Wednesday February 28 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending investment

News Comments Today’s main news: Virgin Money to launch a challenger bank. Equifax partners with Entersekt on digital ID authentication. 1st loan originator in UK joins Mintos. Citi drops $75M into Pagaya. IOU Financial extends Midcap credit facility. Today’s main analysis: Global fintech VC investment sets new record. Global marketplace lending investment in 2017. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Goldman Sachs’ plan […]

marketplace lending investment

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United States

 

Goldman Sachs, Adviser to the Elite, Wants to Be Your Local Bank (WSJ), Rated: AAA

In a glass-walled tower in Utah’s capital, hundreds of Goldman employees are building what amounts to one of the world’s most ambitious consumer-finance startups.

Their address, 111 Main St., stands as a symbol of the changes afoot inside the firm, better known as an elite adviser to big companies and billionaires. Struggling to make money in the postcrisis world, Goldman is pushing into businesses it once dismissed as pedestrian and gimmicky, assembling a suite of banking products for the middle class it hopes will power growth.

Goldman 18 months ago began making online loans of a few thousand dollars under the brand Marcus, named after founder Marcus Goldman. Individuals once needed $10 million to get the attention of Goldman’s elite private bankers. Today, customers can open a Marcus savings account with as little as $1.

 

Where’s the best place to open a small business? (The Sacramento Bee), Rated: A

LendingTree said Sacramento ascended to the top of the list in a study that included data from more 80,000 queries submitted by new small business owners seeking loan offers through LendingTree’s small business loan marketplace to determine where businesses tend to do the best.

Sacramento was one of three California cities on the 10-best list, joining Fresno at ninth and Los Angeles at 10th. Following Sacramento on the list were Grand Rapids, Mich; Portland, Ore.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Denver; Seattle; Tulsa, Okla; Albuquerque, N.M.; Fresno; Los Angeles; and Oklahoma City, respectively. Los Angeles and Oklahoma City tied for 10th.

Cincinnati topped the list of the 10 worst cities to start a new small business. No California cities were on the 10-worst list.

Fiserv Consumer Survey Finds Digital Experiences Factor in Life’s Most Important Financial Decisions (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

For instance, four of the top five loan payment methods are now electronic, and 21 percent of millennial investors use a robo-advisor service to make investments.

Affluent Consumers and Financial Advice
Human interactions remain an important part of financial advice, especially for the 34 percent of consumers with at least $100,000 in household investable assets. Fifty-eight percent of these affluent consumers work with a financial advisor. Among those without an advisor, only 11 percent report high interest (8-10 on a scale of 0-10) in using one. At the same time, 32 percent of affluent consumers who invest their own money grade their knowledge and expertise as a “C” or lower, suggesting an opportunity to bridge the gap with a hybrid of human and digital advice.

Among all consumers who invest on their own, only 8 percent use a robo-advisor service. However, use of such a service is much more likely among millennials (21 percent) and urban consumers (18 percent).

Rates, Fees and Service Prevail
Topping the list of selection factors among those with at least one loan are interest rates (83 percent) and low fees/service charges (83 percent), followed by customer service (75 percent), company reputation (70 percent), and knowledge of staff (65 percent). Sixty-five percent of consumers say prior experience with a lender is important.

Many consumers expressed willingness to try new ways of interacting with their lender, if there’s a benefit. For instance, if it makes the loan process faster, more than half of consumers would be willing to use a mobile device to e-sign loan documents (56 percent), take and upload photos of loan documents (54 percent), and verify their identity with a photo (51 percent). Forty-two percent of consumers indicate they would be willing to provide access to their financial information by providing their credentials to other online banking applications, up from 32 percent in 2016.

Digital channels, especially mobile, are now leading ways of communicating with a lender, although context matters based on the interaction. A lender’s mobile app is the preferred way to check when a next loan payment is due (21 percent), check the balance term (20 percent) and request a payoff (17 percent), among consumers who have conducted each of these activities in the past six months. For account questions, consumers significantly favor speaking live with a representative via phone (21 percent) over using an automated voice response system (12 percent), e-chat (11 percent) or the mobile app (11 percent).

As online lending grows up, banks work to strengthen partnerships (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Marketplace lending as an industry is hitting its stride. Some platforms are becoming profitable, some are diversifying, new players are entering the market with new business models and the competition is heating up. But that means banks need to start strengthening ties with their online lending partners.

As more consumer-facing fintech companies are learning, that’s best done by building products that make people’s lives easier.

 

 

Fintech Startups Need Industry Partners to Thrive, Report Says (Bloomberg), Rated: B

More than 75 percent of fintech executives surveyed in a new report said their primary business objective is to collaborate with traditional firms, such as banks and insurance companies. Only 18 percent said the main goal was to compete with the established players.

According to the World FinTech Report 2018 from consulting firm Capgemini and corporate networking website LinkedIn Corp., most of the startups are likely to fail if they don’t build partnerships, despite raising more than $110 billion since 2009. The survey, published Tuesday, was based on the responses of 110 global financial technology firms.

Varo Money is bringing bank fees and financial health into its marketing (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Varo Money has been targeting customers of big banks whose fees they’re tired of having to understand and pay. Despite its appeal to potential customers to switch to Varo, its ads don’t call out specific companies, as some of its peers do.

Coming to your banking app soon: Predictive analytics (Bankrate), Rated: A

Bank of America will let mobile banking customers use its new digital assistant, Erica, in March. Besides helping consumers complete routine tasks like transferring funds, Erica will offer financial advice tailored for each user.

If you have a low balance and you’ve spent a lot of money, Erica might warn that you are in danger of overdrawing your checking account. Or she could share opportunities to save additional money.

Wells Fargo has made providing customers with advanced digital tools a top priority. In February, its 17 million mobile users with consumer deposit accounts found themselves with a new predictive banking feature.

Wells Fargo confirmed that these new mobile capabilities are powered by Personetics, a company providing banking solutions that anticipate what consumers might need in the future. Personetics also powers Royal Bank of Canada’s free automated savings tool, NOMI Find & Save, which gives mobile banking customers customized tips and alerts.

Companies like Saylent are trying to help banks make sense of their data resources by identifying the customers they should focus on. Saylent gives customers tools to target people that are shopping for a car loan or a mortgage. The platform will be used by institutions like BankFirst Financial Services, a community-based institution headquartered in Mississippi.

B of A is latest big bank to announce aggressive branch expansion (American Banker), Rated: A

Bank of America plans to open more than 500 branches over the next four years as part of a large-scale investment in retail banking.

The $2.28 trillion-asset company said in a press release Monday that it will hire more than 5,400 employees as part of the expansion. The Charlotte, N.C., company did not specify where the new branches will be located, nor did it say how much the proposed brick-and-mortar expansion plan would cost.

Don’t write off branch banking yet, says KeyBank Colorado exec (Denver Business Journal), Rated: B

Customers “want to talk to people. They want to be guided,” says Michael Walters.

Fintechs’ charter hopes may lie with new FDIC board (American Banker), Rated: A

Among federal bank regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has been the most active on fintech chartering options. But another agency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., may provide crucial guidance for fintechs in the shorter term.

The FDIC still has pending an application by Square for an industrial loan company, a limited-purpose bank typically chartered in Utah that receives deposit insurance.

Can Crowdfunding Mortgage Down Payments Make Homes Affordable? (SavingAdvice), Rated: A

A lot what’s being called crowdfunding is actually more like matching funds or subsidies for down payments. The growth of these options seems to be a sign of the times — so few people can afford to buy homes nowadays that the industry has gotten creative.

Unison Financial (formerly known as Rex Home Buyer) offers down payment subsidies in exchange for equity stakes in the home. The program requires that the home buyer put up a down payment of at least 10%.

HomeFundMe provides incentives for individuals to seek out grants that are actually matching funds on down payments. Although the match ratio is impressive, two-to-one, the total grant limited to $2,500 — do the math and you see that the buyer would need to come up with another $5,000 at that maximum amount.

With most residential mortgage lenders requiring minimum down payments of at least 5%, that limits the buyer to homes worth no more than $150,000. That’s well below the average home price in the U.S. — and even beneath affordable housing program prices in many cities.

HOW INVESTING IN CROWDFUNDED REAL ESTATE IMPACTS YOUR TAXES (The College Investor), Rated: A

There are two types of investors in a crowdfunded real estate investment: Accredited and non accredited.

An accredited investor has more opportunities to invest than a non accredited investor but they also bear more risks. SEC Rule 501 of Regulation D defines accredited investor.

These investors have an annual income of least $200,000 for the previous two years and a net worth of more than $1 million.

Non accredited investors buying shares of a fund have the simplest tax impacts.

They receive a 1099-INT from the crowdfunding real estate company they are investing with and are taxed at their ordinary income tax rate.

If the investor is invested in multiple funds, their investments can be aggregated into one 1099-INT rather than receiving an individual 1099-INT for each fund.

For investors who are investing in equity investments, things get more complicated. These investors will receive a K1 tax form. A K1 is for income through business partnerships.

PeerStreet Named a Finalist in Top Real Estate Platform Category in the Second Annual LendIt Fintech Industry Awards Competition (BusinessWire), Rated: B

LendIt Fintech recently announced that they have selected PeerStreet as a finalist in the Top Real Estate Platform category for the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards.

PawnGuru pulls in $ 2.5 mln Series A (PE Hub), Rated: A

PawnGuru, an online marketplace connecting pawn shops and consumers, today announces the close of a $2.5 million Series A. With this funding, PawnGuru intends to expand its network of shops within the US, as well as to international markets, giving consumers worldwide the power to buy directly from local pawn shops online.

 

5 Financial Mistakes That Push Striving Startups Into Bankruptcy (Newsmax), Rated: A

  1. Think Big/Start Big Syndrome – You are permitted to think big but start small to have adequate fund to invest in other areas of the business. When you don’t properly handle these areas, your business might join the 90% businesses that never survived after 5 years.
  2. Lack of Financial Mentorship
  3. Inability to Utilize Viable Loan Options – Bank loans, equipment loans, invoices financing, car title loans, peer-to-peer lending networks and more, are avenues small business owners can obtain loans. It’s however pertinent to get information and evaluate the cost implications of taking a loan to finance your business.
  4. Under-utilization of Digital Technology – In terms of advertising, marketing, automation, time management, human resource functions, cloud computing, data management, blockchain technology etc. digital technology has infused speed and efficiency which has resulted in reduced cost to carryout daily business operations.
  5. Poor Recording of Cash Flow

Understanding the International Student Lending Ecosystem in the U.S. (Lend Academy), Rated: A

There are almost 1.2 million international students currently studying in the United States. They hail from countries all over the world with almost a third – more than 360,000 – coming from China and just over 205,000 coming from India. South Korea and Saudi Arabia follow behind dropping down to just over 70,000 and 55,000, respectively. With education costs often approaching six figures and beyond, an international student loan ecosystem has emerged both in the U.S. and abroad to serve the educational funding needs of this demographic.

Navigate your student-loan maze with this Philly-made calculator (Technical.ly), Rated: B

From his home office in Fishtown, Temple University grad Mason Gallik, 23, is hoping his college debt calculator can help others from making bad choices.

“It’s about being realistic about your decisions,” said Gallik, the founder of LoanMajor. “Sometimes it’s smart to look at college from a financial side and not just an emotional one.”

Currently, the company’s source of income is through affiliate links with loan marketplace Credible. For every visitor that LoanMajor leads to Credible, they get a fee. Another source of revenue Gallik hopes to set up is through affiliate links to credit card companies and banks.

United Kingdom

U.K.’s Virgin Money to Launch Digital Challenger Bank (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

U.K.-based lender Virgin Money said it will offer current accounts and savings products.

In its earnings call today, Virgin Money said it will begin testing these products later in the year and has already spent £38.3 million ($53.3 million) over the past year developing this digital bank.

Amigo Loans hires JP Morgan and RBC to prepare 500 million pound London IPO (Reuters), Rate: AAA

British subprime lender Amigo Loans is preparing for a stock market float in London that could value the consumer credit firm at more than $700 million.

1PM Joins Online Business Loan Marketplace For Retail Investors Mintos (London South East), Rated: AAA

1pm PLC said Tuesday that it has entered into a cooperation agreement with AS Mintos Marketplace to be a loan originator on its online loan marketplace.

The AIM-listed financial services provider to UK businesses said that it is the first loan originator from the UK to join the Mintos marketplace, which already has about 30 other loan originators globally.

British banks ordered to help people pay off credit card debts (Reuters), Rated: A

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority ordered banks on Tuesday to take steps to help people with persistent credit card debt to keep up with repayments.

The FCA’s new rules will, however, will still allow banks to ultimately suspend a credit card if a customer fails to make any progress in repaying debts.

European Union

MIFID II aids RoboAdvice (AltFi), Rated: A

Unfortunately, in the current marketplace many opaque structures lead to charges that even a Finance degree can’t help unravel.  But technology is here to help and most of the new Robo-Advisors have simple and transparent fee structures enabling savers to compare different product offerings quickly and easily.

Whilst many in Financial Services have been critical of the growing ‘regulatory burden’ the changes MiFiD II will bring should be net positive for end users and ultimately society. Although legacy providers are likely to see revenues and margins shrink.

International

Equifax is partnering with a digital ID verification company (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

US credit bureau Equifax has formed a partnershipwith South Africa-based Entersekt, a company specializing in customer authentication and device security.

Fintech Pagaya Receives $ 75 Million in Debt Financing from Citi (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Pagaya Investments, a Fintech company in the asset management space, has received $75 million in debt financing from Citi. Simultaneously, Pagaya announced the creation of the “Opportunity Fund” to meet growing institutional interest in consumer credit as an asset class.

Global Venture Capital Investment in Fintech Industry Set Record in 2017, Accenture Analysis Finds (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Fintech financing rose 18 percent in 2017, to US$27.4 billion, with the value of deals in the U.S. jumping 31 percent, to $11.3 billion. Deal values almost quadrupled in the U.K., to US$3.4 billion, and soared nearly fivefold in India, to US$2.4 billion. The number of fintech deals also rose sharply, from just over 1,800 in 2016 to nearly 2,700 in 2017, underscoring continued appetite from investors scouring the globe for innovation in insurance, banking and capital markets startups.

“Much of the growth, particularly in the U.S. and UK, has been driven by big new investment flows from China, Russia, the Middle East and other emerging economies,” said Julian Skan, senior managing director in Accenture’s Financial Services practice.

“Much of the growth, particularly in the U.S. and UK, has been driven by big new investment flows from China, Russia, the Middle East and other emerging economies,” said Julian Skan, senior managing director in Accenture’s Financial Services practice.

India, US, UK drove global growth

Kabbage Inc, a U.S. online lender for small businesses, alone raised US$900 million in three separate rounds in 2017. Online lender Social Finance Inc, also known as SoFi, raised US$500 million in February, and LendingPoint raised US$500 million from a credit transaction in September. As startups grow and their businesses mature, funding rounds have increased in size, while some companies have opted to use credit facilities to speed up their expansion.

In the U.K., digital insurance distributor BGL Group raised US$900 million, pushing overall fintech investments in the country to an all-time high of US$3.4 billion. Payments venture TransferWise had the second-largest fundraising in the U.K., raising US$280 million.

India’s digital payments startup Paytm received US$1.4 billion in venture capital, helping drive fintech fundraising activity in the country to nearly five times the 2016 levels. The number of fintech deals in India increased 65 percent over 2016.

More deals in China, fewer megadeals

Mega fintech deals that had catapulted China to the top destination in the world for venture capital money in 2016 fell in 2017, as investors pulled back after pouring billions of dollars into giant-sized transactions. Fintech funding in the country declined 72 percent in 2017, to US$2.8 billion, from a record US$10 billion in 2016, when several companies – including Ant Financial and wealth management platform Lufax – had multi-billion-dollar financing rounds. The average deal size in China in 2017 was US$19 million, down from US$186 million in 2016, though the country still had large transactions, such as the US$440 million that real estate broker Homelink raised in April and the US$290 million that online finance firm Tuandai raised in June.

P2P and marketplace lending equity investments recover in 2017 to set new record (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Deals in the sector slowed down in 2016 with a year on year decrease of 12.8 per cent, possibly as a result of Lending Club’s annus horribilis. Total amount invested fell from $8.6bn in 2015 to $7.5bn the next year.

However, investment rebounded in 2017 to reach $8.9bn, a year on year increase of 18.6 per cent. The top ten P2P and marketplace Lending deals in 2017 raised half of the total funding for the year, raising a combined total of $4.4bn. The largest deal in 2017 was the previously mentioned $1.2bn Series B round to Lufax, led by COFCO with co-investment from China Minsheng Bank and Guotai Junan Securities.


Creditcoin Turns Digital Wallets into an Investment Market (Coinspeaker), Rated: A

In response to this, two reputed fintech innovators, Gluwa and Aella Credita have joined forces to launch Creditcoin, an inter-blockchain P2P lending market that operates across distributed ledgers ensuring permanent record of transactions that cannot be alter or tampered with.

Allianz Investment Arm Co-Leads Funding Round in Fintech C2FO (Bloomberg), Rated: B

Financial technology startup C2FO raised $100 million in funding in a new round led by the investing arm of global insurance and asset management giant Allianz SE as well as Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co.

MSTS Taps World Fuel VP As Head Of Business Development For APAC (Payment Week), Rated: B

Australia

Fintech business lenders to self-regulate (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

A lack of transparency around fintech borrowing costs for small businesses has prompted the industry committing to adopt a code of conduct and standardised interest rate and fee disclosures.

The fintech sector hopes moves to self-regulate will help start-ups win trust and avoid concerns that helped prompt the royal commission into the banks.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, FinTech Australia and the Bank Doctor, an SME advocate, will drive start-ups to improve disclosures that will allow small business customers to compare total costs, understand obligations and penalties if payments are missed, and ensure disputes are dealt with quickly and fairly.

India

Extending access to credit: Are alternate finance platforms creating tangible impact? (ET Rise), Rated: A

In its ‘Consultation Paper on Peer to Peer Lending’, the RBI highlighted how these web-based platforms are providing easier access of credit to small entrepreneurs by bringing prospective borrowers and lenders together. With more individuals lending to one another, interest rates for borrowers are going down, even as the increased availability of affordable credit stimulates greater financial activity and drives business growth. As a result, consumer segments such as MSMEs – until now either com ..
Borrowers from tier-2 and tier-3 cities comprised 20% and 17% of the total number of loans disbursed. New-to-credit borrowers comprised 35% of fulfilled borrowers on the platform, while those with poor credit ratings accounted for 10% of the overall number. Most strikingly, an analysis of credit bureau reports revealed how only 2.5% of the borrowers from tier-3 cities who received funds from the platform got any loans from other banks or financial institutions after the Faircent loan, underlining the major credit gap that the online platform is plugging within the economy.
Asia

Equity crowdfunding in Japan poised to grow fivefold this year (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Crowdfunding campaigns that offer stock in exchange for capital are set to swell this year in Japan as the prospect of high returns draws investors to a relatively new channel for fledgling companies.

Indonesia’s P2P firm UangTeman likely to raise up to m Series B (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Indonesian peer-to-peer lending platform UangTeman said it is set to raise a Series B financing round by mid-2018, claiming it would be one of the largest such rounds for a fintech firm in Southeast Asia.

Canada

IOU Financial Extends Credit Facility with Midcap Financial (Cision), Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), announced today that it has modified and extended its secured credit facility (the “Credit Facility”) with MidCap Financial, (“Midcap”) until December 31, 2020. The amount of the Credit Facility is USD $20 million, with a term portion equal to USD $15 million and a revolver amount of USD $5 million.

IOU and Midcap have further agreed to allocate USD $1 million from the Credit Facility amount of USD $20 million, to support Canadian loan originations. This will be formalized in a separate amendment to this facility.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday August 8 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck posts quarterly adjusted profit. OnDeck expands partnership with JPMorgan Chase. More than half Wellesley borrowers are in default or behind on payments. Tencent tests credit scoring. Westpac Banking invests in zipMoney. SoftBank says Q1 profit jumped 50.1% after adding Vision Fund. Fintech investments tripled in Singapore. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub Q2 earnings. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

LendingClub

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News Summary

United States

Online lender OnDeck posts surprise quarterly adjusted profit (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

Online lender OnDeck Capital <ONDK.N> posted a surprise quarterly adjusted profit on Monday, driven by lower costs and higher interest income.

Excluding items, OnDeck earned 2 cents per share in the second quarter ended June 30, compared with the average analyst estimate of loss of 1 cent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net loss attributable to common shareholders narrowed to $1.49 million, or 2 cents per share, in the quarter, from a loss of $17.9 million, or 25 cents per share, a year earlier.

Originations fell 21.3 percent to $464.4 million.

Operating expenses fell about 6.3 percent to $44.6 million.

OnDeck Will Focus on Better Borrowers, Expanded Partnerships to Grow Originations (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

The online lender will continue this focus on higher quality borrowers going into the remainder of 2017, and will also be expanding several of its loan features, including prepaid benefits for term loans and a “more tailored” underwriting experience for businesses, said Breslow.

OnDeck Capital up more than 6% after earnings beat (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

  • Adjusted EBITDA of $3.3M vs. a negative $12.4M a year earlier.
  • Full-year guidance is reiterated: Revenue of $342M-$352M, and adjusted EBITDA of $5M-$15M. Q3 revenue is seen at $82M-$86M, with adjusted EBITDA of $1M-$5M.

OnDeck announces expanded partnership with JPMorgan Chase (MarketWatch), Rated: AAA

OnDeck Capital, Inc. ONDK, +18.48% on Monday announced it had expanded a collaboration with JPMorgan Chase, JPM, -0.02% which is providing technology that runs the online lending platform.

Chase extends relationship with OnDeck (Finextra), Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) and OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK) today announced a contract extension to continue their collaboration on the bank’s digital small business lending product, Chase Business Quick Capital, for up to four years.

Why On Deck Capital Stock Jumped More Than 20% on Monday (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Shares of On Deck Capital (NYSE:ONDK) were up more than 21% as of 3:15 p.m. EDT, after the company announced a smaller net loss during the second quarter and a promising expansion in its partnership with JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM). Shares of LendingClub(NYSE:LC), its primary rival in the world of online lending, rose 7%, as investors see On Deck’s recent performance as a good omen for the industry as a whole.

A focus on higher-quality borrowers seems to have relaxed investors’ worries about the company’s loan quality, a perennial concern given that the average On Deck loan carries an APR in excess of 40% per year.

Lending Club Q2 2017 Earnings – Back to Growth (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Lending Club’s second quarter earnings marked an important milestone for the company – a return to growth. Originations have been hovering around $1.9 billion since Q2 of last year. This quarter Lending Club announced originations of $2.15 billion for the quarter, up 10% from the prior quarter of $1.96 billion. While this is still down from their previous highs, it shows that the company is back on a growth trajectory.

Source: Lend Academy

Last quarter the company announced banks were funding 40% of loans, but that reached higher in the second quarter to 44%.

Source: Lend Academy

Borrowers

  • Achieved 10% sequential growth to over $2.1 billion in originations, driven by strong borrower demand
  • Successfully launched multiple conversion initiatives, including pricing optimization and a redesigned website
  • Improved sales and marketing efficiency by over 7% sequentially
  • Credit continues to perform in line with expectations as observed in both vintage and portfolio trendsInvestors
  • Successfully executed the first self-sponsored securitization thereby opening a new funding source, expanding the investor base with 20 new investors, and generating a new repeatable revenue stream
  • Record number of managed accounts and institutional investors participating on the platform in the quarter
  • Successfully launched new iOS mobile application for retail investors

LendingClub Shares Soar 13% on Smaller Loss (Fortune), Rated: A

Online lending platform operator LendingClub reported a smaller loss on Monday, helped by higher net interest income and a drop in expenses.

Shares of the company (LC, +12.86%) were up 13.2% at $5.90 in after-hours trading.

LendingClub shares rise 8 percent on positive outlook, higher revenue (Reuters), Rated: A

Online lender LendingClub Corp (LC.N) raised its earnings outlook on Monday after reporting the second-highest quarterly revenue in its history and a drop in costs, sending shares up nearly 8 percent.

LendingClub now expects full-year total net revenue to be in the range of $585 million to $600 million, compared with its earlier forecast of $575 million to $595 million.

Shares of the company, which connects consumers looking for loans with individual or institutional investors such as banks through its website, were up 7.8 percent at $5.46 in after-hours trading.

Online lenders upbeat about turnaround progress, but worries linger (Today Online), Rated: A

LendingClub Corp <LC.N> and OnDeck Capital Inc <ONDK.N> surprised investors on Monday with strong growth forecasts that sent the online lenders’ stocks soaring, but analysts said the sector’s health was still a concern.

OnDeck shares closed 18.5 percent higher at $5, and LendingClub ended up 4.8 percent $5.46. The stocks rose in after-hours trading but remain far below their initial public offering prices of $20 and $15, respectively.

Executives of both companies were upbeat about the progress in their turnaround plans after they reported second-quarter results.

Earnest Corp is looking to sell itself for $200 million, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, far less than the $300 million it has raised from investors.

Online Lenders Clear a Low Bar—Higher Ones Lie Ahead (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The online lending industry regained its footing in the second quarter, more than a year after it was knocked off-balance by severe disruptions in the loan marketplace. But investors’ sky-high hopes for the sector may have been lowered permanently.

Investors also were relieved that On Deck reiterated it would turn profitable later this year. Shares rose a sharp 18.5% Monday, but they fetch only about a fourth of their December 2014 IPO price, a sign of just how much the hype around these lenders has deflated.

Crucially, On Deck has moved on from funding loans through an online marketplace, the aspect of its business model that was truly disruptive. It now funds the vast majority through its own balance sheet, making On Deck more like an ordinary bank.

Both companies have to worry about rising competition. Innovative payment companies like Square and PayPal are extending more microloans to their merchant customers. Meanwhile, giants of finance like Goldman Sachs are extending more unsecured personal loans, which is LendingClub’s sweet spot.

Fintech Firm Fiserv Raises Offer for Monitise to $ 98 Million (The New York Times), Rated: A

U.S. financial technology provider Fiserv made an improved offer for Monitise worth about 75 million pounds ($98 million) on Monday, hoping to secure backing from the British financial services technology group’s investors.

Fiserv’s earlier offer, which valued the group at about 70 million pounds, drew criticism from Monitise’s investors led by Cavendish Asset Management, for being too low, given that the British group was worth over 1 billion pounds three year ago.

Fiserv’s final offer of 3.1 pence in cash per share represents a premium of 34.8 percent over Monitise’s closing price on June 12, the last before the initial offer was made.

Banco Santander, Monitise’s top shareholder with a 4.67 percent stake, had submitted a letter of intent to back the deal, as had Visa Inc, a large customer and investor with a 2.41 percent stake.

LendingRobot Series Second Quarter Report (LendingRobot), Rated: A

LendingRobot Series finished the second quarter with a healthy YTD aggregated return of 2.7%. Each Series’ return and portfolio health is in line with projections. Since April 1st, LendingRobot Series has added over 2,800 loans to its portfolio, more than doubling the number of loans held in each series.

Source: LendingRobot

 

Legislative Update 161 (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights this issue:

  • On July 10, the CFPB published a final rule prohibiting the use of mandatory predispute arbitration clauses that prevent class action lawsuits in consumer contracts for a wide array of financial products. The final rule was published in the Federal Register on July 19, and will become effective 60 days after that date, or September 18. All consumer contracts with arbitration clauses will need to comply with the rule within 180 days of the effective date, which will be March 19, 2018.
  • The House of Representatives is working to pass 12 appropriations bills by September 30 to fund federal agencies for the Fiscal Year 2018. The House Appropriations Committee passed the spending bill for financial regulatory agencies on July 13. The measure included several provisions important to Experian and our clients.
  • On July 19, Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Gregory Meeks (DNY) introduced the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act. The bill would codify the legal precedent under federal banking laws that preempts a loan’s interest as valid when made.
  • Legislators in California continue to debate legislation that would enact a broadband privacy law in the state, similar to the rule issued by the FCC and then overturned by Congress. A.B. 375 would prohibit an internet service provider from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to customer personal information.

Read the full update here.

4 Reasons Online Lenders Are Innovating With Purchasing Cards (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

In recent years, Kabbage and others have stepped up to introduce a purchasing card product to their borrowers, and with their early success, many lenders are now following suit for the following four reasons:

  1. Staying on top of the customer’s mind
  2. Speaking the language of large corporate partner targets
  3. Underwriting use of funds
  4. Revenue sharing

New Financial Technology Upgrades Bank’s Credit Review Process (PayNet Email), Rated: A

Enables Banks To Review All Credits and Focus on the Highest Risks

The real challenge is convincing bank management that they do not have to apply the same credit review process to the entire portfolio.  Adopting different processes based upon exposure size and measured risk (APD for example) should be the goal of every bank.  In other words, focus credit review efforts to those accounts that represent the greatest risk to the bank – and that is what you are hoping to do with your credit review process.

Conducting credit reviews are a “waste of time” in most cases because nothing has changed. What form that documentation takes is where PayNet can be most helpful to the prospect.

PayNet is introducing PayNet Credit Review Express, a risk management tool which streamlines the credit review process making credit review easier and less costly.

Credit Review Express assesses the credit risk of each C&I borrower each month. Banks can assign their definition of risk from delinquency to probability of default to assign high, medium or low risk to each borrower. Currently, PayNet sees less than 2% of C&I borrowers as high risk credits. Other features include automated action steps (such as Watch, Restructure, Work-out) and a customized dashboard to monitor and track activity.

FDIC defends right to charter new banks against OCC criticism (American Banker), Rated: A

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. defended its authority to approve prospective new banks in response to suggestions by acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika that his agency should be able to approve applications on its own.

Rumour mill churns in US online lending sector (AltFi), Rated: A

Whispers abound of a major financing round, an acquisition and an IPO within the US online lending space.

Perhaps chief among the rumours was the suggestion that SoFi may at last be on the brink of an IPO that was first mooted by CEO Mike Cagney in 2014.

Meanwhile, SoftBank continued to build on its portfolio-for-the-future with a $250m equity investment in small business lending fintech Kabbage.

Cities where student loan borrowers struggle with debt the most (Credible), Rated: A

So it’s important for borrowers, especially recent grads, to think about the best places to live — the cities in which they’re not only likely to find a well-paying job, but also where rents and other living expenses aren’t so exorbitant so as to add to their pile of debt.

5 cities where student loans borrowers struggle the most with debt:

  • 1. San Jose, California
  • 2. Fort Worth, Texas
  • 3. Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4. Los Angeles, California
  • 5. Denver, Colorado

5 cities where student loans borrowers struggle the least with debt:

  • 1. Dallas, TX
  • 2. Jacksonville, FL
  • 3. Houston, TX
  • 4. Columbus, OH
  • 5. Austin, TX

The key indicator for affordability was how much of a borrower’s monthly income would go towards their student loan payments and monthly housing costs.

Source: Credible

 

Marketplace Lending Explained (WealthManagement.com), Rated: A

Marketplace lending has grown by nearly 150 percent on a compound annual basis for the last half-decade. Strong growth and real longevity mean that most advisors have to consider the role that marketplace lending plays in their clients’ portfolios.

Source: WealthManagement.com

Refinancing high-rate credit card debt or other hard-money-type loans among high-quality borrowers via a marketplace lender is sensible and provides good value to all parties.

As part of a fixed income allocation, what are the risks in marketplace loans? There is the credit risk of the borrower first and foremost—here the asset can be seen as clearly pro-cyclical; in other words, as the economy improves, the asset strengthens. Correspondingly, as the economy weakens, the credit of the borrower will weaken. Additionally, there has recently been some weakness in consumer credit, primarily in auto loans and credit card defaults, though these have been largely limited to the subprime aspects of these loan categories.

United Kingdom

The Growing Alternative Finance Industry (Business Zone), Rated: AAA

The latest equity crowdfunding statistics released by OFF3R last month revealed that the first half of 2017 was the strongest 6 months for equity crowdfunding to date.

Six of the leading equity crowdfunding platforms that form the OFF3R Index raised nearly £130M in 2017 for UK private companies. This is £2M above the previous half yearly record that was reached back in the second half of 2015. March 2017, where Over £40 million was raised, buoyed the latest data and the period as a whole was characterised by some very large fundraises from Q1 2017.

The data also revealed that peer to peer lendinglevels continue to rise in the UK. The peer to peer lending statistics showed that over £1.8 billion was lent in the first half of 2017 by the nine platforms that make up the OFF3R Index. This is an increase of over £350 million from the previous half year period at the end of 2016.

The data also revealed that Assetz Capital had a record breaking month in June 2017. The total amount lent of over £30 million by the platform was higher than any previous period since the OFF3R Index began.

Toxic loans blight property peer-to-peer lender Wellesley – with more than half its borrowers behind on payments or in default (This is Money), Rated: AAA

More than half of the customers of an internet loan firm run by an aristocratic financier are behind on their payments or in default, the Mail can reveal.

Wellesley, a peer-to-peer lender which allows property developers to borrow cash from savers, is grappling with losses on its loan book.

Online lender Tandem acquires Harrods Bank in bid to expand services (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: A

Start-up lender Tandem has snapped up Harrods Bank in a deal that will bring it closer to launching a savings account.

The undisclosed deal will hand the online-only lender £80 million of additional capital and enable it to regain its banking licence , if it wins regulatory backing.

The institutional investor selling down its stake in VPC Speciality Lending (AltFi), Rated: A

Old Mutual, a sigificant shareholder in the £351m VPC Speciality Lending fund, has further reduced its holding in the closed ended portfolio following previous reductions in exposure earlier in the year.

Its holding in the fund fell below 6 per cent back in March 2017, now it has sold more shares with its stake now less than 4.99 per cent, according to regulatory filings.

VC firm behind Zopa among judges at PitchIt funding competition (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

A VENTURE capital (VC) firm that backed Zopa in its early days has been named among judges for the second annual PitchIt Europe competition.

Rob Moffat, partner at Balderton Capital, an early Zopa backer, will be one of the VC judges alongside Seedcamp’s Reshma Sohoni, Blenheim Chalcot’s Dan Cobley and managing director of CommerzVentures Patrick Meisberger.

China

Tencent credit check takes mobile payments battle to Alibaba (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Tencent is developing a credit scoring system as it ramps up its battle with rival Alibaba for a share of China’s $5.5tn mobile payments market.

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s payments affiliate, launched its Sesame Credit two years ago, parlaying its data on consumers into a measure of their trustworthiness, providing comfort for small businesses and consumers alike.

Credit scoring is popular in China, especially among younger subscribers who lack a credit history but might be eligible for a high rating that would let them rent hotel rooms, bikes or phone chargers without leaving a deposit. The services are particularly valuable given the lack of access to credit cards in the country.

Tencent is testing a credit scoring service among a small group of its subscribers, upping the stakes as the two tech titans engage in an aggressive promotion this week encouraging Chinese to forgo cash in favour of payments made with a swipe of the phone.

Top 100 List of Chinese Internet firms in 2017: Tencent surpassed Alibaba to become NO.1, and Letv was Out of the List. (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Recently, Internet Society of China (ISA) and the information center of Industry and Information Technology Ministry Jointly issued the list of “China’s Top 100 Internet Companies in 2017”. For this time, Tencent overtook Alibaba to become the No.1. Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu were still the top three for five consecutive years, while Letv was out of the list.

The top 10 of the list were:

  • No.1 Tencent
  • No.2 Alibaba
  • No.3 Baidu
  • No.4 Jingdong
  • No.5 NetEase
  • No.6 Sina
  • No.7 Sohu
  • No.8 Meituan
  • No.9 Ctrip
  • No.10 360

The list of “China’s top 100 Internet Companies” has been published every year since 2013 and has been published five times so far.The evaluation index combines seven core indicators of enterprise scale, profitability, innovation, growth, influence and social responsibility.

Central bank to regulate rapidly growing fintech (China Daily), Rated: AAA

In a report released last weekend, the People’s Bank of China said some financial products offered through internet channels by fintech companies are “systemically important” and hence will be included in its macro-prudential assessment or MPA.

The aim is to prevent cyclical risks and cross-market risk transmission, it said.

Analysts said this is the first time that the PBOC said it will include fintech businesses in its MPA.

With $ 3.58 bn in newly increased loan balance, Weli Dai becomes the largest microcredit platform in China (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 7th August, a Webank staff said in WeChat Moments that the loan balance of Weli Dai reached a milestone of over 100 billion RMB (equivalent to $14.91 bn). In a speech at the LendIt on July 16, Fang Zhengyu, the director of retail credit section in Webank, revealed that the loan balance of Weli Dai was $1.13 bn. And it has increased by $3.58 bn within just 22 days. What an amazing growth!

Weli Dai is focused on providing a cash loans product, with the loans amount from ¥500 to ¥300,000, and is operated in pure online pattern. With its white list invitation system, Weli Dai identifies the target customers effectively. The loan period is flexible from one day to twenty months, which makes users borrow and repay money at any time. Many factors contributed to the performance of Webank today, the most important is that Webank developed its business in the huge customer base of QQ and WeChat. Besides, Webank has built partnerships with nearly 40 banks for jointly making loans.

Hong Kong startup close to US$ 500mil valuation (The Star), Rated: A

TNG FinTech Group Inc, a Hong Kong-based digital wallet operator founded in 2013, is poised to close a funding round and is targeting a valuation of about US$500mil, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It has attracted almost US$60mil in the series A round from investors including a Beijing-based private equity fund, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing private deliberations.

TNG, which offers global money transfers, foreign-exchange transactions and bill payments, expects to be profitable this year and is targeting a listing in either New York or Hong Kong by 2019, the person said.

Jeffrey Chen of ZhongAn Insurance (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Jin (Jeffrey) Chen, the CEO of ZhongAn Insurance. I sat down with him when I was in Shanghai recently for Lang Di Fintech (LendIt’s Chinese event) and we conducted this interview with the assistance of his translator.

People’s Bank of China Has Fintech on Its Mind (Fox Business), Rated: A

The People’s Bank of China said in a report that it is considering expanding its risk-assessment system beyond banks to include major online financial businesses. Last month, it reached agreement with 45 nonbank financial firms– including payment systems affiliated with internet giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd.–on joining a new payment-clearing platform called Wanglian, according to listed-company documents.

This effectively gives the PBOC a clearer view of payments, enhancing regulation, said Tencent, which owns the TenPay payment system.

European Union

Fellow Finance Adds Invoice Financing (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Finnish p2p lending service Fellow Finance has opened a new invoice finance service for companies, which allows businesses to convert their trade receivables into cash immediately. In the new invoice finance service, a company gets funding against its invoice receivables directly from investors.

In adjacent Estonia p2p lending marketplace Investly, which specializes on invoice financing for Estonian and UK SMEs, is growing. The last figures we reported for them show 78% month on month and 319% y-o-y growth.

Balderton Capital on European Fintech (Stitcher), Rated: A

Rob Moffat is a Partner at Balderton Capital, a London-based venture capital firm that has invested in fintech businesses including GoCardless, Revolut, Crowdcube, Nutmeg, Seedcamp, ComplyAdvantage, Wonga, Zopa and more. Prior to joining Balderton, Rob worked at Bain & Company and Google. Rob holds degrees from Cambridge and INSEAD.

Listen to the podcast here.

International

Senate To Mull Financial Choice Act, UK Officials Look For Tighter Controls (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As has been noted in the financial and trade press, the Financial Choice Act, which was passed last month by the U.S. House of Representatives, now awaits a vote in the U.S. Senate.

In other regulatory news, one executive in Britain is calling for tighter financial regulations in the United Kingdom. Douglas Flint, departing chairman of Britain’s largest bank, HSBC, said in a statement that, amid issues such as Brexit and a revamp of the European financial order, a lack of homogeneity in regulation means there should be cooperation between overseers to find — and stop — “bad actors.” Flint advocated that “greater cooperation between the public and private sectors, together with a refresh of bank secrecy laws and regulation designed for a different age, would significantly increase the effectiveness of our joint efforts.”

Visa And The QR Code Evolution/Revolution (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As it turns out, putting that spec on the shelf helped to inform the development of the EMVCo QR code standard, which was released yesterday into a payments ecosystem that looks at them as anything but uninteresting.

China is a prime example as, over the course of the last five years, the QR code-based mobile payment has almost entirely displaced cash in the country — and leapfrogged credit and debit cards — to become Chinese consumers’ preferred alternative for payment. There are $5.5 trillion worth of mobile payments made in China per year, the vast, vast majority of which are handled via QR code.

But perhaps most striking is India and its government’s November 2016 decision to move toward a cashless society. That led the country to the accompanying adoption of a QR code-focused payments scheme based on Visa’s mVisa standard.

Getting To Scale

Visa is currently developing mVisa as a worldwide solution. The key to scale, Shrauger told Webster, is making it useful and accessible for their two client groups — merchants and their customers.

Australia

Westpac Banking Invests $ 40 Million into zipMoney (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

zipMoney (ASX:ZML) has announced a $40 million strategic investment from Westpac Banking (ASX:WBC). The investment was paired with an agreement for the two companies to explore the integration of Zip’s products and services into Westpac’s network across Australia. The investment will be by subscription of ordinary equity of 49,382,716 shares at a price of $0.81 per share. This represents a 14.1% premium over the close of $0.71 on August 4th.

India

How technology is helping investors achieve their financial aspirations (Financial Express), Rated: A

Most Indians save first and think of spending later. However, when it comes time for them to plan their expenses, they end up relying on mental estimates of their financial position. As a result, most people are never confident of 1) how much to save and 2) whether they can reach their financial aspirations with their current investment plan. This is especially true for young professionals who want to save for a secure future but also want a more fulfilling life experience. What is required is financial advice that delivers the answers to these questions in a clear and quantified way.

A solution to these issues has come from the field of artificial intelligence. Cognitive technologies is a branch of artificial intelligence that deals with the application of computers towards tasks traditionally performed by people. The aim of this process is to design a software solution that has comprehensive and detailed instructions, that enables it to do the same work that a person can. The benefits of this approach are that the same work can be done at a much faster pace, at a higher accuracy and at a lower cost.

Asia

Japan’s SoftBank says Q1 profit jumps 50.1% after inclusion of Vision Fund (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp on Monday reported a 50.1 percent rise in first-quarter operating profit, after the company included Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity fund, as a new reportable segment and booked a valuation gain.

The internet and telecoms giant said profit for the quarter through June increased to 479.2 billion yen ($4.33 billion).

Fintech investments tripled in Singapore (The Star), Rated: AAA

GLOBAL investment in financial technology (fintech) firms more than doubled in the second quarter of the year, compared with the first quarter, to US$8.4bil (S$11.4bil) across 293 deals, KPMG said in a recent report.

Investment in fintech in Singapore more than tripled to US$61.5mil (S$83.3mil), although there were only four deals, compared with seven the quarter before.

Indonesian P2P Lending Platform UangTeman Secures Million During Series A Funding Round Led By K2 Venture Capital (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, Indonesia-based peer-to-peer lending platform UangTeman announced it successfully secured $12 million during its Series A funding round, which was led by K2 Venture Capital, with participation from STI Financial Group and Draper Associates.

Middle East

UAE Authorities Plan SMB Crowdfunding Framework (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

United Arab Emirates (UAE) regulators are setting out to establish a framework to guide the small business (SMB) crowdfunding market, news reports on Sunday (Aug. 6) said.

Equity crowdfunding is expected to provide $93 billion to small- and medium-sized enterprises by 2020, reports added. In the UAE, SMBs stand to gain significantly from that trend, as these businesses make up an estimated 85 percent of all UAE companies. In Dubai, that number is even higher, at nearly 95 percent of all businesses, reports added.

Meanwhile, research from the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development found that as many as 70 percent of small business loan applications in the UAE are rejected by traditional banks, despite efforts from the national government and the Central Bank of the UAE to promote SMB financing.

Latin America

Mexican fund invests in peer-to-peer lending network (Latin Lawyer), Rated: A

Greenberg Traurig SC in Mexico City has helped Mexican venture capital fund Ignia invest in peer-to-peer lending network Afluenta.

Africa

Why African fintech startups are becoming even more attractive for investors (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Take Flutterwave, a payments company which builds infrastructure to ease processing payments across Africa, it’s just raised $10 million in its Series A round. Significantly, the round was led by leading Silicon Valley venture capital funds Greycroft and Green Visor Capital, with participation from Y Combinator and Glynn Capital.

Fintech startups are the “most attractive,” for tech investors looking towards Africa, according to a recent report by Disrupt Africa. Nearly 20% of fintech startups tracked raised money in the last two years and in 2016, there was a 84% increase in the number of fintech startups secured investment compared to the previous year. In total, since 2015, fintech startups in Africa had raised $93 million in investment as of June 2017. Flutterwave’s raise takes that total past the $100 million mark.

In more advanced economies, fintech startups are focused on disrupting the traditional banking industry by changing how people access financial services. But in most parts of sub Saharan Africa, that’s not the case. In fact, fintech startups are typically creating products and services to plug many of the gaps which currently exist.

Indeed, as of 2014, only 34% of adults in sub Saharan Africa had bank accounts. Given the sheer size of the market which remains under-served, fintech startups are presented with a huge opportunity. And for investors, all that represents a major upside.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

 

Wednesday January 11 2017, Daily News Digest

payday lenders and French crowdfunders

News Comments Today’s main news: French crowdfunding leaders make 2017 wish list. Today’s main analysis: California Supreme Court says payday lending businesses are not arms of the tribes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: UangTeman adopts P2P, OJK bars balance-sheet lending. United States California Supreme Court denies tribal sovereignty immunity for payday lenders. GP:” The tribal structure is […]

payday lenders and French crowdfunders

News Comments

United States

  • California Supreme Court denies tribal sovereignty immunity for payday lenders. GP:” The tribal structure is not very popular in the marketplace lending space. Therefore I don’t think this is a big deal.” AT: “The important sticking point here is structure. If tribes want sovereignty immunity, then they must act sovereignly. That means no partnerships with non-tribal entities, evidently. More interestingly, there could be stark implications for marketplace lenders across the board: Pay attention to structure.”
  • Why the unbanked are unbanked, and what can be done about it. AT: “Smartphones. Interestingly, Jaimie Anzelone points out that the unbanked are not necessarily unbanked out of necessity. It’s a choice. She encourages FinTech leaders to meet them where they play–on their phones. I can’t disagree, but it does involve winning their trust.”
  • How will marketplace lenders fare in an economic downturn? GP:” I believe it’s all about underwriting quality and sticky funding.” AT: “Quite a legitimate question. My guess is, some will thrive and others dive.”
  • Will banking disappear? GP:  ” Banking will not dissapear. The tools we use for banking will change.” AT: “A bit of hyperbole. In reality, banking will have to change, and we see it happening now as we speak. The question is, will banks go completely digital?”
  • Capital One encourages SME FinTech adoption.

European Union

India

Canada

Asia

United States

California Supreme Court Declines to Extend Tribal Sovereign Immunity to Payday Lending Businesses (JD Supra), Rated: AAA

On December 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued People ex rel. Owen v. Miami Nation Enterprises. The decision found that certain tribal business entities that provided loans in California are not “arms of the tribe” entitled to immunity from California state law regulating payday loans.

In 2005, two federally recognized tribes, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and the Santee Sioux Nation, created business entities under tribal law for the purpose of offering online payday loans throughout the country. These tribal entities hired a series of management companies to operate their payday lending businesses.

In 2007, the State of California sued the tribal entities for violating state law by providing payday loans without a license and exceeding statutory limits on the size of the loans and related fees. A state Court of Appeal sided with the tribal entities, concluding that they shared the tribes’ immunity because of several formal ties.

The California Supreme Court reversed. The court first announced a five-factor test for determining whether a tribal business entity is entitled to sovereign immunity as an “arm of the tribe.” California courts must consider “(1) the entity’s method of creation, (2) whether the tribe intended the entity to share in its immunity, (3) the entity’s purpose, (4) the tribe’s control over the entity, and (5) the financial relationship between the tribe and the entity.”

The California Supreme Court’s decision is notable for its potential impact on the marketplace lending industry and the body of law that governs the applicability of state usury and consumer protection law to marketplace lending models.

  • Moreover, it may be more difficult for a tribal entity to establish immunity under this test than it is for a marketplace lender to demonstrate entitlement to federal preemption under the National Bank Act or Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act. If so, this could influence marketplace lenders either to pursue a special purpose national bank charter or to coalesce around a bank partnership model instead of a tribal lending model.
  • The payday lending arrangements, by contrast, eliminated part of that risk by guaranteeing a minimum monthly payment to the tribal entities. This suggests that an important touchstone in the tribal immunity analysis will continue to be the exposure to business-related risk the various parties bear in a lending arrangement.
  • The California Supreme Court’s approach to tribal immunity arguably mirrors recent decisions applying the so-called “true lender” doctrine to analyze not just formal, but also functional aspects of a marketplace lending arrangement in determining the applicability of state law. Relevant to the court’s decision in this case were the tribe’s limited ongoing financial stake and limited actual control over lending decisions. This substance-over-form approach parallels the analysis in cases like Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. CashCall (covered here) and diverges from the focus on the formal nature of the lending partnership in Beechum v. Navient Solutions, Inc. (covered here).

Using FinTech to Level the Financial Playing Field (Finextra), Rated: A

Individuals without bank accounts, or the “unbanked” as they’ve been unceremoniously dubbed, account for 7% of all Americans. Without a bank account, they are disconnected from the financial ecosystem, making it hard to become financially stable, save, build credit history, safely transfer money, take out a loan or seek financial advice.  Dangerous stereotypes lead us to believe that the unbanked are poor, uneducated and trapped in a cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. The truth is, this overlooked demographic remains unbanked for practical reasons:

  • It’s Expensive to Maintain a Bank Account – Average fees to maintain a checking account have tripled in the last four years. Today, most banks require a minimum balance or direct deposit to keep an account open or these fees from being waived.
  • Lack of Trust in Banks – Straight forward pricing is important to a consumer, but banks lack transparency and uniformity, especially when it comes to fees.
  • Check Cashing Services = Convenient & Easy – While they do charge a service fee at a high rate, the fees are clearly listed and visible for the consumer to see. This builds the trust and familiarity with consumers that has proven difficult for banks to achieve.
  • They Just Don’t Want a Bank Account – Enough said.

A 2015 study conducted by the Federal Reserve System found that 40% of unbanked Americans have access to a smartphone. This high rate of mobile penetration presents a huge opportunity for FinTech to revolutionize the position of the unbanked in the financial ecosystem.

How will fintech lenders cope with an economic downturn? (Econsultancy), Rated: A

Today, non-bank lenders, many of them generating leads and conducting business primarily or exclusively online, are big players in the lending markets, in many cases having taken market share from banks.

These include direct lenders like Sofi, Avant and OnDeck Capital, as well as marketplace lenders like LendingClub and Prosper.

Not only have fintech lenders brought much if not all of the loan application process online, they created user experiences that made it easy for consumers and business owners to complete that loan application process quickly and without hassle.

Many fintech lenders have developed their own proprietary lending models, which are often different than those traditionally used by bank lenders. Some boast of using thousands of data points to evaluate borrowers and even relying very little on credit scores from the major credit bureaus.

But there’s a problem: the vast bulk of the loans fintech lenders have issued were issued after the Great Recession, and thus, the underwriting models they have been using haven’t been battle tested against an economic downturn.

According to Bloomberg, several bonds issued by Avant, an online lender that offers personal loans, have breached or are expected to soon breach delinquency or default triggers for the first time ever.

But given that non-bank lenders have been among the most willing to lend to borrowers that wouldn’t pass muster with banks, it’s entirely possible that they could be at greater risk for loss than most have anticipated when the next recession hits.

If that happens, it could offer bank lenders an opportunity to win back business they have ceded in the past eight years by applying some of the fintech lenders’ innovations around user experience.

Banking ‘Disappears,’ and Other Fintech Predictions for ’17 (American Banker), Rated: A

Whether it’s through IoT devices, fintech platforms, virtual assistants or chatbots, people will likely spend more time connecting to their money through such channels and less time directly interacting with their banks.

APIs “will serve as the keystone joining fintech companies and financial institutions to accelerate banking’s digital transformation and better meet the shifting demands of consumers,” Suresh Ramamurthi, chairman and chief technology officer of CBW Bank in Weir, Kan., said in an email. “2017 will also see open APIs support a ‘marketplace approach’ to banking that will empower financial institutions to develop services that better anticipate emerging market needs across multiple business verticals, delivering tangible value to both businesses and consumers.”

In its predictions for 2017, the core systems provider Jack Henry noted that the adoption of digital channels for small-business banking presents “a way to drive revenue from the self-service revolution.” In other words, the more digital a banks can make its small-business banking unit, the more it can fatten a thin-margin business. Digital services bring efficiency to the business, but digital platforms also allow banks to incorporate other fee-based services to their lineup.

One of the reasons banks are looking to improve their digital products for business is to bring them to parity with consumer products. Entrepreneurs and business leaders often complain that the digital products they use in their business life pale in comparison to those they use in their personal life.

Capital One Collaborates To Encourage SME FinTech Adoption (PYMNTS.com), Rated: B

Capital One Spark Business is today announcing a new effort to push SMEs over the edge from being interested in FinTech to actually adopting it. The unit is now looking to establish an ecosystem of SME FinTech partners — the first of which, announced today (Jan. 10), are business payments firm Bill.com and SME HR company Gusto.

European Union

French Crowdfunding Leaders Predict Strong Market Growth, Call for Better Investor Tax Incentives in 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

France is the second largest European crowdfunding market after the UK. We asked the CEOs of France’s leading crowdlending and crowdinvesting platforms to share their hopes, wishes and predictions for the sector in 2017.

Stéphanie Savel, CEO of equity crowdfunding platform WiSeed

“The challenge faced by the French crowdfunding sector, and in particular by the equity crowdfunding, is to demonstrate its capacity to channel French consumer savings towards productive investments.”

Vincent Ricordeau, CEO of reward-based crowdfunding platform KissKissBankBank and crowdlending platforms HelloMerci and Lendopolis

“The change I would like to see is that platform regulation and investor taxation become as favorable for crowdfunding in France as they are in the UK.”

Olivier Goy, CEO of crowdlending platform Lendix

“We believe that 2017 will comfort crowdlending as an actual alternative for business finance. One or more platforms (including Lendix, of course !) will pass the milestone of financing €100 million worth of loans in a single year.”

Thomas de Bourayne, CEO of crowdlending platform Credit.fr

“In the same vein, closing good partnerships with traditional banks and institutional investors will be key. Any government measure that will help directing French savings towards SMEs through crowdfunding platforms will be the icing on the cake.”

Nicolas Lesur, CEO of crowdlending platform Unilend & Chairman of the Board of the French Crowdfunding Association.

“Disappointment with traditional asset classes will drive a growing number of retail investors to turn to crowdlending for better returns and stronger social and economic impact.”

Joachim Dupont, CEO of equity crowdfunding platform Anaxago

“In 2017, the higher returns as well as the depth, breadth, and quality of the assets it offers to investors, will enable crowdfunding to gain more visibility and reach new highs.”

Alex Raguet, CEO of green equity crowdfunding platform Lumo & Chairman of the Board of the European Crowdfunding Network

“The change I would like to see for the French crowdfunding sector is stronger tax incentives for crowdfunding investors, in line with those offered in the UK.”

Top fintech trends in Sweden in 2017 (Computer Weekly), Rated: B

Sweden has grown into one of Europe’s major fintech hotspots, with Stockholm-based payments companies Klarna (valued at $2.25bn) and iZettle ($500bn) leading the way.

The goal of the new directive is to level the competitive playing field, make payment services more secure and promote innovation. Key to these plans is the requirement for banks to open up their application programming interfaces (APIs) for qualifying payment service providers to access.

David Fock, CPO at Klarna, said personalisation through artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning would be key trend for Sweden’s fintech sector.

India

Fintech startups flourish in 2016, mostly in lending (The Jakarta Post), Rated: B

As many as 135 fintech startups emerged as of December last year compared to only 51 in the first quarter of the year, OJK strategic management deputy commissioner Imansyah told a press briefing on Tuesday.

The OJK has yet to identify the types of fintech services the flourishing startups offer, with products ranging from payment, lending, insurance to capital markets.

“But most of them are P2P lenders,” Imansyah added.

Total transactions within the fintech platforms are forecast to reach US$37.15 billion in 2021, from $15.02 billion forecast in 2016, representing around 19.8 percent growth rate per year during the period, according to data from market statistics portal Statista. (est)

Canada

Mobetize Mobile smartLoan Platform to Include Real-Time Social Biometrics Identity Verification (Military Technologies), Rated: A

Mobetize Corp. (OTCQB:MPAY), a provider of mobile financial services (MFS) technology for the multi-billion dollar business to business (B2B) segment of the Fintech as a Service (FAAS) sector, is pleased to announce it has implemented real-time social biometric Digital Identity Verification to enhance Know Your Customer (“KYC”) capabilities to counter online identity fraud for its smartLoan platform.

Our solution will be to analyze social behavioural patterns using an artificial intelligence system together with proprietary machine learning algorithms to determine whether an online identity is authentic, a fraudster or a bot.

Katipult selected as 1 of 6 firms for Hong Kong FinTech mission (Digital Journal), Rated: A

After completing a highly competitive application process, Katipult and five other Canadian fintech companies are selected to participate in the Canadian Fintech Mission to Hong Kong on January 15th – 20th!

Katipult is looking to expand its presence in Asia while already boasting a regional sales office and clients in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Asia

UangTeman to Adopt Peer-to-Peer Service as OJK Bars Balance-Sheet Lending (Jakarta Globe), Rated: AAA

UangTeman, Indonesia’s first online lending service, is set to change its business model to peer-to-peer lending to comply with the Financial Services Authority’s latest, a top executive said on Tuesday (10/01).

UangTeman is among the local fintechs who use a balance sheet lending model, meaning it distributes funds from its own pocket instead of passing funds from individual or business lenders in a peer-to-peer business model.

Zulkifli’s comments came as a response to OJK’s latest regulation on financial technology released Dec. 29. The regulation forbids any financial technology companies to loan out its own money, to prevent them prying on best debtors from traditional financial firms and banks.

Campfire closes $ 2.9m investment to fund social lending expansion (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Tokyo-based crowdfunding site Campfire, which is expanding into the social lending space, has closed a 330 million yen (~$2.9 million) funding round.

To date, crowdfinance in Japan is dominated by the likes of cross-border lending marketplace Crowdcredit and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Maneo, which possesses a first mover advantage given its inception in 2008 and its use of a franchise model that allows people to wihtelabel it.

Coinciding with the investment, Campfire has named Taniya, the founder and chairman of Japanese robo-advisory startup Money Design, as well as someone with expertise in the financial robo-advisory space, as its new chairman while Yusuke Sato, the CEO of Freakout Holdings, and Antonio Kamiya, the CTO of listed firm Fujisan Magazine Service, have joined the company as external directors.They have also added a chief information officer, Hiroue Harada.

An analysis by the Lending Times, a publication covering developments in the alternative investments space, P2P lending has faced slow growth in Japan due to a substantial number of lending options available to consumers, with banks possessing an average lending rate of less than 2 per cent and loan to deposit ratio estimated at 70 per cent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

July 18th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 18th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments United States Moody’s decides against downgrading Prosper’s previous securitizations. Our readers may remember that back in February the news that Moody’s may downgrade a Prosper/Citi securitization bond started the whole p2p loan quality uncertainty media blitz. While that was just the spark, it is nice to see that Moody’s has reconsidered and feels […]

July 18th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Indonesia

Sweden

News Summary

 

United States

Moody’s Decides Against Downgrade for Prosper Marketplace Loan Deal, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

The ratings firm said in February that it was watching a Citigroup Inc. securitization of Prosper loans for the possibility that the loans might go bad at rates higher than initially expected, which could force it to lower its rating on some of the notes. It raised its forecast of future losses to around 12% from as low as 8% of the money lent.

But on Thursday, Moody’s said “the absence of substantial deterioration” of the loans was a major reason it decided not to downgrade the notes. It said this “reduces the likelihood of extreme underperformance.” The notes in question will keep their initial rating of Ba3, or three levels below investment grade. Higher-grade parts of the deal weren’t on review for downgrade.

In recent weeks, however, there have been signs of a thaw in the market’s reticence. Social Finance Inc., known as SoFi, completed its first rated sale of bonds tied to personal loans. Marlette Funding LLC this week launched its own sale of bonds tied to loans, the first for the platform since the winter.

An analysis of the online-lending bonds by PeerIQ, which tracks the industry, shows the prices of bonds tied to Prosper loans have risen in recent weeks. Investors had been demanding yields on some Prosper-linked bonds in April of nearly 10 percentage points above benchmark bonds. That spread fell to just roughly 4 percentage points as of the most recent trades in July, PeerIQ data show.

Installment Lender Using Bank Partner Model Needs Maryland License, Court of Appeals Rules, (JD Supra Business Advisor), Rated: AAA

Comment: This could be a really big deal for all the alt lenders who are originating through banks.

The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, in CashCall, Inc. et al. v. Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation, recently affirmed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals (MCSA) directing CashCall to cease doing business in Maryland without a Credit Services Business Act (MCSBA) license and to pay $5.6 million in penalties in connection with loans already made.

While much attention has been focused on the risks created by Madden v. Midland Funding, LLC and the so-called “true lender” issue, the CashCall decision illustrates how the bank partner structure used by many lenders can be threatened by state licensing statutes as well.

The case arose out of CashCall advertising on its website to consumers and offering them a method to apply for loans online. The loans were made by out-of-state, state-chartered banks at interest rates significantly in excess of the maximum rate permitted by Maryland law, and the banks also charged loan origination fees. Shortly after origination, the banks sold the loans to CashCall, which collected all payments on the loans.

The Commissioner contended that CashCall was a “credit services business” as defined by state law, because it assisted consumers in obtaining an extension of credit “in return for the payment of money or other valuable consideration.” CashCall argued that, in the absence of a direct payment to it from the consumer, it could not be properly classified as a credit services business.

According to the court, CashCall was a “credit services business” because it received compensation “in return for” assisting consumers in obtaining loans.

The Court of Appeals reached an ominous conclusion regarding the impact of federal preemption on the CashCall program. As the court noted, the MCSBA prohibits a credit services business from assisting a consumer in obtaining a loan at an interest rate that exceeds the maximum rate permitted by Maryland law “except for federal preemption of State law.” However, according to the court, “[a]lthough federal law allows federally insured banks to charge out-of-state consumers the same interest rate permitted by the bank’s home state, regardless of the interest rate caps imposed by the law of the consumer’s resident state,” the MCSBA does not permit a credit services business to “assist a consumer in obtaining a loan from any in-state or out-of-state bank, at an interest rate prohibited by Maryland law.”

Under the court’s reading, the MCBSA would effectively prohibit CashCall from assisting a bank in the origination of loans at rates expressly authorized by federal law.

Why online lenders should become banks, (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Comment: In my personal view they shouldn’t become banks as that equals having 1 hand tied behind your back. Instead they should find a depositer-like source of capital, maybe in partnership with banks.

Even last year, online lenders more than doubled the size of their loan books on average — wildly outpacing even the raciest bank — and many were still valued on three-digit earnings multiples. But much has since changed in the sector and — believe me — they aren’t jeering now.

If lenders want the sector to be more than a specialist backwater, or a technologically-enabled version of the old finance company model (think Household or GE Capital), platforms need to rethink how they do business. One way off the hamster wheel might be to put more of their loans on their own balance sheets. While that would expose them directly to losses, with consequences for capital requirements and regulatory oversight, it would also provide a more stable income base, making it easier to survive lending downturns. The snag is that it would not get round the problem of having to rely on fickle market funding for support.

Solving that requires online lenders to take a step that many a year ago would have scorned: joining the banking deadbeats to tap regular deposit funding.

Many platforms have been considering whether or not this might be in their interest. But the US regulators aren’t that keen on issuing bank charters to young and flighty marketplace firms.

Which leaves takeovers. Valuations no longer make it totally impossible for an established bank to consider snapping up a marketplace platform. Lending Club is valued at around two times its book, and OnDeck Capital, the other listed platform, at about one times.

LendingClub Names BlackRock’s Dunne Chief Capital Officer, (Bloomberg),Rated: A

Dunne, who previously led BlackRock Inc.’s San Francisco office, will work with LendingClub investors and retail distribution partners, the company said Monday in a statement. “Patrick’s wealth of experience and diverse background across capital markets, strategy, portfolio management, product development and client service will help us drive the next phase of Lending Club’s growth,” Sanborn said in the statement. “Patrick will play a key role in reaffirming our continued commitment to our investors.”

Jefferies Group is again considering selling bonds tied to LendingClub consumer loans after scuttling an effort amid the shakeup there. Many investors are conducting due-diligence checks and have said they may purchase more loans, although maybe initially at muted levels, the CEO said in June.

Dunne’s plan to depart from BlackRock was announced earlier this year. He had worked for Barclays Global Investors before BlackRock acquired it. Dunne has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s in management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, according to the statement from the San Francisco-based company.

LendingClub advanced 3.6 percent to $4.65 in early trading at 8:21 a.m. in New York.

Should investors look at investing in P2P lending?, (CNBC Video), Rated: A

Comment: Ron Suber on CNBC explaining what Prosper does and how they do it. Video covering the basics of Prosper which will not be news for our readers. However worth a watch as it’s well articulated and well presented.

Delinquencies numbers shared: Blended average advertised at 7.4% blended net return. A great yield for fixed income for sure.

Millennials are ditching financial advisors for apps, (New York Post), Rated: AAA

It’s time for many technophobic 50-something financial pros to look for another job. That’s because millennials, many of whom are about to inherit considerable assets, are not looking for a sit-down meeting in a downtown office to discuss investment options.

“Before, change was happening, but it was generational. You could adjust to it. And a business model was, in essence, immortal,” says Bill Hortz, founder of the Institute for
Innovation Development. In the 1950s, he noted, the average company stayed in the S&P 500 for 75 years.

“Today it is 14 years and dropping rapidly,” he says. Change is feeding on itself, and the effects of analytics and artificial intelligence will be expanding. They will dramatically change “client experiences and client interfaces,” Hortz says.

The new client has expectations of “24/7 access to information that is readily available via a smartphone, tablet or computer. Financial issues and questions that once required the advice of a certified professional can now be answered with a click on any digitally enabled device,” according to “The Advisor of the Future,” a 2015 report by Hearsay Social, a company that advises financial firms.

This represents “a potential sales opportunity of almost $2 trillion,” the report said. “In addition, customers will soon be able to search for products via additional technologies, including voice and gesture commands.”

“What’s more important isn’t the initial amount, but that someone makes a commitment to invest on a regular basis.”

“They need an easy way to communicate with advisers, be it on the computer or text messaging,” Raznick says. “They need to see visuals on how investing is more lucrative with an adviser as opposed to an automated solution.”

The top honchos at Andreessen Horowitz sat down for a podcast after raising .5bil ( The financial revolutionist), Rated: AAA

They asserted that with $10 trillion of debt trading with a negative yield throughout the world (now $13 trillion, actually), there’s a limitless abundance of capital sitting on the sidelines just waiting to finance innovation.

Someone should buy Lending Club.

These days, Lending Club’s prestigious board is probably sick of seeing critical articles like this one in The Wall Street Journal. And while Scott Sanborn is doing about as good a job as possible in trying to clean up the mess, he’s constrained by the realities of having to please his badly burned shareholders. Adding to his headaches is the fact that charge-off rates are now rising fast (a bad sign no matter how it’s spun). The article didn’t even mention the industry’s ongoing problem with “loan stacking,” whereby a borrower takes out multiple loans before the loans can be reported to the credit bureaus. That could be the next shoe to drop. Some fund or some company with vision, patience and an appreciation of credit cycles should buy Lending Club and fix it before time runs out.

“Fintech is the new normal,” says Nicols. He also adds that fintech is moving from its “pie-in-the-sky” phase to the application phase where “real companies are learning real lessons.” We couldn’t have said it better. See more here.

Morgan Stanley states the obvious regarding roboadvisors. “Roboadvisers aren’t going away any time soon, and the wealth management industry needs to make some changes if it wants to beat them and a host of other threats it is facing.”

Deloitte backs uber cool microinsurance initiative. The accounting and consulting giant has partnered with two start-ups (Statumn and Lemonway) to launch a proof of concept project named LenderBot. Billed as the first microinsurance solution for the sharing economy, the product aims to allow people to use Facebook’s messenger platform to create a peer-to-peer microinsurance contract for borrowed goods.

Twitter and Bloomberg deepen link.  As Bloomberg continues to fend off a challenge by Blackrock and Goldman-sponsored competitor Symphony, it’s turning to Twitter as a new distribution partner for selected live markets coverage and three of its regular shows.

Paypal gets even more P2P company. Early Warning is not a home alarm company. It’s a P2P solutions provider for banks that recently announced (see its press release) that Chase, Capital One and Wells Fargo are now using its pipes to facilitate P2P money transfers.

Big banks prepare to crush p2p startups with clearXchange, (TradeStreaming), Rated: A

Quietly over the past few months, some of the largest US banks have rolled out P2P payment functionality in their banking apps. Now, 5 of the largest US banking institutions, including Chase and Bank America, enable their customers to send money to one another and eventually, to friends and family who hold accounts at other banks.

Instead of building their own solutions, participating banks have signed up to the clearXchange network, a white label P2P payment platform for financial institutions. After inking deals with leading banks, P2P payments on the clearXchange network are now available to more than 100 million online banking and 70 million mobile banking users in the U.S.

In the first quarter of 2016, customers at banks in the clearXchange network completed more than 46 million P2P transfers, accounting for over $16 billion in combined transaction volume. That number is expected to grow as banks already on the network ramp their marketing of p2p capabilities, and more banks sign up for the service.

Before clearXchange, it wasn’t easy to send payments across banks. A whole industry of P2P payment players has sprung up to help bridge this gap by putting a transaction layer on top of existing banking infrastructure. As a workaround to directly moving money between bank accounts, technologies like PayPal and its faster growing service, Venmo move money between stored value accounts. So, while payments may be instantaneous, it can take days for the receiving party to be able to access that cash directly from her bank account, as money moves from the P2P platforms into the banking system.

clearXchange changes all that. Banks on the network are active participants this time, enabling payments to move freely between banks at the account level. clearXchange’s parent, Early Warning, is owned in part by seven of the largest banks in the U.S. Early Warning has been around for 25 years, providing thousands of banks and credit unions across the country with risk, fraud prevention, and authentication solutions.

clearXchange is a network and joining the network becomes more valuable when they’re more banks on the network.

Consortium efforts can pay off massively, but they’re hard to pull off. Just look at the Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX, a retail industry consortium that wanted to do an end-around of the credit card networks. Tired of paying interchange fees, companies like Walmart and Target worked for years to roll out a mobile payments solution, dubbed CurrentC. Walmart ended up launching its own payments, Walmart Pay. MCX announced layoffs in May and its future is uncertain.

Why Brexit and Other World Events Have Not Seriously Hurt U.S. Small Business Lending, (Forbes), Rated:A

Loan approval rates at banks increased slightly in June 2016, according to the most recent Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, the monthly analysis of more than 1,000 small business loan applications on Biz2Credit.com. The research shows that loan approval rates at big banks ($10 billion+ in assets) hit 23.3%, a post-recession high, last month. Regional banks are granting nearly half (48.8%) of the funding requests they get. Additionally, institutional lenders continue to grow in force and are approving more than six-in-ten funding requests from small businesses.

So far, the Brexit has not seriously threatened the American economy, nor has it tightened U.S. small business lending. In fact, in some ways, the uncertainty will benefit U.S. small business borrowers:

  1. Foreign money is being invested in the U.S. as the dollar has gotten stronger while the British pound dropped substantially.
  2. Institutional investors from overseas will look to the small business credit markets for yields.
  3. The stability of the U.S. economy eases the minds of bankers, who are traditionally risk averse.
  4. The Federal Reserve has delayed further its long anticipated interest rate hike, which is now unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Following the shakeup of the European Union, the terror attack in Nice, France, and political turmoil in Turkey, more money is likely to flow into the small business lending marketplace from foreign investors.

Orchard is Getting Bigger, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Orchard Platform is growing. So much so they have leased a lot more Manhattan space. Announced this week, Orchard is upgrading from the 7,000 square foot office space at 101 Fifth Avenue, to a 26,242 square foot space by taking over two floors of 386 Park Avenue South.

“At Orchard over the past 6 months, we have seen an uptick in demand from international investors for U.S. credit, including from clients in China, the U.K., continental Europe, Israel, Argentina, and Canada.”

United Kingdom

BoE holds rates, P2P “not linked”?, (Alt Fi News), Rated: AAA

The Bank of England yesterday announced that the base rate would be held at 0.5%, despite widespread claims to the contrary. The markets had priced in an 80% chance of the Bank cutting rates, but the Monetary Policy Committee ended up voting 8-1 against the move.

The effect of movements in the base rate on alternative lenders has been the subject of much discussion over the lifetime of the industry.

Giles Andrews, Executive Chairman of Zopa, responded at the time by arguing that a rise in the base rate would only serve to widen bank spreads, which would be paid for by consumers – making the peer-to-peer lending proposition “even more compelling”.

The Bank of England said yesterday that “most members of the committee expect monetary policy to be loosened in August”. One option could be to cut rates, possibly to 0.25%, which would be a record low.

If rates were indeed cut, then there may be some adjustment to the rates charged by peer-to-peer lending platforms. A number of the big US marketplace lenders have raised rates over the past few months. Prosper raised rates for the second time this year in late May, by an average of 0.29% across its loanbook. The platform’s chief risk officer Brad Pennington said that the rate hike came “in anticipation of action by the Fed to raise rates”.

But Pete Behrens, co-founder and chief commercial officer at RateSetter, says that the cost of funding for his platform is not linked to the Bank of England, and that it finds its own equilibrium.

Zopa’s head of risk Sharvan Selvam posted a column this morning on the potential impact of a shift in interest rates. Selvam first highlights the stable returns that were delivered by Zopa during the last recession, using the graph below.

Selvam also points to the predictability of the platform’s returns over the past decade. As can be seen from the graphic below, 2008 is the only year on record in which Zopa’s actual returns dropped below its expected returns.

UK P2P lender raises £7.2m, (Finextra), Rated: A

MarketInvoice, a UK-based P2P lender has secured more than £7m in its latest round of fundraising, defying the economic uncertainty around startups following the UK’s controversial vote to leave the European Union.

The funding was led by Polish private equity group MCI Capital which has also invested in Azimo, an online money transfer startup. Other investors included existing backer Northzone.

“Recent intervention by the Bank of England suggests we might see a significant reductions in bank lending. As in the aftermath of 2008, P2P lenders can once again step in to provide that funding.”

Lenders to maintain or increase P2P investments post-Referendum, (Financial Reporeter), Rated: A

Lending Works asked around 1,600 active lenders how the Brexit vote and subsequent economic volatility would affect their levels of investment in P2P lending as a relative share of their investment portfolios.

Just over 62% confirmed that they would be leaving it unchanged in the short-term, while 19% said they would be looking to increase their portfolio allocation to P2P.

‘Do investors understand alternative finance risks?’, (Financial Times), Rated: A

The Financial Conduct Authority launched a review of both peer-to-peer lending and equity crowdfunding, two different kinds of investments that are together labelled “alternative finance”.

The FCA review has not come as a surprise to the industry — it had been planned since 2014 — and it was broadly welcomed by all of the lenders and funders.

Cormac Leech, a peer-to-peer analyst at investment bank Liberum, said part of the reason for P2P’s popularity was the perceived “safety” of debt investments compared to volatility in the equities market. Mr Leech said that lumping the different sectors together may lead to confusion. “There’s a huge risk that P2P gets tarred with the same brush [as equity crowdfunding],” he said, believing the latter to have much higher levels of risk.

While the major peer-to-peer lenders have agreed on common definitions and standards, allowing investment returns to be meaningfully calculated and compared with each other, AltFi says the crowdfunding platforms have not.

The government’s Innovative Finance Isa, designed to hold alternative investments in a tax-efficient wrapper, was introduced in April but so far none of the major companies have been given full regulatory permission to launch one.

Although there have only been a handful of successful investor exits over 1,200 crowdfunded deals Mr Zheng has tracked between 2012 and 2015, he said it was too early to make any assumptions.

Asset managers run risks in the rush into peer-to-peer loans, (Financial Times), Rated: A

Asset managers such as Invesco Perpetual, Woodford Investment Management, BNY Mellon, Vanguard, Baillie Gifford and Schroders have been early adopters — but in doing so they are investing in a fledgling and divisive industry.

Cormac Leech, alternative finance analyst at Liberum, says he still considers “fraud risk” the biggest threat to the sector’s growth.

Aside from these incidents, analysts of peer-to-peer lending platforms are quick to point out that their loan books have not come under any significant pressure, and that the asset class remains untested through the credit cycle.[ Comment: everybody always forgets of Zopa and Prosper which were around in 2008 in fact ].

The effects of the UK’s decision to leave the EU may also test the platforms’ robustness. Data provider AltFi has said it will add to a “list of headwinds” for the UK’s alternative finance industry.

Doubts over P2P loans’ credit quality are most keenly expressed in the depressed share prices of the handful of investment trusts specialising in buying them. For the most part, it is through these trusts that mainstream asset managers have looked to gain their P2P exposure, rather than buying loans directly from the platforms as a retail investor would.

Two of the biggest of these funds — VPC Speciality Lending and P2P Global Investments, from US hedge funds Victory Park Capital and Eaglewood Capital respectively — have both proved popular.

Invesco Perpetual, the UK arm of the $790bn US manager, owns a third of both trusts, holding the shares within its retail funds. It also owns half of another trust — UK P2P lender Funding Circle’s SME Income fund, which invests solely in Funding Circle loans to small and medium-sized UK businesses. Woodford Investment Management, run by renowned fund manager Neil Woodford, is the second-largest holder of both the VPC and P2P trusts.

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, owns an undisclosed part of an £150m stake in Funding Circle, while Vanguard holds a 5 per cent stake in Lending Club, a company that Baillie Gifford also had a 9 per cent stake in until May this year.

Peer-to-peer’s popularity was in part down to the sector’s ability to “weave a beautiful story”. “We think [the lenders] will come into trouble,” he says. “We like to own the loans, not the equity. We think we’re being better paid here than in many parts of the equity and bond markets.

But doubts over how robust their credit-checking models are remain.

“There’s a complete spectrum — it goes from people who ostensibly use an absolutely classic bank credit model [and] there are others who say they scour the internet and pick up different points [to the banks],” Mr Foottit says.

“We genuinely don’t know. We’ve all got to wait and see, and make a valid judgment.”

Can London remain a fintech hub post-Brexit?, (Growth Business), Rated: A

Given the uncertainty over whether the UK will keep its passporting rights despite Brexit, many tech giants have vocalised their interest in relocating their European headquarters from our capital. Earlier this week, London-based online money transfer firm Azimo told Reuters it was considering moving its HQ to the continent, fearing Brexit would knock London off its pedestal as a fintech capital.

“It is perfectly possible that financial stress in the short term funding markets could cause the banks to slow down or delay lending to SMEs – a repeat of what we witnessed following the financial crisis in 2008,” he tells GrowthBusiness.

Davies believes this post-Brexit uncertainty presents a two-way challenge. “Alternative lenders, like ourselves, have to make businesses more aware of what they have to offer, and SMEs have to be prepared to look at other (non-bank) options,” he says. A recent survey of UK SMEs carried out by his firm revealed that almost one in three entrepreneurs would shelve investment plans if their traditional bank turned them down for finance, which may be indicative of a slow-to-change bank-first mindset.

The post-Brexit environment may also help thin the herd, according to Nucleus Commercial Finance CEO Chirag Shah. “Any AltFi company struggling for lending volumes will be affected by the EU referendum– they were suffering pre-Brexit; Funding Knight’s near collapse is a clear example of this. Post-Brexit, these platforms will struggle even more to attract capital,” he says.

“Post-Brexit, there is the definite potential for losses to increase for funding platforms with lax underwriting standards.  However, there are also lots of opportunities: indeed a medium term lower interest rate environment will entice more investors to platforms. I believe businesses specialising in crowdfunding and property lending will have opportunities for growth.”

Peer-to-peer platforms will be paying much more attention to default risks in certain sectors if our economy does slide into recession, MarketInvoice’s Stocker warns.

While preparing for economic uncertainty may be wise in general, sounding the doom-and-gloom horn post-Brexit may be premature., says Stephen Archer, business analyst and director of Spring Partnerships.

Veteran tech entrepreneur Rupert Lee-Browne is no stranger to uncertain macroeconomic conditions, having braved the Dot.com bubble of the early noughties and the volatility of the 2008 recession at the helm of CaxtonFX. “Secure your funding,” he advises. “The chances of investors backing early or mid-stage British tech business from here on in is slim.”

Indonesia

Indonesian P2P lending KoinWorks seeks new funding round, (Deal Street Asia), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform KoinWorks is looking for a new investment round that will be used for activities expansion. KoinWorks connects lenders and small to medium-sized business owners. According to the company’s website, KoinWorks aims to democratize finance in Indonesia by reducing costs and making it easier for everyone to access capital.

P2P lending platforms – namely Modalku, Investree, UangTeman, GandengTangan, Amartha, and many others – are enjoying a steady increase of popularity in Indonesia, despite only 25 per cent of the population (60 million people) to have bank accounts.

Currently, fintech startups do not clearly fall under the purview of any single authority. While technology startups are regulated by the communication ministry, those engaged in financial services are governed by the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK).

Sweden

How having zero experience in finance helped this founder build a .25 billion payments company, (Business Insider), Rated: A

Swedish payments startup Klarna is now a $2.25 billion company, but when CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski cofounded the company a decade ago, none of the three founders had any experience in finance whatsoever.

That was, he tells Business Insider, actually a blessing.

The cofounders were naive 23-year-olds, who didn’t think the same way that traditional bank and finance executives did, and that gave them an advantage.

One of Klarna’s earliest ideas was to try and separate “buying” and “paying” for online purchases. Everyone knows how annoying it is to input card information when you are trying to check out. The Klarna dream was to have you just input an email address, one click, and then pay later. Klarna would guarantee the payment, and customers would have a week or two to pay up.

The problem was Klarna didn’t have any money to speak of, beyond some seed capital, which was certainly not enough to cover the money during the in-between period. How were they going to get the money to pay the merchants while they waited for customers to make a payment?

Klarna’s solution was to just ask the merchants if they would be ok with waiting to get their money. “Banks would never have dreamed of asking that,” Siemiatkowski laughs. It simply wouldn’t have occurred to them that any merchants would ever agree to that. But the merchants Klarna talked with wanted to grow their online sales, badly, and were willing to experiment.

A decade later “pay after delivery” has become a cornerstone of Klarna. Klarna’s technology instantly assesses whether an online shopper is trustworthy for a particular transaction, taking up to 140 factors into account, and then assumes the risk. The customer puts in his or her email and zip code, and then gets to examine the product before paying 14 days later.

Klarna had $330 million in revenue in 2015, and is profitable, according to Siemiatkowski. It’s also in the midst of a big US push, and has been integrated with retailers like Shoes.com andOverstock.com.

Author:

George Popescu