Digital Lending: How Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Are Making a Difference

machine learning digital lending

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are ubiquitous in today’s workplace conversations. Turn on any business news channel and you’ll hear them repeated over and over. Ask any venture capitalist and they are sure to brag about several investments in these areas. Google artificial intelligence and machine learning, and you’ll find 213,000,000 hits, and […]

The post Digital Lending: How Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Are Making a Difference appeared first on Lending Times.

machine learning digital lending

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are ubiquitous in today’s workplace conversations. Turn on any business news channel and you’ll hear them repeated over and over. Ask any venture capitalist and they are sure to brag about several investments in these areas. Google artificial intelligence and machine learning, and you’ll find 213,000,000 hits, and rising. Overhyped? We don’t think so.

Accenture boldly claimed that AI could boost average profitability rates by 38% and lead to an economic benefit of $14 trillion by 2035. That is no small statement. Even more astonishing is the general alignment among analysts on this issue. It’s widely agreed that AI and ML hold great promise across all industries, and, specifically, in finance.

In 2019, IDC projected that banking would be the second largest global industry to invest in AI, with $5.6 billion going toward AI-enabled solutions (trailing only retail). Why? The anticipated effect on business. According to the research firm, Autonomous, the financial industry’s slice of the global AI pie represents upwards of $1 trillion in projected cost savings.

Fintech Disruptors and Underwriting

Fintech disruptors, characterized as fast-moving companies, often start-ups, focus on a particular web-based innovative financial technology or process, spanning mobile payments to lending. Fintech disruptors initially found an entry point in finance through the use of AI/ML in underwriting.

In the U.S., if the customer consents, you can gain almost unlimited data about their credit profile: how many loans they have, whether they have a mortgage, if they’re delinquent, and whether they requested credit recently. According to the Brookings Institution, “AI coupled with ML and big data, allows for far larger types of data to be factored into a credit calculation. Examples range from social media profiles, to what type of computer you are using, to what you wear, and where you buy your clothes.” Access to this type of data gave rise to the development of sophisticated algorithms to underwrite consumer credit risk. We’ve seen this across a variety of lending companies offering unsecured consumer, student, or even small business loans, particularly focused on digital lending.

Importantly, though, those employing AI must be hyperaware of data collection practices, model design, and the potential for misuse. There is an inherent obligation when using these powerful tools to avoid profit at any cost. When used responsibly, AI can promote growth and better serve consumers. To meet this goal, companies must focus on creating ecosystems that are exponentially more just and equitable than what we have today.

On the surface, the digital lending numbers seem incredible. Digital lenders have grown to $50 billion in originations per year, not including incumbents. And, the research firm Autonomous notes that the digital lender model continues to raise $5 billion in annual venture capital investment, dominated by investments in the U.S.

And, yet, that same report shows that an AI/ML-driven digitization of the lending process is not headed to zero cost. To date, the cost advantages of onboarding and ongoing servicing (up to 70% reductions) have not been able to overcome the relatively high marketing costs that have yet to effectively scale lower than $250 per loan. Moreover, capital costs can reduce efficacy relative to traditional bank competition, and, then, there are the unplanned expenses, such as legal fees or elevated product development costs, the firm reports.

So, if digital lending driven by AI/ML-powered underwriting cannot deliver a material cost advantage, is further AI/ML advancement possible? And, will it improve outcomes for the consumer? Yes, absolutely. It all boils down to operations. As the use of AI shifts beyond obvious use cases and is deployed cross-functionally across entire companies to address various operational inefficiencies, the real promise emerges.

AI/ML 2.0: Improving Outcomes for Everyone

According to Deloitte, the top 30% of financial services firms who are frontrunners are more adept at integrating AI into the core strategic business of their firms, delivering revenue and cost gains quicker than competitors. In our opinion, this is clearly the case with fintech disruptors. Those that are focused on AI integration throughout the organization will quickly pull ahead of those who limit AI deployments to chatbots, underwriting, and other AI/ML 1.0 use cases.

Fintech disruptors can offer the market’s most cost-effective solutions by dramatically curtailing operation costs. Harnessing large-scale, multi-functional AI systems across organizations, instead of simply deploying in underwriting, presents fintech disruptors the opportunity to control costs at each stage and offer quality outcomes for their customers at reduced costs – with lean workforces.

So, while these systems may not face the end customer in any way – in fact, that may not be visible at all – they are the true future of AI/ML for fintech disruptors.

Fintech disruptor leaders who understand the opportunity to use an interconnected system of AI models across their organizations will likely drive the greatest overall efficiencies, both reducing costs and boosting revenues. This enhanced efficiency can be used to drive competitive position and ultimately higher profits.

AI/ML 2.0 at Work

AI can be used to help allocate resources across a variety of functions. For instance, a lender could create an AI model used to predict which of its retail partners would see the greatest increase in usage as a result of a field visit by a partner support representative. Generally, these visits don’t have uniform outcomes. Therefore, using a model-driven approach could help to allocate resources in the most effective manner. Increasing usage obviously drives overall revenue, but also helps to amortize cost over a greater number of transactions, driving better unit economics. Further, with time, the usefulness of such a system can grow. The more data collected from previous visits, the better the algorithm can be at predicting which visits will yield increasing usage.

Or, a lender could deploy AI in the call center to optimize the efficiency of the collections support team. Outbound reach to delinquent customers could be prioritized based on an ML algorithm that evaluates the potential for a successful call and the expected dollar collection. This may sound simple, but making the “good” calls and avoiding the “bad” ones offers all the obvious advantages of more precise resource allocation.

What is less obvious, though, is how these models are interconnected. The model used in the call center complements the underwriting model. If the collections team performs better, then the underwriting model can be recalibrated to maintain the overall risk of the loan portfolio. If the model prioritizing field visits is working, then it increases usage and reduces the average costs to originate a loan. This further enables a recalibration of both the underwriting model and the collections model. The combination of these models, ultimately, increases both expected and realized returns on the loan portfolio, reducing expenses and allowing the company to pass this savings back to customers in the form of lower rates. This is a win for everyone.

Optimizing the AI/ML Ecosystem

This is the true promise of AI/ML – a robust ecosystem of interdependent models utilized to enhance cross-functional outcomes. This leads to a much broader point: inefficiencies exist in all aspects of business – including accounting, legal, operations, finance and customer experience – and negatively impact profits.

Responsibly managed AI/ML 2.0 promises to address many of these functional silos with great success, improving outcomes for everyone involved.

Author:

Dr. Tamir Hazan is a co-founder and head of Analytics at Digital Lending: How Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Are Making a Difference appeared first on Lending Times.

Monday August 27 2018, Daily News Digest

personal loan balances

News Comments Today’s main news: Upgrade gets $62M injection from CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund. Elevate Credit issues earnings results. Wonga on the brink of collapse. Today’s main analysis: Calculating spreads for valuation, competition, and opportunity in unsecured lending (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Lenders who shunned personal loans are now competing for them. The sophisticated algorithms behind P2P […]

personal loan balances

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Consumer Credit Platform Update Secures $ 62 Million Through Series C Funding Round Led By CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund (Crowdfund insider) Rated: AAA

CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (CEFIF), the U.S.-based Fintech Fund of the Chinese fintech CreditEase, recently led $62 million Series C round investment for consumer credit platform, Upgrade.

Calculating Spreads for Valuation, Competition & Opportunity in Unsecured Lending (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US stocks look set to enter the longest-ever bull market. The current bull market at 3,453 days since the low in March 2009 is now tied with the 1990-2000 bull market, and is on pace to exceed that target.

Competition – and Opportunity – in Unsecured Lending

Competition for personal loans is heating up. Mailings soliciting personal loan borrowers exceeded credit card mailings in six of the last seven months, even though the credit card industry is almost 6 times larger. Goldman Sach’s Marcus has been one of the new competitors having originated nearly $4 Bn in personal loans since their launch – approximately a $2 Bn annual run-rate – smaller than Lending Club and others, and likely tempering their ambitions due to late-cycle credit conditions. Marcus recently launched in the UK with personal loans and savings accounts.

Source: PeerIQ and TransUnion
Source: PeerIQ and TransUnion

Valuation Framework

The price of a loan is the present value of the loan’s future cashflows (after accounting for losses and prepayments), discounted by an appropriate discount rate:

Source: PeerIQ

Calculating the Spread at Origination

The SATO is a zero-volatility spread over the benchmark swap curve that equates the present value of the cashflows to the market-observed price. Since the benchmark is considered a risk-free rate, SATO is effectively a credit spread due to the uncertainty of future cash flows.

Source: PeerIQ

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Issues Earnings Results (Fairfield Current) Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, July 30th. The company reported $0.07 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.05 by $0.02, MarketWatch Earningsreports. Elevate Credit had a return on equity of 12.68% and a net margin of 0.14%. The business had revenue of $184.38 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $186.46 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.08 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 22.5% on a year-over-year basis. Elevate Credit updated its FY18 guidance to $0.55-0.90 EPS.

Lenders Shunned Risky Personal Loans. Now They’re Competing for Them. (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Lenders are stepping up offers of consumer loans with few strings attached, often to individuals with poor credit histories they all but ignored in the years after the financial crisis.

The offers promise a way to help pay down other debts or fund home renovations or vacations, fueling concerns that customers could overextend themselves. “Take control of your finances,” says one mass mailing. “Your dream can come true,” says another.

American Express Co. , Goldman Sachs Group Inc., GS -0.52% LendingClub Corp. LC -1.54%and Social Finance Inc. are among those behind an onslaught of unsolicited mailings offering unsecured loans, known as personal loans, as large as $100,000. In the first half of this year, lenders mailed a record 1.26 billion solicitations for these loans, according to market-research firm Competiscan. The second quarter marked the first period that lenders mailed out more offers for personal loans than credit cards, a much bigger market, according to research firm Mintel Comperemedia.

The sophisticated algorithms behind peer-to-peer money lending (Silicon Angle) Rated: AAA

One of the companies that has capitalized on growing consumer interest in P2P is LendingClub Inc. The company has issued $38 billion in loans since its founding in 2007, and the firm has built a sophisticated technology platform on which to evaluate risk and put investors and borrowers together.

LendingMatch is essentially the firm’s secret sauce. The system relies on algorithms that can weigh a number of key factors, including an investor’s risk tolerance and the borrower’s credit score, to determine a suitable match. Other factors include geography, education and connectedness within social networks.

2018 Supermoney Mortgage Industry Study (SuperMoney) Rated: AAA

It’s no surprise FinTech lenders are disrupting the mortgage industry In 2017, the top lender in the United States was Quicken Loans with $25.1 billion. The second largest loan issuer was Wells Fargo. FinTech lenders process mortgage applications faster (10 days as opposed to 50 days). They also have lower default rates — 25% lower (source). FinTech lenders also tend to be more agile and flexible when it comes to adapting to changing financial circumstances.

What is the size of the U.S. Housing Market?

If you combine mortgage debt and housing equity you get a total value of $25.1 trillion, which is nearly $2.5 trillion more than its previous peak in 2006.

Source SmartMoney

See the full report here.

At Marlette Funding, CEO Jeffrey Meiler a ‘straight shooter’ with a sense of humor (Delaware Online) Rated: A

Jeffrey Meiler founded Marlette Funding in 2013. The CEO calls himself the company’s “first employee.”

Five years later, there’s more than 300 of those. Its quick growth, and Meiler’s drive in heading the Fairfax-based lender known for its brand Best Egg resulted in a Top Workplaces award for leadership at the mid-size company level.

Marlette Funding as a whole placed second overall among mid-size companies as the best place to work.

Alternative Lenders to Gain Greater Predictive Power with TransUnion CreditVision Link Short-Term Risk Score (Transunion) Rated: A

The opportunity for alternative credit and small dollar loans remains high with a market size that approaches $40 billion annually. To help these lenders better segment risk in an increasingly competitive market, TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) introduced today the CreditVision Link Short-Term Risk Score.

This new predictive risk scoring model, tailor-made for alternative lenders, combines traditional and alternative data to offer a holistic picture of consumers. Information about the benefits of this new risk score will be highlighted during TransUnion’s webinar, Alternative Loan Insights with TransUnion Risk Scores, scheduled for 1 p.m. CDT on August 30.

Unity Bank streamlines lending processes with Finastra (Finastra) Rated: B

Unity Bank, whose holding company is based in Augusta Wisconsin, and which has branches in Minnesota, has selected Finastra’s Total Lending solution to streamline its commercial lending and consumer lending processes, including its agricultural lending business.

United Kingdom

UK’s biggest payday lender Wonga ‘on the brink of collapse’ (The Guardian) Rated: AAA

Britain’s biggest payday lender, Wonga, is teetering on the brink of collapse following a surge of customer compensation claims in recent weeks that could cause it to call in administrators.

The short-term loan provider has reportedly lined up accountancy firm Grant Thornton to handle a potential administration of the company should its board believe it is unable to avoid falling into insolvency. The report from Sky News said Wonga could appoint Grant Thornton as soon as this week.

Overfunding: P2P Lender Welendus Secures £850,000 Funding Target Through Latest Seedrs Round (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Just a little over a week after launching its latest equity crowdfunding round on SeedrsShort-term peer-to-peer lending platform Welendus has successfully secured its initial £850,000 funding target. Founded in 2015, Welendus seeks to redefine the short-term lending market by launching a peer-to-peer short-term lending platform to help customers with short-term financial needs.

Assetz Capital supports construction of 517 homes during summer (Development Finance Today) Rated: B

This announcement was in addition to the P2P lender reporting a surging interest from business owners and developers in the last two months, which saw it fund over £60m to SMEs.

In May, Assetz Capital revealed that it had lent over £500m since its inception in 2013, which has now increased to £590m, up 18% in less than three months.

In order to fulfil the influx of enquiries, Assetz Capital has appointed six more regional relationship directors in 2018, bringing the total to 26, and has also hired four senior relationship managers across the UK.

Victory Park Capital fund continues strong performance (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

VICTORY Park Capital Specialty Lending (VSL) is expecting to recommence payment of performance fees to its investment manager in the coming months, after an improvement in net asset value (NAV) returns.

In its latest monthly report, released on Friday, the alternative finance-focused fund reported a total NAV return of 1.15 per cent in July.

In May, VSL posted a record NAV return of 1.03 per cent – the highest figure since its fruition in March 2015 – and has now posted NAV returns above one per cent for three consecutive months.

China

Here’s what to expect from Yirendai’s earnings report (Markets Insider) Rated: AAA

Yirendai will report Q2 earnings on August 28.

5 analysts are forecasting earnings of $0.779 per share compared to earnings of $0.663 per share in the same quarter of the previous year.

Analysts expect Yirendai to report sales of $256.2 million, an increase of 45.52% over the same period last year.

Peer-to-Peer Cryptocurrency Lending Gains Popularity in China (Coin Geek) Rated: A

At the same time that China is putting pressure on the crypto industry, peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency lending continues to gain in popularity. According to local media outlet Sohu, more and more crypto lending platforms are popping up, but their livelihood could ultimately be cut short because of tightened regulations in the country.

One source close to the activity is a crypto veteran, Zhang Le. He told the media outlet, “At present, most of the market only recognizes two major currencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum. This business is currently earning interest.” Another individual, Xu Lizhen, pointed out that those lending crypto are generally long-term holders who have no interest in trading on the markets. He added, “This is just the need. When the currency is low, people who are speculating in the currency will definitely not be willing to sell the coins. Once they are short of money, they must find such platforms. The demand has formed this market.”

International

Crowdfunder Indiegogo allows companies to sell security tokens (Coin Geek) Rated: AAA

Crowdfunding giant Indiegogo has expanded its cryptocurrency operations to make room for security tokens. This comes less than a year after the company started offering tokens on its platform last December.

According to Crowdfund Insider, Indiegogo’s first security token offering (STO) is already available on the platform. The STO is from a luxurious ski resort, St. Regis Aspen Resort in Aspen, Colorado. According to reports, Indiegogo will only allow accredited investors to purchase the resort’s Aspen Coins, which will be offered by a real estate investment trust (REIT) called Aspen Digital.

What are the Possible Advantages of Blockchain Technology in P2P Lending? (Financial Report 24) Rated: A

With smart contracts, ownership can be attested and linked to the terms of a specific contract. Smart contracts are kept on the blockchain and performed automatically as a part of the transaction. For instance, the XDC blockchain is constructed upon Quorum. The power smart contract functionality which exists in the Ethereum protocol is accessible easily via Quorum. XinFin created a smart contract manager which enables for interoperability between the public blockchains and XDC blockchain. The platform included punitive smart contracts which link to the QuorumChain consensus smart contracts to guarantee those who stake at XDCs to operate network infrastructure remain truthful.

European Union

TRAXION’s Blockchain Technology to help in building one Mindanao (Davao Today) Rated: A

A transaction management company that specializes in blockchain technology believes that Mindanao will be a good place to implement this kind of technology by connecting large business companies to micro entrepreneurs to create one economic force.

Statistics shows that one of the reasons why a typical farmer refuses to open a bank account is because they only wear slippers. “It sounds absurd but is the truth. Most of the indigenous people in this region doesn’t have their own identities so they have the tendency to change their names if they want to. They are prone to abuses because of this,” she said.

India

List of top 10 P2P lending startups in India (The Indian Wire) Rated: AAA

According to a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the fintech space has witnessed an explosive growth in the recent years and digital lending industry is expected to touch $1 trillion over the next five years.

Here is a comprehensive list of top 10 P2P lending startups in India:

Faircent – It last raised $4 million in a series B funding from Muthoot Fincorp and Incofin Investment Management in December 2017.

Lendingkart – The startup had last secured ₹300 crores in debt funding Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC and others in August 2018.

Finzy – It provides a digital platform to facilitate quick, easy and secure loans at personalized rates based on borrowers capabilities.

NBFCs to see up to 35-40% rise in hiring in next 1 yr, say experts (Times of India) Rated: A

Hiring activity in the non-banking financial companies (NBFC) sector is likely to expand by up to 35-40 per cent in the next 12 months driven by rising innovation and growth, according to industry experts.

The ability of NBFCs to tap ‘unbanked’ customer base at a time when the banks are facing headwinds in coming out of the NPA mess is driving the growth in the sector, they explained.

Experts see increased hiring in tier-II cities for roles in sales, collection underwriting and risk.

Fintech startup Shubh Loans raises $ 4.2m from Saama Capital, others (Deal Street Asia) Rated: A

Datasigns Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs fintech lending platform Shubh Loans, has raised $4.2 million in an investment led by venture capital firm Saama Capital, said Monish Anand, founder of Shubh Loans. Shubh Loans’ existing investors—SRI Capital, Beenext and Pravega Ventures—also participated in the round. The fintech startup had raised $1.6 million from these investors in September 2017.

Asia

Partnerships pushing Pi Pay to next level (Southeast Asia Globe) Rated: A

The main partnership, with its growing customer base, has seen the Pi Pay app downloaded 270,000 times in the last year with close to US$100 million in transactions processed through the app.

Partnerships with merchants mean Pi Pay can be used in over 2,100 locations across Cambodia, with new partners being added every day.

Partnerships with overseas fintech giants like Alipay and WeChat have opened up new possibilities for Pi Pay merchants to service the growing number of Chinese visitors to the Kingdom.

OJK issues regulation on financial technology (The Jakarta Post) Rated: A

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) has issued a regulation on financial technology (fintech), which is more comprehensive than a prevailing regulation that only regulates peer-to-peer lending.

The regulation, issued on Aug. 15, consists of 45 articles that cover innovation in digital technology for the financial sector, kontan.co.id reported on Friday.

The regulation covers a number of issues such as transaction settlement that relates to investment, while for fund-raising, the regulation covers equity crowdfunding, virtual exchange, smart contract and alternative due diligence.

Africa

Kenyan fintech lender gets Sh45m grant (Business Daily) Rated: AAA

Kenya-based financier Lendable has secured a Sh45 million convertible grant from Dutch Development Bank (FMO) that will go into funding alternative lenders set up across the region.

Lendable, a fintech platform for unconventional lenders, operates in microfinance and other pay-as-you go services including energy.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday April 27 2018, Daily News Digest

Canada investments

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage buys Orchard.Ascentium Capital issues $330M securitization.LendingTree reports record Q1 results.Funding Circle issues second MPL deal.Revolut raises $250M, achieves unicorn status.BBVA issues first blockchain loan from a global bank.IOU Financial releases 2017 results. Today’s main analysis: Canadian fintech funding declines 60 percent in Q1. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Where the oldest […]

Canada investments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Canada

Other

News Summary

United States

It’s Official: Kabbage To Acquire Orchard (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

It was the worst kept secret in fintech. There were rumors flying around during LendIt Fintech earlier this month and then Bloomberg published this story a couple of weeks ago about the pending deal. Well, today it became official. In a press release this morning it was confirmed that Kabbage, the tech-focused small business lender, will acquire Orchard.

So, what will become of Matt Burton and his team? Some clues are provided in the press release:

Orchard’s CEO and co-founder, Matt Burton, as well as Chief Analytics Officer and co-founder, David Snitkof, will both join Kabbage in leadership roles upon the closing, helping oversee technology integrations and future innovations. In total, Kabbage will add more than twenty Orchard employees who are predominantly focused on advanced analytics, data science and engineering to its New York City office.

Kabbage plan in Orchard deal: Expand offerings to banks, small businesses (American Banker) Rated: A

Kathryn Petralia, president and co-founder of Kabbage, said the acquisition will help the company diversify its business and offer more data-driven services to small businesses and financial institutions. It currently works with ING, Santander and Scotia Bank. Kabbage’s U.S.-based loans are issued by Celtic Bank in Salt Lake City.

The Orchard name will not survive. “At closing we will be Kabbage,” Burton said.

Until now, Orchard has been providing loan and portfolio analysis to other online lenders. This business model will be discontinued and those relationships will most likely end. Orchard’s current clients are being told about its sale to Kabbage, Burton said.

Ascentium Capital Announces $ 330 Million Securitization (Ascentium) Rated: AAA

Ascentium Capital issued a $330 million small ticket equipment securitization of Ascentium Equipment Receivables 2018-1 Trust.

This represents the company’s ninth securitization since 2012 and the first time a non-investment grade, independent equipment finance company received triple AAA and Aaa ratings from both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

LendingTree Reports Record 1Q 2018 Results (Markets Insider) Rated: AAA

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com today announced results for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.

First Quarter 2018 Business Highlights

  • Revenue from mortgage products of $73.5 million represents an increase of 17% over first quarter 2017 driven by strong growth in both purchase and refinance revenues at 13% and 18%, respectively.  According to Mortgage Bankers Association, originations industry-wide were projected down 4% in the comparable period.
  • Record revenue from non-mortgage products of $107.6 million in the first quarter represents an increase of 55% over the first quarter 2017.
  • Revenue from our credit card offerings continued its momentum, growing to $46.1 million in 1Q, up 36% over the first quarter 2017.
  • Personal loans revenue of $26.0 million grew 53% over first quarter 2017.
  • Home equity revenue continued to climb, growing 81% over first quarter 2017.
  • More than 8.0 million consumers have now signed up for free credit scores and savings alerts through My LendingTree.  Revenue contribution from MyLendingTree grew 76% in the first quarter compared to the prior year period as new features, such as Credit Analyzer and free credit monitoring, are driving increased engagement.

LendingTree Study Reveals Which Places Buy the Oldest Used Cars (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the places that buy the oldest used cars. LendingTree analyzed auto loan offers for borrowers in the top 50 U.S. metros (based on population) to find the average age of used cars financed in each metro, as well as which makes of used cars were most popular.

The national average age of a used car people sought to finance was six years old, but some parts of the country prefer older used cars more than others.

Source: Lending Tree

Mobile Banking One of Top Three Most Used Apps by Americans, 2018 Citi Mobile Banking Study Reveals (Citigroup) Rated: AAA

Apps for mobile banking have become some of the most widely used by Americans, according to Citi’s 2018 Mobile Banking Study, released today. The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found that, measured by top two ranked responses, 31 percent of consumers use their mobile banking app the most, behind only apps for social media (55 percent) and the weather (33 percent).

“Over the past year we’ve witnessed this increase in engagement first-hand, with mobile usage in North America increasing by almost 25 percent, and we don’t see this trend slowing down any time soon.”

LendingClub was sued for the fees it charges — how you can avoid being overcharged (Market Watch) Rated: A

Pay attention to both the interest rate advertised, as well as the annual percentage rate (APR), Clements said. If they’re different, the lender is likely factoring additional fees into your annual percentage rate.

You may need to borrow more money than you expected if that’s the case, he said, because the total amount you would receive will be less than you asked for.

Research several lenders before choosing which one you want, he said. And if there are any unfamiliar terms, or any confusion about how much you’ll pay back monthly, ask.

Digital bank in a box: Fintech offers branding tool (American Banker) Rated: A

The core systems provider Nymbus is offering a new product for bank customers that want to get in on the burgeoning trend of having a stand-alone, digital brand.

Dubbed SmartLaunch, the offering enables financial institutions to create a digital brand under their existing charter in as little as 90 days, according to Nymbus. The product is built on Nymbus’ cloud-based SmartCore platform, and the company says it provides banks that use the service with all outsourced operational and technological requirements to run the digital bank. Also included are client support, digital marketing and website services.

Source: American Banker

RealtyMogul and Comunidad Realty Partners Close $ 30 Million in Texas Multifamily Properties (Citizen Tribune) Rated: A

RealtyMogul, a pioneer in providing private real estate to discerning investors, announced that MogulREIT II, its real estate investment trust or “REIT,” has completed investments in multifamily apartment complexes in Fort Worth, Texas and San Antonio, Texas, consisting of over 450 units.

The properties were acquired through a partnership with Comunidad Realty Partners, a dynamic real estate investment firm specializing in workforce housing communities in culturally diverse neighborhoods.

Scaling Real Estate Crowdfunding: PeerStreet Establishes a Culture of Excellence at the Top (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Loans on PeerStreet are sourced and curated from vetted private lenders throughout the United States. These lenders have real estate expertise and established borrower relationships. To date, PeerStreet has helped to finance over $900 million in loans by using this partnership approach. The properties they help finance are typically smaller in value – a segment of the industry that is usually overlooked by big institutional money. Loans range from 6 to 24 months and are first lien so investors have a good degree of security.  Most of the loans are below a loan to value of 75%. About a year ago, PeerStreet announced having funded $300 million in loans. In less than 12 months, PeerStreet has funded double that number.

PeerStreet is doing small loans commercial, some multi family and mixed used properties. The largest loan size is around $5 million but there can be exceptions. The rate of return for investors during 2017 stood, on average, at 8% net of fees. As for defaults, so far only five loans have gone into foreclosure but they have not experienced any loss of principle – a positive metric.

Citizens Bank Taps Finastra and Infosys for Trade Finance Solution (Citizens Bank) Rated: A

Citizens Bank, working with Infosys as its implementation partner, has selected Finastra to power the trade finance solution it offers to its corporate clients. This new capability will enable Citizens’ corporate clients to digitize traditionally paper-based trade processes, leading to increased efficiencies and reduced costs.

The new trade finance offering will allow the bank to meet increased client demand. Citizens picked Finastra’s Fusion Trade Innovation for its end-user experience, ability to support all trade products, capacity to integrate with downstream systems through open APIs and its high level of configurability.

Consumers in Columbus less likely to put fraud alerts on their credit reports (The Columbus Dispatch) Rated: A

However, a new study finds that consumers in the biggest Midwest cities, including Columbus, are much less likely to put alerts on their credit reports than those in other cities, such as Las Vegas, Houston, Miami and New York. The study by online lender Lending Tree was based on a random sample.

US banks to get more freedom to offer unsecured loans (Financial Times) Rated: B

Joseph Otting, Comptroller of the Currency, said he believed standards should be relaxed to allow banks back into the small dollar loan market; loans would range from $500 to $5,000 and be paid back in 45 and 90 days; right now payday lenders dominate this space and typically take advantage of borrowers by charging high fees and rolling over the principal; allowing banks back into the market will help to bring more regulation and cut down on abuses.

Growth plans: Both big and small banks set to expand locally (Orlando Business Journal) Rated: B

David Stahl, senior vice president, SunTrust Bank: We acquired an online lender called LightStream two years ago, and that has been a huge opportunity for us. The days of people walking into a bank and applying for a loan are pretty much gone.

Free Research Reports on These Credit Services Stocks — MoneyGram, Navient, Oaktree Specialty Lending and On Deck Capital (PR Newswire) Rated: B

This morning, WallStEquities.com observes MoneyGram International Inc. (NASDAQ: MGI), Navient Corp. (NASDAQ: NAVI), Oaktree Specialty Lending Corp. (NASDAQ: OCSL), and On Deck Capital Inc. (NYSE: ONDK). Credit Services companies originate, acquire, and service loans to individuals and corporations. Their products include student loans, mortgages, lines of credit, private equity, and venture capital. All you have to do is sign up today for this free limited time offer by clicking www.wallstequities.com/registration

Covr Financial Technologies appoints Chris Growney to Board of Directors; Gregory Fleming and Robert Kerzner, join Covr’s Advisory Board (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Covr Financial Technologies, a digital, multi-carrier life insurance platform for financial institutions, announced that Chris Growney, an advisor with venture capital and advisory firm Nyca Partners has joined Covr’s Board of Directors following Nyca’s role in Covr’s June, 2017 fundraising. Growney, a director, advisor and investor in a broad range of start-up and growth companies was most recently the founder of Clearwater Analytics, an investment analytics and accounting software company based in Boise, Idaho.

6th Avenue Capital Announces Promotion of Darren Schulman to President (deBanked) Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital, LLC (“6th Avenue Capital”) announced today the promotion of Darren Schulman to President, effective immediately. In his new position, Schulman has oversight over originations, underwriting, operations, collections and strategic initiatives. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer, and will continue to report directly to Chief Executive Officer Christine Chang.

The company also announced today that Chang and Schulman have been appointed to the company’s Board of Directors.

Best Egg Teams with Junior Achievement of Delaware on Financial Education Initiatives (Business Wire) Rated: B

Best Egg, the consumer lending brand of Marlette Funding, LLC, is providing both classroom education and other inspiring financially-related activities for Junior Achievement of Delaware (JA of DE). This announcement coincides with National Financial Literacy Month, being celebrated throughout the month of April.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle brings second marketplace loan deal (Global Capital) Rated: AAA

Sole arranger and lead manager Deutsche Bank announced Thursday a £207m UK SME securitization from Funding Circle, Small Business Loan Origination Trust 2018-1, the second ABS offering from the online lender.

In addition to being just the second deal from Funding Circle, and the third European marketplace loan ABS overall, SBOLT 2018-1 marks the first time Kroll Bond Rating Agency has assigned a public rating for a European securitization deal.

KBRA Europe Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (Business Wire) Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Europe Limited (KBRA) has assigned preliminary ratings to four classes of notes (“Rated Notes”) issued by Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (“SBOLT 2018-1”). This is a £206.6 million ABS transaction collateralised by unsecured loans made to small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) incorporated in the United Kingdom (“UK”).

This transaction represents the second ABS securitisation collateralised by unsecured loans to SMEs originated through the online lending platform operated by Funding Circle Limited (“Funding Circle”), and the first European rated ABS securitisation for KBRA.

Source: Business Wire

Confirmation of that came on Thursday as Revolut became the first of Britain’s digital-only banks to achieve “unicorn” status – in other words, a privately held start-up company with a valuation of more than $1bn (£720m).

Revolut, which was only founded in July 2015, has been valued at $1.7bn (£1.22bn) in its latest funding round.

The bank, which started out as a currency exchange app but later moved into providing personal banking and cryptocurrency trading services, raised $250m (£180m) from backers including DST Global, an investment firm backed by the Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, whose previous early-stage tech investments have included Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and Spotify.

Ranger Direct Lending rejects investor call to wind up (City Wire) Rated: A

Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) has criticised shareholder Oaktree Capital Management for trying to force the struggling alternative income fund to wind up.

Oaktree, the second largest shareholder in the fund that invests in and through lending platforms, has made public its correspondence with Ranger, which it described as a ‘sub-scale platform’ with shares ‘too illiquid to attract large institutional investors, especially in light of its persistent trading discount to net asset value (NAV)’.

Goji passes £50m in assets (Goji) Rated: A

Goji has now got more than £50m of assets on its platform a little over a year after opening its doors to investors.  With over 5,000 customer accounts, our hard earned growth is testament to the work the whole industry has done in selling the asset class to the UK public.

After campaigning hard to change the tax laws to open up the ISA rules so that non-lending platforms could also offer an IFISA, Goji was the first firm to offer investors diversification across a number of platforms through a single Innovative Finance ISA.  Goji’s Diversified Lending Bonds target 5%, whilst it’s Renewables Lending Bond targets returns in excess of 8%.

A lending site where you can rent anything just scored millions in venture capital (Business Insider) Rated: A

Fat Lama, which announced $10 million in its Series A on Wednesday in a round led by Blossom Capital, says it will use its latest funding to further its reach within the US and to create a mobile-first offering (so far, the site’s mobile app is only available in the UK).

Fat Lama lets users borrow everything from drones to camera equipment to printers.

The site insures any item listed on its site for up to $30,000, and Englander said his company has plans to raise that amount to $50,000 in the near future.

 

 

Artificial intelligence backed to reduce P2P defaults (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) could provide peer-to-peer lenders with greater lending security and less chance of defaults, a technology consultancy claims.

Nick Parham, technical pre-sales consultant at NashTech, said there is much P2P platforms can learn about AI from traditional lenders.

“The traditional lending market offers us a powerful insight into the potential for AI in P2P lending,” he said.

TURNING TO YOUR PEERS (BQ Live) Rated: A

They created ArchOver, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform that allows firms that have been operating for more than two years to borrow money from lenders using its website. Companies borrow a minimum of £250,000, with interest rates starting at 7.7% a year.

Since it launched in the autumn of 2014, ArchOver has helped its lenders to inject more than £65m into British businesses, bringing in more than £2.5m in interest at an average return of 7.3%. In an age when bank savings accounts are paying less than 0.5%, it’s easy to see the attraction for investors who understand the risks as well as the rewards.

European Union

Klarna integrates with Magento for streamlined checkout (Payments Source) Rated: AAA

Commerce platform Magento is giving merchants the option to activate Klarna instant credit for online checkouts.

Sweden-based Klarna is built into the latest version of Magento Commerce, giving merchants a streamlined path to offer goods consumers may opt to pay for immediately, within 30 days, or longer via installments, Klarna said in a Thursday press release.

Taaleri increases its ownership in Fellow Finance by 7.3 per cent (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

Taaleri Plc has decided to exercise its option to acquire an additional 7.3% holding in Fellow Finance Oy, as outlined in the shareholders’ agreement signed in 2015. After the transaction Taaleri’s shareholding in Fellow Finance, which offers a crowdfunding platform for companies and for consumers, will increase to 45.7%. The transaction is scheduled to be realized in April-May.

International

BBVA and Indra deliver the world’s first blockchain-supported corporate loan (BBVA) Rated: AAA

BBVA has successfully completed the first global corporate loan transaction using blockchain technology from the negotiation of the deal to its signing, in line with their close collaboration to leverage cutting-edge technologies to streamline business processes.

The pilot enabled the closing of a €75 million loan using a solution developed by BBVA based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). This demonstrates how BBVA continues to incorporate innovative and disruptive technology into its customer solutions, including those products that up to now have seen limited digital innovation, as is the case with wholesale finance.

BANKS VS FINTECHS: THE WAR FOR TALENT (International Banker) Rated: A

Many of these start-ups, moreover, are equipped with enough cash to be able to compete with their banking counterparts on salaries. According to assessments by recruitment site Glassdoor, for example, a London-based software engineer at online lender Funding Circle will earn a base salary of £51,000 on average, which is equal to the salary paid at Goldman Sachs for a similar role. At UBS, that figure is £59,000, while at challenger Monzo Bank it is currently £64,000. Speaking recently to Bloomberg, co-founder and CEO of property lending platform LendInvest, Christian Faes, asserted that between 30 and 40 percent of the company’s hires are from major financial institutions, while banks also account for 100 percent of its small-risk and compliance team. Similar trends are also being reported by UK online lender MarketInvoice Ltd., where three-quarters of its 85 employees have come from either the financial-services or accountancy space.

Source: International Banker

Deserve Raises $ 50 Million in Debt Financing (Finovate) Rated: A

In rebranding his company from SelfScore to Deserve, CEO Kalpesh Kapadia explained “we believe that access is everything and everyone deserves a chance to build a positive credit history. So we are making our products available to all students, U.S., and international, and to all those who seek to build and/or maintain a good credit history.”

And now Deserve is $50 million closer to serving this broader population of potential customers. The Accel-backed fintech has just secured a $50 million debt facility from Keystone National Group to drive growth in account receivables and help “jumpstart” first-time credit owners’ financial journeys.

 

Fintech for the Financially Excluded? (Stanford Social Innovation Review) Rated: A

At Bamboo Capital Partners, we believe fintech can help low-income people reduce vulnerabilities, build assets, manage cash flow, and increase income, and we have invested as such: In the last couple of years, we have made four equity investments in fintech companies in Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Tanzania, committing more than $16 million. Our investees are helping democratize access to finance through peer-to-peer lending platforms (KuboFinanciero), promoting access to insurance (ComparaOnline), enabling mobile payments and savings for low-income people through nano deposits (Movii), and providing a smart data platform for emerging market financial institutions (First Access).

APAC

Game-changing technologies at work in Asia Pacific’s real estate (JLL) Rated: AAA

Singapore-based mall operator Capitaland has a chatbot called Sparkle on its app that responds to shoppers’ queries and make reservations or hail a ride from its malls.  National Australia Bank is participating in a A$9 million investment round for real estate crowdfunding platform Brick X.

The rise of proptech, however, could be a cause for cybersecurity concerns, as highlighted in JLL’s report Clicks and Mortar: The Growing Influence of Proptech.

Source: Jill Real Views

 

Coast Labor MP Calls For Ban On Loan Machines (TripleM Network) Rated: A

There are calls for the Berejiklian Government to outright ban payday loan machines cropping up on the Central Coast.

There’s a Cash N Go kiosk at Wyoming offering up to $1000 at a time with minimal checks, while the devices, which look like ATMs, have also been spotted in the Hunter and Illawarra.

Latin America

Brazil’s Central Bank authorizes peer-to-peer lending (Rueters) Rated: AAA

Brazil’s Central Bank on Thursday released rules for credit start-ups that include authorization for peer-to-peer lending, as a way to increase competition in loans in a country with notoriously high interest rates for consumers.

Credit fintechs will be allowed to operate with a minimum capital of 1 million reais ($288,000), according to the new regulation. Peer-to peer lending had not yet been formally authorized in the country. The practice involves lending between individuals through online services.

Canada

Funding for Canadian Fintech Companies Declines 60 Percent in Q1 (Investing News) Rated: AAA

Canadian fintech companies received $88 million in investment over the first quarter of 2018, representing a 60-percent decline, says a new report from PwC.

Total investment in Canada in the first quarter of 2018 was over $1 billion, which is a 52-percent increase over the last quarter. A total of 105 deals were signed as compared to 81 in the previous quarter, representing a 30-percent increase.

Source: PwC

Read the full report here.

IOU Financial Inc. Releases Financial Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2017 (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV:IOU) announced today its results for the year ended December 31, 2017.

  • Reached profitability during the year with positive adjusted net earnings of $0.1 millionin Q4.
  • Surpassed the half-billion loan origination mark with loan originations of $91.3 million(US) for the year.
  • Increased interest revenue of 8.1% to $14.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2017 vs 2016.
  • Reduced operating costs (excluding non-recurring costs) by 20.3% to $9.0 million for the year ended 2017.
  • Raised $3.5 million via a private placement.

BlackChain Solutions Signs LOI With DMG Blockchain Solutions to Bring P2P Lending to the Cryptocurrency Market (Investing News) Rated: B

Under the proposed license, BlackChain will retain exclusive rights for use of the technology for P2P Lending. DMG will be entitled to a royalty on commercial revenues generated by Blackchain using the technology. The parties intend to negotiate and finalize a definitive agreement by May 15th, 2018.

 

MENA

Global REIT’s crypto-powered real estate investment model will be first of it’s kind… (Global Cryptocurrency Press) Rated: AAA

Moving this structure onto the blockchain, and powering the investments with cryptocurrency now means the average cryptocurrency investor can easily access the real estate investment market. Global REIT will begin in their home of Dubai, a place where real estate is currently exploding, and acquire assets within the U.A.E, before branching out globally.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday April 3 2018, Daily News Digest

FT Partners

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi issues $2.6B in ABS notes in Q1 2018. GreenSky files for IPO. China’s P2P lenders brace for more regulations. FinanZero raises $3.6M. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO alternative lending market analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cities with highest share of cash-out refinance borrowers. Retailers grow financial services capabilities. India’s unsecured instant loan interest rates […]

FT Partners

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Issues a Record $ 2.6 Billion in ABS Notes in the First Quarter of 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed $2.6 billion in loan securitizations in the first quarter of 2018, a 35% increase over the prior-year period and its largest-ever quarterly ABS issuance volume.

In Q1 2018, SoFi completed a total of three securitization transactions: two student loan ABS offerings ($960 million SOFI 2018-A Notes and $869 million SOFI 2018-B Notes) and one consumer loan ABS offering ($774 million SCLP 2018-1 Notes). The SoFi 2018-B Notes marked the first time SoFi included medical residency loans as a part of the collateral.

LendingTree Ranks Cities with the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on where cash-out refinancing was most prevalent in the past year.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

Source Lending Tree

Cities with the highest cash-out loan amounts

Source Lending Tree

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files Confidentially for IPO (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a sizable initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion, some of the people said.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Manu Smadja, co-founder and CEO of MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender that enables high-potential international students to finance their education. In our conversation with Manu, he discusses the inception of MPOWER, along with the unique opportunities and challenges of lending to this market.

M&A

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Max Levchin To Participate In A Keynote Fireside Chat At LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech announced today that Max Levchin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affirm, a financial services technology company that is reimagining consumer credit and banking, will be featured in a keynote fireside chat on April 9. The world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEOs from Wall Street to Main Street will gather April 9-11 at Moscone Center in San Francisco to focus on the hot-button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

In a session titled The future of credit: Reimagining the financing ecosystem, Levchin’s keynote fireside chat will delve into how the retail industry has evolved and how retail experiences are continuing to grow beyond the capabilities of traditional credit and lending. Levchin will share his thoughts on why the industry needs to reimagine the financing ecosystem from the ground up in order to unlock the future of credit. Levchin will also discuss why Affirm is committed to reinventing credit, starting with the belief that it should help improve consumers’ financial lives in addition to financing their purchases.

Kabbage: Small Businesses Turning To Mobile Lending In Big Numbers (Payment Week), Rated: A

Sometimes, businesses need ready cash to get from “the latest bills” to “the next paid invoice,” and that’s where lenders are coming in. A new report from Kabbage says that small businesses are turning to mobile devices to get in on that lender funding in increasing numbers.

Kabbage surveyed almost 150,000 small businesses, and found that loans accessed by mobile device had increased better than three-fold, over 360 percent, of what they were back in April 2014. While the total numbers went through the roof, the value of the loans accessed went through the roof and over the treetops, having increased over 1,220 percent.

Why Marcus Has Changed Everything (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Fast forward almost 18 months and Marcus is the fastest growing online lender in history. They have lent $2.5 billion in this time to 350,000 customers and have 700 employees spread across three offices. Not only that, but they have grand ambitions in the space. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has repeatedly talked about the importance of Marcus to the future of Goldman Sachs.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the consumer banking business of Goldman Sachs is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm by 2020. That is significantly more revenue than LendingClub is expected to generate in 2018 as an 11-year- old business.

We have heard that Barclays and PNC Financial will be launching their own lending platforms in 2018 and there are rumors that many other large banks are going to do the same.

Most people probably don’t know Goldman Sachs offers a savings account with excellent perks — and anyone can use it with just $ 1 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marcus— named after the Goldman Sachs founder Marcus Goldman — allows any adult (except in Maryland, where Marcus is not yet available) to create a savings account.

The big selling point for Marcus is the 1.5% annual percentage yield offered. Whereas interest rates for many banks have plummeted to as low as 0.01%, Goldman Sachs’ savings accounts create significant interest.

There is also no minimum amount needed to open an account with Marcus, and a deposit of even $1 allows users to earn the 1.5% APY.

Ohio Insurtech Root Insurance Completes Series C Round With $ 51 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated:A

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurtech company, announced last week it secured $51 million in funding through its Series C round, which was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners. 

Root will use the new funding to expand into additional states and continue to invest in technology that significantly improves the customer experience.

That Fast Online Loan Could Have Super-high Interest Rates and Hidden Fees That Bankrupt Your Business (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

recent lawsuit against fintech small-business lender Kabbage Inc., charging that it partnered with a bank in order to offer interest rates that exceeded the legal limit, highlights the need for more regulatory oversight of the growing number of online lenders signing deals with small businesses.

Online lenders are getting more scrutiny.

The recent Massachusetts federal case brought by a small business against Kabbage (and its partner Celtic Bank) highlights why non-bank fintech lenders should be regulated. The suit alleges that Kabbage used its relationship with Celtic — which “rented” its balance sheet to Kabbage — as a basis to charge interest rates that violated usury laws.

How Credit Karma is using data to become a central finance hub (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s not a bank, but it uses customer data to help banks find customers.

Currently valued at $4 billion, Credit Karma has 80 million customers — half of whom are millennials. The company joins a growing number of financial startups like Clarity Money, SoFi, Chime and Varo Money that are aiming to become one-stop shops for customers’ finances. The field is growing increasingly competitive. Meanwhile, banks are bundling personal finance advice into their mobile apps. But Credit Karma has two advantages its competitors often struggle with — scale and data — and it’s using a chatbot to lock in the relationship with the customer.

A Chase Sapphire experiment is getting revived and expanded after the trial run blew away expectations with millennials last year (Business Insider), Rated: B

Last year, ahead of the spring homebuying season — the busiest of the year — JPMorgan Chase engineered an experiment to gain an edge in the mortgage-lending competition.

So the bank targeted its Sapphire customers, offering another 100,000 in rewards points if they closed a mortgage with the bank — a bonus worth as much as $1,500.

HNW Clients Warming Up To Digital Advice (Financial Adviser), Rated: A

In its report, “The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2018 Issue,” the researcher found that more than one-quarter of investors over 70 who have $2 million to $5 million in investable assets said they would consider online-only engagement. Beyond that, high-net-worth investors in general seemingly are more receptive to digital advice platforms.

In 2015, Cerulli found that 38% of investors with investable assets of $2 million to $5 million said they were willing to engage with digital providers. Last year, that number jumped to 46%. And among investors with $5 million-plus in investable assets, those numbers went from 30% in 2015 to 38% last year.

Why borrower experience will be the principal driver of bank revenue in the lending market (Lendit), Rated: A

Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have rewritten the rulebook for consumers when it comes to what they can reasonably expect from their service providers. Consequently, bank offerings are being judged to the same standard as the most innovative digitally native products in the world.

The benefits of improved customer experience

More generally, banks must focus on improving user experience to remain competitive as digitally native fintech products flood the marketplace. Focusing especially, the motivations for improving customer experience can be described as:

  •  Differentiation Financial services can no longer lean on long-standing relationships and brand positioning to generate new customer business.
  • Positive brand response in addition to research, some customers will also emphasize the emotive impression they receive from a product when making purchasing decisions.
  • Coping with an economic downturn During a recession or other global economic hardship businesses are placed under increased financial strain. Services viewed positively by their existing clients will stand a better chance of retaining their clients as well as growing their client base during the downturn.

Pindrop Introduces New Biometric Solution: Tongueprinting (Finovate), Rated: A

Banking Technology’s Anthony Peyton reports that the Atlanta-based anti-fraud and authentication specialist has unveiled Tongueprinting, a technology that analyses every person’s unique tongue as its newest biometric engine. Banking Technology is Finovate’s sister publication.

The idea is for Tongueprinting to stop fraudsters from taking over legitimate accounts by spoofing the call centre with automated bots, social engineering, and knowledge-based authentication questions.  

HomeUnion Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Individual Investors (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched a crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase stakes in funds of single-family rental (SFR) properties on its website. Starting with a minimum investment of $10,000, retail investors now have the ability to acquire interest in the HomeUnion Fix-and-Flip Fund. The fund enables consumers to invest in SFR assets acquired for fix-and-flip purposes in seven HomeUnion markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh and Tampa.

Upstart tests buyer appetite with riskier loans, more sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online lender Upstart is the latest marketplace loan company to broaden the risk profile of its ABS, announcing a deal this week offering more subordinate bonds and backed by a higher proportion of longer term loans.

The California-based lender, founded by ex-Google employees, uses an underwriting model which incorporates data points beyond borrowers’ FICO scores, utilizing other factors such as schools attended, areas of study, academic performance and work history.

Is low pay hurting banks in the battle for tech talent? (American Banker), Rated: A

Conversations about pay in the banking industry typically focus on whether executives at the top are paid too much or workers at the bottom are paid too little.

But new data available as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act is drawing rare attention to the compensation of employees in the middle. In what will become an annual exercise, publicly traded U.S. companies are now required to disclose annually the median pay of their employees.

Information and Data Integrity: A Two-Way Street (Lendit), Rated: A

For many businesses, data is an important aspect of decision management. When you are choosing with whom to do business, you rely on the validity of data to guide you. If it proves faulty, you may be steered into accepting bad customers or rejecting good ones, which can seriously affect your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can be equally harmful—leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of services or products or worse, flagged as potentially fraudulent.

Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, an integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes. TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information—including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data—that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Choosing Personal Loans (Lendit), Rated: A

When it comes to millennial spending habits, it looks as though they’re rounding a corner to a new kind of credit. With the vast treasure trove of accumulated data available, credit bureaus like TransUnion are seeing spikes in personal loans compared to Generation X’s spending habits in the early 2000s. It’s a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture a demographic that expects more from their lender.

The Overarching Trends

The newly minted adults of Generation Z are at the very beginning of their financial journey, but millennials are at the age where they’re expected to make major purchases. As they struggle with the economy and student debt, they’re making different financial choices along the way.

Adopting New Technology

Lenders are turning to financial technology (fintech) to help peddle their products, which millennials are all too happy to use. Ironically, applying for a personal loan without the face-to-face connection can be far more attractive than the traditional application process.

A Decline in Credit Card Usage

Right or wrong, credit cards have long been linked to perpetual debt in many people’s minds. In 2009, the CARD Act was introduced to place stricter limits on the marketing of credit cards at college campuses. Debit cards have become more of the rule as opposed to the exception, leaping from 8 billion transactions in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015.

Small Business Confidence Is Up, What Does that Mean? (Lendit), Rated: A

The year 2017 saw small business owners across the United States grow more optimistic about the future than they’ve ever been—at least since the creation of the Optimism Index by the NFIB in the 70s.  “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Tax Bill Could be a Boon for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations are all examples of what are called pass-through businesses; and make up roughly 95 percent of all U.S. businesses. They also happen to be many of our customers at OnDeck, and other online small business lenders. One of the main components of the new tax bill is a 20 percent tax deduction for those businesses, where business owners can “shield” 20 percent of their business income from flowing through to their personal income tax returns.

Cincinnati-based financial tech startup raises $ 1.2 million (Cincinnati Business Courier), Rated: B

A Cincinnati-based financial tech startup that aims to help users secure low-dollar loans without having to resort to a payday lender raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

Mayor proposes employee loans to offset predatory lenders (Santa Fe New Mexican), Rated: B

A few months after a new annual 175 percent cap on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico went into effect, Mayor Alan Webber is proposing a short-term loan program to help municipal workers avoid payday lending businesses viewed as predatory by consumer advocates.

BlockFi Gives Hodlers Another Option to Borrow Against Crypto Assets (BitcoinMagazine), Rated: B

Options for borrowing and lending with cryptocurrencies are on the rise. One of the latest start-ups to join the likes of SALT and Unchained Capital is BlockFi, a New York City–based startup that issues loans backed by bitcoin and ether to individuals, companies and institutions in 35 U.S. states.

BlockFi takes cryptocurrency as collateral, offering interest rates on loans of around 12 percent. This is generally lower than unsecured loans and higher than loans secured with traditional assets such as securities or real estate.

eBus to offer visitors financial advice, credit reports (The Repository), Rated: B

The eBus is a mobile classroom which is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations. On the bus, visitors can request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive a personalized evaluation of finances; receive internet banking and bill pay demonstrations; speak with nonprofits about housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; and conduct online job searches.

United Kingdom

Scots ‘side businesses’ generate £1.7bn a year (The Scotsman), Rated: A

More than 500,000 people living in Scotland have started a side business, generating a collective £1.7 billion a year out of more than £33bn UK-wide, according to new research.

Online lender Sunny said many of those north of the Border turning to side businesses are doing so to help with the cost of bills, savings and debts, and bring in an average of £272 a month on top of their main income.

That represents a 20 per cent increase from when they first started their business.

China

China’s P2P lenders brace for renewed regulatory crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China will soon be rolling out new licensing requirements for p2p lenders; The system will kick off in April with approvals slated to come at the end of this month, but many lenders aren’t aware of the filing process; in 2016 and 2017 many p2p lenders shut down and according to data there are around 2,000 remaining; it is expected that many of the 2,000 will not pass the new requirements; the new rules won’t allow platforms to guarantee loan payments and also limit loans to individuals and businesses; it will also require that platforms use custodian banks.

China Rapid Finance Executives Selected to Speak at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that the Company will participate as a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming LendIt Fintech USA 2018, to be held between Apr 9th and 11th in San Francisco, California.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On March 28th, cross-border payment company iPayLinks announced that it had completed, at the beginning of this year, a hundreds of million-yuan B1 round of financing led by Tencent and followed by Legend Capital.

NIFA Issues a Self-Discipline Convention for Debt-Collection Practitioners

The five-chapter convention is mainly applying to regulate the behavior of overdue debt collection within the Internet Finance industry by establishing several basic principles (e.g. observing laws and regulations, prudential regulations, protecting privacy, and strict self-discipline). In other words, the document outlines a framework of debt-collection regulation in terms of discredited punishment, business management, personnel management, information management, outsourcing management, and complaints.

China’s internet lenders fall foul of data privacy rules (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than half of Chinese internet finance lenders are failing to comply with data privacy regulations, research has found, raising risks for investors as China steps up the implementation of laws to protect consumer data.

The breaches include collecting phone numbers from users’ contact lists, which can be used to mount harassment campaigns and shame users into repaying debts.

The survey of 200 finance apps by Renmin University and Nandu Personal Data Protection Research Centre, a Beijing think-tank, ranked 111 apps as having “low” compliance.

It found that almost half — 95 apps — wanted to read users’ text messages, while 97 of them wanted access to users’ contact lists, despite such access not being necessary for the app’s functioning.

International

How retailers are growing their financial services capabilities (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon isn’t the only retailer encroaching on the financial services space. It may be the scariest — just the rumor of it entering a company’s space will send its stock price down — but ultimately, Amazon only cares about getting more buyers and more sellers to join its platform.

Overstock’s Raj Karkara, vp of loyalty and financial services, echoed that sentiment earlier this year, saying that offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers is a natural extension of its retail function of buying and selling consumer goods.

Rakuten
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and has slowly been growing outside of the country. It has a footprint in media, video-on-demand, mobile messaging, e-books, travel, fashion, marketing and even sports. It also operates the largest online bank in the country.

Overstock
For the past few months, e-commerce company Overstock.com has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing; and, most recently, a discounted trading platform.

Sainsbury (and Tesco)
Amazon may not be interested in becoming a bank but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed in stealing customer attention from them. The U.K.’s largest grocers have all opened banks attached to their brands —  Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

ETHLend (LEND) Token – Will It Go Down After Kyber Network Partnership? (Hot Stocked), Rated: A

ETHLend has recently partnered up with Kyber Network. The ETHLend (LEND) Token has reached a market capitalization of 45.69 Million US dollars in the last 24 hours. The token traded 9.50%higher against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours ending at 10:30 AM EDTon April 2nd. That rise might be as a result of the partnership. ETHLend aims to become another decentralized and secure financial marketplace, but targeting peer to peer lending agreements via Blockchain and Smart Contracts.

Source CoinMarketCap

 

Australia

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN AUSTRALIA: SHOULD YOU SEEK FINANCE FROM A BANK OR AN ONLINE LENDER? (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Considering the small business sector employs nearly half the national workforce and contributes around $380 billion to Australia’s GDP [1], it’s easy to see why it’s frequently referred to as the ‘engine room’ of the economy.

Like all engine rooms, the sector requires sufficient fuel – in this case, working and growth capital – to not only keep running but also accelerate. However, poor access to capital remains a significant barrier to small businesses, accounting for a majority of failures in the sector.

Part of the reason is that banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses in circumstances where the borrower doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security – especially if a short-term loan is sought.

APRA rejected CBA home loan data as inaccurate and incomplete (Financial Review), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank was being pressured by the prudential regulator to appoint external consultants and fix its flawed home lending data almost 2½ years before the Hayne royal commission began exposing the big four for sloppy administrative errors and irresponsible lending.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s frustration with the failure of Australia’s biggest home lender to accurately identify what proportion of its loans were taken out by property investors and its level of exposure to big borrowers has been revealed in evidence tendered to the banking royal commission and published in a massive dump of more than 100 documents late last week.

India

Interest rates on unsecured instant loans are high (LiveMint), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions and fintech companies have launched multiple small credit products in India in the past 1-3 years. It is now possible to get loans even on your mobile phone. But how do you pay for this convenience?

P2P lending platform

Peer-to-peer lending companies such as Faircent, i2ifunding and Lendbox connect lenders and borrowers on their platforms. Usually, the lender is an individual and not a financial institution. The interest rates are between 15% and 36% per annum and the loan amount can range from Rs50,000 to Rs5 lakh. The interest rate is decided based on the credit profile of the customer. Usually, the P2P lending companies take into account your Cibil credit score. The loan tenure is 3 months to 24 months.

Fintech eco-system is moving to blockchain and AI: Rajat Gandhi, Faircent (Economic Times), Rated: A

A lot of players have come into the fintech space. There are wallet players, then there are PPI, P2B, crowdsourcing and other payment players as well. So, regulation is one of the key challenges the private players are going through. What is your take on it?

Surprisingly, the Indian regulators, I would say, are strict. You can see the example of NBFC P2P licences regulation. It is a good rule-based model. In fact, the players themselves were pushing for some kind of regulation because financial markets need them. It’s not like e-commerce or running a taxi where the risks are not that high.

India’s Finzy Raises $ 1.3 Mln At Pre Series A Funding (Reuters), Rated: A

Finzy, India’s fastest growing peer to peer lending platform, has raised USD 1.3 million in first round of Pre Series A from investors in the industry. A second round of fundraising is expected to close with pre-identified set of investors within the next 60 days.

Latin American

Brazilian Loan Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 3.6 million in Series A Funding Round (PR Newwire), Rated: AAA

FinanZero is a leading marketplace for consumer loans in Brazil. The business is an independent broker for loans, negotiating the customer’s loan application with several banks and credit institutions, to find the loan with the best interest rate and terms for the consumer. FinanZero handles the lending process from start to finish.

The Series A round was led by Swedish publicly listed investment company, Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation by other Swedish investors, including Webrock Ventures and Zentro Founders.

Africa

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future success (Financial Times), Rated: A

Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. We are already seeing huge breakthroughs in digital banking and the adoption of fintech-based services by Nigerian consumers — be they retail or business customers. But this expansion must be encouraged by policies that will see greater inclusion of women and rural communities into mainstream banking activity.

Asia

Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Viva Republica is the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea. Since the 2015 launch of its simple peer-to-peer payments app Toss, banks are finally revamping their user experiences and customers have easier access to financial products. South Korea’s mobile payments have more than quadrupled in that time to $4.6 billion, according to Bank of Korea data.

The startup, funded at $76 million, hasn’t stopped there. After PayPal joined a $48 million investment in Toss in March, Toss has grown from a simple money-transfer app to a diverse consumer-finance platform generating Viva Republica’s $20 million in expected revenue in 2017. Toss thus joins Asia’s ranks of fast-growing mobile P2P payment services, reaching a $12 billion transaction volume in 2017.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday April 3 2018, Daily News Digest

FT Partners

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi issues $2.6B in ABS notes in Q1 2018. GreenSky files for IPO. China’s P2P lenders brace for more regulations. FinanZero raises $3.6M. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO alternative lending market analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cities with highest share of cash-out refinance borrowers. Retailers grow financial services capabilities. India’s unsecured instant loan interest rates […]

FT Partners

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Issues a Record $ 2.6 Billion in ABS Notes in the First Quarter of 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed $2.6 billion in loan securitizations in the first quarter of 2018, a 35% increase over the prior-year period and its largest-ever quarterly ABS issuance volume.

In Q1 2018, SoFi completed a total of three securitization transactions: two student loan ABS offerings ($960 million SOFI 2018-A Notes and $869 million SOFI 2018-B Notes) and one consumer loan ABS offering ($774 million SCLP 2018-1 Notes). The SoFi 2018-B Notes marked the first time SoFi included medical residency loans as a part of the collateral.

LendingTree Ranks Cities with the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on where cash-out refinancing was most prevalent in the past year.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

Source Lending Tree

Cities with the highest cash-out loan amounts

Source Lending Tree

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files Confidentially for IPO (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a sizable initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion, some of the people said.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Manu Smadja, co-founder and CEO of MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender that enables high-potential international students to finance their education. In our conversation with Manu, he discusses the inception of MPOWER, along with the unique opportunities and challenges of lending to this market.

M&A

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Max Levchin To Participate In A Keynote Fireside Chat At LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech announced today that Max Levchin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affirm, a financial services technology company that is reimagining consumer credit and banking, will be featured in a keynote fireside chat on April 9. The world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEOs from Wall Street to Main Street will gather April 9-11 at Moscone Center in San Francisco to focus on the hot-button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

In a session titled The future of credit: Reimagining the financing ecosystem, Levchin’s keynote fireside chat will delve into how the retail industry has evolved and how retail experiences are continuing to grow beyond the capabilities of traditional credit and lending. Levchin will share his thoughts on why the industry needs to reimagine the financing ecosystem from the ground up in order to unlock the future of credit. Levchin will also discuss why Affirm is committed to reinventing credit, starting with the belief that it should help improve consumers’ financial lives in addition to financing their purchases.

Kabbage: Small Businesses Turning To Mobile Lending In Big Numbers (Payment Week), Rated: A

Sometimes, businesses need ready cash to get from “the latest bills” to “the next paid invoice,” and that’s where lenders are coming in. A new report from Kabbage says that small businesses are turning to mobile devices to get in on that lender funding in increasing numbers.

Kabbage surveyed almost 150,000 small businesses, and found that loans accessed by mobile device had increased better than three-fold, over 360 percent, of what they were back in April 2014. While the total numbers went through the roof, the value of the loans accessed went through the roof and over the treetops, having increased over 1,220 percent.

Why Marcus Has Changed Everything (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Fast forward almost 18 months and Marcus is the fastest growing online lender in history. They have lent $2.5 billion in this time to 350,000 customers and have 700 employees spread across three offices. Not only that, but they have grand ambitions in the space. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has repeatedly talked about the importance of Marcus to the future of Goldman Sachs.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the consumer banking business of Goldman Sachs is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm by 2020. That is significantly more revenue than LendingClub is expected to generate in 2018 as an 11-year- old business.

We have heard that Barclays and PNC Financial will be launching their own lending platforms in 2018 and there are rumors that many other large banks are going to do the same.

Most people probably don’t know Goldman Sachs offers a savings account with excellent perks — and anyone can use it with just $ 1 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marcus— named after the Goldman Sachs founder Marcus Goldman — allows any adult (except in Maryland, where Marcus is not yet available) to create a savings account.

The big selling point for Marcus is the 1.5% annual percentage yield offered. Whereas interest rates for many banks have plummeted to as low as 0.01%, Goldman Sachs’ savings accounts create significant interest.

There is also no minimum amount needed to open an account with Marcus, and a deposit of even $1 allows users to earn the 1.5% APY.

Ohio Insurtech Root Insurance Completes Series C Round With $ 51 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated:A

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurtech company, announced last week it secured $51 million in funding through its Series C round, which was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners. 

Root will use the new funding to expand into additional states and continue to invest in technology that significantly improves the customer experience.

That Fast Online Loan Could Have Super-high Interest Rates and Hidden Fees That Bankrupt Your Business (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

recent lawsuit against fintech small-business lender Kabbage Inc., charging that it partnered with a bank in order to offer interest rates that exceeded the legal limit, highlights the need for more regulatory oversight of the growing number of online lenders signing deals with small businesses.

Online lenders are getting more scrutiny.

The recent Massachusetts federal case brought by a small business against Kabbage (and its partner Celtic Bank) highlights why non-bank fintech lenders should be regulated. The suit alleges that Kabbage used its relationship with Celtic — which “rented” its balance sheet to Kabbage — as a basis to charge interest rates that violated usury laws.

How Credit Karma is using data to become a central finance hub (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s not a bank, but it uses customer data to help banks find customers.

Currently valued at $4 billion, Credit Karma has 80 million customers — half of whom are millennials. The company joins a growing number of financial startups like Clarity Money, SoFi, Chime and Varo Money that are aiming to become one-stop shops for customers’ finances. The field is growing increasingly competitive. Meanwhile, banks are bundling personal finance advice into their mobile apps. But Credit Karma has two advantages its competitors often struggle with — scale and data — and it’s using a chatbot to lock in the relationship with the customer.

A Chase Sapphire experiment is getting revived and expanded after the trial run blew away expectations with millennials last year (Business Insider), Rated: B

Last year, ahead of the spring homebuying season — the busiest of the year — JPMorgan Chase engineered an experiment to gain an edge in the mortgage-lending competition.

So the bank targeted its Sapphire customers, offering another 100,000 in rewards points if they closed a mortgage with the bank — a bonus worth as much as $1,500.

HNW Clients Warming Up To Digital Advice (Financial Adviser), Rated: A

In its report, “The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2018 Issue,” the researcher found that more than one-quarter of investors over 70 who have $2 million to $5 million in investable assets said they would consider online-only engagement. Beyond that, high-net-worth investors in general seemingly are more receptive to digital advice platforms.

In 2015, Cerulli found that 38% of investors with investable assets of $2 million to $5 million said they were willing to engage with digital providers. Last year, that number jumped to 46%. And among investors with $5 million-plus in investable assets, those numbers went from 30% in 2015 to 38% last year.

Why borrower experience will be the principal driver of bank revenue in the lending market (Lendit), Rated: A

Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have rewritten the rulebook for consumers when it comes to what they can reasonably expect from their service providers. Consequently, bank offerings are being judged to the same standard as the most innovative digitally native products in the world.

The benefits of improved customer experience

More generally, banks must focus on improving user experience to remain competitive as digitally native fintech products flood the marketplace. Focusing especially, the motivations for improving customer experience can be described as:

  •  Differentiation Financial services can no longer lean on long-standing relationships and brand positioning to generate new customer business.
  • Positive brand response in addition to research, some customers will also emphasize the emotive impression they receive from a product when making purchasing decisions.
  • Coping with an economic downturn During a recession or other global economic hardship businesses are placed under increased financial strain. Services viewed positively by their existing clients will stand a better chance of retaining their clients as well as growing their client base during the downturn.

Pindrop Introduces New Biometric Solution: Tongueprinting (Finovate), Rated: A

Banking Technology’s Anthony Peyton reports that the Atlanta-based anti-fraud and authentication specialist has unveiled Tongueprinting, a technology that analyses every person’s unique tongue as its newest biometric engine. Banking Technology is Finovate’s sister publication.

The idea is for Tongueprinting to stop fraudsters from taking over legitimate accounts by spoofing the call centre with automated bots, social engineering, and knowledge-based authentication questions.  

HomeUnion Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Individual Investors (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched a crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase stakes in funds of single-family rental (SFR) properties on its website. Starting with a minimum investment of $10,000, retail investors now have the ability to acquire interest in the HomeUnion Fix-and-Flip Fund. The fund enables consumers to invest in SFR assets acquired for fix-and-flip purposes in seven HomeUnion markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh and Tampa.

Upstart tests buyer appetite with riskier loans, more sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online lender Upstart is the latest marketplace loan company to broaden the risk profile of its ABS, announcing a deal this week offering more subordinate bonds and backed by a higher proportion of longer term loans.

The California-based lender, founded by ex-Google employees, uses an underwriting model which incorporates data points beyond borrowers’ FICO scores, utilizing other factors such as schools attended, areas of study, academic performance and work history.

Is low pay hurting banks in the battle for tech talent? (American Banker), Rated: A

Conversations about pay in the banking industry typically focus on whether executives at the top are paid too much or workers at the bottom are paid too little.

But new data available as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act is drawing rare attention to the compensation of employees in the middle. In what will become an annual exercise, publicly traded U.S. companies are now required to disclose annually the median pay of their employees.

Information and Data Integrity: A Two-Way Street (Lendit), Rated: A

For many businesses, data is an important aspect of decision management. When you are choosing with whom to do business, you rely on the validity of data to guide you. If it proves faulty, you may be steered into accepting bad customers or rejecting good ones, which can seriously affect your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can be equally harmful—leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of services or products or worse, flagged as potentially fraudulent.

Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, an integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes. TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information—including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data—that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Choosing Personal Loans (Lendit), Rated: A

When it comes to millennial spending habits, it looks as though they’re rounding a corner to a new kind of credit. With the vast treasure trove of accumulated data available, credit bureaus like TransUnion are seeing spikes in personal loans compared to Generation X’s spending habits in the early 2000s. It’s a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture a demographic that expects more from their lender.

The Overarching Trends

The newly minted adults of Generation Z are at the very beginning of their financial journey, but millennials are at the age where they’re expected to make major purchases. As they struggle with the economy and student debt, they’re making different financial choices along the way.

Adopting New Technology

Lenders are turning to financial technology (fintech) to help peddle their products, which millennials are all too happy to use. Ironically, applying for a personal loan without the face-to-face connection can be far more attractive than the traditional application process.

A Decline in Credit Card Usage

Right or wrong, credit cards have long been linked to perpetual debt in many people’s minds. In 2009, the CARD Act was introduced to place stricter limits on the marketing of credit cards at college campuses. Debit cards have become more of the rule as opposed to the exception, leaping from 8 billion transactions in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015.

Small Business Confidence Is Up, What Does that Mean? (Lendit), Rated: A

The year 2017 saw small business owners across the United States grow more optimistic about the future than they’ve ever been—at least since the creation of the Optimism Index by the NFIB in the 70s.  “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Tax Bill Could be a Boon for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations are all examples of what are called pass-through businesses; and make up roughly 95 percent of all U.S. businesses. They also happen to be many of our customers at OnDeck, and other online small business lenders. One of the main components of the new tax bill is a 20 percent tax deduction for those businesses, where business owners can “shield” 20 percent of their business income from flowing through to their personal income tax returns.

Cincinnati-based financial tech startup raises $ 1.2 million (Cincinnati Business Courier), Rated: B

A Cincinnati-based financial tech startup that aims to help users secure low-dollar loans without having to resort to a payday lender raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

Mayor proposes employee loans to offset predatory lenders (Santa Fe New Mexican), Rated: B

A few months after a new annual 175 percent cap on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico went into effect, Mayor Alan Webber is proposing a short-term loan program to help municipal workers avoid payday lending businesses viewed as predatory by consumer advocates.

BlockFi Gives Hodlers Another Option to Borrow Against Crypto Assets (BitcoinMagazine), Rated: B

Options for borrowing and lending with cryptocurrencies are on the rise. One of the latest start-ups to join the likes of SALT and Unchained Capital is BlockFi, a New York City–based startup that issues loans backed by bitcoin and ether to individuals, companies and institutions in 35 U.S. states.

BlockFi takes cryptocurrency as collateral, offering interest rates on loans of around 12 percent. This is generally lower than unsecured loans and higher than loans secured with traditional assets such as securities or real estate.

eBus to offer visitors financial advice, credit reports (The Repository), Rated: B

The eBus is a mobile classroom which is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations. On the bus, visitors can request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive a personalized evaluation of finances; receive internet banking and bill pay demonstrations; speak with nonprofits about housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; and conduct online job searches.

United Kingdom

Scots ‘side businesses’ generate £1.7bn a year (The Scotsman), Rated: A

More than 500,000 people living in Scotland have started a side business, generating a collective £1.7 billion a year out of more than £33bn UK-wide, according to new research.

Online lender Sunny said many of those north of the Border turning to side businesses are doing so to help with the cost of bills, savings and debts, and bring in an average of £272 a month on top of their main income.

That represents a 20 per cent increase from when they first started their business.

China

China’s P2P lenders brace for renewed regulatory crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China will soon be rolling out new licensing requirements for p2p lenders; The system will kick off in April with approvals slated to come at the end of this month, but many lenders aren’t aware of the filing process; in 2016 and 2017 many p2p lenders shut down and according to data there are around 2,000 remaining; it is expected that many of the 2,000 will not pass the new requirements; the new rules won’t allow platforms to guarantee loan payments and also limit loans to individuals and businesses; it will also require that platforms use custodian banks.

China Rapid Finance Executives Selected to Speak at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that the Company will participate as a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming LendIt Fintech USA 2018, to be held between Apr 9th and 11th in San Francisco, California.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On March 28th, cross-border payment company iPayLinks announced that it had completed, at the beginning of this year, a hundreds of million-yuan B1 round of financing led by Tencent and followed by Legend Capital.

NIFA Issues a Self-Discipline Convention for Debt-Collection Practitioners

The five-chapter convention is mainly applying to regulate the behavior of overdue debt collection within the Internet Finance industry by establishing several basic principles (e.g. observing laws and regulations, prudential regulations, protecting privacy, and strict self-discipline). In other words, the document outlines a framework of debt-collection regulation in terms of discredited punishment, business management, personnel management, information management, outsourcing management, and complaints.

China’s internet lenders fall foul of data privacy rules (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than half of Chinese internet finance lenders are failing to comply with data privacy regulations, research has found, raising risks for investors as China steps up the implementation of laws to protect consumer data.

The breaches include collecting phone numbers from users’ contact lists, which can be used to mount harassment campaigns and shame users into repaying debts.

The survey of 200 finance apps by Renmin University and Nandu Personal Data Protection Research Centre, a Beijing think-tank, ranked 111 apps as having “low” compliance.

It found that almost half — 95 apps — wanted to read users’ text messages, while 97 of them wanted access to users’ contact lists, despite such access not being necessary for the app’s functioning.

International

How retailers are growing their financial services capabilities (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon isn’t the only retailer encroaching on the financial services space. It may be the scariest — just the rumor of it entering a company’s space will send its stock price down — but ultimately, Amazon only cares about getting more buyers and more sellers to join its platform.

Overstock’s Raj Karkara, vp of loyalty and financial services, echoed that sentiment earlier this year, saying that offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers is a natural extension of its retail function of buying and selling consumer goods.

Rakuten
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and has slowly been growing outside of the country. It has a footprint in media, video-on-demand, mobile messaging, e-books, travel, fashion, marketing and even sports. It also operates the largest online bank in the country.

Overstock
For the past few months, e-commerce company Overstock.com has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing; and, most recently, a discounted trading platform.

Sainsbury (and Tesco)
Amazon may not be interested in becoming a bank but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed in stealing customer attention from them. The U.K.’s largest grocers have all opened banks attached to their brands —  Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

ETHLend (LEND) Token – Will It Go Down After Kyber Network Partnership? (Hot Stocked), Rated: A

ETHLend has recently partnered up with Kyber Network. The ETHLend (LEND) Token has reached a market capitalization of 45.69 Million US dollars in the last 24 hours. The token traded 9.50%higher against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours ending at 10:30 AM EDTon April 2nd. That rise might be as a result of the partnership. ETHLend aims to become another decentralized and secure financial marketplace, but targeting peer to peer lending agreements via Blockchain and Smart Contracts.

Source CoinMarketCap

 

Australia

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN AUSTRALIA: SHOULD YOU SEEK FINANCE FROM A BANK OR AN ONLINE LENDER? (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Considering the small business sector employs nearly half the national workforce and contributes around $380 billion to Australia’s GDP [1], it’s easy to see why it’s frequently referred to as the ‘engine room’ of the economy.

Like all engine rooms, the sector requires sufficient fuel – in this case, working and growth capital – to not only keep running but also accelerate. However, poor access to capital remains a significant barrier to small businesses, accounting for a majority of failures in the sector.

Part of the reason is that banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses in circumstances where the borrower doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security – especially if a short-term loan is sought.

APRA rejected CBA home loan data as inaccurate and incomplete (Financial Review), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank was being pressured by the prudential regulator to appoint external consultants and fix its flawed home lending data almost 2½ years before the Hayne royal commission began exposing the big four for sloppy administrative errors and irresponsible lending.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s frustration with the failure of Australia’s biggest home lender to accurately identify what proportion of its loans were taken out by property investors and its level of exposure to big borrowers has been revealed in evidence tendered to the banking royal commission and published in a massive dump of more than 100 documents late last week.

India

Interest rates on unsecured instant loans are high (LiveMint), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions and fintech companies have launched multiple small credit products in India in the past 1-3 years. It is now possible to get loans even on your mobile phone. But how do you pay for this convenience?

P2P lending platform

Peer-to-peer lending companies such as Faircent, i2ifunding and Lendbox connect lenders and borrowers on their platforms. Usually, the lender is an individual and not a financial institution. The interest rates are between 15% and 36% per annum and the loan amount can range from Rs50,000 to Rs5 lakh. The interest rate is decided based on the credit profile of the customer. Usually, the P2P lending companies take into account your Cibil credit score. The loan tenure is 3 months to 24 months.

Fintech eco-system is moving to blockchain and AI: Rajat Gandhi, Faircent (Economic Times), Rated: A

A lot of players have come into the fintech space. There are wallet players, then there are PPI, P2B, crowdsourcing and other payment players as well. So, regulation is one of the key challenges the private players are going through. What is your take on it?

Surprisingly, the Indian regulators, I would say, are strict. You can see the example of NBFC P2P licences regulation. It is a good rule-based model. In fact, the players themselves were pushing for some kind of regulation because financial markets need them. It’s not like e-commerce or running a taxi where the risks are not that high.

India’s Finzy Raises $ 1.3 Mln At Pre Series A Funding (Reuters), Rated: A

Finzy, India’s fastest growing peer to peer lending platform, has raised USD 1.3 million in first round of Pre Series A from investors in the industry. A second round of fundraising is expected to close with pre-identified set of investors within the next 60 days.

Latin American

Brazilian Loan Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 3.6 million in Series A Funding Round (PR Newwire), Rated: AAA

FinanZero is a leading marketplace for consumer loans in Brazil. The business is an independent broker for loans, negotiating the customer’s loan application with several banks and credit institutions, to find the loan with the best interest rate and terms for the consumer. FinanZero handles the lending process from start to finish.

The Series A round was led by Swedish publicly listed investment company, Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation by other Swedish investors, including Webrock Ventures and Zentro Founders.

Africa

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future success (Financial Times), Rated: A

Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. We are already seeing huge breakthroughs in digital banking and the adoption of fintech-based services by Nigerian consumers — be they retail or business customers. But this expansion must be encouraged by policies that will see greater inclusion of women and rural communities into mainstream banking activity.

Asia

Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Viva Republica is the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea. Since the 2015 launch of its simple peer-to-peer payments app Toss, banks are finally revamping their user experiences and customers have easier access to financial products. South Korea’s mobile payments have more than quadrupled in that time to $4.6 billion, according to Bank of Korea data.

The startup, funded at $76 million, hasn’t stopped there. After PayPal joined a $48 million investment in Toss in March, Toss has grown from a simple money-transfer app to a diverse consumer-finance platform generating Viva Republica’s $20 million in expected revenue in 2017. Toss thus joins Asia’s ranks of fast-growing mobile P2P payment services, reaching a $12 billion transaction volume in 2017.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

What Investors Should Know About Non-Bank Lenders

nonbank lenders

Investors looking to add private debt and private equity to their portfolios may feel overwhelmed by all the choices. From peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding, there are countless industry players across a wide range of alternative lending and financing models, serving everyone from individual borrowers to small and medium-sized businesses. Any funding model ultimately comes down […]

nonbank lenders

Investors looking to add private debt and private equity to their portfolios may feel overwhelmed by all the choices. From peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding, there are countless industry players across a wide range of alternative lending and financing models, serving everyone from individual borrowers to small and medium-sized businesses.

Any funding model ultimately comes down to matching the needs of those who want capital with those who can supply capital. Typically, banks or other large financial institutions would act as the intermediary between investors and borrowers or entrepreneurs. But with many banks pulling back after the financial crisis, and the internet making it easier than ever to play matchmaker, the alternative finance universe is attracting more and more capital.

However, there is still broad-based confusion among both institutional and retail investors about the differences between the various alternative funding models. This confusion is exacerbated by how often the terminology is used interchangeably in the media and the larger financial community. The truth is that each funding model has distinct nuances, rewards and challenges, and it’s important for investors and their financial advisors to understand the differences before incorporating alternative lending or financing into an investment portfolio.

In general, these models can be broken down as either debt or equity investments, with a similar risk-reward profile as any other debt or equity investment.

DEBT (lower risk, lower reward)

Peer-to-peer lending

In a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending model, an individual or business borrows from an outside source or sources – a “peer” – rather than a bank. This process is facilitated through a third party, such as an online platform, which makes it easier to aggregate enough peers to fund the loan. These loans typically come with fixed terms and set repayment schedules. Many loans will also include details about the borrower—such as their income, credit score, occupation, and risk level—to help the “peers” (or lenders) determine whether to fund the loan and at what amount. Examples of peer-to-peer loans include consumer loans, student loans, small business loans, and fix and flip loans on single family homes.

Investors can get into the peer-to-peer lending market by purchasing the whole loan, a fractional interest in a loan or building a portfolio of fractional and/or whole loans. Investors then collect the proceeds of each loan payment, with the peer-to-peer lender taking a fee to cover the costs of running the platform. While even the most creditworthy borrowers may default on their loans, investors can mitigate this risk by building a diversified portfolio that includes multiple loans across different risk spectrums. Investors should also consider if the P2P loans they are investing in are unsecured or have some form of collateral securing the loan. Consumer and student loans tend to be unsecured, while small business and fix and flip loans tend to be secured.

Marketplace lending

Marketplace lending is another term used to further describe peer-to-peer lending. While the two terms are used interchangeably, an important differentiator is the source of capital. Whereas P2P lending platforms tend to rely on a group of small retail investors or large institutional investors to fund loans, marketplace lenders prefer to first pre-fund loans and then offer them to investors.

The marketplace lending model, therefore, offers qualified borrowers a guarantee that their loan will be funded within a specific timeframe, which may be an important consideration for some borrowers. For example, while a consumer borrower may be willing to wait until his loan is assessed and funded by multiple peers, a borrower looking to finance a real estate transaction has a closing date that must be met otherwise he will lose his down payment.

Direct lending/balance sheet business lending

In contrast to marketplace or peer-to-peer lending models, a direct lender will rely on its own balance sheet or proprietary access to funds as its primary source of capital. Instead of having to find enough retail and institutional investor capital to match the needs of borrowers, a direct lender can look to its unrestricted access of funds before making a lending decision.

The advantage of this approach is that the direct lender is better positioned to survive a potential downturn since each of the loans on its balance sheet represents a piece of collateral that can be used to offset any potential losses. Investors in these loans will therefore have a better opportunity to allocate capital in all market cycles. Many direct lenders may also manage a fund for accredited investors that consists of a portfolio of some, but not all, of the loans made by the lender.

EQUITY (higher risk, higher reward)

Crowdfunding

In the crowdfunding model, investors are given the opportunity to provide seed capital in up-and-coming products and businesses. Capital is provided in several forms including equity, preferred equity, mezzanine debt and senior debt . While equity stakes are typically small—often less than 1%—even a modest upfront investment can generate a large eventual payoff if the company is successful. This is particularly true of technology start-ups, which can grow quickly if their product or service is well received among customers.

This model is also popular in the arts and entertainment industries. For example, people might choose to fund an independently produced movie, music album or play in exchange for a small piece of revenues and/or additional perks like attending rehearsals and premiere parties, meeting the artist, or receiving a memento from the set. In real estate, crowdfunding is most typically used by developers seeking to raise money to fund development or redevelopment projects.

Investors should find out if the crowdfunder is providing equity and debt on the same project. This is critical should a recovery plan need to be put in place if the project does not go as expected. Typically, equity investors want to hold on and wait for an increase in value , while debt investors want to liquidate immediately in hopes of recovering their investment. A crowdfunder that is representing both equity and debt investors in the same project will have a conflict of interest. In addition, these investments also tend to be fairly illiquid, so investors should tread carefully. While these early stage equity investments could potentially pay off handsomely, there’s always the risk that the company or project is a flop.

Initial coin offerings

An initial coin offering, or ICO, is a brand-new type of funding model that is attracting many of the same types of companies that previously relied on crowdfunding. However, instead of acquiring an equity stake in the company, investors in ICOs receive cryptocurrency coins, like Bitcoin or Ether, which are redeemable for cash on certain exchanges. The idea is that as the company grows and becomes more valuable, the coins will also become more valuable.

Since ICOs are still loosely regulated, investors should take extra precautions when evaluating a crypto-related investment opportunity. While a business idea may sound great on paper, investors should look for growth signs like recurring revenues and a large potential market.

These five models only scrape the surface of the full universe of funding options for individuals and businesses. A company or a funding model doesn’t always fit neatly into a box either, and investors should take care to understand how each funding platform generates revenue and where its capital comes from.

When choosing which segment of the market to pursue, investors and advisors should also consider their risk tolerance, which will help determine whether a debt or equity investment is most appropriate, and at what scale.

Author:

Written by Evan Gentry, CEO of Money360.

Thursday February 1 2018, Daily News Digest

software hacks

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi lays off 5% of workforce. BlueVine doubles invoice financing credit lines. Chime reaches 750K bank accounts, $2.5B transaction volume. SoftBank injects funding into Moven, who could be buying a bank. Zopa hits 3B GBP in lending. Crowd Genie kicks off ICO. Today’s main analysis: Coincheck’s recent hack could mean big changes in crypto lending, […]

software hacks

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Bermuda

News Summary

United States

SoFi Lays Off 5% of Staff (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The San Francisco-based financial-technology company told staffers on Tuesday it is cutting around 65 jobs, roughly 5% of its 1,300-person workforce, the people said. The layoffs are centered in SoFi’s mortgage-operations centers in Healdsburg, Calif., and Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

He added that SoFi is currently looking to fill more than 175 open jobs.

‘A 401(k) of the future’: How SoFi wants to grow student loan refinancing with WeWork (Tearsheet), Rated: A

SoFi wants to sell its loan refinancing products to WeWork and its member companies by offering them an additional 0.125 percent discount.

growing number of companies have been adding student loan repayment as a workplace benefit. With $1.4 trillion in outstanding federal and private student loans, it’s a huge market.

SoFi’s Top 20 Law Schools Producing the Highest Salary Averages (JDJournal), Rated: A

SoFi examined the salary earned upon graduation from different law schools compared to the cost of the education. They looked at 60,000 student loan refinancing applications that had been submitted to them between January 2014 and December 2016. They took that data and formed SoFi’s Return on Education (ROED) Law School Rankings. The ranking uses the average salary and student debt load of the graduates three years out of law school that is reported to them by graduates looking to refinance their loans.

The top 20 law schools with the highest average salaries are:

  1. Cornell University – $183,377
  2. Columbia University – $177,962
  3. New York University – $177,203
  4. University of Chicago – $174,238
  5. Harvard University – $173,578
  6. Georgetown University – $173,464
  7. Northwestern University – $173,204
  8. Yale University – $171,779
  9. University of Pennsylvania – $170,954
  10. Duke University – $169,096
  11. University of Virginia – $166,396
  12. University of Michigan Ann Arbor – $164,713
  13. University of California Berkeley – $163,940
  14. University of Southern California – $161,823
  15. Fordham University – $160,590
  16. Stanford University – $158,088
  17. George Washington University – $153,302
  18. University of California Los Angeles – $152,469
  19. Vanderbilt University – $149,475
  20. University of Texas at Austin – $147,444

BlueVine doubles invoice financing credit lines to up to $ 5 million (Finextra), Rated: AAA

BlueVine has doubled the credit line size for its invoice factoring product to up to $5 million, underscoring the online business lender’s push to offer fast and flexible working capital financing to small and medium-sized businesses.

BlueVine also increased the limit for its business line of credit product to $200,000 from $150,000, making its Flex Credit product an even more attractive financing option for larger or fast-growing companies.

Court upholds constitutionality of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Politico), Rated: A

A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure, a decision that preserves the agency’s independence in the face of challenges from business interests and conservatives.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 7-3 on Wednesday that a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that limits the president’s ability to remove the CFPB director during his or her five-year term does not violate the president’s authority to appoint and remove executive branch officers.

Chime Reaches 750,000 Bank Accounts, $ 2.5 Billion Transaction Volume (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Chime is on track to open more than 100,000 bank accounts per month and expects to reach 1 million total this quarter. With more than 750,000 bank accounts opened to date and over $2.5 billion in total transaction volume, Chime has emerged as the clear leader in the challenger banking segment.

While most Americans pay more than $27 a month on average in bank fees, Chime doesn’t charge overdraft fees, monthly fees or foreign transaction fees. With its award-winning mobile banking app, Chime members avoided more than $225 million in potential overdraft fees from traditional banks in 2017 alone, while putting over $72 million into savings accounts with help from Chime’s automated savings tools.

Moven to receive funding from SoftBank, plans to buy bank (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Moven, the mobile-first “neobank” founded by Brett King in 2011, is getting a multi-million dollar infusion from the Japanese company SBI Group, owner of SoftBank. At the same time, Moven says it is pursuing the acquisition of a bank.

SBI Group will hold one of the six seats on Moven’s board, and the two companies will set up a joint venture in Japan.

At the same time, Moven is making major changes to its overall business, including splitting the company in two.

On one side will be the software provider that already develops digital banking software for TD Bank in Canada and Westpac in New Zealand.

On the other side will be the neobank, which will be called MovenBank.

Is Marcus Going to Launch a Credit Card? (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Ainsley Harris reported in Fast Company today that Goldman Sachs is acquiring the employees who built Final, a credit card startup based in Oakland. Final offered a unique kind of credit card, one that would create a different virtual card number for every merchant, thereby reducing the risk of credit card fraud.

It has been a busy couple of years for Goldman Sachs when it comes to their consumer facing business. This latest deal follows a long list of acquisitions for Goldman recently:

  1. Acquisition of GE Capital Bank – this jumpstarted GS Bank giving it a huge deposit base.
  2. Acquisition of Honest Dollar – the digital retirement savings app was acquired in March 2016.
  3. Launch of Marcus with debt consolidation loans.
  4. Acquisition of Genesis Capital – not really consumer facing but could add a real estate development arm to the bank.
  5. Bond Street – employees of the online small business lender moved to Goldman Sachs.
  6. Addition of home improvement loans to the Marcus offerings.

Why big financial firms are building robos instead of white labeling (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In November, Wells Fargo launched Intuitive Investor, its digital-human hybrid offering from Wells Fargo Advisors. The following month Morgan Stanley launched Access Investing and JPMorgan Chase launched JPMorgan Digital Investing. Goldman Sachs, Raymond James, YF Financial and ICBC are all currently developing their own.

The start of the robo phenomenon was meant to address small, do-it-yourself investors, said Tom Streiff, special consultant to HBW Partners.

“A lot of these big firms have a lot more small accounts than they’re willing to admit,” he said. “Robos were one answer to that. Now they want to have something that has more of their own mark on it … not just to get the technology but to get the smart people inside.”

Typically, the white label provider will take 15 basis points of the total and leave the rest to the bank for distribution, Saxena said. Pricing from independent players, like Betterment or Wealthfront, is competitive.

SmartBiz Loans Launches AI-powered Digital Advisor Tool for Small Business Owners (Digital Journal), Rated: A

SmartBiz Loans, the SBA loan marketplace and bank-enabling technology platform, today announced the launch of SmartBiz Advisor, the first, AI-driven, online education tool that makes the financial insights and analysis provided by a typical CFO available to small businesses at no cost.

SmartBiz Advisor is an intelligent online platform that allows small business owners to easily and quickly learn how banks typically evaluate their business on key criteria before applying for a loan.

The Future of Real Estate, Part 2: A Crowdfunding Revolution? (GuruFocus), Rated: A

A well-managed crowdfunding platform should provide a range of deals, after having done sufficient due diligence itself so as to not place potential investors in financial jeopardy, and itself in legal jeopardy. When dealing in investment assets, whether equity or real estate, investors are still expected to be sophisticated and have the means to weather losses that are part and parcel with any private investment deal.

A growing cast of players

Interestingly, even as equity crowdfunding in startup companies has been slow to take off (Indiegogo’s platform raised just $7.53 million in equity investments during its first year of operation), real estate crowdfunding platforms have been popping up like weeds. RealtyMogul.com, for example, has an investor community of 150,000 people that have invested $318 million through its platform since it went live in 2012. The crowdfunder claims to have returned $70 million to investors thus far. RealtyShares, founded in 2013, has also posted big numbers, with platform users reportedly investing $700 million across more than a thousand deals.

A new breed of of private REIT

Private REITs are obviously opaque and potentially dangerous, but the crowdfunding platform has forged ahead all the same. Perhaps, with their interactive dashboards and high levels of investor transparency, these crowdfunded REITs will be able to correct some of the ills of their less technologically sophisticated forebears.

This College Grad Found an Affordable Way to Start Investing in Real Estate (The Penny Hoarder), Rated: A

The Fundrise Starter Portfolio would invest her money into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States. It would do all the heavy lifting for her — and play landlord on her behalf.

She didn’t need to have hundreds of thousands of dollars stashed away, either. She could get started with a minimum investment of just $500.

Fundrise lists an average annualized return of 11.44% in 2017. Investors pay 1% in annual fees — a 0.85% asset-management fee and a 0.15% investment advisory fee.

Breaking down the barriers of real estate investment: A Q&A with Peter Vekselman from WeLend (AtlantaAgent), Rated: A

Q: What sort of problems were you experiencing when it came to financing real estate projects?

The problem is that behind the scenes the money is handled by hedge funds. All of the hedge funds on Wall Street do their own thing and no one knows who they are. So what happens is you have a potential investor and the first problem for them is finding the financing.

Q: How exactly does We Lend work, and how does it help solve some of the problems previously mentioned?

I’ve consolidated and cut deals to put all the hedge funds under one roof, so now investors don’t have to go through this huge undertaking to find the funds. They can came to us, and we can underwrite them and then figure out on the back end the best match.

It’s like LendingTree for the investor world.

Q: What types of projects and people does We Lend work with?

We work with small developers or a mom-and-pop builder that does five properties a year. And we mainly work with residential properties only because there are more residential opportunities than anything else.

In terms of price points, we try to stay as low as $50,000 per project.

On Deck Welcomes Paul Rosen & James Hobson As Two New Senior Vice Presidents (OnDeck), Rated: A

Today, On Deck announced the appointments of Paul Rosen as Senior Vice President of Sales and James Hobson as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Platform Solutions.

Santander Consumer USA And AutoFi Team Up To Provide Car Buyers And Dealers With Fast And Easy Online Sales And Financing (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SC, or the Company) today announced that it will work with automotive technology leader AutoFi to streamline and simplify the car-buying process for consumers, while giving dealers a robust digital sales channel.

Climb Credit Reveals A Solution To Student Lending Crisis (Climb Credit Email), Rated: A

A few key findings include:

  • The median student saw a 66.7% salary increase
  • For Climb students who have held two different jobs since attending their program, there is a median pay increase of 38.9% from the first to the second job
  • Nearly three out of four students surveyed said they would not have been able to attend their education program if they didn’t have Climb Credit as a financing option

House Approves New Payday Loan With 200 Percent Interest Rate (Indiana Public Media), Rated B

The Indiana House approved legislation Wednesday to create a new type of payday loan – with interest rates of up to 200 percent – that opponents argue amounts to predatory lending.

The legislation creates a loan of between about $600 and $1,500, with a term of up to 12 months.

Consumers warned not to borrow from unlicensed online lenders (International Falls Journal), Rated: B

The Minnesota Commerce Department warns Minnesota consumers not to borrow money from unlicensed lenders that advertise and offer short-term, payday or installment loans through the internet.

United Kingdom

Zopa hits £3bn lending landmark (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA said that it now has more than 60,000 active investors and more than 300,000 borrowers.

It has now lent out more than £3bn since inception, Zopa said on its website on Wednesday, having lent more than £985m in the past 12 months.

Investors are lending on average £13,000 while the average loan amount is £6,000.

China

Chinese internet users grow to 772 million (Technode), Rated: AAA

China now has 772 million internet users according to a report published by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) today (in Chinese).

Growth rates of internet users have remained steady. During 2017, a total of 40.74 million new netizens were added with a growth rate of 5.6%. Internet penetration rates have reached 55.8% in China, more than the global average (51.7%) and the average rates for Asia (46.7%).

The number of mobile phone users in China has reached an impressive 753 million. The proportion of internet users using mobile phones rose from 95.1% in 2016 to 97.5% in 2017.

Since the end of 2016, the proportion of internet users that pay with their phones rose from 50.3% to 65.5%.

There was another number that went up at an impressive rate. The number of internet users buying internet financial products in China has reached 129 million, up 30.2% from the same period last year.

Alibaba-backed online lender MYbank owes cost-savings to home-made tech (Reuters), Rated: A

MYbank expects double-digit increases in all growth measures in 2017 due to lower costs enabled by technology, the bank’s president, Huang Hao, said in an interview at his office in Hangzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

As a result, the cost of approving a small business loan can be as little as 2 yuan, compared to at least 2,000 yuan ($317.97) at a traditional bank, according to data provided by the bank.

European Union

Remarks by Vice-President Dombrovskis at the European Financial Forum 2018 in Dublin (Europa.eu), Rated: AAA

 

Our immediate priority is to complete the Banking Union. For this, we should move in parallel on risk reduction and risk sharing. All elements are on the table. On risk reduction, this includes our November 2016 bank reform package and our ongoing work to reduce Non-Performing Loans. On the risk sharing side, we recently came with ideas on how to unblock negotiations on the European Deposit Insurance Scheme. And we have broad support to finalise the work on the backstop for the Single Resolution Fund. So the time is ripe to move at political level on completing the Banking Union.

The second immediate priority for deepening the EMU is setting up the Capital Markets Union. Deeper capital markets across Europe will increase risk-sharing among private investors and improve the shock-absorption capacity of the economy. In the past three years, we have taken fundamental steps towards deeper and more integrated EU capital markets. Of the 33 actions we announced in 2015, 25 have now been completed.

One strength of Ireland’s financial sector is asset management. As of September last year, Irish fund managers had more than €4.2 trillion assets under management. A true Capital Markets Union would enable Irish fund managers to further benefit from the full scale of the single market. In March of this year, revised rules for the EU venture capital label – EuVECA – will enter into application. Large managers can then run EuVECA funds, providing economies of scale and trusted brands. We have also expanded the range of eligible assets, and decreased the costs associated with cross-border marketing.

We are also looking more broadly at the rules for offering funds across the EU. This market is still predominantly organised along national lines. For example, 70% of the assets under management are held by funds available for sale in only one EU country. The share of alternative investment funds that is marketed in more than three countries is very low – only 3%.

Europe has what it takes to develop a globally competitive Fintech sector. We can rely on our strengths in research and engineering. For example, we have 32 artificial intelligence research institutions in the world top 100, which is more than the US or China. I also see great Fintech potential here in Ireland, with its strong information technology culture.

We will also present a legislative proposal to enable EU-wide crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.

The future of finance will not only be digital, it will also have to be green.

• Third, we could boost green investments and loans by introducing a so-called green supporting factor. This could be done at first stage by lowering capital requirements for certain climate-friendly investments, such as energy-efficient mortgages or low-carbon cars. However, this exercise would be delicate. Green does not mean risk-free. Any measures would have to be carefully calibrated, and based on a clear EU classification.

CreditEase Founder, CEO Ning Tang Spoke at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: B

CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading financial technology conglomerate specializing in inclusive finance and wealth management, announced that its Founder and CEO, Mr Ning Tang, participated and spoke at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

Under the central theme of “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”, this year’s meeting has drawn an estimated 2,500 participants, including a record number of heads of state and leaders from politics, business, academia, and civil society.

“Technology has greatly improved access to financial services for Chinese consumers and small businesses in the past decade, and we expect more progress to be made in the SME lending space with the help of FinTech in coming years,” said Mr Tang. “Financial services like angel investing and VC/PE, powered by technology, will bring more high-quality growth to the Chinese economy.”

International

IOU Financial partners with CDE solutions in funding CDE’S network of 26,000 convenience store owners (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), an online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Marietta, GA-based POS solutions provider CDE (CDEsolutions.com).  Through this strategic partnership, CDE’s network of 26,000 convenience store owners nationwide will be able to access IOU’s fast, convenient, non-collateral funding solutions.

Crebit: Blockchain DLT in wave of transforming P2P financing (NewsBTC), Rated: A

Adopting Blockchain and DLT for P2P lending system can facilitate capital mobilization within the financial system through flat-out transfer of monetary values from parties unrestricted by barriers-to-entry. Thus, the potential for P2P lending in support of free international financial flows remains vastly untapped.

Ipsos MORI veracity Index shows 75% of investors complain about banks data provision, but rather P2P investment groups maintain a credible and transparent operation.

Crebit is a blockchain-empowered network provider that offers global microfinance lending collateralized by crypto assets, based on the artificial intelligence credit scoring system. This microfinancing solution leverages blockchain technology to finance through top cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple against up to 80% of investors collateralized crypto assets value. Crebit leads the way into crypto financing by building P2P lending agreements on smart contracts in the secured and decentralized Ethereum blockchain. The platform matches funding gaps for crypto holders, traders as well as multiple exchanges and transaction solutions. Crebit aims to provide businesses and individuals a decentralized credit scoring database for innovative and trustless transaction solutions unrestricted by geographical boundaries.

Australia

Trial by fire in an untested market (CMO.com.au), Rated: AAA

But this is precisely why Rebecca James, Prospa’s new chief marketing and enterprise officer, took the job almost five months ago.

“In just five years, the team has lent over $500m. But there are 2.1 million small businesses in Australia, and over half need cashflow support to take advantage of opportunities, to grow, or to cover an unexpected cost. My hope is to take the Prospa proposition and meet the growing needs of this audience. We’re just getting started.”

Launched six years ago, Prospa is now Australia’s number one online lender for small business, providing loans to more than 12,000 small businesses across the country. In November, it placed second in the AFRFast 100 for 2017 thanks to a 239 per cent average revenue growth since 2013-14. Last year, Prospa secured over $50m in equity and debt funding, and doubled the size of its loan book.

Online Cash Flow Loans Australia Announces Unsecured Cash Flows Loans Up To $ 500k (PRWire), Rated: A

Online Cash Flow Loans is a fast emerging player in the online cash flow loans marketplace. The organization is an arm of Magnolia Finance that specializes in offering low cost business loans to small businesses in Australia.

These cash flow loans are tailored to meet the growing business finance needs of businesses operating in the hospitality, retail, construction, medical and agribusiness. Basically any small business operating in Australian and in need of unsecured business loans can apply for business loan online on the company website.

Loan terms from 3 to 24 months
Same day funding
Flexible repayment options
Redraw facility available
India

Budget Reaction Rajat Gandhi, Founder & CEO, Faircent. com (Faircent Email), Rated: AAA

Hon. Finance minister budget speech reflects the government’s intent to increase the credit access for the MSME sector and women entrepreneurs under MUDRA scheme. P2P lending is using technology and new-age data and diligently working towards taking organised credit to the non and under-banked segments of the Indian economy. This is an opportunity for the government to directly invest or co-fund through registered P2P Lending Platforms and ensure credit access for MSMEs, New-To-Credit as well as female entrepreneurs. P2P lending is an asset class ensuring flow of investments from those with surplus to those in need. Hence it’s important that the lenders are supported through tax incentives. We look forward to working with the govt towards common goal of financial inclusion.

The popular FinTech platforms serving MSMEs in India (KNN India), Rated: A

Keeping in view the credit crunch faced by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector in India due to various reasons, new FinTech platforms are coming up to improve loan disbursal to the sector.

According to a media report, there are four popular FinTech platforms that are helping in robust loan disbursal – CreditMantri, Aye Finance, CoinTribe and Faircent.

P2P Lending Set to Explode in 2018 And Beyond (CXO Today), Rated: B

RBI’s much awaited official guidelines for Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platforms to bring them into the ambit of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is set to boost online lending. It is fast emerging as an investment option for retail lenders.

Asia

MAS Regulated Peer to Peer Lender Crowd Genie Announces Initial Coin Offering (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie Financial Services Pte Ltd, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has announced an initial coin offering (ICO) via their related entity CGSPV Pte. Ltd. The peer to peer lender states that it intends on issuing 60 million Crowd Genie Coins, or CGCoins, for a soft cap of USD $5 million. The public sale commences today and 400 CGCoins may be purchased for a single ETH. Bonus CGCOINs, between an additional 5% and 25%, will be given to early buyers as an incentive.

Coincheck’s recent hack could mean big changes in the crypto space (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck revealed on Friday that its 

Source: Business Insider

Online lenders join gold rush into SE Asia (Ecns.cn), Rated: A

Chinese online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies have been rushing into Southeast Asian countries in recent months to cash in on untapped and lightly regulated markets that feature huge potential, as growth in the domestic market slows amid tightening regulations.

While much of Southeast Asia offers a promising future for these lenders given its huge population and underdeveloped financial services industry, most of the Chinese companies are betting on short-term gains rather than long-term growth, an industry expert noted on Wednesday.

Over 50 Chinese online lenders have launched overseas operations, with Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Cambodia being the top destinations, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Wednesday.

In Indonesia alone, there are more than 50 Chinese consumer lending apps at the moment, up from 30 just a month ago, the report said.

Here are the new services launched by startups in Indonesia this week (e27), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Investree on Tuesday officially launched a sharia-based P2P lending programme.

The programme has been tested since November 2017. The startup claied that by January it has managed to channel IDR2.7 billion (US$200,000) worth of loan from 1,340 lenders to 313 borrowers.

Bermuda

Peer-to-Peer Lending & Equity Crowdfunding (Bernews), Rated: AAA

A Bermudian expert on information technology, asset and risk management tools is today celebrating the global launch of her book on peer-to-peer lending and the securities crowd funding industry.

“The book, entitled ‘Peer-to-Peer Lending and Equity Crowdfunding: A Guide to the New Capital Markets for Job Creators, Investors and Entrepreneurs,’ highlights the inequality gap is widening and persists worldwide,” a spokesperson said.

“The book not only describes how debt and equity crowdfunding works but also explains investment approaches, secondary markets, governance and compliance, transparency, and risk models that are necessary for investors to make informed decisions.

The book is available here.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 31 2018, Daily News Digest

eloans

News Comments Today’s main news: Spreads narrow on SoFi’s SCLP 2018-1 consumer loan ABS. DiversyFund raises $1M. Ranger Direct Lending sees arbitration delay. Klarna partners with Maplin. BNI Europa partners with Funding Circle on German SME lending. Western Union opens tech center in India. Today’s main analysis: Banco Popular reboots Eloan. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Marketplace Lending Association executive director’s testimony […]

eloans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

APAC

News Summary

United States

Spreads narrow on SoFi’s 1st consumer loan ABS of 2018 (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

Strong demand and higher credit enhancement allowed Social Finance to offer lower spreads on its first consumer loan securitization of the year, even after upsizing the deal to $850 million from $650 million originally.

Four tranches of rated were issued, resulting in an advance rate of 91%, according to a person familiar with the transaction. The amount of overcollateralization in the deal will gradually build from 9% to 16%.

Two senior tranches of notes rated AA + by KBRA were issued. The Class A-1 tranche, which has a shorter expected life, pays 50 basis points over the Eurodollar synthetic forward curve, in from 57 basis points on the comparable tranche of the previous transaction. The Class A-2 tranche pays 75 basis points over the interpolated swaps curve, in from 90 basis points on the previous deal.

 

Ranger Direct hit by arbitration delay and manager uncertainty (Citywire), Rated: AAA

The New Year rally in Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) shares has come to an abrupt halt after the listed loan fund, which is backed by fund manager Mark Barnett, said arbitration to settle the legal dispute between it and Princeton Alternative Finance had been extended by around two months.

The £119 million investment trust has been locked in an argument with Princeton, a New Jersey-based investment fund in which it is the leading investor, over its exposure to Argon Credit, a US peer-to-peer lending platform that collapsed in December 2016.

Uncertainty over the exposure to Argon – which represents 14% of its £217 million net assets – and doubts over the due diligence by its adviser Ranger Alternative Management (RAM) have hobbled the shares. They fell over 23% last year but had rallied since the end of December when they hit a record low discount of 32% below net asset value. From 704p at the start of the year they recovered to 767p last week but have dropped 4% or 31p today after yesterday’s announcement. Although still wide, the discount has narrowed to just under 13%.

Relx pays £580m for digital identity company (Financial Times), Rated: A

Relx, the UK-listed information and analytics group formerly known as Reed Elsevier, has struck its biggest deal in a decade with the £580m purchase of ThreatMetrix, an online identify verification business.

ThreatMetrix has one of “largest repositories of online digital identities”, according to UBS analysts, and has built a database containing 1.4bn unique online digital identities from 4.5bn devices in 185 countries.

GLI Finance scores £50m funding line from HoneyComb fund (AltFi), Rated: A

The funding line has a term of 3 years and comprises a £50m revolving credit facility, of which £20m will be drawn and deployed immediately.

Ezbob Raises £15M in Expansion Capital (Finsmes), Rated: A

Ezbob, a London, UK-based E-lending company, raised £15M in funding.

Da Vinci Capital Management Ltd. reportedly made the investment at a post money valuation of £100m.

Meet The Lenders That Need Your SME’s Money More Than You Need Theirs (Forbes), Rated: A

in particular, the UK’s peer-to-peer lending platforms are now crying out for new customers.

Today, however, more than 30 lending platforms, including all the large small business lenders, offer their own IFISA or are on the verge of launching a product. For investors, moreover, the returns available from these schemes looks very attractive: annual yields of 10 per cent or more in some cases look phenomenal when set against the backdrop of bank and building society accounts typically paying less than 0.5 per cent a year, even if there is a risk of losses on IFISAs if borrowers default.

Augmentum Capital to seek public listing to back fintech start-ups (Financial Times), Rated: B

Augmentum Capital, the venture group backed by Lord Rothschild, is planning to list a financial technology investment fund in what would be one of the sector’s biggest initial public offerings in a decade.

It is understood to be applying for admission to London’s main market in March and will seek to raise up to £125m with the sale of new shares.

China

China’s financial risk worse than in US before financial crisis, says former finance minister (Today Online), Rated: AAA

The level of risk facing China’s financial system could be higher than was seen in the United States before the global crash, according to a former Chinese finance minister.

“China’s ratio of M2 [a broad measure of money supply] to gross domestic product has surpassed 200 per cent, which is more than twice that of the United States, yet the average Shanghai interbank offered rate is 4.09 per cent, far higher than the 1.1 per cent in the US.”

According to official figures, the M2 money supply at the end of December was 167.68 trillion yuan (S$34.75 trillion), or 203 per cent of China’s nominal GDP in 2017.

Chinese P2P lending platform Senmiao Technology sets terms for $ 14 million US IPO (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Senmiao Technology, an early-stage Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, announced terms for its IPO on Tuesday.

The Chengdu, China-based company plans to raise $14 million by offering 3.3 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Senmiao Technology would command a market value of $109 million.

European Union

Klarna signs Maplin for online pay-later (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Today, leading payments provider Klarna has announced a partnership with Maplin – the UK’s number one specialist technology retailer. Maplin customers will now be able to use Klarna’s Pay later and Slice It services, allowing them to order online and receive the very latest Smart Home tech, security/CCTV products, top quality drones and so on, and then pay for them either at a later date or spread the cost over time.

Pay later enables online and mobile Maplin customers making purchases of £200 or less to receive their products and pay for them 30 days later, with no interest or fees.

BNI Europa to fund German SME loans via Funding Circle (Finextra), Rated: AAA

The Portuguese online bank Banco BNI Europa and Funding Circle have entered into a strategic partnership to support the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Germany.

Investment will support the funding needs of c. 600 companies and thereby help to create c. 1,500 new jobs

Banco Popular reboots Eloan for new era in online lending (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Banco Popular is relaunching E-loan (it dropped the hyphen from the name) to serve as its “fintech arm,” a stand-alone brand offering solely digital products.

Launched in 1997, Eloan re-enters a market where fintechs now account for over 30% of personal loan originations, according to TransUnion. The brand will compete for clients alongside well-financed upstarts like LendingClub as well as new offerings from banks such as Marcus from Goldman Sachs.

 

Spendesk Raises €8 Million to Expand Its Platform for All Company Purchases (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Spendesk, a fintech solution that helps businesses manage their spending, has raised an €8 million Series A round led by Index Ventures, with participation from existing investors. The funds will be used to accelerate product development and expand across Europe.

ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank hit by cyberattacks (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Three Dutch banks, ABN AmroING and Rabobank, suffered a series of DDoS attacks last weekend (27 and 28 January).

During the attack, internet banking, mobile banking, its website and Ideal were unavailable or extremely slow on 27 January from around 8pm to 12.15am CET and on 28 January from 12pm to 2pm CET and after 7pm CET.

International

 

CHECQIT, the P2P Lending Platform Aiming to Empower the Unbanked (The Merkle), Rated: A

According to the World Bank’s Global Findex report, nearly 2 billion adults and 160 million small businesses from all over the world do not have bank accounts. Efforts to approach them to traditional financial institutions have not been enough, limiting their economic growth potential.

Only 14% of adults living in the Middle East hold a bank account, opposed to the 94% of citizens from first world western countries that do. Developing regions with underserved communities such as India and sub-Saharan Africa comprise, when combined, nearly 32% of the world’s unbanked and underbanked population.

As a response to this issue, Nassim Benzekri and his team developed CHECQIT, an Ethereum-based, decentralized, peer-to-peer lending platform that allows users to grow their collaterals against a fast-guaranteed loan.

Finastra acquires Olfa Soft SA (Realwire), Rated: B

Finastra has acquired Olfa Soft SA and its cutting edge FX e-trading platform for banks and financial institutions. The move enables Finastra to deliver a unique end-to-end real-time eFX trading solution for banks’ treasury departments, covering distribution, position-keeping, post-trade and payments.

India

Western Union Opens Tech Center In India (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

Cross-border payments company Western Union is opening a technology center in India, which will focus on biometrics, machine learning, and robotics, the company announced yesterday.

The center, located in Pune, Maharashtra, will have over 1,000 employees all focused on building these “innovative digital and retail customer experiences globally,” the company said in a press release.

Rubique announces strategic partnership with Optacredit (Outlook), Rated: AAA

Rubique, a marketplace lending platform for individuals and SMBs, entered into a strategic partnership with OptaCredit, an Artificial Intelligence-powered, data-driven online lending platform focused on providing unsecured credit to salaried professionals across India.

With its Online PLUS technology led model and proprietary matchmaking algorithm, Rubique will enlist the company on its online marketplace for applicants to avail viable loan products from OptaCredit’s offerings.

P2P Lending Set to Explode in 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

RBI’s much awaited official guidelines for Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platforms to bring them into the ambit of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is set to boost online lending. It is fast emerging as an investment option for retail lenders. The NBFC-P2Ps will act as an intermediary to provide an online platform to lenders and borrowers to transact on mutually agreeable terms. RBI has defined P2P lending as a form of crowdfunding that entails issuing unsecured loans to borrowers via an online portal in its 2016, ‘Consultation Paper on Peer to Peer Lending’. However, P2P lending is different from other crowdfunding activities in being a purely debt product, in which multiple lenders fund borrowers as personal loans or small business loans. Most of the P2P platforms in India such as IndiaMoneyMart curate their borrowers after conducting KYC checks, credit assessment, and due diligence before listing them on their loan exchanges.

On the positives, the regulation has made P2P lending platforms accountable to furnish credit repayment/non-repayment information to all 4 credit bureaus, thereby increasing transparency in the credit rating system. The credit rating agencies have records on about 150 million population but P2P lending platforms are also going to bring customers hitherto relying on private money lenders. This presents a huge opportunity to close the credit information gap. It will also reward sub-prime borrowers with a better credit score for showing improvement in loan repayment behaviour.

As many first time or retail borrowers take loans from money lenders or payday companies which charge interest as high as 5% to 20% per month, P2P platforms like IndiaMoneyMart are bridging the gap by making credit not only accessible but affordable. Bangalore-based IT consultant, Tanmay Thorat* (name changed) was paying over 300% interest to payday loan companies and approached IndiaMoneyMart for a small ticket size loan of INR 1 Lakh secured at rate of 13% annualized interest in March 2016required to settle his credit card debt and pay rent deposit.

The expectation from the Union Budget 2018 is immense in the BFSI segment, especially after RBI regulation. Experts hope that essential financial services will have GST rates revised from 18% to 5% or nil.

Budget 2018: how can we enhance the growth of startups in India? (YourStory), Rated: A

Most importantly, the fund of funds for startups (FFS) has begun to take shape with as much as Rs 1,100 crore being disbursed to SIDBI for allocation to venture funds. As of September 15, 2017, 17 venture funds have raised Rs 605 crore from SIDBI and as many as 72 startups have received about Rs 318 crore funds. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has also recently announced that this number will be increased to Rs 2,400 crore by the end of the next fiscal.

For instance, the startup space has reportedly seen a decline of 53 percent in seed funding and 25 percent in venture funds in 2017.

Listed below are four suggestions for Budget 2018.

  1. Abolish angel tax
  2. Encourage Indians to fund India
  3. Extend tax holiday
  4. Standardise and simplify   

10 things FM Arun Jaitley can do to boost access to capital via digital lenders (Financial Express), Rated: A

  1. Allow a lower MHP for servicing short-term needs of MSMEs
  2. Raise rate caps under MUDRA scheme: The RBI currently has capped the final rate that can be charged above the refinance rate offered by MUDRA at 3% for banks, 6% for NBFCs and 10%-12% for MFIs, depending on portfolio size. Since most of the new lenders incur high opex, this cap should be increased in the Budget 2018 to 10-12% in line with MFIs, for loans up to Rs 5 lakhs, and 8-10% for loans from Rs 5-25 lakh value.
  3. Extend the SIDBI net
  4. Make P2P platforms more attractive: A cap of 5% of net worth for lenders and a maximum individual loan amount of Rs 25 lakh for the borrowers would make these platforms attractive for both lender and borrower.
  5. Expand access to MSMEs
  6. Introduce PSU Banks turndown program
  7. Raise eKYC-based lending limit: The cap for lending through OTP based eKYC should be increased from Rs 60,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
  8. Promote eSign
  9. Mandate eMandate
  10. Increase the flow of data for lending
APAC

Lancers raises $ 9.2m venture round (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Tokyo-based Lancers, which operates a crowdsourcing platform under the same name, has closed a JPY 1 billion ($9.2 million) round from Tokyo-listed enterprises Persol Holdings and Shinsei Bank.

The investment sees Lancers concluding business partnership contracts with both companies concurrently and will also see it commence its new financing business targeting freelance workers, which the company claims comprise 17 per cent, or 11.22 million workers of Japan’s entire working population.

The addition of Shinsei Bank as an investor will see Lancers, Persol and Shinsei collaborate to develop and provide a new loan service to individual workers who need equipment investment or education/training upon starting a new business.

Crowd Realty closes $ 5.2m Series A (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Tokyo-based property crowdfunding portal Crowd Realty has closed its Series A round at JPY 580 million ($5.2 million) from Tokyo-listed Mitsubishi Estate, Shinsei Corporate Investment, Shinsei Bank, and Mizuho Capital, based on an account from The Bridge.

The Series A round saw two tranches: a follow-on investment of JPY 230 million subsequent to a JPY 350 million investment from Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and Kabu.com Securities.

SSC warns against investing in cryptocurrencies (Viet Nam News), Rated: B

In a notice issued on its website on Monday, SSC said that the market now had companies operating in fintech, including cryptocurrency, initial coin offering, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and blockchain. These were new products that had not been regulated, SSC said, thus posing high risks.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 23 2016, Daily News Digest

CEO optimism

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi, Lending Club gear up for a busy quarter. RateSetter drops unsecured business loans. Zopa’s targeted returns rise to 4% and 4.5%. Monzo to phase out prepaid cards. Funding Societies surpasses SGD 100M in SME crowdfunding in SE Asia. Today’s main analysis: CEO optimism grows worldwide. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Which car brands borrowers stretch […]

CEO optimism

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Asia

News Summary

United States

SoFi, Lending Club gear up for busy quarter (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

Up to four transactions from marketplace lenders SoFi and Lending Club are slated to hit the market this quarter, including prime and non-prime consumer and student loan refinancing offerings.

SoFi is preparing to bring at least one consumer loan offering and possibly one more refinanced student loan offering over the next two months. The planned offerings could be in the range of previous transactions, said a source familiar with the company’s plans.

Twitter slides after news that online lending startup SoFi may poach its operations chief (Business Insider), Rated: A

Shares of Twitter dipped on Monday after it was reported that Twitter’s chief operating officer, Anthony Noto, may leave the company for an offer to become the CEO of Social Finance, or SoFi, an online lending company.

Twitter’s stock was down 1.16% on Monday at $23.39 per share.

LendingTree Reveals Which Used Car Brands Borrowers are Stretching the Most to Buy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

A recent LendingTree survey found that 27 percent of Americans plan to purchase a car in 2018. To discover if consumers are more likely to stretch their available incomes to own certain brands, LendingTree looked at people who found auto loans on the LendingTree.com platform in 2017 to buy used vehicles.

Contrary to popular assumptions, the results revealed that people aren’t going broke to buy used luxury cars. In fact, buyers of the most expensive cars seem to handily afford them.

On the other hand, LendingTree found Buick owners have the hardest time affording their car payments — not because they’re indulging in particularly expensive vehicles but because their income tends to be on the lower side, meaning they use a larger share of take home pay to cover their monthly payments.

Car Makes Borrowers Stretch the Most to Buy Used

Rank

Make

Estimated Monthly Payment as a Percent of Estimated Monthly Income

Average Estimated Monthly Payment

Average Estimated Vehicle Price

1

BUICK

10.9%

$418

$18,597

2

CHRYSLER

10.9%

$440

$18,497

3

NISSAN

10.6%

$405

$18,231

4

DODGE

10.6%

$454

$22,290

5

CHEVROLET

10.2%

$437

$20,930

6

KIA

9.7%

$368

$17,357

7

HONDA

9.4%

$389

$18,053

8

HYUNDAI

9.3%

$356

$17,216

9

MITSUBISHI

9.0%

$370

$17,205

10

CADILLAC

8.8%

$480

$25,294

11

FIAT

8.8%

$341

$16,543

12

FORD

8.6%

$424

$21,648

13

GMC

8.3%

$466

$25,077

14

JEEP

8.1%

$414

$21,885

15

VOLKSWAGEN

8.0%

$363

$16,909

16

MAZDA

7.8%

$355

$18,326

17

TOYOTA

7.7%

$385

$19,788

18

JAGUAR

7.6%

$503

$27,734

19

INFINITI

7.6%

$454

$24,728

20

BMW

7.4%

$476

$25,038

21

MERCEDES-BENZ

7.3%

$519

$28,792

22

SUBARU

7.2%

$361

$19,219

23

ACURA

7.0%

$409

$22,623

24

AUDI

6.8%

$482

$26,725

25

LEXUS

6.7%

$459

$25,393

26

LINCOLN

6.6%

$396

$22,205

27

LAND ROVER

6.2%

$569

$31,704

28

VOLVO

6.1%

$400

$20,877

29

MINI

5.7%

$355

$17,728

30

PORSCHE

5.0%

$635

$42,173

31

TESLA

4.6%

$818

$54,234

Fintech lender Fundbox shows how open banking can be done (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The online small-business lender Fundbox says it is integrating its automated lending service with several software programs commonly used by its borrowers — and it’s a move that could hold a lesson for banks.

What’s striking about what Fundbox is doing, and the reason bankers could learn from it, is it is capitalizing on the concept of open banking — allowing a piece of a lender’s products and services to be accessed through a third party — in a way that few U.S. banks have.

Capital One comes the closest — its application programming interfaces let third parties offer services like prequalifying customers for Capital One credit cards and sharing its reward information.

Square is like ‘Amazon or Google in their early days’ (Business Insider), Rated: A

When Wall Street compares one of Jack Dorsey’s two public companies to Amazon and Google, you’d expect them to be talking about the one in the tech sector — Twitter. But on Friday, Nomura analyst Dan Dolev said that Square, Dorsey’s payments company, is the one that resembles today’s tech giants in their early days.

Dolev thinks that these new initiatives will massively increase the number of payments Square processes by a long-term compound annual growth rate of 20%. Dolev also says that this growth will provide a 40% to 45% boost to earnings margins.

CashCall to pay $ 10 mln, CFPB request for $ 287 mln denied (Reuters), Rated: A

In a decision on Friday, U.S. District Judge John Walter ordered California-based CashCall to pay $10.3 million instead, ruling that the CFPB did not justify the larger amount.

defi SOLUTIONS Lands $ 55 Million (Finovate), Rated: A

Loan origination solutions company defi SOLUTIONS just closed on $55 million in funding. The Series C round comes from Bain Capital Ventures, offering social proof along with a stamp of approval for defi’s suite of loan services. This is the Texas-based company’s first round of financing.

The primary capital portion of the investment will be used to accelerate product development, expand resources and facilities, and grow the number of employees by nearly 50% this year.

A Bird’s Eye View of What We Achieved (YieldStreet), Rated: A

Source: YieldStreet

Ohad Samet of TrueAccord (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Ohad Samet is the CEO and Co-founder of TrueAccord. They are a new kind of debt collection company that uses a data driven approach and digital first communications.

US Banks Suffer 20 Percent Jump in Credit-Card Losses (Newsmax), Rated: A

U.S. banks have reportedly recently suffered a 20 percent jump in credit card losses.

The soaring bad debts has fueled fear about the financial health of middle America, the Financial Times explained.

Recently disclosed results showed Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo took a combined $12.5 billion hit from soured card loans last year, about $2 billion more than a year ago. The FT reported.

Reuters recently warned that U.S. banks, already under pressure from slower loan growth and low interest rates, could be facing yet another challenge as a rising number of Americans fall behind on their credit card payments.

U.S. consumer credit outstanding rose in November by the most in 16 years as credit-card balances surged, recent Federal Reserve data showed, by $11.2 billion, to $1.023 trillion.

Credit Card Startup Petal’s Latest Funding Round Signals NYC Fintech Upturn (Crunchbase), Rated: A

Last week, alternative credit card issuer Petal closed its $13 million Series A led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. It was announced just four months after Petal’s $3.6 million seed round.

The news marks a significant month for Manhattan’s sometimes-struggling fintech scene, with MoneyLionhaving raised a whopping $42 million during its Series B in early January. And while these numbers are a drop in the bucket compared to the U.S. fintech industry surpassing $5 billion in Q3 ’17, the momentum is already being felt, and it comes as a welcome change for the city.

Do You Need a Personal Financial Advisor or Will a Robo-Advisor Do? (Nerdwallet), Rated: A

At the top end, some personal financial advisorscharge an annual fee plus investing expenses as a percentage of your assets under management, typically about 1% to 1.5%. As a result, these advisors often require that new clients have an account minimum of $250,000 in assets.

By comparison, robo-advisors — which use algorithms to build and manage a client’s investment portfolios and require little human interaction — charge fees from 0.45% to 0.70% of the amount managed. And many will take on new clients with $0 to open an account.

The downside of robo-advisors: Investment choices are more limited — often a small selection of low-cost index funds or exchange-traded funds — than the asset choices that full-service brokers and advisors may provide. And while many offer financial advice via email, chat or phone consultations, those hybrid services are likely to come at an additional cost.

What to Know About Peer-to-Peer Lending Apps Like Yahoo’s ‘Tanda’ (Lifehacker), Rated: A

The Tanda app, launched by the company Friday and available on Android and shortly on iOS, does exactly what its name implies. It lets you join groups of people to work toward savings goals together, in tandem: Each user pays an agreed-upon amount into a pot, choosing when they receive the money. Those who need it soonest pay a fee, and those who wait the longest receive a two-percent bonus. Yahoo Finance takes eight percent of the first payout and seven percent of the second payout, according to Android Police.

Yahoo Finance isn’t the first to think to monetize a more formal version of this sytem—the site eMoneyPool has been available to the public since 2013, servicing over $3 million, and the apps KyePot and Cashare serve a similar purpose. On Tanda, users receive a trust score, with higher scores allowing users access to larger money pools, up to $2,000.

Lending Tree: Dayton home market isn’t so competitive (Dayton Daily News), Rated: B

In a national ranking, Dayton ranks relatively low for factors Lending Tree deems indicative of a competitive housing market. Prospective buyers in this area have relatively low average down payments, among other factors Lending Tree placed in the ranking.

On the list of 100 cities with the “most competitive home buyers,” Dayton ranks overall at 96, below Augusta, Ga. and above El Paso, Texas. Youngstown Ohio is last on the list at No. 100. San Francisco, Calif. is first.

FormFree Celebrates Its Tenth Year of Operations (Send2Press), Rated: B

In 2016, Fannie Mae named FormFree its first designated vendor for automated asset verification as part of the Day 1 Certainty initiative. Since then, FormFree has signed more than 800 lender clients, including 70 percent of the nation’s top 40 mortgage originators, and accepted over 1.25 million orders for the company’s flagship AccountChek® Asset Report. The company also increased its total number of technology integrations and reseller partnerships to over 100, making AccountChek available for more than 90% of mortgage transactions nationwide.

recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) makes even more loans eligible for automated asset verification through AccountChek. On December 29, the VA published Circular 26-17-43 confirming that the VA permits the use of automated asset verification services like AccountChek.

United Kingdom

RateSetter to Focus Solely on Asset Backed Lending for Commercial Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender RateSetter said its commercial lending vertical will focus solely on secured lending in its commercial finance vertical. Following a review of its commercial finance operations, RateSetter said it would move to “simplify” its commercial finance by funding only property backed or asset backed loans.

RateSetter said it will continue to maintain a diversified approach to lending into consumer, business and motor finance markets, however, the commercial finance offer will no longer include unsecured business finance.

RateSetter exits unsecured business loans market (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Business borrowers will now only be able to access property-backed development and investment loans or asset-backed hire purchase deals.

All existing unsecured business applications will be processed and will continue to repay in line with their schedule, the platform said.

The targeted annual return for its basic Zopa Core product has increased from 3.7% to 4% while the higher risk Zopa Plus product now has a targeted return of 4.6%, up from 4.5%.

Monzo to phase out popular prepaid cards by April (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Challenger bank Monzo has announced it will close its popular prepaid Mastercard in early April, although its half a million customers can still enjoy valuable travel perks if they upgrade to Monzo’s current account.

Until this month, Monzo cards also offered fee-free cash withdrawals from foreign ATMs. However, this has now been capped at £200 of overseas withdrawals within a rolling 30-day period, and customers pay a 3 per cent fee if they exceed this limit.

The UK is leading the way in crowdfunding and P2P lending as the rest of Europe plays catch-up (City A.M.), Rated: A

While the UK remained the largest alternative finance market in Europe by far, at €5.6bn (£4.9bn), the rest of Europe began to play catch-up as it grew its own market by 101 per cent, the data from the university’s Centre for Alternative Finance showed.

Excluding the UK, Estonia ranked first for alternative finance volume per capita for the second year in a row, at €63, followed by Monaco and Georgia.

Start-up revolution shows signs of fatigue after years of growth (Financial Times), Rated: A

Britain’s start-up revolution is stalling, with the number of businesses created last year falling for the first time in almost a decade.

There were 5.5 per cent fewer start-ups in 2017 compared with 2016, according to research by DueDil, a financial analysis company. It found that 647,923 new businesses were started last year — down from 685,928 in 2016, bringing to an end what had been annual increases since 2008.

Investly Plans to Raise 2M GBP on Seedrs (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Investly is currently pitching on Seedrs to raise between 500K and 2M GBP in a crowdfunding for equity campaign. To become a shareholder, the required minium investment amount is 13 GBP.

What are the three main advantages when investing in the invoices?

Liquidity – Investly is quite different compared to most platforms because the investment period is only 30 to 40 days on average.

Return – Historically investors have earned 11-12% annually on invoices.

What ROI have investors made on average on the platform in the past?

The net return on Estonian invoices has been 11.2% annually and in the UK it’s been 12.6% annually.

Loans to help poorest families avoid poverty premium (Third Force News), Rated: A

A £600 loan repaid over six months would typically cost an extra £330 to repay to a door step lender and over £500 to repay via a payday lender. Repaying via a social lender could easily halve this cost.

Hollywood actor and social activist Michael Sheen has supported the launch of a new £1 million fund set up by the Carnegie UK Trust and features in a new short film called Speaking out for Fair Credit.

“The need for ethical alternative providers is clear, whether they be on our local high streets or available online. But it’s not just about creating more providers – we need to do more to enable them to compete with the high cost providers and to provide vital financial support to communities across the UK, putting people before profit.”

It is estimated that around 150,000 people in Scotland borrow £250m from high cost lenders like pay day loan firms, door step lenders and rent-to-own shops annually.

European Union

European online alternative finance is growing (Cambridge Network), Rated: AAA

Excluding the United Kingdom, which remained by far the largest alternative finance market in Europe at 5.6 billion euros, online alternative finance grew 101 per cent in Europe to 2.06 billion euros from 1.02 billion euros a year earlier. The UK’s market share in Europe declined to 73 per cent in 2016 from 81 per cent a year earlier as other markets grew faster.

France (444 million euros), Germany (322 million euros) and the Netherlands (194 million euros) are the three largest European alternative finance markets outside the UK, followed by Finland (142 million euros), Spain (131 million euros), Italy (127 million euros) and Georgia (103 million euros).

Peer-to-peer consumer lending is the largest alternative finance segment in Europe for the third year in a row, at 34 per cent, followed by peer-to-peer business lending (17 per cent), invoice trading (12 per cent), equity-based crowdfunding (11 per cent) and reward-based crowdfunding (nine per cent).

International

CEO optimism booms despite increasing anxiety over threats to growth – New content available (The News Market), Rated: AAA

Fifty seven percent of business leaders say they believe global economic growth will improve in the next 12 months.

Optimism in global growth has more than doubled in the US (59%) after a period of uncertainty surrounding the election (2017: 24%). Brazil also saw a large increase in the share of CEOs who are optimistic global growth will improve (+38% to 80%). And even among the less optimistic countries such as Japan (2018: 38% vs. 2017: 11%) and the UK (2018: 36% vs. 2017: 17%), optimism in global growth has more than doubled since last year.

Fintechs Haven’t Reduced the Trade Finance Gap – So far (American Express), Rated: A

According to a September 2017 report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the trade finance gap remained relatively steady at $1.5 trillion in 2016 compared to a record high $1.6 trillion gap the year prior.1 MSMEs remain hardest hit by gaps in trade finance: the ADB report attributed 74 percent of rejected trade finance requests to MSMEs and midcap firms in 2016, compared to just 57 percent in 2015.2

ADB says this is despite fintech investment in trade finance that exceeded $13 billion in 2016 – more than half of the estimated $24 billion in total 2016 fintech investment cited in a separate report from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).3 Some experts – including Steven Beck, Head of Trade Finance at ADB – say fintech efforts may need to be redirected before their impact on import-export trade finance can be fully realized.4

Longfin (LFIN) Launches Commercial Ziddu Smart Contracts on Ethereum Blockchain (StreetInsider), Rated: B

Longfin Corp. has announced that its Ziddu Smart Contracts are commercially available on the Ethereum blockchain.

Ziddu Smart Contracts are currently available for Trade Finance and FX markets, and Longfin is preparing to launch Smart Contracts for bullion financing within the second quarter of 2018.

Asia

Funding Societies Surpasses SGD 100 Million in SME Crowdfunding (Core Sector Communique), Rated: AAA

Funding Societies, the leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform in Southeast Asia, welcomed the start of the year by crossing the SGD 100 million mark in total crowdfunded SME loans across Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. In line with the platform’s goal of responsible growth, Funding Societies expanded its crowdfunding book by 400% in 2017 while maintaining a default rate of 1.5%.

Increasing the Access of SMEs to Credit in Vietnam (International Policy Digest), Rated: A

According to statistics by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), SMEs contributed approximately 48% of Vietnam’s GDP in 2012. Moreover, based on research by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, since SMEs are usually labour intensive they employed 77% of Vietnam’s labour force.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment in their survey in 2012 of SMEs ability to access financing indicated that approximately 30% of SMEs in Vietnam could not get any financing from financial institutions and another 30% that could get financing faced numerous difficulties in accessing funds.

The 2015 survey found that the percentage of firms having bank loans in 2015 for micro-sized firms was 40%, small firms 62%, medium firms 74% and 81% for large firms. Access to bank services in 2015 also took into consideration how common it was for these enterprises to give bribes to the bank staff: Micro (64%), small (56%), medium (49%) and large firms (39%). The percentage of firms that experienced how interest rates and other lending conditions applied to private businesses are always more difficult than those for SOEs: micro (74%), small (71%), medium (65%) and large (48%).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 10 2018, Daily News Digest

personal loans LendingTree

News Comments Today’s main news: Citi launches mortgage platform. Credit card debt hits all-time high. The House Crowd receives FCA authorization. Apples for Oranges, an Isa comparison site, launches. Ant Financial dupes users into joining credit system, then apologizes. Ant Financial halts consumer loan sales. P2P lending association launches in India. TD Bank acquires AI company Layer 6. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree’s […]

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News Summary

United States

LendingClub (NYSE: LC) today announced that on January 2, 2018, its Board of Directors (the ‘Board’) received another letter from IEG Holdings Corporation (‘IEG’), which had previously commenced an unsolicited tender offer for LendingClub’s stock in July 2017 and withdrew the tender offer less than a month later. IEG’s letter states its intention to acquire up to 4.99% of the outstanding common stock of LendingClub on the basis of 13 shares of IEG common stock for each share of LendingClub common stock. On January 5, 2018, IEG announced the commencement of its proposed exchange offer. The Board believes there is no rational economic basis upon which LendingClub stockholders should accept IEG’s proposed exchange offer, which appears intended to mislead investors into mistakenly tendering into a discounted offer. The Board has unanimously concluded the offer is grossly inadequate, is not in the best interests of LendingClub and its stockholders and urges stockholders not to be misled into tendering into the offer.

Citi unleashes single digital platform for mortgages (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

Citi has made dual agreements to integrate its suite of US mortgage products into a single digital platform for its clients.

A new front-end digital solution, LoanFx, from Digital Risk, a provider of technology platforms and services, will be complemented by a new loan origination system, LoanSphere Empower, from Black Knight.

The bank says this development will enable its mortgage clients to go through the full loan cycle, from research to application, processing, scheduling appraisals, handling title, to closing, “through the channel of their choice – and at their own pace”.

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – December 2017 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

I wanted to let you know we just released the inaugural monthly 

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.54%, an increase of 17 basis points from the prior month, and a drop of 24 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $24,177, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760 and above was down almost 2% ($451) from November, and up 26% ($6,179) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had APRs of 5.07% on average, and loan amounts of $41,768. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,407 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.
  • Good credit (680 – 719 score): Loan offers to consumers with a credit score between 680 and 719 averaged over $15,000 in December.

    • The average best APR for all borrowers with credit scores of 680 – 719 was 15.91%, down 1.5% from last month, but up 2% from a year earlier.
    • At $15,468, borrowers with scores of 680 – 719 saw the amounts offered with the best APRs drop by 4% ($624) in the last month, but rise by 343 basis points ($530) over the last year.
    • The top 10% of offers, presented to the borrowers with the best profiles within the 680 – 719 credit score range, saw an average best APR of 7.37%, offered with an average loan amount of $25,385. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,306 by consolidating debt from a 15% APR over a three-year term.

    Credit card debt hits all-time high of $ 1.023 trillion (American Banker), Rated: AAA

    U.S. revolving consumer debt reached an all-time high of $1.023 trillion in November, according to Federal Reserve Board data released Monday.

    The card market’s previous peak came in April 2008, when $1.021 trillion in revolving consumer debt was outstanding.

    Will Consumer Lenders Benefit from the Removal of Tax Benefits for HELOCs? (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

    Since a HELOC is backed by an asset, interest rates are typically lower than an unsecured loan, such as the ones offered by LendingClub and Prosper. There was an added benefit to a HELOC with the ability to deduct the interest, something that differentiated HELOCs from pretty much all other loan products. Now that this benefit is, in many cases, removed with the new tax code, we may see homeowners opt for other loan types. It is important to remember that the interest deduction only benefited individuals who itemize their deductions, which tend to include individuals with higher incomes.

    Unsecured Lenders May Benefit

    As the deduction benefit is removed, other options which offer a pleasant user experience look even better. Platforms like Goldman Sachs’ Marcus charge no origination fee and currently offer fixed rates as low as 6.99% for the best borrowers. Another player in the unsecured consumer lending space called LightStream offers loans as low as 2.49% depending on the use of proceeds. This could lead to the very best borrowers moving to products offered by these companies while borrowers with a less than perfect credit history, who would qualify for a higher rate, may rely on HELOCs.

    Americans Don’t Understand Auto Loans, Millennials Understand Less (instamotor), Rated: A

    In order to find out what people know and don’t know about auto financing, we surveyed 800 Americans who have applied for auto loans about their auto financing knowledge and found:

    Many Americans are qualifying for auto financing, but aren’t sure how.

    • Nearly 4 in 5 (79%) were approved for the last auto loan they applied for
    • More than half (51.9%) can’t name the 3 major credit bureaus
    • An overwhelming majority of respondents (94%) weren’t aware that auto lenders often use a specialty credit score, called an Auto FICO, when evaluating auto loan borrowers
    • Nearly 3 in 5 (60.9%) think lenders consider age and marital status when evaluating loan applicants

    Most Americans don’t know how to properly evaluate an auto loan offer.

    • Nearly 3 in 5 (59.9%) don’t understand the relationship between loan term and interest.

    What Americans Think is the Most Important Factor When Evaluating a Loan

    • All factors considered holistically – 47.9%
    • Interest rate – 21.9%
    • Monthly payment – 14.3%
    • Loan amount (price of car) – 7.9%
    • I don’t know – 2.4%

    Most Americans are unaware of a common, yet deceiving auto dealing practice.

    • 2 in 3 respondents didn’t know dealers can add interest to your loan to make more profit. in fact, more than 2 in 5 (41.3%) believed this practice was illegal

    Other concepts people don’t understand? Being “upside down” and gap insurance.

    • More than 2 in 5 (42.6%) don’t know what it means to be “upside down” or “underwater” on your loan
    • More than 3 in 5 (62.1%) don’t know what gap insurance is

     

    Community Banks Aim To Amplify Competitive Edge With FinTechs (PYMNTS), Rated: A

    Community banks approved 49 percent of SMB loan applications in November, according to the latest data from the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index.

    But small business lending is only one part of the banking puzzle. SMBs demand access to robust solutions, from mobile banking to advisory services.

    The Fed released a report, “Community Banking in the 21st Century,” last October, which surveyed more than 600 FIs. While analysts found small business lending dropped by 2.2 percent in 2016, the decline was significantly smaller than that at larger banks, which reduced SMB lending by 5.1 percent.

    Finance Professionals Preparing For Technological Innovation & Disruption (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    On Monday, TD Bank released its 2017 Treasury Management Survey, which revealed that technological innovation and disruption is set to greatly influence the investment priorities and business plans of financial executives.

    The survey noted that disruptive technologies are top of mind for the participants, who also cited that they are preparing for changes in the treasury management industry by:

    • Leveraging solutions from fintech providers (31%)
    • Developing in-house technology for competition (23%)
    • Hiring more tech-savvy employers (15%)

    Meet the First 100 Speakers (LendIt), Rated: A

    Source: LendIt

    Read speaker bios here.

    Payday rule will protect, not harm, vulnerable consumers (American Banker), Rated: A

    Criticism of payday lenders is well-earned. They have devised a system that rolls customers into one 300% annual interest loan after another, until those customers very often reach a point of serious financial desperation — they may lose their bank accounts and are more likely to declare bankruptcy than nonpayday borrowers.

    In 2015, over 83% of Florida payday loans went to borrowers stuck in seven or more loans, based on data from the office of the regulator himself. The average annual interest rate is still 278%, and these unscrupulous lenders drain $311 million out of the economy every year, disproportionately affecting African-American and Latino communities and a growing number of seniors.

    The New York Institute of Credit & Financial Poise Announce BUSINESS BORROWING BASICS (Benzinga), Rated: A

    This webinar series provides a guided tour of the various borrowing options available to businesses, from both a business and legal perspective. Major topics covered include asset-based lending, P/O Finance, Factoring, Merchant Cash Advances, and Market Place Lending / Fintech.

    The first episode of the series, Understanding the Lending Landscape, airs on January 17th at 2:00 PM CST (Register Here) and features Moderator Jonathan Friedland of Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer.

    Future episodes in the series include “Asset-Based Lending,” airing on February 21st, “Purchase Order Finance” airing on March 21st, “Factoring,” airing on April 18th, “Merchant Cash Advances” airing on May 23rd, and “Marketplace Lending/Fintech,” aring on June 20th.

    Marlette Funding Names Mark Elbaum as Chief Financial Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

    Marlette Funding, LLC, the parent company of Best Egg, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Elbaum as the company’s new chief financial officer (CFO). As CFO, Elbaum will join the executive management team and lead the finance, accounting and capital markets activities from the company’s headquarters in Wilmington, DE.

    Most recently, Mark was the CFO of Merrill Lynch, Bank of America’s Wealth Management business. Prior roles included 18 years in the mortgage industry as CFO of Bank of America’s mortgage lending division, appointed to the position after the company’s acquisition of Countrywide Financial. At Countrywide he held the position of CFO of the Residential Lending Division. After starting his career at Price Waterhouse, Mark worked at Aames Financial Corp, a midsize consumer finance company, where he helped upgrade the finance capabilities to post IPO requirements. Mark has a Masters in Accountancy from University of Southern California and is a CPA and experienced in FP&A as well as capital markets.

    LendingTree, Inc. to Present at the 20th Annual Needham Growth Conference (Business Insider), Rated: B

    LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that it will participate in Needham & Company’s 20th Annual Growth Conference at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel in New York City.

    The Company is scheduled to present on Wednesday, January 17 at 10:00am ET.

    Enacomm, Advantel Partner on AI Conversational Banking and Next-Generation IVR (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

    Enacomm, Inc., a provider of intelligent interactions and customer authentication technologies for banks, credit unions and credit card companies, has teamed up with Advantel, a technology solutions provider deploying integrated voice and data solutions for clients around the world. Through the partnership agreement, Advantel will make available to financial institutions both VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) banking and the Enacomm Financial Suite (EFS), which includes a hosted, dynamic interactive voice response (IVR) system for personalized customer interactions.

    United Kingdom

    The House Crowd achieves FCA authorisation (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

    THE HOUSE Crowd is looking to unveil a new website and auto-lending option after achieving authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) at the end of last year.

    The property peer-to-peer lending platform had first applied for full permissions in October 2015 and had previously expressed concerns about delays.

    Innovative finance Isa comparison site launches (FT Adviser), Rated: AAA

    A new Isa comparison site, including Innovative Finance Isas, has been launched directly to potential investors.

    Apples for Oranges will allow customers to shop around for Isas and be able to see the different returns from stocks and shares, cash and innovative finance Isas in the same place.

    Figures last Autumn showed that investors had put just £17m into Innovative Finance Isas in their first year in existence, according to data from HM Revenue & Customs, significantly less than both stocks and shares Isas and cash Isas, which had £22bn and £39bn put into them respectively during 2016 to 2017.

    Fintech firm Marqeta has hired its first UK employee as it prepares to launch in Europe (Business Insider), Rated: A

    The 180-employee company has hired Ian Johnson, formerly the European commercial director at payments processing firm Wex, to be Marqeta’s Head of European Growth, and there are plans in the works to open a formal office in London and hire further staff later this year. The company has also appointed a head of international strategy, Renata Caine (who also previously worked at Wex), who will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    UK Direct Lender Goji Nabs Multi-Million Pound Anthemis-Led Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    Goji, the UK-based specialist direct lending investment manager and platform, secured an undisclosed multi-million pound funding round from investors including Anthemis’ Venture Fund 1 (AVF1) and AXA Strategic Ventures (ASV).

    Investors in alternative investments driving change in manager behaviour, says SEI survey (hedgeweek), Rated: A

    Released today and based on a survey of 70 alternatives investors, “How to Meet Operational Challenges while Pursuing Opportunities in Alternative Investing” illustrates the alignments and disconnects between those investors and the managers with whom they allocate capital.

    The trend toward greater transparency is well established, but expectations continue to outpace reality, as many investors remain dissatisfied with the level of transparency available to them. While 67 per cent of managers surveyed thought existing levels of transparency surrounding operating expenses were sufficient, only 25 per cent of investors agreed. Additionally, almost nine out of 10 investors say it was important (or extremely important) that they are given the opportunity to negotiate fees, yet this negotiation occurred far more often with the larger investor than with those at lower asset levels: 73 per cent of investors with more than USD25 billion of assets reported they had success negotiating fees compared to only 29 per cent of those with less than USD1 billion of assets.

    China

    Jack Ma’s Ant Apologizes for Baiting Users Into Credit System (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

    Ant Financial, the internet finance behemoth controlled by billionaire Alibaba founder Jack Ma, has apologized for roping unsuspecting users into its fledgling but fast-growing credit-score system.

    Ant Financial’s Alipay kicked off a free service this week to help users generate a consumption profile based on their shopping history. But buried at the bottom of its landing page was a small box — checked by default — that automatically enrolled users to its Sesame Credit unless they opted out. The subsequent online uproar prompted Ant to change that setting and to call the move “extremely idiotic,” according to a post on its official social media account.

    Jack Ma Debt Giant Grinds to Halt as China Curbs Micro-Loans (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

    After selling billions of dollars of debt backed by consumer loans last year, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial is pausing such fundraising as the government steps up curbs on micro lending.

    The company hasn’t sold any asset-backed securities since early December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and China Securitization Analytics. That marks an abrupt shift after it issued a record 238 billion yuan ($37 billion) in 2017 of such securities backed by consumer loans.

    Source: Bloomberg

    China moves to shutter bitcoin mines (Financial Times), Rated: A

    China is moving to eradicate the country’s bitcoin mining industry over concerns about excessive electricity consumption and financial risk, reflecting authorities’ judgment that cryptocurrencies are not a strategic industry.

    International

    TransferWise begins private launch of its consumer borderless account and bright green debit card (TechCrunch), Rated: A

    Money transfer company TransferWise has begun a private launch of its “Borderless account” for consumers. It marks the first time the European unicorn has offered a debit card (pictured below), a move that is bound to draw further comparisons with newer fintech upstarts such as Revolut.

    Initially rolling out to a thousand customers, with several thousand more to be invited in the coming weeks and a full public launch pegged for Q1 this year, the online banking account gives you local bank details for the U.K., U.S., Australia and Europe, and lets you hold and convert 28 currencies.

    If, like me, you receive income from abroad and in a different currency to your home bank account (as a contractor for TechCrunch, I’m paid in U.S. dollars), then you are very likely hit by extra bank charges and an uncompetitive exchange rate by your existing bank. This could be avoided if you had a local bank account in the country and currency you are paid in, and could then choose when and how to do the currency exchange.

    100 Most Promising AI Startups Globally (CB Insights), Rated: A

    The companies were selected from a pool of 2,000+ startups based on several criteria, including investor profile, tech innovation, team strength, patent activity, mosaic score, funding history, valuation, and business model.

    Source: Fortune

    See CB Insights’ take on the 100 top artificial intelligence startups.

    Nets Group Announces Partnership with Plug and Play (PR Newswire), Rated: B

    Nets Group, the largest Nordic-based payment service provider, announced its newest strategic partnership with Plug and Play, a global matchmaker for startups, corporations, and investors. They joined Plug and Play FinTech’s innovation platform to engage in both the European and North American startup ecosystem. This collaboration will introduce Nets Group to top tier startups that align with their innovation strategy.

    India

    Peer-to-peer lending companies join hands to form the Association of P2P Lending Platforms (Economic Times), Rated: AAA

    India’s leading peer-to-peer lending companies on Wednesday said they have come together to form the Association of P2P Lending Platforms. The first-of-its-kind association will act as a representative for its members, as well as the country’s P2P lending industry. In addition, the association will work in conjunction with the government and regulatory authorities in matters of compliance, and to further the cause of financial inclusion in the country.

    The association also intends to undertake research and development, collect data and conduct surveys that will further the development of the P2P lending industry in India. The research and its findings will be shared publicly, and exchange of ideas will be encouraged through various conferences, lectures and sponsored events.

    Other founding members include Bhavin Patel, Founder and CEO, LenDenClub and Bhuvan Rustagi, Co-Founder and COO, Lendbox.in who will be the association’s Secretary and Treasurer respectively.P2P lending, Vinay Mathews,Faircent.com,Shankar Vaddadi, i-lend.in, Bhavin Patel, LenDenClub,Bhuvan Rustagi, Lendbox.in

    Ola, ICICI Bank partner (Outlook), Rated: A

    Private sector lender ICICI Bank and ride-sharing app Ola have signed an agreement to offer a range of integrated services to their customers.

    Through this alliance, ICICI Bank customers can book Ola and pay the fare by using the bank’s mobile banking applications, ‘iMobile’ and ‘Pockets’.

    The facility will also help Ola customers to get small ticket digital credit instantaneously from ICICI Bank, on the Ola platform, a statement said, adding it will also enable digital payments to driver partners.

    i2ifunding applies for NBFC-P2P licence

    Peer-to-peer lending platform i2ifunding has applied for registration certificate from RBI to operate as non- banking financial company-peer-to-peer lending (P2P).

    Fintech moves in the new year (livemint), Rated: A

    The other pending issue is completing the formation of a Payments Regulatory Board, which was set up through an amendment to the Payment and Settlement Systems Act.

    Finally, RBI’s guidelines on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending need further refinement to bolster the nation’s growing fintech credentials. The rules have confusing eligibility criteria, are ultra-conservative in lender exposure limits and allocate too much discretionary power to the central bank without spelling out specific trigger points for regulatory action.

    Muthoot Pappachan plans strategic investments in fintech start-ups (livemint), Rated: B

    Muthoot Pappachan Group, a Kerala-based lending and financial services conglomerate, plans to make strategic investments in fintech start-ups as part of a larger digital transformation exercise to drive synergies and profitability among its business units, as it chalks out a plan to list its flagship lending arm Muthoot Fincorp Ltd, a top company executive said.

    The group may look to invest $1-5 million in each deal, he added.

    A key focus is technology solutions that will help the organisation disburse loans faster and conveniently to its target low-income customers. This will be achieved by exploring non-traditional data sources for credit appraisal, innovative repayment models and assistive technology solutions at branches.

    Muthoot Pappachan recently invested in two start-ups: peer-to-peer lending platform Faircent and RemitGuru, that offers online money transfer service to Indians settled abroad.

    Asia

    KK Fund backs founders with an ‘unfair advantage’, says founder Saito (Deal Street Asia), Rated; A

    Koichi Saito, the Founder and Partner of KK Fund, a Singapore-based venture fund with roots in Japan, is bullish on the opportunities that ASEAN offers, with the inflow of Chinese and Japanese capital into the region providing more opportunities for deal flow and exits.

    In terms of the KK Fund, can you discuss the funds it currently manages? 

    We started fund one in early 2015, which has a corpus of a few million dollars, so it was a micro fund. From that fund, we made 13 investments in online marketplaces in the e-commerce space. At the time, we were investing between $50,000 and $200,000. Then we closed a second fund at the end of 2016, a $20-million fund. We’re still focusing on seed-stage startups.

    P2P lending platforms are a proven model in the US, China and Japan, as well as in Southeast Asia. However, there is a lack of credit scoring data, so with the need for alternative financing solutions in the region, there are substantial opportunities.

    Besides the founders, what do you look for in terms of the business concepts?

    Let’s say, in the Philippines, there are a lot of remittances players. Now, I reckon only about 10 per cent of people in the Philippines have a bank account. They need a platform for admittance to a bank. If there is a solution that addresses such an issue not only in the Philippines but across Southeast Asia, then I am impressed.

    MENA

    Egyptian Fintech Startup Moneyfellows Secures Investment (Forbes), Rated: AAA

    Egypt-based fintech startup Moneyfellows has raised a $600,000 investment from a group of investors led by Dubai Angel Investors and 500 Startups, the company’s founder Ahmed Wadi revealed.

    Moneyfellows is a web and mobile-based platform allowing users to create, manage and track money circles online with members of their social networks. The startup makes money by charging users a small fee when they withdraw their payout from their money circle.

    Although rarely recognized by mainstream financial institutions, money circles have long given people who lack access to the formal banking system the ability to save money and take small loans. This type of finance is known by many different names. In Egypt, it’s called gameya while in India, it’s a chit fund. In North America, it would be a rotating credit and savings association, or ROSCA.

    To date, Wadi reports Moneyfellows has had 2,600 paying users and about 240 active circles.

    Africa

    Entrepreneurs and innovators to watch out for (The Nation), Rated: AAA

    So many fintech companies have birthed, including , Startcredits.com, to provide   online loan marketplace for  entrepreneurs to fund their  start-ups, promoting financial inclusion in the bid to fix the access to credit problems. A fintech  to watch  is Social Lender, a  digital   lending solution based on social reputation on mobile, online and social media platforms.  Social Lender is designed to bridge the gap of immediate fund access for people with limited access to formal credit. Social Lender uses its own proprietary algorithm to perform a social audit of the user on social media, online and other related platforms. Loans are guaranteed by the user’s social profile and network allowing users to then borrow from banks and other financial institutions based on their social reputation.

    Flutterwave, a payments platform is  making  it easier for banks and businesses to process payments across Africa. U.S. investors  have  invested  $10 million into it.

    Canada

    TD Bank’s first fintech acquisition is an AI company (Digiday), Rated: AAA

    TD Bank just bought its first technology firm, Toronto-based artificial intelligence startup Layer 6.

    The Canadian banking giant, also based in Toronto, invested an undisclosed amount in Layer 6 to help it “continue to transform itself” in the industry shift from mobile-first to AI-first customer experiences, said Rizwan Khalfan, TD’s chief digital and payments officer. The transaction was completed Tuesday morning.

    Authors:

    Allen Taylor