Thursday October 4 2018, Daily News Digest

Wealthfront clients who engage with Path save 28% more

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle tumbles. SoFi partners with Kukun. Petal raises $34M on launch day. China is losing its grip on P2P lending risks. ID Finance Mexico profitable after 8 months. Today’s main analysis: Wealthfront: Clients who engage with automated financial advisors save more. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The difference between LendingClub’s, Funding Circle’s valuations. Venture capital investment […]

Wealthfront clients who engage with Path save 28% more

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United States

Lending Club weighs in on Funding Circle’s float (Altfi News) Rated: AAA

Funding Circle’s landmark float is done. Its shares are now trading on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

The stock closed at 364p yesterday, down almost 20 per cent. This was the result of trading during the period between its float last Friday and the stock’s official market debut yesterday.

Having first narrowed its share price to 440-460p per share, Funding Circle ultimately raised £300m at a valuation of around £1.5bn, approximately 15 times its 2017 revenues of £95m.

In an interview, Lending Club’s communications lead Anuj Nayar pointed to what he sees as an ‘incredible difference’ in the way that Funding Circle and Lending Club are currently valued.

SoFi Forms New Partnership With Kukun to Help Homeowners Understand the Remodeling Cost (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, online lending platform SoFi announced it has formed a new partnership with home improvement platform Kukun to offer advanced new tools to help homeowners gain a greater understanding of how much their home improvement project could cost and how it can affect the resale value of their home.

SoFi reported that the tools will help homeowners estimate costs and returns on investment for over 28 project types that range in price from $10,000 to $300,000, including renovations and expansions. These are notably the first tools SoFi is offering related to its home improvement loans. Financial calculators that are built by Kukun are notably based on highly normalized and granular property condition marketplace data, in addition to normalized construction permit data (fresh and historic), as well as customer intent from the Kukun marketplace

Petal Card Announces $ 34 Million Round on Launch Day (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Petal, a startup aims to deliver on what we’ve often called the real promise of fintech: financial inclusion. The company describes itself as “credit with a conscience” and announced a new fundraising round of $34 million on the same day that they officially launched their credit card product to the public. Backing the vision is Jefferies and Silicon Valley Bank.

The funding will aid the roll-out to a waitlist which includes 100,000 people. The card is aimed at the tens of millions of Americans who have no credit score at all or a short credit history.

Wealthfront Research Shows Clients Who Regularly Engage With Automated Financial Advice Save More (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Today, Wealthfront released the 2018 Savings Report detailing the impact their automated advice engine, Path, has on their clients’ savings patterns. In the last year, the company has observed that consistent engagement with Path correlates with a 28% increase in a client’s savings rate. For a 32-year-old client with a $130,000 income and $100,000 in savings, this could mean an additional $1.25 million dollars at retirement.

Source: Wealthfront

Wealthfront’s goal is to fully automate financial decisions to what some people have called, “self-driving money.” Clients will be able to automatically deposit their paycheck into their Wealthfront account and the company will route their money appropriately based on the lifestyle and goals they’ve set. Bills will be automatically paid, emergency funds and 401(k)s will be topped off and Wealthfront will invest the rest in the most tax efficient way. To date the company offers a suite of automated financial planning, investment management and banking related services. To read the full report visit  to start saving and investing today download the app on iOS or Android.

Worldwide Business with kathy ireland Discusses Blockchain Empowered Real Estate Lending with Lending Coin (Digital Journal) Rated: A

Worldwide Business with kathy ireland is pleased to announce an exclusive interview with The Lending Coin’s CEO Sam Warren and CMO Mindy Ngo to discuss their new real estate blockchain program.

“We provide peer-to-peer lending around the world,” says Ngo. “By using the blockchain, we don’t have high overhead costs or errors like traditional financing. That’s why we are able to offer such low interest rates.”

Backed by Popular Bank, the platform is fully operational. With Highly experienced private banking professionals and dedicated office suites in each of its principal New York and Miami markets, the Popular private client program is well-positioned to cater to current and prospective clients.

U.S. Small Business Lending Keeps Rolling in August, According to PayNet (Business Wire) Rated: A

Small business lending continued its blistering pace in August, according to the latest Strategic Insights Report from PayNet, the leading provider of small business credit data and analysis. The Thomson Reuters / PayNet Small Business Lending Index (SBLI) seasonally adjusted originations increased 7% from 145.1 in July 2018 to 154.7 in August 2018, its second-highest reading ever. Year-over-year, the index is up 16%, marking its 11th consecutive increase over the prior year and the fourth double-digit year-over-year gain in the last five months. The rolling three-month index at 148.3 is relatively flat compared to July 2018 but is up 12% on the year.

The SBLI remained above 140 for the eighth consecutive month. The majority of industries experienced lending growth on an annual basis in August, led by Transportation & Warehousing (+20.4% Y/Y) and Mining (+9.7% Y/Y). Lending in Arts & Entertainment (+4.6% Y/Y) climbed to an all-time high in August, and more than half of industries achieved index readings in the top 25th percentile of all readings since 2005. Construction (+8.0% Y/Y) saw its strongest annual growth since November 2016 (despite weakening residential investment) due to strong investment in commercial and industrial structures. Regionally, lending increased across all ten of the largest states in August, continuing the widespread expansion seen in July. On an annual basis, regional growth was led by Texas (+15.3% Y/Y), Illinois (+12.3% Y/Y), North Carolina (+9.9% Y/Y) and Michigan (+9.4% Y/Y) — each of which saw lending reach record highs in August. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania (+7.9% Y/Y) and New York (+6.2% Y/Y) experienced their fastest year-over-year growth since mid-2015.

Making business analytics as easy to use as a smartphone (American Banker) Rated: A

A constant drumbeat in banking is that businesses require ever more data analytics to remain informed and competitive. Yet Envestnet|Yodlee acknowledged its data offerings were out of tune with customer expectations.

Its Envestnet Envision IQ platform, launched in May, offered up a variety of information concerning a bank’s customers and products, but it had no focus, according to a top executive at the data aggregator.

Branch managers will be able to create their own “playlist” of questions to be answered daily, he said, and the system will record and categorize questions asked into favorited questions and most-asked questions.

Source: American Banker

NetSuite angles for speed-to-market advantage over fintechs (American Banker) Rated: A

The biggest bank technology providers are revamping their most popular platforms to offer new features and reach more financial service sectors — all in the name of protecting market share from insurgent fintechs and pivoting peers.

Oracle joined the fray last week, announcing it was adding banking as a service to NetSuite, the venerable cloud-based enterprise resource planning platform it acquired for $9.3 billion in 2016.

San Jose, San Francisco and Boston are the Best Places for Boomer Entrepreneurs (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Key findings

  • San Jose – the seat of the Silicon Valley – is by far the best place for boomer entrepreneurs, with a final score of 93.6. In addition to representing high business income, San Jose boasts the largest share of boomer business founders.
  • San Francisco comes in second with a score of 86.5, thanks to remarkable earnings potential, relative to the other metros on the list, indicating that boomers are sharing in the general prosperity of self-employed entrepreneurs there.
  • Boston earned the third place on the list, with a score of 74.1.
  • New OrleansMiami and Orlando ranked last on the list, with scores of 16.4, 20.5 and 21.1, respectively.

See the full study here.

U.S. Bank Simple Loan 2018 Review (Nerdwallet) Rated: A

Cost: The Simple Loan costs $12 for every $100 borrowed, which translates into an annual percentage rate of 71%. That’s much cheaper than typical payday loans, where the average rate is 391%, and it’s due after three months, not the two-week cycle that is common of payday loans.

Auto-pay discount: U.S. Bank allows both auto-payments and manual payments. Manual payments cost extra, $15 per $100 borrowed, which is equal to 88% APR.

Payments are reported to the credit bureaus, so your score can increase if you make on-time payments.

RPA: the new tech transforming banking (Kyron Systems email) Rated: A

The number of U.S. banks has almost halved since 2007, from 8,400 to about 5,500 in 2017, and the reason is that it costs more. Rising AML and KYC compliance costs combined with regulatory fines are continuously putting banks out of business, especially small banks; U.S. Fed research indicates that adding just two new employees to a small bank’s compliance team would make a third of these banks unprofitable.

In response, banks are turning to a new field of virtual assistants: RPA, which stands for ‘robotic process automation’ but there are no actual, physical robots, rather virtual bots that run in the background on employee computers, learning what processes the bots can do instead, and then doing exactly that. Although RPA is being implemented in almost every industry, it dovetails particularly well with banking because there are so many repetitive processes that can be automated, everything from risk exposure calculations to compliance reports.

More information on RPA can be found here.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Closes Subsequent SNF Portfolio Financing for Granite Investment Group (Business Wire) Rated: B

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent on the funding of a $28 million senior credit facility for Granite Investment Group (“Granite”). Secured by three skilled nursing facilities in Texas, the funds refinanced existing debt and provided a dividend for investors. White Oak recently announced it financed a separate portfolio of four skilled nursing facilities in Texas for Granite.

“We are happy to have had another opportunity to work with Granite. This transaction materialized as an opportunity to provide a bridge-to-HUD financing for an under-levered portfolio. As an active lender in the space, we can optimize our offerings to meet each company’s unique business needs,” said Isaac Soleimani, Managing Director and Partner at White Oak.

Granite Investment Group is a privately held, real estate investment firm focused on multi-family, senior housing, and post-acute care.

Volunteer Organization Tackling the Crippling Student Debt Facing Americans (Crazy Good Turns email) Rated: B

A new non-profit, Shared Harvest Fund has created an impactful way to pay down student debt.  Shared Harvest Fund has created a program that partners non-profit organizations in need of workers, with students looking to not only pay down their debt, but do something with purpose as well.  Once the connection is made, students volunteer a set amount of hours per month, and the non-profit organization in turn sends a check directly to the lender of the student’s choice.

The founders of Shared Harvest Fund; Dr. Briana DeCuir, Dr. Joanne Moreau and Dr. NanaEfua B.A.M,  will be featured on the October 17th Crazy Good Turns podcast, a non-profit podcast that shines a light on people and organizations making a positive impact in the world, to share the in’s and out’s of their platform and discuss in detail how students looking to pay down debt—or non-profits looking for volunteers—can be a part of the Shared Harvest Fund community.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • The founders discuss how and why they created the platform
  • The negative physical and mental consequences that carrying debt has on borrowers and the positive effects of volunteering to help others.
  • How unaware most students are about the length of time it takes to pay off student loans.
  • How corporations can increase their corporate responsibilities goals by supporting the Shared Harvest Fund.

Early-Stage Financial Technology Firms to Benefit from TransUnion and FinTech Sandbox Partnership (Business Wire) Rated: B

FinTech Sandbox today announced it has entered into a partnership with TransUnion to help early-stage financial technology firms launch in the marketplace. As part of the partnership, TransUnion’s Startup Credit Kit will enable startups to test business model concepts and refine their go-to-market strategies.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle rallies as it makes official market debut (The Telegraph) Rated: AAA

Shares in Funding Circle rallied as it made its official market debut on the London Stock Exchange today, in a move likely to quell fears over market uncertainty.

The peer-to-peer lender tumbled as much as 8pc in the company’s first official day of trading, falling well below the 440p per share it had floated at last week, before later jumping back up.

Around 20pc had been wiped off their value during conditional trading, which began last Friday and ran through to Tuesday evening. Shares dropped as low as 340p on Wednesday, before later rising to 390p.

Intrust Bank driving small business opportunities with Funding Circle partnership (Witchita Business Journal) Rated: A

The original partnership was announced in January. It expanded in June and Intrust increased its commitment to more than 500 loans.

Brian Heinrichs, CFO at Intrust, says the bank is now at around 400 of those commitments, though he declined to say what amount of lending that represented for the bank.

Heinrichs says Intrust is the only bank partnered in such a way with U.K.-based Funding Circle.

Funding Circle’s Desai makes top 10 of ‘Tech 100’ list (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

FUNDING Circle’s chief executive Samir Desai has been named as one of the top 10 most influential people in the British tech industry.

The peer-to-peer pioneer appears alongside fellow fintech leaders such as Starling Bank chief executive Anne Boden, and Tom Blomfield, chief executive of Monzo.

The Tech 100 list is compiled by Business Insider and aims to celebrate “the 100 coolest and most ground-breaking people in the UK tech industry over the past 12 months”.

British banks shudder at Goldman Marcus launch (financial Times) Rated: A

Marcus by Goldman Sachs recently launched in the UK and the biggest high street banks are only beginning to grapple with what the new competitor means for the market.  Marcus has seen significant success in the U.S. market and is hoping to bring that to the UK, they currently have a savings rate offer 3 times the traditional powers and have plans to launch more products soon.

The news is not all bad for high street powers as data has shown customers thus far have stayed loyal to their bank and regulations around use of deposits make it a bit trickier for Marcus to repeat their U.S. model.

Keith Horowitz, analyst at Citigroup, tells the FT where the biggest opportunity could exist, “The big key for Goldman ultimately is customer data, that’s the holy grail for banking, creating an open financial marketplace platform that can also utilise their huge balance sheet.”

Orca Money opening up the peer-to-peer lending market to investors (Proactive Investors) Rated: A

LendInvest announce new bridging rate cuts (Property Reporter) Rated: A

Online property finance platform, LendInvest, has announced that it has cut rates across its Bridging product range and introduced a new Bridge to Term transition service.

The lender has cut rates on its Residential and Commercial Bridging, Development Exit and Auction Finance products. Monthly interest rates now start from 0.55% for Residential Bridging, Auction and Development Exit and 0.79% for Commercial Bridging.

A new Bridge to Term service has also been introduced that offers borrowers looking to purchase residential property at auction, undertake refurbishment or carry out minor development the opportunity to then switch to one of LendInvest’s Buy-to-Let mortgages.

Property Fintech LendInvest Adds CFO to Board of Directors (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

LendInvest, an online lending platform for property finance, has announced the addition of Chief Financial Officer, Angelie Panteli, to the board of directors.

China

China doesn’t yet have a grip on P2P lending risks (East Asia Forum) Rated: AAA

China’s online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms have been falling like dominos. This has sparked investor panic, exposing deeper risks long hidden in China’s shadow finance sector. It is yet to be seen if Chinese regulators will be able to manage the risks and effectively regulate P2P in the same way they have done in other areas of shadow banking.

Shadow banking from institutions supervised by empowered central regulators is shrinking. One of the best ways to measure shadow credit funded by banks is through their lending to non-bank financial institutions. It rose 80 per cent year-on-year in February 2016, but over the last year has shrunk by 4 per cent.

The number of surviving P2P platforms has been on a gradual decline since November 2015, but regulators were caught off guard when failures suddenly accelerated in mid-June 2018. Investors began to panic and tried to pull their money out, sparking yet more failures. Many protested for government help when they found that their savings had been stolen or sunk into bad loans.

Outstanding loans then plummeted by 300 billion RMB (US$44 billion), from 1.3 trillion RMB (US$190 billion) to just under 1 trillion RMB (US$146 billion). They fell again in August, but the outflows and failures moderated. The storm may have passed, leaving most platforms intact for now.

European Union

German Challenger Bank Kontist Secures Series A Investment (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Kontist, a Berlin-based challenger bank, announced on Tuesday it secured a Series A investment to expand the financial services available to freelancers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. The round was led by Haufe Group, one of Germany’s providers of digital workplace solutions and services with participation from existing investor Danish company builder, Founders.

International

VC Investment in Blockchain Startups Is Up 280% So Far This Year (CoinDesk) Rated: AAA

As the crypto industry sees a decline in initial coin offerings (ICOs) amid regulatory concerns and major losses across token markets, traditional VC investment is once more on the rise.

In its latest report, blockchain research group Diar reports that blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused startups have raised nearly $3.9 billion through VC investments in the first three quarters of the year – that up 280 percent when compared to the whole of 2017, it says.

Based on data from Pitchbook, the report indicates that number of deals also nearly doubled this year.

Source: CoinDesk

Alongside the increase in VC deals, the average size of crypto and blockchain investments has increased by over $1 million in 2018. Ten of the largest blockchain and crypto investments in 2018 saw the recipient companies raise more than $1.3 billion in total venture capital. While one of the firms has a native token (DFINITY), the rest represent equity investment, says Diar.

Source: CoinDesk

Tencent-backed mobile bank N26 launches in the UK and plans US expansion by early 2019 (CNBC) Rated: A

German app-only bank N26 has launched in the U.K. and is eyeing another expansion to the U.S. in the first quarter of 2019.

The Berlin-based firm, which is backed by Chinese tech giant Tencent, German insurer Allianz and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, said on Thursday that its services are now available in Britain, on a limited basis.

Initially, a select number of “early adopters” will be given access to the app in the U.K. More than 50,000 people who have signed up to a waiting list for the U.K. launch will be on-boarded on a phased basis, and a broader launch is planned for next month.

India

Here is Why Flipkart is Keen to Enter the Financial Services Sector (Entrepreneur) Rated: AAA

Looks the Indian startup’s ecosystem is smitten by the opportunities fintech industry is benefiting of. No wonder, we have unicorn startup companies such as the Flipkart looking into tap the market.

Market buzz says that Flipkart is in the middle applying for an NBFC license to extend the line of credit to its sellers and customers. With time, it would expand its financial services offerings beyond its e-commerce platform.

The credit problem in India is beyond surreal. For example, the small and medium enterprises sector (SMEs), which contributes between 30-40 per cent in the country’s GDP, suffers majorly because of its unattended financing need and the gap is as big as around USD 650 billion.

Giving an example of the consumer lending space, Gaurav Chopra, Founder & CEO, IndiaLends says this segment is expected to be a USD 1.2 trillion opportunity for the organised lenders, implying a 22 per cent compound annual growth rate over the next three years.

Credit Card EMI vs P2P Loan: Which one should you opt for? (Economic Times) Rated: A

Credit cards can be extremely handy when it comes to making an impulsive high-ticket purchase. All you have to do is to flash the card and walk away with your purchase. Many credit card companies would immediately offer you an option to pay back the money in equated monthly instalments or EMIs.

Compared to credit cards, personal loans can be cheaper. “Credit cards can charge somewhere around 0.1% every day. Making the annual charges go up to 36% in some cases,” says Tanwir Alam, Founder & CEO, Fincart.

P2P loans, unlike the usual bank loans, offer short-term tenures starting 3-36 months and can be looked as an alternative to credit cards, depending on the requirement of the borrower. The interest rates are anywhere between 12 and 28%.

Aadhaar verdict sends fintech players back to the drawing board (The Week) Rated: A

The recent Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar may bring in tough times for the fintech companies who used to conduct eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer) via Aadhaar. Not mandating Aadhaar for the verification process has sent some fintech players back to the drawing board to work out strategies for physical verification, which is usually a time-consuming and expensive process. Experts and industry representatives with whom THE WEEK spoke to feel that verification of customers will eventually move to a traditional mode of verifying individuals through physical ID proof.

Bhavin Patel, CEO and co-founder of LenDenClub, a P2P digital lending platform, says that a physical KYC check takes around 24 hours or more now in an ideal scenario and this change in processing will result in longer disbursal time and higher cost for the consumer.

Asia

VN Central Bank working on framework for P2P lending (Vietnam Net) Rated: AAA

Anh spoke at a recent workshop on international experiences in P2P lending held in Ha Noi with the participation of more than 100 representatives, including financial management authorities from China, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

With the rapid proliferation of mobile devices, artificial intelligence and big data, P2P lending—the practice of lending money to individuals or businesses through online services that match lenders with borrowers—has developed rapidly around the world in recent years.

Although P2P can create enormous socio-economic benefits, it also contains potential risks for the relevant parties, he said, adding that it is necessary to strictly monitor this field to mitigate the risks and improve awareness of the relevant parties.

Through this model, lenders can earn higher returns than they can get from banks while borrowers, especially individuals and micro businesses, can get money at lower rates. But the lending is also fertile ground for high-tech crimes. China had to eliminate some 160 online lending companies as they were in fact high-tech criminals working to cheat investors.

Latin America

ID Finance Mexico operations reaches profitability within eight months of launch (Finextra) Rated: AAA

The Mexico operations of ID Finance, the emerging markets fintech company, has reached profitability in just eight months since launching in the region.

The announcement represents a key milestone for the business as it continues its rapid expansion across Latin America. It currently operates in Mexico and Brazil.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday February 26 2018, Daily News Digest

bank accounts

News Comments Today’s main news: Revolut breaks even, prepares for global expansion. RateSetter finances divorces. Which Isas pay 6% or more. Half of all employers offer financial advice. CoAssets increases revenue by 471% in half a year. Today’s main analysis: Do Americans really want a bank branch? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Ron Suber, Godfather of Fintech. Unscrupulous banks fueled the rise […]

bank accounts

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United States

How Helping Your Employees Improve Their Credit Helps Your Bottom Line (Forbes), Rated: AAA

One possible cause of an employee’s poor attitude is that he or she has looming debts or is attempting to climb out of a credit score canyon. Workers facing these challenges are often unable to completely focus on their job responsibilities. It’s no surprise that constant stress over meeting financial obligations leads to a loss of focus and time dedicated to work obligations. And because employees work for paychecks that go toward their debts, it makes sense that they begin to associate the two.

Defeating Debt-Fatigue

About 

Giving the middle class credit: New bill a step in right direction (The Hill), Rated: A

Consumers need access to credit, and bank-fintech partnerships are one way to meet their needs. Indeed, bank-fintech partnerships are good for both consumers and banks.

As I noted, consumers benefit because banks can use fintech to deliver safer, more transparent, lower-cost and more convenient financial products and services over the internet and mobile devices.

Banks benefit because fintech companies can leverage big data and technology, offering the infrastructure banks need to serve and welcome more people into the financial system.

An excellent example of community banks using fintech to compete with the Wall Street banks is Radius Bank, a $1-billion asset institution in Boston, which according to news reports is establishing “long-term relationships” with fintech providers, and is finding them to be “mutually beneficial.”

Ron Suber, the Godfather of Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Ron’s background and how he became interested in marketplace lending.
  • Why he saw a big opportunity for Prosper back in 2012.
  • What was behind Ron’s decision to leave Prosper last year.
  • What rewirement means to Ron and why it is important.
  • How the typical work week looks today for Ron.
  • Highlights of some of the trips he has taken recently.
  • What it was like doing the road show for the Credible IPO in Australia.
  • Details of the meeting Ron recently had with the Australian Treasurer.
  • What Ron is doing at Prosper these days.
  • Knowing what he knows now, what he would have done differently at Prosper.
  • What the marketplace lending industry still needs to improve upon today.
  • What inning the industry is in today.
  • What Ron looks for when he considers a new investment.
  • Why he pulled the trigger on some of his recent investments.
  • Ron’s view on Marcus and its impact on the online lending space.
  • What area of fintech Ron is most excited about today.
  • How he is able to maintain so many connections in fintech.
  • What is next for Ron Suber.

 

Chris Larsen Of Ripple (XRP) @Google (ValueWalk), Rated: A

Fed Minutes (PeerIQ), Rated: A

The Fed released the minutes of the January FOMC meeting and provided a bullish outlook to the economy with upside risks due to tax reform. The committee indicated that they were on track to raise interest rates in the March meeting, and market participants are expecting 3 rate hikes in 2018.

Meritize Raises $ 6.8M in Seed Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Meritize, a Frisco, Texas-based student lending platform, raised $6.8M in seed funding.

Colchis Capital, Chicago Ventures and Cube Financial Holdings led the investment round with participation from ECMC, College Loan Corporation, University Ventures, City Light Capital, PC Squared and Meritize management.

LendingPoint Co-founder Weighs in on Lending Club’s Earnings Report (deBanked), Rated: B

“In my view, [Lending Club’s] underlying problem is that they don’t have alignment of interest between their stakeholders,” Tavares said. “At LendingPoint, we have a different approach. We look at it really as a balance sheet model, which means that we put everything on our books. We use our own equity. We leverage other investors’ capital, but we’re not an origination platform…Lending Club’s model primarily is that they have to continue feeding the beast, so to speak, in order to continue making their revenues. They don’t have inventory to continue generating assets or to monetize going forward. That’s a significant shortcoming in their model,” he said.

Bay Area Man’s Opportunity Fund Giving Small Businesses A Leg Up (CBS Local), Rated: A

About 8,000 small business loans are denied every day in this country, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. It’s a story Alicia Villanueva knows all too well.

So in 1992, Weaver founded Opportunity Fund, launched with a consortium of 15 banks. But although the San Jose-based non-profit works with traditional lenders, its business practices are a bit different. Weaver says Opportunity Fund delves into an applicant’s financial picture and character.  And since it lends to people with bad or non-existent credit, a granted loan comes with an automatic offer of hands-on financial management support, and a hefty dose of financial responsibility.

Today, Opportunity Fund loans about $5 to $7 million a month to small business owners in California and 13 other states. The money comes from business and private donations. An average loan can range from $2,600 to $250,000. Under Weaver’s leadership, 6,200 businesses have received loans.

Opportunity Fund, along with other partners like Lending Club, is set to expand into other parts of the U.S. later this year.

A Look at CUneXus’ Strong Growth in 2017 (Finovate), Rated: A

Lending automation company CUneXus published some impressive growth stats today. Here’s a quick overview of a few of the California-based company’s success metrics:

  • Grew from 45 FI clients to 72 over the course of one year, from 2016 to 2017, a 60% year-over-year increase
  • Reaches more than 6.5 million potential end consumers across the U.S.
  • Averaging more than $6 million in new loan requests per day
  • Generated more than 140,000 loans totaling more than $2.5 billion with its 1-click borrowing solution

These and other FI clients have reported that CUneXus has helped contribute to their own success, including:

  • Loan processing times cut in half
  • A 110% increase in pre-approved lending activity
  • A 135% spike in funded loan amounts

3 Ways Technology is Bringing in New Real Estate Investors (Realty Biz News), Rated: A

Today, in addition to teaming up with development companies, many investors are using technology solutions to research options remotely. Here are the three trending ways technology is revolutionizing how new investors step into the real estate market space.

Mobile apps like Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) and Airbnb have become popular and more people are now looking to invest in such short-term rentals.

Big data is now a critical offering for the public, and the real estate niche is looking for ways of gathering and presenting the information for driving purchase behavior.

Following the success of the customer-centric applications, it’s clear to see that the industry holds a huge potential if technology is leveraged to bring in new investors. Real estate is the largest global economy asset with figures hinting at $217 trillion – surpassing the world’s GDP of $80 trillion! This is a clear indicator that there is a huge potential for financial freedom creating entrepreneurs looking to tap into the real estate market.

New York Federal Reserve: Fintech Has Improved the Mortgage Lending Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The New York Federal Reserve has published a staff report pertaining to “The Role of Technology in Mortgage Lending”.

While still relatively small, this segment of onlien lending has grown annually by 30% from $34 billion of total originations in 2010 or 2% of the market, to $161 billion in 2016 or 8% of the market.

The Fed research finds that Fintech lenders reduce mortgage processing time by about 10 days, or 20% of the average processing time.

Additionally, default rates tank by a whopping 25% indicating the credit process is superior to the antiquated analog method of traditional banks.

 

 

Do the Majority of Americans Really ‘Want’ to Use a Branch? (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

According to research conducted by Novantas, 60% of Americans said they would rather open a new checking account in person at a bank branch than on a phone, tablet or desktop computer. Reinforcing this finding is the reality that most consumers still only use digital channels for the most basic banking functions, such as checking account balances and transferring funds. For more complicated issues, like problems with an account or advice, most consumers prefer human contact.

The reliance on branches in North America is almost double other countries, where better digital offerings have been introduced. In fact, according to Novantas, 75% of consumers in Australia report visiting the branch less than once per month, or even less! The UK is very similar while, interestingly, only about half of US consumers exhibit the same behavior.


The banking industry has seen the closure of 1,700 branches in the 12 months ending in June 2017 – the largest one-year decline on record. Capital One Financial Corp. has cut 32% of its branches from mid-2012 to mid-2017, while SunTrust Banks Inc. cut 22% and Regions Financial Corp. has cut 12%.

U.S. Bank Offers New Online Tool to Help Consumers Get Fast, Convenient Car Loan Approvals (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Working with financial technology startup AutoGravity, U.S Bank created a new platform on USBank.com that provides a simplified, streamlined loan application process for users that typically takes just minutes to receive a loan decision.

Car buyers using the new U.S. Bank tool simply:

1) Pick their car and select a dealership online

2) Apply for a pre-approval for a U.S. Bank loan online

3) Close the loan at the dealership and drive off in their new car

When Weak Bank Lending Is a Good Sign (WSJ), Rated: A

Total commercial and industrial loans extended by U.S. banks were up just 1% from a year earlier on Feb. 7, according to weekly Federal Reserve data. For the month of January, C&I loans were down an annualized 10.8% compared to December, according to calculations by Keefe, Bruyette and Woods.

Asked how demand for loans has changed over the past three months from large and medium-sized firms, 84% said it was “about the same” or “somewhat stronger,” while just 16% said it was “moderately weaker.” For small firms with annual sales of less than $50 million, 88% of bankers said loan demand was about the same or better, while only 12% said it was weaker.

Financial incumbents are starting to care about financial education (Tearsheet), Rated: A

On Wednesday, Greenlight Financial Technology — the creator of a smart debit card for kids, teens, and college students — closed $16 million in a Series A funding round. Its investors went beyond your traditional venture capital firm, including a disparate coalition of  financial services bigwigs like SunTrust Bank and Ally Financial as well as the Amazon Alexa Fund, among other VCs. Greenlight, whose mission is to help strengthen financial literacy among kids and give parents a platform to raise “financially smart kids,” will use the new funds to develop its products.

That coalition of Greenlight partners signals a renewed understanding of the reality of most Americans’ financial lives — 57 percent of Americans are financially unhealthy according to the Center for Financial Services Innovation — by legacy financial services companies coming to terms with the fact that they need to be in the business of financial health in order to keep customer relationships in tact over the long term.

Don’t be THAT credit union. Offer short-term loans to your members. (CUInsight), Rated: B

CashPlease is an innovative new short-term, small-dollar loan solution that allows credit unions to implement a consumer loan product efficiently and compliantly.  Here’s how:

  • No additional loan officers or other additional staff needed
  • Underwriting technology that is automated and proven
  • Assistance with compliance best practices
  • Data-driven marketing to educate consumers about the availability of lower-cost loans

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING OBTAINS FULL RESTITUTION FOR CUSTOMERS OF ONLINE LENDER (Virginia.gov), Rated: A

Attorney General Mark Herring announced today that his office has reached a settlement with eight affiliated online lenders and debt collectors to resolve allegations that the companies offered unlawful open-ended credit plan loans and engaged in unlawful debt collection practices including contacting borrowers’ employers and implementing wage garnishments. As a result of the settlement, borrowers will receive nearly $150,000 in restitution and forgiven debt.

The settlement includes the following key terms relating to loans made by the lenders during the period from January 2015 through June 19, 2017:

  • The Lenders agree to refund all interest and fees paid by consumers in excess of 12% of the loan amount, totaling approximately $85,000;
  • The Lenders agree to forgive all outstanding remaining debt of Virginia consumers, totaling over $63,000;
  • The Lenders agree to a permanent injunction against consumer lending activity in Virginia;
  • The Debt Collectors agree to a permanent injunction against all debt collection activity in Virginia;
  • The Lenders agree to pay $10,000 in civil penalties and $10,000 in attorneys’ fees;
  • The Debt Collectors agree to pay $75,000 in civil penalties and $10,000 in attorneys’ fees.

The companies include six lenders (Field Asset Service Team, LLC; VIM Holdings, LLC; MR Capital Group, LLC; Nascent Holdings, LLC; B Financial, LLC; and DTS Capital, LLC, collectively “the Lenders”) and two debt collectors (Bradley Goldberg & Miller, LLC and U Solutions Group, LLC, “the Debt Collectors”) that acted in concert to provide and collect open-end credit plan loans made over the Internet to Virginia consumers.

The Lenders offered open-end credit plan loans and imposed “service fees” as high as $160 per month. The Debt Collectors then emailed consumers in an effort to collect on these loans and contacted the consumers’ employers to implement wage assignments and collect money directly from the consumers’ paychecks.

CFPB Drops Lawsuit Against Payday Lender (JD Supra), Rated: B

The CFPB has dropped a recent lawsuit against a payday lender accused of charging up to 950% interest.

The case is CFPB v. Golden Valley Lending, Inc., et al., Case No. 17-cv-02521 (District of Kansas).

United Kingdom

Difficult divorce? RateSetter can help (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

The ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lender has been offering a family finance product for a number of months, whereby individuals can apply for a loan to pay for their divorce litigation.

The P2P platform offers personal loans ranging from £500 to £35,000, with terms between one year and five years, according to its website. Borrower rates range from 3.9 per cent to 29.9 per cent.

Unscrupulous banks have fuelled rise of alternative lenders (RealBusiness), Rated: AAA

Now it emerges that one bank was actively working against small businesses in its greed-fuelled quest for profits and bonuses. RBS has been exposed for making up fees, imposing punishingly high interest rates, acquiring equity and property from failed businesses – and pocketing huge bonuses off the back of it.

As a result, it is alternative lenders that are now the go-to for independent businesses in need of assistance when it comes to growth. Take, for example, the business cash advance, which is sometimes referred to as a merchant cash advance. This funding can be from as little as £500 up to £300,000 and is advanced to the business against future credit and debit card turnover.

These Isas pay 6% and more – but should you invest? (Which?), Rated: AAA

Last week, Ratesetter launched an Isa paying a top rate of 5.8%, while yesterday (24 February), Easyjet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou launched an tax-free account aiming to pay 4.05% per year.

Other innovative finance Isas are currently paying returns as high as 16% a year.

Zopa is currently paying between 4% and 4.6%. Zopa primarily lends to individuals, Ratesetter lends to both individuals and businesses whereas Funding Circle lends exclusively to small businesses. The latter’s innovative finance Isa is only available to existing customers, but is projecting an annual return of 7.5%.

EasyMoney launches Innovative Finance ISA (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

EASYMONEY, part of Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s ‘easy’ family of brands, has launched in the UK with an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) offering a target rate of 4.05 per cent a year.

Jacob Rothschild-backed firm plans £100m float (Professional Adviser), Rated: A

Augmentum Fintech, which is preparing to float next month, has unveiled plans to issue a target of 100 million ordinary shares at a price of £1 each, with a maximum issue size of 125 million shares.

FCA seeks feedback on its ideas for a global sandbox (Mondaq), Rated: A

The FCA’s new webpage contains its ideas for a global sandbox [14.02.02]. Its current sandbox only allows firms to test their ideas in the UK.

It highlights three areas:

  • addressing “pre-identified challenges” in areas known for “regulatory problems that cross jurisdictional boundaries” e.g. AML and KYC on-boarding.;
  • enabling firms wishing to expand in different markets to “bring their ideas to market more quickly and easily, creating more effective competition.” The FCA asks for firms who could benefit from testing out their ideas in a number of markets to get in touch; and
  • policy and regulatory challenges – the FCA suggests the sandbox could be used to convene “joint events and papers on emerging trends and challenges” using the experiences of the range of firms and regulators taking part to develop “consistent approaches”.

Brexit to shut the door on lengthy London house price boom (Euronews), Rated: A

British inflation will outstrip gains in house prices this year and next, particularly in the capital, as uncertainty over Brexit and weak consumer spending power hits demand, a Reuters poll found on Friday.

Next year, house prices will rise 0.9 percent in London and 2.0 nationally, still both below the 2.1 percent expected inflation rate. In 2020, London prices will increase 2.0 percent and by 2.3 percent nationally.

“Quite simply, with loan-to-income ratios for first time buyers sitting at around four times, average salaries of 33,000 pounds ($46,000), and your average flat in London costing over 500,000 pounds, it’s extremely difficult to see how London can be viewed as anything but very expensive,” LendInvest’s Lockhart said.

China

Hang Seng Bank deploys fintech to simplify mobile banking, mulls use of facial recognition at ATMs (SCMP), Rated: A

Hang Seng Bank plans to expand the use of fintech to mobile banking services and is also toying with the idea of incorporating facial recognition, after initial success with iPhone X, to allow customers to withdraw cash from its ATMs across the city, according to its chief executive.

The global facial recognition market is forecast to be worth US$6.5 billion by 2021, up from US$2.3 billion in 2016, according to estimates from research company Technavio.

European Union

Klarna Bank AB appoints Niklas Savander to Board of Directors (LeapRate), Rated: B

Klarna Bank AB has announce the appointment of Niklas Savander to the Board of Directors with effect from Thursday 22nd of February 2018. Niklas Savander will replace Niklas Adalberth.

International

Digital banking start-up Revolut breaks even as it prepares global expansion (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Revolut said Monday that it had broken even for the first time in December, and that its monthly transaction volume surged to $1.5 billion, an increase of over 700 percent in the last 12 months.

The start-up has signed up a total of 1.5 million users to its mobile app, up 50 percent from a figure it achieved in November.

Cryptocurrency A Risk Factor, Bank Of America Says In Annual SEC Filing (International Business Times), Rated: A

The 10-K filing referred to cryptocurrencies, without naming any specific one, three times under a subsection titled “Risk Factors” and described three different ways in which they could pose problems for the bank’s business.

The first reference was under geopolitical risks, with the bank talking about international money-laundering.

The third reference was along similar lines, with BoA saying: “The widespread adoption of new technologies, including internet services, cryptocurrencies and payment systems, could require substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services as we grow and develop our internet banking and mobile banking channel strategies in addition to remote connectivity solutions,” adding it “might not be successful in developing or introducing” competing products at lower prices.

 

Australia

SPOTCAP AWARDS SCHOLARSHIP TO ASPIRING FINTECH ENTREPRENEUR (Global Banking & Finance), Rated: A

Spotcap today announced Vishal Uppal as the winner ofthe Fintech Scholarship 2017. The first of its kind in Australia, the scholarship awards one aspiring graduate with an interest in fintech $10,000 towards the cost of their tuition.

India

Guide to smart banking: Why P2P lending is an ‘interest’ing idea (Business Line), Rated: AAA

P2P lending, on the other hand, is a completely tech-driven investment, which gives a net annualised return of 18-22 per cent to lenders, who start earning their principal and interest back from the very first month. The returns are higher because you can lend directly to the borrower and the intermediary costs are drastically reduced.

A majority of investors on these platforms are salaried professionals aged between 20 and 35 years looking for additional sources of income.

On Faircent.com lenders can invest as low as 750 per loan size or choose tech-enabled processes like auto-invest to save time. These features are a major attraction for millennials and, in fact, according to the last Research and Analytics report on P2P lending published by Faircent.com, 64 per cent of lenders are below 35 years of age.

Retirement plan: How real estate investment can help millennials secure their future (Financial Express), Rated: A

A growing number of millennials are also opting for investments into commercial real estate, as opposed to investments into residential properties made by their parents.

Commercial real estate: better yields for better financial security

Leases on these properties are usually taken out for multiple years by blue-chip companies, thus ensuring that steady rental income is assured for a specific duration of time. With India’s rise as a prominent international business destination, the sector is also witnessing remarkable growth; the country’s 537 million square feet of rent-generating commercial real estate inventory is currently estimated to be worth nearly $70 billion.

How technology is enabling millennials to make high-value real estate investments

The investments can start as low as Rs 5 lakh, making the entire process extremely affordable for millennial buyers whilst also allowing them to make multiple investments to diversify their portfolio, increase rental incomes, and minimise risk. Average rental returns to the tune of 7%-8% are quite common, while the overall returns can be as high as 22%.

India is projected to become the youngest country in the world by 2020, with a median age of 29.

Movers And Shakers Of The Week [19-24 Feb 2018] (Inc42), Rated: B

BigWin Infotech, a government recognized fintech startup has appointed Suneel Mohnot a the Director on its board.

BigWin Infotech is a self-funded startup who has recently forayed into P2P lending business through its solely owned market place PaisaDukan.com post revised RBI guidelines for NBFC-P2P and one of the strong contenders for NBFC-P2P license.

APAC

CoAssets Reports Half-Year Results With 471% Increase In Revenue (AsiaOne), Rated: AAA

CoAssets Limited (“CoAssets” or the “Group”) (ASX: CA8), a leading crowdfunding platform and Fintech lender specialising in facilitating funding for businesses reported its financial and operating results for the half year ended 31 December 2017, together with an update on the Group’s growth and capital strategy to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on 22 February 2018.

Total reported revenue increased by 471% from S$446,040 in 2016 to S$2,547,554 in 2017. Group’s profits in year 2017 was S$2,046,013, from a loss of S$3,899,325 in 2016. This increase in profits was due to business activities as well as investment gains. Operating expenses decreased from S$3,570,287 in 2016 to S$2,577,013 in 2017. This represents about S$1million or 28% in cost savings. Registered investor base reached 433,805 as at 31 December 2017. This represents an 88.17% increase from 30 June 2017.

Singapore — CoAssets Pte Ltd (“CAPL”)

After receiving the Capital Market Services (CMS) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in June 2017, the company crowdfunded more than S$5.11million worth of deals from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017.

Singapore — CoAssets International Pte Ltd (“CAI”)

The company disbursed more than S$6.65million worth of loans over the last 6-months, with its loan book growing to more than S$16.21million as at 31 December 2017.

China — CoAssets China

This represents the Group’s fastest growing market, achieving remarkable growth in registered user base of more than 117% (from 173,000 to more than 375,000 members) from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017. The CoAssets platform in China funded more than RMB28.15million (S$5.94million) worth of crowdfunding projects over the last 6-months in 2017.

Hong Kong — Fintech Pte Ltd

In April 2017, the Group acquired Fintech Pte Ltd, an online corporate cash management platform called “PiggieBank ” in Hong Kong.  Since then, PiggieBank has successfully managed funds flow of more than S$21. 39million as at 9 February 2018.

Hong Kong — Brighten Finance Limited (“BFL”)

As at 31 December 2017, BFL’s loan book was worth HK$36.91million (S$6.27million).

EF, KoinWorks Serve Online Loans for Courses (netral english), Rated: A

English First, an English Education Institute signed a joint venture with KoinWorks – a Indonesian Peer to Peer Lending Platform – that serves investments and online loans without collateral for various productive loans.

Africa

Blockchain and financial services disruption (Punch), Rated: AAA

Key areas of the financial services that are most likely to be affected by blockchain include transfers, payment and lending. We have seen different start-ups such as OneFi, Inspire, Upstart, and Funding Circle, playing critical roles in peer- to -peer lending and services to individuals.

The closest we have seen so far is what VoguePay, a leading online payment start-up, has done.

It recently launched a multi-currency payment platform to enable businesses to send and receive payment from local and international customers, allowing merchants to accept payment in dollars, Euros, Rands, Cedis, Naira and Bitcoin payment.

The average Nigerian bank pays about five per cent interest rate on fixed deposits while requesting for two-digit interest rates on loans from customers. Economically, this does not make much sense because the margin is too wide when compared to what they offer for holding customers’ fund. Many people are tired of the highly monopolistic nature of banking.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor