Tuesday March 13 2018, Daily News Digest

Lending Club Average

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter enrolls 5K IFISA accounts in first month. OnDeck makes CFO transition. Augmentum set to IPO. TD Auto Finance, AutoGravity partner. Ranger Direct arbitration proceedings come to a halt. Investly secures 500K GBP through Seedrs. Today’s main analysis: A visualization of America’s personal loans. Today’s thought-provoking articles: UBS banned from sponsoring Hong Kong IPOs. China’s credit […]

Lending Club Average

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Announces Chief Financial Officer Transition (PRNewswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck today announced that the Company will appoint Kenneth (Ken) A. Brause as its Chief Financial Officer effective March 26, 2018, as part of a mutually agreed upon transition process between the Company and current Chief Financial Officer, Howard Katzenberg. Katzenberg will serve as an advisor to OnDeck until April 13, 2018, working closely with Brause to facilitate a smooth transition.

America’s personal loans visualized: income, principal, and credit scores (mediathinknum), Rated: AAA

Consider this: The average personal loan given out by loan giant Lending Club is for $15,000 given to a person with a sub-700 credit score and an income of $6,000 per month.

According to Experian, 73% of Americans die with an average debt balance of $61,554. This – on average – includes mortgage, credit card, auto, personal, and student loans. The average personal loan Americans take to the grave is $14,793.

That data is below and the results are fascinating and even daunting, especially for the apparent 73% of Americans who have a monthly payment to make. Read it and weep. Or make some payments.

Lending Club offers personal loans of up to $40,000. But that doesn’t mean everyone is asking for that much. Not does it mean that Lending Club is offering that much.

Interest rates are largely determined by credit score, but the average rate given out ranges from 12-14% with a peak high point in the 2013-2014 timeframe.

TD Auto Finance Partners with AutoGravity to Provide Enhanced Digital Car Buying and Financing Option (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

TD Auto Finance (TDAF), a subsidiary of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, today announced a partnership with AutoGravity, a fintech provider modernizing the way consumers buy and finance automobiles. Through this partnership, indirect financing offers through TDAF will be made available to qualified auto buyers using AutoGravity’s digital platform to search for and finance their next vehicle from the convenience of their desktop or mobile device.

Santander Consumer USA And AutoGravity Work To Transform The Car-Buying And Financing Journey (PRNewswire), Rated: A

Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SC) today announced it has reached an agreement with automotive technology leader AutoGravity to streamline and simplify the car-buying process for consumers. Through this agreement, Santander Consumer USA’s indirect finance offers will be available to AutoGravity customers nationwide through the AutoGravity mobile app.

BBVA Compass Express Personal Loan goes digital, opens to consumers in multiple states (BBVA Compass), Rated: A

BBVA Compass, the U.S. subsidiary of the global financial services group BBVA, now offers near instantaneous decisioning and potential same day funding for both customers and non-customers with the footprint wide1 opening of the fully digital BBVA Compass Express Personal Loan.

With the Express Personal Loan, customers and prospects can consolidate debt or fund large purchases with a low-interest personal loan that provides near instantaneous decisioning. Applicants with a BBVA Compass checking account can get same day funding upon loan approval. The loan, which represents months of effort across the entirety of the bank, underscores BBVA Compass’ drive to digital transformation and achieving excellence in customer experience.

The CIO Of The First Global Fintech Company On The Future Of Finance (Forbes), Rated: A

I recently caught up with the company’s chief information officer Bradley Strock, who has been in his role for three and a half years. We discussed PayPal’s transformation into a more customer-centric company, giving customers more choices of funding vehicles. We also covered how PayPal has successfully navigated the shift to mobile finance, resulting in a 50 percent increase in mobile payment volume in 2017.

In January of this year, Strock joined the ranks of board-level CIOs, as he commenced a directorship with $700 million revenue Elevate Credit, Inc., which provides online credit solutions to non-prime consumers, typically defined as those with credit scores of less than 700.

Peter High: Could you provide an overview of your role as CIO of PayPal?

Brad Strock: Most people are probably familiar with PayPal. We operate in over 200 markets around the globe. We are on a mission to democratize money and have had a great deal of success over the last couple of years. 2017 has been a great year in particular.

U.S. Fintech FinFit Announces $ 35 Million Senior Credit Facility With Ares Management (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FinFit, a U.S.-based fintech that provides more than 80,000 American companies with a financial wellness benefit platform, announced on Monday the closing of a $35 million senior credit facility with Ares Management. The company stated it has the ability to increase the senior credit facility to $70 million and this capital raise follows a $16 million investment from Bison Capital Partners. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods was the exclusive financial advisor for the senior credit facility.

Colin Walsh of Varo (Lend Academy), Rated A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Colin’s background helped prepare him for his banking startup.
  • The differences he saw between what consumers wanted and what incumbent banks were delivering.
  • Why you need to offer a range of core products to move the needle on financial health.
  • How their banking partnership today enables Varo to offer banking products.
  • What banks are not doing well and how Varo is addressing this.
  • The profile of their typical customer.
  • How they are finding these customers.
  • How they are specifically helping their customers get a better handle on their finances.
  • Why Varo applied for a full national bank charter.
  • Details of the personal loan product they are offering today.
  • The traction that Varo has been getting.
  • Who Colin views as the main competition for Varo.
  • His vision for the future of Varo.

‘Women are not a target market’: Confessions of a former finance marketer (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Retail banks are missing out on $15 billion in global revenue thanks to a gender gap in access to checking and savings accounts.

A BNY Mellon report published last week in collaboration with the UN, cites flaws in design and marketing that make financial products less accessible to women than they are to men.

The report identifies gender gaps on other products; financial institutions are missing out on another $7 billion in credit card revenue, $14 billion in personal loans and $4 billion in housing, the report says.

Cloud Lending Solutions Recognized as Top 10 Best Performing Salesforce Solution Provider (Business Wire), Rated: B

Cloud Lending Solutions was recognized as a “Top 10 Best Performing Salesforce Solution Provider” of 2017 by Insight Success Magazine.

 

Eastern Bank-created fintech Numerated lands two new bank clients (American Banker), Rated: B

Numerated Growth Technologies, the online lending software startup that started life as an incubator within Eastern Bank, announced Monday it has two new clients, Franklin Synergy and MidFirst Bank.

These two additions bring the number of bank clients Numerated Software has landed to seven.

 

 

Fundbox Announces New Credit And Payments Solution To Bring $ 4.5 Trillion SMB2B Transactions Into 21st Century (Fundbox email), Rated: A

Today Fundbox announced the launch of Fundbox Pay, a new payment and credit solution servicing the $4.5 trillion small business-to-business (SMB2B) transactional market in the U.S. By addressing SMB’s lack of credit access and by facilitating credit payments between buyers and sellers, Fundbox Pay provides the 21st-century infrastructure to unlock the trapped value in the SMB2B economy.

Caliber Home Loans Launches Mobile Platform (PRNewswire), Rated: A

Caliber Home Loans, Inc. (“Caliber”) today announced the launch of a new mobile platform. Featuring three mobile phone apps customized for three user groups – borrowers, the Caliber sales force and their business associates – all users receive real-time information and the ability to respond from virtually anywhere. Caliber processes data from all three apps on the back end, which enables efficient and effective communication across the loan process.

 

 

Home Invest: When Did Investing in Rental Property Online Become Cool? (Digital Journal), Rated: B

When Home Invest entered the picture, that’s when. Home Invest allows you to run your next renovation from your laptop only, never having to walk your rental investment property.

United Kingdom

Zopa investor set to enter £94m fintech fund onto London Stock Exchange (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

A NEW investment trust dedicated to backing fintech start-ups is set to list on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

Augmentum Fintech has raised £94m through an initial public offering (IPO) alongside a Seedrs crowdfunding round that raised £695,000.

The company’s investment objective is to generate capital growth over the long term through investment in a focused portfolio of fast-growing and/or high potential private financial services technology businesses based predominantly in the UK and wider Europe.

RateSetter sees over 5,000 IFISA accounts opened in first month (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has revealed that over 5,000 Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) accounts were opened in the first month since the product’s launch.

Ranger Direct Arbitration Proceedings Halted After Bankruptcy Filings (Interactive Investor), Rated: AAA

Ranger Direct Lending Fund PLC said on Monday Princeton Alternative Income Fund LP and Princeton Alternative Funding LLC filed voluntary petitions of bankruptcy last Friday, after arbitration proceedings following a provisional take over of a loan portfolio.

The company said that it was “disappointed” the bankruptcy filing has stopped the first phase of the arbitration, but believes Princeton’s portfolio will be investigated and the investments the fund has made will be compensated.

Starling and TrueLayer integrate for open banking (Finextra), Rated: A

Upstart challengers continue to lead the way in the UK’s open banking space, as API specialist TrueLayer integrates with Starling to enable businesses to access customer account data.

The Starling tie-up means that the bank’s customers can now share their data to use products created by these developers – including income verification tools, lending products and collated financial dashboards. The partners stress that account information will only be accessible when a customer chooses to use a new product and actively agrees to share their information through an explicit consent.

HSBC hopes to launch ‘open banking’ app within months (Financial Times), Rated: B

HSBC will launch a new app that centralises information about customers’ accounts — even those held with rival lenders — as early as next month, becoming the first major UK bank to take advantage of new regulations designed to boost competition and make it easier to switch providers.

The bank has set a target of the first week of May to release the “Connected Money” app, but Stuart Haire, HSBC’s UK head of retail banking and wealth management, told the Financial Times that he was hoping to make it widely available by mid-April.

 

 

 

 

Direct lending fund beats dividend target, launches new fundraise (AltFiNews), Rated: A

The RM Secured Direct Lending fund is looking to raise new capital through the issuance of new C shares and Zero Preference shares, according to regulatory filings.

Launched back in December 2016 raising £50.6m, the fund has raised another £30m through a C share issue in October 2017 but its managers have said on several occasions that the strategy can be scaled up significantly.  The fund has clocked up a 4.2 per cent dividend pay out last year beating its 4 per cent target.

How open APIs are paving the way for PFMs to succeed in Europe (Tearsheet), Rated: A

On Thursday, U.K. personal finance app Emma — which just launched in beta in December — announced a data-sharing agreement with challenger bank Starling Bank. It’s the second such agreement this year after a similar one with challenger bank Monzo in January.

The company’s two key revenue streams are based off interactions with customer data: referral fees from product recommendations and revenue from future financial products it could launch, including premium features within the app, he added.

 

Savers highlight interest and ROI as top priorities (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

The Next Gen: Investors and Savers report by P2P lending platform ArchOver has revealed that two-thirds of UK adults (67%) would call themselves ‘savers’ rather than ‘investors’.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults found that the average saver puts aside £191 a month.

Just under two-thirds of savers (66%) maintained a ‘rainy day fund’, while financing a new car or a holiday (29%) or paying for retirement (27%) were the other main reasons for saving.

The majority of savers (83%) used traditional savings accounts to build their nest eggs, followed by Isas (43%) and pension funds (33%).

China

UBS Hit With IPO Ban In Hong Kong (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Swiss banking giant UBS is reportedly banned in Hong Kong from sponsoring initial public offerings (IPOs), reports in Financial Times said Friday (March 9).

The publication cited UBS’s annual report, which revealed the 18-month ban from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. The regulator also fined UBS $119 million following an investigation into its sponsorship of IPOs for companies listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

According to reports, the ban comes two years after UBS warned it was also facing a suspension of corporate advisory services in Hong Kong. The bank also faced an investigation in Belgium in 2016 for money laundering allegations.

China’s Credit Crunch (The Diplomat), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance is one of thousands of private online micro-lending companies in China which, in recent years, have filled a critical gap in the country’s economy by extending credit to members of the lower and lower-middle classes, who traditionally have not had access to borrowing under the state-owned banking system.

Proponents of the payday and peer-to-peer loans offered by these companies assert that they offer borrowers upward financial mobility and the opportunity to achieve the trappings of a middle-class lifestyle. But the rapid proliferation of lending companies in an unregulated market has also led to widespread over-borrowing and a spate of predatory debt collection practices. More and more borrowers began to default on loans, and financial analysts and government regulators both worried that a growing debt bubble at the basement rungs of the Chinese economy might threaten the general stability of the country’s financial system.

 

European Union

Estonian P2P lender Investly Secures £500,000 Through Seedrs Campaign (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Estonian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Investly has successfully secured its initial £500,000 funding target through Seedrs. The equity crowdfunding round has so far attracted more than 375 investors.

Sweden’s VIA SMS to offer loans against crypto holdings (Finextra), Rated: A

CryptoLoan is a smart lending product offering Bitcoin-secured online loans that will allow Bitcoin investors to enjoy the value of crypto assets without selling them. The new product initially will be available for Swedish residents only, but the company is planning to open registration for other European countries shortly.

In the first phase of product development, CryptoLoan will offer online loans with Bitcoin collateral only to Swedish residents, but company development plans include expanding to other European markets shortly as well as enriching the list of accepted collateral with adding other cryptocurrencies. Customers from other European countries are welcome to sign up for news and get an exclusive opportunity to be the first to try the product as soon as it is available in the particular country.

BNP Paribas Fortis partners with Swedish fintech Tink for digital banking (AltFiNews), Rated B

Belgian bank BNP Paribas Fortis has announced it will be integrating tech from Swedish firm Tink to power its mobile banking applications.

International

Scoring with big data (The Edge Markets), Rated: AAA

The use of non-traditional data to churn out credit scores is now expanding beyond the underbanked and unbanked to reach even well-banked individuals who already have a credit score. This pool of data, which is used to discover patterns of users’ repayment behaviour based on their mobile phone and social media usage, is playing an increasingly important role in Asia alongside traditional credit scores.

Based on studies that have drawn a correlation between mobile phone usage and repayment rates, algorithms have been created to predict an individual’s potential for defaults. LenddoEFL is one of the pioneers in this field. It started its operations in the Philippines in 2011 before expanding to other countries with large underbanked populations such as Mexico and Colombia.

Mark Mackenzie, managing director for Asia-Pacific at LenddoEFL, says the company will be announcing a partnership in Malaysia in mid-2018, although he is reluctant to disclose more details.

As pointed out by impact investment firm Omidyar Network in its 2016 Big data, small credit report, it is estimated that individual consumer data production will reach 35 billion terabytes by 2020 — some 44 times the data produced in 2009. It also highlighted a few reports that had observed more than 30 companies globally that are already creating credit scorecards using non-traditional data.

Source: The Edge Markets

New Business Models and Emerging Technologies are Enabling Fintech Companies to Improve Financial Inclusion (The Financial), Rated: A

The report, Financial Inclusion in the Digital Age, was launched today during Money20/20 Asia in Singapore.

Over two billion unbanked adults in the world, representing 38 percent of all adults globally, do not have access to basic financial services and another 57 percent have basic accounts, but do not have access to diversified investments, low-cost payments systems, core household and business insurance, or credit. Financial Inclusion in the Digital Age explores some of the central frictions that prevent greater financial inclusion and financial well-being, and associated technological innovations that are fostering creative new approaches to mitigating these frictions for individuals and small businesses globally.

This serial entrepreneur wants to disrupt peer-to-peer lending, using blockchain (The Next Web), Rated: B

Most recently, he founded Celsius, the consumer credit blockchain-based startup.

The Celsius opportunity

Celsius gives its members the opportunity to use the coins they currently hold as collateral. With the Celsius Wallet, users can secure loans in dollars whenever they want by offering up their cryptocurrency as collateral. In the future, consumers will also be able to lend their crypto to others and earn interest in the process.

 

Australia

Fintech vs Banking: Which sector controls the future of money? (Small Caps), Rated: AAA

 

ApplePay is forecast to facilitate US$200 billion in payments by 2021 and already handles US$50 billion annually. Meanwhile, Amazon is preparing to cut the ribbon on its first chequing account feature by partnering with JP Morgan, a leading US bank.

According to the Australian Financial Review, 84% of millennials would consider banking with a tech giant like Google or Apple. This indicates that the average consumer puts more trust in their search engine provider than their internationally-recognised regulated Tier 1 banking institution, which only reaffirms the scale of the problem banks are now facing.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday July 25 2017, Daily News Digest

SEC enforcement results

News Comments Today’s main news: ICBA letter opposing SoFi as a bank. Moody’s upgrades 7 Prosper ABS MPL tranches. UBS invests in iCapital Network. TenX processes Bitcoin with Visa transactions. BNI Europa reaches profitability. Today’s main analysis: SEC focus on capital formation, enforcement in direct lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Will U.S. banks dominate consumer lending again? China needs a bigger […]

SEC enforcement results

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Asia

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United States

Here is the Letter by the ICBA Slamming SoFi’s Effort to Become a Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, the Independent Community Bankers of America  (ICBA) sent a letter to the attention of Kathy Moe, Regional Director of the FDIC in San Francisco. The subject of the letter was the ICBA’s vehement opposition to Fintech darling SoFi’s effort to become a licensed bank.

The ICBA asked that Congress close the alleged “ILC loophole” because it not only threatens the financial system but creates an uneven playing field for community banks.

Read the full letter here.

SEC Focus on Capital Formation & Enforcement, and What it Means for Direct Lending (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

What might a focus on the SEC’s capital formation mandate mean for investors?

  • Retail investors may have greater access to alternative investments typically reserved for accredited investors. For instance, Piwowar questioned the premise of a distinction between accredited vs. non-accredited investors.
  • Small businesses may see a reduction in disclosure obligations to encourage small businesses to tap the public capital markets. SEC Chair Clayton identified the reduction of US IPOs (in the wake of SOX and post-Enron regulations) as a serious issue.
  • ABS investors may have a reduction in the disclosure and liability requirements for publicly registered securitizations. ABS issuance has shifted to Rule 144A private placements – in fact 100% of deals in the marketplace lending market are privately placed – in part, due to the higher disclosure and attestation burdens for public deals.

SEC Enforcement Actions & Investor Protection

After the late-2008 Madoff scandal, the SEC dialed up enforcement activities with the goal of improving investor confidence and market integrity.

Not surprisingly, enforcement actions on direct lending strategies has increased substantially as the sector continues to grow. (We refer reader’s to Harvard Law School’s SEC Enforcement Actions Against Investment Advisors for more information.)

Direct Lending is Prone to Valuation Negligence

A pool of unsecured personal loans may contain thousands of loans with differing and constantly shifting loan and borrower attributes. Unlike, say, a CMBS transaction where a valuation agent can visit a property, speak to an owner, and evaluate a tenant – the sheer volume of hundreds of thousands of loans requires advanced analytics to value a portfolio.

Below we share below our principles for valuation:

  • Transparency: A well-documented valuation methodology, with clear exposition of prepayment, default, credit spread, and other assumptions.
  • Auditable: A repeatable and testable valuation framework.
  • Fair value: Fair value based on a consistent modeling framework that factors in both unobservable and observable valuation inputs from similar assets or adjacent capital markets.
  • Accounts for major risk factors: The pricing framework accounts for risk factors including default risk, prepayment risk, and credit spread risk.
  • Forward looking: Loan valuations must be driven off of expected future cashflows, where cashflows are a function of the borrower’s current credit attributes, macro conditions, payment performance, and seasoning.
  • Loan-level: The pricing framework operates on a loan-level to address granularity in credit risk of loan rather than coarse replines.

Moody’s upgrades seven tranches from four Prosper marketplace lending ABS securitizations (Moody’s), Rated: AAA

The complete rating actions are as follows:

  • Issuer: Citi Held For Asset Issuance 2015-PM1
    • Class B Notes, Upgraded to A1 (sf); previously on Aug 6, 2015 Definitive Rating Assigned Baa3 (sf)
    • Class C Notes, Upgraded to Ba2 (sf); previously on Jul 14, 2016 Confirmed at Ba3 (sf)
  • Issuer: Citi Held For Asset Issuance 2015-PM2
    • Class B Notes, Upgraded to A1 (sf); previously on Oct 23, 2015 Definitive Rating Assigned Baa3 (sf)
    • Class C Notes, Upgraded to Ba2 (sf); previously on Jul 14, 2016 Confirmed at Ba3 (sf)
  • Issuer: Citi Held For Asset Issuance 2015-PM3
    • Class B Notes, Upgraded to A1 (sf); previously on Dec 18, 2015 Definitive Rating Assigned Baa3 (sf)
    • Class C Notes, Upgraded to Ba2 (sf); previously on Jul 14, 2016 Confirmed at Ba3 (sf)
  • Issuer: Consumer Credit Origination Loan Trust 2015-1
    • Class B Notes, Upgraded to A1 (sf); previously on Feb 11, 2016 Upgraded to Ba2 (sf)

Will banks in the US dominate consumer lending once again? (AltFi), Rated: AAA

SunTrust Bank is an interesting case in point. They are a large 125-year-old bank headquartered in Atlanta. They had total assets on their balance sheet of $204 billion as of December 31, 2016 which makes them a top 25 bank in the US.

From our perspective, what is most interesting about SunTrust is they have an online consumer lending platform. They actually acquired a small online lending platform called FirstAgain a few years ago and relaunched it as LightStream in 2013. They are starting to get some real traction, having done $1.5 billion in loans in 2015 and over $2.3 billion in 2016. Their average interest rate is lower than the marketplace lenders and their biggest categories are auto lending and home improvement.

Discover Bank is most well known in the US for their credit cards but they also have a robust personal loan business. In 2016 they originated $4 billion in new personal loans making them the second largest online lender in the category behind Lending Club. Unlike Lightstream, Discover’s personal loans are focused on debt consolidation so they are going directly after Lending Club and Prosper in this space. I find this a curious decision given that they have a $62 billion dollar credit card loan book (as of December 31, 2016).

The four biggest US banks are still mostly on the sidelines

JPMorgan Chase is the largest credit card issuer in the US with $142 billion in balances outstanding. Possibly because of their dominance in credit cards, they do not offer a personal loan product beyond student loans and a Home Equity Line of Credit.

Bank of America is very much like Chase in their offerings towards personal loans – they offer home equity loans and student loans. Nowhere on their website can you find an offering for personal loans.

Even though Citi is the second largest credit card issuer it does actually offer personal loans. You can apply on Citi’s website for a personal loan up to $30,000 (up to $50,000 if you apply by phone). Rates range from 7.99% to 17.99%.

Robo giant Betterment raises m in new funding round (AltFi), Rated: A

Robo-advice giant Betterment continues to grow. The platform raised a $70m (£54m) funding round, an extension of last year’s Series E.

The firm has raised nearly $300m in total since it was founded in 2008, as some question the business model of robo-advisers. The company was valued at $700m in 2016.

The funding round was led by Swedish investment company Kinnevik and included investments from Bassemer Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures and Francisco Partners.

PayPal to partner with JPMorgan (Reuters), Rated: A

PayPal Inc (PYPL.O) said on Thursday it would partner with JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), allowing the bank’s customers to link their Chase Pay and PayPal accounts.

Fintech faithful put payments on a pedestal (Reuters), Rated: A

Fintech’s faithful are putting payments on a pedestal. Square and PayPal shares are near all-time highs – as are those of venerable outfits like Visa, MasterCard and First Data. They’re each chasing what could be a $2.3 trillion revenue business by 2019, according to McKinsey. But they can’t all be winners.

Privately held Stripe kicked off the frenzy last November when it raised $150 million in its fourth funding round. That doubled to $9.2 billion the valuation of the seven-year-old company, which builds software to allow companies to quickly set up and track digital payments.

Quarterly InsurTech Briefing Q2 2017 (CB Insights), Rated: A

In this report we focus on one of the insurance industry value chain’s most underestimated modules – claims management. It is a $170 billion global industry currently controlled approximately 90% by incumbents. And it is booming with innovation.

Download the full report here.

Catching Up with Michael Koenitzer of Global Debt Registry (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Erin: How is GDR optimising the demand for its loan level diligence solutions?  How does the platform source partnerships?

Mike: Most online loans underwriting already undergoes some form of validation. Up until recently, however, most of the industry has relied on manual document validation — it’s taken awhile for the industry to wake up to digital data validation. That’s where we come in – we offer a more efficient and a trusted method of validation than what’s been used in the lending space in the past.

Erin: Leveraging blockchain technology is becoming integral in fintech.  Please describe GDR’s new multi-party blockchain proof of concept (POC) that is designed specifically for the online lending industry. What initial issues did/do you face and how did/do you and your team resolve them?

Mike: We see blockchain as perfectly suited to the online lending space and more specifically, the set of solutions we offer our clients, because it offers a single source of data that enables clients to access an immutable audit trail. They can see the state of a given loan across its entire lifetime and that builds confidence and trust.  The more certainty investors have, the more likely they are to invest capital in the online lending space.

Erin: Distributed ledger technology is another key fintech innovation. Why has GDR initiated partnerships with the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and Structured Finance Industry Group (SFIG) Blockchain Task Force for its strategy development?

Mike: Both organizations are naturally aligned with our role in shaping the broader conversation around blockchain adoption and what this technology can do for the online lending sector specifically. Through the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, we’re connecting with many of the banks we’ve been working with through our portfolio of loan validation tools, and with SFIG, we’re sharing and developing best practices around securitizing those loans, working with the underwriters.

Erin: How do you see marketplace lending evolving overall?

Mike: The space is going to continue growing, but it is also going to consolidate as any industry does during the process of maturation. I also think that there will also be a reality check on how well the online lending platforms underwrote the loans and what was missed if anything in the underwriting process.  We have seen and I think we will continue to see a shift from rivalry to increased cooperation and joint ventures between traditional banks and online lenders.

MPOWER Financing Extends Student Loan Program to All 50 States Through Partnership with Bank of Lake Mills (PR Newswire), Rated: A

MPOWER Financing, an innovative fintech company and provider of educational loans to high-potential international students, has entered a new partnership with Wisconsin-based Bank of Lake Mills, which enables MPOWER Financing to offer its online lending program to students in all 50 U.S. states.

As a result, MPOWER Financing is now available to thousands more students looking to secure financing across an expanded roster of 223 universities across the nation.

MPOWER Financing is a public benefit corporation whose mission is to remove the financial barriers to higher education in the U.S. by providing the financial resources necessary for students to attend schools and complete their undergraduate or graduate studies. Founded in 2014, MPOWER Financing provides financial resources to domestic students, DACA students and international students who are often undervalued and do not fit traditional credit criteria.

Older Women Flunk Financial Literacy Quiz (Forbes), Rated: A

In a survey released today, the 2017 RICP Retirement Income Literacy Gender Differences Report, from The American College of Financial Services, only 18% of women age 60 to 75 passed. By contrast, 35% of men did (also pretty shabby, if you ask me).

Most of the women surveyed (55%) said they were extremely confident they would have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. Only a quarter of those women passed the financial literacy quiz, however.

Also, the women surveyed were less likely than the men to get financial advice and information from friends: only 27% of women consulted friends vs. 39% of men.

Some 55% of women with advisers said it is extremely important that their money pro educate them about the risks of running out of money in retirement; just 42% of men felt this way. And 60% of women said it’s important to receive education from an adviser about investment management, as opposed to only 47% of men.

S.F. real estate fintech Opendoor to expand into Florida (Biz Journals), Rated: B

The move reflects just how fast the so-called iBuyer market is expanding, as some homeowners opt for a quick sale to Opendoor or its rival OfferPad to forego the time and expense involved in a traditional home sale.

United Kingdom

How does P2P stack up against other investments? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

But as P2P enjoys its moment in the sun, it is worth looking at how the sector stacks up against investment and savings products.

  • P2P vs Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

Over the past year, the FTSE 100 has broken a number of records, ending last month 12.43 per cent higher than 30 June 2016.

While the majority of P2P platforms have not been able to beat the unusually strong performance of the FTSE 100, a few have come very close. LandlordInvest and Lendy are both offering up to 12 per cent on a variety of property loans, and Ablrate has listed asset-backed loans on its site for 14 per cent.

  • P2P vs cash ISAs

As a result, the returns offered by cash ISAs have reached historic lows. By December 2016, there was not a single cash ISA offering more than one per cent, and by May 2017, P2P platforms were noticing a surge of ISA transferswhich they credited in part to low-paying cash ISAs.

Funding Circle is offering a maximum return of 7.2 per cent on its SME loans, while Zopa is offering 6.1 per cent to Zopa Plus account holders, and RateSetter is offering five-year loans at a fixed rate of 4.6 per cent.

investUP Identifies Opportunities for P2P Lenders (Bob’s Guide), Rated: B

The peer-to-peer lending industry is maturing, with the market growing at over 30% per annum, and figures suggesting it will be worth over £5 billion by the end of 2017; as such, the sector is now regulated by the FCA.

investUP is a peer-to-peer lending aggregation platform with the ability to automatically place investments for time-conscious investors. Investors enable a lending robot, driven from criteria provided by the investor, to create a bespoke algorithm which works for them. investUP is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

China

China’s shadow banking crackdown needs a bigger stick (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: AAA

For non-bankers, shadow banking leaves this perception of illicit financial services that harms economies if not the financial services industry. The reality is that shadow banking, and the non-banks that offer the service, is a welcome source of diversification of the credit supply from the banking system, and provides healthy competition for banks. At least that is what is stated in the Global Shadow Banking Monitoring Report 2016 published by the Financial Stability Board, the Swiss-based international body that monitors and recommends on the global financial system.

Mid-tier banks bear the highest risk as WMPs now account for close to 50% of their deposits, increasing their liquidity vulnerability.

Cash loans platform-2345, realized $ 14.93million profit during the first half year. (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Cash loans platforms-2345 revealed its semi annual report last night. The revenue of the company was $159million during the first half year, increased by 127.1%.
The company’s original businesses were soft and hard ware developement. The huge increse this time due to the popular of internet finance(cash loans).

Tencent Internet insurance layout (Wall Street China), Rated: A

July 18, Taiwan Fubon gold control vice chairman Cai Mingxing said the company is working with Tencent to set up a joint venture in Shenzhen, the future of Fubon products or other company’s policy, will be in Tencent’s WeChat and other platforms. At the same time, Fubon Financial Control has received the approval of the management of robot management services, and hope that as soon as possible in the domestic launch of no one branch. This cooperation with Tencent, headquartered in Xiamen, Fubon Insurance will be through the WeChat sales insurance business.

CITIC Bank on the line of the first domestic block chain letter of credit information transmission system (01caijing.com), Rated: A

Recently, CITIC Bank on the block chain based on the domestic credit information transmission system (BCC) (BCLC) (a), which is the first time the domestic banking sector block technology will be applied to the settlement of credit. As of July 21, CITIC Bank has used BCLC to carry out real domestic letter of credit business, trading volume of more than 100 million yuan.

European Union

BNI Europa reaches profitability on its 3rd year anniversary (BNI Europa Email), Rated: AAA

Banco BNI Europa (“BNI Europa”) grew its total assets 36,7% reaching almost 500M€ in June this year. Total revenue grew 146,2% reaching 6,6M€ and the net profit was 2,7M€ allowing the bank to recover losses from 2016.

One year and half after its opening and with a new management team, the bank decided to completely change its strategy and focus on innovative products. Due to its limited resources, it also decided to create several partnerships with Fintech’s to accelerate its growth and product offering.

BNI Europa has been known for its customer centric digital platform and its attractive terms deposits and remunerated accounts. This year it launched with great success “Cereja” the reverse mortgage product for the senior consumer segment and the digital consumer credit platform “Puzzle” focused on independent workers.

The bank has also specialised in the management of alternative lending. So far, BNI Europa established twelve partnerships with European Fintech’s providing funding and credit to Banco BNI Europa across several European countries. Those credit products include consumer loans, student lending, SME medium term lending, SME revolving credit, invoice discounting and bridge lending.

Managing the fraud risk of frictionless payments (Finextra), Rated: A

Andrew Davies, VP, Global Market Strategy, Financial Crime Risk Management, Fiserv, talks about how increased speed and convenience in payments increase fraud risk, how financial institutions can address financial crime threats through technology and processes, and how firms can derive further benefits from their investment in fraud prevention – including by leveraging customer transaction information to identify new opportunities.

Watch the video interview with Davies here.

International

UBS Follows Credit Suisse Fintech Move (Finews), Rated: AAA

Zurich-based UBS has invested in New York-based fintech iCapital Network, «Crowdfund Insider» reported, without disclosing financial details of the deal.

iCapital is a digital distribution platform which provides access to private equity and hedge funds for wealthy clients and their private bankers.

UK vs. US: Liberalization of Fintech vs. More Regulation (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

Based on the policies involving cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technologies, UK moves to liberalization of cryptocurrencies while the US looks into more regulations.

Bitcoin Foundation warns that the US is moving backwards in terms of accepting cryptocurrencies and other peer to peer banking models, which could result in the US Banking system being left behind.

Meanwhile, Britain’s new system will give fintech corporations more freedom allowing them to compete on the world stage.

FinTech and RegTech – What Next for Financial Crime’s International Standard Setter? (RUSI), Rated: A

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global standard-setter for anti-money laundering (AML) and counterterrorist finance (CTF), in May brought together more than 150 delegates for its most in-depth discussion to-date on FinTech and RegTech.

There are, however, potential vulnerabilities inherent in the sector. RUSI’s FinTech FinCrime Exchange (FFE), run in partnership with FINTRAIL, a financial crime risk management consultancy, presented on both the risks and opportunities observed during six months of industry engagement.

The most significant fintech acquisitions of 2017 so far (Bob’s Guide), Rated: A

According to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech report, fintech VC activity in Europe has hit a historically high level for successive quarters. In Q1 2017, global investment in fintech companies hit $3.2bn across 260 deals. Q1 2017’s total capital invested soared to $610m, which was noted as the highest tally in years.

  • Broadridge Financial Solutions acquires Message Automation: Amount undisclosed
  • First Data acquires CardConnect for $750m
  • AntFinancial buys MoneyGram for $1.2bn
  • Paypal acquires TIO Networks for $233m
  • D+H and Misys merge in $4.8bn acquisition and form Finastra
  • Mastercard closes acquisition of Vocalink for $920m
  • Worldpay agrees to $10bn acquisition by Vintav
  • Klarna acquires Billpay for $75m

Time for fintechs to shine – nominations for 2017 Fintech 100 open (BizEDGE), Rated: B

Nominations are now open for the 2017 KPMG & H2 Ventures Fintech 100, the annual list designed to recognise leading fintech innovators.

Companies or any fintech that deserve to be considered for the 2017 Fintech 100 need to be nominated by Thursday, August 31.

Asia

Singapore Startup Takes Bitcoin Into Real World With Visa (Bloomberg Technology, Rated: AAA

TenX is pitching its debit card as an instant converter of multiple digital currencies into fiat money: the dollars, yen and euros that power most everyday commerce. The company said it takes a 2 percent cut from each transaction and has received orders for more than 10,000 cards. While transactions are capped at $2,000 a year, users can apply to increase the limit if they undergo identify verification procedures.

TenX currently processes about $100,000 of transactions a month. By the end of 2018, it’s targeting $100 million in monthly transactions and a million users.

Ant Financial invests in Shanghai-based fintech startup VFinance (e27), Rated: A

Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba, has made a strategic investment in VFinance (维金), a Shanghai-based startup providing digital financial infrastructure solutions to enterprises in China, according to VFinance’s announcement.

At a press conference on July 18, VFinance also signed strategic cooperation with MyBank (网商银行), an online bank launched by Ant Financial in 2015.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday September 15th 2016, Daily News Digest

Thursday September 15th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: FastPay raises $15mil in equity; MoneyLion closes financing line with Macquarie,; 2 fintechs, Financeit and Concentra, purchase TD Bank’s (a bank’s !) home improvement financing assets. Today’s main analysis: LendKey releases student loan cohort default data, strange data. Today’s main thought provokers:  The future of Finance; UBS wealth manager tries AI; […]

Thursday September 15th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Canada

China

 

United States

The future of finance: Banking as a platform, (The Next Web), Rated: AAA

A new law is going into effect in 2018 called the Revised Payment Services Directive in Europe, or PSD2 for short.

This law and the possibilities new technologies bring, means the role of banking is changing and emphasizes the trend towards ‘open banking’. Financial services and banks such as Dutch bank ABN AMRO see new technologies on the horizon and are working to find the trends in which they can gravitate toward and adapt to.

PSD2 works to provide a foundation for the creation of a single-wide market for payments. It allows consumers the ability to connect their bank accounts with third party services, allowing the services through an API to access data generated by their bank accounts.

In other words, with PSD2, banks will essentially become a platform for banking with providing APIs to access data.

Entrepreneurs can use the new law of PSD2 to drive innovation and creation of new services to offer to customers, and can now use bank APIs to do it. For example, an entrepreneur can create a way for one customer to have a central dashboard that has all of their financial data in one place, regardless of the bank or how many different financial institutions they do business with.

For instance, ABN AMRO works closely together with startups and scale-ups to bring customers simple and user-friendly apps. Recently, the financial institution worked with Swedish startup Tink to develop a new app allowing customers to easily overview their earnings and expenditures.

 Acquire Real Estate Creates Liquidity for Investors in Commercial Real Estate, Facilitates First Fully Automated Secondary Market Exchange, (Email), Rated: AAA

Acquire Real Estate, a commercial real estate crowdfunding platform, has completed its first fully automated secondary market exchange between two of its real estate investors.

The investors relied on Acquire’s patent pending Investor Exchange,which facilitates a blind auction process that enables a seller to identify a buyer, establish a value and generate the required documentation and consents. The investors exchanged an interest in the DoubleTree by Hilton Dallas-Fort Worth, a 282-room, 8-story hotel located adjacent to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

“We built the Investor Exchange with our investors’ need for liquidity in mind,” said Gerry Polucci, Co-Founder and CTO of Acquire Real Estate. “We also built the technology with an understanding that it had to be simple and modernize the process.”

Acquire’s technology allows the exchange process to unfold quickly without the inconveniences usually associated with such transfers. Investors can use the exchange to post all or part of an Acquire investment for exchange with any other member of the Acquire community. The seller then specifies the terms of the auction and provides up-to-date information concerning the investment. Acquire investors can then bid on the opportunity based on the terms proposed. If successful, the transaction takes place for an undisclosed amount, which could be higher or lower than the initial acquisition price.

LendKey Introduces Bellwether Report On Private Student Loans, (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendKey, today released an inaugural industry-specific report entitled Positive Signal for Private Student Loans. This is the first in a series that aims to share summarized risk and other unique insights within data from LendKey’s 275 bank and credit union client-lenders nationwide.

To access the full report, please visit: 

Highlights of the report include:

  • Originations and portfolio balance
  • Performance of the LendKey client-lender portfolio over time
  • Cosigner statistics and geographical spread such as 90% of loans are originated with a cosigner and most are from northern states
  • Over the last seven years, defaults and charge-off rates have significantly declined
  • Statistics and growth in serial borrowing

Lenders and asset managers are partnering with LendKey to bring borrowers a powerful, white-labeled lending platform that has redefined Lending-as-a-Service—and gives financial institutions of all sizes the ability to attract new business, grow relationships, manage liquidity, and mitigate risk.

LendKey’s Key results from the report above, (See above), Rated: AAA

Improvement in default performance:

 

FastPay Secures $ 15 M in Funding, (Business Wire), Rated: A

FastPay is the market-leading provider of liquidity and financial workflow solutions to the global digital media industry. Through its proprietary technology platform, IGNITE, FastPay can dynamically assess the credit of digital media businesses and deploy payment workflow solutions for media businesses globally.

FastPay, has raised $15 million from Oak HC/FT to support FastPay’s continued growth, development of proprietary technology and acquisition of strategic new hires. The investment is the first FinTech investment from Oak HC/FT’s recently launched $500 million growth-equity fund.

Mobile Finance Platform MoneyLion Closes Portfolio Financing Line with Macquarie Group, (Email), Rated: A

Moneylion, to date, has access to $650m of debt capital from Macquarie and other institutional lenders.

To date, MoneyLion has originated over 120,000 loans from its balance sheet.  Through its website and mobile app, available on Apple and Android devices, MoneyLion offers personal finance tools and a suite of credit products designed to foster better, more informed financial decision-making across the lifetime of its growing community of users.

Orrick Launches Legal Portal for Direct Lending, (Fin Alternatives), Rated: A

Global law firm Orrick has jumped into the rapidly-growing world of private credit with the creation of what it describes as the first legal portal for the corporate direct lending community.

The site breaks new ground by offering fast, simple solutions to a wide variety of common issues that arise in direct lending transactions, Orrick said in a statement.

Lending Club will Pay New CFO Signing Bonus & $ 4.5 M Stock Grant, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

According to an 8-K filed with the SEC, Lending Club will pay Thomas Casey, their newly appointed CFO, a base salary of $425,000 with a 75% bonus target plus $4.5 million in an initial equity award to vest quarterly over the next four years. On top of this, Casey will also receive a one-time signing bonus of $600,000. Casey will receive half of this bonus immediately and the other half a year from his start date (later this month).

Simultaneously, Lending Club announced the creation of a Rabbi Trust – a non-qualified retirement vehicle to help compensate senior executives.

Why Lending Club Isn’t Worth Your Money…, (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Earnings expectations are now expected to be negative this year and Wall Street is looking for only $0.07 in earnings per share in 2017. At this stage in its life cycle and growth, one could argue a P/E is irrelevant. Even if there were not questions about Lending Club’s future growth, we would feel uncomfortable owning this company at a P/E approaching 80x.

Looking at Enterprise Value to EBITDA, we also are not attracted to a business at roughly 60x 2017 expectations. The problems of 2016 wipe out more than a full year of growth for this early-stage business, but they also highlight a going concern issue. With its large debt balance and lingering interest costs, Lending Club needs to generate significant cash flow just to stay afloat.

Earnings can be manipulated, so we tend to focus our attention on cash flow. The cash flow statement rarely lies. Before the surprising revelations in May, Lending Club averaged nearly $50 million of cash flow from operations for three quarters straight.

Cash flow went negative last quarter and will likely stay this way for a few quarters. Will investors look to purchase Lending Club loans? Will Lending Club only draw the most risky borrowers to its platform? These are troubling questions we struggle with.

At the 2002 Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) annual meeting, the legendary duo of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger had some wonderful comments regarding investing in financials. After Munger discussed how he is often uncomfortable around most financial institutions’ lack of transparency, Buffett had this great financial quote:

“There is so much about a financial institution that you don’t know just by looking at the figures that if anything bothers you a little bit, we’re never sure whether it’s an iceberg situation”.

UBS trials artificial intelligence wealth managers, (V3), Rated: A

Wealth management firm and investment bank UBS is running artificial intelligence(AI) trials with some of its richest clients. AI applications being tested include tools designed to read facial expressions and uncover clients’ unconscious biases towards or against certain types of investment.

The aim is to help the company’s cash-rich, but time-poor, clientele to ask the right questions about their decisions, according to UBS.

RBS announced earlier this year  that the bank may replace hundreds of face-to-face customer service staff with automated services, which it claimed will free its remaining human agents to be expert advisers.

Fraud detection is another area ripe for AI applications, and companies such as Ravelin have deployed machine learning capabilities to identify online payment fraud and other pattern-based behaviour.

IBM and Aldebaran Robotics (now majority owned by Japan’s SoftBank) have been testing a robotic concierge service using IBM’s Watson service in the cloud via industry-specific datasets provided by ‘cognitive travel agent’ WayBlazer.

UK government-backed startup PingGo announced last week that its mission is to automate PR, giving rise to the real possibility that press releases may soon be produced by robots for other robots to read and disseminate as machine-readable news.

Dr Anders Sandberg, James Martin Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, observed earlier this year that if you can describe your job it can and will be automated.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle SME Income Fund Ltd (FCIF) to Issue Dividend Increase – GBX 1.63 Per Share, (BBNS), Rated: A

Funding Circle SME Income Fund Ltd (LON:FCIF) declared a dividend on Wednesday, September 14th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 29th will be paid a dividend of GBX 1.63 ($0.02) per share on Monday, October 31st. This represents a yield of 1.59%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 29th. This is a boost from Funding Circle SME Income Fund’s previous dividend of $1.00. The official announcement can be seen at this link.

Separately, Jefferies Group started coverage on shares of Funding Circle SME Income Fund in a report on Wednesday. They issued a “hold” rating for the company.

Funding Circle SME Income Fund Limited is a United Kingdom-based closed-ended fund. The Fund’s investment objective is to provide shareholders with a level of dividend income, primarily by way of investment in credit assets, both directly through the marketplaces and indirectly. The Fund holds credit assets through maturity.

Bank of England sticks with rate cut signal despite Brexit bounce, (Reuters), Rated: AAA

The Bank of England said on Thursday it was still likely to cut interest rates to just above zero later this year, even though the initial Brexit hit to Britain’s economy was proving less severe than it expected only last month.

The Bank’s nine rate-setters voted unanimously to keep Bank Rate at its new record low of 0.25 percent, the lowest level in the BoE’s 322-year history.

They also voted 9-0 to keep the Bank’s bond-buying program target at 435 billion pounds and to continue with its new plan to buy up to 10 billion pounds’ worth of corporate bonds.

A Reuters poll of economists showed on Thursday that Britain is likely to narrowly avoid a recession.

Property Development Academy: LendInvest to Help Small Developers Build More Homes, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendInvest, an online mortgage marketplace that has facilitated over £740 million in financing, has launched the “first” Property Development Academy in an attempt to boost construction of new homes.

The UK government estimates the need for additional housing in England at between 232,000 to 300,000 new units per year, a level not reached since  the late 1970s and two to three times current supply.

According to LendInvest, the Property Development Academy will be a two-day intensive programme that takes 20-25 individuals through hands-on, practical modules covering the full development project: from land valuation and acquisition, through to planning permission, supplier contracts, cost management and final sale. Sessions are led by experienced advisers. On top of education, the network of relevant contacts from their local area may become a vital resource for these aspiring developers to call upon in the future.

Canada

Financeit and Concentra acquire TD Bank Group’s indirect home improvement financing assets, (Email), Rated: A

Financeit, a cloud-based point-of-sale financing platform, and Concentra, a leading wholesale finance and trust solutions provider for Canada’s credit unions, today announced the acquisition of TD Bank Group’s indirect home improvement financing assets, with a book value of approximately $339 million.

As part of the agreement, approximately 45,000 TD loans were purchased by Concentra and over 800 merchant dealers were assigned to Financeit.

Financeit has a nationwide footprint in the home improvement industry and has increased its lending activity in this market by almost 200% since last year.

With the transaction now completed, current TD merchant partners can begin submitting loans on Financeit’s platform immediately and can take advantage of the company’s unique approach. This includes mobile-enabled technology, customer self-serve application options, paperless document signing, extended credit and 180-day approval windows. Loan origination on the TD platform will end in October 2016.

Since launching in 2011, Financeit has worked with over 6,000 home improvement, vehicle and retail businesses to process more than $1.5 billion in loans in Canada and the United States. Financeit is a private company and has raised money from a variety of investors, including a division of Goldman Sachs and FIS Global.

Concentra is a provider of national wholesale banking and trust solutions to credit unions across Canada. Concentra is serving over 80 percent of Canada’s credit unions. The company has over $37 billion in assets under administration, including over $8 billion in consolidated assets

China

Shanghai P2P Lender Raided After Failing to Make Payments, (CaixinOnline), Rated: A

Police raided the Shanghai offices of a major peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform operator on Tuesday and arrested five people on suspicion of illegal fundraising, nearly half a year after the company stopped paying returns to its investors.

Police said they will urge the company to meet its financial obligations, but didn’t say whether criminal charges will be filed.

Kuailu is a typical case, promising investors 10 percent annualized returns, far higher than they could get from traditional banking products. Founded in 2003, the company entered P2P lending in 2014. It found a niche in lending for film production in both China and Hollywood using connections of its then-chairman, Shi Jianxiang.

In the past two years alone, Kuailu raised about 14 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) from about 260,000 investors, and poured the money into such high-profile projects as the Hollywood film The Bombing starring Bruce Willis.

But the company ran into financial difficulties and stopped paying out returns about six months ago, around the same time that Shi resigned, citing health concerns.

In June, Kuailu promised at least 600 investors, most of them elderly and in urgent need of cash, that they would receive priority in getting back 5 to 20 percent of their principal, a pledge requiring up to 100 million yuan, according to a notice on its official account on the popular WeChat mobile instant messaging platform.

Author:

George Popescu

We already have a utility settlement coin: it’s called the euro

Four banks have stolen loads of column inches on Wednesday with news that they are developing “a new form of digital cash that they believe will become an industry standard to clear and settle financial trades over blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin”.

In the fanfare, however, lots of common sense has been abandoned.

The big idea here (allegedly) is that banks will use a “utility settlement coin” to bypass the need for costly and inefficient fiat liquidity from the cbank.

The utility settlement coin, based on a solution developed by Clearmatics Technologies, aims to let financial institutions pay for securities, such as bonds and equities, without waiting for traditional money transfers to be completed. Instead they would use digital coins that are directly convertible into cash at central banks, cutting the time and cost of post-trade settlement and clearing.

Continue reading: We already have a utility settlement coin: it’s called the euro

Four banks have stolen loads of column inches on Wednesday with news that they are developing “a new form of digital cash that they believe will become an industry standard to clear and settle financial trades over blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin”.

In the fanfare, however, lots of common sense has been abandoned.

The big idea here (allegedly) is that banks will use a “utility settlement coin” to bypass the need for costly and inefficient fiat liquidity from the cbank.

The utility settlement coin, based on a solution developed by Clearmatics Technologies, aims to let financial institutions pay for securities, such as bonds and equities, without waiting for traditional money transfers to be completed. Instead they would use digital coins that are directly convertible into cash at central banks, cutting the time and cost of post-trade settlement and clearing.

Continue reading: We already have a utility settlement coin: it’s called the euro

July 29th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 29th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today we have a lot of articles about banks and how banks are surfing successfully on the FinTech wave. The bank articles are mostly in the US section but the Australia section has an interesting article as well. Note the 1st article from Bloomberg and the 7th and 8th articles.  In the India […]

July 29th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Today we have a lot of articles about banks and how banks are surfing successfully on the FinTech wave. The bank articles are mostly in the US section but the Australia section has an interesting article as well. Note the 1st article from Bloomberg and the 7th and 8th articles.
  •  In the India section, you will find an article of quotes from P2P lenders in India which are worth a quick read. And in the UK section a very interesting article, the 1st one, just talking about the profitability of Zopa and Funding Circle, but the real interesting piece are the profitability of LendInvest and RateSetter which are not in the title. And a 2nd article that is also very clear and well thought out.

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

India

Australia

 

United States

Big Banks Turn Silicon Valley Competition Into Profit, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

It’s not that the upstarts — often called fintech — are failing to gain traction. Internet ventures pitching loans to cash-strapped consumers, small businesses and home buyers, for instance, have posted spectacular growth in recent years. It’s just that banks have a huge lead in lending and are watching the startups closely. As borrowers embrace new services, traditional firms are riding along.

Here are five examples:

LendingClub’s Backers

In May, LendingClub broke out its sales to banks: Community banks and other old fashioned lenders snapped up about 34 percent of the $2.8 billion of loans it arranged in the first quarter, up from an average of about 25 percent during 2015.

Some of LendingClub’s biggest loan buyers have bolstered their war chests or operations with financing from banks. Colchis Income Advisors entered into a credit agreement with Bawag PSK of Austria, according to regulatory filings. Arcadia Funds arranged for two of its Cirrix partnerships to borrow from Silicon Valley Bank. And MW Eaglewood lined up financing for its main LendingClub fund from Capital One Financial Corp. in 2012. Spokesmen for the funds and banks declined to comment or didn’t respond to messages.

Chasing Entrepreneurs

Small businesses can thank internet ventures for simplifying loan applications, speeding decisions and providing much-needed credit when many traditional banks were pulling back in the wake of 2008’s financial crisis. Nonbanks now provide about one-quarter of the $800 billion in loans outstanding to the sector, according to research by QED Investors and Oliver Wyman. But the interest rates aren’t always low.

For a time, banks were content backing the loans. Goldman Sachs was among firms that entrusted more than $300 million years ago to fund lending by On Deck Capital Inc., one of the largest providers of small business loans over the internet.

Now, established lenders are taking a more active role. JPMorgan announced a deal in December, letting it access On Deck’s proprietary credit-scoring system to quickly evaluate applicants before using its own balance sheet to make loans. On Deck, in turn, gets a foothold in the burgeoning “fintech as a service” market. But the arrangement has done little to stop a 49 percent slide in the company’s stock this year.

More recently, established lenders have announced their own online lending portals for entrepreneurs.

Wells Fargo & Co. said in May that its new “fast decision” platform will help it reach a goal of providing $100 billion in new loans to small businesses by 2019. AmEx, which already provides more than $200 billion of funding to entrepreneurs for business purchases on their credit cards, expects a new online-loan portal will let it handle even more of their spending.

Mortgage Apps

Fintech ventures starred in Super Bowl ads this year, with Quicken Loans toutingRocket Mortgage, a platform letting users apply for home loans on smartphones.

The tidal wave is benefiting banks, too. Behind the scenes, many of the upstarts get support from traditional banks. Detroit-based Quicken, for example, raised $1.25 billion for itself and its parent company last year in a bond sale underwritten by JPMorgan and Credit Suisse Group AG. It also used lines of credit from banks to help close $80 billion in home loans that year.

[Comment: 4th was Blockchain, not very relevant to our readers here]

Robo-Advisers

Top Wall Street firms, seeking stable fee income, are now developing their own robotic arms. Bank of America Corp. will unveil an automated investment prototype this year after assigning dozens of employees to the project in November, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg at the time. Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo also have said they would build or buy a robo-adviser.

US consumer agency seeks to overhaul debt collection industry, (CNBC), Rated: AAA

“Today we are considering proposals that would drastically overhaul the debt collection market,” said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray in a statement. “This is about bringing better accuracy and accountability to a market that desperately needs it.”

According to a summary, the proposal would make sure collectors “substantiate the debt before contacting consumers,” by confirming their identities and the amount owed, as well as checking for any payments made after a default. Consumers frequently file complaints at the agency about receiving calls for debts that do not exist.

In an attempt to “limit excessive contact,” the proposal would cap agencies’ calls to debtors to six attempts each week. It would also create a 30-day waiting period after a person dies for contacting survivors.

Agencies would have to communicate specific information to consumers, such as when outstanding debt is too old for a lawsuit. They would also have to make it easier to both dispute or pay a debt through tear-off coupons on the bottoms of collection notices.

Roughly 13 percent of consumers have a debt currently in third-party collection, with an average amount of $1,300, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows.

In a survey released alongside its proposal, the CFPB found more than three-quarters of the country’s 3,994 debt collection firms are small, with less than 100 employees. Larger firms pull in about two-thirds of the industry’s $12.18 billion total revenue.

The agency also found credit card, student loan and automobile debts in collection typically have balances of $2,000 or more.

Cloudvirga Raises $ 7.5 M to Automate the Entire Mortgage Process, (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Cloudvirga, the company developing the cloud-based intelligent Mortgage Platform® (iMP) designed to streamline the mortgage process, today announced it has raised $7.5M in its series A funding sponsored by Dallas Capital with participation from Upfront Ventures and Tribeca Angels.

“Increased regulations stemming from the subprime mortgage crisis have made the entire process more labor intensive and time consuming than ever, and those are the pain points we’re alleviating with iMP,”

Come Together – Finding Common Ground in Small Business Lending Associations, (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

So where do we go from here? Advancing the marketplace lending industry’s efforts to create a more transparent and efficient financial system is critical as the industry matures.

The good news is that small businesses today – even those with lackluster or thin credit history – can choose from a dynamic set of loan products including term loans (both traditional and short-term), business lines of credit, loans for startup companies, equipment purpose loans, various SBA loans, accounts receivable financing, merchant cash advances, and peer-to-peer loans. This is a far cry from where we were in 2008-2010, when (according to the Huffington Post) more than 170,000 small businesses shut down.

At Lendio, we’re convinced that there needs to be a single, industry unifier – and we feel the SMART Box is headed in that direction. Lendio will now participate in the 90-day engagement period and I’m asking all those who offer loan products throughout the Lendio platform to consider doing so as well.

How Much Lower Will Your Student Loan Rate Be With a Cosigner?, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Undergraduates who qualified for private student loans with a cosigner–often a parent–were offered average interest rates of 5.37% versus 7.46% without a cosigner, according to Credible.com, a student-loan marketplace. Rates for graduate students were also discounted to 4.59% on average with a cosigner compared to 6.22% without one.

The figures from Credible.com are based on five lenders’ responses and offers—which included a mix of fixed and variable interest rates—to nearly 8,000 applicants who shopped for student loans on the site over a 12-month period through early June. The lenders include Citizens Financial Group—which is quickly gaining market share in the private student loan market—as well as online lenders CommonBond and College Ave Student Loans.

Approval rates fall dramatically without cosigners. Fifty-one percent of undergraduates shopping for loans on Credible.com received offers compared with 20% of those without a cosigner. Similarly, 56% of graduate students–who lenders have historically viewed as relatively safer borrowers–received offers with a cosigner versus 45% without.

In some cases, it can be cheaper for parents to join their children on a private student loan as opposed to signing up for a parent-only loan from the federal government. The 5.37% average rate undergraduates received with a cosigner on private student loans is nearly one percentage point cheaper than the interest rate on the federal Plus loan for parents that charges 6.31% for the upcoming academic year. Private lenders also don’t charge origination fees, while the Plus loan currently has a roughly 4.3% upfront charge.

Think twice before you co-sign on a student loan, (CNBC), Rated: AAA

But co-signing is risky. It ties you to that debt, meaning you could be responsible for the entire amount outstanding if the primary borrowercan’t — or won’t — pay up. Nearly 40 percent of co-signers found themselves on the hook for at least part of the bill, according to a June survey from CreditCards.com, and 28 percent saw a drop in their credit score from the primary borrower’s bad credit habits.

How Ayasdi’s machine learning is giving banks an analytical advantage, (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Banks are increasingly using machine learning to power part of their operations, but the adoption of these new technologies is not uniform.

Top data scientists are employed by financial institutions and working with programming tools like SPCC and R, they filter and analyze huge data sets in order to perform analytical tasks. “No human being can wrap his head around that amount of data,” said Daniel Druker, CMO of Ayasdi, a machine learning company that partners with financial institutions, like Citi and Credit Suisse. Instead, using machine learning algorithms, a computer can surface insights and recommendations from those data sets, while the quants examine and take actions based on those learnings.

According to McKinsey’s 2015 Global Banking Report, banks that have replaced older statistical-modeling approaches to credit risk with machine learning techniques have experienced up to 20 percent increases in cash collections from outstanding loans.

Out of over 20 banks that work with Ayasdi, Drucker said, 100% are either already operating in this stage or actively exploring implementing such technology.

The highest level of machine learning application is the fully automating business processes. Take a life insurer, for example. When a customer applies for a policy, he might be asked to fill out a 40-page long form and get a physical examination. That information is then sent back to the company for approval. The entire process can take over a month to complete.

According to McKinsey, some European banks using these techniques report 10 percent increases in sales of new products, 20 percent savings in capital expenditures, and 20 percent declines in customer churn.

CB Insights has identified 41 companies providing machine learning solutions in the financial industry. Together with the explosion of general applications of  AI, deals and investments in AI companies reached record levels in 2016. Since the beginning of 2016, over 15 fintech AI companies have closed investment rounds.

How Digital Investments Are Changing the Face of Banking, (The financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Investment in digital banking is driving increased customer acquisition, cross-selling and satisfaction while decreasing branch traffic and related costs.

This is confirmed by the J.D. Power research that showed that there is an immediate lift in overall satisfaction when customers use mobile banking (+27 points on a 1,000-point scale), and this impact increases even more when banks provide their mobile banking customers with a highly satisfying experience (+82). According to J.D. Power, “The outlook for Big Banks remains positive, driven by their (big banks) ability to invest in customer-centric innovations (e.g., digital channels, analytics, and branch transformation), as well as their success in growing customer segments.”

Recent disclosures of mobile banking use by the big banks provides a glimpse of the impact of digital investment on mobile use. Of the three largest U.S. banks, JPMorgan Chase leads the way with nearly 25 million active mobile customers as of the second quarter. That was up 18% compared with the same period last year. Bank of America had the second most active mobile users, with 20.2 million monthly active app users, with Wells Fargo reporting 18 million active users.

 

United Kingdom

Britain’s 2 biggest peer-to-peer lenders lost £50 million in the last decade

The two platforms have facilitated almost £3 billion of loans between them but Funding Circle, founded in 2010, has never made a profit, while Zopa, founded in 2005, made a small profit 2 years running, totalling less than £60,000.

Here’s the breakdown of Zopa and Funding Circle’s financial performance, as per accounts filed with Companies House:

  • Zopa: losses between 2005 and 2014 total £21.79 million, according to accounts filed with Companies House, on cumulative revenues of £25.84 million. The platform made a small profit in in 2011 and 2012, totalling £58,648.
  • Funding Circle: cumulative net loss of £28.71 million on total revenues of £20.89 million, according to accounts covering 2010 to 2014. The company has yet to make a profit.

These losses have been funded by investment from venture capitalists: $273 million (£208.1 million) for Funding Circle and at least $56.6 million (£43 million) for Zopa, according to Crunchbase.

Funding Circle, which offers loans to small businesses, declined to comment on its losses when contacted by BI but pointed to comments CEO Samir Desai made to BI last year when we reported the company’s latest financial results. Desai said at the time:

“If you actually look at the core business of doing loans in the UK — strip away the technology investment and all the other extra stuff we’re doing — the business is already profitable in the UK and is moving that way in the US as well. A lot of the investment we’re doing is investing in creating a global business.”

Zopa’s CEO Jaidev Janardana told BI in an emailed statement:

“We have demonstrated that our business model is profitable with two consecutive profitable years in 2011 and 2012. Since then our investors and the business have placed more value on investing in our growth. In doing so we have been able to double our loan volumes last year, deliver positive returns for our customers at the same time investing in talent, technology, and our office.

“This all means we are in the best position to deliver on our strategic plan for continued growth and profitability long-term. Looking forward, I’m glad to say that we expect to be EBIDTA positive in Q4 2016 and profitable in 2017.”

Christian Faes, CEO of the UK’s fourth largest marketplace lender LendInvest, told BI he thinks that loss-making platforms will face increased pressure to turn a profit to “prove that they can.” Remember, the growth that Zopa and Funding Circle are chasing could be disappearing.

LendInvest, which lets investors put money into short-term mortgages for people looking to renovate then sell properties, made a pre-tax profit of £3.1 million in 2015 and £1.1 million in 2014.

A spokesperson for RateSetter told BI: “We have recorded a profit for two consecutive financial years, proving that our model works and is sustainable. We are now investing to scale up, broaden, and deepen our market while continuing to deliver maximum value for investors.”

Is the dream of peer-to-peer lending beginning to fade?, (Thersa), Rated: AAA

Why is this a problem? Because unlike banks, which can make money on captive and repeat business in current accounts, credit cards and remortgages, P2P lenders need to continuously find and process new borrowers in order to earn commission. Should the sluggish times continue, the danger is that P2P lenders may soon be tempted to shoot for riskier borrowers in order to maintain their rate of growth. Remember that these platforms have investors of their own to placate and appease, many of whom will be pushing for decisive action to keep transaction volumes on an upward trajectory.

Finally, there is the question of where the money flows to on these platforms. Nesta and Cambridge University’s research is unequivocal: peer-to-peer lending has helped many thousands of people and businesses access loans in the face of rejection from high street banks. Yet only 20 percent of borrowers using P2P consumer lending platforms are women, and only a quarter earn less than £25k (note that the median wage of workers in the UK is  £27.5k). Although the makeup of borrowers using P2P platforms may simply reflect lending patterns across the financial industry, it challenges the theory that fintech innovations are inherently more inclusive.

The point of raising these red flags is not to pour cold water on the P2P lending phenomenon. Many of these platforms promise users a brilliant customer experience, faster decision making, more choice and – for some – better rates on loans than they can find elsewhere. Indeed, one of the greatest impacts P2P lenders have had is in changing the practices of long-standing incumbents. Take Wells Fargo, which recently launched a rapid turnaround system for small business loans, partly to match the responsiveness of P2P startups. These innovations should linger on even if P2P platforms fade away, and suggests the sector could catalyse positive transformation in financial services without needing to achieve a dominant position in the loans market.

No, this is not to dismiss the real achievements of P2P platforms. Rather, it is a plea to be pragmatic and realistic about what P2P lending – and all forms of fintech for that matter – can ultimately achieve without a more significant structural change in the nature of the financial industry. John Kay, in his brilliantly detailed new book Other People’s Money, rightly reminds us of the fundamental functions of finance: to enable people to save for the future, receive and send money, manage everyday risks, and borrow to invest in a real economy that truly creates value for others.

Ablrate & Access Commercial Finance Tout Origination Partnership, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Asset-backed peer to peer lender Ablrate has released information on an origination partnership with Access Commercial Finance based in Leeds. The arrangement is said to have generated over £2.5 million of loans so far this year. Ablrate launched as a niche P2P lender focusing on aircraft finance but has since branched out into capital equipment and property. Ablrate’s arrangement with Access is thus driving platform growth. Ablrate also offers a secondary market for investors in their loans.

The origination partnership is said to have resulted in sizeable deals for a range of sectors, including an £800,000 funding boost for a previously mothballed Eco Park, near Newcastle. The deal is expected to grow by £1.4 million. The waste management plant in Blaydon suffered following the collapse of Lehman Bros in 2013. The £800,000 in finance  raised through Ablrate and Access is expected to get the plant fully operational by October creating at least 30 jobs.

European Union

BBVA Plans New Management Revamp as Chairman Pushes Digital Bank, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA is preparing its second management reorganization in 14 months as Chairman Francisco Gonzalez streamlines Spain’s second-biggest lender and accelerates its push into digital banking.

BBVA is pushing to offer more products and services online and via mobile phones as Gonzalez predicts few banks will survive competition from technology companies such as Google Inc. or Facebook Inc.

Vicente Rodero, current head of Country Networks, a unit created last year to boost the results of the group’s lenders in various countries, is set to leave his post. Chief Financial Officer Jaime Saenz de Tejada and Javier Rodriguez Soler, head of strategy and M&A, will be given additional responsibilities.

India

Fintech firms to take profit-first approach, say panellists at VCCircle summit

India’s fintech startups will also learn more from China, owing to similar demographic opportunities and challenges, unlike other industries that primarily learnt from the US, the panellists said. While there are no successful models yet, companies are experimenting with different models that include marketplace, bidding process and intermediary, they added.

Adhil Shetty, founder and CEO of Bankbazaar, said the popularity of the company is that its website received 90 lakh visitors in the month of March alone. Hence, it won’t be an extended arm as the platform offers products from partnering financial services companies as well standalone products.

Gaurav Hinduja, co-founder of Capital Float, which operates a hybrid model by lending online through its non-banking finance company, said these data sets will reduce the time taken from application to disbursal to 10 minutes. He added that social data can be used for verification as well as help in recoveries.

Rajat Gandhi of Gurgaon-based Faircent, which operates a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform facilitating borrowers and lenders through a bidding process, said that credit score would continue to be main criteria for disbursal of loans while data from social media can only be a value-add.

Vaddadi also said that fintech companies are increasing focus on customer acquisition, but added that this will not be done by burning cash.

The panellists also said that chances of default by borrowers are lower for fintech companies as these firms monitor the business performance of the borrower through analytics that can give out an early warning. Vaddadi said his firm has a 0.16% default rate.  [Comment: I do not believe this is true unless the fintechs really download the business’s information regularly and reliably. I am not aware of any company who really does this well. ]

Australia

Global banks: Is fintech a threat or an opportunity?, (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

UBS banking analysts surveyed 27,914 customers of more than 210 banks in 24 countries, along with 61 management teams from banks around the world. Local UBS banking analyst Jonathan Mott along with analysts in London, New York and Tokyo.

The survey found that a growing number of Australians are considering trying fintech services in the next 12 months: 15 per cent of Australian respondents said they will use a fintech money transfer business; 14 per cent said they will use a mobile payment fintech; 9 per cent will use peer-to-peer lending; and 9 per cent said they are likely to use a “robo adviser” for digital financial advice.

According to the management survey, 38 per cent of banks have a fintech partnership and this is expected to rise to 51 per cent over the next 12 months. The report said that in developed markets, bank returns on equity could be lifted from an average of 9.8 per cent to 10.2 per cent, as global cost to income ratios fall.

The survey found a high level of satisfaction from customers in the US and Britain using P2P lending which pointed to the threat to banks being real.
Australia’s largest P2P lender, SocietyOne, said this week it had appointed DDB Group to lift brand awareness through a TV, online, radio and print advertising campaign after the company, which is being led by former Westpac senior executive Jason Yetton, raised a further $25 million in equity in May.

UBS also predicted “the use of robo-advisers looks likely to grow exponentially” by between 70 and 150 per cent over the next year.

Cyber security is an area of concern, with 35 per cent of the customer respondents indicating a lack of trust in security as an explanation for not using fintech mobile payment services.

Author:

George Popescu