Wednesday December 27 2017, Daily News Digest

blockchain artificial intelligence

News Comments Today’s main news: Impact investment performance. The UK home lending market had a watershed year. Opus, Statista predict digital payments to rise in 2018. Crowd Genie opens up blockchain-based lending to Singapore. Fast Invest offers crypto-enabled loan investments across Europe. Today’s main analysis: Where financial institutions will spend money on fintech in 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The […]

blockchain artificial intelligence

News Comments

United States

  • Where money will be spent on fintech in 2018. AT: “American Banker predicts where banks and other financial institutions will put their investments in 2018. A good read with some solid predictive analysis, and good reporting. Top of the list: Blockchain & AI. Big surprise: Bank will get more aggressive with student lending and mortgages.”
  • Performance of impact investing. AT: “Regardless of what you call it, impact investing allows investors to grow portfolios while performing a social good, but how do these investments do over time? Not bad.”
  • The future of financing. AT: “Hint: It’s all about digital currency, or is it?”
  • Why people make bad financial decisions.

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

United States

Where fintech dollars will go in 2018 (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A study released in December found that 82% of U.S. commercial banks plan to increase fintech investment over the next three years; 86% of bank senior managers surveyed said they intend to boost fintech funding imminently. The research was commissioned by the global fintech provider Fraedom.

Here are the fintech markets likely to get some love in the coming year:

Blockchain

Up till now, many blockchain pilots have been about gaining back-office efficiencies, such as in clearing securities, Canaday noted. She said she expects the use of blockchain to shift to ways to make money.

Artificial intelligence

“There was a study done about last quarter’s conference calls where the count of the number of times companies said ‘artificial intelligence’ in their calls was 800, up 25% quarter over quarter,” Steinberg said. “When you’re competing with 800 companies, it’s probably a difficult experience.”

B-to-B payments

While many fintechs focus on serving consumers, “toward the end of this year we started to see more of a shift in investment toward the B-to-B side,” said Grewal. “There’s big money being thrown into the B-to-B space. We’re seeing a lot of new company formation around the B-to-B payment space in a way we haven’t seen before. That’s one trend we’ll see a lot more of next year.”

Banks could “unlock” $11 billion in new revenue streams from small and midsize businesses by 2020, according to an Accenture report.

Consumer apps

Better experiences from fintech apps like Digit and Acorns are turning financial services firms into “ingredients” rather than “destinations,” according to Schwark Satyavolu, general partner at Trinity Ventures.

Grewal also sees a lot of interest in the cross-border commerce space — consumers from China wanting to make purchases in the U.S. and the U.K. and vice versa.

Banktech

Now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been defanged, so to speak, banks can get back into student lending and mortgages without fear of reprisal, he said.

THE PERFORMANCE OF IMPACT INVESTMENTS (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The Global Impact Investing Network has offered its own take on a much discussed question: do “impact investing” and its variants under various names – sustainable investing, socially conscious investing, ESG investing, etc. – work? And, if so, how well? It looks at this question in a very granular way, focusing especially on II through private equity and private debt. Given this focus it engages in a meta-study, or literature review.

The GIIN begins with the observation that private equity is the most commonly employed vehicle for impact investing. It is used by more than 75% of the impact investors.

How did they do? That 2015 study made the following points:

  • Since inception the 71 funds have generated aggregate net returns of 5.8% on average, with 4.6% showing up as the median.
  • The fund level internal rate of return can vary a good deal. The top 5% of funds get 22.1% or higher and the bottom 5% lose 15.4% or more.
  • That range itself is “similar to what is seen in conventional investing and illustrates that fund manager selection is key to strong performance.”

The Future of Financing (Avertising Specialty Institute), Rated: A

According to government statistics, 28.8 million small businesses currently operate in the U.S., employing 57 million people. A study by U.S. Bank notes the major reason these businesses fail is due to cash flow problems. Eighty-two percent of those businesses, in fact, are tanking because of lack of cash.

“You have this compression happening across every stage along the way,” Graham says. “For example, 24-hour turn with orders, better systems allowing a distributor to invoice faster, and easier ways to accept payment up front. It’s enabling everything to move faster. The need for financing is not as great as it used to be as a result of the options available now to be able to turn everything faster.”

There’s also big growth in the online lending space, Graham says, allowing for a lot of flexibility and options to get bank-like financing for business needs. But she thinks the next huge financing shift will surround something completely different.

“I think a lot of the real changes are going to happen around digital currency,” she says.

Lending Requirements

“Document requirements won’t change,” Seagraves says. “To get a loan today, you need to have some vehicle to communicate your plan, and that vehicle should include a set of business projections, like an Excel spreadsheet that talks about your financial requirements for the short term and how long it’ll take to become cash flow-positive. Then the lender is going to want to know your financial position as an individual and if any of your assets can be leveraged to secure a loan. These are all very traditional requirements, and I don’t see them changing any time soon.”

Why do people make bad money decisions (IOL.co.za), Rated: B

Eight out of ten American adults feel anxious about the state of affairs of their personal finance.

In addition to this, neural activity associated with “stressful information processing” was 20% higher among people who made their own money decisions compared to someone who received financial advice.

United Kingdom

Watershed year for equity release in the UK home lending market (Propertywire), Rated: AAA

The membership of the Equity Release Council in the UK has increased annually by 23%, rising to 219 from 178 at the same time last year, boosted by new entrants to the market, the latest official figures show.

Lending in the third quarter of 2017 surpassed £800 million for the first time in any single quarter, with the sector also on course to reach a record-breaking £3 billion in lending for the first time in a single year.

China

THE EASIEST WAY TO LOSE YOUR LIFE SAVINGS IN CHINA (SCMP), Rated: AAA

By any measure, 62-year-old Shan Juzhen was an easy mark. After the shortest of conversations with other investors, Shan put more than US$15,000 – or nearly a year of her pension – into a lending club she had never heard of.

She felt it unnecessary to check the qualifications of the lending club, which serves as an alternative for borrowers who cannot get a loan from a big bank. She also did not ask questions about how her money would be lent. The only thing Shan wanted to know was would the platform give her a high return on her investment.

A report published in December by Chaoyang Court in Beijing found that the number of Chinese senior citizens involved with lending-related disputes surged to more than 4,400 in 2016, a nearly sevenfold increase from a year earlier. And among all lending-related disputes the court handled last year, about 45 per cent involved elderly Chinese.

P2P online lending has now reached US$908 billion in transactions, according to Internet Loan House, a website that tracks the industry.

European Union

Joint Discussion Paper on automation in financial advice (EIPOA), Rated: AAA

Given this assessment, the ESAs are of the view that, even though automation in financial advice is not presently observed equally across all financial sectors and/or EU Member States, the phenomenon has the potential to continue to grow. The ESAs will assess the feedback to this Discussion Paper in order to better understand the phenomenon and to decide which, if any,
regulatory and/or supervisory action is required.

In considering the topic of automation in financial advice, the ESAs have observed the following across the banking, securities and insurance and pensions sectors :

  • In the banking sector:

i. Automation specifically in relation to financial advice does not seem to be very widespread. However, human contact is supported more and more by the use of various automated tools. These include comparison websites that can compare products offered by various financial institutions, and websites providing information on specific products and helping consumers to select between products by using simulators and calculators.

ii. New business models that are based in providing advice through automated advisory tools have nonetheless emerged (e.g. automated tools where the consumer fills in all relevant information and receives an advice on which mortgage to get as a result).

  • In the securities sector:

i. Automation in relation to financial advice is a more mature phenomenon, although the provision of advice that is completely automated appears to feature only in a few EU Member States. In this business model, automated tools are used as a type of financial adviser, often referred to as a ‘robo-adviser’: the automated tool asks prospective investors for information about their specific circumstances and, based on the answers provided, an algorithm is used to recommend transactions in financial instruments that match the customer’s profile.

ii. Different automated tools may be used to support different parts of the advice process, for example the collection of information, risk profiling, portfolio analysis, and order processing or trading.

iii. Some advice services are entirely automated, whereas other services foresee human interaction between the consumer and the advice provider at some stage.

iv. In a greater number of European jurisdictions, other automated tools exist that offer various online functionality to consumers. Such offerings include (but are not limited to): the possibility to open and manage online trading accounts that allow the consumer to trade financial instruments on an execution-only basis; automated portfolio management services; and automated tools that compare the prices of transacting in different financial instruments.

Read the full report here.

Fast Invest – Crypto-enabled Loan Investments Across Europe (ChipIn), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms have disrupted American financing. That is old news. What is more interesting is the impact of such platforms in Europe where big banks have long dominated the entire loan-initiation process as well as the investment chain.

European P2P initiatives grew 92% in 2015 to 5.4 billion euros. P2P consumer lending is, so far, the biggest and fastest growing market segment, although far from the only one.

Brexit will mean that British banks will lose what is called “passport rights” that enable them to have access to European markets. And P2P lenders are already jumping into the void this is creating, as well as allowing new kinds of services and income investment opportunities.

Introducing Fast Invest

Fast Invest’s mission is to create a cross-European platform where investors can earn returns for investing in loans. At present, the platform offers an 8-15% return based on past performance for short-term investments of as low as 1 euro, US dollar, pound or Polish zloty after ten months.

Today, before the crowdfunding, the company has 8,500 plus daily customers across Europe, 21 certified lenders, 36 client origin countries and over 50 employees on staff.

Investors will be able to choose between investing in cryptocurrency or a crypto-proved loan investment. This will significantly increase yield over regular bank returns which are about 1.25% API at present. These investments include traditional and alternative investments including issued loans, real estate, private equity and other structured finance products.

Investors can invest as little as 1 euro and get that back within one day with the Fast Invest buyback guarantee.

FIT tokens allow investors to participate in a growing P2P market opportunities across Europe and the US.

Cork investors most likely in Ireland to back local firms (Independent.ie), Rated: B

Cork-based loan investors are the most likely to back local firms, according to data from peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance.

The numbers are based on business loans made over the Linked Finance platform, which matches investors to their choice of borrowers using the so called peer-to-peer lending model that cuts out banks.

Analysis of the investors using the platform found that just over one in three (34pc) of lenders have incomes in excess of €100,000, 39pc own their homes outright and 40pc are homeowners with a mortgage.

International

Fintech Outlook 2018: Digital Payments to Rise (Investing News), Rated: AAA

2017 was a significant year of growth for digital payments, according to an Opus Consulting report, together with the emergence of alternative payments. Peer-to-peer, wallets and mobile payments reached “high adoption levels” in the mainstream, reaching $3.6 trillion in terms of transactions during 2016-2017. According to the report, that amounted to a 20 percent year-on-year growth–a number that will only continue increasing from here.

In terms of global mobile payment revenue, the report states the number is estimated to reach $930 billion in 2018, representing a 19 percent growth from 2017 with China leading the way in the mobile payments market. Global payments revenue as a whole is poised to reach $2.3 trillion, with 43 percent of that representing banking revenues.

Similarly, data from Statista indicates that transaction values are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 41.9 percent over the next five years to 1.32 trillion, while the number of users in the mobile point of service payments will reach 977 million by 2022.

Fintech outlook 2018: Companies to watch

Glance Technologies, whose flagship product is its mobile app, Glance Pay, decided in 2017 that it would create its own cryptocurrency built on the ethereum platform to use smart contracts to provide rewards, which Green says will be purchases in conjunction with its mobile payment app.

Biometrics as the Catalyst: FinTech Pulls Away From Banks (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

The development of biometrics on mobile devices is set to have an outsized impact on mobile wallets and international money transfer. Advances such as fingerprint login, retinal scan, and facial recognition offer a rare opportunity for remittance companies to both combat fraud and improve the user experience.

Mobile wallet transactions alone are expected to reach nearly $1.4 trillionin 2017, growing 32% compared to 2016, and the number of mobile phone users will top 5 billion.

Biometrics improves the user experience by reducing form fields, eliminating the need to upload a picture of a physical ID, and fully automating the know-your-customer (KYC)/anti-fraud process. Moreover, for the first time, digitally funded transfers will offer better KYC and fraud checks than banks or brick-and-mortar competitors.

With hacked or compromised credentials, attackers can wreak havoc by posing as legitimate users and moving or stealing unauthorized funds. Not only is there a risk of theft, but fraudsters also exploit peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer services for money laundering and terrorism financing. Considering the fact that P2P payments are expected to be used by nearly129 million adults in the US by 2021, the threat isn’t going away anytime soon.

The number of people living outside of the country in which they were born has surpassed 244 million, representing a 41% increase between 2000 and 2015. Many of these people come from places where the identity infrastructure is weak and disconnected from developed systems in the US and Europe.

About 93% of consumers would rather use biometrics than passwords.

India

The McKinsey Paper on India (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Earlier this year, McKinsey & Co. published a paper on impact investing in India. The data base for that study consisted of 48 PE and VC transactions, of which 31 targeted the “financial inclusion” sector: that is, enterprises designed to bring banking and bank-like services to the unbanked.

In this case they varied from a loss of 46% to a gain of 153% with a median gross IRR of 10% and a weighted average of 11%.

 

2017: The year of the customer (livemint), Rated: AAA

Investments in the fintech space in India also witnessed frenzied activity this year, with total value of investments jumping by 388% from $383 million in 2016 to $1,868 million in the first three quarters of 2017, according to industry database CB Insights.

With over 1 billion mobile phones, 325 million broadband connections and 306 million new bank accounts, India became a case study in digital financial inclusion, driven by the Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and mobile (JAM), as reported by the communications ministry.

More than 225 alternative lending companies were founded in India in 2017 and the segment was the second most funded in India’s fintech space, as per data from an industry database Tracxn.

According to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), eKYC verifications have jumped almost 77% to 84 million in FY18 over FY17, speeding up the on-boarding process and reducing costs significantly.

In 2017, almost 46 strategic partnerships and deals took place between lenders, payments companies and fintech innovators. Some of these were the tie-ups between Paytm and ICICI Bank for short-term interest-free credit lines; Amazon India and Bank of Baroda for unsecured micro loans; Mobikwik and Bajaj FinServ for offering all features and benefits of Bajaj Finserv EMI cards over a digital payments wallet; Fisdom and Lakshmi Vilas Bank for a robo-advisory platform; and between Senseforth and HDFC Bank for chatbots.

Reviewing the 2017 fintech ecosystem and what its startups are looking forward to in 2018 (Plunge Daily), Rated: A

RBI’s recognition of P2P lendingstartups as a new category of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), was celebrated all-round by the sector.

One of the most celebrated advantages of the fintech boom is that of ‘financial inclusion’ and the potential to service the underserved. However, the sector is hoping that the guidelines placed will initiate control and check on the unorganised side of money lending and the digital push will bring about competitive rates and transparency.

Another announcement the RBI made in October was the introduction of guidelines for digital wallet companies. There were mandates on higher capital requirements for license holders of prepaid payment instruments or digital wallets, KYC or know-your-customer norms and the initiation of interoperability of various digital wallets.

Rohit Lohia, CO-Founder and COO of Cointribe believes 2018 will see scaling up of players in the lending space especially in small business lending.

Experts’ views on what changed in the banking and fintech sector in 2017 (livemint), Rated: A

Upasana Taku, co-founder, MobiKwik

The government’s decision to bear the merchant discount rate (MDR) on digital payments of up to Rs2,000 will bring greater level of acceptability for digital payment systems. Digital payments will become a way of life both for consumers and merchants and bring a cultural shift in digital payments.

Renu Satti, MD and CEO, Paytm Payments Bank

India is currently at the center of the banking world, and is set to emerge as a benchmark in digital and financial inclusion.

Living the sharing economy in the cryptocurrency way (YourStory), Rated: A

The global economic meltdown of 2008 was the catalyst to get people to shift gears, and supplement their income by sharing assets that they owned. Added to this, the increasing internet penetration and the evolving economic system helped companies such as Airbnb and Uber popularise the concept of shared economy, and successfully pave the path for other industries.

However, while these platforms helped millions of people find alternative sources of income, they suffered elementary setbacks. To begin with, the companies have significant amount of transactional overhead, be it monetary or operational. Second, international boundaries restrict cross-border economic sharing. Thus, the peer-to-peer markets are unable to foster collaborative ownership which is crucial to enable true sharing of resources.

Blockchain — the key to global sharing

The peer-to-peer network in the sharing economy, allows individuals to organise themselves without the involvement of any third party. As the intermediaries are based on the algorithms, the technology builds trust, making it a versatile technology that can be match specific user requirements.

According to a PwC report, the peer-to-peer-lending global market is pegged to touch $335 billion by 2025. As the sharing economy continues to grow, the idea of private ownership is being replaced by the revival of collaborative and shared consumption and adoption of blockchain can guarantee safe and secure transactions.

Asia

Exclusive Interview with Crowd Genie CEO Akshay Mehra (ChipIn), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie is a peer-to-peer lending platform based in Singapore. It connects small to medium businesses seeking loans with capital via a blockchain-based cryptocurrency system.

Lenders can expect to make at least 14% return with all funds held in escrow. This peer to peer lending activities will be tokenized using smart contracts to enable lending without borders more efficient, cheaper and safer. Ultimately, the team has a vision to build an Asset Trading Exchange on Blockchain that will democratize trading and allow investment in infrastructure, stocks, cryptocurrency, and bonds across Asia, which would be prohibitively expensive, and potentially unfeasible due to issues of transparency and trust without Blockchain.

Hi, Akshay. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about yourself and Crowd Genie?

Crowdfunding is popular in the West, but the idea is relatively new in Singapore and other Asia countries. Observing how lenders getting low returns from the banks because of the overhead costs and how established SMEs unable to receive full funding desired and become under-banked, I would like to match this two parties together to solve the problem and that’s what Crowd Genie has been doing.

Why did you decide to use blockchain in building Crowd Genie?

Although our existing P2P digital loan business is incredibly innovative in the Singapore financial sector, it would have been impossible to scale to enable lending without borders and offer Asia-wide asset trading before blockchain technology was introduced.

To build and scale an asset exchange with pre-blockchain technologies would be prohibitively expensive, and potentially unfeasible due to issues of transparency and trust.

In the whitepaper, you talk about creating “Asian Passport” rights or identities. Tell us how you came up with the idea and how you think you will implement this regionally. Is this based on the idea of European passport banking rights?

To build an end-to-end Asset Exchange, a Digital Passport is essential for us to identify who are the lenders and borrowers, are they associated with negative news, illegal activities or politically exposed. We will continue with our existing due diligence process where we ask for proof of identity and bank statement and check it against a world-wide recognized database. Thereafter we set up a digital passport and store in on blockchain.

Please explain the notion of “fractionalized assets,” and how it is redefining how P2P lending is occurring.

P2P lending is an illiquid investment. Imagine that you have invested in a 12 months tenure loan, but would like to get some money back before it matures, say 2 months later. You can do so by selling it on Crowd Genie Asset Exchange by indicating the fraction of your assets that you would like to sell.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Secured Property Investing in the UK

property investing London

Omni Secured Lending is the alternative lending arm of the investment manager Omni Partners and is based out of London. They provide secured loans against residential as well as commercial UK properties. Since 2014, they have launched three successful secured lending funds: OSL I, II, and III, and they have provided superior risk-adjusted returns to […]

property investing London

Omni Secured Lending is the alternative lending arm of the investment manager Omni Partners and is based out of London. They provide secured loans against residential as well as commercial UK properties. Since 2014, they have launched three successful secured lending funds: OSL I, II, and III, and they have provided superior risk-adjusted returns to investors in all three funds. The majority of funding in the first two was secured from high net worth (HNW) Americans or family offices. The third fund has had massive interest from institutional investors and funds of funds.

The Amicus Platform

From distribution to underwriting down to servicing and recovery, everything is done in-house, and funding is a combination of both internal as well as external sources with the majority being third-party funding. Basically, Amicus is a lending platform providing professional property investors across the UK access to short-term finance solutions.

The average loan size provided by Amicus is £750,000, and the portfolio is split between 75% residential and 25% commercial properties. The company also operates in the PDR (Permitted Development Rights) segment meaning they are able to convert commercial properties into residential without having to apply for planning permission. This is an emerging opportunity allowing the lender to focus on the niche for better returns.

The Idea Behind Amicus

Born in 2004, Omni went from an equity-only event-driven strategy to adding private debt, and  this proved to be a master stroke as the company did reasonably well during the global crisis. The man behind the strategy was Steve Clark, founder of the company.

Clark realized the chink in the working of traditional banks and realized flexible lenders are the future of the financial industry. He also saw how multiple segments had been vacated by brick-and-mortar banks. Being a property trader himself, he knew the pain points of builders and realtors. While researching the field, he came across the bridge financing market. After thoroughly understanding the nitty-gritty of the market, he rolled out Amicus in 2009.

Elissa Kluever: The Heartbeat of OSL

Elissa Kluever has extensive experience in equity capital marketing. Before joining OSL, she was with Pipper Jeffrey, a prestigious investment bank headquartered in the US. She was in their equity capital market division, which was responsible for raising capital for companies, and later shifted to their London office. In 2009, she joined Omni Partners and now is the partner and managing director of the credit and lending funds division.

Kluever is the nerve center between all concerned parties: Omni Partners, the manager, and the investors. She also takes care of the Amicus.

Fund Structures under Amicus

Omni’s first fund was Omni Secured Lending I and was launched in February 2014. It raised $44 million and returned 112% of original investor capital in less than 27 months. It was also able to achieve a yield of 9.8% net IRR.

The second fund was OSL II , which was launched in April 2015. It raised $240 million while delivering a net IRR of 10.5%. Buoyed by the success of its two lending funds, the company recently launched its third installment of the fund and raised $432 million. The current net IRR of OSL III stands at 8.6%.

Types of Investors

All three funds target a different type of investor.

  1. Vintage 1 targeted HNW family offices along with single- and multi-family offices. The majority of those were US investors even though the deployment of funds is in the UK.
  2. Vintage 2. After the success of the first lending fund, advisor communities like debt funds or funds of funds also showed interest in the second fund.
  3. Vintage 3. In the third installment of lending funds, pure institutional investors joined in as the obligation to provide returns in a record low-interest rate scenario triggered their shifting from bonds to private debt.

Features:
The fund hedges the foreign exchange rate (FX) exposure for American investors and safeguards investor money from FX fluctuations. Amicus enters into a 3-month future contract which provides cover against any adverse FX movement.

Secondly, what makes the fund particularly attractive for American investors is the low LTV of 62% and the stringent lending rules of the UK, which guarantee full recourse to the borrower and his personal assets. In the US, investors have limited recourse. If the borrower walks away from the property, the lender can’t pursue him personally.

The gap between supply and demand of housing stock in the UK makes the economic cyclical fluctuations redundant. Hence, the fix-and-flip housing strategy is a safe bet in the UK, and especially in a market like London. The UK has a shortfall of at least 1 million houses, thus ensuring the demand will remain strong for the foreseeable future.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Wednesday July 5 2017, Daily News Digest

abs market overview

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to shut down Zenbanx. Red Ventures to buy Bankrate website for $1.24B. BofE to get tough on consumer lending. UK P2P lending surpasses 10B GBP. China re-thinks social credit. Korean P2P lending passes 300B won. LendInvest out of P2P lending. Today’s main analysis: US ABS market overview. Traditional wealth management challenged by robo boom. Today’s thought-provoking […]

abs market overview

News Comments

United States

  • SoFi to shut down Zenbanx. GP:”We do not know the details of the acquisition but we assume part of the due diligence SoFi was aware of this issue and therefore they didn’t purchase Zenbank for their customers or services, but perhaps for their team and know how?”AT: “I suspected this would happen. If they have the technology and the talent, what else do they need?”
  • US ABS market overview. GP:”steady growth in all segments except maybe auto”
  • How the market pushed Realty Mogul out of residential fix and flips. GP:”I continue to believe that fix and flip is highly correlated with the economic cycle and if a company relies on it there will be years with no origination in that market at some point.”AT: “Markets, and market conditions, change. This looks like a smart move for Realty Mogul. A good rationale, at least.”
  • Ally Bank online savings APY increases to 1.15%. GP:”Goldman Sachs online Bank increased it, Ally increased it… perhaps the FED rate adjustment is having an impact or perhaps the competition for savings dollars is increasing. Or both.  “AT: “If consumers can get better savings interest rates at online banks, why wouldn’t they?”
  • Inside the arms race between banks and startups. AT: “Focuses on negatives for banks. Seems a bit one sided. I don’t believe banks are out of the picture just yet, but we will likely see a steady decline soon. The survivors will be those banks that adapt and adopt the technology of online lenders.”
  • LendingTree, LeadsCon unveil first $25K startup innovation spotlight.
  • Tide raises $14M. GP:”Congratulations!”
  • Lifshitz&Miller investigate LendingClub. GP:”All public companies have an ongoing litany of lawsuits as soon as their stock does something un-usual. This is normal life for a public company in the US.” AT: “I don’t understand why now, a full year after the Renaud Laplanche issues.”
  • Red Ventures to buy Bankrate website for $1.24B. GP:”This is big news, and an amazing valuation. There is money in customer acquisition for fintech.”
  • Goldman raises $1B for real estate fund. GP:”Goldman has been in the real estate funding business for long time. focused on large commercial properties. Perhaps a good usage of the savings capital from Goldman Sachs bank could be real estate crowdfunding as well in the same way as Marcus works for unsecured personal lending? $1B for Goldman is not much money, this is not big news anyway. “
  • Suretly launched initial chocolate offering. GP:”Very amusing, but looks a little desperate.”

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Six months after acquisition, SoFi is shutting down Zenbanx (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Online lending company SoFi is closing down Zenbanx, the online banking provider it bought earlier this year. In an email sent to Zenbanx customers, the company announced that it will close all accounts at the end of next month.

According to a SoFi spokesperson, Zenbanx had a partnership with Wilmington Savings Fund Society (WSFS) that expired this month and, rather than renew it or find another partner, the company decided to just close existing accounts.

US ABS Market Overview (Finsight.com), Rated: AAA

Recent New Issue

The Market Pushed Us Out of Residential Fix and Flip (Realty Mogul), Rated: AAA

If you are like many investors, you loved our residential loan product. Short term investments with high yield (9-12%) and monthly distributions, what’s not to love? And as much as our investors love them, you will no longer find them on RealtyMogul.com. We stopped originating them.

The purely local nature of fix and flip lending changed with online lenders having nationwide reach and access to tremendous amounts of capital, either from retail or institutional investors. At one point, RealtyMogul.com had in hand nearly $1 billion in capital commitments to purchase fix and flip loans from institutional buyers – that’s a lot of homes!

In late 2015 we started to notice a market shift. Fix and flip loan pricing started to drop. First it was 11%, then 10%, then 9%, and in many major markets it dropped to 8%. Throw in the cost of servicing these loans and on an 8% loan, investors’ estimated return is 7%.

At 8%, there should be a relatively lower risk profile to a loan. But in fact, the opposite was true. The dramatic increase in capital in the market meant that riskier loans were demanding lower and lower rates. Borrowers with great experience, credit and lower leverage were able to get rates in the 4-5% range from banks, whereas the 9-12% loans were only available in markets where there were no alternatives and the risk was fairly high.

Ally Bank online savings APY increases to 1.15% (Reddit), Rated: A

Chat rep said that my account should reflect the new rate by the end of today.

Peek Inside The Fintech Arms Race Between Banks And Startups (International Business Times), Rated: A

Capital One is opening Capital One Cafes in major cities across the U.S., with hip decor and more laidback consulting vibes than traditional branches. JPMorgan is trying the same idea with its Manhattan technology hub. Bloomberg reportedthe bank’s $9.6 billion technology budget coincided with new startup-style offices featuring foosball tables, open workspaces and snacks. But it might be too little, too late.

While, money transfer apps like Apple Pay, Venmo and WorldRemit garner widespread adoption, some experts predict banks could also lose well over half their retail profits to fintech startups. Flashy offices won’t change the fact that the days of traditional banking are over.

Nubank looks beyond traditional credit scores, using cellphone data and driver’s license information to find creditworthy customers who would never meet the requirements of a traditional bank. Like SoFi mortgages in the U.S., Nubank interest rates are flexible and can change as the customer’s financial security increases. Combine that with a lack of fees plus a smooth mobile experience, and traditional credit cards seem very outdated by comparison.

According to a Gallup poll, the amount of Americans who feel confident in U.S. banks dropped from 49 percent in 2006 to just 27 percent by 2016.

A nationwide survey of 500 chief financial officers byWEX Virtual Payments found 55 percent consider mobile payment options very important, in addition to 54 percent who say to same of blockchain solutions.

53 million Americans aren’t served by the current credit score market,  but have great cash flow,” Thomas told IBT. Nubank in Brazil and the fintech startup Tala, which has distributed around 2 million micro-loans in places like in Kenya and Tanzania, prove there’s no need to restrict loan eligibility to traditional metrics.

LendingTree, LeadsCon Unveil First-Ever $ 25,000 Startup Innovation Spotlight (IT Business Net), Rated: A

LendingTree, the online loan marketplace, and Access Intelligence, a business information and marketing company, today announced a new initiative to showcase the top startup companies in financial technology (fintech) lead generation at LeadsCon this summer.

The “LendingTree Startup Innovation Spotlight” at LeadsCon’s Connect to Convert will recognize the most innovative fintech startups across the consumer lead generation, call center and customer experience sectors. Startups around the world can apply today at  a chance to receive exposure, bragging rights and $25,000 in cash. Finalists will be announced in August and selected live on stage amid 1,000 industry executives at LeadsCon’s Connect to Convert industry conference and expo, August 21-23 at the New York Hilton Midtown.

Banking startup Tide raises $ 14 million to ‘give small businesses back their time (Business Insider), Rated: A

Banking startup Tide raised $14 million in one of the largest Series A funding rounds closed by a fintech company this year.

Tide, a digital-only banking app aimed at small businesses, has also partnered with online lender iwoca, in a move to allow small companies access to loans of up to £100,000.

The funding round was led by specialist fintech investor Anthemis, along with Passion Capital, LocalGlobe and Creandum, the company that backed Spotify.

Lifshitz&Miller LLP Announces Investigation of LendingClub Corporation (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Lifshitz & Miller announces investigation on behalf of LC investors concerning whether LC’s former CEO, Renaud Laplanche, engaged in improper loan transactions and personal investments as a result of material weaknesses in LC’s internal controls.

If you are an LC investor, and would like additional information about our investigation, please complete the Information Request Form or contact Joshua Lifshitz, Esq. by telephone at (516)493-9780 or e-mail atinfo@jlclasslaw.com.

Bankrate website to be bought by Red Ventures for $ 1.24bn (Financial Times), Rated: A

Bankrate, the US personal finance website, is to be bought for $1.24bn by Red Ventures, a digital marketing company which is expanding its footprint in financial services.

Private equity-backed Red Ventures has agreed to pay $14 per share in cash for Bankrate, which produces online content focused on financial advice and research, such as mortgage and savings calculators and credit card and insurance comparison tools.

Goldman Raised $ 1B For A Real Estate Fund (Bisnow), Rated: B

Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that the investment bank has raised $1B for a new real estate fund, Broad Street Real Estate Credit Partners III. Further documents show it is on the road looking to raise more capital for the fund, with a source indicating to Bisnow that it is looking to pull in the same amount again over the coming months.

Around $600M came from U.S. investors and the rest from overseas, the documents show. Goldman typically puts around 20% of the equity into the funds it manages.

Suretly launched an Initial Chocolate Offering (Newsbtc), Rated: B

NYC-based startup Suretly, which raised $350K during preICO round this May, launched an Initial Chocolate Offering.

The event took place in Copenhagen, Denmark during Money2020 conference. All guests, who has visited Suretly’s booth, were gifted with a chocolate souvenirs shaped in SUR-token. Each token was packed in the individual memorable wrapping with the future Suretly ICO information.

United Kingdom

The Bank of England is preparing to get tough on consumer lending (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Bank of England ordered British banks and other lenders on Tuesday to prove by September that they are not taking on too much risk with their increased lending to consumers.

The BoE’s Prudential Regulation Authority did not set out any new rules on Tuesday but its move was the first time it has ordered firms it supervises to apply consumer credit rule more conservatively.

The PRA said it was “requesting evidence from all firms with material exposures to consumer credit of how they will – across consumer credit portfolios- ensure” they are not taking too much risk after years of low interest rates.

Lenders will have until September to respond and could then be asked to fix any specific areas of weakness by the PRA.

ORCA celebrates peer to peer lending uk surpassing £10 billion mark (Orca Money), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending has reached a significant milestone since Zopa launched the world’s first P2P platform in 2005. Over £10 billion has been cumulatively lent across 23 UK P2P platforms. In the first half of 2017 alone, over £2 bn was invested through P2P.

Take a look at the UK alternative lending ecosystem.

Traditional wealth management challenged by robo-adviser boom (Raconteur), Rated: AAA

Survey after survey shows that millennials, and indeed most potential investors aged under the age of 60, are happy to entrust their savings to a digital platform or mobile app, so long as it’s credible, secure, trustworthy, capable of offering them a range of low-cost funds and some personal investment advice.

Of the robo-advisers in the UK, the largest is Nutmeg. Launched in 2012, it has so far raised £71 million in five funding rounds from venture capitalists and others. Nutmeg has more than £600 million under management, though it remains loss making, and escalating marketing and advertising costs meant that in 2015 its losses widened from 2014.

Other UK players include Wealthify, launched in 2015; MoneyFarm, launched in Italy in 2012, and in the UK in 2016; and Scalable Capital, launched in 2016.

Brewin Dolphin has launched a robo-adviser that allows customers with between £10,000 and £200,000 to invest in one of six model portfolios at a cost of 0.7 per cent of invested assets, plus underlying charges of between 0.11 per cent and 0.16 per cent.

 

LendInvest out of P2P sticks to managing funds (Anonymous Email), Rated: A

Our sources reported that LendInvest cancelled their FCA application due to their decision to completely exit the p2p lending space.

As can be seen on the FCA website:

Firm name: Lendinvest Limited
Interim Permissions reference number: 658890

 

Permission Description Status Limitation Against Permission Permission End Date
Consumer credit business Entering into a regulated credit agreement as lender; and exercising, or having the right to exercise, the lender’s rights and duties under a regulated credit agreement. Inactive 02/06/2017
Credit brokerage Credit broking
Or
Credit broking limited to credit intermediation
Inactive 02/06/2017
No right to canvass off trade premises

It appears that this decision was due to the 36(H) legal rules around peer top peer in the UK . It has apparently become “more difficul to stay within the new 36(H) rules without becoming a bank or fund manager”. As LendInvest was already a fund manager, the company has decided to remain a fund manager and focus on that structure as opposed to applying for FCA p2p regulation.

In a similar fashion the online lender Wellesley has taken a similar approach having ‘paused’ P2P yet still shows as active.

This change makes Assetz Capital the 2nd largest business and property lender who is P2P in Europe. See

Of £295m lent, c £290m is P2P retail investors.

Kuflink Debuts Property-Backed Innovative Finance ISA & New Investment Options (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform Kuflink has launched its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) and also two investment options. This news comes just a few months after the online lender received full authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Assetz Capital bids to lend £300m after profitable year (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Assetz Capital has revealed that it made a seven-figure pre-tax profit during the 2016/17 financial year, while revenues have now reached over £10m pa.
The peer-to-peer lending platform saw a total of £126m lent through it to SMEs between April 2016 and March 2017 with £38m of that total being achieved in the final quarter.

Assetz Capital claimed it would lend over £60m during the first quarter of this current financial year as it bids to reach £300m of lending for the whole of the year.

It’s time to bring ghost houses back to the land of the living – Lendinvest (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

As the Council of Mortgage Lenders has previously pointed out, even if the government managed to push the building industry into producing 300,000 homes across the UK each year, 90% of the housing stock that will exist by 2025 has already been built. If we are to tackle the housing issues we face, it’s not just down to increasing the rate at which new developments spring up – we need to make far better use of the houses we already have, too.

An obvious problem with some of these ‘ghost homes’ is that in their current condition nobody would want to live in them. They may have been ignored for years, falling into disrepair to the extent that they may actually be unlivable.

But these are exactly the sorts of properties that savvy investors may be looking for, the worst house on the street which can be done up, turned into a nice, respectable home and then sold on at a profit.

Londoners Borrowed £17B in New Mortgages in 2016, Wimbledon & Wandsworth Top Borrowers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Londoners borrowed another £17 billion in new mortgages last year as the affluent southwest London neighbourhoods of Wimbledon and Wandsworth topped the borrowing league table and and 17 of the top 20 areas for new mortgage lending last year are in London, reported European P2P lending platform Lendy.

The highest non-London area among for new mortgages is Maidenhead, which placed 11th out of the 2,717 postcode areas in the study.

AI savings platform launches £700,000 crowdfunding campaign (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

AN ARTIFICIAL intelligence platform that has partnered with RateSetter to help people save and invest is looking to raise £700,000 through crowdfunding.

The fintech firm, Plum, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, to build its team and platform.

NatWest trials AI compliance tool to ensure financial advice is spot on (Internet of Business), Rated: A

The UK bank will use the Recordsure compliance tool based on artificial intelligence (AI) from regulatory risk specialist TCC Group in order to record face-to-face and telephone conversations between the bank and its customers – with those customers’ consent, naturally.

The AI technology is able to analyze an interaction and then classify sections of the conversation, according to Recordsure’s creators. For example, it could determine which aspects of the conversation were general chitchat, which involved financial advice, and what topics were discussed.

P2PFA Announces New Associate Membership, Publishes Names of First New Members (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has created a new category of membership to boost its ranks and add perspective to the association that represents the UK’s top online lenders.

These new members include:

  • Alterest – Provides non-bank lending markets with loan intelligence infrastructure that enables: seamless exchange of lending data in a secure and timely manner, and flexible analysis of performance and risk of any loan pool or exposure.
  • Altus Consulting: A specialist provider of consultancy services to the financial services sector.
  • Equifax: A global information solutions company that uses data, analytics, technology and industry expertise to power organisations and individuals around the world by transforming knowledge into insights that help make more informed business and personal decisions.
  • Fox Williams LLP: A City law firm with one of the leading Fintech practices in the UK, acting for over fifteen P2P lending platforms.
  • Grant Thornton UK LLP: A global consultancy that is part of a network of over forty-thousand people in 130 countries. In the UK they are led by 185 partners and more than 4,500 people.
  • Orca Money: A platform that is driving the mainstream adoption of peer-to-peer lending by providing research, analysis and tools to empower investors.
  • Simmons & Simmons: An international law firm with a Fintech team that comprises a range of multi-disciplinary lawyers from across their European, Middle Eastern and Asian offices.
  • TLT LLP: Supports large corporates, public institutions and high-growth businesses on their strategic and day-to-day legal needs.

Hive Project Launches Blockchain-Based Invoice Financing Platform, Targets SMEs (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

Despite being the backbone of every economy, small and medium-sized businesses have traditionally faced challenges in securing access to short-term financing from traditional lenders. To resolve this issue, the Hive Project today announced the development of a cryptocurrency invoice financing platform to help SMEs overcome the hurdles they face when trying to get the financing they need.

WiseAlpha Founder & CEO Rezaah Ahmad Comments on Successful Crowdcube Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

WiseAlpha, a UK first online lending platform that gives investors access to high yield institutional bond and loan investments, has overfunded its £500k target on Crowdcube by 258%, raising £1.29 million.

The largest single investment was £150K.

“We’re thrilled to have overfunded our original target and glad that the 1452 people who have invested in us so far are backing our vision of a fairer investment world where everyday investors aren’t shut out from accessing the biggest and best investments.”

UK P2P Lender RateSetter Update: Targets New Business Borrowers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Now the lender is planning to boost its direct marketing methods to diversify its new business borrowers sources, according to Peer2Peer Finance News.

Lewis appointed on b2b brief for p2p lending platform (PR Week), Rated: B

Lewis has been appointed by ArchOver, a peer-to-peer lending platform for UK SMEs, to run a campaign aimed at business audiences.

China

China changes tack on ‘social credit’ scheme plan (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Beijing has pulled back on plans to license big technology companies to develop “social credit” scores for consumers, based mainly on their online activity, because of concern over conflicts of interest, industry analysts said on Tuesday.

The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, selected eight tech companies in 2015 — including e-commerce group Alibaba’s Ant Financial and game developer Tencent — to develop pilot programmes to give consumers credit scores.

The pilots, which monitored spending patterns but also personal behaviour and social media activity, initially raised concerns about consumer privacy. Some of their metrics were seen as irrelevant, including proposals to factor in exercise routines or what time of day people went online. Others were considered more sinister, such as efforts to rate “honesty” or “trustworthiness” by linking credit scores to friends’ social media posts.

Beijing has now decided not to award any licences this year after regulators expressed increasing concern about the potential for conflicts of interest.

MYbank Deepens Push for Business Big Banks Won’t Touch (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

MYbank, the two-year-old Chinese online lender that already has 3.5 million small-business customers, plans to push deeper into a segment that’s long been shunned by the country’s largest banks.

MYbank wants to capitalize on its links to billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. by offering loans to the more than 10 million smaller merchants that use the company’s e-commerce platforms, MYbank President Huang Hao said in a June 29 interview. Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial affiliate, owns 30 percent of the online lender.

Formally known as Zhejiang E-Commerce Bank Co., MYbank was able to more than quadruple its lending through 2016, taking its outstanding loans to 33 billion yuan ($4.9 billion).

Its nonperforming-loan ratio was around 1 percent, Huang said, lower than the national average of 1.74 percent. The bank’s technology, which runs loan applications through more than 3,000 computerized risk-control strategies, has kept delinquencies in check, he said.

Still, last year’s lending explosion came at a cost, dragging its capital adequacy ratio down to 11.07 percent by December from 18.51 percent a year earlier.

Chinese tourists are driving mobile payments across the globe (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

The number of Chinese tourists abroad hit 122 million in 2016, with a vast majority of them paying via their mobile phones. That’s according to a new study from Kapronasia and CANCAN. The survey pool contained 1,000 Chinese consumers abroad and 60 global merchants.

While 67% of respondents reported that they use Alipay or WeChat Pay for overseas purchases. This represents about 41% of overseas consumption and tourists used mobile payments for more than 10% of total transactions.

The report also highlights how Chinese tourists are spending more and more in retail ($900 on average in 2016), instead of luxury items. Only 5.7% spent more than $6,288, with a total amount of $109.8 billion throughout 2016.

80% of merchant respondents cited consumer demand as one of the main reasons for adopting mobile payments, with 70% adding that mainland Chinese consumers were their largest source of global revenue. Clothing, makeup, skincare, food and beverages top the list of goods purchased with mobiles, with travel and accommodation not far behind.

UAV Startup Clobotics Raised its First Round of Financing from GGV Capital (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, a Shanghai-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) startup—— Clobotics finished its first round of financing from GGV Capital, the amount was not disclosed. According to George Yan, the founder and CEO of Clobotics, this round of financing will focus on developing and iterating their products and technology, expanding the marketing layout, and accelerating the development of Clobotics in the key vertical field.

Set up in November 2016, Clobotics is a provider of business intelligence (BI) and visualizing data, focus on the research of UAV machine vision, industrial big data acquisition, and cloud big data processing and analysis. Unlike many of the domestic manufacturers that focus on hardware plane, Clobotics is good at using leading software, technology and platforms to embed advanced technologies in the field of artificial intelligence, so as to fully explore the value of UAV-collected data.

Police Arrest 32 Employees of Company Behind ‘Straddling Bus’ (Sixth Tone), Rated: B

The test site of China’s fantastical traffic-straddling bus was dismantled in June, and now the peer-to-peer financing company that backed the project is being investigated for illegal fundraising.

Following reports of unlawful conduct, a total of 32 suspects at Beijing-based Huaying Kailai Asset Management Co. Ltd. have been arrested, according to an announcement Sunday by Beijing police on their Weibo microblog.

European Union

Investor protection vs Access to Finance: The Growth of Alternative Finance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Clearly in Europe (Brexit aside) the UK has led sector growth. A combination of a culture of entrepreneurship and risk taking has combined with a supportive government and a regulatory body tasked with a mission of fostering competition – perhaps to the frustration of traditional financial firms. The rise of internet finance in the UK has engendered few occurrences of fraud to date. Growth has been sustained. Perhaps the Brits have gotten the balance right so far?

But which country has the largest alternative finance market in the world? China, of course.

Kleverlaan points to Italy as a country that has stumbled out of the gate. Something the country is attempting to rectify with recent rule changes specifically targeting equity crowdfunding.

View the full report on alternative finance here.

The European Investment Bank Pledges €18.5 million to Finance Continental European SMEs through Lendix (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB) through the European Investment Fund (EIF) has announced that it will provide €18.5 million to back a joint investment fund designed to lend money to SMEs through crowdlending platform Lendix.

Swedish tech elite’s darling startup Karma just bagged $ 4 million for its hyper-growing food waste app (Business Insider), Rated: A

Swedish startup Karma has built an app that helps restaurants, grocers and cafés reduce their food waste by selling their surplus to consumers at reduced prices.

The company has now raised between 30 and 40 million SEK ($3,5 – $4,7m) to take on Europe after a booming start in its Swedish home market.

The seed round comes from Swedish investor Eequity and global VC fund e.ventures, which has also backed the hyped Swedish fertility app Natural Cycles.

P2P Lender VIAINVEST Hits €10 Million in Funded Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Newly launched peer to peer lending platform VIAINVEST has announced topping €10 million in loans. The 7 month old Latvian platform said consumer loans issued by VIA SMS Group, came from the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia and Spain.

Australia/New Zealand

Xpress Super and Australian P2P lender RateSetter announce partnership (Finder.com), Rated: A

RateSetter, Australia’s largest peer-to-peer lender, and self-managed-superannuation-fund (SMSF) administrator Xpress Super have today announced a partnership.

Through the partnership, SMSF investors will now have direct access to their RateSetter account via the Xpress Super platform, making it easier for SMSF investors to lend to creditworthy borrowers.

Introducing HashChing – an online marketplace for home loan deals (sa real estate news), Rated: A

Based in the heart of Sydney, HashChing is Australia’s first online home loans marketplace for broker-negotiated home loan deals.

All mortgage brokers are verified and rated through the website Artificial Intelligence Algorithm, selecting the brokers who offer the best services and then recommending them to borrowers in their area. Similar companies that had paved the way before HashChing had simply listed rates to the consumer through the bank or lender’s website.

Home loan rates on HashChing start from 3.59% p.a. and consumers can browse through the home loan deals page to see what offers are available.

Currently the company has helped over 14,500 borrowers with their home loan enquiries, all worth more than $7 billion dollars combined. Of which, $6 billion has come in the last 12 months alone, and the company also currently lists more than 600 verified mortgage brokers – including 30 mortgage brokers from SA.

Colliers’ alternative to bank funding (True Commercial), Rated: B

A new Colliers International service is providing an alternative to traditional bank funding by matching commercial property investors to development and investment opportunities.

The Capital Sourcing unit was established by Tim Lichtenstein, who has a track record in capital raising for commercial real estate assets.

India

UrbanClap Raises $ 21M in Series C (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

Home services start-up firm UrbanClap has raised $21 million in a series C funding round led by Internet investment fund Vy Capital. Led by Alexander Tamas, Dubai-based Vy Capital is a major investor in Zomato.

Early investors SAIF Partners, Accel Partners and series B investor Bessemer Venture Partners also participated in the round. Existing investors also spent approximately $1 million more to buy shares held by some employees and a part of stakes of angel investors Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, the founders of Snapdeal, UrbanClap co-founder Abhiraj Bhal told LiveMint.

Reliance Capital arm invests $ 1 mn in P2P lending platform Billionloans (VC Circle), Rated: A

Billionloans Financial Services Pvt. Ltd, a Bengaluru-based fintech startup that operates a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, has raised $1 million (around Rs 7 crore) in seed funding from Reliance Corporate Advisory Services Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Capital Ltd.

Asia

Peer-to-peer loans pass 300 billion won for first time (Korea JoongAng Daily), Rated: AAA

The number of peer-to-peer loans more than doubled in just six months, going from 96.9 billion won ($84.5 million) in June last year to over 300 billion won in December.

The change represents a 220.5 percent increase, according to data provided by the Financial Supervisory Service and Financial Services Commission.

The number of users also surged 116.6 percent to 6,632 in June compared to December’s 3,062.

Singapore fintech startup Instarem raises $ 13 mn to expand payment infra (VC Circle), Rated: A

Instarem, a Singapore-headquartered cross-border payments company founded by Indian-origin entrepreneur Prajit Nanu, has raised $13 million in a Series B funding round led by Chinese venture capital firm GSR Ventures, a company statement said.

Singapore fintech startup Validus Capital raises US$ 2.9M to grow SME lending platform (e27), Rated: A

Singapore-based fintech startup Validus Capital has raised S$4 million (US$2.9 million) from Vertex Ventures.

It will use the newly-raised round to expand regionally and grow its online lending platform.

Chinese investors eye Indonesia’s P2P lending marketplace Investree for Series B (udaipur kiran), Rated: A

Indonesian peer-to-peer lending marketplace Investree announced recently that Chinese investors have initiated discussions for an investment in the company for its next Series B round.

If successful, the deal will become one of the first international investments in Indonesia’s fintech space. Previously, the startup has raised an undisclosed Series A round in 2016 from local venture capital Kejora which typically invest US$2 to US$5 million in their portfolio firms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor