Friday July 21 2017, Daily News Digest

RateSetter

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi CEO: why Etherium is worth more than Bitcoin. Affirm has 1,000 retail partners. Wells Fargo joins digital mortgage revolution. AutoGravity has half a million users. LendInvest launches retail bond offering. N26, Lydia support Apple Pay in France. Borrowell raises $57M in Canada. Today’s main analysis: RateSetter moves to protect users. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Takeaways from […]

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United States

Why Ethereum Is Much More Valuable Than Bitcoin (Fortune), Rated: AAA

As lending startup SoFi expands from student loans to full-service banking, it is also venturing into one of the trendiest areas among big Wall Street banks at the moment: blockchain.

An upstart cryptocurrency, Ethereum’s price has surged so dramatically in recent months that it now commands nearly as much market share as Bitcoin itself. Driving that rise is excitement about the way Ethereum allows its blockchain technology to be used to develop myriad other projects, as Cagney described.

In particular, SoFi, which is valued at more than $4 billion, is exploring a way to use blockchain to revolutionize title insurance, a standard requirement for many home buyers.

How SoFi is developing its financial services offerings (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

SoFi has always been as much about culture and brand before product and tech. Now that it’s postponed its initial public offering in December (it raised $500 million in private funding shortly after) it has the luxury of time to develop its financial services offerings.

“While we run positive contribution margins around our credit products… it pales in comparison to what the lifetime value of that relationship is worth,” CEO Mike Cagney said at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado Wednesday morning. “Not having that deposit product means that the bank, if it has that deposit product, is going to constantly try to cross sell [customers] and pull them back to the bank. That introduced this vulnerability in the business.”

There are also no branches planned for the non-bank financial services company, he confirmed, citing that in the 40 SoFi events he’s hosted and attended almost all other attendees have said they haven’t walked into a branch in the last five years, he claims.

SoFi is also in the exploratory stages of how to use alternative data like cell phone data for credit scoring as well as distributed ledger technology for title insurance.

U.S. banks are valued at between $2,000 and $100,000 per customer. SoFi currently has 250,000 members today and anticipates 500,000 by end of year. Cagney said it’s not unrealistic to get two million customers at “$25,000 to $50,000 per customer, which gets us in the $50 to $100 billion valuation range.”

Affirm now has 1,000 retail partners (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Today Affirm has announced it has more than 1,000 merchants signed up to offer its financing options at checkout, helping to reduce the friction around making large purchases and, by extension, increasing sales for its partners.

While promoting its most recent milestone, Affirm is also trying to get across the message of how it’s different — and frankly, better — than point-of-sale financing options of the past. As a result, the company is pushing a marketing campaign around “honest finance” to enumerate the ways in which Affirm helps consumers by providing more access and better terms for big-ticket items.

Affirm Challenges Retailers, FIs To Practice ’Honest Finance‘ (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

“Finance is pretty broken.”

So started Affirm’s Co-Founder and CEO Max Levchin’s remarks at his firm’s first-ever AFFIRMation conference for its retail partners in San Francisco yesterday.

He’s on a mission to fix a system that he believes doesn’t really serve anyone’s long-term interest nearly as well as it could or should. When it comes to the extension of credit, Levchin says that customers often lose out, retailers end up with angry customers who frequently feel ripped off and FI’s alienate their customer base.

Broken by the Numbers

“Sixty percent of Americans fear credit cards,” Levchin noted.

“[Most consumers] think getting involved with using a card will cost them a lot more than they bargain for. A third fear they will overspend. And they are right; that’s what happens, and the industry does very little to help them create necessary guardrails.”

Bad Faith

In fact, Levchin noted, the industry doesn’t want to create guardrails, because a lot of players have literally built products that bet against the consumer.

Deferred interest — the “dirty little secret” of consumer credit that bears a retailer’s logo and accompanies those too good to be true offers — means that even one day late on a payment 59 months into a 60-month loan, means interest gets calculated back to day one.

Bad Long-Term Thinking

Last quarter, on the occasion of its one millionth consumer installment loan, Affirm reported a 75 percent increase in purchase value on purchases made using Affirm, a 20 percent lift in POS conversion and a repeat rate of 25 percent of borrowers returning.

And Affirm’s net promotor score: It’s 82, slightly trailing Starbuck’s 85, but not by much.

Affirm is looking to retailers across the country to join in pledging to abandon “predatory consumer credit practices” and has also challenged the nation’s financial institutions to do the same.

Nation’s largest lender finally hops on digital-mortgage bandwagon (Mortgage Professional America), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan said that the bank expects to launch a digital mortgage application tool by the end of next year, according to a report by the Charlotte Business Journal. Sloan made the announcement during an earnings call on Friday.

Sloan told investors that Wells Fargo doesn’t currently have as many online loan products as it would like, the Charlotte Business Journal reported. He said that employees are currently testing the online mortgage tool, and that the bank plans to run a test with customers this year before a full rollout in 2018.

AutoGravity Now Has Over 500,000 Users (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

AutoGravity says it has now surpassed 500,000 in just one year. AutoGravity is an App-based online lender targeting the auto financing space. Pick the car and request a loan all on your smartphone. It’s that simple.

Additionallly, AutoGravity shares that more than $500 million in financing has been requested through the AutoGravity platform.

Fundrise Officially Announces New eFunds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fundrise, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, has officially announced the availability of their new eFunds.

The “featured” eFund starts with the Los Angeles market. The LA eFund aims to provide housing for the underserved millennial homebuyer.

Fundrise has also launched a DC eFund.

PayPal Completes Acquisition of TIO Networks (BusinessWire), Rated: A

PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:PYPL) and TIO Networks Corp. (TSXV:TNC) today announced that PayPal has completed its previously announced acquisition of TIO Networks. In accordance with the terms of the Arrangement announced on February 14, 2017, PayPal acquired all of the outstanding shares of TIO for $3.35 CDN ($2.64 USD) per share in cash or an approximate $302 million CDN ($238 million USD) equity value.

LendKey Announces Series C Funding (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendKey, the leading lending-as-a-service solution for banks and credit unions, today announced $13 million in Series C funding, $8 million in equity and $5 million in debt financing. North Atlantic Capital, based in Portland, ME, led the round with participation from each of LendKey’s existing investors including DFJ, Updata Partners, Gotham Ventures, and TTV Capital.

The Series C funding will enable the company to expand its services and staffing. LendKey plans to grow its regional office in Cincinnati, Ohio and expand its account development and sales teams.

Mobile savings and investment service Acorns is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017 (TechCrunch), Rated: A

The company now boasts more than 2 million investment accounts (with 600,000 opened in 2017 alone) and is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017 through the proprietary broker-dealer that it created.

Still, the numbers were impressive enough to attract Bain Capital Ventures to commit another $35 million to the company, bringing Acorns total Series D financing to $70 million. Previous investors PayPal, Greycroft Growth Fund, e.Ventures Growth Fund, NYCA, Capital Group, Rakuten, Point72 and Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures also participated in the round.

Unifund CEO Consumer Credit Caution: “Time To Stop Getting Lost In The Averages” (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Fifty years ago, when customers thought about using credit, it was in the context of buying something expensive that they really needed — a refrigerator, a washer/dryer, a car — with the intention to pay off that loan balance quickly.

Credit as a Currency

For super-prime customers — those for whom credit cards are basically payment cards because those consumers pay them in full monthly and never accrue any interest — Rosenberg said that card “borrowing” is an incentive-driven system. The customer gets cash back, rewards points, airline miles, hotel stays — and those incentives have very successfully attracted consumers to use them to buy things. Rosenberg noted that for a large segment of consumers, buying something without using a credit card is almost a foreign concept because the card offers them access to a more valuable form of currency.

But a more artificial intelligence-driven, machine learning system, Rosenberg said, will allow those customers who are locked out of the credit market today to be seen more clearly by creditors, and to be given incentives that are more explicitly tailored to their wants.

A Better Subprime Experience

The problem with the categorizations of “prime” and “sub-prime” borrower is that they are somewhat less hard and fast than people like to think they are. Rosenberg explained that there aren’t simply two classes of buyers — those who pay their bills and those who don’t.

But, Rosenberg said, the truth is most people pay bills in the order of absolute necessity, and when things get bad financially because a job was lost or an economic catastrophe has happened, that order gets very utilitarian. Car payments get paid, because car companies have no sense of humor and will repossess a car. But eviction from a house takes longer, which means a person with a more pressing need would rather skip their mortgage for a few months than not buy medication they need. And credit card bills? Those quickly fall to the bottom of a pile.

Bank of America Unveils New Mobile Capability to Apply for Business Advantage Term Loans and Credit Lines (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Bank of America today announced enhancements to its mobile app experience that add on-the-go convenience to small business banking and lending. With the suite of updates, Bank of America small business clients can now apply for a Business Advantage Term Loan or Business Advantage Credit Line from any Bank of America digital platform – including the Bank of America mobile banking app, and bankofamerica.com.

More than 1.3 million small business clients are active users of the Bank of America mobile banking app, an increase of 14 percent over the past year.

December 2016 Fed Rate Hike: Most Consumers Fared Well, But It’s a New Dynamic for Consumers and Lenders Alike (TransUnion), Rated: A

TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) released an analysis today showing that most borrowers were able to absorb their increased monthly payment obligations after the Federal Reserve Board rate hike last December.

TransUnion’s study identified these 63 million consumers because they carried debts for which the minimum monthly payment due was tied to the market interest rate, such that a rise in rates from the December rate hike could cause an increase in payments required. TransUnion used its CreditVision® aggregate excess payment (“AEP”) algorithm, which incorporates monthly payments from mortgages, credit cards and other debt obligations, to identify 10.6 million of these consumers who were at elevated risk of not having the capacity to absorb a rate increase of 0.25%.

Banks That Don’t Invest in Technology Risk Falling Behind Permanently (Forbes), Rated: A

Wack points to a new study of mortgage lending, Fintech, Regulatory Arbitrage, and the Rise of Shadow Banks, co-written by business school professors at the University of Chicago, Columbia Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The researchers found that some banks find themselves trying to play catch-up to competitors that long ago allowed borrowers to apply for mortgages online. The institutions that have been slow to adopt online applications for mortgage lending are losing market share to their competitors. Meanwhile, non-bank lenders have grabbed a substantial piece of the market; so-called “shadow banks” lend money but don’t use bank deposits to finance the transactions. They now write 38% of all home loans — almost triple their share in 2007. Further, the shadow banks now originate three-fourths of all loans to low-income borrowers insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

I’m a banker and I say let SoFi into the club (American Banker), Rated: A

As the president of a small community bank, I feel the need to respond to certain misleading comments that have been made by banking industry representatives and community activistsrecently in opposition to the Social Finance application to charter an industrial bank.

I feel the need in particular to respond to comments as reported in the press by a representative of the Independent Community Bankers of America, an industry trade association I support. In essence, this individual stated opposition to SoFi’s recent application based on his assertion that industrial banks don’t follow the same rules as other banks. This assertion is not accurate.

The banking industry is evolving. Doesn’t it make more sense to focus on how to evolve with it rather than how to reduce competition?

Ga. banks less stressed, but lending slowdown a worry (myAJC), Rated: A

Across the nation, bank lending has slowed for most types of loans since the presidential election. Business lending declined in the first quarter and is still crawling at close to its slowest pace since 2011, according to Federal Reserve data.

Overall loan growth is a bit better, but across the board, lending has slowed for debt ranging from auto loans to credit cards to financing for factories, office buildings and small businesses, according to the Fed.

That has made for stiff competition for bankers hunting for loan customers, and because interest rates are still low, banks’ profit margins on their total loan portfolios remain tight.

Last week, Columbus-based Synovus Corp., the second largest bank headquartered in the state, with $31 billion in assets, said its total loans grew by $314 million in the second quarter, up 5.2 percent compared to the first quarter. Synovus banked a $73 million profit during the quarter, 27 percent higher than a year ago.

Synovus’ consumer loans grew at a 16 percent annual pace during the recent quarter, accounting for $2 out of $3 of Synovus’ new loans.

Credit Risk Startup James Closes $ 2.7M Funding Round (Finsmes), Rated: A

James (formerly known as CrowdProcess), a New York-based credit risk startup, closed a $2.7M funding round.

The round was led by Gaël de Boissard with participation from Henry Richotte and BiG Start Ventures. As a result of this deal, Mr. de Boissard has joined James’s Board of Directors.

Investors Approach Investing Differently Across Generations (Plan Adviser), Rated: A

The Dreyfus study found that investors tend to take different approaches to investing based on age. Sixty-one percent of investors 55 years of age or older indicated they have not, or will not, reevaluate their investment approach in today’s existing investing environment. Meanwhile, 65% of Millennials, defined in the study as people between the ages of 21 and 34, had already evaluated their investment approach at the time of the survey. These actions are reflected among 51% of those between the ages of 35 and 54, as well as for 39% of those at least 55-years-old.

OCC FinTech Charter in Trump Administration Cards (JD Supra), Rated: A

In his remarks to the Exchequer Club in Washington, D.C., President Trump’s Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Keith Noreika, came strong to the mic, roundly stating the charter is a “good idea” and flatly saying “yes”, the OCC has the authority to grant the FinTech charter in the face of legal challenges by the New York Department of Financial Services and the  Conference of State Bank Supervisors.

Here are three other takeaways from the Acting Comptroller’s remarks:

  1. The FinTech charter promotes the dual banking system.
  2. The OCC is having informal meetings with interested FinTech companies.
  3. Existing OCC bank charters may be an option now.

Access Anytime, Anywhere Powers Better Consumer Lending (Blend), Rated: A

That’s why we’re harnessing the power of technology to bring consumers closer to their loan officers (LOs) and launching Blend Mobile, the first native mobile application allowing LOs to manage their businesses, including borrower requests and applications, anytime and anywhere.

Robos are offering SRI, so shouldn’t live advisers? (Investment News), Rated: A

“SRI has been one of the most consistent personalization requests we’ve had,” said Dan Egan, Betterment’s director of behavioral finance and investments. “It allows people who want to buy a better world to put their money where their mouth is.”

The nation’s largest robo adviser, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, which has $80 billion in assets, offers clients a proprietary fund on its digital platforms that tracks a benchmark that screens companies on social, human rights and environmental criteria. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, which has $19.4 billion in AUM, does not offer an SRI option.

Mastercard Enhances Artificial Intelligence Capability with the Acquisition of Brighterion, Inc. (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Mastercard (NYSE:MA) today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Brighterion, Inc., a leading software company specializing in artificial intelligence. This acquisition will further expand its suite of capabilities that deliver an enhanced customer experience and security.

Commentary on the Reintroduction of the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act (H.R. 3299) (Factory Email), Rated: B

Passing the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act into law is critical for the consumer lending industry. We are pleased that forward looking legislators aim to remove the regulatory and capital markets uncertainty caused by court cases such as Madden vs. Midland.

Lead by the Second Circuit Court’s decision, other state regulators are attempting to erode a core tenet of our federal banking system. “Both the ‘valid when made’ doctrine and the exportation of usury rate have facilitated nationwide lending for over a century by allowing the rate of interest on certain loans to remain unchanged after transfer of the loan,” said Gilles Gade, President and CEO of Cross River, an FDIC insured New Jersey State chartered bank and leader in marketplace leading origination. “The ability for banks to sell loans to non-banks is vital to the capital markets ecosystem in general, and to consumers in particular who are getting hurt as access to credit is made more difficult and more expensive. The perenniality of this tenet hinges on a healthy secondary market, increased liquidity, and the securitization of debts ranging from mortgages to credit cards, all of which help facilitate emerging innovations and provide capital that makes credit more accessible and affordable for millions of Americans. We applaud the bipartisan reintroduction of this bill and look forward to its expeditious review and passage.”

Comment by William M. Bell of Factory.

LendingTree Announces Promotion of Sam Mischner to Chief Sales Officer and Head of Mortgage (PR Newswire), Rated: B

LendingTree® (NASDAQ: TREE), the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that Sam Mischner has been promoted to Chief Sales Officer and Head of Mortgage.  Previously, Mischner served as SVP, Sales and GM, Mortgage.

United Kingdom

Fintech lender LendInvest to launch retail bond offering (AltFi), Rated: AAA

LendInvest, a leading alternative lender in the property space, is launching a retail bond. The bond will offer investors a fixed rate of 5.25 per cent, due 2022.

It is expected to be listed on the London Stock Exchange once the subscription period closes. LendInvest is targeting an initial raise of £50m, and the company expects this to be the first of a number of bond issues over the coming years. The bond has a minimum investment amount of £2,000.

Interest from the bond will be paid semi-annually on 10 February and 10 August each year. The net proceeds will be used to fund the origination and/or purchase of loans which satisfy the company’s eligibility criteria.

RateSetter moves to protect its investors (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

UK marketplace lender RateSetter has given more details on a series of interventions it has made to protect the company’s 50,000 retail investors from adverse consequences related to its lending decisions in the last two years.

Here are the three measures RateSetter has now explained in greater detail:

  • Buying two subsidiaries in a motor finance company. 
  • Wholly buying Adpod, an advertising company. 
  • Ending its partnership with George Banco, a consumer lending platform. RateSetter is withdrawing from the partnership, remaining only as a passive investor, after reviewing the strategy more closely. RateSetter added that George Banco is still repaying its £32 million ($42 million) loan.

Monzo gently rolls out current account (Banking Tech), Rated: A

The bank, which received its full UK banking licence in April, says it’s been using the current account internally and today (17 July) is now inviting some of its customers to join and “help put it through its paces”.

Its aim is to offer a current account to all existing customers by the end of the year. Towards that goal, over the next three months it will roll out between 10,000 and 20,000 current accounts to existing customers. As you probably guessed, users can register their interest on its site. Investors get priority access.

TransferWise’s cofounders have swapped the CEO role between themselves again (Business Insider), Rated: A

Kristo Kaarmann is taking over from Taavet Hinrikus as the boss of the international money transfer business, according to a blog post on Medium that was written by Hinrikus and published on Tuesday.

Next-gen Credit Scorer Aire Raises $ 5m in Series A Funding from Deep-tech VCs (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

Aire today announces the closing of a $5m Series A funding round, led by Sunstone Capital alongside White Star who previously led Aire’s Seed round in 2016.

Aire today announces the closing of a $5m Series A funding round, led by Sunstone Capital alongside White Star who previously led Aire’s Seed round in 2016.

The Lines Are Blurring Between Alternative, Traditional SME Finance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Alternative lending has shifted from a competitor of traditional FIs to a collaborator, often lending a digital hand to banks in need of upgrading their systems to provide faster, more agile financing to SMEs. A new report from the state-backed British Business Bank (BBB), however, suggests alternative lenders are becoming an increasingly important part of its operations in a different way, highlighting how the lines between alternative finance (AltFin) and traditional finance continue to blur.

The annual report said the BBB facilitated more than $930 million in SME loans last year, and, according to the data, every year more of that money is landing at small businesses thanks to collaboration with alternative lenders like RateSetter and Funding Circle. According to reports, in 2014 the percentage of BBB funds that went through a P2P platform was 79 percent; in 2015, it was 90 percent.

Permira Joins Payments Rush by Buying Into Sweden’s Klarna (U.S. News), Rated: A

Private equity group Permira has bought a stake of at least 10 percent in payments firm Klarna, one of Europe’s most highly valued tech startups, the companies said on Friday.

Permira will acquire the Klarna stake from existing shareholders General Atlantic and DST Global, and the Sweden-based firm’s co-founder Niklas Adalberth.

General Atlantic and DST Global will cease to be shareholders in Klarna after the deal, they added in a statement.

Bank of England opens up payments systems to spur fintech (Tribune), Rated: A

The Bank of England has widened access to Britain’s interbank payments system to increase competition from new fintech firms in the financial system, where the “Big Four” high street banks have long dominated.

The changes, which in practice will come into effect in 2018 once legislative changes have been completed, will enable such non-bank payments services providers (PSPs) to compete better with banks, the BoE said.

There is no ‘existential crisis’ challenge for banks from fintech, HSBC’s digital chief says (CNBC), Rated: A

The idea that big banks are facing an “existential crisis” from financial technology (fintech) challengers is “overblown”, the digital chief of HSBC told CNBC.

Crowdfunding: the stable option in 2017? (The C Suite), Rated: A

Research conducted by Beauhurst on 2016 UK funding deals for non-listed high-growth businesses concluded that crowdfunding outperformed private equity and venture capital. Whilst 2016 saw a decline in the total number of deals financed by equity investors, activity on the leading crowdfunding platforms increased. Crowdcube (launched in 2011) and Seedrs (launched in 2012) accounted for 21% of such equity investment in the UK last year.

According to Beauhurst’s research, Q1 of 2017 has seen a small increase of 2.7% in equity funding in non-listed, high-growth companies. However deal numbers are still 6.72% lower than the same quarter in 2016. The growth has primarily been driven by crowdfunding platforms, with an 11% growth in deal numbers.

Boost for UK fintech as Receipt Bank secures huge $ 50 million in funding (Business Insider), Rated: A

Accountancy software startup Receipt Bank has raised $50 million (£38.4 million) in a Series B funding round led by a New York venture capital firm.

Perfect storm for Scots property borrowers (Scotsman), Rated: A

By 2018, loans from alternative finance schemes such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and private debt, will be as cost competitive as the retail banks, blowing the finance market wide open for loans in the £500,000 to £10 million range.

Naturally, because alternative lenders such as Funding Circle, The Route and Folk to Folk are settling loans for higher loan-to-value (LTV) ranges (between 60 and 75 per cent), they absorb the risk by charging higher interest on both short- and medium-term loans – currently between 6 and 12 per cent a year.

LTVs in retail banking property loans are settled at around 55 to 60 per cent, but they offer lower loan costs of between 2.5 and 5 per cent. This is all set to change in 2018 – with increased availability of finance for lenders, such as innovative finance ISAs (IFIsa), the cost of capital is set to fall and this will encourage alternative lenders to reduce their interest rates.

Zopa’s Home Improvement Index Reveals: A New Kitchen Can Deliver Over 50% ROI (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Wednesday, peer-to-peer lender Zopa released its latest Home Improvement Index that indicated a quart of British homeowners looking to improve their homes this summer are choosing to renovate their kitchens and are seeing a 51% return on investment as a result. According to research, 25% of British homeowners undertaking a home improvement are opting for a new kitchen, with the renovation boosting the value of a home by an average of 10%.

Zopa noted that the research found that the average home improvement would increase the value of a home by 9% or nearly £24,000 (£23,837) – based on homeowner’s estimates. The average return on investment was 50%, based on the total amount spent by homeowners.

Opinion split on best P2P marketing techniques (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

Property P2P platform Lendy has recently announced sponsorship of the Cowes Week sailing regatta, while business lender Ablrate has been announced as a sponsor of the PGA EuroPro Tour’s £100,000 Shoot-Out competition.

Other firms such as RateSetter have used adverts on the London Underground and Crowdstacker has run adverts in print publications, while Zopa and Funding Circle have used TV campaigns.

But Frazer Fernhead, founder and chief executive of The House Crowd, prefers to invest in digital marketing.

China

Yirendai Limited: A Growth Play At Deeply Discounted Valuations (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

The ADR has returned a solid 250%+ in a year and a half since then. In comparison, Alibaba stock is up by 83% while NetEase is up by 16% and JD.com has risen just 27.5%. In other words, Yirendai has been the best performing Chinese stock/ADR ever since the company was listed in the US.

Yirendai reported quarterly revenue of $148.42 million for Q1 2017, which grew 75% year-on-year. On the earnings front, the company reported earnings per ADR (EPADR) of 84 cents, a 147% improvement over 34 cents EPADR in Q1 2016. On a trailing twelve month (NYSE:TTM) timeframe, the revenue has grown from $265.2 million in Q1 2016 to $544.6 million in Q1 2017, a 105% year-on-year growth.

We believe that, based on Yirendai’s earnings history and the historical valuation multiples, the stock should easily trade in the $43.4 – $57.7 range, which represents a 65% upside at the higher end.

European Union

N26 and Lydia announce Apple Pay support in France, but major banks are still missing (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Apple Pay hasn’t really been a major success in France so far. France’s biggest banks still don’t plan to support Apple’s payment service. But two companies announced today that they were going to add Apple Pay support before the end of the year — Lydia and N26Crédit Mutuel Arkea’s banks also recently announced that they were working on that feature as well.

Crowdfunding and Crowdlending (Soundcloud), Rated: A

Get a unique insight into what crowdfunding and crowdlending are and find out how you can participate in it – either as an entrepreneur or as an investor. Responsible for crowdfunding in DNB, Lars Marthinsen, and CEO of Kameo, Sebastian Martens, are guests at #pengepodden .

International

Finstar commits $ 150m to fintech investment (Finextra), Rated: A

Private equity outfit Finstar Financial Group is planning to pump $150 million into fintech startups over the next five years.

The money will be used to buy stakes in promising fintech startups in Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and South Asia, as well as on research and development within portfolio companies.

Baloise invests in insurtech company Trov (Baloise), Rated: A

Baloise is investing in the Californian insurtech company Trov. The start-up offers on-demand insurance for personal items and has already launched in the UK and Australia, and will roll out in the U.S. later this year. For Baloise, this is the first investment arising from its partnership with Anthemis.

Baloise’s investment is part of the Series D financing secured by Trov in April 2017.

Australia

Factor in the robo-advice (The Australian), Rated: A

The disruption is well under way in the US, where two giant companies – Betterment and Wealthfront – have emerged, each with a valuation of more than $5 billion. In recent months Betterment has seemed to outpace Wealthfront in terms of size and growth. Betterment, which has cheaper services, now boasts a client list of 188,000 while Wealthfront has 90,000.

ANZ has put its $4.5 billion wealth advice unit on the block, in a move that followed UBS’s decision to sell its wealth management arm in Australia a year ago. And Platinum Asset Management, the one-time king of specialist overseas fund managers in the local market, has announced a dramatic cut in its fee charges.

In Australia, the SMSF Industry Association tacked a robo-advice questionnaire onto one of its recent surveys and found that 18 per cent of its members – higher than in the general population (13 per cent) – would be willing to try robo services.

Online Lender Prospa is NSW State Winner in 2017 Telstra Business Awards (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Prospa, an online lender to Australian small business, has been awarded the 2017 Telstra New South Wales Medium Business Award in the 2017 Telstra Business Awards.

Prospa said it was the first Fintech company to be awarded the accolade.

India

How Fintech Revolution Is Making Way For A Potential $ 5 Bn Online P2P Lending Empire In India (Inc42), Rated: A

Currently, at a nascent stage, the P2P lending landscape in India is also poised to grow into a $4 Bn-$5 Bn industry by 2023. The domain’s origin actually dates back to 2012, when the first peer-to-peer lending company i-Lend was launched. At present, the P2P lending space is populated by more than 30 players including Faircent, LendBox, LenDenClub, IndiaMoneyMart, Monexo, Rupaiya Exchange, LoanBaba, CapZest, i2iFunding and many more.

One factor that has played an integral role in the rise of an alternative fintech industry is demonetisationinstated on November 8, 2016. Post the ban on INR 500 and INR 1,000 notes, bank deposits underwent a discernible slowdown. Loans to SMEs and MSMEs reached an abrupt halt, forcing many businesses to seek other methods of financing. Last year, for instance, around 34% of P2P borrowers were actually business owners looking to expand without having to rely on banks.

Singapore Based Bridge Data Centres Looks To Pour $ 500 Mn Into India (Inc42), Rated: B

Bridge Data Centres is looking to invest $500 Mn in India over the next two years. As per reports, the investment will enable the Singapore-based data centre outsourcing (DCO) company to gain a stronghold of the country’s fast-growing market for data centres.

In June 2017, Alibaba revealed plans to set up two new cloud data centres in India and Indonesia, in an attempt to strengthen the company’s computing resources in Asia. Earlier in January 2017, US-based data storage and management firm NetApp launched its Global Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru, as part of a $155 Mn (INR 1,000 Cr) investment. In December last year, Amaravati-headquartered Pi DATACENTERS raised $23 Mn from Epsilon Venture Partners. It was reported that the funds would be used to roll out state-of-the-art data centres across India.

Multinational alternative investment firm Bain Capital recently infused $10 Mn in Bengaluru-based consumer leasing startup RentoMojo has raised $10 Mn in Series B funding round led by Renaud Laplanche. Existing investors Accel Partners and IDG Ventures also participated in the round.

Because the construction and maintenance of data centres is a capital-intensive activity, an increasing number of businesses in India are  enlisting the help of data centre service providers.

Canada

Borrowell raises $ 57M in New Funding to Expand Credit Education and Lending (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Financial technology company Borrowell announced today it has secured $12 million (CAD) in equity funding and $45 million in new credit facilities. The Series A equity round is being led by Portag3 Ventures LP, Equitable Bank and White Star Capital, with participation by FirstOntario Credit Union and other new and existing investors, and brings the company’s total equity financing to $16.7 million. The credit facilities are being provided by Concentra and FirstOntario Credit Union for the purpose of funding ‘one click’ loans to prime consumers. This latest round of funding will allow Borrowell to provide free credit information and loans to more people.

More than 300,000 Canadians have a Borrowell account, with thousands more signing up each week.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday June 5 2017, Daily News Digest

ratesetter alfi

In the June 1 issue of Lending-Times, we highlighted a TransUnion report on how to identify and fight online fraud. A typo suggested we didn’t recommend report, however, we highly recommend it and you can download it here. News Comments Today’s main news: After buying George Banco RateSetter will not lend to its customers. Amartha receives regulatory […]

ratesetter alfi

In the June 1 issue of Lending-Times, we highlighted a TransUnion report on how to identify and fight online fraud. A typo suggested we didn’t recommend report, however, we highly recommend it and you can download it here.

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Latest PeerIQ Loan Performance Monitor (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The US economy generated a seasonally adjusted 138 K jobs last month (vs. expectation of 185K) bringing the jobless rate to 4.2% and another step closer to full employment. As inflation risks emerge, the Fed is widely expected to increase rates another 25 bps at the upcoming FOMC meeting on June 14th.

On the regulatory front, the US House will vote on a bill sponsored by Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) to reform and repeal portions of the landmark Dodd-Frank financial reform bill.

On the securitization front, student lending originator CommonBond priced its $232 Mn private student loan ABS. Goldman Sachs was the structuring lead, and co-leads include Barclays and Citi. Also, AB Alert reports that Lending Club is preparing a multi-seller deal which includes collateral from multiple originators including potentially loans from Lending Club’s own balance sheet. As PeerIQ noted in the summer of last year, we believe marketplace lenders that can offer whole loan investors a reliable path to liquidity and low-cost permanent financing can generate a competitive advantage.

PeerIQ is pleased to present the PeerIQ Loan Performance Monitor. The monitor tracks interest rates, delinquency, and charge-off rates for both platforms across vintages and grades.

Source: PeerIQ MPL Loan Performance Monitor June 2017

Global Debt Registry Appoints Charlie Moore as President (PR.com), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company known for its loan validation expertise, today announced Charlie Moore, the firm’s Chief Commercial Officer, has been named President as former Chairman and CEO Mark Parsells returns to his FinTech consultancy practice.

As President, Moore will be focused on the continued delivery of loan level diligence services to the investment community, leading the daily operations of the company. Moore previously led the firm’s commercial operations including business development, partnerships and marketing and has over 20 years of experience building financial services technology businesses in the U.S. and Europe.

Investing in Real Estate: Single Family Homes or Multi-Family? (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

“Institutional multifamily” typically means dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct units within a single property, managed by a seasoned professional management firm. These properties have many different tenants, with a diversity of employment situations and lease structures. If one tenant leaves abruptly, many others will remain in place, and overall rental income will suffer only marginally. Multifamily managers can further mitigate vacancy risk by structuring leases to end on a rolling basis. Single family investments don’t carry the same benefit – a tenant living in a single-family home constitutes 100% economic loss for as long as the property remains vacant.

Investing through online crowdfunding platforms gives individual investors the opportunity to invest in a small piece of large multifamily projects that are institutional grade and have passed the underwriting of well-established lenders and co-investors who often have decades and billions of dollars of investing under their belt. The same can’t be said of most single-family investments.

While these benefits are most apparent for direct owners of (investors in) property, this benefit of multifamily investing should be passed along to individuals who co-invest via an online (crowdfunding) platform.

GTCR Announces Acquisition of Sage Payment Solutions (Guru Focus), Rated: A

GTCR, a leading private equity firm, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Sage Payment Solutions, Inc. (“SPS” or the “Company”) for $260 million. SPS, headquartered in Reston, Virginia, is a leading provider of payment processing and merchant acquiring solutions in North America. GTCR is acquiring SPS from The Sage Group plc (LSE: SGE) (“Sage”), a global provider of integrated accounting, payroll and payment solutions headquartered in the UK. GTCR is partnering with SPS management to pursue organic growth initiatives and fund future acquisitions in the payment processing industry. To support this strategy, GTCR has committed up to $350 million of equity capital to the platform. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter following receipt of regulatory approvals and other consents.

SPS provides credit card, ACH, check, gift and loyalty card processing services to small and medium-sized businesses (“SMBs”) in the United States and Canada.

Where Incumbents Are Making Investments In Wealth Tech (CB Insights), Rated: A

Deals to wealth tech startups hit a record of 30 investments in Q1’17 amid a number of new early-stage entrants globally. In particular, robo-advisors have been gaining prominence and taking on incumbents in nearly 20 countries around the world.

Key takeaways:

  • Since 2012, several banks and wealth management firms have made co-invests in wealth tech. For instance, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase are co-investors in Motif, Northwestern Mutual and Citi Ventures are co-invested in Betterment, and UBS and Santander InnoVentures are co-investors in SigFig.
  • Incumbents have made the most investments to companies that fall into our robo-advisors category, including BettermentMotifPersonal CapitalWealthNaviFolioForwardLane, and SigFig
  • Blackrock invested in Personal Capital, the second most well-funded wealth tech company with approximately $207M in funding.
  • LearnVest is the only featured company on our map to have exited.

AUTOGRAVITY CAR FINANCING APP NOW AVAILABLE ACROSS NEW JERSEY (AutoGravity), Rated: A

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer revolutionizing car shopping and financing with the power of the smartphone, has unveiled an innovative mobile application to help car buyers in the Garden State finance any new or used car in minutes in just four easy steps.

With its unique platform, the AutoGravity app guides car buyers through an intuitive four-step process:

  1. Choose a car – Select any make, model and trim of any new or used car.
  2. Find a dealer – Choose from AutoGravity’s proprietary national dealership database; geolocation helps quickly identify nearby dealers that sell the car the selected.
  3. Search for financing – Car buyers can scan their driver’s license and connect to social media to quickly pre-fill the finance application.
  4. Select a lender – Receive up to four binding finance offers in minutes, then select a loan or lease offer and head to the dealership to complete the purchase.

FRB Governor: Data Aggregators Impact Bank Safety, Soundness as Part of the “Fintech Stack” (JD Supra), Rated: A

In a recent speech at the Northwestern Kellogg Public-Private Interface Conference, Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard indicated that the relationships between banks and data aggregators within the “fintech stack” may present safety and soundness concerns that warrant oversight by the FRB (and perhaps other prudential regulators).

Governor Brainard indicated that banks will need to apply significant resources to update their data infrastructure to allow access to real-time data for third-party developers.

Governor Brainard explained that because banks are more tightly regulated than the average fintech company, consumer protection and safety and soundness considerations should supersede experimental innovation.

While some banks may elect to give access to data aggregators, Governor Brainard observed that other banks may be unwilling or unable to provide permissioned access to third parties due to fears about compliance with laws and regulations and the ability to monitor and control the use and access to data. She then noted that the Fed’s supervisory role should focus on ensuring that financial institutions subject to its supervision operate safely and follow applicable law. At the same time, she stated that the Fed has “a strong interest in permitting socially beneficial innovations to flourish, while ensuring the risks that they may present are appropriately managed, consistent with the legal requirements.”

PeerStreet’s Jessica Murray Named One of HousingWire’s 2017 Rising Stars (BusinessWire), Rated: B

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that its VP of Strategy, Jessica Murray, has been named to HousingWire’s 2017 Rising Stars list of young leaders to watch in the housing industry. HousingWire’s 2017 Rising Stars list recognizes talent that demonstrate leadership and innovation, inspiring not only those within their company, but also their communities and the industry at large.

In her time at PeerStreet, Murray established the company voice through social media, content marketing, customer communications and placed media while serving as the Head of Communications. In her current role, Murray maintains many strategic and operational responsibilities, which also include managing PeerStreet’s capital markets and hiring.

Roostify Names Sandeep Aji as Vice President of Products (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Roostify, a provider of automated mortgage transaction technology, today announced it has named Sandeep Aji as Vice President of Products. Aji will be responsible for overseeing the continued development of Roostify’s mortgage technology platform – from enabling more API-driven capabilities to improving user experience for lenders and consumers.

Prior to Roostify, Aji was Co-Founder and CEO of Impartus, a cloud-based, SaaS platform for higher education.

How To Get A Second Chance With Your Bank (NASDAQ), Rated: B

Despite a higher cost of capital, an online loan may be necessary for a small business. The reason: There has been a continued downtrend in lending from banks to small businesses. “Together, 10 of the largest banks issuing small loans to business lent $44.7 billion in 2014, down 38% from a peak of $72.5 billion in 2006,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, nonbank lenders have seized the opportunity and captured 26% market share up from 10%.

United Kingdom

RateSetter decides not to lend to George Banco’s customers (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has announced that it has decided not to lend directly to George Banco’s customers as there are “better uses of our development resources”.

The ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lender bought a stake in the guarantor loan provider, which was a former wholesale lending partner, last month. It had also agreed to lend directly to its 10,000 customers, with George Banco acting as introducer.

The business and consumer lender will keep its equity stake in the firm and its co-founder Peter Behrens will remain as a non-executive director on George Banco’s board.

P2P platforms facing hybrid dilemma (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE PEER-TO-PEER finance industry could be on its way to becoming a polarised market, where the biggest firms stick to their core P2P lending activities and the rest are forced to evolve into hybrid models.

A wide range of industry onlookers have told Peer2Peer Finance News that it will be impossible for smaller firms to achieve profitability without either expanding into balance sheet lending, merging with direct lenders or morphing into a business model closer to that of a collective investment scheme.

“It’s incredibly difficult to build a straightforward P2P business to the size where it becomes profitable,” said Andy Davis, author of a report that pointed to hybrid models as an inevitable evolution in the sector.

“It’s intrinsically more profitable to arrange and lend rather than only arrange. We’re going to start seeing hybrid loans emerge.”

P2P is ultimately just a subset of direct non-bank lending, he argued, but with different technology in place and different market access. When a direct lender sets up a P2P platform, its return on capital goes up exponentially and it can immediately recycle those returns to originate more lending.

“Hybrid lending from some providers will increasingly be the chosen solution. This is not an issue or a problem for investors in and of itself, ” added 4th Way analyst Neil Faulkner.

Safety in banking (SilverSeek), Rated: A

It was probably with sound money and sound banking in mind that Goldmoney recently announced a tie-up with a British-based and regulated peer-to-peer lender, which enables owners of gold and silver bullion to use it as collateral to raise funds.ii The purpose of this article is to explain how honest banking worked before fractional reserve banking was devised. This is the logic behind the recently announced collaboration between Goldmoney and Lend & Borrow Trust Company Ltd.

On 23rd May, Goldmoney announced an investment and collaboration in and with the UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform, Lend & Borrow Trust Company Ltd. LBT is unique, being the only peer-to-peer facility in Western financial markets that allows businesses and individuals to use their investment-grade physical bullion as collateral against loans, without the loan obligations and collateral being comingled with other customer business.

At no time is LBT a principal in the transaction, so lenders and borrowers can agree an interest rate without having to take LBT’s creditworthiness into account, based solely on physical gold or silver as collateral.

The logic of a collaboration between Goldmoney and LBT is obvious, in that it enables customers to raise finance using bullion. But there is an underlying sound-money logic as well. Between them, Goldmoney and LBT are the template for sound-money banking as it existed before fractional reserve banking became the standard banking model, after Britain’s Bank Charter Act of 1844.

Peer-to-peer lending promised 6%, but I’ve been left red-faced and in the red (The Guardian), Rated: A

When James Patterson invested £1,000 in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Funding Circle back in 2015, his hope was that his money would grow a bit faster than the pitiful rates of interest offered by his bank. At the time, the relatively new lender was promising returns of 5-6% a year – 10 times more than his bank.

However, almost a year and a half on, his investment is now worth just £988 – a loss of £12. It’s because one of the firms that 10% of his money was lent to defaulted, leaving his account £128 in the red – a sum that his other investments at the platform have struggled to make up.

It has delivered some impressive returns to savers in recent years but, Patterson says, after his experience, he will not be investing anymore.

James Meekings, co-founder and managing director of Funding Circle, says Patterson will be back in the black in the next couple of months as the firm expects to recover some of his losses which, in turn, will be passed on to him.

Assetz Capital Review – 30 Days Access Account with 4.75% Target Rate (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Recently I opened an account at p2p lending marketplace Assetz Capital to gain some first hand experiences. Assetz Capital offers secured business loans to small and medium British SMEs. I decided to start with the 30 days access account as it is mostly hands off and deposited a tiny amount, which was credited within an hour.

Assetz Capital has a minimum investment amount of 1 GBP. Assetz is open to international investors, but a UK bank account is required.

Assetz also offers a quick access account with 3.75% target rate, designed to provide immediate access to cash, in normal market conditions, for investors. Currently 19 million GBP are invested in this account. Further account types are the ‘Great British Business Account’ (GBBA) with 7% target rate, the ‘Green Energy Income Account’ (GEIA) with 7% target rate and the ‘Manual Loan Investment Account’ (MLIA) with 5.5% to 18% gross rate. See comparison of Assetz accounts. Assetz also features a secondary market without fees providing liquidity.

Assetz Capital adds ex-bank specialist to regional director team (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

ASSETZ CAPITAL has hired former bank finance specialist Samantha Williamson to boost its team of regional relationship directors.

Williamson will supervise the peer-to-peer lending platform’s activities in the South Manchester region.

She previously worked as business development manager at financial independent broker Positive Commercial Finance, helping firms grow through non-traditional finance avenues.

Prior to that, she served as senior real estate manager at Barclays and commercial lending manager at Santander, both posts located in the Manchester area.

From beach to boardroom: Iced coffee king surfing to success (London Loves Business), Rated: B

Who’s bankrolling you? 

We are. And so is Funding Circle. The banks have been completely useless.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?

It depends on how much you’re looking for and how long you’ve been trading, but if you need money, I’d go crowd funding, 100 per cent. If you are well under the table with trading, I’d take a look at funding circle.

China

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Search engine giant Baidu Inc. is to quit crowdfunding market and pay more attention on artificial intelligence”]. Users will not see the “Baidu Crowdfunding” channel when they log in their Baidu Finance account, but will still be able to check the crowdfunding history.

On May 25, China Rapid Finance Limited, a leading online consumer lending marketplace in China, reported its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017.

2017

2016

Growth rate

Transaction and service fees

USD16.8 million

USD14.8 million

13.1%

Consumption loans

USD6.7 million

USD1.5 million

336.8%

Maintenance loans

USD10.1 million

USD13.3 million

24.4%

Operating aspect:

  1. Number of new borrowers added in the first quarter of 2017 was approximately 545,000. As of March 31, 2017, the Company had reached approximately 2 million unique borrowers on its marketplace since inception, and the total number of loans facilitated on the Company’s platform grew to approximately 15 million.
  2. Total loan volume facilitated on the Company’s marketplace in the first quarter of 2017 increased to USD485 million, primarily driven by the rapid expansion of consumption loans, which accounted for USD405 million of the total loan volume.
  3. Total number of consumption loans facilitated in the first quarter of 2017 was 4 million, while total number of maintenance loans facilitated was 6,000.

Ant Financial, the financial arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, became the latest player in Hong Kong’s competitive mobile payments market after it announced the launch of its mobile wallet for Hong Kong users on May 24.

On May 25, Ant Financial announced to launch the car insurance rating mechanism for the insurance industry to improve the risk management capability.

Three primary reasons for the boosting Cash Loan in China (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: AAA

By Dr. Yang Li

From 2017, the number of cash loan companies have increased tremendously in China. Various kinds of cash loan firms have mushroomed, including CashBus, MagicCash, GoldBar of JingDong, Ants Borrow of Alibaba, WeiliDai of Tencent, etc. So far, there are already thousands of small cash loan platforms exists in China, and many of them have received fund financing from top VC investors such as Sequoia Capital, Innovation Works, and ZhenFund.

Why cash loan growth explosively in a short period? The following three reasons may explain.

Reason 1: The lower threshold of credit system by Big data method.
In the past, credit system was mainly referred to Central bank credit system, however, it could not cover most people. The information of vast majority of low-income, unregistered social groups have not been collected in the credit system, but they have extensive borrowing needs.

As big data technology developing fast these years, many data companies are growing rapidly, and they acquired data for business use. Owing to the big data credit system, cash loan platforms are able to evaluate the borrower’s credit situation from multi-dimensions: traits of character, consumption habits, loan demand, repayment willingness, etc. In this way, the problem of information asymmetry between the investors and borrowers is eliminated, making the cash loan business prosper in the broadest social group.

Reason 2: Vertical specialization of cash loan industry provides more business opportunities
The division of the cash loan industry is now divided into receipt, audit, lending and collection, each process are served by independent and professional companies or teams. With the booming of cash loans, an ecological chain around the industry has been derived, including data processing companies, business consulting companies, law office specialized in collection, etc.

The vertical specialization of the industry made cash loan platforms extremely convenient in obtaining customers, audit management and collection, so that the platforms can save more costs and gain more business opportunities.

Reason 3: Changing of the public consumption concept stimulated loan demands
With the improvement of people’s living standards and the popularization of deficit spending concept, the public consumption concept has been changing a lot.

Consumer demand is beginning to diversify. There are not only the need for food and clothing, but also spiritual needs of learning, fitness and travel, etc. And the consumers’ attitudes are gradually transforming from rational consumption to perceptual advanced consumption. Spending “future money” at “the present” is becoming a common social spending habit, for example, more and more people choose to purchase cars, houses and 3C electronic products on installment. The growing advanced consumption has stimulated the loan demand across society.

European Union

Fintech is King of Lithuania’s Tech Revolution (Red Herring), Rated: A

Under Soviet rule Lithuania became known as a center for laser technology and bioscience, the latter of which now accounts for 1% of GDP and is growing at almost 25% annually. Last year businessmen, scientists and the government signed an agreement to make Lithuania the European hub for health and biotech innovation by 2020.

But it is fintech that has taken the strongest grip on the country’s tech scene. TransferGo, WoraPay, Blender, Simplex and IBS are just a few of a small but growing clique of firms taking advantage of strong local talent, low wages and public pledges.

Lithuania is the only jurisdiction in the EU to have a special-purpose banking license, allowing the foundation of a bank with registered capital of just €1m ($1.1m).

Vaidas Adomauskas first imagined WoraPay, a payment platform, while waiting to pay for food at a restaurant. Now it is backed with almost $1m in funding and is headquartered in London–which many believe to be Europe’s fintech capital.

Capitalizing on the Lithuanian fintech craze, Rise, the Barclays-backed Rise coworking franchise, opened a location in capital city Vilnius last year. It has 50 working spaces, an auditorium and conferencing facilities for entrepreneurs trying to get a foothold in financial tech.

International

Marketplace Lending News Roundup – June 3 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Behind the Scenes at Orchard Platform, a Struggle to Innovate from The New York Times – The long and winding road of Orchard’s plans for a secondary loan market.

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter raises £13m, Woodford and Artemis lead from AltFi – In the UK RateSetter has closed another £13M equity round as they get closer to full FCA approval.

SoFi and JetBlue Help Customers Managing Student Loans Earn Reward Travel from PR Newswire – This week SoFi announced that you can earn up to 50,000 JetBlue reward points by refinancing a student loan.

Did someone cancel the fintech revolution? from Finextra – The promise of fintech has not yet been released says Accenture in a new report.

Kind of Blue from FinTech Junkie – The latest from Frank Rotman comparing startups to jazz and what to do when you hit a wrong note.

Are Small Business Borrowers Bank-Loyal to a Fault? from deBanked – Despite low approval rates banks are still the top choice for entrepreneurs looking for a loan.

The impact of the latest adjustments in peer-to-peer/marketplace lending from AltFi – Good summary of the latest developments at the big four marketplace lenders in the UK.

The impact of the latest adjustments in peer-to-peer/marketplace lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle ditches property

Leading small business loans marketplace Funding Circle announced that it would be winding up its property-secured lending in April, with a view to stopping entirely by mid-2018.

AltFi Data’s analytics engine shows that only one quarterly cohort of Funding Circle’s property-backed lending resulted in any bad debt. This came in the third quarter of 2015. Bad debts for this cohort have reached 4.67 per cent – but it’s important to note that recoveries may still be made, and that this is just one of 17 quarterly cohorts. The size of this cohort is about £34m.

RateSetter stops wholesale lending

AltFi Data told us in March that RateSetter had originated £273m loans to lending businesses, equating to 15.6 per cent of its £1.748bn cumulative lending total at the time.

The firm has now lent a little over £1.9bn in loans, of which 15.4 per cent are wholesale. As can be seen in the chart below, the overall trend is down.

More capacity at MarketInvoice?

MarketInvoice announced the launch of a new longer-term product (MarketInvoice Pro) in February. This allows businesses to draw an open funding line, secured against their outstanding invoices.

Well, since unveiling the new product in February, MarketInvoice has posted back-to-back monthly origination records (versus all previous months in its existence), with £42m in March and £35m in April.

But this isn’t yet feeding through in terms of outstanding principal per month, which is hovering at around £25m per month, versus an all-time high of £35m.

Investors are falling over themselves for Zopa loans, but should they be?

The net returns delivered to Zopa investors has been fairly consistent at between 4.5 and 5.0 per cent for the past two and a half years. But the rate being paid by its borrowers is climbing.

Zopa’s average gross interest rate has steadily increased from 5.3 per cent at the outset of 2015 to 8.4 per cent in April 2017. The reason for this is simply that a higher proportion of Zopa’s loans are now being made to “riskier” borrowers. But the returns being offered by the platform haven’t yet adjusted to reflect this.

Crowdfunding, millennial buyers and higher mortgage rule real estate in 2017 (International Business Times), Rated: A

Interestingly, real estate crowdfunding is not limited to the US market. It is actually one of the hottest trends in the overall global realty market today. Realty crowdfunding platforms are continuously being launched in the UAE, Asia and even Egypt. In fact, a leading Singapore-based realty crowdfunding platform recently raised around S$1 million (AU$0.98 million) in the first funding round for a company.

If crowdfunding is the signature trend of real estate in 2017, the rise of millennial home buyers is a close second. The oldest millennials are now in their mid-30s and are planning to have their own houses. Marriage is on the cards for most of them, further creating the urgency for a new home. Most jobs have been designed for the 25 to 34 age bracket, with wages happily rising. Overall, it is a highly favourable situation for millennials to think of a new house this year.

On the other hand, the recent Brexit fallout has had a major impact in the contemporary real estate scene. With UK realty currently going through an uncertain phase, the US real estate scene is fast hogging the limelight in the global property market. The Chinese market, too, is currently moving along a slow tide, which presents an advantage for US developers. The American commercial real estate is to benefit in particular, and speculations are on the rise about steady foreign investments in the country.

Crowdsurfer adds Zopa data (Finextra), Rated: A

Zopa, the world’s first and one of the largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, has lent in excess of £2.3 billion to customers in the UK, and the addition of its data set will deepen Crowdsurfer’s insight into the global alternative finance market.

Cambridge-based Crowdsurfer analyses data from more than 900 different alternative finance platforms, including equity, bonds, SME debt, P2P and more, and has mapped more than ten million transactions to provide the most in-depth take on global trends and patterns in alternative finance.

How robo advice fees compare to multi-asset funds (AltFi), Rated: A

Will robo advice spark a price war? We crunched the numbers looking at how much platforms charge compared to a typical multi asset fund.

Vanguard, a U.S. based passive fund manager, is planning to sell its index funds directly to UK consumers, charging just 0.23 per cent annually. Previously, individuals had to invest in funds through an intermediary or, more recently, via robo advisor to get access to the company’s funds.

Taking a look at the top UK robo advice platforms, we found that an investment of £10,000 would cost an average of £6.79 a month in both management, platform, and fund fees.

A £10,000 investment in 2015 held in the average fund in the IA’s 20-60% Shares sector would have cost an average £9.83 per month for a mixed fund, while the average fund in the IA’s 40-85% Shares sector would cost £10.25, according to data on the average ongoing charges figure from the Investment Association.

Putting this all together, for the average robo advice platform a £10,000 portfolio amounts to approximately 0.81 per cent fees, or £81 over a year. In comparison, the average multi-asset fund charges between 1.18 per cent and 1.23 per cent over the course of the year, with IA’s 40-85% Shares sector the higher of the two. This amounts to £118-£123 on £10,000, or approximately £40 more than the average robo advice portfolio.

Pre-RDR fees would have cost £15.42 and £14.92 on a £10,000 investment.

Moneyfarm, a robo advisor based in the UK and Italy, stands out because it doesn’t charge a management fee for any investments under £10,000, just the fund fee. Investments over £10,000 are charged 0.6 per cent.

Insurtech App Trov Connects with AXA Insurance & Celebrates UK Launch (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Trov has launched its on­-demand insurance platform in the UK, in partnership with AXA Insurance. Users are provided with a personalized quote and can quickly turn insurance on (or off) for an item without the need for any interaction with a traditional insurance agent.

Australia

FinTech Australia Announces New Board of Directors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FinTech Australia has announced the election of its new Board of Directors. The new Board is said to align with constitutional changes regarding gender diversity and representation from a broad number of states.

The new board members are:

  • David Ball – CEO and co-founder of HyperBank (Queensland representative)
  • Natalie Dinsdale – Director of Marketing at Tyro (NSW representative)
  • Luke Howes – Co-founder and CEO of Proviso (South Australian representative)
  • Lucy Liu – Chief Operating Officer of Airwallex (Victorian representative)
  • Alan Tsen – CEO of The Week in Bitcoin (Victorian representative)
  • Emma Weston – Co-founder and CEO of AgriDigital (NSW representative)

India

Monexo: Trying to fill the void (Free Press Journal), Rated: A

Our business structure focuses on P2P lending to three segments of borrowers – salaried individuals, practising professionals, and small and medium enterprise (SME). Right now, however, we focus only on the salaried individual segment.

Our typical borrower profile is salaried, aged 25-30 years, with an average salary of Rs 25, 000 for which the average borrowing works out upto Rs 1.50 lakh. Such a working population today is much more independent and amenable to migration. This in turn brings a lot of minor expenses and there such loans are very useful. Such borrowers are often under the under the banks’ lending radar who offer them Rs 8-10 lakh loans to start with but we create options for them (based on the amount requirement). The borrowers that we target are usually digitally savvy and appreciates the benefits that we bring to the table.

What are the benefits offered to borrowers?

First and foremost is time-saving. The borrower is made known in a minute if the loan is available or not.

Another benefit of Monexo is that it is active in the entire activity chain of P2P lending – origination, screening, profile-grading, pricing of each application, disbursement, client servicing and lastly debt collection. This is right now a key differentiator among our contemporaries.

Describe the business structure and how it would attract lenders?

Our fees are taken out of repayments made to lender (2.5 per cent) based on their actual EMI receipts.

Borrowers are graded in categories from M1 down to M8. They get an automatic upgrade when they create a repayment track record. One key criteria is that debt should not be more than 60 per cent of the borrowers’ income.

Our typical business process is approval of only 25 per cent of the applications submitted. This is because most of the 75 per cent are already defaulters somewhere.

Fintech Firm Pinjam Gears Up for Growth Spurt This Year (Jakarta Globe), Rated: A

Fintech company Gadai Pinjam Indonesia is gearing up for a growth spurt this year in a mission to expand the reach of financial services to unbanked small and medium enterprises.

The company, which provides pawnshop services and micro-loans through its online platform Pinjam.co.id, eyes to disburse between Rp 100 billion ($7.52 million) and Rp 200 billion this year, increasing up to 10 times its loan outstanding.

Pinjam will cooperate with state-owned post Pos Indonesia as well as some gold shops, to increase the number of outlets where their customers can pawn their goods. It plans to have more than 100 points in Jakarta by the end of this year.

Asia

P2P Lender Amartha Receives Regulatory Approval from Indonesian Financial Services Authority (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Jakarta based Amartha (PT Amartha Micro Fintek) a peer to peer lending platform launched in 2010, is now officially registered with the Directorate of Institutional and Product IKNB (Financial Industry Non Bank) Financial Services Authority ( FSA).

Amartha said the approval by the financial regulators will boost public confidence in the platform and investing. Currently Amartha claims to have successfully financed over 34,000 micro businesses in parts of Indonesia to more than 10,000 registered investors, with total funds distributed to 87 billion rupiah (USD $6.5M).

Why Your Financial Planner Should Be a Robot (Knowledge.insead.edu), Rated: A

In 2015 the Singapore-based bank, DBS, surveyed 600 local mothers in their 30s about retirement. The results were revealing. Three-quarters had not started planning for their retirement. Only 25 percent thought they would have sufficient funds to retire on. The average Singaporean household, headed by a 45-year-old, spends US$3,800 per month. However, 69 per cent believe they would be able to retire on less than US$2,200 a month, while 38 per cent believe it would be less than US$1,500.

According to a 2015 Nielsen survey, six out of 10 Singaporeans only start saving for their retirement once they reach 45. They believe they will just need to double their current savings to retire comfortably with peace of mind.

In China, the social pension is the primary source of retirement income. However, 43 percent of respondents in a survey conducted by the Society of Actuaries in 2016 believe the government or their company will cut their benefits in the future. With an estimated 329 million Chinese turning 65 by 2050, it is projected there will be a US$118 trillion pension deficit.

At 55, the average male has US$98,000 and female has US$85,000, bringing the total household retirement assets at around US$183,000. However the couple now has only 12 years until retirement.

In Singapore, fintech boom is missing the ‘tech’ (Southeast Asia Globe), Rated: B

Big banks are putting a lot of effort in to improve their customer experience. WeChat Pay might not be big right now, but Alibaba bought Lazada, so Alipay’s coming. That’s going to change a lot of things. Banks are trying hard to capture their customers’ attention and build strong ties. Small-to-medium enterprise lending and security is big, particularly in Singapore. How do you protect your data? Singapore is a very strong private banking hub: a lot of money is parked here from very strange people. You don’t want to have this information leaked, so the regulation techspace is being upgraded.

Africa

Some options if you want advice from a robot (IOL), Rated: A

Jaco van Tonder, the director of advisory services at Investec Asset Management, says robo-advisers are useful to clients who cannot afford to pay for face-to-face professional financial advice.

Personal Finance looks at three offerings in the South African market:

1. Sygnia RoboAdvisor. The service was launched last year by listed asset manager Sygnia. Depending on your investment requirement and risk appetite, RoboAdvisor will expose you to unit trusts, exchange traded funds (ETFs), money market funds or cash.

• Minimum investment amounts: lump sum of R10 000 or a monthly debit order of R500.

• Management fees: 0.5% a year including VAT.

2. iTransactGo. This service is operated by Johannesburg-based exchange traded product investment platform iTransact. The company was established in 2010, and it launched its robo-adviser service last month.

• Minimum investment: lump sum of R5 000 or a minimum monthly contribution of R300.

• Investment term: there is a minimum term of one year.

• Management fees: not more than 1.14% a year including VAT, depending on the size of the investment.

3. Bizank. The company is independently owned and has appointed Anchor Capital as the asset manager of its robo-adviser. The robo-adviser, which was launched last year, creates a portfolio to meet your investment goal (for example, retirement or buying a house) based on your responses to its questions.

• Minimum investment: a lump sum of R10 000 or a monthly debit order of R1 000.

• Management fees: between 1% and 1.5% excluding VAT.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor