Thursday October 25 2018, Daily News Digest

Funding Circle Holdings PLC

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi CEO explains how market volatility, rising interest rates create opportunities. Amazon debuts no-fee AmEx card for small businesses. Funding Circle broker channel hits 1B GBP lending. China Rapid Finance is expected to break even. Today’s main analysis: Funding Circle’s short-lived rally. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Is student loan debt creating a millennial class […]

Funding Circle Holdings PLC

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United States

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto: Market volatility, rising rates create ‘opportunity for us’ (CNBC) Rated: A

Rising interest rates and market volatility, while feared on the Street, create an opportunity for online lending platform SoFi to gain new customers, according to CEO Anthony Noto.

“When the markets pull back, people evaluate: ‘Where am I putting my money from an investment standpoint?'” Noto said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Tuesday.

Made conscious decision to focus on quality, not quantity of loans: SoFi CEO Anthony Noto from CNBC.

Amazon Debuts No-Fee AmEx Card to Lure Small-Business Spending (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Amazon.com Inc. and American Express Co. are upping the ante in their bid for small-business spending.

The two companies unveiled a new co-branded card for small businesses on Tuesday. Cardholders with an Amazon Prime membership will be able to choose between an interest-free loan for 90 days or 5 percent back on purchases made at Amazon.com, Amazon Business, Amazon Web Services and Whole Foods Market, the companies said in a statement. The no-fee metal card will also offer 2 percent back on purchases at U.S. restaurants and gas stations and on mobile-phone services.

Student-Loan Debt Is Bringing on Millennial Class War (Vice) Rated: AAA

MagnifyMoney, an independent service that compares financial products and is affiliated with the loan marketplace LendingTree, recently analyzed 2016 data from the Federal Reserve and estimated the average millennial with student debt had 75 percent less net worth than their debt-free peers. Though many of the stats they calculated might have been skewed by extremes—think people with debt loads of $200,000 and trust-fund kids worth seven figures—they were able to reach some pretty startling conclusions. For instance, the median net bank account balance (checking and savings) of all grads under 35 who had loans, they found, was $5,500, while it was some $10,180 for those who didn’t.

So what’s the most meaningful difference between those with loans and without?
The one that’s really most costly is when you look at the retirement savings. On that side, the average grad under 35 with debt has around $21,000 in retirement savings. Someone who doesn’t have student loans has an average of almost $40,000.

Credit Card Stats & Studies (Hub Wallet) Rated: AAA

Source: Hub Wallet

Building Loyalty with Gen Z and Millennials Starts with a Better Experience (Globe Newswire) Rated: AAA

In particular, changes in the credit card market have been heavily influenced by the youngest generations. While TransUnion studies have found that consumers generally have a much higher propensity of opening their next credit product with a lender with whom they already have multiple relationships, this doesn’t appear to hold true for Gen Z. Younger consumers are engaging with new lenders rather than going to existing lenders for new products. In the report, Gen Z respondents indicated that they were the least likely to open a new credit product with a financial institution as a result of an existing relationship with that lender.

While consumers are carrying more credit cards in their wallets today than in 2010, the industry has seen five straight quarters of declining year-over-year origination growth. The study also found that the average duration for which a credit card remains open has shortened across the majority of age groups, which would indicate shifting loyalty.

Source: Trans Union

The Fintech 250: The Top Fintech Startups Of 2018 (CB Insights) Rated: AAA

The financial services industry is being transformed by insurgent startups. From capital markets to insurance and digital banking to wealth management, the Fintech 250 are among the most promising of these companies globally.

The entire 

Lendio Named to the 2018 CB Insights Fintech 250 List of Fastest-Growing Fintech Startups (PR Newswire) Rated: A

CB Insights today named Lendio to the second annual Fintech 250 list, a prestigious group of emerging private companies working on groundbreaking financial technology.

“It’s an honor for Lendio to be listed among the innovative companies driving the fintech industry forward,” said Brock Blake, Lendio CEO and founder. “Lendio is doing its part to power the economy by bridging the financing gap for small businesses. We are committed to shaping the future of marketplace lending to help business owners unlock their financial potential.”

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, recently announced it has facilitated over $1 billion in financing to more than 51,000 small businesses across the U.S. Through access to this growth capital, Lendio’s small business customers have generated an estimated $3.8 billion in gross economic output and created more than 25,000 jobs nationwide. Lendio’s milestone comes after an 80 percent increase in loans funded through its platform in the last year.

As Rates Rise and Recession Threatens, Alternative Lenders Batten Down the Hatches (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

The CEOs of Prosper Marketplace, Lending Club, and Social Finance Inc. all spoke to a common theme – preparing for the coming storm and choosing loans for quality, not quantity. JPMorgan Chase has predicted a 60% chance of recession by 2020, and it’s not clear how traumatic an event it will be.

JPMorgan signed a deal with Plaid for customer data sharing (Business Insider) Rated: A

JPMorgan on Monday signed an agreement with Plaid, a technology company that connects bank accounts with fintech apps like Robinhood, Venmo, and Acorns, that will give its customers better control over their personal data.

Plaid will access JPMorgan’s customer data through a secure application programming interface or API, allowing customers to share their financial information more easily and safely. Banks including JPMorgan have pushed back against so-called screen scraping, another way for fintech apps to companies to access customer data that generally is viewed as less secure.

Goldman shifts Marcus digital bank to its wealth unit (American Banker) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs Group is shifting a heavily touted business line into its wealth management unit as the bank eyes expansion through products that can be pitched to the division’s customers.

The firm is handing oversight of the Marcus business — its retail-banking effort, which offers personal loans online — to its $1.5 trillion investment management division, according to a memo seen by Bloomberg. The move is aimed at starting new business offerings under the Marcus brand that can be sold to the unit’s expanding roster of clients.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs confirmed the contents of the memo.

U.S. ‘Unbanked’ Population Continues to Fall (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

The number of U.S. households without a bank account fell to 6.5% in 2017, according to a federal government survey, as the improved economy helped bring mainstream banking services to more people.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday the number of ”unbanked” households reached its lowest level last year since the regulator began the biennial survey in 2009. The share of households without an account at a federally insured financial institution was down half a percentage point from 7% in 2015.

We’re Closer Than you Think to Autonomous Finance (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Autonomous finance isn’t a well known term within fintech, but it may be the biggest innovation in the consumer finance space in recent years. Ken Lin, the CEO and Co-Founder of Credit Karma talked with us recently on the Lend Academy podcast about this concept of autonomous finance, a concept that is slowly turning into reality.

Credit Karma is in the unique position to capitalize on this idea, particularly when it comes to the lending business, which still relies heavily on credit scores. The company has built a platform in which users can track their credit score over time and get suggestions on products based on their financial life. From my perspective Credit Karma has a monopoly of sorts on this business with no other serious competitors at scale. Due to their sheer size and the engagement with their members, Credit Karma is a significant lead generator for the major online lenders that exist today.

New UltraFICO score stokes concerns about data privacy (American Banker) Rated: A

A new credit score that includes a consumer’s cash flow alongside their credit score — dubbed UltraFICO — is winning praise for its potential to help expand access to credit but also stoking concerns about its data privacy implications.

FICO announced this week that it is testing a new credit score with Experian and data aggregator Finicity that draws on several months’ worth of data from consumers’ bank accounts. The idea, according to FICO, is to create a “second chance” score that could allow consumers who’ve been denied credit due to the traditional model another shot at obtaining it.

Short on Cash? Use Your Employer as a ‘Payday Lender’ (Nerd Wallet) Rated: A

In recent years, startups from Silicon Valley and beyond have stepped up to offer payday alternatives through the workplace. Some, including Earnin and PayActiv, have put a new twist on the two-week pay cycle to give people access to their wages as soon as they’ve earned them. Others, such as HoneyBee, SalaryFinance and TrueConnect, allow employers to offer low-cost emergency loans as an employee benefit.

Paycheck advances in the modern workplace

What technology companies like Earnin and PayActiv say they offer is a streamlined approach for employees that retains the employer’s traditional two-week pay cycle.

Navient eyes end of non-compete with Sallie Mae in January (Asset Securitization Report) Rated: A

Navient Corp. has been ramping up origination of refinance student loans even as rising interest rates reduce the potential savings for borrowers. Earnest, the online lender it acquired late in 2017, originated $903 million of refinance loans in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date originations $2 billion. But so far, the servicing giant’s ability to expand has been limited because of a non-compete agreement with the largest private student-lender, SLM Corp., better known as Sallie Mae.

Under the terms of their split in 2014, Navient is unable to refinance either private student loans made by Sallie Mae or any federally guaranteed student loans held by Sallie Mae.

The non-compete clause expires in January, and Navient CEO Jack Remondi doesn’t plan to waste any time. On a third quarter conference call Wednesday, Remondi made it clear that he sees plenty of potential to refinance loans made or held by Sallie Mae.

Kabbage Extends Access Of Small Business Lending (Benzinga) Rated: A

Kabbage is now lending over $10 million per day to small businesses, in congruence with the company’s recent addition of 30,000 customers in 2018. The company reported its first $500 million quarter this year, according to the press release.

The lender serves up to 1,400 businesses daily and has demonstrated a 68 percent increase of working capital accessed by Kabbage on mobile devices, as well as a 283 percent growth in use of the Kabbage Card since 2017.

“It was a great growth quarter for the company, and is a direct result of developing flexible and convenient solutions that simplify accessing capital for small businesses,” Kabbage CFO Scott Rosenberg told Benzinga.

Beyond Kickstarter: 10 Niche Crowdfunding Platforms for Startups (Entrepreneur) Rated: A

1. CrowdStreet

If you’re building a real-estate investment business — or developing real-estate projects — check out the online crowdfunding opportunities on CrowdStreet.

4. FundThatFlip

If your business is remodeling and reselling homes, FundThatFlip offers a place to get quick cash to fix up and resell. Investors put in a minimum of $5,000.

Guaranteed Rate Ranks as the Best Mortgage Lender for Online Mortgage Service by U.S. News & World Report (Bankless Times) Rated: A

Guaranteed Rate, an industry leader in technological innovation, tops the list of the Best Mortgage Lenders of 2018, according to U.S. News and World Report. The Chicago-based retail mortgage lender was named the Best Lender for Online Service with its groundbreaking advances to make the mortgage experience fast, simple and secure with its digital platform.

US News & World Report recommended the Guaranteed Rate mortgage process as best for borrowers who:

  • Want to complete most of the mortgage process online
  • Want help figuring out the right product for their situation
  • Want access to a variety of home loan options

Bought Mega Millions Tickets? Here’s What You Could Have Made If You Invested That Money Instead (Time) Rated: A

Americans spend a lot of money playing the lottery. Approximately 370 million lottery tickets were sold between Saturday and Tuesday before the Mega Millions drawing, according to a lottery official. The U.S. generated nearly $73 billion in lottery sales in 2016 and CNN reports that in 2017, U.S. residents spent about $73.5 billion on tickets. The average American spends about $223.04 per year on lottery tickets, loan marketplace LendEDU found in a report that calculated its average by dividing the 2016 lottery revenue by the U.S. population (325.7 million).

Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Minneapolis Are the Most Promising Places to Open a Restaurant (PR Newswire) Rated: A

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its study on the best cities to open a restaurant. The study found that while traditional foodie destinations like New York and San Francisco are saturated with restaurants, up-and-comers have room to grow. The restaurant population in cities like MilwaukeeCincinnati and Minneapolis cities is less dense than in other areas, and labor costs are lower.

LendingTree analyzed the 50 largest U.S. cities to see which offer prospective restaurateurs the best shot at success. Many top spots are in once-overlooked Midwestern cities now experiencing urban renewal. The least promising cities have historically been the restaurant industry’s most competitive.

Nav and Clover Partnership Streamlines Access to Business Credit Scores & Financing (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Today, Nav and Clover, a subsidiary of First Data, formally announced an integrated, multi-year partnership to deliver U.S.-based Clover users access to their free business credit scores, as well as custom-tailored business financing and credit card options.

The Federal Reserve Bank and other surveys consistently report around 70 percent of small business loan applicants are denied by their bank. As credit data is a primary way that banks and other financial institutions evaluate business loan applicants, the integration of business credit scores and insights directly into Clover’s dashboard enables these merchants to manage this important data.

Memorial Healthcare System Taps ezCarePoint to Provide Instant Online Financing for Patients’ Out-of-Pocket Medical Costs (AP News) Rated: A

Patients at facilities run by South Florida’s Memorial Healthcare System (MHS), one of the nation’s largest public healthcare systems, can now easily and quickly finance their out-of-pocket medical fees online, thanks to a new program powered by ezCarePoint, a next generation medical financing technology platform created by ezVerify, a Sunrise, Fla. based company and LendingPoint, a Kennesaw, Ga. based company.

RealtyFolio Updates Its Platform for a Big 2019 (PR Newswire) Rated: B

RealtyFolio, the online real estate investing platform has updated its interface, including a redesign, rebrand, and upgraded features. The upgrade was meant to “make it even more comfortable for clients to navigate the platform and for clients to be able to invest in real estate projects, quickly and easily,” according to the company’s CEO, Jonathan Klein. He went on to say that they “expect a very big year in 2019, with many projects in the works, and a lot of demand from clients.”

RealtyFolio is ushering in the future of real estate investing by allowing you to build a real estate portfolio online. With over 30 years of real estate investing and management experience on its team and a vast network of strategic partners across the United States, in cities such as New YorkMiami and Los AngelesRealtyFolio gives everyone a chance to swim with the sharks.

Tamarack Hires Seven and Expands Headquarters (ELFA) Rated: B

Tamarack, a leader in providing independent software solutions in the equipment finance and commercial lending industry, has moved to a new headquarters in the North Loop, doubling their space, and added seven new positions over the past three months to meet the growing demand.

With over 25 years of Leasing and Lending experience and an expert in InfoLease®, Tamarack hires on George Burke. Burke adds extensive experience to Tamarack’s back office software engineering team.

White Oak ABL Appoints Griffith to Managing Director (ABL Advisor) Rated: B

White Oak ABL, LLC, an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, announced the appointment of Clark D. Griffith to Managing Director, based in San Francisco. Griffith joins from Encina Business Credit where he held the position of Senior Managing Director in charge of West Coast originations, offering lines of credit and term loans from $5 million to $50 million.

PNC to offer online business loan option in 2019 (Delaware Business Now) Rated: B

PNC announced that in 2019 it plans to begin offering fully digital business lines of credit, up to$100,000.

PNC will partner withOnDeck and use its Platform-as-a-Service to simplify and accelerate the conventional lending originations processes for PNC Bank’s small and medium-sized business customers.

PNC will combine its expertise with ODX’s online origination technology and professional services to create PNC Small Business Lending.

TickPick Announces Affirm Partnership, Expands Payment Options at Checkout (PR Newswire) Rated: B

TickPick, the no-fee ticket marketplace that is transforming the industry, announced today a partnership with Affirm, the company founded by entrepreneur Max Levchin to provide fair and honest alternatives to traditional credit. This new payment option makes TickPick the first and only secondary marketplace to offer Affirm, which allows customers the ability to spread out the cost of their purchase over time through simple monthly payments.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle’s broker channel reaches £1bn lending milestone (Bridging and Commercial) Rated: AAA

After four consecutive record-breaking quarters, the in-house broker team has supported the growth of 9,600 British businesses.

Prior to the lending milestone, the P2P platform promoted Tom Shave to head of broker.

Tom has assisted in developing a diverse network of introducers, big and small, across the country.

UK regions come to the fore in producing $ 1bn tech companies (London Loves Business) Rated: A

The UK’s leading tech clusters are competing head to head with European capitals, according to new analysis of company growth, in a sign that the success of the UK tech sector is pushing far beyond its London heartland.

Following the IPOs of Farfetch and Funding Circle, the UK is now home to 15 unicorns and six cities have produced so-called unicorns – $1bn tech companies – according to research prepared for Tech Nation and the Government’s Digital Economy Council by venture capital analytics company Dealroom.co. This latest research is published ahead of the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s first meeting with the Digital Economy Council on 24 October 2018.

Looking at the creation of $1bn tech companies, Oxford and Cambridge combined have produced more fast-growing tech companies than both Paris and Berlin.

China

Loss-Making China Rapid Finance Limited (NYSE:XRF) Expected To Breakeven (Simply Wall St News) Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited’s (NYSE:XRF): China Rapid Finance Limited, through its subsidiaries, provides a consumer lending marketplace for lenders and borrowers in the People’s Republic of China. The US$156m market-cap posted a loss in its most recent financial year of -US$122m and a latest trailing-twelve-month loss of -US$49m shrinking the gap between loss and breakeven. As path to profitability is the topic on XRF’s investors mind, I’ve decided to gauge market sentiment. Below I will provide a high-level summary of the industry analysts’ expectations for XRF.

European Union

Klarna Talks Split Payments at Money2020 Conference (Cheddar) Rated: A

Klarna is launching a new ‘Slice it in 4’ product, allowing users to split up payments. Michael Rouse, chief commercial officer of Klarna, explains how it works.

INDOCHINO Chooses Klarna to Give Consumers the Power to Pay Over Time (PR Newswire) Rated: B

INDOCHINO shoppers can now Slice it at the checkout by using Klarna’s online consumer financing to easily spread the cost of their purchase over 6-36 months. Slice it has a simple 4-step credit application process, real-time decisioning and is offered within the merchant’s own website – no re-directs – for a frictionless and fast purchase experience.

By taking the premium made-to-measure experience direct to the consumer, INDOCHINO has created a superior alternative to off-the-rack clothing at ready-to-wear prices. Their immersive multi-channel experience enables customers to order their custom garments with ease online or in-person at one of 30+ showrooms across North America

German fintech poster child N26’s major security gap (Handelsblatt) Rated: A

Germany’s fintech darling N26 is potentially vulnerable to money laundering and terrorism financing, according to research by Handelsblatt’s sister magazine WirtschaftsWoche, which exposed a security gap at the online banking startup.

The apple of discord is how easily someone can open an account with a fake ID. A WirtschaftsWoche correspondent saw first hand how a man, Milo T., scanned a friend’s ID, added his own passport photo to the ID, printed it out and stuck it atop of a white plastic card that was the same size as the office ID card in his country. He cut the edges to make them round and voilà: a new identification card.

It took five minutes and the result is so blatantly a forgery that it would fail to convince even the laxest of nightclub doormen. None of the holograms or other security features found on original IDs can be seen on the fake. Regardless, Milo effortlessly used this ID to set up an N26 account, and this wasn’t a one-off occurrence. WirtschaftsWoche documented how several people opened N26 accounts using forged papers.

Robo.cash welcomes new loan originator (Peer2Peer Finance  News) Rated: B

LATVIAN peer-to-peer payday lender Robo.cash has added a loan originator from Kazakhstan to its platform.

Z-FINANCE provides short-term private lending in Kazakhstan with an average loan size equivalent to €60 (£52).

Investors on the Robo.cash site can now invest in these loans, which have a repayment period up to 30 days and an expected interest rate up to 12 per cent per annum.

Z-FINANCE was launched in July this year and currently lends through a network of 102 sales branches in Kazakhstan.

International

ID Finance Group reports 61% revenue growth for the nine months of 2018 (Fintech Finance) Rated: AAA

ID Finance Group has reported 61 per cent revenue growth and revenues of $141.3 million for nine months of 2018 following strong growth in Europe and Latam. The data science, credit scoring and digital finance company issued $215.7m in loans in the first nine months of the year, a 64 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Its European and LatAm operations comprising Spain, Poland, Brazil and Mexico demonstrated exceptional growth experiencing a 197 per cent revenue growth and revenues of $32.6 million for the nine months of 2018. It issued $63.8 million in loans, a 142 per cent increase on the same period last year, and has also grown its customer base to over one million registered users with 20,000 new users joining weekly.The Group has now separated its European and LatAm operations from its CIS businesses (comprising Russia, Kazakhstan and Georgia) and it is functioning as a separate entity under the ID Finance name.

Moven Enterprise Expands Availability of AI Smart-Banking Solution with Global Launch (Business Wire) Rated: A

Moven Enterprise, the smart-banking solutions division of Movencorp, Inc, today announced that it has expanded its footprint globally to help banks deepen their digital customer engagement and drive new revenue streams while significantly reducing attrition and acquisition costs.

After working successfully with TD Bank (TD) in Canada, Westpac in New Zealand, and others, Moven is now bringing its AI-driven digital banking platform to banks across LatAm, APAC, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The global expansion is well-positioned as Moven Enterprise received investment from SBI Group to enhance Moven’s footprint in Asia earlier this year. This included the formation of a joint venture, SBI Moven Asia. The company’s innovative platform leverages a bank’s data and uses proprietary algorithms to create contextual, individualized smart-banking experiences for consumers; providing them the right advice at the right time with the right offer and helping them move towards a better financial lifestyle.

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Private Lender—Pros & Cons (NuWire Investor) Rated: A

Private lending has picked up the pace in recent years. This is despite high-interest rates charged by private lenders. Many reasons have pushed lenders into this space including tightened requirements by banks.

In addition, banks tend to shy away from lending money to small businesses and startups. As a result, many borrowers look for other ways of funding, and such opportunities provide opportunities to private lenders.

However, starting out as a private lender is no easy walk in the park. Numerous risks lurk in the business, and you need to tread with caution. In this article, you’ll learn how to become a private lender and some of the pros and cons involved, so if you have an interest in becoming “a bank,” read on.

Fintech Streamlines Socially Responsible Impact Investing Via Robo-Advisors (Investor Place) Rated: A

What makes an investment socially responsible? There are several criteria. For instance, SRI investing avoids tobacco companies as their products cause health problems and death. Typically, a company’s social responsibility rating is based on its performance in three categories: environmental, social and governance (ESG). Positive practices across one or more of these spheres can land a company in the socially responsible category.

At the same time, robo-advisors are digital investment managers designed to grow your wealth through investing with models are based on sophisticated computerized algorithms, including ESG consideration. These fintech darlings have answered the call for socially responsible robo-advisors with a host of diverse options. Of course, you could choose a socially responsible mutual fund or ETF on your own. But, for the busy investor, let one of the many robo-advisors take charge of your investing, in line with your personal values.

Uphold Joins Crypto Lending Platform Cred for New Lending and Earning Solutions (Coin Speaker) Rated: A

In today’s business community, partnership has become one of the most promising tools on the way to new amazing developments and interesting projects that are aimed at offering customers really unique experience and opening new opportunities for them.

News about recently established collaborations regularly appears here and there. This time the headlines are made by Uphold which is a major global digital money platform, that has conducted transactions worth over $4.0 billion across 184 countries, and Cred that is a crypto-backed lending provider with over $250 million in credit facilities.

Joint Projects

Having announced their partnership Uphold and Cred have revealed their plans to launch two cutting edge blockchain-based consumer finance products: Uphold Earn and Uphold Borrow. Both products are aimed at helping customers to earn interest from stablecoin holdings and borrow money against the cryptocurrencies they have.

India

Indian P2P Lending Operators forms Association to Make P2P Industry More Credible (Indian Web2) Rated: AAA

After the Reserve Bank of India unveiled guidelines last October recognizing the need for peer-to-peer lending platforms as NBFC-P2P in the country, the regulatory authority had issued first license in May 2018 and since then 9 players have been recognized as NBFC-P2P companies. More than 12 companies are in the process of getting approval from the regulatory authority. Some of them are at advance to mid-level stage.

To represent the NBFC-P2P industry at various front as well as to represent country’s P2P lending industry at international forums, most of existing & new players have teamed-up and formed a registered body – Association of NBFC P2P Platforms.

The association has been registered under The Society Registration Act, 1860. Mr. Pramod Akhramka has been elected as President, Mr. Rajiv Ranjan as Secretary and Mr. Mukesh Bubna as Treasurer of the association.

Choose bank or online lender based on nature of loan (DNA Online) Rated: A

Unexpected expenditures often come knocking on your door when you want them the least. The reasons could range from maintenance for your vehicle to your old washing machine that needs to be replaced. The plus point of such expenses cropping up during the festive season is that you can always get a good bargain online (or at the store nearby). The fact still remains that these are expenses nevertheless. And that too when your festive expenditure is already lined up, leaving no financial bandwidth.

At times like these, loans bring a sigh of relief. But with so many options available in the market, whom should you approach with your loan requirement- banks or digital lending platforms?

Today, Indian consumers are benefitting from a range of financial products and financial institutions (FI) such as banks, non-banking finance companies, online lending platforms, etc, available at their disposal. If you are planning to take a loan or feel like there’s a possibility of availing the same in the near future, you must primarily understand that every lender has its own unique pros and cons. Some are quick in terms of loan approval and disbursal, some are cost-effective, some offer greater flexibility to their customers, while some offer innovative products that are more relevant for an applicant.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Mondy July 16 2018, Daily News Digest

market implied inflation

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingTree to acquire Student Loan Hero. SoFi to go after brokerage business. British Business Bank talking about backing Funding Circle loans. Funding Circle slashes US exposure. Duanrong raises $45M. Today’s main analysis: Deep dive on inflation. Today’s thought-provoking articles: New LendingClub account performance. New York state’s recommendations for online lending. Is there subprime auto loan bubble […]

market implied inflation

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United States

United Kingdom

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United States

LendingTree, Inc. Announces Agreement To Acquire Student Loan Hero (Payment Week) Rated: AAA

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Student Loan Hero, Inc., a personal finance website dedicated to helping student loan borrowers manage their student debt.  Student Loan Hero offers current and former students in-depth financial comparison tools, educational resources, and unbiased, personalized advice.

We are going after the brokerage business, says SoFi CEO (CNBC) Rated: AAA

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto discusses the company’s “modern take on the checking account” and where he seeing the next big investment opportunity, including cryptocurrency.

Rising Inflation, Deep-Dive on Inflation Trends (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Consumer credit increased by $26.4 Bn in May, the largest monthly jump in 6 months, to an all-time high of $3.9 Tn. Growth was driven by a $9.8 Bn increase in revolving credit card debt. Credit growth has been averaging 7.6% fueling consumer spend-driven GDP growth. The Fed’s latest G-19 report can be found here.

Source: Federal Reserve, PeerIQ

Rising US Inflation

US CPI rose by 2.9% YoY, its highest reading since March 2012. This week we look at various inflation measures and how they stack up against the Fed’s 2% inflation target.

Measured Inflation vs the Fed’s Inflation Target

Source: BLS, BEA, PeerIQ
Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

New LendingClub Account Performance – Q2 2018 (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

The current status of my LendingClub account is very typical for new investors. A handful of loans have been paid in full while just a couple have entered either grace period or the late 31-120 days stage. A majority of the loans are issued and current.

Below is a screenshot of my target allocation shortly after account setup with about half of my capital allocated to LendingClub notes.

Source: Lending Club

Below is a screenshot as of today with all $5,000 invested which now closely resembles my target allocation.

Source: Lending Club

DFS Releases Recommendations for Online Lending (deBanked), Rated: AAA

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) released a report on Wednesday on the subject of online lending in the state. The report was mandated by a billsigned by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 1 of last year.

Source: New York Department of Financial Services

Access the full report here.

Loan applicants are reverse engineering the online lending algorithms (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Online lenders are assailed by fraudsters on all fronts. There were 1579 data breaches in the U.S. in 2017, 302 of which resulted in the exposure of full credit and debit card numbers. Because online finance frees up applicants from having to show up physically to a bank, it also opens up opportunities for identity fraud. This really is the other side of phishing and identity hacks. Once data ends up in the hands of criminals, the next step is to monetize it by taking out fraudulent loans.

Kabbage claims that 95 percent of its customers have a fully-automated underwriting experience.  “By getting customers to connect their Amazon, Square, eBay, and business bank accounts, Kabbage gets a direct view into the finances of a small business borrower,” said Yaakov Erlichman, vice president of fraud and underwriting strategy at Kabbage. “We have more than two million live data connections. It’s really hard to fake live business data.”

You Accidentally Sent $ 149 to a Stranger on Venmo? Good Luck Getting It Back (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

With the rise of money-transfer apps such as PayPal Holdings Inc.’s Venmo, it’s never been easier for people to send money to their friends. It’s also never been easier to accidentally send money to a total stranger.

Getting the money back is often far more difficult: Many digital payments are irreversible.

For the recipient, it’s the equivalent of finding cash on the sidewalk— except it comes with a moral quandary.

Baker Hill Inks Loan Origination Deal with West Texas State Bank (Finovate) Rated: A

One month after bringing its loan origination platform to $5.6-billion North Carolina-based First Bank, Baker Hill is back in the news. The fintech is teaming up with West Texas State Bank (WTSB) to support efficient loan growth with its NextGen Loan Origination for Commercial and Consumer Lending platform. The technology, in the words of West Texas State Bank Chief Lending Officer and COO Les Robbins, will help the bank “streamline the origination process with … roles-based, intuitive lending solutions.”

Uphold To Bring Crypto-Backed Credit To Members With Libra Credit Partnership (Block Tribune) Rated: A

Cryptocurrency platform Uphold has partnered with crypto lending platform Libra Credit to offer its users access to a variety of Libra Credit products.

Founded by former PayPal financial technology veterans, Libra Credit is an ethereum-based lending network that facilitates open access to credit anywhere and anytime. Libra Credit offers a seamless digital lending process that can be completed in five steps: application, verification and credit assessment, confirmation, collateral deposit, and disbursement. The platform focuses on a dual-credit risk scoring mechanism that considers the creditworthiness of the pledged collateral as well as the credit information of the borrower. Borrowers will be able to pledge any crypto-assets as collateral and receive loans in their desired asset.

How to Choose Your First Real Estate Crowdfunding Investment (U.S. News) Rated: A

Crowdfunded real estate investments account for $2.5 billion of the $7 trillion commercial real estate market, according to CFX Markets. There’s major growth potential in the industry as more investors lock in on the benefits of investing in real estate through crowdfunding platforms.

United Kingdom

British Business Bank in talks to back £150m of Funding Circle loans (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle’s listed investment trust is in talks with the British Business Bank (BBB) about providing further funding through the peer-to-peer platform.

It comes as the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) reported its net asset value (NAV) had increased from £308m to £165m in the year to March 2018, while its NAV total return was 14.9 per cent.

FCIF highlighted a structured finance transaction with Citibank to fund loans through the Funding Circle platform as one of its major deals last year, and also revealed it was in talks with the BBB about providing up to £150m of funding.

Funding Circle slashes US exposure after dividend cut (Citywire) Rated: AAA

Funding Circle SME Income (FCIF) will reduce exposure to US loans after the increased cost of hedging the dollar saw the listed peer-to-peer fund cut its dividend.

Last month, the alternative lender to small businesses said it would cut its annual dividend of 6.5p per share to between 5p and 6p, after a ‘material increase’ in the cost of removing the impact of changes in the value of the dollar on its portfolio.

However, a ‘partial reallocation of capital deployment away from the US and towards the UK and continental Europe’ will see North American loans fall by up to 10% from 25% of the £329 million portfolio.

LendInvest partners Onfido for digital verification services (Verdict) Rated: A

Instead of the need for paper forms, LendInvest BTL applicants can now confirm their identity online by incorporating Onfido’s proprietary technology into its digital application system.

The new solution not only eliminates the needs for certified physical copy documents and saves time, but also it makes the mortgage application process easier for both brokers and their clients

Plans are also being considered to add Onfido technology into the onboarding process used for LendInvest’s online investment platform in the future.

UK Peer to Peer Lender Lending Works Raises £2.8 Million in New Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Lending Works has received £2.8 million in funding in a round led by Maven Capital Partners, with £800,000 of backing from Pollen Street Capital and NVM Private Equity. The UK peer to peer lender said proceeds will be used to fuel growth including loan customer acquisition via other channels.

Founded in 2014, Lending Works has originated approximately £115 million in loans with £32 million (27%) in the first half of 2018. – 27% of which (£32 million) was distributed in the first half of 2018 alone. Lending Works expects to originate £100 million in loans during 2018. The P2P lender is also a member of the UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) – the association that represents leading P2P platforms.

Another robo-adviser enters the fray: Tiller lets you invest in passive AND active funds – so how does it compare? (This is Money) Rated: A

Another player has entered the increasingly crowded ‘robo-advice’ space to cater for modest investors who have been priced out of conventional financial advice.

The new service, called Tiller, will pit against the likes of Nutmeg and Moneyfarm in a bid to win the custom of those investing smaller amounts who are under-served by financial advisers.

Like many of its competitors, Tiller creates a personalised portfolio which is rebalanced if necessary, buying and selling depending on what the markets do.

China

There’s No Subprime Bubble in China Auto Loans (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Slowing car sales and tightening credit look like a toxic combination for China’s auto-financing industry, which has exploded in the past few years. Concerns the sector is heading for a subprime-like meltdown may be overblown, though.

Sales in the world’s largest car market rose 2.3 percent in June from a year earlier, data showed last week. While faster than several analysts expected, growth decelerated from an 8 percent pace in May. Compared with the previous month, deliveries fell about 1 percent in June.

The cooling coincides with Beijing’s quest to deleverage the financial system, which has led to tighter liquidity, reduced access to credit and, in theory, squeezed consumer discretionary spending. In a report last week, analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein linked the weakness in car sales to a slowdown in peer-to-peer lending, pointing to “the deflation of what amounts to a subprime (P2P) auto bubble.”

Source: Bloomberg

Chinese Fintech Platform Duanrong.com Raises $ 45M Series B Round (China Money Network) Rated: AAA

China Money Network’s DealShot provides detailed information on venture capital and private equity deals in China on a daily basis.

Here you can find out where Chinese investors have been investing their money each workday.

Company Round Lead Investor Participants Sector Headquarters
Duanrong.com Series C Lanua Asia fund Fintech Beijing
LemonBox Seed Round Y Combinator, Guangjian Lab E-commerce Beijing
58 Suyun Series A InnoVision Capital Cainiao Network, Russia-China Investment Fund (RCIF), Qianhai Fund of Funds, 58 Daojia Logistics Tianjin
Honor Alliance Series A Angel Around Investment Fund Enterprise services Beijing
ASR Microelectronic Series B IDG Capital, Wanrong Hongtu Fund Smart Hardware Shanghai
Hash World Series A+ Shunwei Capital Danhua Capital Blockchain Beijing
EON Protocol Angel Round UpHonest Capital, BGOGO, Fission Capital Blockchain
Paopao Hero Series A undisclosed Consumer Upgrade Guangzhou
Haowujiayi Pre-A undisclosed E-commerce Shenzhen
51signing.com Series A Fenbushi Capital, DL Capitals Enterprise services Beijing
Viva Vision Biotech Series B Healthcare Shanghai
iBanker Pre-A Button Capital Mindfulness Capital, AC Capital Education Beijing
Soushi88.com Series A Ferry Venture Capital Buhuo Ventures E-commerce Guangzhou
IPSTAR Pre-A miHoYo Volcanics Venture, Shenzhen Huode Qianhai Fund Management Co., Ltd Media & Entertainment Shanghai
Huaqiang PCB Series B Cowin Capital, China Merchants Bank E-commerce Shenzhen

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

Toutiao Marches into the Fintech Market with Cash Loan Products

China’s leading digital media platform Toutiao has long denied the potential of entering the financial markets. However, it is reported this week that a series of cash loan products have launched on Toutiao’s app without too much marketing.

The product Fangxinjie (literally meaning reliable lending) was listed within Toutiao’s digital wallet with credit up to200,000 yuan and daily interest low to 0.03%.

Fintech Startup xyb100 Secures ¥200 Million B Round Funding led by Japanese Financial Institution Credit Saison

This week, fintech startup xyb100 announced that it had secured 200 million B round funding by famous Japanese financial institution Credit Saison.

European Union

Fundvisory Raises €1.8M From Macif and Aviva France (Coverager) Rated: AAA

Fundvisory, the Paris-based startup that offers a white-label robo-advisory solution has raised 1.8 million euros from Aviva France and Macif.

Founded in 2015, Fundvisory provides automated and modular robo-advisory tools such as portfolio monitoring, risk profiling and compliance to help financial institutions digitize their financial advisory services. Led by Nicolas Gonzalez and Romain Deguest, the startup previously raised 300,000 euros from friends and family, and is currently a team of 10 according to LinkedIn.

India

RBI Grants NBFC-P2P Certification to Cashkumar (Silicon India) Rated: AAA

According to a recent Morgan Stanley report, Indian P2P lending industry is estimated to cross the $4 billion mark by 2021. Owing top such pleasing industry forecast, along with the additional support schemes & initiatives from the Government, the fintech players in India have garnered a lot of momentum. In this light, Cashkumar, one of India’s leading P2P lending companies, announced that it has been granted the NBFC-P2P license from RBI (Reserve Bank of India). With this, Cashkumar joins the list of the very few fintech firms who hold the NBFC-P2P accreditation. Post this, the company focuses on providing loans between  20,000-100,000 with tenures of 3-12 months and offering only to salaried individuals.

Asia

Japanese startup Paidy raises $ 55M Series C to let people shop online without a credit card (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

Paidy, a fintech startup that enables Japanese consumers to shop online without using a credit card, announced today that it has raised a $55 million Series C. The round was led by Japanese trade conglomerate Itochu Corporation, with participation from Goldman Sachs.

The Tokyo-based startup says this brings its total funding so far to $80 million, including a $15 million Series B announced two years ago. One notable fact about Paidy’s funding is that it’s raised a sizable amount for Japanese startup, especially one with non-Japanese founders (its CEO and co-founder is Canadian and Goldman Sachs alum Russell Cummer, left in the photo above with CTO and co-founder Lee Smith).

Bambu raises $ 3m in Series A funding (FinTech Futures) Rated: A

Bambu CEO and founder Ned Phillips says it has topped growth targets for the year, and points to seven new clients in Asia and the US that were slated to go live soon.

He adds: “Our next ambitious goal is to get a million end users on the platform by 2019.”

Also participating in the round were Singapore family office Octava and Japanese fintech investor Mamoru Taniya.

The funding takes Bambu’s total capital to more than $4 million.

Lendr wins Asian award for innovative partnership (Manila Standard) Rated: B

Lendr, the digital lending platform of FINTQnologies Corp., bagged the ‘Most Innovative Partnership Strategy’ award at the 21st Annual Telecom Asia Awards on June 26 in Singapore.

MENA

Generation Start-up: Smart Crowd helps micro-investors build wealth, brick by brick (The National) Rated: AAA

In the case of Smart Crowd, the platform enables fractional ownership of real estate. Investors can purchase a stake in a rental property for as little as Dh5,000 ($1,300), ‘co-owning’ the asset along with tens, hundreds (or thousands, depending on the size and value of the unit) of other people.

They can hold their stake for as long as they wish, collecting the rent from it, or sell it and use the proceeds to invest in something else listed on the platform. Or they can use accumulated returns to buy a property on their own.

Smart Crowd is licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the regulator of Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai’s financial free zone, to provide crowdfunding services for real estate. It won regulatory approval in January, obtained an operating licence in April, and in June completed its first transaction – the acquisition of a Dh365,000 studio in Remraam generating a gross annual yield of 10.8 per cent (approximately 8.6 per cent with fees), the founders say.

Big data for bigger opportunities (Khaleej Times) Rated: A

Businesses in Dubai are not sparing any efforts to tap possible avenues to boost sales and growth, and the latest trend is that firms specialising in big data are unlocking opportunities to study customer preferences, loyalties and any segment that will help boost customer numbers.

Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. But it’s not the amount of data that’s important: it’s what organisations do with the data that matters. Big data can be analysed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves, according to the definition given by SAS Institute.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday January 26 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi completes $960.2M student loan securitization. Robinhood adds zero-fee crypto trading, tracking. Goldman partners with Cadre. South Korea earmarks 11.2T won for midrange borrowers. Today’s main analysis: Buying overdue loans at discount on Mintos’ secondary market. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What RateSetter will look like without unsecured commercial loans. AltFi Data predicts strong U.S. MPL […]

marketplace lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi Completes $ 960.2 Million Student Loan Securitization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lender SoFi announced on Thursday the closing of its $960.2 million offering of SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A Notes (SoFi 2018-A). According to the lending platform, the offering reflects underlying collateral of more than $1billion in student loans and is SoFi’s largest ever securitization, as well as the first by any fintech lender to reach the billion-dollar collateral mark.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-1 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-1 (“SCLP 2018-1”). This is a $591.5 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-1

Class Preliminary Rating Class Principal
A-1 AA+ (sf) $320,000,000
A-2 AA+ (sf) $142,500,000
B A (sf) $81,000,000
C BBB (sf) $48,000,000

A Knife in Twitter’s Back Could Bring A Happy Ending to SoFi Investor’s Wild Ride (Inc.), Rated: A

And the reason that departure could make me better off is that I invested in SoFi in December 2014 when the company was valued at $1 billion. The last time SoFi raised money – in 2017 – it was valued at $4.3 billion.

There are five reasons I invested in SoFi  — of which these four are the most important.

1. It was targeting a huge market

SoFi started out targeting the $1.2 trillion student loan industry and in 2014 announced an expansion into the $12 trillion mortgage market.

 2. Its management team had excellent industry knowledge

 3. It knew what ailed stakeholders and provided a remedy

Of the 15,500 borrowers who had taken out about $1.3 billion worth of loans in 2014, SoFi estimated that it had saved the average borrower $11,783.

 4, It looked like it could reach $100 million in revenue

In November 2017, Bloomberg reported that in the third quarter of 2017 SoFi’s adjusted operating revenue rose 8.2% to $145.3 million in the third quarter while its adjusted earnings totaled $56.1 million.

Moreover, SoFi added 55,000 members in the quarter to a total of 400,000 – having completed “more than $3.52 billion in loans in the period and completed three securities offerings totaling more than $1.5 billion,” according to Bloomberg.

Scandal-rocked SoFi says it has foundation for full recovery (American Banker), Rated: A

He points to the $12.9 billion in loan originations SoFi did last year. The company sold more than $2 billion of those loans.

“All our investors are still buying, and we’ve added many new investors post Mike leaving,” Jain said. “All our lenders continue to lend to us and they’ve shown interest in lending us more. In the face of adversity, we did all we could.”

Source: American Banker

6 Awesome Benefits of SoFi Parent Student Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

If your child is a college student, you can borrow money to help offset their education costs with a SoFi Parent Loan. According to the company, borrowers can save $3,637 over the life of the loan compared to a federal Parent PLUS Loan, on average.

If you took out a federal Parent PLUS Loan, you could face interest rates as high as 7.00%.

  1. Low interest rates – Depending on your credit score and income, you could qualify for a much lower rate with SoFi than you would with a federal student loan. SoFi student loans have fixed interest rates as low as 3.25% and variable rates as low as 2.58%.
  2. No origination or application fees – For borrowers who received their loans after October 2017, that fee is 4.264 percent of your loan amount. On a $10,000 loan, that means you’ll have to pay a fee of $426.40, adding to the cost of your child’s education.
  3. Career support
  4. Wealth advisors
  5. Member discounts – If you have a SoFi parent student loan and go on to take out a personal loan, mortgage, or another student loan with the company, you’ll receive a 0.125 percent interest rate discount on the new debt.
  6. Customer support

Loan Program Plans to Offer Students Prepaid Bank Cards (The New York Times), Rated: A

The Department of Education plans to provide students with a prepaid card that would hold surplus loan money that is not needed for tuition, giving the government and financial services providers a firsthand look at how students are spending those dollars.

Robinhood adds zero-fee cryptocurrency trading and tracking (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

No-commission stock trading app Robinhood will let you buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum without any added transaction fees starting in February, compared to Coinbase’s 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the US. And as of today Robinhood will let all users track the price, news, and set alerts on those and 14 other top crypto coins, including Litecoin and Ripple.

Former Ripple Exec Invests $ 57.5 Million in Uphold (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Digital money platform Uphold today announced it has received a $57.5 million investment from former Fed Reserve senior analyst and Ripple chief risk officer Greg Kidd.

Goldman Sachs Teams Up With This Silicon Valley Upstart in Commercial Real Estate (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Goldman’s strategic investments group, which makes venture-capital-like investments, now owns 80 portfolio companies.  One such company is Cadre, a fintech company involved in online commercial real estate investing that Goldman funded in its Series B, C, and D funding rounds. The start-up, which happens to be led by some Goldman alumni, also just received a $250 million investment from Goldman’s private wealth clients.

Cadre also charges its LPs less than a typical private real estate fund. These funds usually charge a management fee, often around 1.5%, as well as a 20% cut of the profits above an 8% “preferred” return to LPs. On Cadre’s website, it advertises a 1% “transaction fee” (I assume that’s based on a per-deal fee, like a broker would get) and then a similar 1.5% management fee, but no incentive fee. Cadre claims this fee structure will increase investors’ invested rate of return by over 2% compared with a typical fund, all other factors being equal.

Instant cash out comes to Venmo (Business Insider), Rated: A

Venmo, the PayPal-owned digital peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer service, is within 30 minutes) cash out their Venmo balance for a flat $0.25 fee.

Trump administration prepares to roll back key financial protections for consumers (MarketWatch), Rated: A

The new leadership has taken over at a time when consumers are struggling with credit-card, auto loan and student loan debt. They’re also worried about their personal data, after a 2017 breach at the credit reporting agency EquifaxEFX, +0.81%   exposed personal information of more than 145 million U.S. adults, including their Social Security numbers and financial accounts.

Mulvaney requested zero dollars for his second-quarter budget

The bureau already had $177 million in reserves, enough to cover the $145 million the bureau projected it would need during the second quarter, he said.

USA consumer bureau delays prepaid card rules into 2019 (AliveForFootball), Rated: B

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today finalized changes to its final rule on prepaid products, including an overall delay of the rule’s effective date until April 1, 2019 – an extension long sought by the American Bankers Association. The bureau also made changes meant to boost compliance with the rule and loosen rules on linking credit cards to prepaid accounts or “virtual wallets”.

The rule requires companies to disclose fees on prepaid cards and cooperate with consumers who discover unauthorized charges or errors.

Mastercard eyes biometric totality by 2019 (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Mastercard says all consumers will be able to identify themselves with biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition, when they shop and pay with Mastercard by April next year.

StreetShares lands $ 23M for expansion, will look for new office space (Washington Business Journal), Rated: A

The veteran-oriented online lender will beef up staff and look to expand its government contracting offerings.

REIT Industry Veteran Talks About What to Expect from the Sector in 2018 (NREI Online), Rated: A

NREI: More specifically, what’s your take on how publicly-traded REITs will perform this year? Will 2018 be better overall than 2017?

Aaron Halfacre: In 2017, publicly-traded REIT performance was anemic relative to the S&P 500. I think that can be largely attributed to a few factors: big demand for large-cap “infotech” names driving the broader market, a meaningful sell-off in retail REITs and general market hesitation on REITs in front of the tax bill and Fed decisions. On a relative basis, publicly-traded REITs are well-positioned in 2018, not only from the fundamentals picture, but from a value perspective.

NREI: What about non-traded REITs?

Aaron Halfacre: I think 2018 could be as strong, or stronger, than what we saw in 2017. Personally, I am excited about the industry changes in the non-traded REIT space. It is a good thing to see Blackstone and Starwood entering the space while some of the traditional fee-hungry shops have bowed out—a good advocacy trend for the individual retail investor. Institutional-grade real estate choices without the… fee structures of yesteryear, combined with greater valuation transparency and an investment that is not correlated to the broader equity market — that’s a positive story for all of us who aren’t part of the 1 percent.

‘AI isn’t just technology, it’s good judgment’: Cathy Bessant on why banks need humans (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Bessant is transforming B of A into a technology firm and leading it into a future that requires humans to apply immense computing power to immense amounts of data — an artificial intelligence future. But like any every other technology executive, she’s facing a shortage of talent with science, technology, engineering and math backgrounds. The result is often departments hiring from other departments.

Bank of America will spend $600 million this year on cyber defense alone. It employs 1,200 people whose jobs are dedicated to nothing else but information security, although the company makes that “the job of every single employee,” Bessant said. But the caliber of the talent the bank hires is just as important as the technology it invests in, since they’ll be the ones that determine how to work responsibly with AI.

Bank of America Enters Car Subscription Space With Volvo (Auto Finance News), Rated: A

All of Volvo Car Financial Services’ loan and lease originations end up on Bank of America’s balance sheet, Hollodick explained, including subscriptions to Care by Volvo, which starts at $600 a month for an XC40 compact crossover.

2,000+ bank branches closed in US in 2017 (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

US banks accelerated their pace of branch closures in 2017, shutting down 2,069 locations (an 18% increase compared to 2016), according to CoStar, a US-based commercial real estate news site.

3 Industries that can benefit from alternative credit data (MicroBilt), Rated: A

Although alternative credit remains a murky, unfamiliar concept to some, its adoption is slowly but steadily spreading. Some sectors may be particularly well-positioned to benefit from its use, and businesses under those umbrellas should consider adopting them if they haven’t yet done so.

Rally Rd collects $ 2.6 mln seed (PE Hub), Rated: A

Rally Rd., A marketplace for making investments in collector cars the same way you buy & sell stock, announced that it has raised a $2.6 million seed round investment from leading venture capital firms and individual investors.

The Unconventional Way This Man Paid Off $ 70,000 in Student Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

When Ray Laureano and his wife graduated from college, they left school with a staggering amount of student loans. Between the two of them, they were over $200,000 in debt.

Ray and his wife paid off over $70,000 in just one year.

A radical debt repayment strategy

Instead, he talked to each loan servicer and entered the lower-interest loans into forbearance; in other words, he paused payments on those loans.

With his other debt payments on hold, he put all of his extra money toward just one loan with the highest interest rate. When that loan was fully paid off, he tackled the next highest-interest debt, and so on.

Ray estimates that they will be debt-free by March 2020.

Enacomm Inks Reseller Agreement with Telvoyant (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Data intelligence and advancements in communications technologies are helping financial institutions dramatically improve the customer self-service experience. Enacomm, Inc., a leading provider of intelligent interactions and customer authentication technologies for banks, credit unions and credit card companies, today announced a new partnership with Telvoyant, a premier telecom consulting firm providing comprehensive telecom solutions for business, non-profit organizations and government institutions. Through a reseller agreement between the two companies, Telvoyant’s bank and credit union customers will be able to take advantage of Enacomm’s 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

What will RateSetter look like without unsecured business lending? (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

Consumer loans still make up the lion’s share of RateSetter’s £2.2bn loan book, while its commercial arm – both secured and unsecured – makes up 9.8 per cent, equating to £223.4m.

Of 2,213 commercial loans in total, including those that have been paid and repaid, 1,622 were unsecured and 591 secured as of the end of last year.

But its secured loans tend to be larger. 42.5 per cent of the value of RateSetter’s commercial loan book are listed as unsecured. This represents £95.1m worth of unsecured business loans compared with £128.2m of secured business loans.

UK Federation Of Small Businesses Says AltFin Is Just Heating Up (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The not-for-profit Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has been a vocal proponent of faster SMB payment times, greater access to more robust banking services and tighter regulation in support of small businesses across the U.K. Most recently, the FSB announced plans to join the alternative finance world and establish the FSB Funding Platform, a marketplace lending portal through which small businesses can access funding from more than 100 lenders.

The FSB’s own research on small business finance, outlined in its Q4 FSB Voice of Small Business Index, found that fewer SMBs were concerned about their access to finance in Q4 2017 than they were in the same quarter of 2016. For the first time since Q1 2012, the FSB’s credit availability index has surpassed its credit affordability index.

And yet, according to the report, small business confidence fell into negative territory, with 73 percent of SMBs reporting a rise in the cost of doing business.

Does cutting-edge technology require a new approach to insurance? (techworld), Rated: A

Digital Risks, an insurtech startup launched in 2014, focuses solely on providing insurance to startups working in the digital, media and tech space.

“We insure things like challenger banks, peer-to-peer lending, payments, medtech, teleadvice, fraud detection, cyber security software, and sharing economy businesses,” Rose adds. “The general focus is around technology.”

Digital Risks doesn’t provide insurance itself – rather, it acts as a broker between companies and a group of about 20 different underwriters.

Lendinvest backs £12m Leeds-based PRS scheme (Specialist Lending Solutions), Rated: B

The specialist property finance lender has completed a £12.5m financing deal with KMRE Group to build 111 new homes in Kirkstall, in a private rental sector (PRS) scheme.

The whole development will be managed as a PRS scheme, and was forward sold before construction commenced to a £300bn investment management group.

International

AltFiData Predicts Strong Growth for Marketplace Lending in the US in 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Today, leading data analytics provider for marketplace lending, AltFiData, released the total origination numbers for the UK, Europe and the USA. They are predicting solid growth for the industry in all three regions in 2018. The new loan volume for the USA in 2018 is expected be $38.9 billion, a year on year increase of 46%.

Still, I think 46% growth is a little on the high side for the four companies covered here but I expect we will get close to those numbers. Interestingly, AltFiData is expecting the UK industry to grow at 43%, slightlty slower than the USA, and Continental Europe to grow at 73% off a much smaller base.

Investing on the Mintos Secondary Market – Hint 2 – Buying overdue loans at discount (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

I get a result of 349 loans with various discounts and an YTM of up to 14%. Not surprising for me, many of the loans listed at the top are Mogo loans.

Source: P2P-Banking

If these loans do pay up and then run till regular maturity date, then he recieves a yield of 12.4% to 13.8%. Decent, but not very high compared to other Mintos loans.

However there is a chance of at least 50% that these loans will default and are bought back within the next 30 days. If that happens to a loan, that a buyer bought at 0.3% discount, it will boost his yield very roughly by more 3.6% (0.3% for 30 days multiplied by 12 to get annual effect). Likely it is more because the next payment date will be less than 30 days away. But even taking 3.6% the yield will be around 17%.

The loan with the 0.6% discount would mean a boost of very rougly 7.2% yield on top (0.6*12). So that could lead to about 20% yield.

Global Venture Capital Investment Market – Top 3 Trends by Technavio (BusinessWire), Rated: A

According to Technavio analysts, the global venture capital investment market will grow at a CAGR of more than 27% during the forecast period.

The three emerging market trends driving the global venture capital investment market according to Technavio research analysts are:

  • IPO market gains momentum
  • Growing portion of new investments in China and India
  • Increased participation from mutual funds, hedge funds, and banks in the VC market

In 2017, a lot of major startups such as Cloudera, China Rapid Finance, and Okta came up with IPOs. Most of the companies issuing IPOs were technology-focused and were software and cloud service providers.

During the forecast period, the Americas was the leading venture capital investment market with a market share of more than 56%, with the US being the leading country in the region.

Source: BusinessWire

Crowdfunding – Raising Billions (BW Disrupt), Rated: B

Equity crowdfunding has also become legal in countries like United Kingdom, France, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Hong Kong and the U.S. with President Obama legalizing the equity crowdfunding by signing the JOBS Act into law.

Source: BW Disrupt

The Crowdfunding statistics for 2017 reports a global amount raised for $34 billion, broken into $25 billion through peer-to-peer lending, $5.5 billion through reward and donation and $2.5 billion through equity crowdfunding. The projection of the crowdfunding industry is expected to grow over $300 billion by 2025.

Australia/New Zealand

Big banks, biased financial advisers, and the three tricks to avoid them (The NewDaily), Rated: AAA

This week the big banks got more bad press when the corporate regulator ASIC declared that their huge networks of financial advisers were failing to operate in the best interests of their customers.

The report, which covered the financial advice arms of the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ, NAB and AMP, found that an astonishing 75 per cent of advice provided was not in the best interests of customers.

And in 10 per cent of cases, consumers were actually worse off than they would have been if they hadn’t got advice.

PledgeMe announces new crowdlending-inspired platform in the works (bizEDGE), Rated: A

PledgeMe has jumpstarted the year with the announcement of the launch of a new lending platform they will be offering.

The Ta Koha platform will be based on a crowdlending model in partnership with the Māori Women Development Inc (MWDI).

India

Innovative products pay off for e-lending startups (ET Rise), Rated: A

After payments, digital lending as a space is at the vanguard of innovations, driven by a clutch of startups seeking to take formal lending to a customer segment that never got easy credit from banks.

From a digital EMI card to instant personal loans and a line-of-credit product, new-age disruptors such as Stashfin, Kissht, and Antworks, along with their established peers Paysense and Moneytap, are trying to generate traction through innovative lending products. Mumbai-based Kissht is financing consumption requirements of low-income households with a digital EMI card that can be used to make payments directly.
“There are around 40 online merchant partners and 2,000 points of presence accepting the Kissht EMI card across businesses like electronic stores, furniture shops and others,” said Krishnan Vishwanathan, chief executive of Kissht. Another Delhi-based startup, Stashfin, is also targeting consumers with income levels between ?20,000 and 1 lakh per month.
Asia

W11.2tr earmarked for midrange borrowers (The Korea Herald), Rated: AAA

South Korea’s Financial Services Commission said Thursday it plans to circulate a combined 11.2 trillion won ($10.6 billion) this year for local retail borrowers that hold midrange credit scores while having trouble finding corresponding loans.

The FSC pledged to pour a combined 8 trillion won into state-run loan products sold at banks, including those designed for refinancing. The remaining 3.2 trillion won will be spent to encourage private banking institutions to develop and sell midrange loan products this year, and the volume of support is expected to gradually increase, according to the plans.

By 2022, the government’s annual financial support for five commercial banking groups — Shinhan, KB, KEB Hana, NH and Woori — will increase by 2.5 times to 2.4 trillion won from 2017, according to the plans. Direct banks Kakao Bank and K Bank received 900 billion won in 2017, and the volume will increase by 3.5 times to 3.1 trillion won in 2022.

Africa

SelfKey Receives Regulatory Sandbox License in Mauritius (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

SelfKey, a blockchain-based digital identity firm, has obtained a Mauritius’ Regulatory Sandbox License (RSL), according to information provided by the company. This license will allow SelfKey to develop their self-sovereign digital identity wallet and financial services marketplace under supervision and scrutiny of the Board of Investment of Mauritius.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor