Thursday April 25 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintechs

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub restructures SME lending. Funding Circle lowers return projections. RateSetter receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise. SoFi could get $500M funding from Qatar. Today’s main analysis: How personal loans impact credit scores a year into repayment. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Employer payday loans and continuous billing using today’s technology. Interview with Deserve’s […]

The post Thursday April 25 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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United States

LendingClub shuts down SME lending arm (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

US peer-to-peer lending pioneer Lending Club has closed the doors on its in-house small business lending operation, reports Julie Muhn at Finovate.

Opportunity Fund, a non-profit small business lender; Funding Circle, one of the largest alternative small business lending platforms in the US; and Lending Club have teamed up to offer Lending Club’s small business clients’ access to credit. Businesses can now borrow up to $300,000 for rates as low as 5%.

How Personal Loans Impact Debt and Credit Scores a Year Into Repayment (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Key findings

  • One year after taking on a personal loan, 52% of borrowers owed less overall on credit cards and personal loans. These borrowers’ balances — the sum credit card and personal loan balances — fell $811 on average.
  • Among baby boomers who took out personal loans, 56% lowered their overall balances after their first year of repayment, compared with 52% of Generation X and 48% of millennials.
  • Boomers also lowered their balances by much larger amounts, owing an average $2,048 less after a year. Balance reductions of younger borrowers were more modest: Generation X lowered their overall balance by $338, and millennials reduced their overall balance $250.
  • A year into repaying a personal loan, credit scores declined slightly for all age groups. Boomers’ credit scores declined the least, with the median falling just 1 point from 669 to 668. The median score of Generation X personal loan borrowers fell 7 points, from 659 to 652. Millennial credit scores fell 10 points, dropping from 661 to 651.
  • Credit utilization rates — the ratio of the sum of credit card balances to the sum of credit card limits — show a similar trajectory. One month after taking a personal loan, the median utilization rate fell from 35% to 26%. But after the first month, utilization increased. The median utilization rate one year after taking a loan increases to 44%.

How To Get Your Paycheck Early (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Speaking of Walmart, the retailer has partnerships with two fintech startups–Even Responsible Finance and PayActiv–that enable its US workers get part of their salary paid before payday.

Employees can get up to eight drawdowns (called Instapays) on their salary ahead of scheduled payouts. The first eight drawdowns are free to the employees, and then in subsequent use, fees are levied across a personal finance app available through Even.

Continuous Billing

There’s no reason why billers can’t provide continuous information about what a customer owes, in real time, online or through mobile apps.

Deserve’s Kalpesh Kapadia: ‘We promise the best credit card for our customer’s profile and life stage’ (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The financial system has always struggled with young people. Because the system uses credit history, young people were frequently excluded from credit products because they’re new to the system. If you’re an immigrant or foreign student studying in the US, it’s way worse. Kalpesh Kapadia set out to change a system that was skewed against young people. He’s the co- founder and CEO of Deserve, which offers credit cards to college students at 2500 universities in the US.

To do this, he’s created an analytics-based lending platform that’s also branching out into powering credit cards as a service. We talk about how Deserve is able to underwrite credit-thin files and why he thinks his firm is at an advantage when it comes to competing against Marcus’s credit products and Apple’s new credit card.

Resolve Accelerates Shift to B2B eCommerce with Automated Net Payment Terms (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

According to Forrester Research, business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce is poised to reach over $1.8 trillion by 2023. To help power this explosive growth, Resolve today announced that it has formally spun out of Affirm to launch an automated payments platform offering extended net terms. Early customers using Resolve’s payment automation technology have realized significant increases in B2B sales, growth in order size, and faster sales cycles.

Online Auto Loans: The Pros and Cons (U.S. News), Rated: A

Things are different now. Almost every financial institution has an online presence, and most offer information about car loans on their site. Most also provide an opportunity to apply for financing online, with a growing number able to take car buyers through the entire auto loan process without ever having to visit a bank or credit union branch.

It’s Not Easy Solving For $ 1.5 Trillion In Student Debt (PYMNTS), Rated: A

There is $1.5 trillion worth of student loan debt outstanding in the U.S. and it is creating problems.

Admittedly the plan is quite a bit more complex than that, as detailed by Sen. Warren in a Medium post that went live yesterday (April 22). In broad strokes, for students from families with less than $100,000 a year in annual income, $50,000 in student loan forgiveness would be available. The post also calls for “substantial debt cancellation for every person with household income between $100,000 and $250,000.” The Warren plan also calls for the elimination of tuition at all two-year and four-year public institutions of higher learning, and would create a fund of at least $50 billion specifically for historically black colleges and universities. Federals subsidies for for-profit colleges would be banned.

Would You Take a Job Just for the Fertility Insurance? (Glamour), Rated: AAA

The cost, however, put it out of reach. A single round of IVF rings in at about 

dv01 Launches Credit Risk Transfer Market Surveillance Offering (dv01 Email), Rated: A

dv01 today announces the launch of its Credit Risk Transfer (CRT) Market Surveillance offering, which will be showcased on April 25 at the 4th Annual Credit Risk Transfer Symposium in New York.

dv01’s latest offering adds $1.8 trillion of Freddie Mac (STACR) and Fannie Mae (CAS) CRT securitizations to dv01’s modern web-based data analytics platform, furthering their goal of bringing greater transparency to capital markets. Building on the success of dv01’s Market Surveillance offering for consumer loans (launched in 2017), the CRT offering will allow investors to analyze historical performance of CRT deals both individually or as combined deals, perform whole market analysis, and run cash flow scenarios.

Let’s give post offices another job (The Student Life), Rated: A

As of 2017, approximately 6.5% of households in the U.S., totaling more than eight million, don’t have an account open at an insured bank, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. An additional 24.2 million households utilize non-traditional financial services that often make them vulnerable to usurious lending rates.

Americans utilizing alternative forms of credit spend nearly 10% of their salaries on fees alone. For a family making the average salary of $25,500 in 2012, those fees average out to $2,412.

The USPS has 59% of its locations in zip codes that have one or fewer banks, according to a 2011 government report. This could help people to overcome a geographic boundary.

Equifax acquires PayNet to help expand access to capital for small and mid-sized businesses (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Equifax Inc., a global data, analytics and technology company has acquired PayNet, a company that provides commercial credit risk underwriting and management solutions to online and alternative finance lenders, and commercial finance and leasing companies in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

Marketplace Lending Update #5: The Very Long Arm of Colorado Law (The National Law Review), Rated: A

Recently a state court in Colorado ruled that securitization trusts that acquire marketplace lender loans originated to Colorado consumers are subject to Colorado jurisdiction. The court’s ruling derailed the attempt by the securitization trusts to escape the ongoing battle between the State of Colorado and marketplace lenders over rates and fees that can be charged to Colorado residents.

Berman Tabacco Announces Major Win for Victims of Plain Green Online Lending Scheme (BusinessWire), Rated: A

In a long-awaited opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today ruled that borrowers who took out loans from the Native American-affiliated online lender Plain Green can proceed with their nationwide RICO class action in Vermont federal court. The Second Circuit affirmed a May 2016 ruling by District Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford and comes nearly two years after oral argument on Defendants’ appeals. Berman Tabacco and Gravel & Shea PC are Lead Counsel in the case, Gingras, et al. v. Rosette, et al., No. 5:15-cv-00101-gwc (D. Vt.).

2nd Circ. Says Tribal Officers Not Immune In Payday Loan Suit (Law360), Rated: B

The Second Circuit on Wednesday rejected a bid by officers of tribe-owned lending company Plain Green LLC to escape a suit claiming they charged exorbitant interest rates on so-called payday loans,…

White Oak Global Advisors Completes $ 30M Loan for Danimer Scientific Holdings (AP News), Rated: B

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC (“White Oak”) today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent to provide a $30 million senior credit facility to Danimer Scientific Holdings, LLC (“Danimer”), a manufacturer of specialty compostable and biodegradable plastics. This transaction expands on White Oak’s ESG-lending platform, which aims to finance small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) that are developing solutions to help address environmental and social issues around the world.

Online Lender Upgrade Recognized as Top Place to Work in San Francisco (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Online Lender Upgrade, a Fintech serving the consumer credit market, has been named a “Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’”by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal. Upgrade is the creation of  CEO Renaud Laplanche, the founder of publicly traded marketplace lending platform LendingClub. This is the second time Upgrade has been recognized as a nice place to work in the notoriously work focused bay area.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle lowers return projections (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has revised down its annual return projections in the face of a weaker environment for consumer credit.

The peer-to-peer business lender now predicts investors in its Balanced portfolio will achieve a return of 4.5 to 6.5 per cent a year.

Investors in its Conservative portfolio, meanwhile, could achieve 4.3 to 4.7 per cent a year.

Peer to Peer Lender RateSetter Receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer investment platform RateSetter has been recognized with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for excellence in innovation.

Challenger bank Tandem to double headcount as CEO warns of Brexit brain drain (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Tandem Bank said on Tuesday it had moved into a new 16,000 square foot office in London as part of plans to double headcount this year to 230 and grow to 300 people by the end of 2020.

“Last year we hit 500,000 customers when we had an expectation for 150,000,” Knox told Yahoo Finance UK.

Consumer P2P loans weigh on P2PGI fund returns (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

P2P Global Investments (P2PGI) has warned that its legacy peer-to-peer lending portfolio continues to be more volatile than expected despite posting an improved net asset value (NAV) return for 2018.

P2PGI – the world’s first P2P-focused investment trust – revealed in its annual report that its NAV for 2018 was 5.2 per cent, up from three per cent in 2017.

China

How Leverage Turns Market Corrections into Crashes (Yale Insights), Rated: AAA

Q: Is shadow borrowing unique to China?

It’s difficult to study the phenomenon very precisely. We do observe shadow lending in various forms growing throughout the world, including in the U.S., and, if left unregulated, this type of lending could mean that household and financial institution leverage keeps rising in a way that is both unregulated and undocumented.

Because the Chinese government believed that the shadow sector was partly responsible for the crash, it seized the data from some shadow lending platforms and allowed us to analyze it.

Q: Who’s providing the financing in these situations?

The exact sources of financing are not well known. Some of it could be other stock investors that have put up their own holdings as collateral and borrowed against it and then lend out the proceeds on the shadow market. It could also be peer-to-peer lending platforms. It’s also believed that some of the financial institutions and brokerage firms within China may have also lent out within the shadow sector.

Trade war with US could lead to economic ‘cold war’ for China, Beijing researchers say (SCMP), Rated: A

The tit-for-tat tariff war with the US and the broad hostility is seen as a major risk endangering China’s “economic security”, along with a property bubble, local debt, unemployment and online financing including peer-to-peer lending, according to the latest edition of China’s Economic Security Outlook.

European Union

French Lender Societe Generale Issues $ 112 Million Bond on Ethereum (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

French financial services giant Societe Generale Group has issued about $112 million worth of bonds in the form of a security token on the public ethereum blockchain.

Announced today, a subsidiary called Societe Generale SFH used the OFH token (obligations de financement de l’habitat, or home financing obligations) to represent 100 million euros of covered bonds, a type of security that is backed by specific assets but remains on the issuer’s balance sheet.

The bond has a five-year maturity with a 12-month extension period, Moody’s said.

N26 opens tech hub in Vienna with a focus on security (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Fintech startup N26 is opening an office, its fourth, in Vienna. Eventually, the company plans to hire 300 software engineers, product managers and IT specialists.

API card platform Marqeta signs up three customers in Europe (Verdict), Rated: B

The platform has been signed up by French digital bank Morning, Swiss digital bank Yapeal, and Spanish POS lender Aplazame.

CoinLoan Plans IEO and Seeks Partners (Digital Journal), Rated: B

CoinLoan crypto-backed lending platform declares its intention to launch an Initial Exchange Offering and invites discussion with major crypto exchanges interested in the listing.

International

SoFi Is in Talks With Qatar for $ 500 Million Funding Round (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Fintech startup Social Finance Inc. is in the final stages of closing a funding round from the Qatar Investment Authority and others, according to four people familiar with the matter.

The new round, which could close as soon as this week, is said to value the startup at an amount similar to the $4.3 billion valuation of its 2017 funding round, led by Silver Lake. Two of the people said that in order to achieve the same valuation, investors were asking for more protections should the company raise money or sell itself for a lower price tag in the future. The terms of the deal have not been finalized and could still change, the people said. All of the people asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

These are the top 10 hottest fintech startups and companies in the world (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Fintech industry funding has already reached new highs globally in 2018, with overall funding hitting $32.6 billion at the end of Q3.

Brex

What it does: Brex is a US-based corporate credit card provider, which initially focused on serving startups.

Raisin

Why it’s hot in 2019: Raisin became a fintech unicorn after raising $114 million in January, and has since then formed partnerships with Commerzbank and ClearScore. Additionally, the startup partnered with Starling Bank in 2018 to launch bank accounts in the UK

SoFi

Why it’s hot in 2019: While the company previously focused on loans, including student loans, in 2019 it has made some significant moves into the wealth management space, and launched both free ETFs and an investment product, dubbed SoFi Invest. As it becomes a more rounded financial product, SoFi will be worth watching in the next few years.

Lending Express

What it does: Lending Express is a US-based lending platform, which focuses on SMBs, and helps them gain access to more funding by providing them with advice.

Volt Bank

Why it’s hot in 2019: In January, Volt became Australia’s first fully licensed neobank. The challenger bank will first offer a suite of retail banking products, as well as budgeting and account aggregation tools, and plans to enter the SMB banking sector in 2020.

U.K. fintech now has war chest to push stateside (American Banker), Rated: A

Fresh off a $100 million funding round last year, the British startup OakNorth is preparing to license its business lending technology to U.S. banks and beyond.

The 3-year-old small-business lender is entering the U.S. at a time when fintechs and banks have stepped up their digital business lending efforts. Though OakNorth has not announced any official partnerships in the U.S., CEO Rishi Khosla said there’s appetite for what the firm is offering.

BlockFi Is Now Paying Interest on $ 53 Million of Crypto Deposits (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Crypto lending startup BlockFi has gathered another $18 million of bitcoin and ether deposits since last month, bringing its total interest-earning accounts to $53 million.

The company also lowered its minimum balance to earn interest on bitcoin from 1 BTC to 0.5 BTC and expanded its operations to India, meaning its service is now available globally, except for territories sanctioned by the U.S., U.K. and E.U.

No crypto winter for BlockFi as client base reaches 50% (CoinGeek), Rated: B

Crypto lending startup BlockFi has been growing, and now claimed that it has grown its client base by 50% in just one month.

Funds at your disposal: Digital lending making inroads into traditional lending (Finextra), Rated: A

The penetration of the internet of things and devices such as smartphones has brought in many advancements. This has made economic activities available at the touch of a button. Among the various sectors, the digital world has evolved the way traditional banking processes are being carried out. A growing number of businesses and individuals are filling applications online for taking loans rather than getting into the lengthy lending process.

Microsoft Will Pay You To Develop… Ethereum? (CryptoBriefing), Rated: B

“[ConsenSys Labs] has put up a few bounties in the vein of rethinking the lending market, and thinking about a peer-to-peer lending and a decentralized credit score system,” explains ConsenSys’ Operations Lead Vivek Singh. Instead of relying on centralized credit agencies, such a system—if successful—could allow borrowers to leverage their social connections into a sort of decentralized credit score.

India

Indian lendtech ZestMoney raises $ 20m (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

ZestMoney, a start-up that helps consumers with no credit history get loans to buy online, has raised a $20 million Series B.

‘Money Loji’ launches App that offers loans to salaried professionals within 5 Minutes (Business Standard), Rated: A

Money Loji, a modern money ending platform, has launched its App, which offers quickest and the most secure loans to salaried professionals for an immediate requirement with flexible repayment options starting from 7 days to a maximum of 90 days. They follow a unique three-step process – application, approval, disbursement which is carried out within 3-4 minutes. The eligibility criterion is a minimum in-hand of Rs 20,000/month and a minimum age of 23 years. The application requires the users to upload an identity proof, an address proof, last 3 alongside the slips.

Blockfi Launches High-Interest Crypto Lending Program in India (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

New Jersey-based crypto startup Blockfi announced Tuesday that it has expanded service to users in India. Its flagship Blockfi Interest Account (BIA) for BTC and ETH is now available in 65 countries.

Asia

Nuo Network Crypto Lending Platform Becomes Asia’s Biggest with $ 2 Million in Reserves (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: AAA

ConsenSys ventures backed Nuo.Network, which is a non-custodial lending platform recently made it to the top 5, dollar Defi (Decentralized Finance) projects and it presently the largest lending platform based in Asia. In the past month, the value of loans given has doubled, this is partly due to the growth of DAI reserves, which is now about 500,000 USD and the surge in Maker stability fees.

Why China’s Ping An OneConnect picks Indonesia for expansion (The Asset), Rated: A

The archipelago is viewed as an ideal market to benefit from the services offered by the enterprise. According to the Ping An Group, Indonesia, at around US$27 billion in 2018, is the largest and fastest-growing internet economy in Southeast Asia.

MENA

Banks use fintech to make up for lost time on financial inclusion (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

It fell to a mobile phone company more than a decade ago to financially empower tens of millions of Africans who found themselves passed over by the traditional banking sector. Now, some 12 years after Vodafone co-founded M-Pesa, the mobile payments venture that took east Africa by storm, banks are upping their game to improve financial inclusion rates across Africa and the Middle East, as technology widens their ability to deliver banking services at lower costs.

Source: Financial Times

In east Africa, the Catalyst Fund has backed Sokowatch, a three-year-old Kenya-based fintech that enables small retailers to order goods from suppliers registered on the mobile-focused platform and receive same-day deliveries. It also offers access to credit. The platform has already expanded into Tanzania and Rwanda.

In the Middle East, Citigroup has given $5m to a microloans fund in Jordan that helps give women access to credit. The financial support will help provide loans to around 10,000 additional women.

Iraq’s financial inclusion drive boosted by homegrown fintech (Financial Times), Rated: A

Around 7m Iraqis are now receiving welfare benefits or public sector salaries electronically, as the government replaces cumbersome cash dispersals with biometric debit cards that can be used at ATMs and in shops.

Only 23 per cent of Iraqis aged 15 and over held an account with a financial institution in 2017, according to the World Bank — although that figure has doubled since 2011.

Source: Financial Times

YouHodler Cryptocurrency Lending Platform Adds Dash (Dash News), Rated: A

Users will now be able to borrow in EUR, USD, or Stablecoin against their Dash as well as use the site to covert Dash to any crypto or fiat on the platform and withdraw to their crypto or fiat wallet. If a user enters their credit/debit card on the platform then they can “convert DASH to fiat and instantly withdraw that amount onto their personal cards, adding a unique “real world” utility for crypto”.

Canada

7 ways emerging fintech hubs are taking on the giants (PaymentsSource), Rated: AAA

Toronto is another significant fintech force in North America, and the leading fintech zone in Canada, because of the high concentration of financial organizations and technology development in Ontario. Last year Toronto accounted for CA$221 million (US$165 million) in total fintech investments across 25 deals, according to a recent report from Toronto Financial International (TFI).

Toronto ranks ninth out of the top 15 global fintech hubs, according to TFI. Currently the region has more than 190 fintech companies and 20 incubator/accelerators in operation. Payments represent the single leading category of fintech investment in the Toronto area, and combined with lending and digital currencies/FX firms it accounts for half of all local fintech activity, according to TFI.
Source: PaymentsSource
Latin America

Brazilian Credit Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 11 Million in Series B Round (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

FinanZero, a Brazilian fintech that operates as a consumer loan broker, received a new round of investment, raising USD 11 millionfrom Atlant Fonder, Dunross & Co and Vostok Emerging Finance, among other investors.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday April 25 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Tuesday May 1 2018, Daily News Digest

Pace of Mobile Payment Adoption in China

News Comments Today’s main news: Former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney raises $50M for blockchain-based Figure. RateSetter IFISA attracts ‘high tens of millions’ of GBP. Brazilian online lender Agibank files for IPO in São Paulo. Today’s main analysis: The cities with the highest rates of mortgage denials. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Hedge funds are down in Q1. MPL’s new ways look […]

Pace of Mobile Payment Adoption in China

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United States

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United States

SoFi’s Former CEO Harnesses the Blockchain for Home Loan Startup (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Mike Cagney, who built SoFi into America’s biggest student loan refinancer before quitting amid allegations of sexual harassment at the fintech firm, is preparing for his second act: a startup offering home-equity loans.

Cagney has raised $50 million for San Francisco-based Figure, which plans to use the blockchain to help expedite loan approvals in minutes rather than days, according to people familiar with the matter. Two global banks have agreed to finance loans and several firms have agreed to purchase them, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.

CHINA-US TRADE WAR AND OTHER WORRIES (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

The Eurekahedge April 2018 report says that hedge funds were down in the first quarter of the year (-0.13%). This is the industry’s worst performance since Q1 2016.

The steepest performance-based losses by regional mandate were those of the North American funds, they lost $1.2 billion. Meanwhile, asset inflows remained net positive but were lower (17% lower) than were the net asset inflows for the first quarter 2017.

The highest performance gains by regional mandate were those of the Asia ex-Japan funds. (+0.5%). But those hedge funds were down in March, largely on rumblings of a US/China trade war.

Total assets under management for the global hedge fund industry are now at $2.48 trillion.

Marketplace Lending’s New Ways Look a Lot Like the Old Ones (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission accused LendingClub, the largest of the peer-to-peer lenders, of misleading consumers with hidden fees and continuing to charge borrowers even after they had paid off their loans. Shares of the online lender fell to nearly $2.50, its all-time low.

Source Bloomberg

In the first quarter, peer-to-peer lenders sold $4.3 billion in asset-backed securities, according to industry tracker PeerIQ. That was slightly down from $4.4 billion in issuance in the last three months of 2017, which was a quarterly high for the industry. PeerIQ estimates that peer-to-peer ABS securitization will hit $18 billion this year, up from $14 billion in 2017.

Source: Bloomberg

 

LendingTree Reveals the Cities With the Highest Rates of Denied Mortgage Applications (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

LendingTree delved into data from more than 10 million mortgage applications using the most recent available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data set to find out the main reasons would-be borrowers were rejected.

Key findings:

  • Nearly one in 10 borrowers get denied for mortgages. On a national level, 8% of loan applications were denied.
  • Credit history and debt are the biggest barriers. The leading reasons for denial were credit history (which includes credit score) and debt-to-income ratio, which were each responsible for 26% of denied loans. These were followed by collateral at 17% and incomplete applications at 14%. All other reasons for denial were cited in less than 10% of denied mortgage applications.
  • Debt is a huge barrier to borrowers living in California. We found three California cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose) had the highest share of borrowers who were denied because of their debt-to-income ratio.
  • Credit history is holding borrowers back in Louisville, Ky., Memphis, Tenn. and Philadelphia. Among failed applications in these three metros, we found the highest rates of denied borrowers due to their credit history.


Memphis among top 10 cities for highest rates of denied mortgage applications, study says (Bizjournal) Rated: A

Memphis-area mortgage applications are denied at a rate of 12 percent, the third-highest out of 50 cities in a study by LendingTree Inc., an online loan marketplace based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Houston among top 10 cities for highest rates of denied mortgage applications (Bizjournal) Rated: A

The top reason for a mortgage denial in Houston was debt-to-income ratio, which is the share of monthly debt obligations in relation to monthly gross income. Most lenders want this number to be 43 percent or lower, per the report.

Other Texas cities ranked quite lower than Houston on the list. San Antonio was No. 18 with an 8.05 percent rate, Dallas was No. 21 with a 7.58 percent rate, and Austin was No. 27 with a 7.05 percent.

What’s next for Citi’s mobile app (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Banking apps are now among the most widely and frequently used apps, along with weather and social media, according to Citi’s second annual mobile banking study, released Thursday.

If that’s true — the study examines the behavior of some 2,000 U.S. adult consumers — that would mean people are checking their bank accounts more frequently than they use music, news and dating apps. Although, 20 percent of millennials actually use their mobile banking app while on a date, Alice Milligan, the chief digital client experience officer for Citi’s U.S. consumer bank, pointed out in a presentation of the results.

Could the USPS Be a Short-Term Lender for the Underbanked? (Nonprofit Quarterly) Rated: AAA

In this age of electronic communications, we often take the post office for granted, but it remains a powerful institution. As the US Postal Service (USPS) website indicates, 47 percent of the world’s mail volume is handled by the USPS; the website adds that if it were a private sector company, “the Postal Service would rank 37th in the 2017 Fortune500. In the 2017 Global Fortune 500 list, we ranked 99th.” The business employs over 500,000 career employees, has annual revenues of $69.6 billion, and operates 30,825 “retail offices” nationwide.

It is this last aspect—the ubiquity of post offices across the nation—that has spurred legislation (Senate Bill 2755), introduced last week by US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), that would require every post office to provide basic banking services. Interestingly, the idea of post offices offering banking services is not new. From 1911 to 1967, post offices offered savings and deposit services for Americans (although not loan products). At one time, Americans held more than $3 billion in deposits through postal banking ($30 billion in inflation-adjusted 2018 dollars). Other countries, including Japan, Germany, China, and South Korea, continue to offer banking services through their postal networks.

Daniel Maran of the Huffington Post explains that, “Under Gillibrand’s proposal, Americans could cash paychecks and deposit money in accounts free of charge at each post office location. Deposits would be capped at the larger of two amounts―$20,000, or the median balance in all American bank accounts. The postal banks would be able to distribute loans to borrowers of up to $1,000 at an interest rate slightly higher than the yield on one-month Treasury bonds, currently about 2 percent.” By contrast, a Pew Charitable Trusts report found that average payday loan of $375 typically costs a borrower $520 in interest and fees.

Financial Engines Sold To PE Firm For $ 3 Billion, Plans To Combine With Edelman (Financial Advisers) Rated: A

Financial Engines announced on Monday that it will be acquired by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman and combined with Edelman Financial Services.

According to the announcement, Hellman & Friedman will make the acquisition in an all-cash transaction that values Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Financial Engines at $3.02 billion. Financial Engines shareholders will receive $45 per share in cash upon closing.

Leading Robo-Advisors Post Negative First Quarter Returns (Financial Adviser) Rated: A

The best taxable robo-advisor performers in the first quarter for total portfolios were SoFi, which posted a loss of 0.14 percent; Schwab, which returned a negative 0.33 percent; and TIAA’s socially responsible portfolios, which posted a 0.45 percent loss.

The top-performing taxable robo-advisors for total portfolios over the two-year duration of Backend Benchmarking’s study are Schwab, offering 10.98 percent annualized two-year returns; SigFig, which returned an average of 10.71 percent annually over two years; and Betterment, which returned 10.24 percent.

MetaBank, CURO to offer flexible credit to underbanked (Bankless Times) Rated: A

MetaBank, a provider of payment, community banking and financing solutions, today announced an agreement with CURO, a facilitator of short-term credit to underbanked consumers. Together, the organizations will launch a new line of credit product the parties believe will be more flexible and transparent than others in the market, and well-suited for US-based underbanked consumers. CURO and Meta expect to unveil the new, joint brand and a timeline for the pilot launch later this year.

Through the credit option expected to be launched by CURO and Meta, underbanked consumers would be able to access credit with a flexible timeline for repayment. These consumers would also be able to control their cost of borrowing through transparent fees that would apply only when credit is drawn. Estimates indicate 67 million adults are considered un- or underbanked. Many of these adults typically have poor credit ratings and, as such, have difficulty securing credit or loans — this product is expected to provide a responsible credit option for many of those consumers.

LendingTree, Inc. to Present at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Internet & Digital Media Conference (Benzinga) Rated: B

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ:TREE), operator of LendingTree.com, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that it will participate in the SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Internet & Digital Media Conference at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California.

Trent Ziegler, Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer at LendingTree, is scheduled to present on Tuesday, May 8, at 9:10am PT and will participate in one-on-one meetings throughout the course of the day. The presentation will be webcast live and archived at 

8 Side Hustles You Can Start Today (NAV) Rated: B

If you’re looking for a way to grow income over time, and don’t mind the risk and reward nature of investment, peer to peer (P2P) can be a great way to earn some passive income on the side.  Operating much like a bank loan — but without the bank – P2P lending connects people with money (even if it’s only a few hundred dollars) with people who need it.

United Kingdom

 

RateSetter IFISA has attracted ‘high tens of millions’ of pounds (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has revealed that its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) has already attracted “high tens of millions” of pounds from investors, in less than three months since launch.

RateSetter opened its IFISA to existing customers on 8 February and to new customers on 1 March. The platform previously reported that it had seen over 5,000 IFISA accounts opened in the first month.

TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus invests in fintech chatbot Cleo (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Cleo, the London-based fintech that offers an AI-powered chatbot as a replacement for your banking apps, continues to put together an impressive list of backers. The startup’s early investors already include Entrepreneur First, Moonfruit founder Wendy Tan White, Skype founder Niklas Zennström, Wonga founder Errol Damelin, and LocalGlobe, the seed VC firm founded by father and son duo Robin and Saul Klein, amongst others. Now TechCrunch can reveal that TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus has become a Cleo  investor and advisor.

Family Building Society And LendInvest Reduce Buy To Let Investment Rates (Residential Landlord) Rated: B

Family Building Society and LendInvest have each reduced rates on a number of buy to let mortgage deals.

Family Building Society slashed interest rates across its entire buy to let product range, whilst LendInvest has reduced rates on several of its buy to let deals.

CrowdProperty names Mike Bristow as chief executive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

CROWDPROPERTY co-founder Mike Bristow has been appointed as chief executive of the peer-to-peer property lender, taking over the reins from fellow co-founder Simon Zutshi.

Bristow, who was also a non-executive director at CrowdProperty, had been acting as interim chief executive for around two months before taking on the role on a permanent basis, effective from 1 May.

Zutshi has now been appointed as chairman of CrowdProperty.

China

Lessons From A Mobile Payments Revolution (American Banker) Rated: AAA

According to the research firm eMarketer, 76% of Chinese smartphone users made a mobile point-of-sale purchase in 2017, compared with 25% of American users. In total, 61.8% of all such transactions globally are Chinese.

Source: American Banker

In the first 10 months of last year, China processed a whopping $12.8 trillion in mobile payments, according to the state-run news agency, Xinhua — 38% higher than for all of 2016.

Though it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, the U.S. market in 2017 had just $49.3 billion in mobile point-of-sale transactions, according to Shelleen Shum, eMarketer’s forecasting director.

Start with an oligopoly

More than 90% of Chinese mobile payments run through Alipay and WeChat Pay, rival platforms backed by China’s two largest internet conglomerates — Alibaba, essentially the Amazon of China, and Tencent Holdings, owner of WeChat, the nation’s must-have messaging and social-media app with more than 1 billion users.

Peering into the murky world of China’s online P2P sector (Asia Times) Rated: A

During an 18-month period, Ezubo swindled up to 900,000 investors out of 50 billion yuan (US$7.7 billion).

In one of the country’s highest-profile court cases, the founders of what was once China’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform, Ding Ning and his younger brother Ding Dian, were jailed for life last September.

Another 24 executives were sentenced to prison terms, ranging from three to 15 years, after disbelieving depositors mounted unprecedented protests in fintech’s biggest scandal.

“[Just] 500 P2P companies, out of the total 4,856, are likely to maintain their operations this year,” it added.

Fincera Reports 2017 Year-end Financial Results (Digital Journal) Rated: A

Fincera Inc. (”Fincera” or the ”Company”) (OTCQB: YUANF), a leading provider of web-based financing and ecommerce services for small and medium-sized businesses and individuals in China, today reported financial results for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Full-year 2017 Financial Highlights

  • Income for the year ended December 31, 2017, increased 16.9% to RMB1.0 billion (US$156.7 million) from RMB875.9 million in the prior year.
  • Net loss improved to RMB8.4 million (US$1.3 million), from net loss of RMB12.3 million in the prior year.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities increased 148.4% to RMB2.1 billion (US$326.6 million) for the year ended December 31, 2017, from RMB859.2 million in the prior year. This increase resulted in a 63.6% improvement in the Company’s overall cash position to RMB1.3 billion (US$191.5 million) at the end of 2017, compared to RMB764.8 million at the end of 2016.

Operational Highlights

Loan transaction volume across all loan types for 2017 totaled approximately RMB26.8 billion (US$4.1 billion), compared to approximately RMB24.4 billion in 2016.

Source: Digital Journal
International

Can FinTech Walk The FinTalk? (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

BLOCKCHAIN

In January, the International Data Corporation (IDC) reported worldwide spending on blockchain solutions would increase to $2.1 billion in 2018 from $945 million in 2017 and will grow more than 80 percent year over year to reach $9.7 billion by 2021. Most of that spend will be concentrated in the U.S., with supporting use cases mostly related to financial services and cross-border settlement, for a grand total of $242 million in 2018.

To put that into context, the IDC projected worldwide growth and spending on mobility solutions at 15 percent a year from a 2018 base of $1.6 trillion; on security-related hardware, software and services at 10 percent a year from a 2018 base of $91.4 billion growing to $120.7 billion in 2021 and on the Internet of Things at 14 percent a year from $772.5 billion in 2018 growing to $1.1 trillion in 2021.

MARKETPLACE LENDING

LendingClub was hit with a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week over claims of “deceptive” practices.

Following that news, LendingClub’s stock price took a nosedive. Yesterday, it was trading at an all-time low of $2.70.

Launched in October of 2016, Marcus is Goldman’s $2 billion annual hedge on threats to its core commercial banking and trading businesses. Goldman Sachs reported on its Q1 earnings call that Marcus, since it launched, has originated $3 billion of new loans and taken in $9 billion of new retail deposits.

DIGITAL BANKS

If the blockchain is all about replacing the global financial system and marketplace lending is all about replacing traditional lenders, digital banks in the developed world are about upending the traditional banking ecosystem.

Crypto lending may be risky, but these firms say they’ve solved the riddle (American Banker) Rated: A

A new crypto lender, Nexo, will launch Monday in a market where existing participants have already withstood trial by fire.

Such lenders extend credit to those who want to own digital currency, such as bitcoin and ether, and hold onto it long-term while investing it in real estate and elsewhere. But crypto lenders have been severely tested of late as digital currency prices dropped about 70% between December and February.

Source: American Banker, Coindesk

Nexo

The team behind Switzerland-based Nexo runs a consumer lending operation called Credissimo that has made more than a million loans to consumers of up to $2,000 in Europe.

Salt Lending

Denver-based Salt Lending, which started crypto lending earlier this year, has made just under $40 million in loans and has had no losses, according to co-founder Blake Cohen.

Unchained Capital

Unchained Capital, which publicly launched in November, is originating “single-digit million dollars of loans per month,” according to CEO Joe Kelly. The typical loan size is $120,000; the average interest rate is 12%.

RCN Partners with IdentityMind Global to Provide KYC and AML Compliance for Its Protocol (PRWeb) Rated: B

IdentityMind Global today announced that Ripio Credit Network (RCN), a global peer-to-peer credit network based on co-signed smart contracts that connect lenders and borrowers located anywhere in the world, has partnered with IdentityMind to provide KYC and AML compliance support.

Australia

Research shows savings at online lenders (Broker News) Rated: A

The company’s research shows the average customer of one of the big four banks can save more than $2,500 a year by switching to an online deal. This has increased from a year ago, when the potential annual savings were $2,250.

Despite these savings and the fact most other services have migrated online, only 27% of consumers said they would take out a home loan with an online lender.

India

Fintech Startup MyLoanCare Raises Series A Funding (Inc42) Rated: AAA

Gurugram-based B2C online loans marketplace MyLoanCare has secured $977.7K (INR 6.5 Cr) equity Series A funding from Ncubate Capital Partners, a private investment arm of SAR Group family office.

The startup plans to use the funding for branding, technology augmentation and growth. MyLoancare also plans to enter new segments of the market including cards, savings and investments.

 

 

Asia

INDONESIAN fintech startup EmasDigi enables the investing in as well as buying and selling of gold through mobile applications with easy processes that require little time.

The idea began with EmasDigi chief executive officer and founder Claudia Kolonas selling vouchers which gave people easier access to the gold trading market.

EmasDigi is affiliated with PT PG Berjangka, which is registered and supervised by the Trade Ministry’s Futures Exchange Supervisory Board (Bappebti). This affirms EmasDigi’s commitment to consumer protection and ensures compliance with legal provisions in Indonesia.

Fintech microfinance, the next opportunity (Prothom Alo) Rated: A

Bangladesh is widely known as the origin of microfinance. The pioneer two NGOs, Grameen Bank and BRAC, have taken this poverty reduction tool to different places in the world, especially in Asia and Africa. This has been acclaimed by the United Nations and other international organisations. Certainly the objectives of microfinance have undoubtedly already been achieved.

Microfinance was inaugurated in the 1980s for a specific, target group of people (given their poverty level). It doesn’t have the generalised character required to reach all people.

Latin America

Brazilian online lender Agibank files for IPO (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Brazilian online lender Banco Agibank SA on Monday filed for regulatory clearance to launch an initial public offering (IPO), according to a securities filing.

Agibank follows Banco Inter SA’s (BIDI11.SA) strategy of raising capital to fund its expansion and IT investments. On Monday, Inter made its debut in São Paulo stock exchange, in the first IPO by a Brazilian retail bank in nearly a decade. In late afternoon, Inter’s units were stable at 74 reais.

The bank and its owner, Marciano Testa, will sell an undisclosed amount of preferred shares in the IPO.

Canada

Fintech Select Earns a Net Profit of $ 435k and Reduces Liability by $ 7.6m for the Year Ending Dec 31 2017 (Globe Newswire) Rated: AAA

Fintech Select Ltd. (“Fintech Select” or the “Company”) (TSX-V:FTEC) is pleased to announce that its financial statements for the year ending December 31 2017 have resulted in a net profit of $435k. 2017 Financial Statements and Management Discussion & Analysis (“MD&A”) will be filed on SEDAR shortly.

2017 Highlights

  • Reduced the Company’s liability by $7.6M including our unfavourable high-interest loan
  • Made a net profit of $435k for the year due to the reduced liability
  • Reduced interest rate of 24% per annum plus management fee to 12% on April 1, 2017, and further to 6% plus management fee on May 16 2017.
  • Raised $3.4M through two private placements in April and June of the year, and had access to un-restricted cash of $915k by December 31 2017
  • Increased its customer care service revenue
  • Established an advisory board with high skill sets in business and Cryptocurrency space
  • Filed a patent-pending for Cryptocurrency POS platform.
  • Developed and launched the Company’s first phase of the Cryptocurrency POS solution, which simplifies buying cryptocurrecny to the mass of consumers
  • Acquired software for P2P Micro Lending and initiated the project to work on required changes and enhancements to meet the regulatory required standards

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor