Competing With Banks Through a Mobile App

mobile banking

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), over 7% of Americans are still without banking services. Even more shocking is the number of the underbanked population – a whopping 19.9%. These numbers only go to show that brick-and-mortar banks have left the general American population down. Especially since the financial crisis, people have lost […]

mobile banking

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), over 7% of Americans are still without banking services. Even more shocking is the number of the underbanked population – a whopping 19.9%. These numbers only go to show that brick-and-mortar banks have left the general American population down. Especially since the financial crisis, people have lost trust in traditional banks, and millennials don’t see the appeal in standing in line for banking services. To fill the void, Varo Money has launched a mobile banking business. The aim is to disrupt how banking is done in the United States. Its goal as to help customers cover their expenses, pay their bills, and build wealth over time.

Varo Money was founded in 2015 by Assaf Guery, Colin Walsh, Mykola (Kolya) Klymenko, and Roger Van Duinen. Its headquarters is located in San Francisco, California. The company has managed to raise over $78 million in various funding rounds with PE giant Warburg Pincus as the lead investor. CEO and Co-Founder Colin Walsh previously served for over 25 years in various reputed financial institutions like Amex in Europe, Lloyd Banking group, and Wells Fargo.

More Than a Bank

Throughout his professional career, Walsh realized a growing need to empower the next generation with tools that will help them improve their overall financial condition. He also realized incumbents were too entrenched in their existing business models to concentrate on developing products for the millennial generation. This became the driving force behind Varo Money. So he built a talented team with deep financial services expertise and a strong consumer technology knowledge. Varo Money is trying to be a one-stop shop for users’ banking needs and wants to inculcate better financial habits among customers by providing them with the right tools and financial guidance.

Last year, Varo Money launched their mobile app and banking products through a partnership with The Bancorp Bank. The partnership helped the platform come to the market with a FDIC-insured product. This helped them compete against incumbent banks and appeal to a larger cross section of the population. But Varo has big ambitions and wants a bigger share of the pie. That’s why the company applied for a national bank charter through the OCC. Even though obtaining this charter will be an uphill task, considering no new charter has been issued in the last decade or so, it’s a courageous move. It puts the spotlight on the young entrant and highlights its intention to be a serious regulated player in the industry.

Varo’s Business Model

The foundation of the Varo Money platform is relationship banking. It offers a basic consumer checking account just like any other bank, but the difference is a customer can perform all the basic functions like deposits and money transfers without having to go visit a bank branch. It even issues a debit card to customers and has started offering savings accounts. A customer can open a savings account on his or her mobile app and Varo offers interest rates up to 50 basis points as compared to 1 or 2 basis points offered by traditional banks.

Apart from the bank account, Varo also offers short- and long-term financing solutions. The short-term line of credit is a flexible line of credit (LOC) and is available to customers unexpected financial challenges. The LOC helps customers manage cash flows while avoiding the need to take a payday loan or cash advance. Also, 3- and 5-year fixed rate installment loans are aavailable for long-term financial needs.

Varo Money’s Technology and Competitive Posture

Varo Money is available as an iOS application with an Android version coming soon. The app is loaded with features like touch ID, a geolocation service to spot nearby ATMs, and the ability to link other accounts through APIs. The app is free and requires no minimum balance to open an account. Also, there are no foreign exchange charges or overdraft fees. Its customer base has access to over 55,000 ATMs worldwide as compared to 18,000 ATMs for Chase and 12,000 for Wells Fargo.

Varo charges a nominal fee for debit card usage. It also sells financial products of its partner bank earning income from that partnership. However, its lending products are a primary income generator. The pricing and structure of LOC products are developed to compete with other alternative lenders in the market.

Varo has a lot of competitors in different niches of banking. Players like Discover, Ally, and Goldman Sachs concentrate on only a few lending segments; these lenders do not follow a complete relationship model, but only offer a specific product. On the other hand, there are neobanks like Chime, Simple, and BankMobile that are single-purpose saving apps. Though they are doing a great job when it comes to user experience, the range of products offered by them is narrow compared to a full suite of products offered by a traditional bank.

This is where Varo Money is different. It is focused on customer relationships and wants the ability to offer the entire gamut of banking services to consumers. This gives it multiple cross-selling opportunities and reduces the cost of client acquisition. Its strategy seems to be paying off. In just 7-8 months, Varo has garnered tens of thousands of customers and over 100k downloads.

Conclusion

Varo Money is focused on replacing traditional banks with its comprehensive suite of online banking services and products. Coupled with its obsession for helping millennials make smarter financial decisions, Varo Money is looking to be an emerging player in the digital bankin sector.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Friday February 16 2018, Daily News Digest

Amazon small business lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Amazon partners with Bank of America on lending. Roostify raises $25M for expansion. Lendy’s pretax profits hit 3.3M GBP. Lendix to enter Dutch, German markets. Revolut to launch banking app in APAC. Vested backs Dojo. Today’s main analysis: Important barriers to alternative investing digitization. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans can’t get enough consumer debt. Who are Britain’s […]

Amazon small business lending

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United Kingdom

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United States

Amazon has partnered with Bank of America for its lending program (CNBC), Rated: AAA

CNBC has learned that Amazon Lending, which launched in 2011, ultimately found a partner in Bank of America Merrill Lynch, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the alliance is confidential. Partnering with Bank of America allows Amazon to reduce its risk and access capital specifically to provide credit to more merchants so they can acquire inventory.

Amazon Lending is an invitation-only program that makes loans of $1,000 to $750,000, with terms of up to a year, for companies that may have difficulty landing traditional business loans. In June 2017, Amazon said it issued more than $1 billion in loans during the previous 12-month period, compared to $1.5 billion in combined loans for the four years prior to that.

Scaling back

But even with the Bank of America deal, Amazon Lending has been tapping the brakes on growth of late. After almost doubling to $661 million in 2016, outstanding loans just barely increased last year to $692 million, according to Amazon’s annual report earlier this month.

Source: CNBC

These 10 MBA Programs Will Earn You the Highest Salary, According to SoFi (Levo), Rated: A

According to SoFi, the student loan refinancing company, “No BS” Return on Education 2018 MBA rankings, these are the best schools for earning back your money.

With Americans owing more than $1.48 trillion in student loan debt,  (which is $620 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt) knowing which schools are going to help you pay off your debt faster, is something you should consider if you are looking at business school programs.

Source: Levo

Roostify Closes $ 25 Million Series B To Fund Expansion (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

Roostify, a digital lending platform provider, today announced the completion of a $25 million Series B round of financing. The round included new investments from Cota Capital, Point72 Ventures, and Santander Innoventures, the venture capital arm of Banco Santander, as well as additional funding from previous investors JPMorgan Chase, Colchis Capital, and a subsidiary of USAA. The new funds will power the company’s ambitious growth goals, including a deeper presence in the enterprise space, rich product enhancements, and expansion into new markets.

Abode Aims to Make Home Buying and Selling Easier (Chicago Inno), Rated: A

In 2016, Kyle Stoner and best friend Carson Junginger were both having a hard time navigating the home-buying process. Between finding a realtor, finding a property and securing a mortgage, the two tech entrepreneurs realized that buying a home was too cumbersome and fragmented. And when they couldn’t find a single platform where they could manage all these separate tasks, they teamed up to create one — Abode.

SoFi named Abode in its 2018 class of SoFi Entrepreneurs, the fourth cohort of startups which will receive mentorship and funding from the alternative lending startup, but Stoner declined to comment on whether SoFi is officially partnering with Abode in the future. Stoner said Abode is rolling out a new consumer product in March 2018, but declined to give further details.

Americans Can’t Get Enough Consumer Debt (WSJ), Rated: AAA

If anything, consumers are borrowing more on credit cards or through auto loans than they have in years, and lenders seeking growth are happy to oblige them.

In the fourth quarter, consumer debt, excluding mortgages and other home loans, rose 5.5% from a year earlier to $3.82 trillion. That is the highest amount since the Federal Reserve Bank of New York began tracking the data in 1999. Moreover, consumers’ non-housing debts accounted for just over 29% of their overall debt load, also the highest amount on record.

Overall, households are paying about 5.8% of their disposable personal income to stay current on their nonmortgage debts, according to third-quarter Federal Reserve data. This figure, which is at the highest level since the end of 2008, bottomed out at 4.9% in 2012.


URGENT VS. IMPORTANT: BARRIERS TO DIGITIZATION IN ALTERNATIVE INVESTING (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

KPMG International and CREATE-Research have jointly prepared a report about the digitization imperative for alternative investment management.

Early on, its authors list eight key digital innovations that are reconstructing the industry:

Application programming interfaces; cognitive technology and machine learning; Big Data; blockchain; new digital platforms; robo-advisors; robotic process automation; and social media.

To that end they have talked to 125 alternative managers located in 19 countries, with combined assets under management of $2.6 trillion.

A Need to Future Proof

They found that the scale of the ongoing shake-up is well understood. Only 2% of respondents saw a “business as usual” scenario playing out over the next 10 years. Roughly one-third (35%) expect marginal changes. But 53% anticipate “partial” disruption and the remaining 10% anticipate “total” disruption.

Can small-dollar loans be both profitable and safe? (American Banker), Rated: A

Is now the time when U.S. banks, credit unions and their regulators finally see eye to eye on small-dollar loans to consumers who have checkered credit histories?

A long-running stalemate between the industry and its overseers has ceded much of the subprime consumer market to payday lenders, pawn shops and other high-cost lenders. But in recent months, banks started to get some insight from Washington about what type of product would be deemed acceptable.

Citi, PNC invest in B-to-B payments fintech (American Banker), Rated: A

In the latest example, Citi Ventures and PNC on Wednesday announced a strategic investment in the fintech firm HighRadius, which makes business-to-business payments and receivables software. Terms of the investment were not disclosed. HighRadius has an existing partnership with Bank of America on an accounts receivables platform, and also counts as clients Fortune 500 companies such as Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Starbucks.

U.S. Bancorp hit with $ 613M in penalties linked to payday lender Scott Tucker (USA Today), Rated: A

U.S. Bancorp, the parent of U.S. Bank, agreed to the criminal and civil penalties in settlements announced by the Manhattan U.S. Attorneys Office in New York, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

From 2009 until 2014, U.S.Bank set an artificial cap on the number of alerts generated by its customer transaction monitoring systems, authorities said. The Minneapolis-based bank based the number of alerts on low staffing levels, rather than on the level of risk in the transactions.

The lax oversight aided Tucker, a longtime U.S. Bank customer who was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison last month for running an illegal $3.5 billion Internet-based payday lending scheme that victimized thousands of consumers with loan interest rates as high as 1,000%.

 

Fluid Market Launches Truck Sharing Marketplace (Business Insider), Rated: A

Fluid Market, a neighborhood truck sharing application that allows people to rent trucks seamlessly from one another, today announced the nationwide launch of its truck-sharing marketplace, providing a seamless and on-demand utility vehicle rental experience to its peer-to-peer network of users and lenders across the country.

Finalists for the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards 2018 Announced (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fintech Innovator of the Year

  • Affirm
  • Varo Money
  • Better Mortgage
  • Upstart
  • Plaid
  • Circle
  • loanDepot

Top Consumer Lending Platform

  • LendingClub
  • Zopa
  • Marlette Funding
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • LightStream
  • Yirendai

Top Small Business Lending Platform

  • Kabbage
  • Funding Circle
  • BlueVine
  • Mirador
  • Credibly
  • StreetShares

Top Real Estate Lending Platform

  • Sharestates
  • LendInvest
  • LendingHome
  • PeerStreet
  • LendingOne
  • Fundrise

Emerging Lending Platform

  • Upgrade Inc.
  • Better Mortgage
  • ETHLend
  • Neat Capital
  • Nexoos
  • LendingUSA

Excellence in Financial Inclusion

  • Kreditech
  • LendUp
  • LenddoEFL
  • Oportun
  • China Rapid Finance
  • Elevate Credit

Most Promising Partnership

  • Katipult + Polymath Inc
  • Macquarie + PeerIQ
  • Lending Club + Opportunity Fund
  • Intrinio + QUODD
  • Financeit + Goldman Sachs
  • Minna Technologies + Swedbank

Most Successful Cross-Border Partnership

  • Kabbage + ING
  • Kreditech + PayU
  • PayJoy + Macrocel
  • nCino + OakNorth
  • Kasisto + DBS Bank
  • Phoenix Finance + Saxo Bank

Most Innovative Bank

  • BankMobile
  • Cross River Bank
  • Laurel Road
  • CBW Bank
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • HSBC

International Innovator of the Year

  • UP Financial
  • LexinFintech
  • Afluenta
  • Phoenix Finance
  • IrisGuard
  • Borrowell

Top Enterprise Technology Company

  • Salesforce
  • Roostify
  • Blend
  • ThreatMetrix
  • Mambu
  • CUneXus

Top Emerging Technology Company

  • Nav
  • Ingo Money
  • Nova Credit Inc.
  • MoneyLion
  • dv01
  • Emailage

Most Innovative Mobile Technology

  • PayJoy
  • Clarity Money
  • AutoGravity
  • Dave.com
  • Blinker
  • Juvo

Top Investment Bank in Fintech

  • Macquarie
  • Marlin & Associates
  • FT Partners

See the full list here.

Macquarie looks to broaden US ABS footprint (Global Capital), Rate: B

Macquarie Group is seeking to hire a US ABS director for its credit markets team as it looks to grow its presence in US esoteric ABS sectors, including whole business, marketplace lending and renewable energy finance.

Small nonbanks call for clearer exemption from CFPB audits (American Banker), Rated: A

Nonbank mortgage firms are seeking formal assurance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that they will not become subject to surprise audits or enforcement without involvement of a state regulator.

In a joint letter to acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney, the Community Home Lenders Association and the Community Mortgage Lenders of America said the agency should practice “streamlined supervision” of smaller nonbanks, which is consistent with the Dodd-Frank Act.

 

Business Innovation Could Accelerate Under a Friendlier CFPB, LeClairRyan Attorney Says (Business Insider), Rated: B

Recent moves by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) could signal a friendlier approach to businesses, according to Jay Spruill, a partner in LeClairRyan’s Richmond office and leader of the national law firm’s Marketplace Funding Team.

“The Payday Loan Rule has been heavily criticized by the small loan industry which says the rule will restrict consumers’ access to credit,” Spruill notes in the blog, CFPB Signals Retreat from Aggressive Regulation. The post appears in Marketplace Shift, which focuses on the impact of legal and regulatory developments on financial innovation.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Lendy Releases Financial Results: Pretax Profits Rise to £3.3 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lending platform Lendy has released its audited accounts for 2016, showing profits before tax rising to £3.3 million compared to £53,000 in 2015. The company reports that since launch in 2012, Lendy has originated over £376 million in secured loans generating £36 million in interest for investors. Approximately £141.5 million in principle has been repayed with current outstanding loans at £186.5 million.

 

The digital upstarts taking on Britain’s dominant few banks (The Economist), Rated: AAA

For some British millennials, Monzo is as close to a cult as a bank can be. Its coral-pink cards are hard to miss. “People in bars will get very excited if they see you are a fellow Monzo user,” says Mr Matthews, who is 29.

Counting the British arm of Santander, Spain’s largest bank takes the share to over 80%. In 2015 Britons had 70m-odd active current accounts. They paid £500 ($750) or more into 70% of them every month.

Supervisors have licensed more than 30 entrants since 2013. But by no means are all the challengers young. One of them, CYBG, owns Clydesdale, a Scottish bank that turns 180 this year, and Yorkshire Bank, aged 159. It has about 1.8m personal current-account customers and assets of £43bn. Nor are all the infants purely digital. Metro Bank has since 2010 established 55 “stores” (ie, branches) and is spreading beyond south-east England.

Among digital purists, Monzo’s chief rival is Starling Bank—where Mr Blomfield used to work. It started current accounts last spring; around 100,000 have been opened. Tandem, which recently acquired Harrods Bank, the banking arm of a posh department store, is also open for business. Atom Bank, part-owned by Spain’s BBVA, focuses on mortgages funded by fixed-rate savings. N26, a German smartphone bank, is due to arrive this year. Another near-cult, Revolut, is seeking a European licence (valid, for now, in Britain).

To ginger up small-business banking, RBS, the market leader, must cede ground and money to competitors as part of the price, agreed on with the European Commission, of its rescue by the government in 2008. RBS will put up £425m, divided into sums from £5m to £120m, to build up rivals’ capabilities, plus £350m for incentives to customers to switch banks. Banks with assets of up to £350bn may bid. That excludes the big four but just lets in Santander (£315bn), to some challengers’ chagrin.

 

Industry reacts to SME finance inquiry (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Earlier this month, the Treasury committee launched an inquiry into SME finance to look at the state of the market and the lessons to be learned from RBS’s Global Restructuring Group (GRG).

The Treasury’s inquiry will look at the extent of competition in the market, the various sources of funding available to SMEs – including P2P lending and crowdfunding – and whether the current regulatory framework provides enough protection to SMEs when they borrow money.

For example, unsecured lending to an SME borrower for the purposes of their business will only be regulated if the SME is unincorporated and the amount being borrowed is £25,000 or less.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority doubles down on algorithmic trading (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Monday published its report on the supervision of algorithmic trading, which is intended to illustrate best practices and give guidance to firms considering implementing AI to automate trading operations.

The focus areas of the report hint at concerns the FCA harbors about AI use in capital markets. The regulator placed particular emphasis on humans being able to intervene in an algorithm if something goes wrong, and ensuring the technology doesn’t start behaving in a way unintended by its creators.

Innovate Finance Announces Finalists for 2018 FinTech Pitch360 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The 2018 Pitch360 finalists are the following:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Axyon AI SRL, Coriolis Technologies Ltd, Eye Capital S.A.
  • Banking/ Enterprise Solutions: Akoni, Hedgewiz Pure Risk Management Solutions, Salt Edge Inc
  • Distributed Ledger Technology: hiveonline, SPIRAL
  • Financial Inclusion: CommuScore, CreditSpring, Trezeo
  • Payments & FX: Duality Banx, Divido Financial Services, Envision&Company LTD
  • Peer-to-Peer / Alternative Funding / SME Lending: Alterest, Credit Data Research Ltd, StrideUp
  • Personal Finance Management & Robo Advice: CASHOFF Ltd, Bedaan
  • RegTech: Calcabis, Exate Technology
China

 

Hexindai: Positive Quarter Strengthens Bull Case (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Sales increased 575% to $43.31 million, driven by loan facilitation growth, which was $388 million – an increase of 187.1% over the prior year. The high sales growth rate contributed to a whopping 1,589% net income growth, which was $26.9 million for the quarter. Gross billing ratio contributed to overall growth with an increase from 7.4% in the previous year to 12.1% in the reported one as the company continues its shift to credit loans.

The company increased its guidance, bumping EPS estimates for the year from $0.74 (see linked article for full estimate calculations) to $1.30 per share, as sales are now expected at $108 million – up from previously expected $90 million. The company believes this will be driven by a bump in loan facilitation, which it expects to be $1.23 billion, up from previously expected $1 billion.

In my previous article I initiated the company with a price target range of $14.80 to $22.20 per share given a 20x to 30x forward earnings multiple, and given recent positive catalysts I believe fair value lies in the same multiple. As the company has hiked its sales and net income guidance, pushing EPS to $1.30 for fiscal 2018, I believe the company’s fair value now lies in the range of $26.00 to $39.00 per share. That represents almost 200% upside from the current share price.

Money20/20 launches in China, the world’s biggest FinTech market (CUInsight), Rated: A

Ascential announced in Hangzhou recently the launch of its trailblazing FinTech event Money20/20 at Hangzhou International Expo Center on 14-16 November 2018.

Guest speakers includedArthur Zhu, President of LianLian Pay; Raymond Qu, CEO of Geoswift; Jeff Parker, Managing Director of WorldFirst Asia-Pacific; Eric Gu, founder & CEO of Metaverse; and experts such as Dr. Ben Shenglin, Dean of Zhejiang University’s Academy of Internet Finance.

Chinese ADSs on the Rise (Capital Watch), Rated: B

Coming in second and third place, China Rapid Finance Ltd. (NYSE: XRF) and JP Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: JP) both soared 8 percent to close at $5.17 and $19.85 per share, respectively, while Jianpu Technology Inc. (NYSE:JT) rose nearly 6 percent to $7.28 per share.

European Union

Online Lender Lendix Plans Entrance into German and Dutch Markets (ICO News Desk), Rated: AAA

Continuing its plan to lead the European SME lending market, fintech company Lendixcontinues its geographical expansion with plans to branch into Germany and the Netherlands.

bitJob teams up with the Dutch government blockchain program to enrich students résumés with a crypto flair (Chipin), Rated: A

bitJob, the P2P marketplace that connects students and businesses, is announcing today its partnership with the Blockchain projects division inside the Dutch government, to deploy its pilot project in Holland. The marketplace, developed by bitJob, bridges the gap between businesses and students by enabling both sides to offer/look for employment with a technology that promotes honesty, immediacy, and robustness.

Opiria & PDATA token: peer reviewed token sale from Germany (Opiria email), Rated: B

Opiria allows consumers to sell their personal data and companies to buy personal data directly from consumers without a veiled middleman in a fully transparent and secure way.

We are presently running an ICO. About our ICO:

  • peer reviewed with due diligence report – showing PDATA is a top 5% ICO

  • Already >1 million USD raised in the Pre-ICO (hard cap $5 million in Pre-ICO)

  • 4k+ active users providing personal data and opinions

Management Team:

  • Dr. Christian Lange (CEO): proven track record in entrepreneurship and successful exit in 2015

  • Marlene Gagesch (CTO): head of B2B software departments for > 10 years

For more information:

  • 2 min pitch video: 

    1 page business model canvas: 

    ICO website/whitepaper: 

    International

    Can’t Miss Quick-Start Guide to Launching a New Business Venture (Influencive), Rated: A

    The following quick-start guide will explain the 7 steps that you need to follow to launch your business venture.

    Make Sure There Is a Market for Your Idea

    The very first step you should take is to validate your idea or concept. You need to make sure that there is a market for your idea.

    Create a Basic Business and Marketing Plan

    If you are trying to launch your product or service as soon as possible, you will still need a solid business and marketing plan. You do not need to be completely detailed, but you should have a good plan in place.

    Obtain Funding for Your Idea

    Another way to get financing is to use P2P (peer to peer) lending. This is similar to crowdfunding, which is another option. With both P2P lending and crowdfunding, you will need to properly explain the value of your product or service. Also, it may take a while to obtain all the funding that you require.

    Research Your Target Demographic

    Once you get funding, you will need to start researching your target demographic. You need to know who you are marketing to before you start a marketing campaign.

    Create a Website

    You do not need to spend a lot to build a website. There are several affordable options with easy to use website builders. These website builders include drag and drop layouts, so anyone can build their own website. A few options include WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace.

    Decide on a Business Structure

    The next step is to choose a business structure. This is essential and should be decided before you release your product or service.

    Start Marketing Your Product or Service

    The final step is to begin marketing your product or service.

    India

    In consultation with MCA, Sebi makes headway in framing crowd-funding norms (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

    The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is finalising the regulatory framework for crowd-funding in consultation with the corporate affairs ministry.

    APAC

    Revolut uses GPS for FX app launch in APAC (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

    Revolut will be using Global Processing Services (GPS) for the launch of its multi-currency FX app in the APAC region.

    Revolut will unleash its app, starting with New Zealand, Singapore and Japan. GPS announced the deal during the Lord Mayor of the City of London’s UK Business delegation, which is currently in Australia this week.

    Middle East

    Fintech Startup Beehive Is Closing The Gap For SME Finance In The GCC (Dubai Forum), Rated: AAA

    She found Beehive, a Dubai-based peer-to-peer lending platform. Through Beehive, Lowmass borrowed $54,000 in late 2016 at an interest rate of 9.89%. Although it took about the same amount of time to get a loan from Beehive as it did through the bank, Lowmass says, “the funds were raised cleanly and extremely quickly and we were delighted with the resultinginterest rate we ended up paying.”

    It has 6,000 registered investors—mostly from the U.A.E.—and has channeled a total of $40 million to borrowers.

    Africa

    Ecobank: African Fintech Predicted to Grow Exponentially by 2020 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    Africa is now at the forefront of fintech with 57.6% of the world’s 174 million active registered mobile money accounts (100.1 million) in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fintech in Africa is predicted to grow from US$ 200 million to US$ 3 billion by 2020. As Ecobank works seamlessly across 36 countries in total, Ecobank is also the only bank that allows customers to transact more easily across borders.

    Ecobank’s mobile app allows customers in any of the 33 African countries in which it operates to check balances, pay bills and merchants, and many other services. Rwanda, where the summit is taking place, has the second highest use of mobiles in Africa, with more than 50% of the population unique subscribers. Kenya has the highest penetration rate of almost 60% of the population.

    Canada

    Vested Ventures completes seed round in gamified savings app Dojo (Finextra), Rated: AAA

    Vested Ventures, the investment arm of the fastest growing public relations agency globally, Vested, announced it has successfully completed a seed round investment in Vancouver financial software company Dojo Technology Corp (“Dojo”).

    Dojo’s iOS and Android-friendly mobile platform reimagines how families and young people interact with their banks and credit unions by providing reward-based gamification and nudging users towards positive financial habits.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

Monday August 28 2017, Daily News Digest

artificial intelligence

News Comments Today’s main news: Blend lands $100M investment. Funding Circle achieves ISA manager status. Hive raises over $8M. Innovate UK invests 700K GBP in Paybase. China Life, Baidu launch $1B internet fund. Klarna’s profits increase 138 percent. Today’s main analysis: Bank of America Merrill Lynch to implement AI. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Congresswoman asks FDIC to hold public hearing on […]

artificial intelligence

News Comments

United StatesFlipkart, Amazon pose new competition for fintech lenders.

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Hit with Lawsuit (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) has been hit with a lawsuit that names former CEO Renaud Laplanche alongside current and former board members and former CFO Carrie Dolan. The complaint, filed in the Court of Chancery in Delaware, states;

“Throughout the period December 11, 2014 and continuing through May 9, 2016 (the “Relevant Period”), the Individual Defendants breached their fiduciary duties to LendingClub by failing to institute adequate internal controls regarding financial disclosures, related party transactions, and data integrity and security, all while causing LendingClub to represent in the Registration Statement and a series of subsequent filings that such controls were sufficient.”

The suit has been filed by two shareholders; Kelvin Farley and Jay Fink.

Waters Calls on FDIC to Hold Public Hearing on SoFi’s Application for Bank Charter (House.gov), Rated: AAA

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, sent a letter to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Martin Gruenberg, calling for the FDIC to hold at least one public hearing on Social Financial, Inc.’s (SoFi) application to establish an Industrial Loan Company (ILC).

In the letter, Ranking Member Waters states that changes in the financial services industry and financial regulation necessitate a public hearing to examine the policy and legal implications of granting federal deposit insurance to ILCs generally, as well as to obtain greater input on the unique risks posed by granting it to a financial technology (fintech) company like SoFi.

I am writing to request that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) hold at least one public hearing on Social Finance, Incorporated’s (“SoFi”) application to establish an industrial loan company (“ILC”) to provide FDIC-insured Negotiable Order of Withdrawal (“NOW”) accounts and credit card products. As you know, because de novo ILC formations have been affected by regulatory and statutory moratoria for several years, the FDIC has not approved a deposit insurance application for a new ILC charter for some time. Since the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”), changes in the financial regulatory regime and financial services industry justify a public hearing to examine the policy and legal implications of granting Federal deposit insurance to ILCs generally, as well as to obtain greater input on the unique risks posed by granting it to a financial technology (“fintech”) company like SoFi, a number of which I will discuss in more detail below.

Appropriate regulatory oversight of any ILC is an essential prerequisite to approving any application for deposit insurance backed by taxpayers. The FDIC has previously acknowledged the importance of strong oversight of any insured bank and its parent company when discussing oversight of ILCs.[1] In reaction to a number of concerns previously raised on the regulation of ILCs, the FDIC even went so far as imposing several moratoria on its ability to approve ILC applications for deposit insurance in 2006 and 2007 to, in the words of former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, “allow the FDIC to carefully weigh the safety and soundness concerns that have been raised regarding commercially-owned ILCs. At the same time… the moratorium provides an opportunity for Congress to consider the important public policy issues regarding the ownership of ILCs by commercial companies.”[2]

While some experts have touted the possibility that fintech firms can help promote financial inclusion, others have underscored the challenges posed for our current regulatory regime to oversee these types of companies and have underscored the need for policymakers to carefully evaluate the consequences of allowing them access to deposit insurance and the Federal Reserve discount window.[11] Thus, Federal regulators have taken a varying degree of actions focused on fintech companies and services. For example, while the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), under its “Responsible Innovation” initiative, has proposed a Special Purpose National Bank Charter for fintech companies (“fintech charter”)[12] questions have been raised about whether the benefits to consumers for this new charter will be widely and fairly shared, and whether there is adequate legal authority, let alone a clearly defined and modern regulatory framework, for such a fintech charter.[13] Indeed, a lawsuit has been filed by state banking regulators challenging the OCC’s authority.[14] As should be the case with the OCC and its proposal to use its authority to federally charter fintech companies, the FDIC should thoroughly consider the implications of offering access to the deposit insurance fund for ILCs that will result in expanding the type of institutions to it, like fintech firms. Fintech firms, whose operations cross state and international boundaries, and may exist entirely online, were undoubtedly beyond original congressional intent in permitting ILCs to access deposit insurance and it is appropriate for stakeholders to weigh in on whether it is appropriate for these firms to have this access without proper oversight of their parent companies.

The chartering of a fintech company as an ILC also raises a number of consumer protection concerns that the FDIC should consider. For example, the California Reinvestment Coalition (“CRC”) has opposed SoFi’s application on the basis of concerns with the institution’s Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) plan, as well as its intended approach to financial inclusion, fair lending, and consumer protection.[17] CRC notes that SoFi’s business model targets “students from elite universities that have strong earnings and wealth potential,” and offers products and services “designed to exclude working class households.” CRC also notes that SoFi’s CRA plan is grossly inadequate, considering that: (1) SoFi’s assessment area will be limited to areas in Utah, but the company will accept deposits and operate nationally; (2) SoFi’s current core products are not designed to serve the “convenience and needs” of low- and moderate-income (“LMI”) communities in which the bank would operate,[18] but rather are focused on serving SoFi’s members; and (3) SoFi’s CRA plan does not encompass measurable commitments to lending, investments, and services for LMI communities.

The full letter is here.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has become the latest bank to implement AI (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) has 

Bo Brustkern and Emmanuel Marot (Lend Academy), Rated: A

On this episode of the Lend Academy Podcast I brought together both CEOs to talk about this merger; what it means for their respective customers as well as the industry as a whole.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The original idea that led to the founding of both companies.
  • The strengths of both companies and why they are a complementary fit.
  • Why they decided to come together and merge companies now.
  • The scale and profitability of the combined company.
  • The unique aspects of the LendingRobot Series investment offering.
  • The platforms that the LendingRobot Series invests on.
  • The different funds that make up the Lending Robot Series.
  • The choices for non-accredited investors on the combined platform.
  • Their value proposition today for investors.
  • Who the target customer is today for the combined company.
  • How the two brands will operate going forward.
  • What the combined company will look like in 12 months time.
  • Where marketplace lending is going in the future.

LendKey, Earnest Alter Student Loan Refinancing Rates (LendEDU), Rated: A

Two student loan refinancing companies, LendKey and Earnest, have changed their student loan refinancing interest rates in recent weeks, according to LendEDU.

Effective August 10th, LendKey’s variable interest rate range for their student loan refinance product was altered slightly. LendKey, a leading lending partner of both banks and credit unions, now offers a variable rate range between 2.67 and 6.31 percent for student loan refinancing.

This new variable rates for LendKey mark an increase on both the low and high ends of the range. Previously, the online lending partner offered a variable interest rate range between 2.52 and 6.16 percent since June.

Online Mortgage Lender Blend Lands $ 100 Million Investment Led by Greylock (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Blend has landed a significant funding round to the tune of $100 million. The funding was led by Greylock Partners with participation by Emergence Capital. Existing investors joined in the round as well.

Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp Turn to Startup to Speed Up Mortgage Applications (WSJ), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp have signed deals with mortgage-software startup Blend Labs Inc. to move more of their loan applications online.

Ethereum-Based Invoice Finance Platform Hive Raises Over US$ 8 Million (Coin Journal), Rated: A

The Hive Project, which intends to build the world’s first cryptocurrency-based invoice financing platform, has raised 2,087 BTC, or over US$8.9 million, from 2,234 investors through its initial coin offering (ICO).

Using invoice finance, the business “sells” its outstanding invoices at a small discount to a financier. The business immediately receives up to 85% of the value of the invoice instead of having to wait the usual 30 to 90 days to get paid by customers.

Hive uses the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts to assign a unique fingerprint to every invoice issued. These invoices are then tokenized and published on a blockchain, and made available as a shared source of liquidity for factoring and invoice financing.

Debate on Regulatory Reform (PeerIQ), Rated: A

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon in his annual letter would agree that the banking system is safer and stronger today. Nevertheless, Mr. Dimon believes that economic growth and lending is below potential. For instance, JPM estimates $1 Tn in loans could have been generated in recent years generating an additional 50 bps in annual GDP growth thru regulatory reform.

The specific regulatory reform areas Mr. Dimon identified include:

  • Simplification of the annual stress-testing process
  • Release or enable banks to deploy excess capital towards small business loans, lower middle market, and near-prime mortgages
  • Rationalization of supplementary leverage ratios and operational risk capital
  • National servicing standards for the mortgage servicing market
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reform
  • Complete securitization standards to encourage private capital and reduce exposure to taxpayers

Role for 3rd party risk infrastructure to strengthen markets

Large banks are increasingly playing the role of financial intermediaries that connect non-banks to the capital markets. Banks are providing liquidity facilities (“lending to the lenders”) and capital-light securitization programs. Although Yellen is right that lending continues to grow, critically, the nexus of credit formation–including for a majority of personal loans, auto loans, student re-fi loans, and even mortgages–now takes place between a consumer and a non-bank.

Under this new landscape, the soft underbelly of the credit markets has shifted from bank wholesale funding to non-bank wholesale funding. And when investor confidence seizes, the transmission mechanism connecting policy to the real economy can break down. Spreads widen, funding costs increase, and markets freeze exactly when policymakers seek to ease financial conditions.

Q&A with Head of Alternative Lending at Fintech Marqeta (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Recently, Crowdfund Insider published an article about Marqeta signing a partnership with Visa on payments and loans. The marriage is designed boost innovations in commercial and consumer payments and online lending. Visa also made a strategic investment in Marqeta at that time to the tune of $25 million. Total investments in Marqeta now stand at over $70 million.

Isn’t this just all about borrowers getting a better interest rate [and investors earning more]?

Candace: Lenders are looking to increase renewals (repeat borrowers are easier to sell than new borrowers), beat out the stackers (top of wallet, top of mind) and decrease risk (new data on spending reduces risk for future loans). On the heels of 2016, these have become as important as the interest rate for the lender.

For the borrower, speed to funds has become increasingly important, and distributing loan funds to a  card allows a way to immediately spend the funds without waiting for the funds to be deposited into the borrower’s bank account.

If Credit Cards drop their rates then they can become competitive. For Visa to partner with Marqeta – isn’t it just how the debt is carried? For the consumer / business, they are indifferent?

Candace: The rates apply to the underlying loan per the agreement between the lender and the borrower, not to a prepaid card that is used to assist with making purchases. The prepaid card bears no interest charge. The terms for the loan (from which the loan proceeds are distributed to the card) continues as agreed upon between the lender and the borrower. That debt does not change.

How Riskalyze Won The Hearts Of Financial Advisors And Upgraded The Advice Industry (Benzinga), Rated: A

Ahead of Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein’s speaking engagement at the Benzinga Fintech Summit in San Francisco, Benzinga caught up with him to learn more about how the company is upgrading financial advice.

BZ: How did you go about identifying this need for financial advisors? What kind of research did you do?

What’s interesting is that we invented a new space. There was no risk-alignment platform that helped advisors do that. There were questionnaire products that answered half the question, there were a few portfolio analysis tools that would answer the other half, but we invented the concept of the risk number. We can help advisors pinpoint the client’s risk number and then we score portfolios using that number.

Klein: I’ll talk about the two different sides of the coin. A lot of the innovation was figuring out those sides of the coin and bridging the two together. On the one hand, we took some concepts that had really never made it out of academia and into everyday use. They’re centered around the economic framework called prospect theory, which won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2002. We took prospect theory and built a bunch of proprietary technology on top of it to understand how to move up and down a client’s personal financial spectrum to understand when they prefer risk and when they prefer certainty.

Once we do that, we built a mathematical formula behind the scenes that lets advisors turn that into the client’s risk number. That’s how the client-side works.

On the flip side, we need to match that up with a portfolio. So, the inputs for that piece of the technology are largely market data. We effectively take daily pricing data for nearly a quarter-million securities — every U.S. stock, ETF, mutual fund, variable-annuity sub accounts, SMA third-party money managers, proprietary non-traded strategies, all kinds of different products. We take all the data for those, we have new data streaming into our systems every night on those securities.

 

This Week In Retail: Funding, Finance And Tech (PYMNTS), Rated: A

This week in retail, we’ve seen news coming in from multiple sides, including that of Apple’s projected increase in smartwatch salesU.K. online lender Prodigy’s funding news for expansion into the U,S.,  Walmart’s two new partnership announcements, and the news that the CFPB is ordering American Express to pay out money to those hurt by unfair practices.

American Express is in the hot seat this week as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered the credit card company to pay out a very large amount to consumers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s being confirmed that over a 10-year period, American Express  provided inferior card offerings to people in those territories than what was being offered in the U.S.

Here are the numbers:

  • $240 million | Amount Prodigy Finance raised in its venture capital equity funding round
  • $96 million | Amount CFPB ordered American Express to pay out to affected Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands consumers
  • $200 | Starting point for potential Walmart installment loans

5 Trends That are Changing the Millennial Economy (Huffington Post), Rated: A

According to statistics from the U.S. census bureau, Millennials make up about 83 million of the nation’s current population. The unique experiences of the Millennials will shape the way we buy and sell, forcing companies and businesses to adjust their business strategy for decades to come.

For example, a growing number of Millennials are choosing to live with their parents. They have been reluctant to buy items such as cars, music, and luxury goods. Luxuries that used to be important for previous generations are not as important for Millennials. They are reshaping the real estate market and are responsible for the growth of the sharing economy.

A recent survey of Interns conducted by Goldman Sachs in 2013, found out that 30% of millennials do not intend to purchase a car in the future. 25% said they will only buy one if there is a need for it, otherwise they are indifferent. Another 25% said buying a car is important but not a big priority. 15% said purchasing a car is extremely important. And the last 5% do not feel strongly about it.

recent report shows that student loans have increased by 84% over ten years with an average student having a loan balance of $29,000.

How to choose and switch to a better bank for you (WPXI), Rated: B

Online banks are now offering much higher rates on savings accounts — significantly higher than the current rates at traditional, bigger banks. So with that in mind, why not just move your savings to take advantage of the bigger return?

To give you some context, online bank ally recently increased the rates on its savings accounts to 1.15% — while the rate on a regular savings account at Bank of America currently sits at only 0.01%.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle receives ISA manager status (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has received ISA manager status from the HMRC, Peer2Peer Finance News can reveal.

Approval was granted in July, less than two months after the platform won full FCA authorisation.

However, the platform has no immediate plans to launch its IFISA product, telling customers earlier this week that it intended to roll out the tax-free investment wrapper “before the end of the tax year.”

How Funding Circle is helping small businesses face the challenges of Brexit (Prospect Magazine), Rated: A

Fast forward to today, we’ve originated over £3.2 billion worth of loans through the platform. In the UK, that lending has helped create about 60 thousand jobs, and the £2.5 billion of loans has created about £5 billion of GDP or gross economic value added, according to an independent survey by the Centre for Economics Business Research.

In fact, we think we make up about 2 per cent of the total money that’s going to gross-lending small businesses. And if you actually look at the money going into the economy, we make up about a third of net new lending— which is the preferred Bank of England measure. We did about 300 million versus 600 million in the entire banking system in the first half of this year.

Say a small business decides to come to you: what is it they’re getting that they don’t get with a bank?

We turn around loan applications specifically within 24 hours. We are better in that we give better service; everyone can find an account manager.

We’re cheaper, in that our prices are very, very competitive, and often we’re often providing cheaper loans than businesses would be able to get at the bank. We also don’t have the overheads that banks have.

We all know that Brexit is going to shake up the financial sector. What can Funding Circle do to help businesses rise to the challenge?

Net lending by banks fell by 220 million in Q4 last year. Ours actually rose to 167 million.

On top of that, we’ve also had large insurance companies like Aegon, which is a big Dutch insurer, commit to fund £160 million in year one, but actually committed over a four-year period to purchase our loans. The fact a large foreign insurer would want to do that shows that actually, despite Brexit, there’s a vote of confidence in the UK economy, particularly in small business.

FinTech startup Paybase gets £700,000 from Innovate UK (UK Tech), Rated: AAA

London-based FinTech startup Paybase has received a grant of almost £700,000 from innovation agency Innovate UK.

Expected to launch later this year, Paybase has developed an ‘end-to-end solution for payments, compliance and risk’, which can be accessed through a unified API.

Why P2P is still the crowd despite passive lending (AltFi), Rated: A

There’s been much collective gnashing of teeth over the last few months at the evolution of peer to peer lending, as practised by ZopaRatesetter and most latterly Funding Circle. The big bone of contention has been a shift amongst all three – with FC falling into line just a matter of days ago – to a passive lending model. This means that lenders on said platforms now lend passively to a full slice of borrowers rather than picking their borrowers individually. To the critics this implies that the traditional peer to peer (P2P) model is slowly dying out. If you’re not lending to your peers, don’t you just sound like any other finance business such as a bank?

I’m not convinced by this criticism. Collectively a crowd – many peers – are still lending to another crowd, but just in a format that looks closer to a passive, collective fund basis rather than one on one. There is no bank balance sheet lurking around and the ‘crowd’ still sets the rate at which it’s happy to lend. Credit scoring has always been a feature of all the platforms, whether they be ‘pure’ P2P or passive P2P. Someone, somewhere at the centre of the online marketplace needs to set the lending criteria and make decisions about who to lend to.

What about peer to peer? (Library of Things), Rated: A

In this week’s bonus episode co-founder Emma looks at the sharing economy, peer to peer lending, and explains why Library of Things have chosen to operate from a physical space.

Listen to the podcast here.

How Risky Is Borrowing Money Online Through Peer-to-peer Lending (FX Daily Report), Rated: B

It is almost true that borrowing money from traditional financial institutions is a thing of the past.

It has been observed that P2P online lending platforms are not the source of the problem or the risk. However, it seems to be the ease with which loans are available that causes the problems.

Online P2P lenders also offer student loans. It is very important to realize that student loans these days are available everywhere. But what is ultimately the truth is that the loans are burdensome. Any student that avails of such a P2Ponline student loan emerges as a graduate burdened with a heavy debt.

If an individual wants to apply for a P2P online loan, it is best to start with checking credit reports. It is a good idea to fix any errors that may be found on these reports. Otherwise, the interest rates may be hiked up. It is also a good idea to do some research prior to applying for the loan. It is worthwhile to find out as to which lender offers a lower rate of interest even if they fall outside the ring of online P2P lenders. Never decide on which loan to pick up by looking at the monthly amount to be paid. The total amount that you are going to repay and the time period of the repayment are the more important factors to be considered. This gives the total cost of the loan.

China

Big banks strike partnerships with technology companies as part of fintech wave (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

Bank of Communications, the nation’s fifth biggest lender, joined with Suning Holdings and its financial affiliate Suning Finance as strategic partners last week, the latest of the big five banks to ally with internet firms.

So far, all big-five banks, accounting for more than one-third of China’s banking assets, have allied with technology giants.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China allied with e-commerce major JD.com for cooperation in sectors including fintech, retail financing, corporate credit and asset management. Agricultural Bank of China agreed to work together with dominant search engine operator Baidu. Bank of China and Tencent Holdings jointly set up a fintech lab, focusing on cloud computing, big data, block chain and artificial intelligence.

Earlier this month, mid-sized Industrial Bank and JD.com’s financial affiliate JD Finance launched a debit card in Beijing and most cities in affluent Zhejiang province.

China Life and Baidu to launch $ 1 billion internet fund (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China Life Insurance Group Co and Baidu Inc will form a 7 billion yuan ($1 billion) private equity fund, targeting internet and other technology investments, China Life’s listed arm said on Thursday.

The Baidu Fund Partnership will be capitalized by China Life through a special partnership, which will contribute up to 5.6 billion yuan, China Life Insurance Co Ltd said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange statement.

Baidu, the Chinese language internet search provider, will contribute as much as 1.4 billion yuan.

Ant Financial’s “TechFin” vs JD Finance’s “FinTech” (ASEAN Today), Rated: A

Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services Group and JD Finance are at loggerheads in the Chinese, and increasingly, global e-commerce scene. In 2015, JD Finance recommended the use of “FinTech.” In December 2016, Ma Yun coined the ”TechFin” as a rebuttal, and as a show of thought leadership.

Ant Financial’s unveiling of “TechFin” shows the firm’s focus on building technology rather than financial products.

Critics believe there is not much difference between TechFin and FinTech. Critics believe Ant Financial coined TechFin to gain a foothold from the conceptual standpoint; a counteroffensive to JD Finance’s aggressive marketing of FinTech. This is inevitable considering “FinTech” as a term already achieved credibility within the finance and other related industries.

Ant Financial and JD Finance are more complementary than competitive

Onlookers see Ant Financial and JD Finance as longstanding rivals. JD.com’s recent sale of JD Finance for US$2.1 billion in cash was seen part of a deal to spin off its burgeoning finance arm and raise its game against Ant Financial.

Ant Financial focuses on the traditional model of the Internet while JD Finance focuses on product innovation, for a start. Each business model has its advantages.

Ant Financial also seeks to leverage on Ant Check Later (花呗), a virtual credit card, to open up a whole new road map for credit distribution in Internet finance. In contrast, JD Finance aims to boost user’s consumption through its products. Its Jingxiaodai (京小贷) appeals to merchants who need fuss-free and almost instant access to credit.

European Union

Klarna just posted some impressive half-year figures — profits soar by 138 percent (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Swedish e-invoicing giant posted 2,05 billion Swedish crowns ($254,2m) in revenue for the first two quarters of 2017. Meanwhile, operating profits jumped to 228 million ($28m) from last year’s 96 million ($11,9m), reports tech site Di Digital.

Yesterday, Breakit reported that the company is teaming up with Stripeto boost growth in the U.S.

Credit Suisse Eyes 2018 Launch for Blockchain Loans Platform (Coindesk), Rated: AAA

A group of banks led by Credit Suisse is eyeing the launch of a commercial platform for blockchain-based syndicated loans, according to reports.

The group involved finished the second phase of their testing in March.

Using smart contracts to reduce those turnaround times could increase the market’s appeal to potential lenders and investors, according to Aidoo.

Worldcore Payment Institution Announces ICO (Coin Idol), Rated: A

Worldcore announces an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), as part of their wider expansion plans.

The company envisions to become a worldwide reference for the financial tomorrow, by integrating its successful payment solution into the blockchain sector of economy.

Worldcore ICO starts on October 14 of 2017. In total, a maximum supply of one billion WRC tokens at $0.10 USD each, will be available for purchase.

Corlytics named by Allen & Overy in its regtech programme (Finextra), Rated: B

Magic Circle law firm, Allen & Overy, has named Corlytics as one of the eight companies selected to move into its Fuse programme. Fuse is a newly launched innovation space where its lawyers and technology firms team up to develop legal, regulatory and deal-related improvements.

International

Ten Fintech Conferences to Attend This Fall (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

FinovateFall

When: Sept 11-14, 2017
Where: New York City Hilton Midtown
Link:  /> Discount code: F17FALLLAT

LendIt Europe 2017

When: Oct 9-10, 2017
Where: London
Link:  /> Discount code: LENDACADEMYVIP

American Banker’s Digital Lending & Investing

When: November 2-3, 2017
Where: New York, NY
Link: 

AltFi Global Summit

When: November 7, 2017
Where: Amsterdam
Link: 

Marketplace Lending & Alternative Financing Summit 2017

When: December 3-5, 2017
Where: Dana Point, CA
Link: 

This event is put on by the Opal Group and is the only west coast event this fall. This is its second year and while I did not attend last year I heard it was a good event with a focus on the investor side of marketplace lending.

Digital Banking – Old Wine in New Bottle? (Fintech Weekly), Rated: A

There was a time when digital banking was perceived as synonymous with online banking and mobile banking. Financial services industry, along with other sectors, is experiencing an explosion of digitization thanks to smartphones, tablets and access to affordable high-speed internet. The number of smart phone users is expected to equal the number of bank accounts in near future as all mobile users link their bank accounts to their smart phone and get onboard with mobile-based digital wallets and savings platform.

Given this, it is imperative to take a fresh look at whether digital banking means the same as it did a decade ago – both for banks as well as customers – especially since there does not seem to be a consensus on the definition of ‘digital banking’.

Customers today do not have the patience to navigate through multiple screens. They do not want to fill the same KYC details over and over for each product. Presenting paperwork at the branch to support an online application is a big no-no. They expect to resume the application they started on Smart phone on their home computer and may want to talk to the customer care executive on phone while doing that. They do not want to be bothered with cold calls and random sales pitches; they prefer to see only personalized and contextual cross-sell offers with direct purchase links. In short, digital customer today wants one-touch, one-click, personalized and integrated user experience across channels.

On the flip side, while customers enjoy the convenience of digital banking for routine tasks, they also want to continue using the branch when they need some face time with a seamless switch between digital and personal interaction. They do not want to forego the privilege of walking into the local branch despite being able to do all their banking via the web or smartphone.

Australia/New Zealand

Fintech startup shares $ 7m of investment (NZ Adviser), Rated: AAA

Since its launch in June, fintech startup Ilumony has reported more than $7 million in financial investments. Of the $7 million, it has charged no fees for advice on $1 million worth of customer KiwiSaver money.

India

Fintech lenders have new competition: Flipkart and Amazon (The-Ken), Rated: AAA

Though Flipkart launched in 2007, it was only in 2013 that e-commerce really took off in India. That was the year Amazon entered India through a marketplace model, and Flipkart too launched its own marketplace model.

From selling smartphones, books, and apparel to customers, the two of them now started offering warehouses, packaging, and logistics to sellers.

No Flipkart or Amazon for EzCred; this startup wants to pursue offline shoppers (India Times), Rated: A

When ecommerce companies like Flipkart and Amazon wanted to expand to the nooks and corners of the country, they borrowed the idea and recently started offering “No cost EMI” option on selected products. Taking a step further, you now have many fintech companies that have lined up on ecommerce platforms to offer loans to consumers.

Launched in January 2017, EzCred is an alternate lending startup which offers loans to consumers who walk into shop at offline stores.

“Offline is a much larger play than online. A majority of transactions are still done offline,” says Maheshwari.

The startup now has plans to roll out an app for customers to enable them to apply for loans directly. The platform has a credit assessment system which enables the startup to assess the borrowers’ repayment capabilities. This involves various data sources like the borrowers’ CIBIL score, bank statements, information provided by customers, which are then matched with the credit policy of EzCred.

India’s draft data protection law to hinge on user consent; will be ready only next year (Factor Daily), Rated: A

A draft data protection law, which is at the core of the Indian government’s stance that Aadhaar does not violate citizen privacy, will have user consent as its mainstay with a few exceptions.

The draft legislation is expected to be ready in about a year.

This was revealed in interviews with a member of the committee set up by the government to come up with the draft framework — B N Srikrishna, a former Supreme Court judge who is heading it, and a second person with knowledge of the committee’s thinking.

P2P lenders may be allowed to operate offline (The Hindu BusinessLine), Rated: A

In a bid to impart vibrancy to the fledgling peer-to-peer (P2P) lending space and also further the cause of financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India is believed to be looking at allowing players in the sector to have an offline presence besides an online one.

On-the-ground presence may help the platforms reach out to those who are currently not being served by banks/non-banking finance companies and also help break the vice-like grip of money lenders on local lending, especially in rural areas and small towns.

Asia

Why e-commerce firms could replace banks as the region’s leading lenders (Southeast Asia Globe), Rated: A

Peer to peer lending (P2P lending) first entered the wider public’s consciousness when it rose from the ashes of the global financial crisis in 2007. By cutting out traditional intermediaries, such as banks, the lending platforms, were able to offer borrowers lower interest rates and lenders higher returns. They were populist alternatives to the casino capitalism that had brought Wall Street to its knees.

According to a 2015 report by Deloitte, in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand there exists “a clear disparity between what SMEs want and expect from banks and what the banks can deliver”. In Indonesia, the report found as few as 6% of SMEs were able to access bank loans.

Recent statistics from the Asian Development Bank show that the situation is similar in Myanmar, which the bank says suffers from a $2 billion shortage in available credit, a shortfall that Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money, attributes to the country’s excessively cautious banking regulations.

According to data from Singapore-based venture capital fund Dymon Asia Ventures, less than 0.1% of loans in the region currently originate from P2P lending sources, compared with 10% in China and 2-3% in the UK and US. There is, therefore, sufficient growth potential for the Southeast Asian P2P lending market.

Peer-to-peer lending bears risk of bad debt (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Despite the rising trend of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in Indonesia, an economist believes that online-based businesses have increased risk of bad debt if the lenders ignore the importance of supervision.

The credit application mechanism in P2P lending is risky. There is no integrated costumer blacklist data-base like in the banking industry, said Samuel Aset Manajemen economist Lana Soelistianingsih said in Jakarta on Friday.

Moreover, she said P2P lending offered annual interest rates of up to 18.5 percent to investors, adding that such aggressive offers could increase the risk of business failure.

Canada

FLINKS PARTNERS WITH MERCHANT ADVANCE CAPITAL (Betakit), Rated: B

Flinks, a financial API for banks and credit unions, announced a partnership with Merchant Advance Capital, an online lender for small and medium-sized businesses.

Merchant Advance Capital partnered with Flinks to reduce loan approval time for its customers. Flinks will allow Merchant Advance Capital to connect its app directly with customers’ banks, allowing the company to validate account ownership, account balances, and transaction histories.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor