bring at least one consumer loan offering and possibly one more refinanced student loan offering over the next two months. The planned offerings could be in the range of previous transactions, said a source familiar with the company’s plans.

Twitter slides after news that online lending startup SoFi may poach its operations chief (Business Insider), Rated: A

Shares of Twitter dipped on Monday after it was reported that Twitter’s chief operating officer, Anthony Noto, may leave the company for an offer to become the CEO of Social Finance, or SoFi, an online lending company.

Twitter’s stock was down 1.16% on Monday at $23.39 per share.

LendingTree Reveals Which Used Car Brands Borrowers are Stretching the Most to Buy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

A recent LendingTree survey found that 27 percent of Americans plan to purchase a car in 2018. To discover if consumers are more likely to stretch their available incomes to own certain brands, LendingTree looked at people who found auto loans on the LendingTree.com platform in 2017 to buy used vehicles.

Contrary to popular assumptions, the results revealed that people aren’t going broke to buy used luxury cars. In fact, buyers of the most expensive cars seem to handily afford them.

On the other hand, LendingTree found Buick owners have the hardest time affording their car payments — not because they’re indulging in particularly expensive vehicles but because their income tends to be on the lower side, meaning they use a larger share of take home pay to cover their monthly payments.

Car Makes Borrowers Stretch the Most to Buy Used

Rank

Make

Estimated Monthly Payment as a Percent of Estimated Monthly Income

Average Estimated Monthly Payment

Average Estimated Vehicle Price

1

BUICK

10.9%

$418

$18,597

2

CHRYSLER

10.9%

$440

$18,497

3

NISSAN

10.6%

$405

$18,231

4

DODGE

10.6%

$454

$22,290

5

CHEVROLET

10.2%

$437

$20,930

6

KIA

9.7%

$368

$17,357

7

HONDA

9.4%

$389

$18,053

8

HYUNDAI

9.3%

$356

$17,216

9

MITSUBISHI

9.0%

$370

$17,205

10

CADILLAC

8.8%

$480

$25,294

11

FIAT

8.8%

$341

$16,543

12

FORD

8.6%

$424

$21,648

13

GMC

8.3%

$466

$25,077

14

JEEP

8.1%

$414

$21,885

15

VOLKSWAGEN

8.0%

$363

$16,909

16

MAZDA

7.8%

$355

$18,326

17

TOYOTA

7.7%

$385

$19,788

18

JAGUAR

7.6%

$503

$27,734

19

INFINITI

7.6%

$454

$24,728

20

BMW

7.4%

$476

$25,038

21

MERCEDES-BENZ

7.3%

$519

$28,792

22

SUBARU

7.2%

$361

$19,219

23

ACURA

7.0%

$409

$22,623

24

AUDI

6.8%

$482

$26,725

25

LEXUS

6.7%

$459

$25,393

26

LINCOLN

6.6%

$396

$22,205

27

LAND ROVER

6.2%

$569

$31,704

28

VOLVO

6.1%

$400

$20,877

29

MINI

5.7%

$355

$17,728

30

PORSCHE

5.0%

$635

$42,173

31

TESLA

4.6%

$818

$54,234

Fintech lender Fundbox shows how open banking can be done (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The online small-business lender Fundbox says it is integrating its automated lending service with several software programs commonly used by its borrowers — and it’s a move that could hold a lesson for banks.

What’s striking about what Fundbox is doing, and the reason bankers could learn from it, is it is capitalizing on the concept of open banking — allowing a piece of a lender’s products and services to be accessed through a third party — in a way that few U.S. banks have.

Capital One comes the closest — its application programming interfaces let third parties offer services like prequalifying customers for Capital One credit cards and sharing its reward information.

Square is like ‘Amazon or Google in their early days’ (Business Insider), Rated: A

When Wall Street compares one of Jack Dorsey’s two public companies to Amazon and Google, you’d expect them to be talking about the one in the tech sector — Twitter. But on Friday, Nomura analyst Dan Dolev said that Square, Dorsey’s payments company, is the one that resembles today’s tech giants in their early days.

Dolev thinks that these new initiatives will massively increase the number of payments Square processes by a long-term compound annual growth rate of 20%. Dolev also says that this growth will provide a 40% to 45% boost to earnings margins.

CashCall to pay $ 10 mln, CFPB request for $ 287 mln denied (Reuters), Rated: A

In a decision on Friday, U.S. District Judge John Walter ordered California-based CashCall to pay $10.3 million instead, ruling that the CFPB did not justify the larger amount.

defi SOLUTIONS Lands $ 55 Million (Finovate), Rated: A

Loan origination solutions company defi SOLUTIONS just closed on $55 million in funding. The Series C round comes from Bain Capital Ventures, offering social proof along with a stamp of approval for defi’s suite of loan services. This is the Texas-based company’s first round of financing.

The primary capital portion of the investment will be used to accelerate product development, expand resources and facilities, and grow the number of employees by nearly 50% this year.

A Bird’s Eye View of What We Achieved (YieldStreet), Rated: A

Source: YieldStreet

Ohad Samet of TrueAccord (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Ohad Samet is the CEO and Co-founder of TrueAccord. They are a new kind of debt collection company that uses a data driven approach and digital first communications.

US Banks Suffer 20 Percent Jump in Credit-Card Losses (Newsmax), Rated: A

U.S. banks have reportedly recently suffered a 20 percent jump in credit card losses.

The soaring bad debts has fueled fear about the financial health of middle America, the Financial Times explained.

Recently disclosed results showed Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo took a combined $12.5 billion hit from soured card loans last year, about $2 billion more than a year ago. The FT reported.

Reuters recently warned that U.S. banks, already under pressure from slower loan growth and low interest rates, could be facing yet another challenge as a rising number of Americans fall behind on their credit card payments.

U.S. consumer credit outstanding rose in November by the most in 16 years as credit-card balances surged, recent Federal Reserve data showed, by $11.2 billion, to $1.023 trillion.

Credit Card Startup Petal’s Latest Funding Round Signals NYC Fintech Upturn (Crunchbase), Rated: A

Last week, alternative credit card issuer Petal closed its $13 million Series A led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. It was announced just four months after Petal’s $3.6 million seed round.

The news marks a significant month for Manhattan’s sometimes-struggling fintech scene, with MoneyLionhaving raised a whopping $42 million during its Series B in early January. And while these numbers are a drop in the bucket compared to the U.S. fintech industry surpassing $5 billion in Q3 ’17, the momentum is already being felt, and it comes as a welcome change for the city.

Do You Need a Personal Financial Advisor or Will a Robo-Advisor Do? (Nerdwallet), Rated: A

At the top end, some personal financial advisorscharge an annual fee plus investing expenses as a percentage of your assets under management, typically about 1% to 1.5%. As a result, these advisors often require that new clients have an account minimum of $250,000 in assets.

By comparison, robo-advisors — which use algorithms to build and manage a client’s investment portfolios and require little human interaction — charge fees from 0.45% to 0.70% of the amount managed. And many will take on new clients with $0 to open an account.

The downside of robo-advisors: Investment choices are more limited — often a small selection of low-cost index funds or exchange-traded funds — than the asset choices that full-service brokers and advisors may provide. And while many offer financial advice via email, chat or phone consultations, those hybrid services are likely to come at an additional cost.

What to Know About Peer-to-Peer Lending Apps Like Yahoo’s ‘Tanda’ (Lifehacker), Rated: A

The Tanda app, launched by the company Friday and available on Android and shortly on iOS, does exactly what its name implies. It lets you join groups of people to work toward savings goals together, in tandem: Each user pays an agreed-upon amount into a pot, choosing when they receive the money. Those who need it soonest pay a fee, and those who wait the longest receive a two-percent bonus. Yahoo Finance takes eight percent of the first payout and seven percent of the second payout, according to Android Police.

Yahoo Finance isn’t the first to think to monetize a more formal version of this sytem—the site eMoneyPool has been available to the public since 2013, servicing over $3 million, and the apps KyePot and Cashare serve a similar purpose. On Tanda, users receive a trust score, with higher scores allowing users access to larger money pools, up to $2,000.

Lending Tree: Dayton home market isn’t so competitive (Dayton Daily News), Rated: B

In a national ranking, Dayton ranks relatively low for factors Lending Tree deems indicative of a competitive housing market. Prospective buyers in this area have relatively low average down payments, among other factors Lending Tree placed in the ranking.

On the list of 100 cities with the “most competitive home buyers,” Dayton ranks overall at 96, below Augusta, Ga. and above El Paso, Texas. Youngstown Ohio is last on the list at No. 100. San Francisco, Calif. is first.

FormFree Celebrates Its Tenth Year of Operations (Send2Press), Rated: B

In 2016, Fannie Mae named FormFree its first designated vendor for automated asset verification as part of the Day 1 Certainty initiative. Since then, FormFree has signed more than 800 lender clients, including 70 percent of the nation’s top 40 mortgage originators, and accepted over 1.25 million orders for the company’s flagship AccountChek® Asset Report. The company also increased its total number of technology integrations and reseller partnerships to over 100, making AccountChek available for more than 90% of mortgage transactions nationwide.

recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) makes even more loans eligible for automated asset verification through AccountChek. On December 29, the VA published Circular 26-17-43 confirming that the VA permits the use of automated asset verification services like AccountChek.

United Kingdom

RateSetter to Focus Solely on Asset Backed Lending for Commercial Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender RateSetter said its commercial lending vertical will focus solely on secured lending in its commercial finance vertical. Following a review of its commercial finance operations, RateSetter said it would move to “simplify” its commercial finance by funding only property backed or asset backed loans.

RateSetter said it will continue to maintain a diversified approach to lending into consumer, business and motor finance markets, however, the commercial finance offer will no longer include unsecured business finance.

RateSetter exits unsecured business loans market (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Business borrowers will now only be able to access property-backed development and investment loans or asset-backed hire purchase deals.

All existing unsecured business applications will be processed and will continue to repay in line with their schedule, the platform said.

The targeted annual return for its basic Zopa Core product has increased from 3.7% to 4% while the higher risk Zopa Plus product now has a targeted return of 4.6%, up from 4.5%.

Monzo to phase out popular prepaid cards by April (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Challenger bank Monzo has announced it will close its popular prepaid Mastercard in early April, although its half a million customers can still enjoy valuable travel perks if they upgrade to Monzo’s current account.

Until this month, Monzo cards also offered fee-free cash withdrawals from foreign ATMs. However, this has now been capped at £200 of overseas withdrawals within a rolling 30-day period, and customers pay a 3 per cent fee if they exceed this limit.

The UK is leading the way in crowdfunding and P2P lending as the rest of Europe plays catch-up (City A.M.), Rated: A

While the UK remained the largest alternative finance market in Europe by far, at €5.6bn (£4.9bn), the rest of Europe began to play catch-up as it grew its own market by 101 per cent, the data from the university’s Centre for Alternative Finance showed.

Excluding the UK, Estonia ranked first for alternative finance volume per capita for the second year in a row, at €63, followed by Monaco and Georgia.

Start-up revolution shows signs of fatigue after years of growth (Financial Times), Rated: A

Britain’s start-up revolution is stalling, with the number of businesses created last year falling for the first time in almost a decade.

There were 5.5 per cent fewer start-ups in 2017 compared with 2016, according to research by DueDil, a financial analysis company. It found that 647,923 new businesses were started last year — down from 685,928 in 2016, bringing to an end what had been annual increases since 2008.

Investly Plans to Raise 2M GBP on Seedrs (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Investly is currently pitching on Seedrs to raise between 500K and 2M GBP in a crowdfunding for equity campaign. To become a shareholder, the required minium investment amount is 13 GBP.

What are the three main advantages when investing in the invoices?

Liquidity – Investly is quite different compared to most platforms because the investment period is only 30 to 40 days on average.

Return – Historically investors have earned 11-12% annually on invoices.

What ROI have investors made on average on the platform in the past?

The net return on Estonian invoices has been 11.2% annually and in the UK it’s been 12.6% annually.

Loans to help poorest families avoid poverty premium (Third Force News), Rated: A

A £600 loan repaid over six months would typically cost an extra £330 to repay to a door step lender and over £500 to repay via a payday lender. Repaying via a social lender could easily halve this cost.

Hollywood actor and social activist Michael Sheen has supported the launch of a new £1 million fund set up by the Carnegie UK Trust and features in a new short film called Speaking out for Fair Credit.

“The need for ethical alternative providers is clear, whether they be on our local high streets or available online. But it’s not just about creating more providers – we need to do more to enable them to compete with the high cost providers and to provide vital financial support to communities across the UK, putting people before profit.”

It is estimated that around 150,000 people in Scotland borrow £250m from high cost lenders like pay day loan firms, door step lenders and rent-to-own shops annually.

European Union

European online alternative finance is growing (Cambridge Network), Rated: AAA

Excluding the United Kingdom, which remained by far the largest alternative finance market in Europe at 5.6 billion euros, online alternative finance grew 101 per cent in Europe to 2.06 billion euros from 1.02 billion euros a year earlier. The UK’s market share in Europe declined to 73 per cent in 2016 from 81 per cent a year earlier as other markets grew faster.

France (444 million euros), Germany (322 million euros) and the Netherlands (194 million euros) are the three largest European alternative finance markets outside the UK, followed by Finland (142 million euros), Spain (131 million euros), Italy (127 million euros) and Georgia (103 million euros).

Peer-to-peer consumer lending is the largest alternative finance segment in Europe for the third year in a row, at 34 per cent, followed by peer-to-peer business lending (17 per cent), invoice trading (12 per cent), equity-based crowdfunding (11 per cent) and reward-based crowdfunding (nine per cent).

International

CEO optimism booms despite increasing anxiety over threats to growth – New content available (The News Market), Rated: AAA

Fifty seven percent of business leaders say they believe global economic growth will improve in the next 12 months.

Optimism in global growth has more than doubled in the US (59%) after a period of uncertainty surrounding the election (2017: 24%). Brazil also saw a large increase in the share of CEOs who are optimistic global growth will improve (+38% to 80%). And even among the less optimistic countries such as Japan (2018: 38% vs. 2017: 11%) and the UK (2018: 36% vs. 2017: 17%), optimism in global growth has more than doubled since last year.

Fintechs Haven’t Reduced the Trade Finance Gap – So far (American Express), Rated: A

According to a September 2017 report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the trade finance gap remained relatively steady at $1.5 trillion in 2016 compared to a record high $1.6 trillion gap the year prior.1 MSMEs remain hardest hit by gaps in trade finance: the ADB report attributed 74 percent of rejected trade finance requests to MSMEs and midcap firms in 2016, compared to just 57 percent in 2015.2

ADB says this is despite fintech investment in trade finance that exceeded $13 billion in 2016 – more than half of the estimated $24 billion in total 2016 fintech investment cited in a separate report from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).3 Some experts – including Steven Beck, Head of Trade Finance at ADB – say fintech efforts may need to be redirected before their impact on import-export trade finance can be fully realized.4

Longfin (LFIN) Launches Commercial Ziddu Smart Contracts on Ethereum Blockchain (StreetInsider), Rated: B

Longfin Corp. has announced that its Ziddu Smart Contracts are commercially available on the Ethereum blockchain.

Ziddu Smart Contracts are currently available for Trade Finance and FX markets, and Longfin is preparing to launch Smart Contracts for bullion financing within the second quarter of 2018.

Asia

Funding Societies Surpasses SGD 100 Million in SME Crowdfunding (Core Sector Communique), Rated: AAA

Funding Societies, the leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform in Southeast Asia, welcomed the start of the year by crossing the SGD 100 million mark in total crowdfunded SME loans across Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. In line with the platform’s goal of responsible growth, Funding Societies expanded its crowdfunding book by 400% in 2017 while maintaining a default rate of 1.5%.

Increasing the Access of SMEs to Credit in Vietnam (International Policy Digest), Rated: A

According to statistics by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), SMEs contributed approximately 48% of Vietnam’s GDP in 2012. Moreover, based on research by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, since SMEs are usually labour intensive they employed 77% of Vietnam’s labour force.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment in their survey in 2012 of SMEs ability to access financing indicated that approximately 30% of SMEs in Vietnam could not get any financing from financial institutions and another 30% that could get financing faced numerous difficulties in accessing funds.

The 2015 survey found that the percentage of firms having bank loans in 2015 for micro-sized firms was 40%, small firms 62%, medium firms 74% and 81% for large firms. Access to bank services in 2015 also took into consideration how common it was for these enterprises to give bribes to the bank staff: Micro (64%), small (56%), medium (49%) and large firms (39%). The percentage of firms that experienced how interest rates and other lending conditions applied to private businesses are always more difficult than those for SOEs: micro (74%), small (71%), medium (65%) and large (48%).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday January 12 2018, Daily News Digest

bitcoin debt

News Comments Today’s main news: More LendingClub-IEG drama.Black Fish raises $145M.Moneygram partners with Ripple.Kreditech expands into India with Mambu. Today’s main analysis: JP Morgan Chase’s investments into digital technology.Is Yirendai undervalued? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Investors go into debt to buy bitcoin.Small business financing trends.How open banking could change how people manage money.Banks, trade finance, and […]

bitcoin debt

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

APAC

Africa

News Summary

United States

Lending Club has a bitcoin pivoting suitor (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Lending Club has all kinds of problems: a history of profit warnings, faint traces of scandal after a management upheaval almost two years ago, and a share price still more than 80 per cent adrift from its peak.

Add to that list: a bizarre, crypto-fuelled activist campaign waged by a Las Vegas-based payday lender called Paul Mathieson, who told authorities in his native Australia that he fled to America in 2008 because he feared being killed by a mobster.

Mathieson’s case for change at Lending Club, laid out in a letter to the company’s board on 2 January, is not a terrible one, on the face of it. He argues that the cost structure at the loss-making company, a pioneer in peer-to-peer lending, is “excessive,” noting fancy headquarters in San Francisco and “hundreds” of “excess” developers. He says that the board should consider a pivot to using its own balance sheet to lend, rather than acting as a broker, taking fees for matching borrowers with lenders. Underwriting has been sloppy, he says, resulting in sub-par returns to investors.

Mathieson is offering 13 shares in his own penny-stock company, IEG Holdings, for every share in Lending Club. At the time of the offer on Monday morning, that was a premium of 19 cents, or about 5 per cent.

Source: Financial Times

SeeThruEquity Issues Update on IEG Holdings Corporation (Bay Street), Rated: A

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) provides online unsecured consumer loans under the brand name “Mr. Amazing Loans” via its website, www.mramazingloans.com, in 20 US states. The company offers $5,000 and $10,000 personal loans over a five-year term at rates ranging from 19.9% to 29.9% APR. IEG Holdings plans future expansion to a total of 25 US states, which would cover 240mn people and represent approximately 75% of the US population.

Since 2013, IEGH has obtained additional state lending licenses, and they are licensed and originating direct consumer loans in 20 states including: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Company was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

IEG Holdings Plans to Create its own IEGH Crypto/Blockchain Currency Backed by Gold Metal and SEC Registration as a Security

IEGH announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Investment Evolution Crypto, LLC (“Crypto”), is negotiating to purchase a gold project with gold metal in the ground and prospecting licenses. IEG Holdings plans to utilize a gold resource to investigate creating, through Crypto, and a joint venture with Investment Evolution Corporation, also a wholly owned subsidiary of IEG Holdings, its own gold metal-backed crypto/blockchain currency, and potentially offer loans and accept loan repayments in its own crypto/blockchain currency.

IEGH increases loan originations

The company stated that it provided $960,000 in new consumer loans through its online property mramazingloans.com, from the October 2017 to December 2017 period. This represented a 12.3% increase over its July to September 2017 operating period, during which the company’s new loan originations were $855,000.

Desperate to get into bitcoin, investors slip into debt (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Roughly 18 percent of people who buy bitcoin use a credit card to do so, according to a new survey by loan marketplace LendEDU. Of those, 20 percent have not paid off their balance. The phrase “buy bitcoin with credit” has been trending on Google for weeks.

Another problem with going into debt for cryptocurrencies is that people will have to pay back their debt before they see sufficient returns, said Erika Safran, founder of Safran Wealth Advisors. That may require tapping other resources, potentially creating further financial trouble.

Credit card debt from CNBC.

Small Business Financing Trends To Stay Abreast Of (CXO Today), Rated: AAA

  • Traditional bank loan rejections are notoriously high in all markets
  • Small Business Administration (and equivalent agencies) are nefarious for overextending the time-to-credit tolerances of small businesses
  • Volatility of markets, and exposure of almost all markets to disruption by startups could pose urgent cash needs for businesses, which are generally not considered for loan applications by traditional lenders.

Online Lending And Its Deepening Hold Over The Small Business Finance Market

In 2014, a Federal Reserve (US) survey concluded that one in five small business owners opted for loans from online lenders. Since then, the proliferation of online lending platforms has been on the surge, to the extent that traditional brick and mortar lending institutions have also had to move base to the online domain. In the coming years, multiple factors will result in the success and sustainability of online lending platforms. These include:

  • Growing confidence among small business owners to trust online lending platforms
  • Availability of cheaper, quicker, and more convenient loans
  • Options to truly personalize and customize the loan repayment terms to suit the business’ interests

The Call for Transparency in the Online Lending Market

Though the online lending market has been growing year on year, this doesn’t detract from the concerns around lack of transparency in the way some of these platforms operate. Some of the key concerns are around undisclosed APRs and hidden fees. In fact, some online lenders have been castigated for charging significantly high rates of interests from borrowers, often with service quality issues post-approval. Thankfully, there’s already some progress towards bringing a degree of regulation in place for online lending platforms to be at par with traditional lending regulations.

JPMorgan Chase Competitive Strategy Teardown: How The Bank Stacks Up On Fintech & Innovation (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan is making a bigger push into payments technology as digital banking becomes a strategic priority.

In 2016, the bank spent $9.5B on technology and Dimon has committed $300M alone to improve JPMorgan’s technology for its asset management products. Relative to its peer group, JPM claims the highest number of mobile banking customers and its Chase Mobile app currently sports a 4.7 (out of 5) rating in the App Store.

Earnings call analysis – Barclays, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley talking up digitization

  • JPM discussed continued digital consumer banking growth, which grew 6% in Q3’17.
  • Bank of America spent portions of its Q1’17 and Q3’17 talking about digital banking initiatives and technology investment. Specifically, CEO Brian Moynihan mentioned the bank spent $2.25B on technology initiatives in the first three quarters of 2017. The bank also now sees mobile devices account for 1 of every 5 deposit transactions.
  • On Morgan Stanley’s Q3’17 earnings call, Morgan Stanley CFO Jonathan Pruzan mentioned the bank is beta testing new customer-facing digital products it plans to launch, potentially in the robo-advisory space. Specifically, Pruzan noted: “When we think about our wealth business, it’s a business that’s built on scale. And it’s built on the fact that people with wealth want personal advice. So it’s going to be both a mix of technology and digital with the personal element of the advice channel. And we think that’s the winning formula going forward.”

Based on the data, JPMorgan ranks ahead of most bulge bracket banks when it comes to overall fintech investment since 2013, but behind its peers Goldman Sachs and Citi.

Online Marketplace Lender Nav Facilitated More Than 20,000 Small Business credit Approvals in 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Nav, a small business marketplace lending platform, announced this week it has facilitated more than 20,000 small business credit approvals in 2017.

The company currently has more than 327,000 entrepreneurs now using its platform to manage their data and access capital.

Bono’s Fund Makes Its First Fintech Investment, Backing Acorns (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The Rise Fund, a private investment firm co-founded by the U2 lead singer, is making its first known bet on a fintech business by backing Acorns Grow Inc., said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

Georgia Company Acquires S.D. Fintech Startup LoanHero (San Diego Business Journal), Rated: A

LoanHero, one of San Diego’s few financial technology startups, has been acquired by Georgia-based company LendingPoint.

Terms of the deal, announced Jan. 11, were not disclosed.

Small-dollar lender Oportun to open 20 offices in Florida (American Banker), Rated: A

Oportun, a community development financial institution that provides small loans to individuals with little or no credit history, is planning to open 20 lending offices in Florida.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based lender said this week that it has already opened four offices in Miami and Hialeah and that it expects to add 16 more in the Sunshine State, primarily in South Florida, by the end of the year.

6 Key Trends in Fintech to Watch in 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Convergence of Software and Financial Products  One of the important lessons that Square taught the market is that bundles of software solutions (loyalty, POS, analytics, scheduling and many others) and lending are essential drivers in advancing growth of payment processing.
  2. InsureTech
  3. The Power of the Machines  Companies like LendingClub are using machines to discover new relationships and patterns to introduce more tailored financial offers to their customers.
  4. Emerging Economies  Many growing companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are developing and adopting financial solutions, often faster and with more innovation than in developed economies.
  5. Wealth Management
  6. Rise of Crypto and Blockchain

Google Pay brings payment tools under a single brand (Tearsheet), Rated: A

The Internet giant is finally putting its many payments capabilities — Google Wallet, Android Pay and Pay with Google — under a single name, Google Pay, after lagging for years behind Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

Ladder Secures $ 30M Series B Led by RRE Ventures (coverager), Rated: A

CA-based life insurance MGA Ladder announced it has raised $30M in a Series B round led by RRE Ventures, with participation from Thomvest Ventures, as well as Ladder’s existing investors: Canaan Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Nyca Partners . Ladder launched its fully-digital life insurance solution in California on January 10, 2017, and has since expanded to nearly every state across the country.

Fifth Third regains top CRA grade, an entree to M&A (American Banker), Rated: A

Fifth Third Bancorp has received top marks from the Federal Reserve on its most recent Community Reinvestment Act examination as expected.

Fifth Third announced the results on Wednesday, saying in a press release that the Fed gave it an “outstanding” rating on its most recent exam. The Cincinnati company had said in a regulatory filing last month that it expected to ace the test, which covered the period between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 30, 2016.

A Beginner’s Guide to Applying for College Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

Student loan debt statistics show that more than 70 percent of students graduating from four-year colleges have debt, so you aren’t alone if you need to borrow to cover educational costs.

Step 1: Understand your options

  • Federal loans for students
  • Federal loans for parents
  • Private loans for students
  • Private loans for parents
Source: Federal Student Aid

Step 7: Determine if you’ll need to apply for private loans

  • Family contributions if parents or other family members are willing and able to pay
  • Savings
  • Scholarships or grants from community groups or other sources
  • Parent PLUS Loans
  • Private student loans

Step 8: Learn how to apply for private student loans

Because there are many private student loan lenders, it’s a good idea to shop around. You should consider:

  • Loan eligibility requirements: What do you need to qualify?
  • Loan terms: How long do you have to repay the loan?
  • Repayment terms: When do you need to start repaying, and is there a prepayment penalty?
  • Fees: Is there a cost to apply for the loan or a loan origination fee?
  • Interest rates: Is the rate fixed or variable? How much will you pay to borrow?

You can visit our private student loan marketplace to find private student loan lenders offering loans to parents and students.

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!

LENDER RATES (APR) ELIGIBLE DEGREES
CHECK OUT THE TESTIMONIALS AND OUR IN-DEPTH REVIEWS!
2.58% – 7.25% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT SOFI
2.57% – 6.39% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT EARNEST
2.76% – 7.25% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT COMMONBOND
2.99% – 5.15% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT LAUREL ROAD
2.74% – 7.26% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT LENDKEY
3.11% – 8.46% Undergrad
& Graduate

 

 

Roostify adds tech veteran Adnan Habib as vice president of engineering (Housingwire), Rated: B

Roostify announced Thursday that it hired Adnan Habib as the company’s new vice president of engineering.

In this role, Habib will lead Roostify’s growing product delivery team and will be responsible for making improvements to the Roostify’s digital lending platform.

Roofstock Appoints Suresh Srinivasan as Chief Marketing Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Roofstock (www.roofstock.com), the leading online marketplace for buying and selling leased single-family rental homes, today announced the strategic hire of Suresh Srinivasan as chief marketing officer. Srinivasan has 20 years’ experience leading marketing, product, and e-commerce functions at Fortune 500 and high-growth tech startups. Most recently serving as the SVP of Marketing for Xome, Srinivasan brings a deep understanding of the fast-growing real estate technology sector to Roofstock where he will be responsible for accelerating growth of Roofstock’s marketplace for single-family rental homes and developing the company’s partnership network.

United Kingdom

An invisible banking reform that ‘could fundamentally change how we manage our money’ is days away (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Regulators in Europe and the UK are ordering banks and credit card companies to share customer data with other companies if their customers agree. The companies will also be able to carry out payments on a customers’ behalf.

Open Banking forces lenders to offer a digital “fire hose” of data that any third party can use to get standardised access — provided the startup is registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the customer agrees to share their data. They won’t have to negotiate deals with banks, just plug into their digital systems and go.

The aim of Opening Banking is to give customers greater control over their data and to encourage account switching.

An investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority in 2015 found just 3% of customers switched their banks in the last year, meaning many were left with accounts that were not right for them.

 

ThinCats Says 2018 is Poised for Growth in SME Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

ThinCats says 2018 is poised for growth. The online lender reports that December was a record month booking £12 million of funding listed on the platform followed the biggest-ever ThinCats-listed loan of £6.7 million to the Chelsea Yacht & Boat Company at the end of September.

Loan Store Reveals to Reduce Interest Rates on Instant Cash Loans for the UK People (MENAFN), Rated: A

Loan Store is the responsible lending hub that reveals to reduce the interest rates on instant cash loans for the UK people.

Hennery Dicosta, a senior adviser of Loan Store, has offered the complete details about this announcement. This is what he said- In a recent scenario, people usually try to borrow a small loan amount. That is why we have decided to provide the loans for bad credit people with no guarantor and no fees on an instant decision to resolve their short term emergencies. We never charge any processing fee and we are now providing these loans on quite low rates of interest. Besides, we do not judge the creditworthiness of the borrowers with their credit rating and give an instant decision on their loan request.

Crowdstacker joins the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

CROWDSTACKER has joined the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), becoming the self-regulated trade body’s eighth member.

The business lending P2P platform will be represented by chief executive Karteek Patel.

China

3 Growth Stocks at Deep-Value Prices (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

With that in mind, we asked three Motley Fool investors to each profile a company that has a low valuation now compared to its earnings-growth potential. They identified Yirendai (NYSE:YRD)Criteo S.A.(NASDAQ:CRTO), and Changyou.com (NASDAQ:CYOU) as strong contenders trading at attractive discounts.

China’s first P2P online lending platform

The Chinese P2P lending market blossomed in the late 2000s, catering to  customers who were underserved by traditional banks, and is worth about $60 billion today.

Analysts expect Yirendai’s revenue and earnings to rise 74% and 14% respectively this year, followed by 43% revenue growth and 41% earnings growth next year. Yet the stock trades at just 14 times earnings, compared to an industry average of 26 for credit service providers. Based on those numbers, Yirendai looks likely an undervalued growth stock.

But there are some obvious reasons why investors are discounting it.

First, Yirendai is a subprime lender. Just 1.7% of its loans were rated as prime “Grade A” last quarter. Another 8.7% were Grade B, and 14.1% were Grade C — but 75.5% were rated Grade D. Yirendai collects higher fees from lower rated borrowers, but its business could collapse if its delinquency rates rise.

The company only discloses delinquency rates for loans past due by 15 to 89 days, and that rate came in at a low 1.8% last quarter. But it doesn’t report any data on loans delinquent for over 90 days.

Chinese finance platform Black Fish raises $ 145m from Gobi, Lightspeed, others (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Black Fish, a consumer finance platform based in China’s Nanjing region, has received $145 million in a series A round from a cluster of firms  including Lightspeed China Partners and Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur based Gobi Partners.

Others who participated in the round include Morningside Venture Capital, JAFCO Asia, Fullcent Capital and Zhang Tao, founder of Dianping.com.

At this point, the average annual growth rate of consumer finance is 16.4 percent.

China’s Renren Is Poised To Unlock Value From Its Investment Portfolio And Grow With Blockchain (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Renren holds a significant investment portfolio that is easily worth $12 per share.  This value will likely be realized in the near term due to multiple catalysts.

The company has started to get involved with blockchain-related businesses, which potentially turns them into a “blockchain play”.

This situation leads to an asymmetrical payoff structure in which there is very little downside and significant upside. My target price is $18.

Renren was an early VC investor in Sofi, taking part in its seed round of financing as well as a later follow-on round. They currently hold a 13% stake in SoFi, having sold 14.1% of their holdings (representing 2% of SoFi) in April 2017 for $92 million.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Dianrong Signs Strategic Agreement with Dalian Finance Development Bureau & Dalian Finance Industry Investment Group (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Dianrong and the Dalian Finance Development Bureau and Dalian Finance Industry Investment Group (DFIIG) recently signed a strategic cooperation agreement to drive financial innovation in Dalian and across China. According to the agreement, Dianrong will develop a series of specific projects in partnership with the Dalian government, including:

  • Assist the Dalian Finance Development Bureau in creating a financial technology (fintech) cloud platform to provide fintech capabilities for small loan and guarantee companies, and other small and medium-sized financial institutions in the region and at large. Tools and services will include sophisticated fraud detection, big-data risk management tools, payment channel integration, and compliance reporting. The fintech cloud platform will also provide regulators with easier monitoring of local lending activities and trends in an ongoing and comprehensive way, helping them provide timely policy guidance and support on risk management.
  • Work with DFIIG to establish a special Internet finance investment fund for Dalian. The fund will focus on investment in fintech projects and startups with the potential to strengthen Dalian’s new economy and financial services industry.
  • Develop a supply-chain trading platform in Dalian utilizing advanced fintech and blockchain capabilities to help more small and medium-sized suppliers secure needed funding. Last year, Dianrong created the first blockchain platform for supply-chain finance with FoxConn Group, a global leader in consumer electronics.

Shanghai tightens financial sector supervision (Ecns), Rated: B

Shanghai is one of China’s largest financial markets by market trading volume. In 2017, its trading volume was 1,438 trillion yuan ($220.9 trillion).

Shanghai has already launched a campaign against fraud and illegal behavior in financial consumer markets, such as internet-based peer-to-peer lending, cash loans to college students, and pay-day loans.

European Union

Rocket Internet CEO says ready to pounce with cash pile (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany’s Rocket Internet needs to hold on to its mountain of cash so it can compete with rivals from the United States and China and pounce when investment opportunities arise, the chief executive said in an interview.

CAUTIOUS MARKET

Rocket is invested in more than 100 start-ups, including in financial and property tech, logistics and travel sites, with its stakes in the five biggest of them potentially worth more than 1 billion euros to Rocket, according to Berenberg bank.

International

MoneyGram Signs Deal to Work With Currency Startup Ripple (WSJ), Rated: AAA

MoneyGram International Inc. MGI +2.63% signed on to run a pilot program testing XRP, a digital currency created by San Francisco startup Ripple, in its payments network, the companies said Thursday.

The Dallas-based company agreed to test XRP as a tool for reducing money-transfer costs and settlement times.

How Banks Can Use Trade Finance Services and Data to Increase Share of Wallet (Traxpay), Rated: AAA

While global trade presents tremendous growth opportunities, businesses of all sizes are none-the-less finding it difficult to access much needed credit, resulting in a global trade finance gap. According to an Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) 2017 Trade Finance Gaps, Growth, And Jobs Survey, that gap was $1.5 trillion in 2016.

Non-financial institution competitors are aggressively targeting this market, using innovations such as blockchain to develop products and tools that not only replace outdated paper and manual-based processes, but also deliver unprecedented levels of cybersecurity that are critical in today’s digital transaction space. The same ADB survey revealed more than $13 billion in venture capital was invested in FinTech trade finance in 2016 alone.

The recent Simmons & Simmons Hyperfinance studyof the world’s leading trade banks found that only 7% believe they are at the forefront of digital innovation in spite of the fact that 80% of innovation leaders report digitally-driven products and services introduced over the past three years have expanded revenue growth. This illustrates the reality that financial institutions recognize the importance of developing a digital strategy, but few are moving aggressively enough to take advantage of these new technologies.

PRINCIPLES, ESG, AND CREDIT RISK (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The question before the house right now, though, is: what about the credit rating agencies? The question comes in three parts: there are the global CRAs; the smaller/regional CRAs in most of the world, and regional CRAs in the special case of China.

First, the global CRAs [there are just two of them, Moody’s and S&P] are making “strong efforts” to incorporate an understanding of ESG issues. They are hiring staff with ESG backgrounds, equipping their existing analysts with the relevant expertise, and drawing on third party providers.

Then there is China. Its CRAs include Dagong Global, China Chengxin, and Golden Credit Ratings. The idea of integrating ESG into their analyses is thus far limited to the issue of green bonds, that is, bonds issued for the development of brownfield sites. Government policy in China encourages green bonds and the CRAs have responded. The resulting assessments are focused on the “E,” not so much the “S” or the “G.” And their environmental assessments rely on measuring the impact of the project the bond aims to finance.

  • Research very generally supports the hypothesis that there exists a causal link between ESG factors and the credit worthiness of a borrower;
  • Academic research in limited in that it is too exclusively content to measure credit risk by credit ratings, rather than testing the ratings themselves against alternative measures;
  • But some research does employ the spread of credit default swaps as an independent measure of risk;
  • Anecdotal observation indicates a clear link between G and defaults, although the linkage between E and S and defaults is more difficult to pin down;
  • There is much evidence in the linkage of ESG to macroeconomic factors and potential growth, which in turn are important to sovereign risk in particular.

ABS braces for more auto deals after strong start to year (IFR), Rated: A

The asset-backed bond market is braced for a slew of new issues next week, with deal flow expected to be dominated by auto issuers including BMW and Mercedes.

Just two issuers sold deals this week – GM Financial and Consumer Portfolio Services – and both auto trades were met with strong demand from investors. One banker on the GM deal said the deal was over-subscribed across the capital stack.

The biggest tightening though was seen on the smallest and lower rated tranches. The 3.58-year Class B, rated Aa3/AA by Moody’s and Fitch, priced at 30bp over interpolated swaps versus guidance of 35-40bp and whispers of 45bp area.

The 3.58-year Class C, rated A1/A, priced at 50bp over interpolated swaps versus guidance of 55-60bp and whispers of 65bp area.

FROM BANKING TO BITCOIN, FINTECH IS POISED TO CHANGE THE WORLD (Tech Genix), Rated: A

Currently, it represents only 1 percent of the global financial industry. By comparison, digital media accounts for 40 percent while eCommerce accounts for around 10 percent.

Source: Tech Genix

To give you a perspective, venture capitalists invested more than $13 billion across 840 different fintech holdings in 2016, according to a report by KPMG. This is 7 percent more than they invested in 2015.

According to the McKinsey report, five areas will see high growth over the next decade. They are consumer finance, mortgage, lending, retail payment, and wealth management.

Online payments

PayPal handled $1.73 billion worth of transactions in the first quarter of 2017 alone, representing a 30 percent increase year-on-year.

Borrowing and lending

However, the delinquency rates have been increasingover the last few years. These rates have increased from 0.56 percent in January 2015 to 0.75 percent in December of the same year.

Overstock.com’s 2017 Highlights: Innovation, Expansion, and Recognition (Business Insider), Rated: A

Overstock’s blockchain-focused subsidiary, Medici Ventures, named its board of directors in 2017, and also saw a number of its portfolio companies continue to use blockchain to revolutionize industries including capital markets, money and banking, property registry, voting, identity, and underlying blockchain technology, including:

  • tZERO, the world’s first SEC approved, blockchain-based alternative trading system, launched its initial coin offering (ICO), which attracted over 10,000 subscribers and raised $100M in commitments in the first 12 hours of its pre-sale. A significant portion of the tZERO security tokens issued will be available to accredited investors in the public sale beginning in January, 2018.
  • DeSoto Inc., a joint venture between Overstock.com founder and CEO Patrick Byrne and world-renowned economist Hernando de Soto, was created to develop a global property registry system to surface the property rights of billions of people in the developing world.
  • Bitt, a Barbados-based financial technology company using blockchain to create central banking tools and mobile money applications, named Rawdon Adams, son of former Barbadian Prime Minister Tom Adams, as its CEO. Bitt also fully launched its new mMoney digital payment product, bringing to market a blockchain-based mobile wallet that allows users to participate in digital transactions on their smartphones without the need for a traditional bank account, helping to foster financial inclusion in the region.
  • South-American based Ripio (formally known as BitPagos), participated in an ICO that raised $37M to fund its Ethereum-based peer-to-peer lending platform, Ripio Credit Network.
  • Belgium-based SettleMint launched a token sale for its DataBroker DAO, a peer-to-peer marketplace created to provide Internet of Things (IoT) sensor-owners with a clear path to data monetization, and data consumers with a decentralized marketplace in order to buy IoT sensor data. SettleMint also signed an agreement with The Islamic Research and Training Institute, the research arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group, to work with local partner Ateon on developing blockchain-based financial products that can be used to support development and inclusion in IsDB member countries.

Global lender selects Aussie fintech, Trade Ledger, as worldwide technology partner (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Zürich-based lender, TradePlus24, has selected Australian deep tech startup, Trade Ledger, as its global technology partner to roll out its new trade insurance wrapped lending product across their European lending network, and enter the Australian market.

Bankers fear they will get Amazon-ed in tech disruption (Financial Times), Rated: A

According to IDC, only about a quarter of US bank technology budgets is spent on digital transformation, as opposed to business as usual. They expect this to grow to nearer 40 per cent in 2020.

Secondly, this spending could substantially boost banks’ productivity, and profits.

Banks will drive up the cost of customer acquisition for start-ups who will increasingly struggle unless they build network effects and scale very quickly. Roboadvisers and peer-to-peer lenders will be on heightened alert. Some start-ups will need to rethink their plans to disrupt and look to form partnerships instead.

Changes in financial regulation, such as a lighter touch fintech charter being examined in the US or the second payment services directive in Europe, could potentially make this more likely. The tech giants have the brands, customer reach, digital processes and flair to develop good products, and to take swift advantage of any regulatory changes.

Karma token trading opens after successful million ICO campaign (Crypto Ninjas), Rated: B

India

German Online Lender Kreditech Heads to India (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

German online lender Kreditech is making its way to India, Bank Innovation has learned.

For this expedition, the fintech has teamed up with SaaS banking platform Mambu for providing short-term lending products specifically tailored to local consumers.

Kreditech selects Mambu’s SaaS banking engine for its passage to India (Finextra), Rated: A

Kreditech currently operates in Europe and Latin America and will expand into India in early 2018, together with its partner PayU, a global online payments provider and Mambu client in Latin America.

The loan product is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2018, all data will be hosted by AWS India.

NiYO Solutions Raises $ 13.2M in Series A Funding (FINSSMES), Rated: A

NiYO Solutions Inc., a Bangalore, India-based fintech startup for salaried employees, raised $13.2m (85 crore) in Series A funding.

APAC

Myanmar takes small steps towards providing greater liquidity for SMEs (Myanmar Times), Rated: AAA

A rising number of start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are emerging in Myanmar as business opportunities rise. However, many companies fail to achieve their full potential and contribute substantially to the economy because capital assistance is lacking in the country.

A rising number of start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are emerging in Myanmar as business opportunities rise. However, many companies fail to achieve their full potential and contribute substantially to the economy because capital assistance is lacking in the country.

Currently, local banks extend loans at interest rates ranging between 8.5 percent and 13pc. The local banks began offering SME loans at8.5pc interest in 2015. Since then, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and KfW Development Bank from Germany have also launched SME loans.

P2P lending

To get around the financial constraints, borrowing from family members and peers is common.

In fact, a rising number of businesses have resorted to P2P lending for funds to build up their businesses. Without any guarantees of success though, many entrepreneurs ultimately end up in debt. Others fall prey to fraud. Last year, The Myanmar Times reported at least three cases of fraud involving fake promises of repayments with up to 30pc interest.

Cloud Lending Solutions Recognized as a Top 25 FinTech Company of 2017 (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Cloud Lending Solutions was recognized as a “Top 25 FinTech Company for 2017” by APAC CIO Outlook Magazine. A panel of industrial experts and executives collaborated with the editorial board to curate the list with an aim to provide clarity into the ideal FinTech partners.

Africa

Local digital currency eyes real estate disruption (ITWeb), Rated: AAA

Cape Town-based fintech company, Wealth Migrate, has launched a global   – WEALTHE Coin.

According to Wealth Migrate, while almost half of the world’s wealth is held in real estate, fewer than 13% of people have access or the resources to invest in and  from this lucrative market.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday September 28 2017, Daily News Digest

Chinese billionaires

News Comments Today’s main news: PayPal likely to buy big target like Square or Klarna soon. LendingTree acquires non-lending assets of SnapCap. Funding Circle boost revenues, narrows losses. ZhongAn raises $1.5B in Hong Kong IPO. Funding Societies intros first crowdfunding chatbot in Southeast Asia. Today’s main analysis: Hong Kong private wealth sees double-digit growth. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The next […]

Chinese billionaires

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Middle East

Canada

News Summary

United States

PayPal A Buyer, Not Seller, And May Seek A Big Target (Investors.com), Rated: AAA

Cash-rich PayPal Holdings (PYPL) is likely to pull the trigger on a big acquisition soon, and may be eyeing Europe or a big target like Square (SQ), says a Wall Street analyst.

Ellis says PayPal has $6 billion in cash on its balance sheet and could raise $4 billion or more by selling off its consumer credit business.

“While there are a number of potential candidates, we see the acquisition of a European payments asset as the most likely,” added Ellis in the report. “We believe the top candidates are Adyen, Klarna, Square and Stripe.”

Both Square and Stripe, however, would be costly acquisitions. Square’s market valuation tops $10 billion, while privately-held Stripe’s latest funding round in December gave it a whopping $9.2 billion valuation.

LendingTree Acquires Non-Lending Assets of SnapCap (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE) announced today that it has acquired certain assets of Snap Capital LLC, a tech-enabled online platform connecting business owners with lenders offering small business loans, lines of credit and merchant cash advance products through a concierge-based sales approach.

The acquisition purchase has a possible total consideration of $21 million, which consists of $12 million in cash at closing, and contingent consideration payments of up to $9 million.

The Next Billion-Dollar Startups 2017 (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Every year for the past three, Forbes has gone looking for 25 young U.S. companies with a strong shot at reaching a valuation of $1 billion or more. This year, with the help of TrueBridge Capital Partners, we asked venture firms which companies they thought most likely to hit the billion-dollar mark soon. Then we cut that list down to a final 25, evaluating strategies, funding and competitive challenges as well as estimating current revenues.

Blend

Founders: Erin Collard, Nima Ghamsari (CEO), Eugene Marinelli; Equity raised: $160 million; Estimated 2017 revenue: $27 million; Lead investors: 8VC, Founders Fund, Greylock Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners

What it does: Makes cloud-based software that lenders use to originate mortgages online. Today, Blend works with about 30 mortgage originators, including Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp and Mason-McDuffie Mortgage. It also plans expansions into student and auto loans.

Fundbox

Founders: Yuval Ariav, Tomer Michaeli, Eyal Shinar (CEO); Equity raised: $108 million; Estimated 2017 revenue: $55 million; Lead investors: General Catalyst, Khosla Ventures, Spark Capital

What it does: Provides short-term financing to small businesses. Fundbox intends to reduce the cash-flow headaches of small companies, both those waiting for payment and those that need short-term credit to pay what they owe. Fundbox started as an invoice-financing company, lending money to small businesses against their accounts receivables at rates lower than those for cash advances and without prepayment penalties. Its new model, expected to launch in 2018, is meant to work like a credit card for business-to-business transactions. A company that owes money has Fundbox pay the invoice. The company that is owed gets its cash immediately (minus a small interchange fee). Meanwhile, the first company has 60 days to repay Fundbox before being charged interest. With U.S. businesses doing some $41 trillion in business-to-business transactions a year, the potential market is enormous, but setting up such a network is hard.

Plaid

Founders: William Hockey, Zach Perret (CEO); Equity raised: $60 million; Estimated 2017 revenue: $40 million; Lead investors: Goldman Sachs, New Enterprise Associates, Spark Capital

What it does: Makes software that helps technology startups and banks work together. Plaid’s products provide authentication of accounts and routing numbers, income validation and real-time balance checks. Among its customers: Venmo, Robinhood, Coinbase and Clarity Money.

Shinola Finds Kindred Partner in Affirm (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Affirm, Inc., the company started by Max Levchin to provide fair and honest consumer financing, today announced that Detroit-based design brand, Shinola, is using Affirm’s point of sale service to put customers first in an era when a merchant’s values often outstrip price for shoppers’ making a buying decision — especially among millennials.

Known for its dedication to thoughtful manufacturing by creating jobs and making watches, bicycles, leather goods, journals, jewelry, and audio equipment of the highest quality, Shinola is obsessive about customer experience to ensure a high-touch shopping experience that accurately matches the finely crafted watches, bicycles, jewelry, bags, accessories and gifts for sale on its website.

Since Shinola began offering Affirm’s financing to its shoppers, the company’s average order value (AOV) has increased by 52 percent. Also, 50 percent of the Affirm users on Shinola’s site are now between the ages of 18 and 34, a market Shinola has been working to grow.

Nearly 90 percent of marketers said customer experience would be their primary differentiator this year, according to a recent study by research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc. And, the majority of respondents — 55 percent — in a recent survey conducted by Affirm and Qualtrics of more than 1,000 22 to 44-year-olds in the U.S. said they prioritize a company with high values and ethical business practices, over minimizing their out-of-pocket costs.

How CRE Fundraising Is Changing and Why (Commercial Property Executive), Rated: A

Jason Burian: The number of closed-end private real estate funds in the market raising capital over the past three years:

  • January 2015 – 478
  • January 2016 – 492
  • January 2017 – 525 (record high)

Closed-end private real estate dry powder over the past three years:

  • December 2015 – $229 billion
  • December 2016 – $237 billion
  • July 2017 – $255 billion (record high)

CPE: Is the real estate crowdfunding industry a solution? What are the risks?

Burian: I see real estate crowdfunding as an alternative to traditional private equity real estate and an alternative source of investors and not as a solution to any problem. As we know, it is just an avenue for every day individual investors seeking exposure in their portfolios to real estate without acquiring shares of REIT’s.

Government regulation is always a risk for this relatively new industry sector. There are questions about the amount of government regulation and whether there is enough to make it a safe playing field. Until crowdfunding matures, with the proper level of regulation, there is always a risk that someone is taking advantage of that gap that currently may exist.

A new survey has concluded that then it comes to researching mortgages, Millennials prefer the D.I.Y. aspect of the online world, while Baby Boomers prefer to communicate with people.

According to the survey, “The Digital Mortgage Experience: A Study of Shifting Borrower Expectations,” from Los Angeles-based Velocify, more than one-third of all borrowers prefer self-service websites, especially during the research stage of getting a mortgage. But as the process evolves, demographic shifts occur. The survey found Millennials were 45 percent more likely to find their lender online than Baby Boomers, who were 87 percent more likely to use their current bank or lender for their home loans.

Boost Insurance Raises $ 3M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Boost Insurance USA, a NY-based technology-enabled insurtech development platform provider, raised $3m in funding.

The round was led by Norwest Venture Partners with participation from IA Capital Group, Greycroft Partners, and re/insurance industry leaders State National Companies (NASDAQ: SNC) and Nephila.

3 Stocks That Could Double Your Money (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Company Recent Stock Price
Lending Club (NYSE:LC) $5.97
Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) $6.52
Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) $17.01

DATA SOURCE: TD AMERITRADE. PRICES AS OF SEPT. 26, 2017.

Finally starting to grow again

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Club has lost roughly three-fourths of its market value since its first trading day in 2014, thanks to several quarters of stagnant growth and a scandal that worried investors.

However, the company’s most recent earnings report shows that things may finally be starting to pick up, with 10% growth in loan originations, higher profit margins, and impressive revenue growth. In addition, the company said it could be on the verge of profitability by the start of 2018, and it expects double-digit sequential revenue growth in the third quarter of this year.

Lending Club’s current loan portfolio represents roughly 0.4% of the U.S. consumer lending market, and if the company could even manage to boost its market share to one or two percent, it could mean a big payday for the company’s investors.

Sumero Leads $ 45M Growth Equity Round in Treasury Fintech Kyriba (Xconomy), Rated: B

After raising $23 million in a Series D funding round last September, Kyriba says today it has raised $45 million in a growth equity round led by Sumeru Equity Partners, a tech-focused private equity firm that specializes in mid-market deals. Previous investors Bpifrance, Iris Capital, Daher Capital (all growth equity funds) joined the deal, along with HSBC.

The venture rounds are over for Kyriba, a cloud-based provider of corporate treasury and financial management software that is based in New York and San Diego.

Amazon effect’ makes advising smaller clients less profitable (Financial Times), Rated: B

Daniel Ketchum prides himself on his low fees and independence, but after 27 years as a financial adviser he is finding it harder to make a living working with smaller clients.

Increased government regulations and savers becoming more knowledgeable about investing have created what he calls the “Amazon effect” for US financial advisers.

But the US Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which came out this year, is making it harder for him to make a profit from advising small plans, he says.

The regulation requires advisers servicing retirement accounts to work in the best interest of the client and has disrupted the wealth management industry.

“I am trying to see if there’s an area where we can do this online and don’t need to leave the office,” he says. “If every plan had the economics of the smaller guys, it would be tough to pay staff, office rent and marketing.”

PayPal’s Cofounder Says Amazon Is “Not Yet” A Monopoly (BuzzFeed), Rated: B

Max Levchin, a cofounder of PayPal and former chairman of Yelp who is now CEO of the online lending startup Affirm, told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that Amazon has “not yet” become a monopoly because of competition from major retailers like Walmart as well as from smaller brands, which are investing in ways to attract and keep customers in the real world as well as online.

Walmart is still much larger than Amazon in terms of net sales. During 2017 fiscal year, Walmart reported$485.9 billion in revenue and $481.3 billion in net sales. Amazon, on the other hand, reported about $136 billion in net sales in 2016.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle boosts revenues, narrows losses in 2016 results (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The UK’s largest marketplace lending platform marginally narrowed its losses in 2016. Funding Circle, a business loans marketplace, lost £35.7m in 2016, slightly down from £36.9m in the previous year. Meanwhile the platform boosted revenues by 59 per cent to £50.9m, and saw its total loans outstanding climb 61 per cent to £1.37bn, according to a Companies House filing.

Funding Circle has also flagged that its group operating results for the first half of 2017 demonstrate that revenue growth has accelerated further, approximately doubling year-on-year.

The UK Punches Above its Weight in Alternative Finance & Crowdfunding Can Provide a More Robust Funding Ecosystem (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Crowdfund Insider recently spoke with Raghavendra Rau to better understand his perspective on the crowdfunding market. Rau is the Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Professor of Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School. He is also a founder and Director at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative  Finance (CCAF). At the most recent CCAF annual conference in Cambridge, Rau shared some insightful research he had recently completed on the global crowdfunding market.

First, to clarify, in the UK crowdfunding encompasses both debt and equity so peer to peer lending (IE Marketplace Lending) is included in aggregate terms. It is more about many people (and perhaps some institutions) funding a single project. Rau, in his research, emphasizes that in the UK the debt crowdfunding market is far larger than the equity side. This makes sense and mirrors the public markets. Yet access to capital at a very early stage may require equity capital. But globally, over 90% of the crowdfunding market is debt, not equity. It is a debt financed world, at least for SMEs, said Rau.

“Yes, there is definitely potential here. Usually you have two types of firms. Most small enterprises do not require equity. They require debt. Debt means you have to have approximately stable cash flows. Equity means you have to convince the investors that you have an amazing idea that is going to pay off in several years and I am going to let you (the investor) share in this. This is more risky for the investor and so all SMEs are not suitable candidates to raise equity.”

Rau said there are two different paths. Banks or crowdfunding. With crowdfunding there is less paperwork. It is easier to process and in some instances less risk averse. Banks are pulling back from lending across the spectrum. SMEs, the engine of economic growth, are not getting the necessary capital via the traditional route.

So has the UK crowdfunding system been effective?

In the broader scope of things, China is the largest alternative finance market in the world. The US comes in a distant second. The UK is a strong third. But given the relative size of the UK economy, Rau calls the UK performance “extremely impressive.”

The UK is recognized as the top Fintech hub in the world but this required policymakers to be more creative and to take some chances. So far, it has paid off.

How FAs Engage Third-Party Services is Changing (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Wealth Mosaic aims to build “a resource covering all of the main business needs of wealth managers” in about a dozen verticals, says its co-founder Stephen Wall, who has worked as a wealth management consultant with Boston-based Aite Group and Scorpio Partnership in London. At first, though, he says the service will focus where it’s needed most: on technology and data resources as well as consulting and research options.

Though Wall sees a role for Wealth Mosaic with all “different types of wealth managers,” he sees particular growth opportunities helping “smaller independent” firms that lack in-house consulting arms to help them match their needs to third-party providers, whether the services in question are critical to the firm’s core mission or add value around the edges.

Advisers warned of robo-advice ‘cliff edge’ (FT Adviser), Rated: A

A panel of experts at the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment’s financial planning conference in Newport today (26 September) said robo-advice did not necessarily pose a risk to financial advice as long as advisers adapted.

George Rooke, head of UK portfolio management at Wealthsimple, said there were advisers who would “struggle” because of their refusal to engage with robo-advice.

Michelle Pearce, co-founder of robo-adviser Wealthify, said advisers did not necessarily have to worry about being replaced by companies such as hers.

British Business Bank reaffirms support for fintech in new report (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE BRITISH Business Bank (BBB) has published a new report underlining the importance of diverse sources of funding for smaller businesses, including peer-to-peer lending.

The report, titled The Benefits of Diverse Finance Markets for Smaller Businesses, explains why and how the state-backed lender works to increase the number of providers and finance options available to small firms in the UK.

“To date £135m is committed to five fintech alternative lending partners. These partners cover a wide range of products including P2P term loans, invoice finance and merchant cash advances.”

Spotcap Announces UK Fintech Fellowship Winner (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Spotcap, an online lender for SMEs, has announced Mohammed Hussan as the winner of its Fintech Fellowship 2017. The Fellowship awards one aspiring masters or MBA student with a £8,000 stipend towards their studies.

China

Online Insurer ZhongAn Raises $ 1.5 Billion in Hong Kong IPO (Caixin), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn, the online insurance seller with ties to China’s two largest internet companies, raised $1.5 billion from its Hong Kong IPO as investor flocked to the biggest listing to date by a new generation of Chinese financial technology (fintech) companies.

Shares of ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co. Ltd. were priced at HK$59.70 ($7.64) apiece, representing the top of their previously indicated range, according to a company announcement on Wednesday to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The offering raised HK$11.5 billion after being nearly 400 times oversubscribed.

ZhongAn Surges in HK Debut, Boding Well for Future Tech Listings (The New York Times), Rated: A

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co jumped 18 percent on debut on Thursday after the biggest ever IPO by a financial technology firm in Asia, boosting Hong Kong’s hopes of luring future Chinese technology startups away from New York.

It also bodes well for expected listings from other fintech giants in Hong Kong, including Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial and peer-to-peer lending and wealth management platform Lufax.

Both Ant Financial and Lufax are considering IPOs in the city, sources previously told Reuters, although the timing for the deals is uncertain.

Private wealth in Hong Kong sees double-digit growth in 2017 (The Asset), Rated: AAA

THIS July, Hong Kong’s private wealth management industry recorded a 14% increase in assets under management (AUM) compared to a year ago. Hong Kong’s wealth management professionals believe that the growth is primarily driven by mainland China’s growing wealth, according to a recent report.

The estimated total private wealth in terms of AUM in Hong Kong is over US$800 billion as of July 2017, according to a survey by Private Wealth Management Association (PWMA) and PwC. This is an increase of 14% from US$700 billion in July 2016. PWMA’s annual members survey was produced with PwC in July 2017, with 33 out of 45 PWMA member firms participated.

In the survey, 100% of respondents cited mainland China as the main driver of growth in Hong Kong’s private wealth AUM. This may be unsurprising, as China has become home to the highest number of billionaires in the world. According to Hurun Report in 2016, China now has 568 billionaires, surpassing the 535 billionaires in the US, and now ranks first globally.

China’s Ant brings in CK Hutchison as Hong Kong payments partner (Reuters), Rated: A

Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said it will create a joint venture this year with CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd to operate its payment app in Hong Kong, ending Ant’s solo management of the service.

The new venture will allow Ant Financial’s Alipay to offer services via companies under CK Hutchison, which operates ports, retail, infrastructure and telecommunications businesses across 50 countries.

Ant Financial currently operates its payment app under the Alipay brand in Hong Kong, which offers transaction services at around 4,000 outlets in the city. The new joint venture will take over operation of the app, though it will still be branded Alipay, it said on Tuesday.

European Union

Fintech Group signs Kommunalkredit (Finextra), Rated: A

Kommunalkredit is a specialist bank for infrastructure financing based in Vienna, with a branch office in Frankfurt am Main. Its new online offering KOMMUNALKREDIT INVEST targets retail investors, who want to deposit their savings at attractive conditions. Their funds will be used to support key infrastructure investments made by Kommunalkredit such as schools, hospitals, care homes, wind farms, solar energy installations, waste-to-energy facilities, and transport projects.

FinTech Group provides a broad range of fully digital solutions and interfaces for KOMMUNALKREDIT INVEST: they include frontend processes such as online account openings, e-banking, and identification solutions such as video identification, e-signature and mTAN. On the backend side, FinTech Group will also run a data warehouse and carry out compliance monitoring as well as regulatory reporting.

Milan opens ‘Fintech District’ (Finextra), Rated: B

Thirty firms – ranging from start-ups to established corporates – have already selected the Fintech District as their home; they include businesses working in crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, blockchain and cryptocurrency-based technologies, and robo-advisory.

International

FinTech Has Yet To Make Impact On Trade Finance Gap (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Trade finance revenue is slipping at the world’s largest banks, especially as companies struggle in a global trade environment operating with a $1.5 trillion gap in trade finance availability.

According to the ADB’s latest survey findings, though, outlined in its Trade Finance Gaps, Growth and Jobs report, FinTech players have yet to make a meaningful impact on the trade finance industry.

The survey polled more than 515 banks and 1,336 companies across 103 countries, finding that FinTech innovators can, indeed, help address the $1.5 trillion trade finance gap which disproportionately impacts small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Approximately one-fifth of the companies surveyed said they had used some type of digital finance, alternative lending or FinTech platform to access trade finance, according to the ADB results.

Leveraging Alternative Data to Energize Your Lending Portfolio (LendIt), Rated: A

Banks aren’t just dealing with customers who want lending and credit information faster. Government regulations are also requiring them to do so, such as Australian banks requiring affordability checks as part of new consumer loans.

Venkat Srinivasan, Head of Lending at Monzo, said that as a new digital bank, they began to question why it was often a month or two months before consumers could see the transaction come through on their banking or credit card. Venkat noted that while technology is improving and customers are evolving, data availability is evolving at the same time.

Roger Vincent, Head of Banking and Innovation at Equifax, discussed how they’re finding new ways to store data, facilitate data movement, and turn data into insights in the form of scores and characteristics.

Phil Grady, CEO of Castlight Financial, discussed how they created a business that has taken traditional credit data from consumers and integrated it with transactional data. This involves categorizing income and expenditures, and then determining essential expenditures versus non-essentials. This enables Castlight to determine consumers’ real disposable income, which in turn helps lenders make better lending decisions. This type of granular level data has allowed Castlight to create the first real-time Financial Capability Formula.

Only three per cent of advisers offer robo-advice (AltFi), Rated: A

Only three per cent of 162 advisers surveyed said they offered fully automated wealth management services, the research found.

The study, which was conducted by research firm Platforum on behalf of JP Morgan, also found that only 14 per cent plant to implement it in the next two years.

Australia

Alternative Finance: Australia Becoming Regional Leader (Canstar), Rated: AAA

Australia’s alternative finance market has grown by 53% over 12 months according to a report released by KPMG, becoming the second largest in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report revealed Australia’s alternative finance market increased from US$27 million in 2015 to US$610 million in 2016 as Aussies turn to peer-to-peer lending (P2P), balance sheet business lending and crowdfunding.

In the US$245.28 billion Asia-Pacific alternative finance market, China was found to be the leader, accounting for 99.2% and representing 85% of the total global market.

P2P consumer lending was Australia’s second most popular alternative finance model behind balance sheet business lending, increasing from US$43 million in 2015 to over US$158 million in 2016.

India

Funding Societies introduces Miyu, the friendly Chatbot (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Societies, Singapore’sand Southeast Asia’s leading crowdfunding platform, has announced the launch of its chatbot Miyu. This is the first such chatbot created by a crowdfunding company in Southeast Asia. Miyu works round the clock to answer queries that a business owner or an investor may ask about the products and services offered by Funding Societies.

“We created Miyu via self-learning with guidance from our seniors. She is different from most other chatbots in the financial services space. Personally, I like that Miyu can escalate to human support whenever required, giving our users a seamless experience,” said Sherman Lim, who is a Singaporean and majors in Economics and Strategic Management at Singapore Management University (SMU).

The future plans for Miyu include acting as a Virtual Relationship Manager who can assist SMEs in loan application, and help investors navigate through the platform, initiate video chats with real customer experience managers as well as perform account opening and management activities such as investments, deposits, withdrawals, etc. without human intervention at any time of the day.

Fintech firms look to disburse loans, offer digital expertise under Mudra (livemint), Rated: A

Financial Technology (Fintech) firms are in early discussions with the government and Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Ltd (MUDRA), exploring opportunities under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), said three people close to the development.

So far, PMMY loans have been extended by all public sector banks, regional rural banks (RRBs), cooperative banks, private sector banks, foreign banks, micro finance institutions and non-banking finance companies. Fintech companies have not been involved yet.

Under Shishu, refinancing is provided for loans up to Rs50,000. Kishor offers refinancing for loans above Rs50,000 up to Rs5 lakh whereas, Tarun provides refinancing for loans above Rs5 lakh up to Rs10 lakh. Mudra also offers services like credit guarantee for micro units and securitization of loan assets against micro enterprise portfolios.

Middle East

Dubai Economy signs new deal to develop emCash (Tahawul Tech), Rated: A

Emcredit, a subsidiary of Dubai Economy, and the UK-based Object Tech Group have signed a partnership deal to facilitate financial transactions through contactless payment.

Emcredit and Object Tech will develop a competitive, accountable and legally compliant emCash ecosystem together. Several associated products to protect emCash wallet and digital documents, enable direct real-time settlement and peer-to-peer lending, and provide credit rating based on the distributor ledger of emCash will also be developed.

emCash is based on blockchain technology and will be the digital currency in emPay wallet. The payment method, according to Dubai Economy, will allow the UAE residents to make varied payments through the near field communication (NFC) option on their phones. With emCash, emPay users will have the option of a secure digital currency, and merchants can receive such payments in real time without going through intermediaries.

Canada

The Digital Banking Underdog: Toronto Emerges as Global FinTech Leader (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

It’s estimated that in 2017 alone, nearly $60 billion worth of payments will be made on mobile platforms. Comparing these figures to just two years ago, only $8.71 billion worth of transactions were made digitally in 2015.

In line with other frontrunners in the industry, such as London, Silicon Valley and New York City, Toronto, Canada, my hometown, stands apart as an emerging FinTech ecosystem, and it’s become a well-recognized leader amongst the largest and most stable financial centers in the world.

Ontario has been a global leader in digital payments for more than a decade, with Toronto leading in a high concentration of cryptocurrencies,blockchain, alternative lending and e-commerce growth verticals.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday September 14 2017, Daily News Digest

Goldman Sachs

News Comments Today’s main news: Equifax CEO vows to make changes in USA Today op-ed. dv01 closes Series A with big name investors. SmartBiz Loans surpasses $500M in SBA loan funding. stREITwise rolls out first REIT, focused on institutional-quality office buildings. Klarna completes BillPay acquisition. Wish Finance intros SME lending on blockchain in Singapore. Today’s main analysis: What millennials would give […]

Goldman Sachs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Equifax CEO: ‘We will make changes’ (USA Today), Rated: AAA

Last Thursday evening we announced a cybersecurity breach potentially impacting 143 million U.S. consumers. It was a painful announcement because of the concern and frustration this incident has created for so many consumers. We apologize to everyone affected. This is the most humbling moment in our 118-year history.

Equifax Security first discovered the intrusion on July 29. Understandably, many people are questioning why it took six weeks to report the incident to the public. Shortly after discovering the intrusion, we engaged a leading cybersecurity firm to conduct an investigation.

At the time, we thought the intrusion was limited. The team, working with Equifax Security personnel, devoted thousands of hours during the following weeks to investigate.

dv01 Closes $ 5.5M Series A Led by OCA Ventures (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that offers institutional investors transparency and insight into lending markets, today announced a $5.5M Series A round, led by OCA Ventures. Ribbit Capital, Illuminate Financial, and CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund also participated in the round, joining existing dv01 investors Leucadia National Corporation and Pivot Investment Partners.

OCA advisor Jack Lavin has joined dv01’s board, and will work alongside existing board members from Jefferies LLC, a subsidiary of Leucadia National Corporation, and Quantum Strategic Partners Ltd., a private investment vehicle managed by Soros Fund Management LLC.

SmartBiz Loans Surpasses $ 500 Million in Funded SBA Loans (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

SmartBiz Loans, the first SBA loan marketplace and bank-enabling technology platform, today announced that it has surpassed half a billion dollars in funded SBA loans. This milestone comes on the back of other recent successes for SmartBiz, including the addition of a fifth bank to its software platform and ranking as the number one facilitator of traditional SBA 7(a) loans under $350,000 for the 2016 fiscal year, over Wells Fargo and other major banks according to SBA lending data released in November, reflecting its 2016 fiscal year.

The company’s first-of-its-kind software platform automates a bank’s underwriting to cut time and costs by up to 90 percent for processing SBA loans under $350,000. By automating the underwriting process, the platform helps banks get low-cost capital into the hands of small business owners in a matter of weeks instead of months. This is vitally important to any busy, small business owner who needs capital.

The $500 million in funded SBA loans reflects not only continued growth for SmartBiz, but also for the entire market of bank-originated, small-sized business loans. Post-2008, banks reduced the number of smaller business loans they made because they couldn’t process them efficiently enough to make a profit.

Survey Reveals What Millennials Would Rather Deal With Than Paying Student Loans (Credible), Rated: AAA

The number of people with student loan debt is staggering. According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Education, 42.3 million Americans are paying back $1.33 trillion in federal student loan debt. Lenders are collecting payments on another $64 billion in private student loans. A survey of borrowers by the Federal Reserve puts the median student loan debt balance at $17,000, with monthly payments of $222. Student loan debt can be suffocating for those who are struggling to make payments each month.

  • A staggering 49.8% of all respondents said they would give up their right to vote in the next two presidential elections in order to have their debt forgiven
  • Ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft don’t seem to matter to millennials quite as much as some of the other options in the survey. According to the results, 43.6% were willing to give up these services forever in exchange for debt forgiveness
  • Interestingly, 42.4% of respondents would also give up traveling outside of the country for 5 years, while only 27.0% said they would be willing to move in with their parents for 5 years
  • Millennials seem to value texting more than the other options – only 13.2% reported being willing to give up texting and any mobile messaging equivalent for the next year in exchange for having their debt forgiven
  • Only 8.2% of respondents chose to select none of the above and said they would rather keep paying off their student debt

Working to Expose Silicon Valley’s Dark Side (Again) (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

Even before the ink was dry on an article Nathaniel wrote last year about an online lending start-up, Social Finance, and its unusual success — headlined “SoFi, an Online Lender, Is Looking for a Relationship” — he began hearing from people who painted a very different picture of what life looked like inside the company.

But in the intervening months, tales of sexual harassment and wrongdoing in Silicon Valley took center stage, in part because of Katie’s own reporting, which exposed a dark side to an industry known for growth, wealth and fantastic employee perks. Companies like ZenefitsTheranos and Uber made it clear that many venture capitalists and the companies they funded were incentivized to focus on growth at any cost, with good governance and corporate culture getting short shrift.

We are already getting more emails and phone calls that point to where the story might go from here — both with SoFi and the issue of bad behavior in Silicon Valley more broadly. These issues aren’t going away anytime soon.

stREITwise Announces Regulation A+ Offering to Lead New Era of Real Estate Crowdfunding (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

stREITwise is introducing a new way to invest in real estate online commission-free by allowing direct investment on its website. Today they announced a Regulation A+ initial public offering for their first Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) – 1st stREIT Office – which seeks to provide a diversified portfolio of institutional-quality office buildings with a revolutionary low-cost structure. Because it’s filed as a Regulation A+ offering, 1st stREIT Office will allow accredited and non-accredited investors alike the opportunity to participate.

This announcement comes shortly after 1st stREIT Office successfully raised over $20 million in a private offering to acquire the Panera Bread HQ Property in St. Louis, MO. At 99% occupancy in three separate buildings, the Panera Bread HQ Property includes over 290,000 square feet of Class “A” office space that is leased to many large tenants, including Panera Bread (World HQ), New Balance (Regional HQ), Wells Fargo, Edward Jones, Nationwide Insurance, and others.

With the Panera Bread HQ Property acquisition, 1st stREIT Office has been able to make 10% annualized dividend distributions to its existing investors. The company seeks to acquire more high-quality, stabilized office buildings in undervalued markets across the United States.

While Non-Traded REITs typically charge upfront fees of 10-15%1, stREITwise caps its upfront fee at just 3% by cutting out the middleman, eliminating financial advisor commissions, and passing the savings on to investors.

Goldman Banks on Lending to Grow (WSJ), Rated: A

The New York firm said Tuesday that loans to wealthy clients, companies and consumers would contribute almost half the $5 billion in revenue growth it is projecting by 2020.

Harvey Schwartz, a top lieutenant to Goldman Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, on Tuesday said persistently low volatility in financial markets meant that the third quarter would be a “challenging” one in terms of trading. J.P. Morgan Chase JPM 0.29% & Co. CEO James Dimon and executives at Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. projected trading declines of between 15% and 20% for the quarter.

Goldman on Tuesday laid out a detailed plan to grow revenue, which has remained flat since the financial crisis. Its target of $5 billion in new revenue by 2020 hinges on businesses that have been footnotes for most of the firm’s 147-year history: lending, asset management and tending to the mundane needs of corporate clients and money managers.

Lending to wealthy clients, companies and consumers could add $2 billion of new revenue over the next three years, said Mr. Schwartz at a global financial-services conference hosted by Barclays PLC.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Lenda to expand in more states, invest in software platform (Mortgage Professional America), Rated: A

Online lender Lenda has announced plans to expand its reach to more states along with increased investment in its software platform, which offers a complete refinancing or mortgage origination transaction online.

New Pave’s Decentralized Global Credit Profile (GCP) Unlocks Access to Credit for Millions of Americans (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Pave, Inc announces an initial coin offering (“ICO”), scheduled for mid-October to fund Pave’s Global Credit Profile project, which could provide a ground-breaking solution to the problems associated with credit reporting worldwide. Based on its deep knowledge of lending to individuals with limited credit history (“thin files”), Pave’s GCP will give consumers and credit institutions access to richer and more accurate personal financial data than traditional credit bureaus provide, while significantly improving data security. GCP has the potential to unlock access to credit for millions of people — such as millennials and immigrants — who are marginalized by the current financial system.

While the centralized systems of companies such as Experian, Equifax and TransUnion continue to perform a valuable service by acting as a reliable source of information for third parties, they are plagued with systemic problems including a lack of transparency and control over personal data, vulnerability to fraud and data theft and unnecessary administrative costs. Using blockchain and related technologies, Pave’s GCP will decentralize the storage and ownership of an individual’s financial data by placing the user in control. The GCP thereby removes the reliance on a singular record keeper making security breaches infinitely less likely.

DigiFi Announces Launch of Next-Generation Digital Loan Origination System (PR Newswire), Rated: A

DigiFi, an enterprise financial technology company, announced today the launch of its cloud-based digital loan origination system (“LOS”) for banks, credit unions and consumer finance companies.  DigiFi’s next-generation LOS enables the automated online delivery of multiple consumer lending products through a single platform, driving better customer experiences and lower operating costs.

DigiFi’s proprietary technology was built over three years to digitize the consumer lending process, offering consumers immediate feedback and funding from any device at any time.  The platform supports multiple products including Personal Loans, Credit Cards, Personal Line of Credit, and Student Loan Refinancing, and DigiFi is adding additional products, including Home Equity, Auto and Mortgages.

The platform is highly configurable, empowering banks, credit unions and consumer finance companies to utilize their own risk models, documents and procedures.

Meet two fintech innovators showcasing their work at Finovate (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Two entrepreneurs who jumped up on the stage Tuesday were Lisa Shields and Ellison Anne Williams.

Shields, a longtime purveyor of payment technology, is the founder and former CEO of Vancouver-based Hyperwallet Systems Inc. After handing the reigns of that company over to Brent Warrington in 2015, she went on to launch Fi.Span, a provider of cloud-based platforms for commercial banks.

In the second half of the podcast, data mining expert Ellison Anne Williams also addressed the predominantly male demographic of her field. The effect it has on her approach is next to none, she said.

As the CEO and founder of data securitization startup Enveil, Williams brings more than a decade of experience in large scale analytics, information security and privacy.

U.S. banking regulator not ready for fintech charter applications (Reuters), Rated: A

The U.S. banking regulator, the Acting Comptroller of the Currency, said on Wednesday that he is not ready to accept applications from financial technology companies seeking a special purpose federal charter.

His comments underscore the broader difficulties faced by regulators globally as they attempt to keep up with dramatic changes in banking industry brought about by the increasing use of digital technologies which threaten to undermine traditional financial services businesses.

Samsung is working with banks to roll out retail pop-ups (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Banks may soon be experimenting with a new way to engage with customers: retail pop-ups.

Samsung’s head of sales for financial services, Reginald Jones, told Tearsheet that the company is in talks with its financial services customers about rolling out retail pop-ups “sooner than in a year.”

Those could be in a variety of formats, he said: a bus promoting a certain bank that drives a number of customers to an NFL game; a university campus presence where banks look to attract customers as they become of banking age; a shopping center that normally just has ATMs where banks could roll up for a weekend service to attract these potential new customers. Samsung, the consumer electronics giant, provides the devices that change how bank employees conduct business — to better influence the customer outcome.

Samsung has been working with bank branches for the last five years, incorporating its display screens into retail spaces as they take old signage and posters and move them to digital platforms. In some branches, greeters and bankers are also using Samsung tablets, he said.

How Fintech Is Reshaping the Small Loan Market (GuruFocus), Rated: A

Fintech companies around the world have moved swiftly to fill the gap left by mainstream lending institutions due to constraints related to interest rates and profit margins. Big lenders in the market are under constant pressure to increase profit margins, which limits the size of their addressable market, especially when trying to woo small and medium-sized business borrowers. Their interest rates are often high as they seek to remain competitive in the larger spectrum of the financial services industry.

One of the largest beneficiaries is LendingClub Corp. (NYSE:LC), which has seen its revenue increase 1,278% in under five years, from just over $37 million to over $500 million as of June 30 on a trailing 12-month basis.

Brazilian-based fintech companies are paying investors about 22% returns per year while borrowers are charged interest rates from as low as 1.7% to as high as 6.3% per month based on their credit profiles.

Fintech entrepreneur launches digital advice platform for retirees (Smartbrief), Rated: B

Matt Fellowes has launched United Income, an automated retirement-planning tool for retirees.

Federal Reserve Bank Of Philadelphia To Hold Conference On Blockchain’s Impact On Regulatory Policy (ETHNews), Rated: B

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia announced that it will hold a FinTech seminar in conjunction with the Journal of Economics and Business on September 28-29, 2017, focused on consumers, banking, and regulatory policy.

Aptly named FinTech: The Impact on Consumers, Banking, and Regulatory Policy, the conference will feature keynote speeches and research from industry experts on consumer protection; roles of alternative information; FinTech lending; blockchain-based currencies; machine learning and artificial intelligence; the new FinTech landscape; and marketplace lending and crowdfunding. The conference will also focus on the disruptive factors of blockchain technology and to what measure they continue to shape regulatory policies.

Erik A. Falk Joins Star Mountain Capital as Senior Advisory Board Member (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Star Mountain Capital, LLC (“Star Mountain”), a specialized investment manager focused exclusively on the large and underserved U.S. lower middle-market, is pleased to announce that industry veteran Erik A. Falk has joined the firm as a strategic personal investor and Senior Advisor.

Mr. Falk is a senior executive focused on strategic initiatives at Magnetar, a $13+ billion alternative asset management firm. Until early 2017, Mr. Falk oversaw the private funds as a Head of Private Credit within KKR’s (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.) $35 billion credit business and served on the Private Credit Investment Committee, the Leveraged Credit Investment Committee and the Portfolio Management Committee. He also oversaw KKR’s investment in Star Mountain. Before joining KKR in 2008, Mr. Falk spent eight years at Deutsche Bank where he held several roles including founding the Special Situations Group and Co-Heading the Global Securitized Products Group. Mr. Falk began his career in the Asset-Backed Securitizations group at Credit Suisse First Boston where he knew Star Mountain’s Chairman, Brian Finn, whose prior roles include Co-President of Credit Suisse First Boston and Head of Credit Suisse Alternatives (with approximately $100 billion in AUM at the time).

United Kingdom

UK Inflation Rate Jumps More Than Expected in August (Kirklin News), Rated: AAA

The UK’s annual inflation rate climbed to a higher-than-expected 2.9% in August, matching a four-year high reached in May, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Tuesday, two days ahead of a key meeting by members of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee.

The consumer prices Index (CPI) climbed from 2.6% in July, the ONS said on Tuesday. The August reading matched the highest since April 2012 and beat the 2.8% average forecast by economists polled by investing.com.

The annual core inflation rate, which strips out volatile food and fuel costs, also jumped to 2.7% from 2.4% in July, topping the 2.5% expectation by economists in an investing.com survey.

Chapters Financial to enter AI arena with chatbot technology (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Advisory firms need to do more to attract the next generation of clients or risk selling themselves short, financial adviser Keith Churchouse has said.

His firm Chapters Financial is developing a chatbot platform for its online advice business Saidso.

The chatbot will be aimed at the generation of clients who are more comfortable with changing and emerging technology. They are usually 45 years old or younger; the typical age group of customers who already use the Saidso website, which has been operational for the past two years.

UK regulator sounds alarm over initial coin offerings (Financial Times), Rated: A

The UK City watchdog has warned investors of the “high risk, speculative” nature of initial coin offerings as their popularity booms, becoming the latest global regulator to sound the alarm.

The Financial Conduct Authority warned that ICOs are mostly unregulated and potentially fraudulent, while investors may be provided with “unbalanced, incomplete or misleading” documents by the ICO issuer.

Even if an ICO is not fraudulent, the regulator said, investors still had “a good chance” of losing their entire investment.

10 Tips for New P2P Lending Investors – How to start (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

  1. Advantages of platforms with a track record  I prefer platforms that have a track record and have operated at least 1 or two years.
  2. Loan term and loan types – There are three main types: consumer loans, SME loans and property secured loans. SME loans has further subtypes like invoice financing. It can be a good idea to diversify over different loan types and different platforms.
  3. Diversification – Diversification can be achieved faster on platforms with very many comparable consumer loans, and will take longer on property platforms which launch only few large property loans.
  4. Autoinvest – Before you use the autoinvest I suggest to spend the first days/weeks making manual investments on the primary market to get a better understanding of the loans on offer.
  5. Secondary market – Before you use the secondary market, I suggest you first spend some time investing on the primary market to deepen your understanding of how the platform works.
  6. Cash drag – Investors only earn interest on money invested into loans. Cash deposited, but not (yet) invested will earn no interest.
  7. Unsecured vs. secured loans – Consumer loans listed on platforms are mostly unsecured (exception some car loans). SME loans offer no or or some type of asset as security and property loans typically offer a first or second charge on the property as security. Usually it is preferable to lend with some kind of security offered.
  8. Recovery process – A certain percentage of loans will default. This is normal in p2plending and nothing to worry about as long as this percentage stays in a healthy relationship to the interest offered for the risk.
  9. Tax – If the country you live in does not allow you to offset default losses against interest income earned, it may be a good idea to invest into loans with lower interest rates, but also lower default rates, to achieve higher returns after tax than with a more risky strategy.
  10. Final tip – Start slow. P2P lending has somewhat of a learning curve.
European Union

Klarna Announces Completion of Acquisition of BillPay (Klarna), Rated: AAA

Klarna Bank AB (publ) today announces that the acquisition of German online payments company BillPay has been completed. This will strengthen Klarna’s position as one of the leading e-commerce payment providers in Europe and further accelerate its growth in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

VISA reportedly owns almost one percent of Klarna (Business Insider), Rated: A

However, it wasn’t clear how much money had been invested. Now Swedish tech site Di Digital has revealed that Visa took part in Klarna’s $75 million euro acquisition of Billpay, a German competitor, in February.

Out of the $57 million euro share emission that went to financing the deal, Visa paid roughly a third, or $22 million.

Goldmint Is Unlocking Liquidity in Gold to Allow P2P Lending (Cointtelegraph), Rated: A

GoldMint is a comprehensive P2P solution that allows businesses like pawnshops to raise credit.

Recently, a Time article revealed that 28 percent of college educated millennials between the ages of 23-55 have accessed short-term lending from pawnshops and payday loan providers in the last five years.

Dmitry has had an eye on the pawnshop segment since 2015, when he noticed that while the pawnshop business was immensely profitable, it was void of technological progress. He worked with a team of four people in 2016 to address the four main issues that faced the pawnshop businesses:

  • realization of unclaimed pledges
  • wired payments
  • funding of pawnshops (lending)
  • the introduction of unified standards (consolidation)

GoldMint is holding an initial coin offering (ICO) in less than a week’s time starting Sept. 20, 2017. They have published a detailed whitepaper which lays the details of their crowdsale.

Interview with Stanislav Kulechov: 14 Facts About ETHLend (Coinspeaker), Rated: A

4. How did you start building ETHLend?

We started by developing the Smart Contract. It was ideal to begin with the token escrow contract, which allows the collateral to be held securely in the Smart Contract until the borrower repays the loan. If the borrower does not repay, the lender can claim the tokens and realize any losses. We made many interesting findings during the development and wrote the white paper after Alpha DApp. We believe this is a big advantage for us since practice does not always follow theory. Also, delivering an Alpha for the Ethereum main-net is important proof-of-concept wise.

7. Do you think the system will be more popular among individuals or companies?

Hard to tell since at the moment individuals are more keen on using cryptocurrencies. ETHLend has received a lot of interest from miners who want to expand their mining facilities or purchase more rigs. There are also growing tendencies for companies to use blockchain technology. We have received inquiries about pledging some of the ICO tokens for financing pre-sale marketing efforts. What I would like to see is that merchants who use cryptocurrencies would adopt ETHLend for financing and increasing their business.

8. What is the difference between the type of crediting ETHLend offers and the scheme “have sold the possessed currency-have bought ETH for raised money”.

Good point. Since our main financing instrument is pledging digital tokens, it provides opportunity to receive ETH when one does not want to sell digital tokens. Such might be the case when one has a token portfolio, investment funds like TaaS or ICONOMI. Funds or individuals could easily keep the possession of the token positions and still get more liquidity for growing their portfolio. On the other hand, a blockchain startup might keep more tokens at their possession when pledging the token before an ICO for a loan and repaying the loan after an ICO. A strategy like that leaves more tokens for the startup to recruit more talent.

11. How much time do you think you need to launch the project in case you obtain sufficient financing?

ETHLend has an extensive roadmap that stretches to the late 2019. At the moment we are still developing the ETHLend DApp. However, we need further resources to comply with the features set in the roadmap. We are also looking to add more developers and financial experts to the team. The basic collateral based lending is available on ETHLend but there are lot of functions that require more time to develop, such as being able to borrow Bitcoin or to use the price feed for the collateral value. We aim to  have a fully sophisticated DApp by the end of 2019.

14. The last tricky question: is lending good or bad?

Lending is an instrument that should be used in the correct circumstances and for the correct funding goals. Lending could be compared to other products – when consumed wrongly, they might be bad and vice versa.

A new Form of Real Estate Investment for Estonia: Crowdfunding (PropertyShowrooms), Rated: A

Igors Puntuss, co-founder of Bulkestate.com, explained that as wages rose rapidly and with it “population welfare”, meaning disposable income and savings, people living in Baltic countries began to look for safe and profitable ways to invest their spare cash. But banks are not able to provide smaller investors with attractive interest rates on deposits and, as the market of real estate crowdfunding is far from maturing, there are opportunities to be had.

He added that high reliability does not equate to low profit, when it comes to real estate crowdfunding. The website offers an annual interest rate of 14% at a low threshold for those who are risk adverse, and the minimum investment required is just 50.00 euros at Bulkestate.com.

Starling and Zopa CEOs to speak at LendIt Europe (Specialist Banking), Rated: B

Anne Boden of Starling Bank and Zopa’s Jaidev Janardana will be speaking at LendIt Europe, which brings together fintech experts from across the continent.

The conference takes place on 9-10th October at the InterContinental London – the O2, where more than 120 speakers will take to the stage with experts from banking, lending, technology and regulation.

Anne will be speaking on LendIt’s keynote panel, which will look at the digitalisation of finance and how customer expectations are changing.

International

How Banks Are Driving API-First Strategies (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The latest edition of the PYMNTS.com B2B API Tracker™, a FI.SPAN collaboration, examines how APIs are helping both banks and smaller businesses address their fears and embark on new ventures in new markets.

Recent research indicates merchant anxiety over non-payments is widespread. According to a study by Payoneer, 75 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have backed away from global trade over concerns of not getting paid for their services.

India

OpenTap aims to lend ₹100 cr. by Dec. 2018 (The Hindu), Rated: A

OpenTap, a fintech firm that enables peer-to-peer lending for middle and low income borrowers, aims to facilitate ₹100 crore in short term loans by the end of 2018.

The Chennai-based fintech firm provides alternate financial services to blue-collared workers, which is two times of net salary. As on date, it has provided credit worth ₹3 crore to 1,200 borrowers.

Asia

Wish Finance Introduces Blockchain-Based Lending for SMEs, Schedules ICO (Crowdfunding), Rated: AAA

Wish Finance, based in Singapore, has announced the launch of its blockchain-based lending platform for small and medium businesses. The company has reportedly issued 100+ loans in 2017 during a soft launch with every loan successfully repaid and 0% default rate. Wish Finance plans to keep its entire portfolio on the public blockchain, anonymized, so investors can audit its performance at any given time.

Wish Finance is offering merchant cash advances and business loans with interest rates based on the company’s real cash flow, not assets. Wish Finance said it has direct access to POS terminals infrastructure to see real time financial transactions, which it combines with the local market data for scoring. Wish says it issues a loan in 24 hours, and then deducts a few percents of the merchant customer’s’ payments to automatically repay the loan. In this way, repayments are made seamless and effortless for SMEs. Each loan is said to be insured from customer’s bankruptcy.

Trade finance gap narrows amid minimal fintech impact (Global Trade Review), Rated: A

The global trade finance gap has fallen from US$1.6tn to US$1.5tn, but the impact of fintech has been minimal to date.

But despite the industry’s zeal for digitisation, just 20% of firms reporting have used digital finance platforms. In line with global trends, peer-to-peer lending is the most-used fintech model (23%).

74% of rejected trade finance transactions are for SME and midcap applicants, with 29% of these being rejected over KYC concerns. Last year’s survey showed that 56% of SME trade finance proposals are rejected, compared with 10% of multinationals.

Fintech firm SixCap responds to complaints about its investing strategy game (CNBC), Rated: A

Singapore-based financial technology company Six Capital Groupresponded Thursday to complaints from users who say they’re unable to cash out from the firm’s web-based strategy game.

The game, called Tagg Switch, works similarly to how trading currencies works: Players purchase one of six types of so-called “Nodes” that represent a different currency — either the U.S. dollar, Singapore dollar, British pound, euro, yen or the Australian dollar.

But a report from Singapore’s The Straits Times last week said users have complained online about facing problems cashing out of the game. However, the report added that there weren’t yet any complaints registered with the Consumers Association of Singapore, a consumer protection group.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor