Thursday March 1 2018, Daily News Digest

JPMorgan

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter opens IFISA to new investors today. Amazon customers would bank with e-tailer. Zopa’s VC firm raises 500K GBP in 24 hours. Collateral goes off line. Auxmoney hits profitability. Credy raises $1.4M. Today’s main analysis: Is JPMorgan’s tech investment paying off? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Presenters at LendIt Fintech USA 2018. Klarna’s end-of-year report. Asia’s fintech investment drops. […]

JPMorgan

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Many Amazon customers would welcome banking services (RetailDive), Rated: AAA

  • More than half of 1,000 U.S. Amazon customers recently surveyed said they would be willing to use an Amazon-created virtual currency for purchases, according to a survey conducted by student loan marketplace LendEDU.
  • Among other findings, the survey (which questioned consumers, including some Amazon Prime members, that made purchases on Amazon within the previous 30 days) found that 44.5% said they would also keep their primary bank account with Amazon if the e-commerce giant offered such a service.
  • Furthermore, about half of respondents said they would seek personal loans from Amazon if they were available, and roughly 45% said they would use an auto loan offering from the company. Another 30% claimed they would be ready to take out an Amazon-created mortgage.

Broad Mix of Thought Leaders to Present at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Lending

  • Jay Farner, CEO, Quicken Loans
  • Max Levchin, Co-Founder & CEO, Affirm
  • Anthony Noto, CEO, SoFi
  • Renaud Laplanche, CEO, Upgrade

Digital Banking

  • Yolande Piazza, CEO, Citi FinTech
  • Suresh Ramamurthi, Chairman & CTO, CBW Bank
  • Luvleen Sidhu President, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, BankMobile
  • Jeremy K. Balkin, Head of Innovation, HSBC Bank USA
  • Nicolas Kopp, U.S. CEO, N26 Inc.

Blockchain for Financial Services

For 2018 we looked at one of the biggest new trends in financial services, blockchain and decided to create an event within our event. We are debuting our new blockchain event Blockfin by LendIt.

  • Tim Draper Founder & Managing Director DFJ
  • Richard Craib, CEO, Numerai
  • Tom Ding, Co-founder & CEO, String Labs/Dfinity
  • Vincent Wang, Chief Innovation Officer, China Wanxiang Group
  • Kathleen Breitman, Co-Founder, Tezos
  • Catherine Wood, CEO/CIO, ARK INVEST

Will JPMorgan’s splashy tech investment pay off? (American Banker), Rated: AAA

“Retail distribution is like a muscle,” Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake said in discussing the company’s recently announced plan to open 400 branches in up to 20 new markets. “You have to exercise it or it goes to waste.”

Nonetheless, the New York megabank raised eyebrows when it said it would invest an additional $1.4 billion in technology in 2018 — the driving factor in projections for noninterest expenses to rise 6% in the year ahead.

Fintech Platform Current Announces Strategic Investment from Fifth Third (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Current, the fintech platform that allows teens to connect their money with the people, brands and experiences they value, announced on Tuesday that Fifth Third Capital, a direct equity investment subsidiary of Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ: FITB), has joined the recently announced Series A funding, led by QED Investors.

Leasing App Honcker Plans Expansion With $ 23M Funding From IAC (Auto Finance News), Rated: A

Vehicle leasing startup Honcker secured $23 million in series A funding this week and is using the capital injection to expand nationwide and bring some added features to its app, founder and Chief Executive Nathan Hecht told Auto Finance News today.

InterActive Corp. (IAC) — the media investor behind Investopedia, Tinder, Vimeo, and many others — is making its foray into the vehicle marketplace with this funding round to take a minority stake in the company. Honcker partners with dealers and plugs into their existing lender network to provide an online leasing marketplace.

How Are Fintech And Proptech Changing The Real Estate Industry In 2018? (Forbes), Rated: A

2. Ability To Reach New Investors Online

The ability to raise capital online and reach new accredited investors through online portals is still in its infancy.

5. Data Analysis To Drive Investment Decisions

Really use data analysis to drive your investment decisions, don’t just look at the headlines. Utilize big data and predictive analytics to dig into what is responsible for the migration of renters, and what those renters are seeking in their new apartment.

7. Reduced Friction In Buying, Owning And Selling

We are constantly pushing to incorporate or develop technologies to improve our business and customer experience by reducing cost, friction and time, as well as improve transparency and security. Some of these we develop ourselves, like application of machine learning and AI to develop a national neighborhood rating system. Others we adopt, like animated 3D visualization software. –

LA tech startup InvestFar’s innovative platform spearheads globalization of real estate investing (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Rising LA startup InvestFar; recently launched its signature mobile app to help aspiring investors with informed investment decisions. Titled as “InvestFar”, the app is the first platform to boast all the tools and resources needed for successful investments in long-distance or local markets nationwide.

Built in LA, this real estate tech startup is on a path to innovating how real estate and investors in this industry scale and manage their investments beyond local markets, especially in markets like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York – where we often see inflated housing prices and shrunken inventory given increasing foreign investment.

Small construction companies lukewarm on tech investment (ConstructionDive), Rated: A

  • A recent customer survey from small business funding siteKabbage revealed that fewer than 35% of small construction companies planned to make investments at some level this year in technologies that could help their businesses and further bring them into the digital age.
  • More than 65% of contractors who responded to the study did not have a plan to invest in tools like big data solutions or mobile technologies, and the same percentage was either neutral, against or not likely to spend more than 20% on social media advertising.
  • Kabbage also found that even with well-publicized cyber attacks and other computer-related crimes, not even 40% of small construction firms planned to invest in cybersecurity.

ACA International Responds to Misleading ACLU Report on Debt Collection Industry (ACA International), Rated: B

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a misguided and heavily misleading report accusing private debt collectors of using the criminal justice system to “punish” and “terrorize” consumers. This is absolutely false and undermines the commitment and integrity of the professional debt collection industry.

Legitimate debt collectors work with consumers to help recover outstanding debt on behalf of businesses, nonprofit organizations and governmental entities.

Tiny Kansas bank bets big on fintech (American Banker), Rated: B

Nbkc bank in Overland Park, Kan., is comfortable sitting at the same table as many of the banking industry’s biggest innovators.

The $632 million-asset bank, a unit of Ameri-National Corp., recently participated in a $16 million investment in Greenlight Financial Technology, which offers debit cards for kids that parents can control from their phones. Other investors included the Amazon Alexa Fund, SunTrust Bank and Ally Financial.

United Kingdom

RateSetter to open IFISA to new investors on Thursday (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is opening up its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to new investors on Thursday, meaning that two out of the ‘big three’ lenders will be offering the tax wrapper outside of their existing customer base.

Industry onlookers argue that the IFISA will only begin to move into the mainstream once the largest P2P platforms offer the product to new investors.

VC firm behind Zopa raises £500,000 for fintech fund in just 24 hours (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

A FINTECH venture capital firm that has a stake in Zopa has surpassed a £500,000 fundraising target for a new investment company in the first 24 hours.

Augmentum Capital, which has a 7.4 per cent holding in peer-to-peer lender Zopa worth £18.5m, is looking to raise £100m through an initial public offering (IPO) alongside a crowdfunding listing on Seedrs.

What’s Up at Collateral? (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

A question concerned investors have been speculating on for over 36 hours now, since the website of UK p2p lending platform Collateral went down around 7pm two days ago and is showing a maintenance message. Investors criticize that there was no pre-announcement of this maintenance and worse that Collateral seemed to have ceased all communications to investors and did not react to any phone or email messages.

With no communications from the platform whatsoever investors wondered what to do. Some investors reported the incident to ActionFraud squad of the police while another contacted the FCA to voice his concern and seek advice.

1) How should a p2p lending platform communicate in a crisis?

In my view not communicating at all is the worst choice.

2) What can concerned investors actually do to react, if the platform is seemingly unreachable/unresponding over a longer period of time?

Collateral investors in limbo after lender shuts down site (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Meanwhile, it emerged that the three limited companies listed on the Financial Services Register that have traded under the name of Collateral have not had regulatory permission to operate as a consumer credit business for at least 11 months and have all now been dissolved.

Cash4Assets, which traded under the name Collateral, had cancelled its interim permissions with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A permission end date is given of 23 March 2015.

Regal Pawnbroker, which also listed Collateral as one of its trading names, saw its interim permissions lapse on 31 March 2016.

And Goldmann and Sons saw its interim authorisation lapse on 31 March 2016.

Assetz Capital introduces manual lending Isa (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The P2P lender recently announced it had registered 2,000 investors for its Innovative Finance Isa(IFIsa) since it launched in December last year.

So far, Isa users have invested £14m, with one third coming from transfers from other Isa providers.

Funding for finance start-ups hits all-time high in threat to big banks (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Major fundraisings in the UK last year included digital insurance distributor BGL Group getting $900m, while payments venture TransferWise got $280m. Elsewhere Monzo raised £93m in two separate rounds, while Revolut got $66m.

Britain’s two biggest lenders, Lloyds and RBS, announced £5.5bn worth of investment programmes between them last week, with online banking a primary focus of their spending plans.

Banks scramble to be open as clients shrug (Royal News 24), Rated: A

Open banking, as this particular revolution is known, was introduced on the second weekend of January, forcing Britain’s biggest banks to provide third parties with access to the accounts of any customers who authorise it.

A Citigroup analysis published last week finds three reasons why disintermediation of the established order is likely to be delayed. One is slow consumer adoption. A second is the fragmentation of the market for new “open banking” services in early stages of the regime. The final one is the ability of established payment providers to adapt to the new rules.

European Union

Klarna year-end report January – December 2017 (Cision), Rated: AAA

July – December 2017
● Compared to last year, total sales volume grew by 43%
● Total operating revenues increased 32% to SEK 2,474m (1,868)
● Operating income for the period was SEK 203m (35)
● Net income for the period amounted to SEK 117m (17)

January – December 2017
● Year over year growth in total sales volumes was 42%
● Total operating revenues increased 27% to SEK 4,526m (3,561)
● Operating income amounted to SEK 524m (168)
● Net income for the year amounted to SEK 346m (113)
● 26,000 new merchants, Group total now 89,000
● 19 million new consumers used Klarna this year

Highlights from the year
● Bank license was obtained in June
● BillPay GmbH was acquired in September
● Additional tier 1 capital was raised in May and a senior unsecured bond was issued in September

German fintech lender auxmoney hit profitability in 2017 (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Its origination volumes rose by 75 per cent during the course of the year, with over 40,000 loans and €316 million funded. Auxmoney has now disbursed more than 100,000 loans in its history, with a cumulative funding total of around €700m.

BNI Europa eyeing up further P2P lending deals (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

BANCO BNI Europa is eyeing up further deals in the alternative finance space to diversify its portfolio and widen its product offering for clients.

The Portuguese online bank has announced several funding deals over the past year, including peer-to-peer lenders Funding Circle in Germany and Raize in Portugal, and UK P2P invoice finance platform MarketInvoice.

JSC VIA SMS Group interim twelve month report for year 2017 (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

The Group has closed the reporting period with a net turnover of EUR 20 141 087 that shows 21,5% increase in comparison with the same period in 2016. The largest net turnover was reached in Spain where the net turnover has increased by 63%; the second largest turnover was reached in Sweden – by 55%, the third – in Poland where net turnover increased by 17% in comparison with data reported to December 31, 2016.  Company’s EBITDA in 2017 has reached EUR 2 779 456 and has ensured the net profit of EUR 835 542.

International

Cerberus Capital Management to Acquire Bluestone Group’s Australasian Operations (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. today announced that one of its affiliates has entered into an agreement with Bluestone Group, the international financial services business based in the U.K., to acquire its Australasian mortgage lending and portfolio servicing operations (“Bluestone Holdings Australia”).

India

Credy raises US$ 1.4 million in seed round (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

The online lender secured the funding from Y Combinator, Khosla Ventures, and Vy Capital, in addition to several Silicon Valley-based angel investors. It will use the capital to expand its loan book, build partnerships with institutional lenders, enhance its underwriting technology, and hire new team members.

Asia

ASIA SEES MASSIVE DROP IN FINTECH INVESTMENT AS CHINA LOSES MOMENTUM (CFO Innovation), Rated: AAA

Total fintech funding in Asia was US$3.85 billion in 2017—a massive drop-off from the more than US$10 billion invested in 2016 while the amount in Q4 2017 declined to US$748 million across 38 deals after a solid US$1 billion+ in Q3, said KPMG.

Decreased fintech investment in China accounted for much of the decrease in investment in Asia, KPMG explained. According to the firm, China saw just US$45.8 million in investment in Q4’17, while total investment in 2017 was US$1.33 billion.

The top five fintech deals in the region in Q4 are as follows:

  • WeLab (lending firm in Hong Kong): US$220 million, Series B
  • GoSwiff (payments/transactions firm in Singapore): US$100 million, M&A
  • BiWang Group (Institutional/B2B firm in Shenzhen, China): US$100 million, M&A
  • PolicyBazaar (Insurtech firm in Gurugram, India): US$77 million, Series E
  • Onlyou (Institutional/B2B firm in Shenzhen, China): US$45 million, late-stage VC
Canada

Katipult Named Among Industry Giants as Finalist for “Most Promising Partnership” Award (Cision), Rated: A

Katipult Technology Corp. (TSXV:FUND) is honoured to announce that it has been nominated, alongside Polymath Inc., for the Most Promising Partnership Award at the second annual Lendit Fintech Industry awards in April. The Katipult-Polymath partnership will be competing against some of the world’s finance and fintech giants including partnerships involving Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Group, Swedbank, and Lending Club.

National Bank CEO praises federal cybersecurity plan (Financial Post), Rated: A

The chief executive of National Bank of Canada said Wednesday that the federal government’s latest budget included “a big step forward” on cybersecurity.

The federal budget tabled on Tuesday proposed various cybersecurity-related commitments, including $155.2 million over five years so that the Communications Security Establishment could create a new “Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.”

Crypto KABN launches Blockchain-Enabled Biometric ID Validation (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Crypto KABN Holdings Inc. (‘Crypto KABN’ or the ‘Company’) an innovator in financial services, technologies and products for the blockchain industry, is pleased to announce that it is launching a revolutionary Blockchain-enabled biometric validation platform, called ID KABN, as the first component of its suite of financial and technology services, at the FFCON18: Velocity Conference in Toronto on March 5, 2018.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday February 28 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending investment

News Comments Today’s main news: Virgin Money to launch a challenger bank. Equifax partners with Entersekt on digital ID authentication. 1st loan originator in UK joins Mintos. Citi drops $75M into Pagaya. IOU Financial extends Midcap credit facility. Today’s main analysis: Global fintech VC investment sets new record. Global marketplace lending investment in 2017. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Goldman Sachs’ plan […]

marketplace lending investment

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

 

Goldman Sachs, Adviser to the Elite, Wants to Be Your Local Bank (WSJ), Rated: AAA

In a glass-walled tower in Utah’s capital, hundreds of Goldman employees are building what amounts to one of the world’s most ambitious consumer-finance startups.

Their address, 111 Main St., stands as a symbol of the changes afoot inside the firm, better known as an elite adviser to big companies and billionaires. Struggling to make money in the postcrisis world, Goldman is pushing into businesses it once dismissed as pedestrian and gimmicky, assembling a suite of banking products for the middle class it hopes will power growth.

Goldman 18 months ago began making online loans of a few thousand dollars under the brand Marcus, named after founder Marcus Goldman. Individuals once needed $10 million to get the attention of Goldman’s elite private bankers. Today, customers can open a Marcus savings account with as little as $1.

 

Where’s the best place to open a small business? (The Sacramento Bee), Rated: A

LendingTree said Sacramento ascended to the top of the list in a study that included data from more 80,000 queries submitted by new small business owners seeking loan offers through LendingTree’s small business loan marketplace to determine where businesses tend to do the best.

Sacramento was one of three California cities on the 10-best list, joining Fresno at ninth and Los Angeles at 10th. Following Sacramento on the list were Grand Rapids, Mich; Portland, Ore.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Denver; Seattle; Tulsa, Okla; Albuquerque, N.M.; Fresno; Los Angeles; and Oklahoma City, respectively. Los Angeles and Oklahoma City tied for 10th.

Cincinnati topped the list of the 10 worst cities to start a new small business. No California cities were on the 10-worst list.

Fiserv Consumer Survey Finds Digital Experiences Factor in Life’s Most Important Financial Decisions (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

For instance, four of the top five loan payment methods are now electronic, and 21 percent of millennial investors use a robo-advisor service to make investments.

Affluent Consumers and Financial Advice
Human interactions remain an important part of financial advice, especially for the 34 percent of consumers with at least $100,000 in household investable assets. Fifty-eight percent of these affluent consumers work with a financial advisor. Among those without an advisor, only 11 percent report high interest (8-10 on a scale of 0-10) in using one. At the same time, 32 percent of affluent consumers who invest their own money grade their knowledge and expertise as a “C” or lower, suggesting an opportunity to bridge the gap with a hybrid of human and digital advice.

Among all consumers who invest on their own, only 8 percent use a robo-advisor service. However, use of such a service is much more likely among millennials (21 percent) and urban consumers (18 percent).

Rates, Fees and Service Prevail
Topping the list of selection factors among those with at least one loan are interest rates (83 percent) and low fees/service charges (83 percent), followed by customer service (75 percent), company reputation (70 percent), and knowledge of staff (65 percent). Sixty-five percent of consumers say prior experience with a lender is important.

Many consumers expressed willingness to try new ways of interacting with their lender, if there’s a benefit. For instance, if it makes the loan process faster, more than half of consumers would be willing to use a mobile device to e-sign loan documents (56 percent), take and upload photos of loan documents (54 percent), and verify their identity with a photo (51 percent). Forty-two percent of consumers indicate they would be willing to provide access to their financial information by providing their credentials to other online banking applications, up from 32 percent in 2016.

Digital channels, especially mobile, are now leading ways of communicating with a lender, although context matters based on the interaction. A lender’s mobile app is the preferred way to check when a next loan payment is due (21 percent), check the balance term (20 percent) and request a payoff (17 percent), among consumers who have conducted each of these activities in the past six months. For account questions, consumers significantly favor speaking live with a representative via phone (21 percent) over using an automated voice response system (12 percent), e-chat (11 percent) or the mobile app (11 percent).

As online lending grows up, banks work to strengthen partnerships (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Marketplace lending as an industry is hitting its stride. Some platforms are becoming profitable, some are diversifying, new players are entering the market with new business models and the competition is heating up. But that means banks need to start strengthening ties with their online lending partners.

As more consumer-facing fintech companies are learning, that’s best done by building products that make people’s lives easier.

 

 

Fintech Startups Need Industry Partners to Thrive, Report Says (Bloomberg), Rated: B

More than 75 percent of fintech executives surveyed in a new report said their primary business objective is to collaborate with traditional firms, such as banks and insurance companies. Only 18 percent said the main goal was to compete with the established players.

According to the World FinTech Report 2018 from consulting firm Capgemini and corporate networking website LinkedIn Corp., most of the startups are likely to fail if they don’t build partnerships, despite raising more than $110 billion since 2009. The survey, published Tuesday, was based on the responses of 110 global financial technology firms.

Varo Money is bringing bank fees and financial health into its marketing (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Varo Money has been targeting customers of big banks whose fees they’re tired of having to understand and pay. Despite its appeal to potential customers to switch to Varo, its ads don’t call out specific companies, as some of its peers do.

Coming to your banking app soon: Predictive analytics (Bankrate), Rated: A

Bank of America will let mobile banking customers use its new digital assistant, Erica, in March. Besides helping consumers complete routine tasks like transferring funds, Erica will offer financial advice tailored for each user.

If you have a low balance and you’ve spent a lot of money, Erica might warn that you are in danger of overdrawing your checking account. Or she could share opportunities to save additional money.

Wells Fargo has made providing customers with advanced digital tools a top priority. In February, its 17 million mobile users with consumer deposit accounts found themselves with a new predictive banking feature.

Wells Fargo confirmed that these new mobile capabilities are powered by Personetics, a company providing banking solutions that anticipate what consumers might need in the future. Personetics also powers Royal Bank of Canada’s free automated savings tool, NOMI Find & Save, which gives mobile banking customers customized tips and alerts.

Companies like Saylent are trying to help banks make sense of their data resources by identifying the customers they should focus on. Saylent gives customers tools to target people that are shopping for a car loan or a mortgage. The platform will be used by institutions like BankFirst Financial Services, a community-based institution headquartered in Mississippi.

B of A is latest big bank to announce aggressive branch expansion (American Banker), Rated: A

Bank of America plans to open more than 500 branches over the next four years as part of a large-scale investment in retail banking.

The $2.28 trillion-asset company said in a press release Monday that it will hire more than 5,400 employees as part of the expansion. The Charlotte, N.C., company did not specify where the new branches will be located, nor did it say how much the proposed brick-and-mortar expansion plan would cost.

Don’t write off branch banking yet, says KeyBank Colorado exec (Denver Business Journal), Rated: B

Customers “want to talk to people. They want to be guided,” says Michael Walters.

Fintechs’ charter hopes may lie with new FDIC board (American Banker), Rated: A

Among federal bank regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has been the most active on fintech chartering options. But another agency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., may provide crucial guidance for fintechs in the shorter term.

The FDIC still has pending an application by Square for an industrial loan company, a limited-purpose bank typically chartered in Utah that receives deposit insurance.

Can Crowdfunding Mortgage Down Payments Make Homes Affordable? (SavingAdvice), Rated: A

A lot what’s being called crowdfunding is actually more like matching funds or subsidies for down payments. The growth of these options seems to be a sign of the times — so few people can afford to buy homes nowadays that the industry has gotten creative.

Unison Financial (formerly known as Rex Home Buyer) offers down payment subsidies in exchange for equity stakes in the home. The program requires that the home buyer put up a down payment of at least 10%.

HomeFundMe provides incentives for individuals to seek out grants that are actually matching funds on down payments. Although the match ratio is impressive, two-to-one, the total grant limited to $2,500 — do the math and you see that the buyer would need to come up with another $5,000 at that maximum amount.

With most residential mortgage lenders requiring minimum down payments of at least 5%, that limits the buyer to homes worth no more than $150,000. That’s well below the average home price in the U.S. — and even beneath affordable housing program prices in many cities.

HOW INVESTING IN CROWDFUNDED REAL ESTATE IMPACTS YOUR TAXES (The College Investor), Rated: A

There are two types of investors in a crowdfunded real estate investment: Accredited and non accredited.

An accredited investor has more opportunities to invest than a non accredited investor but they also bear more risks. SEC Rule 501 of Regulation D defines accredited investor.

These investors have an annual income of least $200,000 for the previous two years and a net worth of more than $1 million.

Non accredited investors buying shares of a fund have the simplest tax impacts.

They receive a 1099-INT from the crowdfunding real estate company they are investing with and are taxed at their ordinary income tax rate.

If the investor is invested in multiple funds, their investments can be aggregated into one 1099-INT rather than receiving an individual 1099-INT for each fund.

For investors who are investing in equity investments, things get more complicated. These investors will receive a K1 tax form. A K1 is for income through business partnerships.

PeerStreet Named a Finalist in Top Real Estate Platform Category in the Second Annual LendIt Fintech Industry Awards Competition (BusinessWire), Rated: B

LendIt Fintech recently announced that they have selected PeerStreet as a finalist in the Top Real Estate Platform category for the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards.

PawnGuru pulls in $ 2.5 mln Series A (PE Hub), Rated: A

PawnGuru, an online marketplace connecting pawn shops and consumers, today announces the close of a $2.5 million Series A. With this funding, PawnGuru intends to expand its network of shops within the US, as well as to international markets, giving consumers worldwide the power to buy directly from local pawn shops online.

 

5 Financial Mistakes That Push Striving Startups Into Bankruptcy (Newsmax), Rated: A

  1. Think Big/Start Big Syndrome – You are permitted to think big but start small to have adequate fund to invest in other areas of the business. When you don’t properly handle these areas, your business might join the 90% businesses that never survived after 5 years.
  2. Lack of Financial Mentorship
  3. Inability to Utilize Viable Loan Options – Bank loans, equipment loans, invoices financing, car title loans, peer-to-peer lending networks and more, are avenues small business owners can obtain loans. It’s however pertinent to get information and evaluate the cost implications of taking a loan to finance your business.
  4. Under-utilization of Digital Technology – In terms of advertising, marketing, automation, time management, human resource functions, cloud computing, data management, blockchain technology etc. digital technology has infused speed and efficiency which has resulted in reduced cost to carryout daily business operations.
  5. Poor Recording of Cash Flow

Understanding the International Student Lending Ecosystem in the U.S. (Lend Academy), Rated: A

There are almost 1.2 million international students currently studying in the United States. They hail from countries all over the world with almost a third – more than 360,000 – coming from China and just over 205,000 coming from India. South Korea and Saudi Arabia follow behind dropping down to just over 70,000 and 55,000, respectively. With education costs often approaching six figures and beyond, an international student loan ecosystem has emerged both in the U.S. and abroad to serve the educational funding needs of this demographic.

Navigate your student-loan maze with this Philly-made calculator (Technical.ly), Rated: B

From his home office in Fishtown, Temple University grad Mason Gallik, 23, is hoping his college debt calculator can help others from making bad choices.

“It’s about being realistic about your decisions,” said Gallik, the founder of LoanMajor. “Sometimes it’s smart to look at college from a financial side and not just an emotional one.”

Currently, the company’s source of income is through affiliate links with loan marketplace Credible. For every visitor that LoanMajor leads to Credible, they get a fee. Another source of revenue Gallik hopes to set up is through affiliate links to credit card companies and banks.

United Kingdom

U.K.’s Virgin Money to Launch Digital Challenger Bank (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

U.K.-based lender Virgin Money said it will offer current accounts and savings products.

In its earnings call today, Virgin Money said it will begin testing these products later in the year and has already spent £38.3 million ($53.3 million) over the past year developing this digital bank.

Amigo Loans hires JP Morgan and RBC to prepare 500 million pound London IPO (Reuters), Rate: AAA

British subprime lender Amigo Loans is preparing for a stock market float in London that could value the consumer credit firm at more than $700 million.

1PM Joins Online Business Loan Marketplace For Retail Investors Mintos (London South East), Rated: AAA

1pm PLC said Tuesday that it has entered into a cooperation agreement with AS Mintos Marketplace to be a loan originator on its online loan marketplace.

The AIM-listed financial services provider to UK businesses said that it is the first loan originator from the UK to join the Mintos marketplace, which already has about 30 other loan originators globally.

British banks ordered to help people pay off credit card debts (Reuters), Rated: A

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority ordered banks on Tuesday to take steps to help people with persistent credit card debt to keep up with repayments.

The FCA’s new rules will, however, will still allow banks to ultimately suspend a credit card if a customer fails to make any progress in repaying debts.

European Union

MIFID II aids RoboAdvice (AltFi), Rated: A

Unfortunately, in the current marketplace many opaque structures lead to charges that even a Finance degree can’t help unravel.  But technology is here to help and most of the new Robo-Advisors have simple and transparent fee structures enabling savers to compare different product offerings quickly and easily.

Whilst many in Financial Services have been critical of the growing ‘regulatory burden’ the changes MiFiD II will bring should be net positive for end users and ultimately society. Although legacy providers are likely to see revenues and margins shrink.

International

Equifax is partnering with a digital ID verification company (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

US credit bureau Equifax has formed a partnershipwith South Africa-based Entersekt, a company specializing in customer authentication and device security.

Fintech Pagaya Receives $ 75 Million in Debt Financing from Citi (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Pagaya Investments, a Fintech company in the asset management space, has received $75 million in debt financing from Citi. Simultaneously, Pagaya announced the creation of the “Opportunity Fund” to meet growing institutional interest in consumer credit as an asset class.

Global Venture Capital Investment in Fintech Industry Set Record in 2017, Accenture Analysis Finds (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Fintech financing rose 18 percent in 2017, to US$27.4 billion, with the value of deals in the U.S. jumping 31 percent, to $11.3 billion. Deal values almost quadrupled in the U.K., to US$3.4 billion, and soared nearly fivefold in India, to US$2.4 billion. The number of fintech deals also rose sharply, from just over 1,800 in 2016 to nearly 2,700 in 2017, underscoring continued appetite from investors scouring the globe for innovation in insurance, banking and capital markets startups.

“Much of the growth, particularly in the U.S. and UK, has been driven by big new investment flows from China, Russia, the Middle East and other emerging economies,” said Julian Skan, senior managing director in Accenture’s Financial Services practice.

“Much of the growth, particularly in the U.S. and UK, has been driven by big new investment flows from China, Russia, the Middle East and other emerging economies,” said Julian Skan, senior managing director in Accenture’s Financial Services practice.

India, US, UK drove global growth

Kabbage Inc, a U.S. online lender for small businesses, alone raised US$900 million in three separate rounds in 2017. Online lender Social Finance Inc, also known as SoFi, raised US$500 million in February, and LendingPoint raised US$500 million from a credit transaction in September. As startups grow and their businesses mature, funding rounds have increased in size, while some companies have opted to use credit facilities to speed up their expansion.

In the U.K., digital insurance distributor BGL Group raised US$900 million, pushing overall fintech investments in the country to an all-time high of US$3.4 billion. Payments venture TransferWise had the second-largest fundraising in the U.K., raising US$280 million.

India’s digital payments startup Paytm received US$1.4 billion in venture capital, helping drive fintech fundraising activity in the country to nearly five times the 2016 levels. The number of fintech deals in India increased 65 percent over 2016.

More deals in China, fewer megadeals

Mega fintech deals that had catapulted China to the top destination in the world for venture capital money in 2016 fell in 2017, as investors pulled back after pouring billions of dollars into giant-sized transactions. Fintech funding in the country declined 72 percent in 2017, to US$2.8 billion, from a record US$10 billion in 2016, when several companies – including Ant Financial and wealth management platform Lufax – had multi-billion-dollar financing rounds. The average deal size in China in 2017 was US$19 million, down from US$186 million in 2016, though the country still had large transactions, such as the US$440 million that real estate broker Homelink raised in April and the US$290 million that online finance firm Tuandai raised in June.

P2P and marketplace lending equity investments recover in 2017 to set new record (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Deals in the sector slowed down in 2016 with a year on year decrease of 12.8 per cent, possibly as a result of Lending Club’s annus horribilis. Total amount invested fell from $8.6bn in 2015 to $7.5bn the next year.

However, investment rebounded in 2017 to reach $8.9bn, a year on year increase of 18.6 per cent. The top ten P2P and marketplace Lending deals in 2017 raised half of the total funding for the year, raising a combined total of $4.4bn. The largest deal in 2017 was the previously mentioned $1.2bn Series B round to Lufax, led by COFCO with co-investment from China Minsheng Bank and Guotai Junan Securities.


Creditcoin Turns Digital Wallets into an Investment Market (Coinspeaker), Rated: A

In response to this, two reputed fintech innovators, Gluwa and Aella Credita have joined forces to launch Creditcoin, an inter-blockchain P2P lending market that operates across distributed ledgers ensuring permanent record of transactions that cannot be alter or tampered with.

Allianz Investment Arm Co-Leads Funding Round in Fintech C2FO (Bloomberg), Rated: B

Financial technology startup C2FO raised $100 million in funding in a new round led by the investing arm of global insurance and asset management giant Allianz SE as well as Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co.

MSTS Taps World Fuel VP As Head Of Business Development For APAC (Payment Week), Rated: B

Australia

Fintech business lenders to self-regulate (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

A lack of transparency around fintech borrowing costs for small businesses has prompted the industry committing to adopt a code of conduct and standardised interest rate and fee disclosures.

The fintech sector hopes moves to self-regulate will help start-ups win trust and avoid concerns that helped prompt the royal commission into the banks.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, FinTech Australia and the Bank Doctor, an SME advocate, will drive start-ups to improve disclosures that will allow small business customers to compare total costs, understand obligations and penalties if payments are missed, and ensure disputes are dealt with quickly and fairly.

India

Extending access to credit: Are alternate finance platforms creating tangible impact? (ET Rise), Rated: A

In its ‘Consultation Paper on Peer to Peer Lending’, the RBI highlighted how these web-based platforms are providing easier access of credit to small entrepreneurs by bringing prospective borrowers and lenders together. With more individuals lending to one another, interest rates for borrowers are going down, even as the increased availability of affordable credit stimulates greater financial activity and drives business growth. As a result, consumer segments such as MSMEs – until now either com ..
Borrowers from tier-2 and tier-3 cities comprised 20% and 17% of the total number of loans disbursed. New-to-credit borrowers comprised 35% of fulfilled borrowers on the platform, while those with poor credit ratings accounted for 10% of the overall number. Most strikingly, an analysis of credit bureau reports revealed how only 2.5% of the borrowers from tier-3 cities who received funds from the platform got any loans from other banks or financial institutions after the Faircent loan, underlining the major credit gap that the online platform is plugging within the economy.
Asia

Equity crowdfunding in Japan poised to grow fivefold this year (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Crowdfunding campaigns that offer stock in exchange for capital are set to swell this year in Japan as the prospect of high returns draws investors to a relatively new channel for fledgling companies.

Indonesia’s P2P firm UangTeman likely to raise up to m Series B (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Indonesian peer-to-peer lending platform UangTeman said it is set to raise a Series B financing round by mid-2018, claiming it would be one of the largest such rounds for a fintech firm in Southeast Asia.

Canada

IOU Financial Extends Credit Facility with Midcap Financial (Cision), Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), announced today that it has modified and extended its secured credit facility (the “Credit Facility”) with MidCap Financial, (“Midcap”) until December 31, 2020. The amount of the Credit Facility is USD $20 million, with a term portion equal to USD $15 million and a revolver amount of USD $5 million.

IOU and Midcap have further agreed to allocate USD $1 million from the Credit Facility amount of USD $20 million, to support Canadian loan originations. This will be formalized in a separate amendment to this facility.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday February 7 2018, Daily News Digest

MONEY-LAUNDERING-BY-ACTIVITY

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi named official sponsor of Big Ten. Equifax supports SME lending with new data sharing solution. UK fintech venture investment rises 150%. Klarna partners with London College of Fashion. Revolut ditches Wirecard, takes card issuances in-house. Today’s main analysis: The most wanted for anti-money laundering cases in Asia. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Banks close 1,700 […]

MONEY-LAUNDERING-BY-ACTIVITY

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

MENA

News Summary

United States

SoFi Named Official Presenting Sponsor of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament (BigTen.org), Rated: AAA

The Big Ten Conference and Big Ten Network announced a multi-year agreement naming SoFi as the presenting sponsor of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. SoFi, a modern finance company taking an unprecedented approach to lending and wealth management, will not only be the on-site tournament sponsor, but also present the on-air coverage of all 10 tournament games televised on BTN.

Equifax launches data sharing solution to support SME lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Information solutions company Equifax has launched a new solution that provides back up for the government’s Commercial Credit Data Sharing (CCDS) initiative, which is seeking to boost the economy by encouraging new entrants into the SME lending sector.

According to the platform, the new solution “gives lenders a comprehensive picture of a business’ financial health to facilitate faster and more informed lending decisions”.

Equifax was designated as a credit reference agency under the CCDS initiative, giving it access to new data sets from leading business banks, including cash flow activity and debit and credit turnover. The data will be provided to lenders through Equifax Business Insights.

Banks Shutter 1,700 Branches in Fastest Decline on Record (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The number of branches in the U.S. shrank by more than 1,700 in the 12 months ended in June 2017, the biggest decline on record, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Branch numbers fell again in the second half of 2017, according to related data submitted to bank regulators and reviewed by the Journal. That would add to the thousands of locations closed following the financial crisis, and is the longest stretch of closures since the Great Depression.

Many of the closings were in big cities and surrounding suburbs, where branches were consolidated largely because of falling foot traffic. Others were in rural areas, where some large regional lenders are leaving town altogether.

From mid-2012 to mid-2017, Capital One Financial Corp. cut 32% of its branches, SunTrust Banks Inc. 22% and Regions Financial Corp. 12%.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

What a scrappy Oklahoma bank can teach the industry about branch strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Citizens Bank of Edmond is trying to get closer to small business customers by providing space, guidance and almost anything else they might need — besides, of course, a loan.

The one-branch community bank in Edmond, Oklahoma once had another branch, 12,000 square feet located one block away from the main space, with a drive-thru window and some executive offices. But recently the bank decided to consolidate it into a single location and has now turned it into a “business social” co-working environment, called Vault 405, for its small business customers that includes wireless charging stations, conference rooms and a podcast studio.

Ideally, by creating an environment that would bring customer and community relationship returns, as well as grow deposits and loan volume. Citizens currently charges monthly rates between $400 and $1,000 for offices and $175 to $275 for desks and shared spaces. It also offers day passes.

Citizens is also addressing cash pickups for small business customers, one of the most compelling cases for banks thinking of repurposing their branches, using as much readily available technology as possible.

Why Digit is over chatbots (American Banker), Rated: A

Now, Ethan Bloch, founder and CEO of the San Francisco startup, believes his company has been offering the wrong primary user interface. “We think [chatbots] haven’t lived up to their promise,” he said. “So we are done believing they will.”

While the premise of Digit is still the same — use the service to automatically transfer funds from checking to savings every few days in amounts its algorithms believe a person can afford — Bloch believed the chatbot model is terribly flawed in its inefficiency to find out information.

Lendio Franchise Announced in Seacoast Region (Lendio Email), Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital adds trio to executive ranks (Bankless Times), Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital, a provider of small business financing solutions, announced the appointment of three senior members to their business development team. Mitchell (Mitch) Levy, Marc Seidel and Gary Lockwood were named to lead the sales teams. The new hires follow last year’s appointments of Christine Chang as CEO and Darren Schulman as COO and a $60 million commitment in capital from a large institutional investor.

US states team up to streamline fintech licensing (Finextra), Rated: A

Currently, firms offering services such as money transfers and cryptocurrency trading have to apply individually to operate in each of the 50 US states.

Under the new compact, if one of Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Washington reviews key elements of licensing – IT, cybersecurity, business plan, background check and Bank Secrecy Act compliance – the other six will accept the findings.

Wela Partners with In-Fi to Bring AI-Powered Bot to Insurance Agency Platform Website (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Wela, a fintech company that blends artificial intelligence (AI) with human advisors, today announces a partnership with In-Fi, an insurance agency management company specifically for financial institutions. Wela’s AI-powered chatbot, personified as Benjamin, is now fully integrated into In-Fi’s website, with the function of creating a more cohesive and engaging experience for their customers. Integration into In-Fi’s website is a pivotal step for Wela, which aims to place Benjamin at the center of financial decisions for families by integrating across a variety of financial service providers.

How the payday lending industry shapes academic research (American Banker), Rated: A

The hotly contested question of how to regulate payday lending is partly about ideology. How far should the government go to save repeat borrowers from their own worst habits? Your answer will depend on your political beliefs.

But this debate, like a lot of fights involving financial regulation, is also about facts. Do payday customers indeed suffer economic harm when they get into a cycle of repeat borrowing? That is an empirical question that unbiased researchers should be able to answer.

Inside Aspiration’s ‘values-based’ marketing strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

SoFi, whose earliest ads told people, “Don’t Bank. SoFi” has softened its marketing efforts, realizing the smart thing is for it to become a bank itself. Transferwise once ran provocative anti-bank ads but now advertises its own borderless account. But Aspiration isn’t shy about ruffling the feathers of the big banks. When Bank of America yanked its “free” checking accounts last month, moving them to its core checking account product that comes with a monthly $12 fee, Aspiration used it as a rallying point to get customers to bring their business to Aspiration, offering a $12 credit if they did. It claims its marketing has influenced “tens of thousands” of customers to leave B of A for Aspiration. Bank of America declined to comment for this story.

A fruitful journey from the attic to an angel investor (domain-b.com), Rated: A

Pear venture capital has helped some aspiring entrepreneurs build their foundations from scratch. How did the idea behind Pear fructify and what is the significance behind its name?
We actually started out as an angel investor. Around 2009-2010, I felt that there was no institution to help founders from ground zero. Given my background and network, I thought I could build an institution, which would help founders in their early stages to work on their ideas, which would stay in the business for generations.

Today Pear is an early stage seed fund and we invest in founders who are building category defined companies and that which focus on solving a big problem in the market.

As a venture capitalist, how do you identify potential entrepreneurs before signing them a cheque? What sectors and businesses do you look at? Considering the humongous number of aspirants, how do you identify a viable idea and that which is worth your support and funding?
If I look back at the last 18 years, there are some traits which are quite common among exceptional founders. We like those individuals who are looking to solve big problems in the market. They should either be close to the problem that they are trying to solve or they should have lived through their problem.

We also like those who have ability to track talents, are paranoid in a healthy way, have a vision and tend to question themselves every day. I also like CEOs who are captains of the ship,. the ones who usually stay till the end when the ship is sinking. Overall, we also look at size of the market. It’s fine if things don’t work out today as long as it’s going to be massive when it works. If you look at our portfolio companies, some of them have started in the unconventional space. As VCs, you live for those moments where you want to break the rule and partner with outliers.

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for January (Guru Focus), Rated: A

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its monthly Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network. The purpose of the report is to empower consumers by providing additional information on how their credit profile affects their loan prospects.

Purchase Mortgage Offers by Credit Score

Purchase

FICO Range

Average APR

Average Down Payment

Average Loan Amount

Average LTV

Lifetime Interest Paid*

All Loans

4.55%

$63,411

$238,518

82%

$199,109

760+

4.41%

$84,354

$262,661

79%

$191,975

720-759

4.45%

$59,193

$239,111

83%

$194,007

680-719

4.70%

$39,883

$217,590

86%

$206,818

640-679

5.04%

$63,301

$203,176

76%

$224,533

620-639

5.12%

$57,566

$191,642

76%

$228,749

*To enable comparison, lifetime interest is calculated for the average loan amount for all loans using the rates for each credit score bucket.

Refinance Mortgage Offers by Credit Score

Refinance

FICO Range

Average APR

Average Down Payment

Average Loan Amount

Average LTV

Lifetime Interest Paid*

All Loans

4.46%

$2,739

$244,540

62%

$199,427

760+

4.33%

$4,014

$250,651

59%

$192,669

720-759

4.38%

$3,073

$249,678

64%

$195,262

680-719

4.58%

$1,294

$238,579

64%

$205,712

640-679

4.79%

$907

$223,812

60%

$216,814

620-639

4.89%

$212,813

59%

$222,147

*To enable comparison, lifetime interest is calculated for the average loan amount for all loans using the rates for each credit score bucket.

The hottest cities where it’s good to be a home seller but not so much a buyer (The Washington Post), Rated: A

LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, recently analyzed 1.5 million purchase mortgage loan requests that came in through its system from the 100 largest cities in 2017. The study identifies the locations where buyer competition is the toughest based on three criteria:

The top 10 cities with the most competitive buyers based on those criteria include:

  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Denver
  • San Diego
  • Ventura, Calif.
  • Los Angeles
  • Seattle
  • Honolulu
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Sacramento

The three cities on the bottom of the list, where homes are more accessible to buyers and competition is less aggressive, are Youngstown, Ohio; McAllen, Tex.; and Scranton, Pa.

For the full report, click here.

CBC National Bank Among LendingTree’s Top 10 Highest Customer-Rated Mortgage Lenders in Fourth Quarter (PR Newswire), Rated: B

CBC National Bank, headquartered in Fernandina Beach and with branches in Fernandina BeachOcala and The Villages, Fla., and Beaufort and Port Royal, S.C., today announced that it has been named by LendingTree as among the Top 10 highest customer-rated mortgage lenders in the fourth quarter of 2017. It also achieved this prestigious designation in the first quarter of 2017.

rateGenius Awarded Top 3 in Auto Customer Satisfaction by LendingTree for 7th Consecutive Quarter (PR Newswire), Rated: B

rateGenius is pleased to announce that it has once again been named Top 3 in Auto Customer Satisfaction by LendingTree.

M Financial Group Partners with Plug and Play Insurtech to Enhance Client Experience in Life Insurance Space (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Plug and Play Insurtech welcomes M Financial as its 55th partner. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon and comprised of 155 Member Firms across the U.S., as well as the U.K. and U.A.E., M Financial is searching for startups to transform the life insurance industry for the clients they serve. Startups accepted into Plug and Play’s platform will have the opportunity to pilot their technology with M Financial and the other partners in the program. M Financial is the first Plug and Play partner that is both a distributor and reinsurer of life insurance products.

5 Passive Income Ideas That Still Work In 2018 (SavingAdvice), Rated: B

Peer to peer lending: The demand for credit is sure to continue for centuries to come. There is always someone in need of some quick business loan or a personal loan and this gives a quick opportunity if there is another person with the capital and risk appetite to back it up. With the current boom in crypto currency usage, you can take advantage and set up a peer-to-peer lending service. Alternative funding can very well give traditional banking a run for the money because some people need quick loans but cannot have the convenience of applying through the mainstream banking system. Peer-to-peer lending offers the keys to unlock instant liquidity to a wide online community and offers attractive rewards to those who supply the capital.

A great advantage to the lender is that once a peer to peer lending platform has been selected, the popularity of the wallet will ensure that there is exposure to a wider target of borrowers. Most banks often get restricted to lending to people within a certain country or state. Since peer-to-peer lending is blockchain-backed, anyone around the globe with access to the platform can lend money to another peer and start earning money over the duration of the loan contract.

United Kingdom

LendInvest completes £16m development deal in three weeks (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: AAA

Property finance lender LendInvest has completed a £16m financing deal with established development finance borrower, Yogo Group, in just three weeks.

Taking a Deeper Look into the Moving Average For Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (Stock Press Daily), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L) are in focus today as the charts are revealing that the Mesa Adaptive Moving Average (MAMA) is holding steady above the FAMA, or Fractional Moving Average.  This environment typically indicates that there might be a buying opportunity aligning in technicals.  When there are crossovers between the FAMA and MAMA, the shares are often widely traded.  When the MAMA crosses above the FAMA, it means that the shares are likely to move higher.  Conversely the opposite occurs when the MAMA crosses below the FAMA.  The Mesa Moving Average was first mentioned by John Ehlers in a paper published in a 2001 edition of Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities Magazine.

Venture investment in UK fintech more than doubles (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Fintech companies, such as TransferWise and OakNorth, raised $1.8bn of venture capital investment last year, up more than 150 per cent from $704m in 2016, the year of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, the data show.

The surge in UK funding contrasted with an 18 per cent drop in global fintech investments to $14.4bn, according to the report by Innovate Finance, the British fintech trade body.

The UK industry was boosted by handful of large fundraisings of more than $90m. The biggest was by TransferWise, a cross-border payments provider, which raised $280m. OakNorth, a digital lender to small businesses, raised $203m.

Banks divided on cryptocurrencies card purchases (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

British banks are debating whether to ban their customers from buying cryptocurrencies using their credit cards after Lloyds Banking Group and Virgin Money said they had imposed such a ban.

Barclays, the UK’s leading credit card issuer through its Barclaycard business, said it was “keeping this matter under close review” after holding a meeting to discuss whether to follow the lead of Lloyds on Monday.

Last week MasterCard said that cross-border volumes on its network were up 22 per cent, driven in part by customers using their credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies.

British banks are also shunning companies that handle cryptocurrencies by refusing to let them open bank accounts or closing their accounts, which has forced many of them to open accounts in Gibraltar, Poland and Bulgaria.

Lloyds Bank cutting 930 jobs (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Lloyds is axing 930 jobs within its commercial banking, chief information office, community banking, insurance, and wealth and risk management.

Looking beyond traditional banks (Specialist Banking), Rated: A

I recently came across an article headlined: “8 in 10 SMEs still prefer traditional bank loans over alternative finance.”

It noted that 83% of financial directors preferred to go to their bank as their first port of call when seeking a loan, rather than finding an alternative, such as P2P lending or equity crowdfunding.

It claimed that a lack of understanding could be the reason for this, but pointed out that almost three-quarters of finance directors (74%) believed their knowledge of alternative finance was either “average or above average”.

Challenger Bank Tandem Partners with Cognitive Banking Company Personetics (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

UK Challenger bank Tandem has announced a partnership with cognitive banking company Personetics to provide users personalised insights on their spending across all of their bank accounts in one place, as well as warning people about unexpected fees and unusual activity on their accounts.

Are you holding too much cash in your ISA? (WhatInvestmen), Rated: A

In a survey of financial advisers by Octopus Investments, three-quarters of respondents said they believe their clients hold too much in their cash ISA relative to the rest of their portfolio.

The majority (83 per cent) feel their clients are put off investing in stock and shares due to the risk of losing money, followed by concerns of an overstretched (49 per cent) and volatile (46 per cent) market.

The Differences Between Short Term Loans and Payday Loans (SWNS.com), Rated: A

If you need to borrow money, a variety of options are available. Two of the most common short term borrowing options are payday loans and short-term personal loans, both of which provide immediate access to cash to help you pay bills, purchase items and run your financial life.

One of these borrowing options — payday lending — has been in the news a lot over the last few years, as new regulations make the industry more borrower friendly.

Short-Term Personal Loans

Most people use short-term loans for purchasing certain items or covering other major expenses.

From a borrower’s perspective, the advantages of short-term loans include lower overall costs than payday loans. However, the credit check process and approval period mean that loans of this type often aren’t instant enough to help borrowers deal with urgent financial needs.

Payday Loans

Most payday loans are for relatively small amounts of money, such as £200 to £500, and are aimed at providing cash until you get paid again.

Payday loans form a major part of the UK lending industry, with an estimated market value of approximately £2 billion.

Folk2Folk appoints chapter development manager (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

P2P lending platform Folk2Folk has appointed Claire Thayers as its chapter development manager.

In the newly created role, Claire will be responsible for raising Folk2Folk’s profile across the South West and Three Counties regions and improving awareness of its products to both borrowers and brokers.

China

The key to surviving in China’s P2P marketplace? Understanding regulations (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: AAA

China’s increasingly competitive peer-to-peer marketplace requires players to understand government regulations and align their strategies accordingly, said Kevin Guo, co-founder and co-chairman of Dianrong, which specializes in making small loans over the internet.

European Union

Klarna partners with London College of Fashion (LeapRate), Rated: AAA

European payments provider, Klarna, has announced a UK partnership with London College of Fashion, UAL, in an exciting initiative to support the next generation of talent at the intersection of fashion and technology.

Fashion is now the UK’s largest online retail market segment, worth around £10.1bn, and this growth is only set to continue. By 2020, fashion will represent 28.8% of UK online spend.

With Klarna research showing 94% of retailers are investing in new technology to meet the needs of younger customers, opportunity for innovation in the sector has never been greater.

German digital business bank Penta raises €2.2m in seed funding (AltFi), Rated: A

Penta, a German digital bank for start-ups and small businesses, has secured €2.2m in seed funding, led by the UK-based and fintech-focused Inception Venture Capital .

Founded in May last year, Penta moved out of its private beta in December to a waitlist of over 3,000 local businesses. The platform has now opened its waitlist up to new users, and hopes to reach 10,000 businesses by the end of 2018.

P2P investors risk losses by lending to just one borrower (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER analysis firm 4th Way is urging investors to diversify after stress testing revealed the odds of losing money in a severe recession can be 10 times higher in some cases when lending to just one borrower on a P2P platform.

The research, released on Tuesday, applied international banking stress tests to P2P platforms it assesses such as Zopa, Funding Circle and RateSetter, and found when lending to 100 borrowers, investors have just a 0.1 per cent chance of losing 20 per cent or more of their original money.

Acquisition of 85% of Telenor Banka fails to win Serbia’s c-bank approval (SeeNews), Rated: A

Serbian online lender Telenor Banka said on Tuesday that Bulgaria-based investment fund River Styxx Capital has not received the consent of Serbia’s central bank for the acquisition of 85% of its share capital from Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor.

Telenor will support any further step that will contribute to the positive closure of the transaction, Ingeborg Ofsthus, CEO of Telenor Serbia and chair of the Telenor Banka board of directors said in a statement issued by Telenor Banka.

International

Revolut ditches Wirecard for in-house card issuing (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

Revolut will no longer be relying on Wirecard for card issuing as it has now brought this function in-house.

Asia Most Wanted Top Ten AML Cases (Fintech News), Rated: AAA

Over the last decade, the quantity of money laundered has been steadily increasing. According to The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it is estimated that approximately USD $1.6 trillion or 2.7 percent of global GDP was laundered in 2009.

Even worse, less than 1 percent of this global illicit financial flow is ever seized and frozen, meaning that the criminals are winning.

Effective anti-money laundering (AML) regulations and processes are essential to countering such criminal activity. Yet due to tighter anti-money laundering regulations in the US and Europe, money laundering activity is moving into the Asia Pacific as a way to avoid detection.

Source: Fintech News

In December 2012, Standard Chartered was ordered to pay USD $330m to settle claims by United States government agencies that it had moved hundreds of billions of dollars on behalf of Iran. It was suggested that this practice exposed the international financial system to exploitation by to “terrorists” and “drug kingpins”.

Open banking role models: Fidor, Rabobank and BBVA (American Banker), Rated: A


Google accelerator focuses on emerging markets (IT Web), Rated: A

In its fifth year, Google Launchpad Accelerator is taking place in San Francisco this week. It focuses on start-ups that already have a product, with a good market fit, and are ready to scale.

OneFi has created Paylater, an online provider of digital financial services for the underbanked in West Africa.

Nubank is a financial technology company offering a fully digital and branchless experience, and Viva Real is an online real estate marketplace that connects buyers, sellers and renters with properties in Brazil. There is one other Brazilian start-up, Loggi, which creates new-wave logistics.

Kubo.financiero, a P2P lending platform, from Mexico.

Ayannah from the Philippines enables affordable and accessible digital financial services to be delivered to the world’s emerging middle-class.

Australia

Banks are exploiting loyal customers, warns Productivity Commission (The Guardian), Rated: AAA

The Australian financial system is uncompetitive, allowing banks and insurers to boost profits by exploiting loyal customers and adding up to $87 a month to the average mortgage repayment.

That is the conclusion of the Productivity Commission’s highly critical draft report into the sector, which finds it is “unquestionably strong” but calls for greater transparency to compare financial products and for regulators to gain powers to promote competition.

Australia gives regulator sweeping powers over bank bosses’ pay (Reuters), Rated: A

Australia has given its financial regulator sweeping powers to cap bank bosses’ pays, delay their bonuses and even ban them from the industry if found guilty of non-compliance, as it scrambles to restore trust in the scandal-hit sector.

MENA

ADGM is region’s 1st Fintech regulator, says Al Sayegh (WAM.ae), Rated: AAA

In the future, Fintech will be the most important aspect of financial services in the world, according to Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

How One Online Lending Platform Emerged From the Trust Crisis

Credium

Part 2 of an interview with Gilad Woltsovitch, founder of the online lending platform Backed, Inc.  Read part 1 here. What happened after 2013? The whole source of capital has shifted dramatically, and the reasoning is that in building a marketplace, you always have two sides to fill. Because of the environment of 2008, with […]

Credium

Part 2 of an interview with Gilad Woltsovitch, founder of the online lending platform Backed, Inc.  Read part 1 here.

What happened after 2013?

The whole source of capital has shifted dramatically, and the reasoning is that in building a marketplace, you always have two sides to fill.
Because of the environment of 2008, with no credit sources, there was endless flocking of borrowers to lending platforms and the supply side for credit was very hard to fill to catch up with the demand. Platforms have been fueled by VC funding, with a mindset of capturing market share and cared less about showing profits, and more about booking more and more loans.

What happened was that the lending platforms needed to market to enough retail investors to support the high demand. They needed to collect a lot of individual lenders in order to have a real diversified or decentralized source of financing for such a large amount of loans. In order to solve that, VCs started fueling platforms with their own balance sheet lending, saying “Ok, until you find enough resources to fund these loans, take some of our equity money and start giving out loans and carrying on your balance sheet as debt.”

When that started to scale up, they were allowing themselves to be a little more lenient in the risk models because they weren’t dealing with other people’s money, and they saw more and more coming in. They saw the valuations going so high, it was a little less painful to lend that money out.

That’s all they focused on. Giving up on those stringent controls of risk meant that they have higher defaults which showed up only 3 years later, in 2016. While the market share was going up so rapidly, the hedge funds and the banks saw a great opportunity and said, “okay, they need supply to fill up the high demand for loans,” so, along with the balance sheet model, the marketplace lending paradigm came into place, and p2p lending shifted almost entirely from connecting borrowers and lenders to connecting between loans and centralized sources of finance, either balance sheet, or selling it directly to institutional investors who started having much more demand on how to price the loans themselves, and access to the inventory.

Institutional money caused a bit of a problem because they forced the peer to peers to change?

Yes. When you’re a marketplace lender and you need to fund $100 million in loans, you need to have 10,000 individuals deposit $10,000, it’s a big challenge. But if you have a Wall Street hedge fund come up to you and say “I’ll give you $100 million,” then you allow them to dictate some of the business metrics.

They don’t only dictate the cost of capital, they also require you to hire lawyers, and to hire grading companies, and to hire other known mediaries(?), notaries to vet and proof stamp everything that you do so they will deem it appropriate for them. That’s more money that someone needs to pay. It’s a cost that needs to be taken on by someone in the lending equation.

That started jacking up the prices because lending capital itself was becoming more expensive as retail investors were expecting 5-6%, but hedge funds like to see double digits. All of these caused platforms to rush in to gain market share on very unstable sources of capital that are very much just following where the highest return will go.

This led to the centralization of capital sources and created additional risks. Concentration risk entered into it when you solve the supply side by letting hedge funds finance your loans, it puts some sort of ease on the platforms to continue to focus on the borrowing side, and taking this false assumption that the hedge funds will always be there.

It all hit the fan in 2016, and there was a huge trust issue between the lenders of the hedge funds and the platforms. They pulled out all their funds from most platforms.

It sounds like 2016 saw a huge vacuum open up in online lending?

Yes. A lot of small platforms did not survive. This centralized a lot of the power within the platforms that were able to do securitizations. Because the hedge funds pulled out, balance sheet lending is almost the surviving model of all the alternative lending models.

Platforms get a credit facility from institutional investors, whether it’s a hedge fund or a bank, this way those institutional investors are hedged against the risk. They give you the credit facility and you pay them back interest rates.

A balance sheet lender gives out loans at a higher rate than its cost of capital and lives on the margin.

You make it sound like individual investors and individual lenders are both getting held with the bag?

Exactly.

The originators themselves who are issuing those loans on behalf of the capital that they are paying for are suddenly stuck with a whole lot of debt on their balance sheets. The platform generates loans with an average of 4 years per loan. if you are issuing $1 billion in loans, you have an average of $4 billion on your balance sheet that you can’t offload. There is no secondary market for it. You cannot liquidate or leverage those assets in order to grow your business.
Platforms have become digital agents for the banks and institutional investors. They source out all of the borrowers. They do the pricing. They fund the loans. But there always constantly squeezed within a margin between the cost of capital and the rate they can lend out while still being competitive.

That is why the platforms who have access to cheap capital are the big survivors.

Do you have a better solution?

That’s exactly why we started Credium.

The industry transformed into something it was not set out to be. Now individual investors can only access this lucrative asset class by buying tranches in securitized SPVs by brokers who are selling off securities of platforms. By paying all these intermediaries in the middle, you end up receiving a much worse deal than you would if you directly lend, which was the original p2p vision.

The borrowers end up paying more because there’s more middle men as the value chain got longer.

The silver lining in all of this is Blockchain. By 2016, it matured enough to truly decentralize this whole complex system of online lending which requires transfer of accurate trusted information between two parties who want to transact.

All this complexity can be solved by setting up a secondary market that will allow the 98% of platforms operating by holding debt on their balance sheet to go ahead and liquidate their debt.

How does it address the trust crisis of 2016?

With peer to peer you had to trust the server of the platform that the information their hosting there has always been that exact same information, and nobody changed it in between. That’s why you have all these intermediaries to audit and make sure that the information that’s being transferred between two sides of the marketplace is accurate, and transparent, and time stamped, and everything is kosher.

That answers the crisis of trust? What about the barrier of liquidity?

We are setting up a secondary market which will allow any platform to sell their borrower notes as long as it’s registered and regulated as a security.
The lenders have the upside of offloading their debt.

Traditional peer to peer lenders have access to liquidity by uploading their loans and having somebody else buy it, without having to be a specific member of their platform. It gives them the chance to offload a huge amount of debt off their balance sheet, and focus on growth.

On the buyer side, we are allowing anybody to have full transparency to the risk of the note, the pricing of the note, the servicing history of the note. Anybody who wants can have exact accurate information in a smart loan contract that is locked on the blockchain.

How will this benefit individual retail investors over peer to peer?

With peer to peer you have to trust the platform issuing the note. If you want to put $100,000 in Lending Club notes, you have to part ways with that $100,000 for up to 5 years because those notes are going to start paying back on a monthly fixed income return.

If you want to liquidate in the middle, you have to find another Lending Club user who is willing to buy off your inventory. Since there is no real liquidity in that secondary market because there is a very small, closed system, you will have to give a very big discount just to get your money back before the period is over.

It’s a huge advantage if you are buying a note and you can park your money there for a few months, and just sell it off. We are introducing a complete supply side for liquidity.

What happens to online lending if there is no Blockchain or secondary market? What are the consequences if these disruptions don’t happen?

Online lending will stagnate.

Your secondary market is being set up to resume the growth in online lending?

Exactly.

We think that institutional investors like insurance funds have a great opportunity to enter this market if they know that they would have a secondary market where they can trade this asset. We are creating a tradable asset with the mechanics to have a fair market value and price discovery.

Can this do anything to the cost of capital for lending platforms?

Yes. We are also introducing new buyers to the market. We have a whole universe of crypto-investors who currently have no ability to protect against volatility. The only option they have today is to transfer to a pegged digital currency, which holds a reserve of fiat cash and protects their deposit, but they get no interest on it.

There’s a few downsides to that. One downside is the fact that this is not a security. It’s not regulated and you don’t really know if this capital sitting as a reserve for those pegged tokens is used for leveraging or other things.

The second is that it doesn’t pay any interest. All you do is protect against volatility. You might as well have put the cash under your pillow.

Parking it in this pegged currency is a solution that today reached $500 million in market cap of crypto-currency parked just to protect against volatility. There is a concentration risk because there is a single body controlling all of that half a billion dollars. If there is any failure of trust. If there is any failure in management of those funds, the whole market cap is at risk.

By backing up your cryptocurrency savings with borrower notes, you get it backed by a regulated security that has an originator accountable for the risk scoring, underwriting, and everything regulatory agencies require. You have servicers that are accountable for making sure that the loan is current, collected, and up to date, and you have the Credium Foundation that is also accountable that both the originator and the servicer are compliant and functioning in order.

You have a pegged cryptocurrency that is backed by a regulated security accountable to parties to make sure that the funds are backed up, plus, it pays you a return. You get interest for locking up those funds in a fixed income savings instrument.

The other upside is that you have a secondary market so if you want to liquidate it you can sell those tokens to somebody else.

The third advantage is that you don’t have concentration risk. We are onboarding as many originators as possible. If one of them fails, only those invested in that specific originator will get hit, but the market will be resilient because there are so many other originators involved.

How much more of the market share can be acquired once you set up a secondary market?

With a secondary market, online lending can go from 10% to at least 50% of the market over the next 5 years. Blockchain technology will enable people to transact using tokenized securities. There are no intermediaries to trading them.

That’s your goal?

The Credium Foundation has two arms. It has a protocol development, developing standardized risk pricing, decentralized exchange of borrower notes, pegged currencies to back those notes, that’s the protocol.

Then there is Creduim Foundation which we are calling the Alternative Lenders Alliance to participate in building the marketplace inventory, designing the product themselves – the fixed income securities that they are issuing today but as digital tokens, and working with regulators to ensure that the regulatory framework matches the requirements.

Blockchain delivers regulators on a silver platter all the information they can ever hope for. A decentralized marketplace will enable regulators to have full transparency and immediate access to all information exchanged at all times.

So, you are saying that Blockchain can add at least another half a trillion dollars to the online lending industry in the next 5 years?

Yes.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday November 30 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club rolls out its next-generation small business credit policy. Elevate’s RISE surpasses $300M in outstanding loans. Upgrade, Corridor collaborate on big data, credit analytics. Assetz Capital completes Seedrs funding round with 1.6M GBP. Alibaba seeks majority stake in SenseTime. Revolut banks on cryptocurrency. Comunitae suspends activities due to fraud. Today’s main analysis: The hidden relationship between […]

Lending Club

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

MENA

News Summary

United States

Next Generation Small Business Credit Policy (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

We are excited to announce the next generation small business credit policy on our platform which allows us to power the vision of even more small business owners.

Minimum qualifications have been reduced from 24 months in business to 12 months in business and from $75,000 to $50,000 in annual sales.

Since 2014 we’ve facilitated over $500 million in loans to thousands of small businesses across the nation.

Elevate’s RISE Product Surpasses $ 300 Million in Outstanding Loans (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced its RISE product has surpassed $300 million in total outstandings, with more than 130,000 open accounts.

Will Lending Club Turn a Corner? (GuruFocus), Rated: AAA

Lending Club arguably pioneered peer-to-peer lending, which has been one of the most vibrant segments of the credit market. Some analysts, however, have questioned the company’s ability to continue growing without adopting some traditional banking practices, like taking deposits.

Lending Club has failed to manage costs well over the past two years, leading to its inability to net profits. As illustrated in the chart below, the company’s trailing 12-month revenue now stands at about $551 million, but it has managed to reduce the net loss from about $175 million in the first quarter to about $94 million in the third quarter.

Source: GuruFocus

Lending Club’s first-half 2017 loan originations figure, however, declined from the prior-year period, dropping to approximately $4.1 billion versus $4.7 billion last year.

Would You Take Out a Loan for a Pair of Jeans? (Racked), Rated: AAA

Jocelyn Vera Zorn is not eager to talk about the loan she took out to buy the pants. “It’s kind of embarrassing,” she grimaces.

For merchants, Affirm provides exceptional benefits, increasing average order values across the board; perhaps not surprisingly, people will shop more, and more often, when they don’t immediately feel the costs. And for many customers, including Jocelyn, the predictable, convenient payments are worth the higher interest rates.

Affirm claims to be a more transparent and honest, if not cheaper, line of credit for the underserved. Using internal, proprietary data science and artificial intelligence, the company says it approves 126 percent more borrowers than traditional lenders, based on soft credit pullsand an opaque mosaic of consumer information.

Source: Racked

While more than two-thirds of Americans own at least one credit card, 20 percent are considered subprime, with a FICO score of 600 or below. Another 10 percent are on the bubble.

Source: Racked

Upgrade and Corridor Collaborate on Big Data and Credit Analytics (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, today announced a strategic partnership with Corridor Funds (), a new credit analytics and portfolio management platform founded by Manish Gupta. Mr. Gupta was recently EVP, Global Head of Information Management and Advanced Decisioning at American Express and prior to that spent many years as Chief Credit Officer of the Amex US consumer lending business. Under the terms of the partnership, Corridor will provide independent analytical review and validation to investors in Upgrade’s personal loan products, and will collaborate with Upgrade on new product design.

TechCrunch Founder Arrington Raising 0 Million XRP Fund (Coindesk), Rated: A

Announced today at CoinDesk’s Consensus: Invest in New York, TechCrunch founder Michael Arringtonrevealed he’s raising $100 million for a hedge fund that will buy and hold crypto assets while making investments in token sales and (some) equities and debt.

Launched under a new entity called Arrington XRP Capital, the fund claims to be the first that will require all limited partners (LPs) to make investments in XRP, the cryptocurrency that powers San Francisco startup Ripple’s RippleNet software.

Why Social Impact Matters in Tech: How LendUp Saved our Customers More Than $ 150 Million Dollars (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Five years later, LendUp customers are improving their credit scores, and now I’m proud to say that LendUp Loan customers have saved $150 million versus what they would have spent with traditional small dollar lenders, all while improving their credit score to open up more financial options in the future.

Two-thirds of LendUp Loan customers report having income swings of $100 or more a month. And since our newest customers lack short-term savings — 83% aren’t confident they can cover a $400 emergency — 77% report that they often miss bill payments.

Fintech Can Help Fast-Track Puerto Rico’s Recovery (Forbes), Rated: A

Agile, customer-experience-focused financial technology businesses continue to drive innovation, modernization and access to credit in America’s financial services marketplace when banks and other traditional providers can’t meet consumers’ needs. For example, fintech lenders help consumers and small businesses alike find financial products and services that meet their credit needs, whether it’s a short-term loan for an emergency expense or capital to help grow a small business — even when these applicants have been denied by their banks.

OnDeck monthly series highlights successful small businesses (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Online small business lender OnDeck today launched a new monthly series spotlighting the achievements of its small business customers and how they are thriving as a result of receiving capital from OnDeck.

For December, the customer success spotlight is on Dana Donofree, the owner of AnaOno, a lingerie and loungewear company for women with a unique mission.

“Applying for a loan can be incredibly stressful but fortunately, OnDeck had quick questions and quick responses.  Right away, I could see how much financing I was approved for and what that meant regarding payback. I had the opportunity to review everything before I took the loan.”

New Survey Finds Relationship Tension and Anxiety are Hidden Costs of Debt (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The old saying goes, ‘money can’t buy happiness.’ It should also say ‘and debt can make you anxious, keep you up at night and cause problems in relationships.’ That’s according to a new telephone survey of 1,004 U.S. adults conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The survey found nearly three-quarters of Americans (73 percent) are living with debt driven by factors such as everyday expenses, a lack of income, mortgage costs and student loans, reflecting the far-reaching potential impact of debt upon society.

Recent data shows outstanding household debt reached a record high of $12.84 trillion, making this survey timely. With U.S. consumer spending growing at its fastest pace since 2009, it appears the frugal habits many Americans adopted directly after the Great Recession are a thing of the past.

More than half of Americans with debt (56 percent) say it has negatively impacted their life.

Of those, one-in-five (21 percent) say debt is causing relationship tension with a spouse or partner and one-in-ten (11 percent) have misled family or friends about their financial situation. Debt is not just impacting life at home, it has found ways to creep into all aspects of the day. Nearly a third (31 percent) admit to worrying about their debt in general while nearly one-in-five (18 percent) say they worry while at work and one-in-four (25 percent) worry at bedtime.

Living with debt has become a financial and mental burden for nearly three-in-ten Americans with debt (28 percent) who stress about everyday financial decisions because of their debt. Nearly one-fifth of Americans with debt (19 percent) have received letters and calls from collection agencies. While the low interest rate environment has the potential to keep payments lower, one-in-four (25 percent) say that they’re worried a rate hike could change that.

Nearly seven-in-ten Millennials with debt (68 percent) admit it has had a negative impact on their everyday life compared with roughly half of Baby Boomers (48 percent) and three-fifths of GenXers (59 percent) with debt. Most concerning, the survey found that of those with debt, Millennials are twice as likely to worry about debt compared to Baby Boomers (M: 43 percent, BB: 19 percent) and more than a third (37 percent) admit that their debt causes them to stress about everyday financial decisions.

Source: BusinessWire

World’s largest bitcoin exchange, bitFlyer, enters the US (CNBC), Rated: A

The world’s largest bitcoin exchange by trading volume is launching in the U.S.

BitFlyer, based in Tokyo, announced Tuesday it became the fourth digital currency exchange to receive a “BitLicense” to operate in New York. The exchange said it also has licenses to operate in 40 other states.

Former U.S. Comptroller Thomas Curry, Now At Boston Firm, Is Still Fintech Advocate (The National Law Journal), Rated: A

Curry, who was integral in leading the federal banking regulator’s efforts in advancing financial technology, including through the proposal of a special purpose national bank charter for fintechs, joined Nutter McClennen & Fish this week. He is a partner and will co-lead Nutter’s Banking and Financial Services practice group.

How involved with fintech do you plan to be?

That will be a key area and something I’m excited about working with the other members of the firm on. Fintech is interesting, especially if you’re talking about online lending and marketplace lending.

Do you expect the fintech charter will, in fact, move forward?

From my standpoint, I would not have pursued the charter without being very comfortable with the legal foundation for it.

How will you advise clients in the meantime until any special purpose charter is finalized?

Today institutions, banks as well, need to be making strategic decisions about which direction they’re going in. Well before you decide whether to apply to a fintech charter, you should be thinking through the process, so I think the time is now.

Here’s How Andreessen Horowitz & Union Square Ventures Are Betting On Blockchain (CB Insights), Rated: A

This year’s blockchain craze has pushed a huge amount of new money into cryptocurrencies, private blockchain projects, and companies holding initial coin offerings (ICOs). As of now, the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies stands at more than $340B — a huge leap from where it started the year at $18B.

Source: CB Insights

Blockchain startup AlphaPoint names Nasdaq EVP Salil Donde CEO (Finextra), Rated: B

As it gears up for the launch of a public blockchain network promising to democratise asset digitisation, AlphaPoint has poached Nasdaq EVP Salil Donde and installed him as CEO.

Should I Refinance My Student Loans? (Credible), Rated: B

But you shouldn’t make the decision to refinance your loans lightly. Refinancing can help some borrowers save money, but what refinancing can do for you depends on a number of factors, including the repayment term and repayment options that you choose for your new loan.

Source: Credible
United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Completes Latest Seedrs Round With More Than £1.6 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital completed its latest equity crowdfunding round on Seedrs. The online lender launched the funding round last month and raised a total of £1,665,892.

Thistle and lender rescue developer (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

LendInvest has teamed up with specialist packager Thistle Finance to provide a developer with a £1.3m development exit finance loan.

The developer was set to move from his standard development finance rate on to a more punitive default rate on 1st December, which could have added 0.75% to his monthly interest payments.

However, the development exit finance loan provided by LendInvest – at around 70% LTV – will save the borrower 0.5% on the standard rate he had been paying.

Finance a vital resource as billing delays hit building industry (Asset Finance International), Rated: A

Businesses in the UK construction sector have been hit by a leap in payment delays, with invoices taking an average of 69 days to be settled.

Analysis of more than 13,000 companies by Funding Options, the online business finance supermarket, shows that delays have risen 8% in the past two years.

Yours Clothing in payments tie-up with Klarna (Retail-Systems), Rated: A

Yours Clothing, a UK independent retailer of plus size ladies clothing, has announced a partnership with Klarna which will allow its customers to use the Pay later and Slice it payment options.

Klarna’s Pay later allows customers to try goods first. When checking out online or on mobile, Yours Clothing customers who use Klarna’s Pay later will receive their products and then have 14 days to pay Klarna back interest-free.

Klarna’s second payment option – Slice it – gives shoppers the ability to spread the cost of any purchases over £60 into equal monthly instalments.

Proplend Joins the NACFB (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

On Wednesday, Proplend, a UK based peer to peer lender in the property space, announced it has joined the NACFB.

3 smart New Year’s resolutions for business owners (Funding Circle), Rated: B

  • Manage your stress level
  • Make smart money decisions – 
    • Improve your personal credit. Yes, this has everything to do with money. You see, the higher your credit score, the more likely you’ll be able to score lower interest rates on the money you borrow. This can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, so it’s definitely a resolution worth making.
    • Compare financing offers. Some options just aren’t good for your business. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know the APR you’ll be paying, and compare multiple loans to pick the best deal.
  • Continue to learn
China

China fintech lending boom fuels risks of data theft (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The rise of online consumer loans in China has spawned a thriving black market in stolen user data.

Virtually non-existent in the country five years ago, consumer lending through websites and mobile apps has expanded rapidly over the past 18 months amid a proliferation of fintech start-ups that use big data to assess credit risk.

In a chatroom devoted to consumer lending on Tencent’s QQ social-media platform, the Financial Times contacted a person claiming to be an employee of an online lender who was offering user data for sale.

For Rmb4 ($0.61) per user, he offered to provide the full name, national ID number, phone number and loan limit. He added that for some borrowers, the data would also include a credit score from Sesame Credit, the unit of Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial that sells credit scores to banks and consumer lenders with users’ consent.

Alibaba Seeking Biggest Stake in AI Startup SenseTime (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is in discussions to invest about 1.5 billion yuan ($227 million) and become the largest backer of Chinese facial recognition startup SenseTime, according to a person familiar with the matter.

SenseTime, which says it’s valued at more than $2 billion, is backed by Qualcomm Inc. and considered one of the more advanced players in machine vision technology.

Uncertainties of overseas markets may transmit P2P risks back to China (Global Times), Rated: A

A number of Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies went public in the US this year. Those P2P firms have been growing quickly, with some venturing into high-risk segments such as campus loans and cash advances. As they go public overseas, it creates potential risks that may eventually affect China’s financial stability. Supervision is needed to bring the P2P lending sector in order.

That these companies listed in the US reflects several factors. One main reason is the companies are expanding. Most are underperforming, and some are in the red. US stock exchanges do not have strict requirements for indicators such as net profit and cash flow. Also, the US market attracts investors from all over the world, easily raising more funds.

China’s Lending Crackdown Is Notable for Three Reasons (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Policy makers from the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking Regulatory Commission convened in Beijing on Nov. 23 to discuss new measures to crackdown on online consumer loan platforms, including those for payday loans and peer-to-peer lending. On the same day, Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial said it will enforce a cap of 24 percent on interest rates charged by lenders on its website, or 12 percentage points lower than current rates.

Although the measures haven’t been made public, our industry checks suggest three notable changes. First, the issuance of new licenses to online micro-loan platforms is being suspended, suggesting that regulators are scrutinizing online lending practices. Second, banks and bank-holding companies are being told not to buy loans underwritten by online platforms because such assets are deemed too risky. Third, turning the loans into securities will be forbidden because regulators believe securitization amplifies risks and gives investors less of an incentive to perform due diligence on the underlying assets.

So-called P2P online lending platforms have mushroomed from fewer than 10 to more than 2,000 in just over seven years, but only a few hundred operate with government-issued permits.

European Union

Digital Bank Revolut Prepares to Launch Cryptocurrency Features (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Digital only challenger bank Revolut is preparing to enter the cryptocurrency world with new features on their bank app to allow users to exchange and use Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

While no official announcement has been made yet, Edward Cooper, Head of Mobile at Revolut, recently tweeted out Revolut’s intent to offer digital currency solutions.

Spanish Peer to Peer Lender Comunitae Suspends Activity Due to Fraud (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to a report in El Español, peer to peer lender Comunitae has ceased all operations indefinitely due to fraud detected on the platform this past October. The Comunitae web site is still live but certain portions are not functional.

Swedish Chamber Export Prize 2017 to Klarna and Daloc (Sweden Abroad), Rated: B

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the Netherlands, The Embassy of Sweden and Business Sweden are very proud to announce the winner of the Swedish Chamber Export Prize 2017; Klarna.The prize aims to strengthen the Swedish-Dutch business relations and has been awarded since 2012 to Swedish related companies in the Netherlands.

International

Alibaba-Backed Paytm Aims to Become World’s Largest Digital Bank (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Paytm Payments Bank aims to create the world’s largest digital bank with 500 million accounts, envisioning an online financial services provider of everything from wealth management to credit cards and stock market trading.

The bank, backed by the country’s largest digital wallet of the same name, launched formally Tuesday and is targeting people who don’t have access to professional financial services. That aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to broaden access for the under-banked in the nation of 1.3 billion people.

Paytm was one of fewer than a dozen entities that secured permits to start payments banks, which can accept deposits and remittances but cannot lend.

It said it will operate a mobile-first bank with zero fees on online transactions and no minimum balance.

Cryptocurrencies and the ‘crowd’ are small businesses’ bank alternative (PaymentsSource), Rated: AAA

A major trend shaping the small-business landscape is the rise in cryptocurrency, which can provide alternative means for a variety of cross-border financial transactions.

Cryptocurrency is ideal for cross-border transactions in several ways. In addition to being secure and permanent, cryptocurrency transactions allow borrowers and lenders to sidestep time spent working through a bank, as well as converting from one currency to another. For many investors, the speed and convenience of cryptocurrency-based transactions presents an opportunity to magnify gains.

Along with crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, cryptocurrency can improve access to both payments and credit for SMEs.

International Fintech companies with > 5M funding (Crunchbase), Rated: A

TransferWise is an money transfer service allowing private individuals and businesses to send money abroad without hidden charges.
Funding Circle is a lending platform focused exclusively on small businesses operating in in the U.S., the U.K. and Continental Europe.
Blockchain is a web-based bitcoin platform that makes using bitcoin safe, easy, and secure for all consumers and businesses worldwide.
Building a bank as smart as your phone. Intelligent notifications, instant balance updates and financial management.
WeLab analyzes unstructured mobile big data within seconds to make credit decisions for individual borrowers.

Independent Asset Managers need to become polygamous (Finextra), Rated: A

Independent asset managers shall maintain relationships not only to custodians. Due to disintermediation and distributed ledger technology they will be able to profit from a much broader range of financial assets.

Source: Finextra

SWIFT warns banks on cyber heists as hack sophistication grows (Reuters), Rated: A

Brussels-based SWIFT has been urging banks to bolster security of computers used to transfer money since Bangladesh Bank lost $81 million in a February 2016 cyber heist that targeted central bank computers used to move funds.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency last month reported that Far Eastern International Bank (2845.TW) lost $500,000 in a cyber heist. BAE later said that attack was launched by a North Korean hacking group known as Lazarus, which many cyber-security firms believe was behind the Bangladesh case.

Nepal’s NIC Asia Bank lost $580,000 in a cyber heist, two Nepali officials told Reuters earlier this month.

Australia

FACEBOOK LIVE: Treasurer Scott Morrison on fintech and the banking royal commission (Business Insider), Rated: A

He’s now in Sydney at fintech business Prospa, the nation’s leading online lender to small business, where’s he talking to Business Insider about the sector as well as the 12-month investigation into misconduct by the banks.

See the video interview here.

India

Want a loan? Make sure you’re tweeting the right things (Quartz), Rated: AAA

The article that someone tweeted about, posts that they liked on Facebook, and a new phone just bought on an e-commerce site—all these events now play a crucial role in determining if an individual is eligible for a loan or not.

Online lending firms have seen rapid growth in the last two years, despite the presence of a wide network of banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in India. That’s because, till 2015, about 70% of Indians remained under-served by banks and other financial institutions, an opportunity that these firms are trying to cash in on. Now, even banks and NBFCs are tying up with online lending firms to reach out to more customers.

The 166 million households that make up middle-income India—with annual earnings of between Rs2.2 lakh ($3,414) to Rs3.59 lakh ($5,572)—typically apply for personal loans to buy consumer durables, for weddings, to meet medical expenses, set up a new business, and the likes.

“We have about 80-90 parameters that are used to check a consumer’s credit worthiness. And that’s where technology comes into play to ensure that it can be done swiftly and efficiently,” said Satyam Kumar, co-founder, LoanTap, an online fintech platform that provides retail loans to salaried individuals.

Delhi start-up wins GIST pitch (The Hindu), Rated: B

GyanDhan, a Delhi-based start-up working in the space of education loans, emerged winner of a GIST pitch competition for enterprises in the Fintech and Digital Economy, one of the four focus sectors at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, here on Wednesday.

Lupiya Circle, an online market place created by women in Zambia to financially empower women in the African nation through a branchless banking model was declared the runners-up.

MENA

Saudi Arabia puts buzz back into Mideast startup scene (Arab News), Rated: A

Since 2005, the top 200 funded startups in the MENA region have attracted more than $2 billion in capital, according to a report issued by MAGNiTT, which tracks the development of startups across the region.

To date, the majority of top funded startups in the region were established in the UAE, and the primary financial backers have also tended to be UAE-based.

But a recent uptick in funding from Saudi investment firms points to a developing ecosystem for startups in the Kingdom, according to MAGNiTT founder Philip Bahoshy.

Bahoshy said that startups providing solutions for broader regional challenges such as sticky logistics and cross-border banking frictions stand the best chance of attracting meaningful investment.

2018 will be the year African fintech takes off (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Next year will be a good year for Sub-Saharan Africa. After a challenging 2017 for many of its nations, 2018 will see economic growth return across the continent, gas activity boom and fintech innovation pick up in speed.

So says Ecobank Research as it recently launched the newest version of its yearly Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Guidebook, which provides analysis on African markets for investors and businesses.

The research department of the Pan-African bank forecasts three key trends that will take hold across Africa during the next 12 months. GTR takes a closer look at them.

3. Africa’s evolving role in fintech leadership

But 2018, he emphasises, will see African fintech firms increasingly driving this innovation. “There will still be international investors, but the actual leadership of fintech development is going to start coming increasingly from the Africans. It’s not going to be the Europeans and Americans going in, saying, ‘you should do this’.”

Ecobank’s research highlights South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire as tech hubs that will nurture the next wave of African startups and help connect them with investors.

One fintech that has caught Ecobank’s attention in particular is IroFit, a firm that uses the mobile network to enable real-time financial payments without the need for an internet connection.

Other emerging innovations in Africa include digital tools to build credit profiles for the previously ‘unbankable’ or using blockchain technology for digital identity and KYC solutions.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday August 25 2017, Daily News Digest

alternative investing

News Comments Today’s main news: Ellevest raises $32M to target women investors. eOriginal, Notarize close first digital mortgage closing. OFF3R launches SIPPS portal. Zopa reduces higher-risk lending. China issues draft rules on illegal fundraising. TWINO adds second Russian originator. African university to offer fintech degree. Today’s main analysis: Should P2P lending investors worry about default rates?Early-stage fintech investment in UK, Germany. Today’s […]

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News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Wall Street alum Sallie Krawcheck just raised $ 32 million for her investing platform (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

But the uncertainty and risk that comes with the markets is very often a major deterrent, especially for women, who invest at a much lower rate than men in the US.

To combat this, former Wall Street executive Sallie Krawcheck launched Ellevest in 2016, a digital investing platform that puts female investors’ money in low-cost ETFs based on a pick-and-choose set of goals, like starting a business, buying a home, having children, and retiring comfortably.

This week, the startup raised $32.5 million in its latest round of funding, according to CNBC. Tennis superstar Venus Williams, who is a champion of equal pay and opportunity for women both on and off the court, was among Ellevest’s first investors.

Just 28% of women are willing to take on high risk to get a good return on their investment, compared to 45% of men, according to a 2015 report by BlackRock.

Man finds it can be hard to return $ 6,000 (WoodTV), Rated: AAA

When 53-year-old Wyoming resident Duane La Varier found $6,180 had mysteriously appeared in his bank account, he never dreamed how hard it could be just trying to give money away.

He said he and his wife never filled out any applications and never sought any kind of loan.

The deposit a week ago had come from a company called LendingClub.

“I said, ‘I did not apply for this loan. Just take it back, just take it all out of my account.’ They said no.”

LendingClub is not the actual lender — it represents lenders — but Dudum said the company will take the hit for the $6,000 loan and its fees.

eOriginal and Notarize Make Digital Mortgage the New Reality (Broadway World), Rated: AAA

With its launch of Notarize for Mortgage, the company’s proprietary signing and remote notarization platform, Notarize recently completed the first-ever online mortgage closing. By integrating directly with eOriginal’s electronic vault, they enable lenders to leverage a joint solution that takes only a few short days to set up and launch before borrowers can start closing loans online. Together, Notarize and eOriginal allow lenders to quickly provide a seamless digital experience spanning the entire closing process all the way through registration with MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc.) and sale into the secondary market.

Connecting lenders, title agents, borrowers and notaries online 24 x 7 to digitize the closing process, the Notarize for Mortgage platform is approved by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, underwritten by national title underwriters, and was launched with five lender customers and numerous warehouse lender and mortgage servicer partners. The platform is available to lenders online or via modern APIs that allow them to integrate an online closing process directly into their existing tools, automating their closing operations entirely.

eOriginal’s platform of integrated solutions delivers a fully digital mortgage and supports every type of digital closing strategy.

TRANSPARENCY IN ALTERNATIVE INVESTING (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

In February of this year, the Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 200 senior asset managers and institutional investor executives to learn what factors are most important in the way they make their decisions. Several different types of institution were involved, including hedge funds, private equity firms, insurance companies, and nonprofits.

New Business Models – and Transparency

The 2008 global financial crisis of course had a negative impact on the alternative investments industry.

New business models have arisen to supply demand across the spectrum of investors, including those investors eligible for and interested in alternatives. Publicly traded limited partners are one important example.

Who will win the robo advisor IPO race? (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

It’s been a decade since the launch of the industry’s leading independent digital advice platforms — Betterment, Wealthfront and Personal Capital.

The question that now remains for all three: who will cross the IPO finish line first?

In terms of assets, the trio has kept their positions in the market respectively, with Betterment leading all independents with over $10 billion in AUM, followed by Wealthfront’s $7.4 billion and Personal Capital’s $4.9 billion.

Collectively, the three count just over 420,000 clients and over 548,000 accounts, according to SEC filings and company statements.

Personal Capital, which always tailored its services for HNW clients before lowering its account minimums (and then raising them up again) claims its average client account size is roughly $380,000; users with more than $1 million in investable assets, the company says, comprise about 40% of its AUM.

Source: Financial-Planning.com

Online Lenders Featured in the Inc. 5000 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Every year Inc. pulls together a list of the top 5000 fastest growing private companies in the United States. This year there were around 250 companies that made it in the financial services category and there are several familiar names on the list.

Other lenders readers may recognize are Lighter Capital (634), FastPay (1653), National Funding (2030), and ZestFinance (2202).

How Debit Activity Can Benefit Lenders in a Cashless Society (Clarity Services), Rated: A

With nearly half the American population carrying a subprime credit score, rent-to-own companies, online installment, storefronts and others are embracing new tools to intelligently navigate a market that has been largely overlooked.

  • Cash is only 14 percent of the share of transactions by value of payments (The Federal Reserve System Cash Product Office).
  • While the average American spends roughly $100 per day – not counting the purchase of a home, motor vehicle or normal household bills (Gallop), half of us are walking around with less than $20 cash (Bankrate.com).
  • If given the choice between a cashless and cash-only shop, most consumers in the wealthiest countries prefer the cashless option (ING Group/eZonomics).
  • Nearly 40 percent of Americans said that they would be happy to go completely without cash. (ING Group/eZonomics).

The top 7 startups from Y Combinator S’17 Demo Day 2 (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Standard Cognition is using machine vision to build the checkout of the future. Called autonomous checkout, the technology will allow shoppers to grab what they want and walk out of a store without having to go to a cashier. Standard Cognition believes it tech will enable those companies to save money and reduce theft.

Dharma Labs is building what it calls the first “protocol for debt on blockchains.” Citing the popularity of ICOs, the startup believes there’s a “proven demand for cryptoassets that look and act much like equity.” So Dharma has built a mechanism for decentralized peer-to-peer lending. “Anyone in the world can borrow and anyone in the world can lend.”

Emailage Raises $ 10m in Growth Equity Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Emailage, a Chandler, AZ-based provider of global fraud prevention and identity verification using email address scoring, raised $10m in growth equity funding.

The round was led by Anthos Capital, with participation from Radian Capital, Wipro Ventures, Mucker Capital and Tallwave Capital.

The company intends to use the funds to expand existing partnerships, further advance its email address-based predictive scoring system, and accelerate growth in North America, EMEA, LATAM and other key markets.

How to Expand Your Business Online by Offering More Products or Services (Kabbage), Rated: A

Hopefully, increased revenues will help ease cash flow problems and in the end, improve profits. Other advantages of growing business may include the chance to bring in more qualified employees, acquiring more customers and improving credit scores.

Expand service areas

Companies that provide services to homes or other businesses may find that their hometown or neighborhood has a limited customer base.

Expanding to nearby locations is one of the most common ways that local businesses grow into regional businesses. This also allows the company to add some more geographic areas to a business website, directories, and social pages to show up in more local searches.

Expand services

Most small business owners have to work to manage cash flow, and this task is much tougher when revenues are only high for a few months but operational costs last all year.

These are some ways to expand services both offline and online:

  • One good way to promote this kind of service online could be through holding webinars with tax tips for small businesses or even individuals. Some tax preparers might also produce books or videos for sale to help startups and small businesses manage tax planning better.
  • Some of these plucky entrepreneurs have learned to keep business flowing by offering holiday specials for getaways. Others have opened their facilities up to host seminars or workshops for organizations.
  • He kept his local business website to attract repair customers, but he also added an online store to sell products to the DIY crowd all over the country. He promoted this online store by creating some how-to videos.

This credit card alternative could be bad for your wallet (WSBTV.com), Rated: B

The problem is that these instant loans encourage impulse spending — and it doesn’t have to be a pricey vacation! Affirm will spread payments over a period of 12 months for loans of $100 or more.

To put that in perspective, you could easily pay more than $15 in interest on just a $100 loan!

LENDINGCLUB INVESTOR REVIEW: THE BEST PEER TO PEER LENDING SOLUTION (The College Investor), Rated: B

Over the last 8 years, 150,000 investors have lent over $26 Billion in personal loans through the peer to peer LendingClub platfrom. On average, investors in the top grade loans earned 5-7% annualized with strong cash flow.

As an added bonus, LendingClub allows you to invest as little as $25 per note. That means it’s easy to spread your risk across dozens or even hundreds of loans.

First, you need to meet some strict investor requirements.

  •  Income requirements: Must earn $70,000 annually ($85,000 in California)
  • Net Worth Requirements: Must have a net worth (exclusive of your home value) of $70,000 ($85,000 in California). People with a $250,000 net worth do not have to abide by the income requirements ($200,000 in California).
  •  Kentucky residents must be accredited investors (earn $200,000 annually or have a net worth of $1 million)
  •  Residents of Alaska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania cannot invest in LendingClub
  •  No more than 10% of your net worth can be investing in lending club notes
  •  $1,000 minimum investment

LendingClub charges $100 per year for their self directed IRA accounts, but they waive that if you maintain $5,000 of investments in your first year or $10,000 in subsequent years.

Once you select your loans, LendingClub will help you evaluate the risk on your portfolio of loans. They will even provide a projected rate of returns based off of history.

Source: The College Investor

TD Auto Monitors Fintech Startups (Auto Finance News), Rated: B

TD Auto Finance is keeping a close eye on fintech startups as it evaluates “opportunities that might exist” for auto refinance and private-party transactions, President and Chief Executive Andrew Stuart told Auto Finance News.

TD Auto is already “in discussions” with several fintech players to evaluate “where that might go,” Stuart said.

5 Things To Know Before Taking A Loan Online (ValueWalk), Rated: B

If you’ve considered taking a personal loan online here’s what you need to know:

  1. More accessible – Smaller, newer financial firms have stepped in to fill the gaps left behind by traditional banks since the crisis.
  2. Tailored products – You can tailor the specifics of the loan, such as the timeline for payback and the purpose of the loan. Businesses can use everything from inventory to invoices without the need for a personal guarantee.
  3. Pricing Variety – Whether the payments are amortized monthly or weekly. Whether the effective annual rate is as attractive as you expected.
  4. Less Regulation – Alternative lenders and online loan providers are not regulated by the FDIC the same way as traditional banks.
  5. More awareness – The lack of regulation means alternative online lenders have more flexibility to provide custom lending solutions. They can be as innovative as they want with these financial products. However, you need to be more careful when dealing with an online lender. Look into their history, get assurances from the company, and do your best to educate yourself about their business.
United Kingdom

OFF3R launches new SIPPS portal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

OFF3R has launched a new channel dedicated to Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), the tax-free vehicle for pension savings.

The investment aggregator’s SIPPs portal launched on Tuesday 22 August with an initial list of three pension providers: Hargreaves Lansdown, IG, and True Potential Investor. It details the various fees and investment thresholds of each platform, as well as information on the different management styles.

Zopa reduces higher-risk lending (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: AAA

Zopa has revealed it is taking steps to attract more lower-risk customers as it continues its reduction in higher-risk lending.

Zopa has reduced the amount of lending in its higher return D-E markets, which are included in its Plus product.

The Plus product was designed for investors who were willing to accept more risk for higher returns, with rates of between 6-7%.

Zopa expects that the lower-risk approach will mean the targeted returns for new investments in the Plus product will be 4.5%.

“For example, the proportion of D and E loans in the Plus product would go from 30% until now, to 10-15% in the future.”

Peer-to-peer lending: should you worry about default rates? (Your Money), Rated: AAA

Neil Faulkner, managing director of peer-to-peer research and ratings agency 4thWay, explains that investors should pay close attention to published bad-debt figures (which cover loan write-offs as well as simple defaults) of the different platforms.

Zopa

When a loan is approved, Zopa makes an assumption about its likelihood of falling into default over the lifetime of the loan, and then revises this default expectation over the lifetime of the loan.

Source: YourMoney.com

Zopa divides up investor money between many borrowers matching the risk profile specified at the outset by the investor, to spread the risk. If a borrower misses four months of repayments, then a recovery process begins.

RateSetter

The headline rate to note is that over its lifetime, 98.31% of loans are up-to-date – in order words, around 1.7% are in some form of arrears.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle is a little different in that you are lending to businesses rather than people. Over the lifetime of the site, it says that around 2% of loans have turned bad.

Lending Works

To date, Lending Works has an actual bad debt rate of 1.1%.

Assetz Capital Update: Investors Have Earned £25 Million to Date (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Assetz Capital has shared that investors in aggregate have earned gross returns of more than £25 million on their investments in approximately four years. Assetz Capital says lenders earned an average of 8% gross interest across all Assetz Capital loans since platform launch, before allowances for tax or any losses not covered by a provision fund.

Currently, Assetz Capital has about 20,000 registered and active investors. The returns since the launch of the platform were generated from over £309 million lent to UK businesses from a range of industries looking to raise funds, including SME, bridging and development sectors.

ThinCats plans staggered IFISA roll-out before end of 2017 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Earlier this month, ThinCats received full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which allowed the firm to apply for ISA manager status from the HMRC. While a launch date has not been officially set, Stewart Cazier, head of retail, told Peer2Peer Finance News: “I’m definitely thinking 2017. I’d be very disappointed if it didn’t happen this year.”

Innovate Finance CEO steps down (AltFi), Rated: B

After two and half years at the helm of the fintech member association, Innovate Finance, Lawrence Wintermeyer has stepped down.

Wintermeyer is leaving to pursue other opportunities, he said.

China

China issues draft rules in crackdown on illegal fundraising (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China issued draft rules targeting illegal fundraising on Thursday, as the authorities step up a campaign to crack down on risky and illicit behavior in the country’s financial sector.

The draft rules, issued by the law office of China’s State Council, call for participants engaged in illegal fundraising to cover the losses stemming from those activities.

Regulators will guide financial institutions and non-bank payment service providers on tightening up their supervision of suspicious fund flows, the draft rules said.

Financial institutions and non-bank payment service providers, if found to be negligent, will be subject to having their illegal income forfeited. They will also be subject to a fine of more than 1 time but less than five times of the illegal income, the draft rules said.

The executives responsible for the illegal activity will be removed and banned from entering the financial industry for a certain period of time and could be subject to fines of between 50,000 yuan and 500,000 yuan each ($7,507-$75,072), the rules said.

China Rapid Finance Posted a $ 13.5M Net Loss in Q2, but Very Close to Profitability (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, China Rapid Finance (NYSE:XRF) released an unaudited financial report for the second quarter of 2017. In the second quarter, the company reported a gross income of $24.5 million, up 59% from a year earlier, and their net income was $15.2 million, up 9 percent year on year. The company posted a net loss of $13.5 million in the second quarter, compared with $5.9 million in the same period last year, as the cost of including customer incentives increased.

However, the company still held the “Low and Grow” business strategy. Compared to the profitability, there are more concerned about gross income. Through analysis of the company’s financial and business data, we can find that some business data is changing and the potential for profit is increasing.

Better Buy: SINA vs. Weibo (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Chinese internet companies SINA (NASDAQ:SINA) and Weibo(NASDAQ:WB) are closely tied to each other. SINA holds a 46% stake in Weibo, deriving 72% of its top line from the Chinese Twitter clone (as Weibo is referred to by some).

Weibo’s greater gains have made it more expensive with a trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 132 as compared to SINA’s 30.

SINA relies on Weibo for 70% of its revenue, which means that investors can still enjoy the latter’s rapid growth via a stock with a lower valuation. Additionally, SINA’s non-Weibo business has started gaining some traction of late, with the company witnessing 8% year-over-year growth from this segment in the latest quarter.

While there is no denying that Weibo’s growth is still impressive — as the 28% year-over-year jump in its monthly active users boosted its advertising revenue by 72% last quarter — at the same time, there will be a limit to the company’s growth given its negligible presence outside China and the competition from the likes of Tencent‘s (NASDAQOTH:TCEHY) WeChat.

Fluid Wins LendIt Choice Award – Aug 2017 (FluidFi), Rated: B

Fluid, a California based FinTech & AdTech startup announces today that it received LendIt LangDi Fintech Choice Award from LendIt Conference in Shanghai, China.

European Union

Latvian P2P Lender TWINO Adds Second Russian Originator (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Latvian peer-to-peer lending platform TWINO has reportedly added a second Russian originator to its platform since its December 2016 launch.

According to P2P Finance News, over 40% of TWINO’s investors have funded Russian loans.

Early-Stage Fintech Investment In The UK & Germany Goes To Insurtech, Banking (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Year-to-date, European fintech companies have raised close to $2.6B across 295 deals, meaning that at the current run rate 2017 could see 500 deals and $4.5B in total funding by year end. For perspective, funding to European fintech companies is already 30% higher in 2017 YTD than the 2016 total.

 

UNITED KINGDOM

UK early-stage fintech financing has remained above 15 deals quarterly since Q2’14. Total disclosed funding has been a bit choppier: at $27M, Q4’16 was the lowest quarter since Q2’14, while the following quarter (Q1’17) saw the third-highest total funding at $81M and the largest number of deals at 33. Most recently, Q2’17 figures fell to $41M across 16 deals.

For example, Monese, which provides banking services for immigrants and expats, raised a $10M Series A in Q1’17, while Wirex, which allows for the holding of fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies in a single account on its personal banking platform, raised a $3M Series A in the same quarter.

Insurance is trending up across Europe at large, with more than 20 early-stage deals closing for approximately $50M year-to-date.

GERMANY

Funding hit its peak in 2016 as well, at $135M, well above the previous high-water mark of $46M in 2013 and more than 4X the $31M total for 2015. 2017 is on pace to surpass 2016 early-stage fintech financing figures, with 22 deals and $83M year-to-date.

Germany has also seen an increase in early-stage deals to small business banking and API-focused mobile banking platforms. Financing rounds to this group have increased steadily since 2015, which saw 5 deals close for $17M and was followed by 7 deals in 2016 (for a much smaller $6M).

Klarna (Hortonworks), Rated: A

Klarna uses Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) and Hortonworks DataFlow (HDF) to help drive its deep data mining and AI, and to thus mitigate risk for buyers and sellers.

International

San Francisco and Berlin have new competition for the capital of ‘fintech’ (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Dubai has seen a surge of interest from fintech startups and banking assets over the last three years, according to the emirate’s financial center’s management body.

It’s fast becoming a destination for financial technology startups because of its location, private investment and innovation.

He told CNBC that the financial services industry contributes about 12 percent to Dubai’s total gross domestic product and it is expected to increase to 18 percent by 2024.

Increased appetite for fintech investment in Dubai from CNBC.

AXIS Capital Partners with Plug and Play Tech Center (BusinessWire), Rated: A

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited and its operating subsidiaries (“AXIS Capital”) (NYSE:AXS) today announced it has partnered with Plug and Play, a global digital startup innovation platform headquartered in Silicon Valley. By joining Plug and Play’s InsurTech platform, AXIS will gain access to world-class digital insurance startups and will provide mentorship and technical support, along with underwriting and actuarial expertise, to help turn their ideas into products or services.

To help address the rapid and transformative changes underway within the (re)insurance industry, AXIS will work with property and casualty, life/health and general InsurTech startups that have been accepted to Plug and Play’s InsurTech program. This 12-week program attracts applications from hundreds of startups from around the world that utilize technology, data and analytics to develop innovative new business models, products and services.

AXIS will focus on the areas of Insurance, Reinsurance, Health, IoT (Internet of Things), FinTech and Mobility, with leaders from different business areas serving as program mentors and technical advisors.

Australia

Digital advice embraced by all ages (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

Superannuation fund member engagement via Decimal’s digital financial advice software increased 37% in the past year, latest quarterly statistics show.

Decimal’s digital insights report for the June quarter shows 2366 members in its superannuation client base decided to engage with super via the digital advice channel over a 12 month period, up from 1731 the year prior.

Total funds under advice increased to $8.4 billion, up 72% year-on-year, and Decimal Software chief executive Nick Pollock said compound growth is stimulating for the super sector.

“The insights show that 43% of all logins were by women, 28% of logins took place outside of business hours, with 31% of those logins happening between 10pm and 6am,” Pollock said.

Australian fintech launches industry census (AltFi), Rated: A

Australian fintech has launched an expanded industry census, which will seek to unpack key issues like how to expand overseas and gender diversity and help set lobbying and policy priorities.

Working on the census, consultancy firm EY, and industry group FinTech Australia, have asked Aussie fintechs to complete it by 3 September.

FinTech Australia Reveals Initial Speaker Line Up for Inaugural Fintech Fest (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

FinTech Australia and Next Money, along with the State Government of Victoria, a gearing up for their inaugural week long Fintech event –  Intersekt. The Fintech festival will be taking place in Melbourne, Australia from October 27 to November 3rd if you happen to be in Australia.

Confirmed speakers for Intersekt so far include:

  • Anthony Thomson, founder of the UK’s Metro and Atom Banks (and the current chairman of Atom Bank). Atom Bank is one of the leading UK Challenger banks.
  • Ron Suber, called the “godfather of Fintech” due to his globe-trotting reputation for promoting online lending and all things Fintech. Suber recently joined the leadership team at Credible, the multi-lender marketplace for student loans. Suber is also President Emeritus of Prosper Marketplace and holds a broad portfolio of Fintech investments.
  • Megan Caywood, chief platform officer for the UK’s mobile only Starling Bank, who has delivered a range of major customer experience improvements.
  • David Birch, an international thought leader in digital identity and digital money and author of “Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin”
  • Van Le, who is the co-founder of Xinja, which is on track to be Australia’s first independent, 100% digital bank made for mobile.
    Lucy Liu, co-founder and chief operating officer of Melbourne-based payments company Airwallex who was this year named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30
  • Emma Weston, CEO and co-founder of AgriDigital, which provides a blockchain-enabled, integrated commodity management solution for the global grains industry
India

Over 40% Indians act on financial advice given by spouse, RBI report shows (Zeebiz), Rated: AAA

Key Highlights:

  • Over 50% Indians think that their children will take care of them financially after retirement
  • 44% Indians do not think they will ever retire from work 
  • An average of 66% of randomly selected adult household members have a bank account.
Source: Zeebiz

The report found that the average Indian household holds 84% of its wealth in real estate and other physical goods, 11% in gold and the residual 5% in financial assets.

Source: Zeebiz

The report said that 44% Indians have not thought of retirement as “people like me cannot retire from work,” they said.

Only 13% people surveyed were actively saving for their retirement while 33% had absolutely no planning for retirement.

Only around 5% people had money invested in financial assets for their retirement planning while gold formed nearly 10% of this fund.

India’s Domestic Workers Have A New Ally In This Innovative FinTech Startup (Forbes), Rated: A

The team at SERV’D has a simple but ambitious goal: to organize India’s unorganized domestic workforce. That means bringing financial inclusion to millions of unregistered workers via a mobile contract and payment app.

The lack of written contracts also makes it difficult for low-income domestic workers to build a financial history. Without that, they struggle to save money or obtain insurance, which all but guarantees they will remain in poverty. Exclusion from formal financial services bars people from accessing health insurance, bank accounts, and can even inhibit them from finding affordable housing.

SERV’D seeks to replace the verbal work agreements made between customers and their hired help. Instead of tenuous oral contracts, the fintech startup wants employers and employees to create digital agreements on the SERV’D app. The platform also allows them to make digital payment transfers so neither party has to worry about dealing with cash.

Most importantly, the online payment trail creates traceable income records for poor, unbanked workers. With enough proof of income built up, they will eventually be able to open bank accounts and access financial products that are currently beyond reach.

Ezetap’s fresh funds are the latest VC dollars flowing to Indian fintech (PitchBook), Rated: A

Mobile payments startup Ezetap is the latest Indian fintech company to pull in new equity financing. The company has raised $16 million from investors including JS Capital Management, Social Capital and Horizons Ventures.

Fintech NBFC “Prest Loans” Forays Its Operations In Rajasthan (BusinessWorld), Rated: B

Prest Loans the new age FinTech NBFC, providing online loans to small businesses and MSME segment has expanded its operations by opening new office in Rajasthan.

Asia

LATTICE80 & FINOLAB Sign MOU on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LATTICE80, a Singapore based non profit Fintech hub backed by Marvelstone Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with FINOLAB in Japan to mutually boost their Fintech ecosystems and global networks. Marvelstone is a global VC group based in Singapore.

This Fintech bridge will seek to create a passporting system for Fintech’s in each country to expand into new markets.

PH startups urged: Aspire to be unicorns (Cebu Daily News), Rated: AAA

Aldo Carrascoso, founder and chief executive officer of GlycoProX Biosciences, Veem, and Jukin Media & Verego, said that focusing on becoming “unicorns” detracts the purpose of why people launch startups in the first place.

Lee argued that the first unicorns were founded in the 1990s, Google Inc. being the clear “super unicorn” of the group with a valuation of more than $100 billion. Many unicorns were also born in the 2000s, although Facebook Inc. is the decade’s only super unicorn.

Other prominent unicorns today include Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox, Spotify, Pinterest, and Lazada, to name a few.

Treading the path toward that level takes mindfulness of revenue, a good business model, addressable market, and a product-market fit, said Carrascoso.

Benjamin cited Xoom, a San Francisco-based digital money transfer or remittance provider, which traces its foundations to serving clients between the Philippines and the US.

Since then the company has expanded to India and Mexico, among others, and was bought by PayPal for $890 million. Today, they do $9.1 billion in money transmissions and are operating in 18 countries with a demand for money remittance services.

The search for a unicorn is on (Sunstar), Rated: A

THE Philippines may have its own “tech unicorns” or technology businesses valued at $1 billion in the future. But experts says more work and collaboration is needed to achieve this dream.

To date, no Philippine tech startup has managed to meet the goal of being a billion-dollar company.

Globally, the US and China lead in numbers, having produced the most number of unicorns like Facebook, Uber, Airbnb as well as Xiaomi and Alibaba. Meanwhile, Malaysia in Southeast Asia has produced two unicorns in Grab and the Lazada Group.

First, he said Philippine startups need to know how to be fundable. Instead of aiming to be a unicorn, he advised local startups to become a “cockroach” instead, one that characterizes strong survival skills, or a rhino, “big and realistic.”

Getting payments to pay off (The Edge Markets), Rated: A

“A key advantage of e-wallets is the low cost. You can make payments and transfer money at much cheaper rates than in conventional payment systems,” explains Gunther Zhen, the founder and CEO of iPayLinks Financial Information Service (Shanghai) Co Ltd.

For China, this is certainly the case. While incumbent payment systems that rely on Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay charge merchants an estimated 2.5% to 3% MDR (merchant discount rate), new rivals like Alipay charge between 0.7% and 1.2%.

In Malaysia, however, the landscape could be different as the current MDRs are already quite low. Bank Negara Malaysia’s Payment Card Reform Framework has slashed the MDR on debit and credit cards since July 2015 when it took effect.

Today, domestic debit cards have an MDR of only 0.56% while for international debit cards, it is 0.96%. Credit cards are still relatively expensive with an MDR of 1.35%, but that is expected to drop drastically by 2021 when Bank Negara will cap interchange fees (the largest component of MDR) at 0.48% — less than half the 1.1% ceiling imposed today.

Just look at Touch ’n Go Sdn Bhd, which booked RM15.3 million of interest income in 2015 on RM429.3 million worth of deposits in card balances. And this is merely from the relatively small balance in each card.

Alipay creation, Yu’E Bao, is one of China’s most popular internet-based funds. It had amassed RMB1.43 trillion as at end-June. By comparison, Bank of China, one of the four major commercial banks in the country, had total deposits of RMB1.6 trillion as at end-2016.

Pundi-Pundi Raises $ 4M in Pre-A Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Pundi-Pundi, a Jakarta, Indonesia-based mobile payments and micro-loan startup aiming to create a cashless environment in South East Asia, closed a $4M pre-A round of funding.

Africa

UCT to offer fintech-focused degree from 2018 (BusinessDay), Rated: AAA

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has become one of the first tertiary institutions in Africa to offer a degree specifically designed to equip students with the critical skills and knowledge to embrace the technological revolution in the financial services sector.

One of its key focus areas will be blockchain technology, or the distributed ledger system, that has given rise to new crypto-currencies such as bitcoin and ether.

The crypto-currency market is reportedly now worth more than $50bn and the use of virtual currencies is gaining traction in SA.

UCT has sought to tackle this problem by offering a new master’s degree in data science with a specialisation in financial technology, said Georg, who is also the course convener. The programme is due to commence in 2018.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday July 27 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech adoption millennials

News Comments Today’s main news: Betterment expands financial advice to all users. Lendio originates $500M in business loans. UK fintech funding jumps 37%. Linked Finance secures more than 1M Euro for Waterford businesses. Fintech adoption in Canada doubles in 18 months. Today’s main analysis: Marketing fintech solutions to millennials. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The SEC investigative report that will put […]

fintech adoption millennials

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

After raising $ 70M, Betterment expands financial advice to all users (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

On the heels of announcing a fresh $70 million in funding led by Swedish investment firm Kinnevik AB, Betterment is launching a new messaging feature that will allow users to ask questions and get answers from its team of financial advisors.

With its new messaging product, Betterment is offering up personalized financial advice to a larger portion of its user base — that is, anyone with an account. Customers can send secure messages through the Betterment app to ask for financial advice and get a response within one business day from one of the company’s experts.

Lendio Surpasses $ 500 Million in Business Loans Originated Through Its Online Marketplace (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced that it has helped facilitate more than $500 million in financing to over 21,000 small businesses across the U.S. Lendio helps fuel the American Dream through its marketplace of over 75 small business lenders in all 50 states and parts of Canada. The growth milestone comes after a 141 percent increase in loans originated through the Lendio platform in the last fiscal year.

Small business lending indices show that small business borrowing is at its highest level in nearly a year. According to Thomson Reuters/PayNet, business owners are investing to meet customer demand, which is driving the economy. Data from Lendio’s platform is telling a similar story, and it’s not just businesses on the nation’s coastlines that are thriving. A heat map of Lendio’s top states for small business loans, based on loan volume, shows small business growth is booming in America’s heartland, the southern states and beyond.

The average loan size among Lendio’s small business customers is $26,873. The top five industries funded on Lendio’s marketplace include construction, restaurants, retail, healthcare, and manufacturing. Lendio also helps small businesses get loans fast, with 70 percent of businesses getting funding within five days of submitting an application.

MARKETING FINTECH SOLUTIONS TO MILLENNIALS (Envisionit), Rated: A

One of the key factors that set millennials apart from other generations is their adaptation of technology into their everyday lives. They are hyper-connected: disproportionately drawn to mobile and wearable devices for their day-to-day needs; far more likely to make purchases on them instead of computers or in person; and constant users of social media.

Source: Pew Research Center, Social Media Survey, April 2016

Not only are millennials more likely than Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers to use fintech products now, they are expected to use them even more in the future.

  • 68% say that in 5 years, the way we access our money will be totally different
  • 70% say that in 5 years, the way we pay for things will be totally different
  • 73% would be more excited about a new offering in financial services from Google, Amazon, Apple, Paypal or Square than from their own nationwide bank
  • 33% believe they won’t need a bank at all in 5 years
Source: EY, EY Fintech Adoption Index, 2016

Although awareness and lead generation campaigns can still be effective, millennials also look for reviews, comments, and other content that will help them trust the brand.

  • 33% say they read blogs before making a purchase
  • 62% say that if a brand engages with them on a social network, they are more likely to become a loyal customer
Source: Google/Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014

Here is the SEC Investigative Report on ICOs that Will Squelch Emerging ICO Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an investigate report on the fast growing Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market that will squelch the ICO market, at least in the US. This investigation compelled the SEC to determine that DAO Tokens represented securities as defined under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Get the full report now.

The New Breed of Small Business Lenders: Amazon, Paypal and Square (Lend Academy), Rated: A

If asked where to get a small business loan most people would state their local banks or even some of the bigger traditional banks. Those aware of the online lending space may mention the likes of KabbageOnDeckFunding Circle or maybe even some of the new online initiatives of big banks like Wells Fargo’s FastFlex product. However there is another, often overlooked segment of small business lenders and they are names you have heard of: AmazonPaypal and Square.

Since Amazon is a marketplace for sellers they have an incredible amount of data on the cash flow of businesses that operate on the platform. They also have a significant pool of borrowers, resulting in virtually no customer acquisition costs.

Not only can Amazon select the borrowers they want to lend to but lending also helps grow the sales on Amazon.com. Pajitnov initially borrowed $1,000 dollars but eventually borrowed $19,000 to buy out a competitor.

Square is able to efficiently underwrite small businesses and have repayment be based on sales. Square’s average loan size is just $6,000. According to Square’s Q1 2017 earnings release Square Capital facilitated over 40,000 business loans totaling $251 million in the first quarter of 2017, up 64% year over year. The company is reportedly looking to lend to consumers as well.

Digital or doomed? What credit unions need to be top of wallet (Credit Union Journal), Rated: A

Outstanding service on its own isn’t enough for credit unions to get top-of-wallet status with members.

This past quarter, Clark noted, Venmo processed $6.8 billion in total payment volume, double the amount from the same quarter one year prior. These companies are not just processing payments, he said, they are capturing information that can be used to improve the customer experience and build brand loyalty.

Clark pointed to online personal finance company SoFi, which, by leveraging digital, has turned the concept of “scale” on its head. The company has funded $19 billion in loans to 300,000 members, and has resulted in $1.45 billion in member savings.

Clark said credit union management must focus on delivering via digital channels, because payments are now the leading indicator of PFI status, and offering speed, agility and a frictionless experience are critical to growing PFI.

How Real Estate Investing Is Spurring Millennial Home Ownership (Forbes), Rated: A

Millennials are the largest group of home buyers for the fourth consecutive year, according to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. Nearly 40% of home buyers were under 36 years old.

But most importantly, in a joint Real Estate Investment Survey with Harris Interactive, RealtyShares found that 55% of millennials are enthusiastic about home ownership as an investment, and over half would invest in property other than their primary residence.

In fact, 70% of all Americans think investing in real estate is more difficult than investing in other asset classes. Few are aware of the options towards home ownership, such as borrowing from retirement, real estate crowdfunding or house hacking.

Not surprisingly, millennials believe technology makes the real estate investment process easier.

Realtor.com analyzed the top 10 cities where millennials want to live and (of the 60 largest U.S. cities) found the top were: Salt Lake City, Miami, Orlando, Seattle, Houston, Los Angeles, Buffalo, Albany, San Francisco, and San Jose. Millennials also want homes over 2,375 sq. ft. on average and nearly half surveyed in the March 2016 National Association of Home Builders study said they wanted at least four bedrooms, an outdoor space (deck, patio and front porch), shower and tub in the master bath and hardwood floors on the main level of the home.

CFTC Grants First Authorization to LedgerX to Operate as Clearing House for Digital Currency Derivatives (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LedgerX, has received regulatory approval from the US Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to operate as a clearing platform for derivatives in contracts clearing in digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

This fund offers a more diversified way to dip your toes into alternative waters (The Globe and Mail), Rated: A

So-called “alternative investments” have long been the preserve of pension funds and well-heeled accredited investors, providing access to non-traditional asset classes such as private equity, infrastructure, hedge funds, emerging-market debt and limited partnerships.

Enter mutual-fund giant Mackenzie Financial Corp., which of late has been scooping up $30-million a month in a mutual fund designed to complement an old-fashioned balanced fund and the usual 60/40 asset mix. The Mackenzie Diversified Alternative Fund (“MDAF,” Series A and Series F) has a standard minimum investment of $500, in reach of any investor with a financial adviser. Launched two years ago, it has $350-million in assets, says Allan Seychuk, Mackenzie’s senior investment director of asset allocation.

Household Credit and Local Economic Uncertainty (USC Lusk), Rated: A

This paper investigates the impact of uncertainty on consumer credit outcomes. Individual-level data on credit-card balances and mortgages reveal strong borrower-specific heterogeneity in response to changes in an equity-based measure of county-level economic uncertainty. Low-risk borrowers reduce their credit-card balances and use of mortgage credit in response to increased localized uncertainty, while lenders expand the availability of credit to these borrowers. The opposite is obtained for high-risk borrowers. The economic magnitudes are especially large during the recent financial crisis. This evidence suggests that localized uncertainty about economic conditions might independently affect aggregate economic activity through consumer credit markets.

Source: Household Credit and Local Economic Uncertainty (USC Lusk)

Read the full white paper here.

Why Enova’s tech recruiters look beyond the languages on your resume (Built in Chicago), Rated: A

An early adopter of the Ruby on Rails framework, Enova is one of the city’s biggest Rails shops. But for developers looking to get a job with the online lender, prior Ruby experience is by no means a prerequisite. Enova hires for aptitude and personality, rather than resume bullet points.

What is the most interesting technological challenge to making that happen?

Caprio: Scale. Each year, we process as many loans as a small bank does — but we do it with orders of magnitude fewer people. The only way you can do that is with technology, analytics and massive amounts of efficiencies.

We also have to navigate a globally regulated environment. Each country has different rules and regulations. Some of our teams interact with five different regulating bodies in three different countries. It’s not easy to keep all of those in balance while still having upward of 60 software releases a week.

And then you need to adapt when those rules and regulations change.

Caprio: Recently, the laws in one state changed in a way that required a custom product. We were able to segment it, size it, spec it out and build it in about five weeks. You can’t even get a loan from a bank in four weeks, so the fact that we could actually create a completely new lending product in that time is a testament to what we’re capable of.

Why do you think other companies don’t offer opportunities like that?

Caprio: Our interview process is probably only 30 percent technical, and the rest is behavioral, problem solving and cultural add. We want to see what kind of partner you’re going to be, and what kind of co-worker you’re going to be.

Lahari Manam, technology manager: We also have something called fellowships. If someone has an exciting idea that requires more than a few days for research and prototyping, they can apply for a fellowship to work on it for three or four weeks instead of doing their normal day-to-day work.

Banks may have new foe in cellphone companies (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks have increasingly turned to cellphone devices in helping them to reach customers. But cellphone companies may soon be trying to offer financial services of their own.

In recent years, the country’s largest cellphone carriers have begun to experiment with new financing options for smartphones and other devices.

Easy to raise 28 million US dollars C round financing IDG capital growth fund leader (01Caijing), Rated: A

July 26 news, the domestic mobilization platform was easy to raise in early 2017 to complete the 28 million US dollars C round of financing, the current round of investment for IDG Capital’s growth fund leader, Tencent, IDG, Germany with capital, fellow capital Old shareholders with the vote.

Up to now, easy chip has a total of about $ 65 million financing. The company’s existing investors include Tencent, IDG Capital, Germany with capital, fellow capital, IDG capital growth fund.

Using Peer-to-Peer Lending As A Method For Startup Growth (Forbes), Rated: B

Typically, you can’t borrow more than $35,000, but for many small businesses or startups, that amount (or less) is just the infusion of cash they need.

Some of the immediate benefits of a P2P loan is that no collateral is required. Lower interest rates tend to be available, depending on your credit score, loan amount and loan term, because the peer-to-peer lenders operate with low overhead. You can repay the loan early and not have to contend with any prepayment penalties. Since it is an online lending environment, you’ll also enjoy faster approval and no paperwork except for a few online forms and a digital signature.

First, think about your current credit score to see if you qualify. These P2P lenders are not just giving out loans and want to see how fiscally responsible you are with loans. If you have a low credit score, you may have to work on improving it before this option becomes available.

United Kingdom

UK fintech funding jumps 37% led by Funding Circle, Zopa, Monzo (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The United Kingdom attracted £432m ($564m) of new venture capital investment in the first six months of 2017 representing an uptick of 37 per cent compared to the same period in 2016, according to research from Innovate Finance.

Alternative lending, challenger banks and wealth management  were the top three investment verticals for UK fintech investments with notably large cash raises from Atom Bank, Funding Circle and Monzo.

UK fintech investment smashes pre-Brexit levels so far this year (Independent), Rated: AAA

UK-based fintech startups pulled in $564m (£433m) of venture capital investment in the first six months of the year, more than half of which came from outside Britain.

The latest figures paint a promising picture, with investment up almost 50 per cent on the second half of last year in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

That still lags 2015, when a record $676m was invested in the first half of the year and over $1.3bn for the entire year. But from July 1 to July 23, the sector has already raised another $155m.

Funding Circle Teams Up With Just Eat to Offer Discounted Business Loans to Takeaway Restaurants (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle has reportedly joined forces with UK-based Just Eat to provide takeaway restaurants with discounted business loans. Funding Circle will now offer nearly 30,000 restaurants that use Just Eat the discounted loans. The takeaway businesses will now be able to borrow up to £60,000 from the online lender.

Salamanca Group Completes Series A Funding for P2P Lender Proplend (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Salamanca Group, a London-based Merchant Bank, announced on Wednesday it recently completed a Series A funding round for peer-to-peer lending platform, Proplend. The company states it facilitated the fundraising through its proprietary network and has also acquired a stake in the online lender.

Identifying the risks of crowdfunding (City A.M.), Rated: A

With the market recently hitting £10bn, crowdfunding is no longer a small fish in the big finance pond. But as the sector expands, it’s also becoming more complex.

In equity crowdfunding, for example, you may buy a small stake in an exciting new business, investing early in the hope of making maybe 10 times your money. The majority of new businesses will fail, so investors should create a broad portfolio on the assumption that over time a few big successes outweigh the failures.

In contrast, lending to more established businesses may not have the potential to make tenfold returns, but consequently the risk of losing your capital is typically lower. This is perhaps why 97 per cent of the £10bn crowdfunding market is in debt-based alternative finance.

Lending Works offers bonus of up to £200 to new and existing investors (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

LENDING Works is offering cash bonuses of up to £200 to new and existing investors for a limited time period.

The peer-to-peer consumer lender said that from Monday 24 July, investors will receive a £50 bonus for every £5,000 they invest. The offer expires on Sunday 20 August, meaning that customers could potentially earn up to £200, if they invest at least £5,000 in each of the four weeks.

Fintech startup Cleo secures £2 million in new round of funding (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Financial management app Cleo has raised £2 million led by Local Globe’s Robin Klein with participation from Atomico CEO Niklas Zennström and Albion founder Jason Goodman.

Launched in January, Cleo uses AI to monitor your bank accounts and manage your money. According to the company, it’s currently managing £400 million in assets where it handles user queries about balances, spending, savings, and bills. Insights are delivered through Facebook Messenger. Its key demographic is under-30s.

‘Leeds has phenomenal potential to become fintech hub’ (Yorkshire Post), Rated: B

YORKSHIRE has phenomenal potential to become a hub for financial technology – or fintech – companies because it is starting to attract fast-growing firms that have moved from London, according to a leading entrepreneur.

Daniel Rajkumar, the owner of investUP, which is based in the Leeds Digital Hub, believes that the region’s traditional financial services sector can join forces with technology firms to secure jobs and investment.

The peer-to- peer lending industry is growing at a rate of around 30 per cent a year.

Mr Rajkumar believes there is great scope to grow the region’s fintech sector, and initiatives like the Leeds Digital Hub are helping to promote collaboration.

Prodigy Finance Takes MBA From McKinsey In India To The UK’s Top-Ranked Business School (Business Because), Rated: B

Close to postponing her enrollment, Vinni was introduced to alternative student loans provider Prodigy Finance, a financial technology – fintech – company, founded by MBAs, for MBAs.

While banks are reluctant to lend internationally, Prodigy Finance’s borderless, peer-to-peer lending model gives international MBA and master’s students – from 150 countries worldwide – access to the loans they need to study abroad.

China

Moderate Regulation Necessary for ICO Projects: PBoC Advisor (Cryptocoins News), Rated: AAA

A senior aide and advisor to China’s central bank has called for the regulation of ICO (initial coin offering) projects while urging investors to show caution.

In an interview with prominent Chinese financial publication Yicai, Sheng Songcheng – a counselor to the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), claimed moderate regulation was necessary for ICOs.

Sheng believes the government should warn investors of the risks whilst ensuring that regulatory moves don’t trample on innovation.

European Union

Irish P2P Lender Linked Finance Secures More Than €1 Million for Waterford-Based Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Irish peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has successfully secured more than €1 million for Waterford-based businesses. According to the Muster Express, over 30 businesses in Waterford have raised funds through the lending platform to facilitate their business growth.

Zinsbaustein Crowdfunds Real Estate Project in Munich (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Zinsbaustein is partnering with well-known development group Demos Wohnbau GmbH, a company with 50 years of expertise in Munich and the surrounding area. The investment crowdfunding platform is giving investors the opportunity to participate in a subordinated loan with as little as €500 at an interest rate of 5.25% per year. The project includes 95 apartments and associated parking spaces. Reportedly, 40% of the apartments have already been sold are have been reserved.

NEW REPORT: Shutting Down PSD2’s New Security Threat (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The July PYMNTS Digital Identity Tracker™, powered by Socure, features news on how security technology providers are using new technology, including biometrics and two-factor authentication, to protect customer data and comply with new regulations surrounding data security.

In fact, according to one recent study, 60 percent of transactions conducted by the start of the next decade will be authenticated and completed using biometric technology.

International

TECHNOLOGICAL LEAPFROGGING: WHY RICH COUNTRIES LAG BEHIND IN FINTECH ADOPTION (Meshed Society), Rated: AAA

The results of a study recently published by the consulting firm EY revealed that China and India have the highest adoption of FinTech services among its online population out of 20 countries. 69 percent of China’s and 52 percent of India’s digitally active citizens have used at least 2 FinTech services over the past 6 months.

In many developed countries on the other hand, where people have over many years learned to associate the Internet with the PC, smartphones still often are being considered a secondary device for many digital tasks; a device that people use only when they are not near a PC. This narrative has naturally been accepted even by the commercial players, which prevented a dynamic advancement of FinTech services similar to the the one which, for example, can be witnessed in China right now.

Source: Meshed Society

Global VC fintech investment attracts $ 6.5 Billion in H1 2017 (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Global VC investment for FinTech in H1 2017 attracted $6.5 billion of VC investment with 787 deals, a 45% decrease year on year, according to statistics compiled through Pitchbook by Innovate Finance, the not-for-profit membership association for global FinTech.

The US attracted the most investment both in deal value, which topped $3.3 billion, and deal volume, with 357 investments in total. Overall, the US experienced a 7.7% increase on H1 2016 deal value, but an 18.5% decrease in deal volume. Last year this quarter, the US secured 438 deals.

The top three global FinTech deals came from the US and China, with American firm SoFi raising the largest round globally at $453 million.

Atom Bank ($102 million), Funding Circle ($101 million), Zopa ($41 million), Monzo ($27 million) and Currency Cloud ($25 million) led the top 5 top UK deals. Collectively the firms attracted $296 million in funding.

Australia

Anna Bligh on open bank data (Innovation AUS), Rated: A

Speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday afternoon, the former Queensland premier described the various technological changes that the banking sector is facing, singling out open data as the biggest on the horizon that will benefit consumers.

An open banking regime would force banks to share product and customer data with their customers and other third parties with consent.

Ms Bligh said Australian banks would welcome this new open data regime if a focus is placed on security and data safety.

India

How CoinTribe is eyeing disbursal of Rs 600 Cr to small businesses by 2019 (Your Story), Rated: AAA

Conceived in May 2015, their enterprise, CoinTribe, is a loan marketplace focused sharply on Micro-Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The model facilitates not just loan or lead generation for banks, but also assesses a customer’s credit risk through proprietary underwriting engines and provides suitable suggestions.

The startup looks at mainly providing standardised business loans. The company’s website does mention personal loans, but that’s not a focus area.

Including all costs of operations, predictive NPAs (non-performing assets) and margins, CoinTribe gives unsecured business loans at interest rates ranging from 16 to 21 percent. But the average interest rate by portfolio is 19 percent.

Money Laundering And A $ 7.6 Bn Scam: A Grim Look At The Dark Side Of P2P Lending (Inc42), Rated: AAA

News of Ezubao bilking 900,000 investors out of more than $7.6 Bn surfaced soon afterwards. What followed was a country-wide hysteria as part of what is now considered the largest financial scam in Chinese as well as global history.

As per reports by The New York Times, more than 95% of Ezubao’s investment products turned out to be fake.

In April 2016, reports surfaced that Lending Club’s then-CEO Renaud Laplanchemade alterations in loan application documents in order to hasten the transaction process. Laplanche eventually stepped down amidst reports of employee embezzlement, scam and conflict of interest. Following the controversy, Lending Club, which was once valued at $8 Bn, saw a markdown to around $1.7 Bn.

To thwart competition, many companies tend to project lower delinquency rates than the actual numbers. Between 2007 and 2008, for instance, Prosper reported a loss rate of 26.1%. According to third-party verification, however, the company’s default rate during that period was actually around 36.1%.

In the UK, Quakle ceased operations in 2011, as a result of a near-100% default rate.

Known for lending money to individuals with a less-than-stellar credit score, Estonia-based Bondora reportedly has a loan default rate of more than 70%.

All the above factors bring us to the general lack of transparency that continues to plague the P2P lending market, more than 10 years after the world’s first peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa cropped up in the UK.

During the financial crisis of 2007-08, subprime lending was often supported by very little verifiable documentation and credit checks. The originators of the subprime mortgages served only intermediaries that, like the P2P lending platforms, did not have any “skin in the game”. Lenders, on the other hand, had to rely on third-party credit ratings and assessment that were at times unreliable. The lack of transparency was actually one of the major contributing factors behind the housing market scam in 2008.

The average ticket size of peer-to-peer investments in India ranges between $2,330 (INR 1.5 Lakhs) and $3,107 (INR 2 Lakhs). Since interest rates are not fixed, they can be below 10% but, at times, can also reach 30%-40%.

According to a report by Reuters, unsecured personal loans currently constitute 4% of all loans in India. In March 2016 alone, $47.4 Bn (INR 2,96,800 Cr) was issued as personal loans to the country’s 1.31 Bn population.

FinTech Firms Alibaba and Paytm in Talks over India’s Leading Online Grocer (Cryptocoin News), Rated: A

Asia

China, India deals lift Asian venture capital fintech financing to US$ 2.7b (SCMP), Rated: AAA

That was up from US$1.6 billion generated across 55 transactions in the same period last year, and marked the highest number of fintech deal activity in Asia for the past five quarters, according to a new report from venture capital research firm CB Insights.

Overall funding raised by venture capital-backed fintech start-ups in Asia last year hit a record US$5.4 billion across 165 transactions, compared with US$4.8 billion over 162 transactions in 2015.

The region’s latest quarterly fintech tally surpassed the US$2 billion raised in North America and about US$500 million in Europe during the same period. The global total was US$5.2 billion over 251 deals.

Asia’s top-ranked fintech deal, however, was the US$1.4 billion investment made in May by Japanese telecommunications and internet conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp for a minority stake in One97 Communications, the parent of Indian digital payments giant Paytm.

That was followed by the US$292 million Series D, or fourth round, fundraising by mainland peer-to-peer lending platform operator Tuandaiwang in the same month.

From Porn Filter to Credit Rater (Forbes), Rated: A

Remark has managed to collect data from almost every social media site on Earth: 1.3 billion active user profiles, 10 billion images, 15 billion posts and 50 billion comments are gathered from Tencent, Alibaba, Facebook, Twitter and others. Remark’s intelligence platform, KanKan, was assembled to analyze data and build facial-recognition algorithms to help live-streaming companies filter out pornography.

Now the New York-born Tao, 40, has decided that credit rating in China has a more stimulating future.

The company, with $59 million in revenues in 2016, claims to have signed up one of China’s largest banks for KanKan.

Middle East

Islamic crowdfunding: Spotlight on real estate (Gulf Times), Rated: A

MercyCrowd offers for the first time to the people in Qatar opportunities for international real estate purchases through crowdfunding. Not only that, the platform puts an emphasis on socially responsible investments, which means it offers international premium property to as many people as possible and not just the wealthy upper bracket, and also obeys ethical financing and actively promotes donations.

Via its platform, people can either become investors in lettable real estate with minimum investments as little as £50 and projected returns of between 4% and 10% annually plus a potential capital appreciation when the property is sold, or sponsors looking to fund their property through crowdfunding.

Africa

Uganda on the Fintech curve (IT News Africa), Rated: AAA

Fintech today has many variations, one of the most widespread being payments in the form of mobile payments, mobile wallets and payment apps. In Uganda, “mobile money” is the most ubiquitous of these.

Another category is investment management through the use of robo-advisors (machine learning and artificial intelligence) for wealth and retirement planning. We see Fintech in fundraising through equity and non-equity crowd funding platforms for access to private and alternative investment opportunities and online lending platforms. Fintech is also making its presence felt in deposits and lending, especially peer-to-peer or marketplace lending. Digital currencies such as Bitcoin have emerged and are growing in significance and popularity.

Fintech is an intersection of finance and technology and, in Uganda’s case, there is lack of clarity as to the main regulator. Should Fintech be regulated as Finance or as Technology?

Canada

FinTech adoption rate more than doubles in 18 months (Insurance-Journal), Rated: AAA

Canada’s FinTech adoption rate has more than doubled in the past 18 months, going from 8 per cent to 18 per cent since 2015, says EY’s 2017 Fintech Adoption Index released July 25.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday July 13 2017, Daily News Digest

alternative lending deal tracker

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi aims for 12 ABS deals in 2017. Funding Circle’s business boomed after Brexit. Dianrong acquires Quark Finance asset-origination operations. Mambu recognized as European growth excellence leader. Santander invests in three fintechs. Today’s main analysis: Europe’s alt finance market hits $9.1B in Q1. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How non-prime millennials struggle. Top 40 payments trailblazers. United […]

alternative lending deal tracker

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

SoFi preps new deal, aims for 12 in 2017 (Global Capital), Rated: AAA

Online lender SoFi is on track to sell its eighth ABS this month and is said to be looking to bring as many as 12 deals through year end across student loan refinancing and consumer loan platforms.

Money Management by Non-Prime Millennials: How They Struggle and Worry More Than Their Peers (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Young people have always struggled with money, but for non-prime Millennials today, managing their personal finances is especially hard, according to the final two studies in a series of Millennial-focused reports by Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class.

According to the research, 58 percent of non-prime Millennials – those with credit scores below 700 – find themselves living paycheck-to-paycheck and 41 percent run out of money every other month, or more often.

Additional key findings include:

  • 13 percent of non-prime Millennials admit that it is difficult to predict their month-to-month income
  • 13 percent regularly overdraft their savings or checking accounts
  • 64 percent say that they have too much debt right now, twice as likely as prime
  • Only 37 percent of non-prime Millennials express any confidence that they could come up with $1,200 for an emergency expense in a month
  • Non-prime Millennials are 71 percent less likely to turn to credit cards if they needed to come up with $1,200, compared to their prime counterparts
  • Are more likely to experience unexpected car repairs or non-routine medical expenses
  • Are 45 percent less likely than prime Millennials to maintain a monthly budget
  • Are 58 percent less likely than prime Millennials to put aside money for savings

Invesco co-launches robo-advice platform for financial advisers (AltFi), Rated: A

The U.S. platform will provide a digital space for financial advisers to open new accounts.

Investment management giant Invesco is continuing its foray into digital wealth management.

The company is co-launching a U.S.-based platform for financial advisers through its wealth management solution company, Jemsteps. The site is for financial advisors affiliated with Advisor Group, an American network of independent financial advisory firms.

Funding Circle Names New Chief Compliance Officer for US (Corporate Counsel), Rated: A

Funding Circle Ltd. has named Richard Stephenson as its U.S. chief compliance officer. He joins the San Francisco-based small business lending platform after working in financial services for three decades, most recently as the CCO of Silicon Valley Bank.

Stephenson has also held various senior roles with financial institutions and in private practice, including at Bank of America, Union Bank, Washington Mutual Bank and Mechanics Bank.

For a fintech company, particularly one that partakes in lending, Hodges said it has been important to prioritize compliance, given all of the uncertainties in the regulatory space.

Sindeo is back in the mortgage business after acquisition (Inman), Rated: A

“Renren, one of Sindeo’s investors, has acquired Sindeo and all of its assets,” Nick Stamos, one of Sindeo’s co-founders, told Inman in a statement. “We are excited to work closely with the Renren team to execute on our original mission of offering homebuyers a straightforward path to home ownership and refinancing.” He did not disclose the terms or the sum of the acquisition.

Ex-Merrill Lynch FAs with $ 1B in Assets Go Indie (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

A team of Merrill Lynch financial advisors has jumped ship to launch a new independent wealth management practice, according to a press release from Dynasty Financial Partners, with whom the team has partnered.

Celenza, who’s been an advisor for close to 20 years and with Merrill Lynch for six of them, says the decision to go independent was prompted in part by the ability to access “a greatly expanded selection of investment capabilities, lending platforms, sophisticated insurance products, planning resources, capital market solutions, and alternative manager opportunities.”

Treasury quietly looking at revamping CRA (American Banker), Rated: A

The Treasury Department is embarking on an effort to revise the implementation of the Community Reinvestment Act, a law many community groups say is out of step with modern banking practices and that institutions say has devolved into a compliance exercise.

Tucked away in Treasury Department’s regulatory reform report released last month was a nascent effort to reform the way regulators implement the CRA — a law intended to compel banks to offer loans and financial services to low- and moderate-income areas.

Backed by Israeli Bond Funds, Moinian Capital Partners Rides the Nonbank Lending Wave (Commercial Observer), Rated: A

When the Moinian Group tapped Morgan Stanley and UBS alumnus Jonathan Chassin to lead its newly formed real estate lending platform, Moinian Capital Partners, in February, it was a testament to the Joseph Moinian-led firm’s ambitions to become the latest developer to expand its business into the realm of financing.

Thus far, Moinian Capital Partners has sought to focus its energies on “smaller, $50 million to $100 million development deals where we can quote the whole loan,” Chassin said—the sorts of projects that often have greater difficulty securing funds from more established debt lenders.

The operation is also finding success in the market for mezzanine debt, where its flexibility as a nonbank means it can provide “additional terms that other lenders don’t,” Chassin said. “Where banks and traditional mezz funds are doing five-year deals as a rule, we can quote six- or seven-[year terms]. We can do bridge deals because we understand the basis and understand the market.”

Coinsource Launches Five Bitcoin ATMs in Phoenix (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Coinsource, a bitcoin ATM network, announced on Monday it launched five new machines in Phoenix Metropolitan Area, marking its first venture into Arizona. According to the company, the bulk installation caps off a strong first and second quarter, with it installing 50 machines so far this year, now with a portfolio of 116 machines across 10 states. The five new Bitcoin ATMs have been installed in Phoenix, Peoria, and Mesa.

CrediFi enables real time streaming of real estate deal and client data directly into Salesforce (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CrediFi Corp., the market intelligence and deal discovery engine for commercial real estate (CRE) finance, has announced the launch of a new solution that seamlessly streams CrediFi data into the Salesforce® CRM platform with the click of a button.

CrediFi simplifies the work of CRE dealmakers by serving as the one-stop-shop for data and analytics on commercial properties and loans as well as CRE owners and lenders. Now, CrediFi enables users to sync its vast repository of CRE data seamlessly and directly into Salesforce.

The launch of CrediFi for Salesforce® follows the April launch of CredifX, an online marketplace for CRE financing, and CrediFi recently secured $13 million for its Series B funding.  Michael Helpern has joined CrediFi’s team as Head of Strategy, and will oversee further innovation of solutions for this market. Mr. Helpern brings with him over a decade of experience in commercial real estate brokerage, at firms including Marcus & Millichap and CBRE.

Thales provides database encryption solution for Beyond Platform’s peer-to-peer lending service (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Thales announces internet-based financial services technology company Beyond Platform has adopted Vormetric Transparent Encryption from Thales to deliver a secure credit evaluation model for its peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform.

Beyond Platform wanted to implement a data security system that offered a security level required by the major banks in order to comply with the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) in South Korea. In addition, the solution needed to pass a security review by NongHyup Bank (an agricultural and retail bank in South Korea)  with whom Beyond Platform was developing a joint P2P lending service. Beyond Platform adopted Vormetric Transparent Encryption from Thales to encrypt structured and unstructured data in an enterprise system. As a result, it met the database encryption requirements and passed the bank security review, opening the floodgate for developing and launching P2P services. In addition, the company has built a reputation among customers as a reliable and safe P2P provider.

Vormetric Transparent Encryption is a kernel-level encryption solution that encrypts all file types including logs and images as well as database data, so there is no need for enterprises to purchase a separate encryption solution for database encryption and unstructured data encryption.

EPHESOFT SECURES $ 15M SERIES A FUNDING FROM MERCATO PARTNERS (Ephesoft), Rated: A

Ephesoft Inc., the developer of document capture and analytics solutions that extract meaning from unstructured content, today announced that it has completed a $15 million Series A financing round. Mercato Partners, a trusted growth capital partner, is the exclusive investor in this round. The investment will be used to accelerate Ephesoft’s product development while expanding operations, market presence and sales channels. Joe Kaiser of Mercato Partners will join the Ephesoft Board of Directors as part of the investment.

Founded in 2010, Ephesoft has developed advanced machine learning solutions that capture, extract and analyze unstructured content. The company has over 500 customers globally ranging from financial services, Federal government, insurance, mortgage and healthcare sectors.

Why Chicago is the best city to launch a fintech company (Crain’s Chicago Business), Rated: A

Chicago was recently ranked among the top five global fintech hubs by Deloitte and the Global FinTech Hubs Federation, thanks in part to FinTEx Chicago’s strong advocacy. Further, fintech and financial services companies even account for 14 percent of the 50 fastest-growing companies in the region, according to Crain’s 2017 Fast 50.

And most important, the financial sector is driving real job growth in the city. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that as of March, year-over-year employment in Chicago’s financial sector grew 3.6 percent—more than double gains in the next-highest industry. That also trounces growth of 2.2 percent in the financial sector nationally.

AlphaFlow Launches “Tax Implications of Crowdfunding” eBook (Benzinga), Rated: B

To help investors more effectively evaluate real estate crowdfunding investment opportunities and their potential tax implications, AlphaFlow has released its inaugural eBook: “Tax Implications Of Crowdfunding.” This 23-page eBook, written by AlphaFlow and Sundin & Fish, CPA, closely examines the top tax issues investors must consider as they invest across the real estate crowdfunding industry.

  • A few of the topics discussed in this eBook include:
  • Types of crowdfunding platforms
  • Differences between debt and equity deals
  • Federal and state tax issues
  • Pros and cons of using self-directed IRAs
  • Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI)
  • Tax planning and strategies

Ballard Spahr closes San Diego office (Bloomberg Law), Rated: B

Ballard Spahr, which recently lost two partners to Dinsmore & Shohl, said it has closed its office in San Diego, transferring other lawyers from the city to its Los Angeles office. (Legal Intelligencer)

United Kingdom

Funding Circle CEO Says Business Boomed After Brexit (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

ThinCats teams up with Alderburn Finance to fund Scottish marine trainer (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THINCATS has sealed a deal with commercial finance broker Alderburn Finance and Stream Marine Training (SMT) to help the latter step up its cost efficiency and growth plans.

The peer-to-peer lending platform, which channels funds to small- and medium-sized enterprises, will help the Scottish training specialist cut time and overall costs as it plan to boost its consultancy services to the global maritime, oil and gas, renewables and construction sectors.

Edinburgh-based Alderburn Finance acted as a loan sponsor, as it vetted the borrower’s funding application and assisted ThinCats in the origination process.

Navigating a complex market (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Despite being around for many years, direct lending, which also encompasses peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, has only recently been recognised as a mainstream asset class.

There are several fundamental things to consider if you are thinking about direct lending as an addition to your investment portfolio.

  • Your objectives: Be clear about your objectives and your appetite for risk. Why are you investing?
  • Timing: Investing in direct lending can be more effective if you keep your money invested for at least 12 months.
  • Diversification: Diversification is also an effective tactic.
  • Loan opportunities: A good rule of thumb is to use the RADAR principle: reason, assets, duration, amount, repayment.
  • Investing for Capital Growth or Income: The concept of compounding applies to direct lending in the same way as other investments.
  • Taking control: Finally, it’s good to stay pro-active.

 

China

Dianrong Acquires Asset-Origination Operations of Quark Finance (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Dianrong today announced the acquisition of Quark Finance’s asset-origination operations, including the new Credit Studio platform. This transaction will significantly expand and strengthen Dianrong’s existing asset-generation capabilities across China.

Quark Finance operates 71 borrower service centers in 47 Chinese cities. These centers provide comprehensive loan underwriting data collection and servicing. Dianrong already operates 28 technology-enabled borrower service centers in 27 cities in China.

Additionally, Quark Finance owns and operates Credit Studio, a platform that provides data analysis through automated and human interactions to achieve mass-production credit evaluations and processing. Credit Studio leverages Dianrong’s technology to minimize manual activities and lower operational risks, expenses and processing time. Marketplace-lending assets generated by Credit Studio are available to Dianrong and Quark Finance lenders.

By combining Quark Finance’s borrower network with Dianrong’s existing local footprint and fintech capabilities, Dianrong is adding significant scale to its overall asset-generation capabilities. The combination also adds new distribution channels for Dianrong’s borrower lending products and services.

Wang Zhengyu: It will take more time to make profit for China Rapid Finance (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, China Rapid Finance held a media briefing on IPO issues and Q1 financial report. Just before the meeting, Wang Zhengyu, the CEO of China Rapid Finance, revealed that the company currently is still in the loss. Although, it doesn’t mean a bad management for the company, it’s just a problem of time to make money.

In Q1 2017, China Rapid Finance’s net loss is $149 million, decresed by 46 percent on the basis of the earlier time. The net revenue is $10.5 million, declined by 20 percent compared with the beginning of the year. In fact, China Rapid Finance has been being losed for two consecutive years, the loss amount in 2016 and 2017 were $33.366 million and $3002.6 million respectively. In 2014, the profit was only $131,000.

European Union

MAMBU RECOGNISED AS EUROPEAN GROWTH EXCELLENCE LEADER (Financial IT), Rated: AAA

Mambu, the SaaS banking engine powering innovative loan and deposit products, today announced that they have been named the European Growth Excellence Leader for Native Cloud SaaS Banking and Lending by research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

Frost & Sullivan’s global team of analysts and consultants research a wide range of markets across multiple sectors and geographies identifying companies that maintain consistently high standards for delivering customer value, which translates into growth above the industry average.  The award recognises the company which excelled in driving growth and is best-in-class in three key areas: meeting customer demand, fostering brand loyalty and carving out a unique, sustainable market niche.

Santander Buys Stakes in Three Startups as Botin Pushes Into Fintech (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Banco Santander SA, Spain’s biggest lender, bought minority stakes in three financial-technology firms as Chairman Ana Botin makes machine learning a hallmark of her growth plan.

Pixoneye’s algorithms can build a profile of a consumer from photographs stored on his or her smartphone or other device, while Gridspace utilizes artificial intelligence to analyze the sentiments of people on phone calls with customer service representatives.

Europe’s alternative finance market hits $ 9.1 billion in first quarter (Consultancy.uk), Rated: AAA

The alternative finance economy for mid-market players across Europe hit $9.1 billion in closed deals across the first quarter of 2017. Deal activity in the relatively new segment hit more than a 1000 accumulative deals this year, with the UK remaining out ahead in terms of closed deals – at almost 400. Fundraising for buyouts remains the driving force for turning to alternative lending platforms.

In response to demand, marketplace lenders (MPLs) have sprung up – usually as online platforms – which, through a range of new mechanisms, offer an easy means for peer-to-peer lending across a range of segments – with low returns on other forms of assets continuing to entice investors to the market.

Source: Consultancy.uk

In total around 1011 deals were completed in the past 18 quarters across the burgeoning market, with 612 of those in Europe and 399 in the UK – making the UK by far the largest contributor in terms of activity.

In the UK the most deals took place in the technology, media & communications segment, at 19% of all deals, followed by the business, infrastructure & professional services segments, at 18%. Human capital represented 6% of deals in the UK, while financial services firms accounted for 10% of closures.

Source: Consultancy.uk

ECN Reminder to Complete Cross Border Crowdfunding Survey (Crowddfund Insider), Rated: A

The European Crowdfunding Network (ECN) is reminding alternative finance industry types to complete the survey on cross-border crowdfunding and online lending (IE P2P lending, marketplace lending etc.).  The survey deadline is 12 Noon this Friday, July 14th.

The survey focuses only on crowdfunding models that entail a financial return, notably:

  • investment-based crowdfunding (where companies issue equity or debt instruments to crowd-investors through a platform) and
  • lending-based crowdfunding (where companies or individuals seek to obtain funds from the public through platforms in the form of a loan agreement)

Paycock Enters Russian Fintech Market with Its Convenient Mobile Payment Service (MarketWatch), Rated: A

The K-ICT Born2Global Centre, a major Korean government agency under the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP), announced that Paycock, one of its member companies, has signed a business MOU with AEB IT, a Russian financial IT corporation. As a result, Paycock will now begin commercializing its mobile payment solution to satisfy the needs of the Russian financial market, which is expected to undergo rapid growth in the near future.

Paycock Check is a mobile payment service that does not require a card-reading device, as the entire payment process is conducted using only a smartphone camera and near field communication (NFC) technology.

Fintech lender strikes partnership with major Italian bank (AltFi), Rated: A

iwoca has announced a strategic partnership with Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo. The fintech lending platform will now sell its credit products into the Italian banking group’s SME client-base.

Intesa Sanpaolo is one of the biggest banking groups in Europe, with a market capitalisation of €42.7bn. The company boasts over 11.1 million customers in Italy alone, but is also active across Central Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

International

Top 40 Payments Functions Trailblazers (Everest Group), Rated: AAA

Australia

Why a majority of Australians don’t know about peer-to-peer lending (news.com.au), Rated: A

New research by Finder.com.au has found despite the sector growing from one to eight lenders since it launched in Australia in 2012, 65 per cent of consumers don’t know about it and women are less likely than men to understand and use it.

Finder’s research found that only 8 per cent of women would consider using a P2P lender, compared with 20 per cent of men, and three-quarters of women do not know what it is.

Finder’s data shows 63 per cent growth in P2P users in the past six months, while data from some providers shows 195 per cent growth last financial year.

India

Accel-backed Good Methods Global acqui-hires fintech startup Save Your Money (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Save Your Money (SYM), a fintech startup that offers an automated micro-saving platform, has been acqui-hired by health-tech startup Good Methods Global (GMG), a company statement said.

What is LoanAdda doing to make itself profitable in a crowded market? (Your Story), Rated: A

But all this was far from the mind of Anshuman Mishra (39), when he set up LoanAdda in 2015 to make loans available to large sections of people left out from the purview of the informal and formal banking channels.

As someone who was responsible for managing ICICI Bank’s priority sector lending business, he was acutely aware of the limited access to credit for unbanked customers and poor guidance in facilitating loans.

Today, 78 percent of LoanAdda’s customers are first-time loan takers. Moreover, LoanAdda’s technology algorithm follows its own logic while measuring the eligibility of a certain customer to take loans and throws up the best possible product to the consumer.

Currently, LoanAdda has tie-ups with more than 42 banks to provide home, business, personal, gold and collateral loans on its platform. Through a partnership with India Infoline, an NBFC, the company also gives out its own loans.

Anshuman says that 50-60 percent of LoanAdda’s customers are salaried people with a monthly salary of less than Rs 40,000. The average ticket size is Rs 3.39 lakh for unsecured loans and Rs 34 lakh for secured loans. However, 70-75 percent of all loan takers on the platform get loans of less than Rs 30 lakh.

Why Indians Should Invest in Peer-to-Peer Lending (BW Disrupt), Rated: B

Online peer-to-peer lending as a prospective investment class offers many unique propositions.

  • Net Returns and Interest Yields

While savings accounts or fixed deposits usually yield interest rates of 6% to 8% on average, Mutual funds on the other hand, offer returns averaging at 9% to 13%, with some funds yielding up to 15% p.a. Compare this to online P2P loans, which can generate average net returns of 18% to 22% p.a for lenders.

  • No Lock-in period, enjoy benefits of compounding interest
  • Risk Mitigation

As with any debt-based investment, there is a risk of default in online P2P lending as well. But since the premise on which P2P lending is based is similar to that of debt instruments, the capital risk is lower, and there are ways to mitigate it. One of these is diversification.

Asia

Singapore and Thailand Central Banks Unite in FinTech Deal (Cryptocoins News), Rated: AAA

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have entered a FinTech Cooperation Agreement (CA) to further develop and enhance the existing financial ecosystem in the ASEAN region.

The agreement aims to “develop a richer financial ecosystem” in both countries and South-East Asia, an announcement revealed. As per the agreement, both central banks will also share information on new and emerging market trends in an era of micro-financing and digitization as well as their impact on traditional regulatory practices.

Vertex Ventures invests $ 2m in Turnkey Lender (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Turnkey Lender, a cloud- based loan management system, has raised $2 million venture investment from Vertex Ventures. The venture offers a SaaS solution that employs machine learning and data analysis to understand potential loan applicants, ranging from small scale to large scale loans.

Turnkey Lender has previously received seed funding from SMRK VC Fund. The initial development for the company was done in the Ukraine, where it has its roots. It is currently headquartered in Singapore, where the team believes that can have greater flexibility in approaching the different financial needs of their international clients.

Investment proceeds will be used to engage in expanding business operations across the region, product development and talent acquisition. The company told DEALSTREETASIA that the primary growth markets it if focusing on are Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand.

Bank Mandiri invests in cashless payment startup (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: A

The venture capital unit of Indonesia’s largest lender by assets, Bank Mandiri, on Wednesday said it is leading a $2 million funding round for local financial technology startup Cashlez, which claims to offer a portable, more user-friendly alternative to electronic data capture machines.

Cashlez’s “mobile point of sales” system runs on a slim card-reader device operated with a smartphone application.

Canada

John D. Orr, Senior Banker and Investor, Joins FutureVault as Chief Executive Officer and a Significant Investor (PR Newswire), Rated: A

FutureVault, a personal and business information management company, has named banking executive, lawyer, entrepreneur and investment professional John D. Orr as Chief Executive Officer. In addition to joining the management team, Mr. Orr has made a significant personal investment in the Company for a material ownership position.

Launched commercially in North America in late 2016 after two years of development, FutureVault has created an advanced cloud-based information management platform with patents pending. In an increasingly digital world, characterized by volume, complexity and risk, FutureVault’s secure platform provides both individuals and businesses with the tools and intelligence to select, retain and optimize all their information. The platform represents a new category: an intelligent, secure, encrypted, auditable repository for all the information in one’s life or business. FutureVault’s product suite and feature set accommodate a broad range of customer information management needs, from a relatively straightforward individual’s requirements to those of a multi-jurisdictional business or a large family office.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday June 13 2017, Daily News Digest

credit card charge-offs

News Comments Today’s main news: KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Lending Club securitization. Ant Financial extends online credit service to retailers. Credit Peers secures 45 million GBP credit line. Today’s main analysis: A significant increase in US credit cards defaults. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 4 in 10 Brits are shunning savings. Why India’s fintech startups are flocking to the […]

credit card charge-offs

News Comments

United States

  • KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Lending Club securitization. GP:”The securitization volumes continue to increase. This is a package of near prime unsecured consumer loans.”
  • Lending Club markets first sponsored deal. GP:”This should be a teamplate for further securitizations. Why is this important? Because this further diversifies the sources of capital available to Lending Club and also probably makes their capital even cheaper. This should also perhaps enable Lending Club to increase their revenue by turning some profit on these securitizations. All in all, I think it’s a very bullish sign for Lending Club.”
  • Americans are suddenly defaulting on credit cards. GP:”The increase is still not out of the channel bounds we have seen since beginning 2014 for the average credit card company except for Capital One. The question is: Is Capital One ahead of the pack in noting defaults or are they a special case? Further analysis  seems to point that underwriting standards have recently degraded in fact. Would this be seen this quickly in the default performance? “AT:”Excellent analysis. Remember the mortgage crisis? The S&L crisis? Bank failure bailouts? The controversial CFPB was created to solve some of the problems associated with consumer financial management behavior. Could we be headed toward another political crisis? If it is perceived that banks are using poor risk assessment metrics or issuing credit card debt to people who shouldn’t have it, then we may see more headlines soon.”
  • CommonBond closes $231M securitization. GP:”Aa3 from Moody’s. CommonBond’s fourth and largest, and was more than three times oversubscribed by investors.”
  • Marketplace Lending: The Next 10 Years GP:”Most industries follow the same bell curve of solution and no problem, problem found, exponential increase, margin collapse, consolidation, new innovation. I don’t see why online lending is any different.”
  • The next industry Amazon could dominate. GP:”Amazon will probably dominate lending to Amazon vendors. That is not an industry, just a small and growing piece of it. Will Amazon dominate retail commerce in its entirety? I hope not, as in general, we don’t think that monopolies are good for society.” AT: “An overstatement. Amazon is a product retailer. While there may be a good business case for Amazon having a lending vertical, Amazon will never be a specialist in online lending, to small businesses or otherwise. But there are some good points made in this article, one of which is the cost of the loans themselves–not exactly competitive.”
  • Rubicon adds Bond Street for financing options. GP:”Growth through partnerships continues to be the  best way for good cost of customer acquisition which is one of the two pain points (together with cost of capital).”
  • Corporate America has lost control of your wallet. AT: Interesting comparison of PayPal and Bitcoin. All to say that banks may not be necessary, which is arguable despite Bill Gates’ prescient wisdom.”
  • PeerStreet offers new way to bet on housing. GP:”PeerStreet offers p2p investment in debt in real estate. Is the yield sufficient to justify it?”
  • The best way to beat robos: Be more human. GP:”In my experience in capital markets the robos work until the market type changes. And markets change types, due to the underlying source driving source changing, every few months. “AT: “I’m seeing more and more of this type of advice for financial advisors.”
  • Marketplace lending and the future of consumer bitcredit. AT: “Interesting podcast interview.”
  • Fundbox launching new product for SMBs. GP:”A line of credit”
  • SoFi has applied for a bank charter. GP:”Here is the application.”
  • Elevate launches analytics team in San Diego.
  • Lendio Pilots Online Lending Platform with Comcast Business Customers GP:”Growth through partnerships continues to be the  best way for good cost-of-customer-acquisition which is one of the two pain points (together with the cost of capital).”

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-NP1 (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-NP1 (“CLUB 2017-NP1”). This is a $279.388 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close June 22, 2017.

This transaction is LendingClub Corporation’s (“LendingClub” or the “Company”) first sponsored transaction and the second rated securitization of near prime unsecured consumer loans facilitated by LendingClub’s proprietary technology platform. All loans in this securitization are whole loans that were purchased through a pro-rata allocation of the near prime loans originated on the platform by seven third parties unaffiliated with LendingClub.

Lending Club markets first sponsored deal (Global Capital), Rated: A

San Francisco-based online platform Lending Club is sponsoring its first multi-seller securitization, which is backed by a portfolio of near-prime consumer loans.

“A club deal program enables Lending Club to drive standardisation in offering docs, covenants, structure, servicing, collateral consistency, and offering cadence,” wrote Ram Ahluwalia.

Americans are suddenly defaulting on their credit cards (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The American economy has looked pretty robust of late — unemployment just hit a 16-year low, and stocks recently reached an all-time high.

This makes it all the more curious that Americans have suddenly stopped paying off their credit-card bills at a rapid rate.

In the past two fiscal quarters, banks reported a steep rise in credit-card charge-offs — debt that companies can’t collect from their customers — according to a report from Moody’s.

The sharp increase, the largest since 2009, is especially unusual given how strong the US employment market has been, Moody’s noted. It suggests that American consumers haven’t fallen on hard times so much as banks have started to loosen their standards and issue credit more aggressively.

Charge-offs and unemployment tend to be related: When people lose their jobs, credit cards tend to be one of the first bills people stop paying, as compared with loans for a home or a car in which people risk losing those crucial assets.

CommonBond Closes $ 231M Securitization (CommonBond Email), Rated: A

Of the transaction, CEO David Klein said:

“Our highest-rated and largest deal yet clearly reflects both the growing investor and customer demand for CommonBond’s products. By maintaining maniacal focus on our category, and delivering the best possible experience for our members, we’ve been able to consistently provide investors with superior credit quality assets. We’re pleased to welcome a standout group of investors to this transaction. And as a programmatic issuer, we look forward to continuing to bring opportunities to market for investors over time.”

Highlights include:

  • The offering achieved AA ratings from Moody’s and DBRS – Aa3 and AA, respectively – which are our highest ratings to date.
  • The transaction was CommonBond’s fourth and largest, and was more than three times oversubscribed by investors.
  • CommonBond and Goldman Sachs acted as co-sponsors for the transaction. Goldman Sachs served as structuring agent, co-lead manager, and book-runner.
  • Barclays and Citi served as co-lead managers and book-runners on the transaction as well. Guggenheim Securities served as co-manager.
  • CommonBond’s inaugural securitization from 2015 was also recently upgraded by DBRS.

Marketplace Lending: The Next 10 Years (deBanked), Rated: A

The marketplace for consumer and small-business loans has come a long way over the last 10 years. Since the early days of peer-to-peer lending, there has been a great proliferation of new types of intermediaries creating new layers of distribution for the risk involved with the lending process. Now marketplace lending has reached an inflection point that will create a much different scenario with fewer players and more partnerships.

The linchpin holding this model all together is technology including machine learning, which is driving more efficient distribution. “Technology is what has made marketplace lending so rich and competitive. But technology firms must now compete within the market they’ve created. And typically technology – once it exists can be commoditized,” said Hadden, adding that technology will eliminate intermediaries, not create new ones.

Meanwhile, growth for the software providers will be through partnerships.

The Next Industry Amazon Could Dominate (Fortune), Rated: A

Amazon revealed last week that it loaned $1 billion to merchants on its marketplace in the past 12 months. Square and PayPal have adopted similarly successful models. As of November, Square’s two-year-old lending arm had lent $1 billion to businesses. PayPal’s small business lending is growing at a rate of $4.5 million a day.

These tech giants’ emergence and momentum in this burgeoning industry might be the boost online lending needs to become a mainstream option for small businesses.

They’re well positioned to succeed for a few reasons. First, the tech giants have massive, active customer bases; Amazon has 2 million potential lending customers already selling products on its own marketplace.

Second, while there are certainly well-known players inside the online lending space, from OnDeck to Lending Club, there’s no direct lender that’s a household name.

Third, companies like Amazon, Square, and PayPal know who they’re lending to. Since their core business model encompasses their customers’ business transactions, they know exactly how much money their customers are making and when that money comes into their business. This information makes the tech giants better prepared and more likely to underwrite loans for businesses that might have been denied elsewhere.

While Amazon’s pricing is particularly attractive, with estimated annual interest rates between 10.9 and 12.9%, PayPal’s annual percentage rate (APR) is estimated to be between 15 and 40% and Square’s is estimated between 30 and 35%. This pricing is competitive for short-term loans, but if business owners have larger, longer-term, or revolving credit needs, they could qualify for more cost-efficient options.

Rubicon adds Bond Street for financing options (Waste Today Magazine), Rated: A

Rubicon Global, Atlanta, has announced online lender Bond Street, New York, has joined as a partner in its RubiconPro consortium buying program. The program delivers fuel, equipment, maintenance and financial benefits for independent waste hauling companies and truckers across North America.

Rubicon says Bond Street is an affordable option for companies to finance growth investments such as hiring additional employees, purchasing inventory or equipment or refinancing a business credit card. An online lender, Bond Street provides one-year to three-year term loans that range from $25,000 to $ 1 million, with rates starting at 6 percent, according to the company.

These loans were created to help homeowners, but for some they did the opposite (Los Angeles Times), Rated: A

Now her mother, who receives $11,600 a year from Social Security and suffers from dementia, is struggling with a roughly $50,000 loan paid through a $5,500 annual tax assessment — an increasingly popular form of home-improvement financing known as PACE.

Edwards said the contractor explained that “a government program” would help the octogenarian afford the improvements, but never explained how the payments would work or warned them Hill could lose her house if payments were missed.

The total amount lent for residential PACE projects topped $1.5 billion in 2016, up from $350 million just two years earlier, according to trade group PACENation.

The loans are secured by a property lien and if unpaid a borrower can be foreclosed upon. Consumers put no money down and usually don’t pay anything for at least six months. Eligibility is largely based on home equity. Credit score and income are not a factor.

Many consumers simply know their loans as the HERO program, the name of the PACE program from the industry’s biggest lender, Renovate America in San Diego.

Critics say PACE can serve a worthy purpose, but worry too many consumers are agreeing to loans they don’t need or understand after being contacted by aggressive contractors, who often make cold calls or engage in door-to-door marketing.

According to lawsuits and interviews with borrowers and their advocates, some contractors are inflating the cost of their services and misrepresenting how much the loans cost or how they are paid back.

Contractors can get consumers approved on the spot, having them sign documents on a tablet computer — an experience advocates say can be confusing, particularly for elderly homeowners. Lenders then send final financing documents to homeowners for their signature, with the process taking a few hours to several days.

The three major private lenders — Renovate America, Renew Financial of Oakland and Ygrene Energy Fund of Petaluma, Calif., — say most of their customers come away happy and point to low default and delinquency rates as evidence the programs are working.

Across the nation, less than 1% of all securitized PACE loans that Kroll Bond Rating Agency tracks have defaulted, said Cecil Smart, a senior director at the company.

Renovate America said over the last five years, none of its clients have been foreclosed on for not paying their PACE loan, but nearly 80 homeowners with such financing, or 0.08% of the total, have been foreclosed upon after they didn’t pay their mortgage.

Corporate America Has Lost Control Of Your Wallet, Thanks To These Innovators (Huffington Post), Rated: A

For as long as there have been big banks, Wall Street has controlled your money. They’ve chosen who gets loans, how much they cost, who gets access – they’ve basically hand picked the economic winners and losers of the world. But not anymore, thanks to the rise of the sharing economy, financial technology, and the disruption of the traditional banking system.

The democratization of money starts with decentralizing control over that money. And that means more peer-to-peer payments, greater convenience, and a simple, easy-to-use electronic payments system working behind the scenes. Wirecard AG is a leader on all these fronts, helping consumers break free of big bank control.

We’ve had a pretty convenient way of sending money abroad, paying for odd jobs and transferring money online for goods and services for a while now. All by using an email address. PayPal came onto the scene breaking down the need for costly bank transfers and setting up recipients.

Like payment company, Square. Their convenient app, Square Cash, lets you send money from email to email.

Peer to peer lending companies like Lending Club, Prosper, and Upstart, now provide individual loans of up to $35k and business loans of up to $300k.

And for those of you comfortable with an unregulated, digital type of platform, now you can buy and sell in Bitcoin.

In fact, a report by Goldman Sachs found that one third of millennials don’t believe they’ll need or have a bank account within the next five years! And that makes Wall Street traders tremble.

PeerStreet Offers New Way to Bet on Housing (Investopedia), Rated: A

Whether he stills feels this way or not, Burry has placed a different bet on the U.S. housing market by taking a seat on the board of PeerStreet, a peer to peer marketplace that allows investors to buy into the debt of real estate investments. Think Lending Club, but for real estate, where investors can access prime traunches of real estate debt. It’s real estate loan securtization by any other name, but by investing in the debt of a real estate investment at low loan to value ratios, PeerStreet is offering what it calls a ‘safer type of real estate investment’. If things go sour, debt investors are paid off ahead of equity investors, thereby cushioning the risk. Furthermore, PeerStreet advertises 6-12% annualized returns, and the loan periods are as short as 6 months to a just a couple years, but only for accredited investors.

The best way to beat robos: Be more human (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Anything in an adviser’s daily routine that can be automated should be outsourced to technological tools, says Alan Moore, co-founder of XY Planning Network. According to Bloomberg, 58% of an adviser’s role can be automated with artificial intelligence.

Fava agrees, suggesting that rather than trying to best robo advisers, advisers should shift their focus to aspects of their organization that requires a human touch.

Virtual meetings can take place anytime via video chat and chat bots can help answer routine questions. In his research McDermott says he’s found a growing number of advisers using video chat for initial consultations and their clients are satisfied with telephone consultations afterwards.

Another easy automation is password management software, McDermott says. Using that tool is simpler than trying to remember 70 passwords or having to input and look them up individually on a spreadsheet, he says.

Marketplace Lending and the Future of “Consumer Bitcredit” (American Bankruptcy Institute), Rated: A

A podcast interview with Profs Andrew Dawson and Christopher Odinet.

Marketplace Lending and the Future of “Consumer Bitcredit” – Episode 203

Fundbox Launching New Product for SMBs (Fundbox Email), Rated: B

Tomorrow, Fundbox, the leading cash flow optimization platform for small businesses will unveil its newest product, Direct Draw – a revolving line of credit (up to $100,000) that offers business owners instant access to working capital, without using personal credit scores and we wanted to give you an early look. The company will also reveal survey findings indicating the widespread industry need for the Direct Draw product; 65 percent of business owners don’t believe that FICO should be tied to business credit.

Direct Draw enables Fundbox to help the 18M SMBs in the U.S. that are underserved by existing funding options, most of which rely on personal credit, something that is unpopular with many SMBs. For Direct Draw, customers are approved using bank account data.

Would you like to see the embargoed release and / or speak with Eyal Shinar, Founder & CEO? Eyal has often said that he aims to be the next Visa, and they are on well on their way. Also, Direct Draw is possible because of the company’s deep investments in artificial intelligence and Eyal can speak to that as well.

SoFi has applied for a bank charter (Tech Crunch), Rated: B

In May, SoFi CEO Michael Cagney told TechCrunch the company would be applying for a bank charter “in the next month.” Well, it’s about a month later, and — surprise! — the company has actually done so.

On June 6, SoFi applied for a de novo (or “new”) bank charter, according to a filing notice on the FDIC website. There will be an open comment period on the application for the next month, which will close July 6. The company confirmed it submitted the application, which TechCrunch has received a copy of.

The company is applying for an industrial loan charter under the name SoFi Bank in Utah, listing a Salt Lake City location as its proposed depositary address.

Elevate Launches Analytics Team In San Diego (SocalTech), Rated: B

San Diego-based Elevate Credit, a fintech startup aimed at providing credit to non-prime customers, said it has launched a new “Advanced Analytics” center in San Diego. The company said the San Diego team has more than 35 data scientists, including more than 25 member with advanced degrees, and eight with PhDs.

Lendio Pilots Online Lending Platform with Comcast Business Customers, (Email), Lendio

Lendio, a marketplace for small business loans, today announced a pilot agreement with Comcast Business designed to provide its small business customers with quick and easy access to capital. Through the collaboration, Comcast Business customers will have more streamlined access to Lendio’s marketplace and network of more than 75 lenders, where they can get matched with the financing they need to help them start, grow and thrive.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), there are more than 28 million small businesses in America, accounting for 48 percent of U.S. employees. Many of these businesses face obstacles getting a loan, like researching an overwhelming number of potential lenders, soliciting financing offers, and determining what loan is right for them. The collaboration between Lendio and Comcast Business will seek to resolve these challenges by providing more direct access to capital through an established set of lenders offering a wide range of loan offerings, and personal attention from small business loan experts.

Comcast Business customers participating in the pilot will be able to choose from various loan products such as lines of credit, working capital loans, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, term loans, equipment loans, accounts receivable financing, and more.

United Kingdom

Four in 10 Brits shunning savings, RateSetter warns (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ALMOST four in 10 Brits failed to save a penny in the three months to April, RateSetter research has found, with the peer-to-peer lender warning that this could lead to financial difficulties down the line.

37 per cent of UK adults did not put any money away, and just 21 per cent expected to be able to save more over the next 12 months, data from the platform showed on Tuesday.

Almost half of respondents to a survey commissioned by RateSetter blamed the non-existent returns currently available on cash, with the higher rate of inflation compressing income opportunities.

Credit Peers Secures £45 million Credit Line (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Credit Peers, one of the first peer-to-business (P2B) secured property lending platforms in the UK, announced today that it has secured a credit line of £45 million from a European investment management firm.

The financing should allow Credit Peers to expand its growing business by providing fast-tracked debt funding to experienced property investors and developers on investment grade property transactions across the UK.

Earlier this year Credit Peers launched its loan-based P2B platform offering property transactions to the public that were previously only available to institutions and banks. Credit Peers aims to significantly speed up the process of property financing compared to the traditional model.

Fintech CEO on how to create Buzz in a start-up (CNBC), Rated: A

A fintech can effectively become a ‘concierge’ directing its customers to insurance, or any other financial service if they control the data. However, linking to established insurers or banks, which often have legacy IT systems and data silos that cannot interact with newer formats, messaging standards and more modern IT, can be problematic for any start-up looking to partner with a financial institution (FI). This may be an issue for BuzzGroup in the future as it attempts develop a data-centric ‘concierge’ business and scale up.

The spin-off BuzzVault insurtech digital inventory and app, which stores and protects belongings on the blockchain, takes a fee from insurers for its services, effectively acting a sales channel. But it offers insurance partners a fresh approach to customer acquisition and retention that they would not otherwise possess.

Many older fintech firms see insurance as another vertical in which they can use the same artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, big data analysis, blockchain or other technologies that they’ve already used in the investment or retail banking arena , to disrupt a new area. Other newer start-ups are focusing on insurtech as a standalone vertical because they believe the younger unploughed field has more scope for growth. BuzzGroup falls into this later group.

BuzzGroup has so far raised $9.2m in five rounds of equity fundraising from a mix of nine angel, seed and accelerator investors.

  • Wayra contributed €532,610 ($579,865) in February 2015, having been part of an earlier €597,129 ($650,000) BuzzGroup fundraising round in March 2014 that included Andrew Weisz, Justin Peters, Tom Singh and Avonmore Developments.
  • Wayra also contributed €60,000 ($65,000) at the birth of BuzzGroup in May 2013, alongside money from the founder.
  • The last round of investment in August 2016 raised £6 million ($7.75m) from White Mountains Insurance Group – the largest insurtech seed investment at that time in Europe – and emanated from the SBC InsurTech London.

One possible way around the recruitment challenge is to hire hungry youngsters who want to be part of an innovative new company and to perhaps offer them an equity stake in exceptional circumstances to help retain and motivate them.

As start-ups grow the ability to hand out equity stakes naturally diminishes, especially as angel and seed fund investors will be hungry for their cut.

Venture capitalists jamming on the brakes in 2017 (CNBC), Rated: A

The tidal wave of venture capital (VC) money that flowed into global financial technology (fintech) investments during 2016 has already shown signs of receding, according to the U.K.’s fintech chief.

Continuation of such momentum is critical given than once the U.K. has left the EU – with the clock already ticking down to a March 2019 deadline – the domestic fintech industry will lose access to the European Investment Fund. This EU body provides financing to small and medium sized enterprises and contributed around EUR 2.3 billion ($2.6 billion) to U.K. VC funds between 2011 and 2015.

Two institutional investors increasing stakes in Funding Circle and Honeycomb investment trusts (AltFi), Rated: A

Two newer entrants include the £405m Funding Circle SME Income fund, launched November 2015, and £300m Honeycomb, launched December 2015. The two portfolios differ greatly but both are products of the bank-deleveraging trend and have seen their assets grow as high investor demand has also prompted new issuance of shares.

The Railways Pension Trustee Company recently increased its stake in Funding Circle SME Income to fund to a 26.18 per cent of total share capital making their holding worth – according to today’s prices – more than £100m.

Invesco Perpetual, which backed Honeycomb since launch, recently increase its stake following an oversubscribed share issuance of more than £100m. It now has 37.8 per cent held in the fund, representing £113m at today’s share price.

China

Ant Financial extends online credit service to retailers (China Daily), Rated: AAA

Ant Financial Services Group, the online finance firm backed by billionaire Jack Ma, will extend its online consumer credit service to four million retail businesses across the country to boost sales and encourage spending-as China’s consumers increasingly feel more comfortable shopping with borrowed money.

iang, vice-president of Alipay Business Unit at Ant Financial, said that sales surged by an average 41 percent per client year-on-year from 2015 to 2016 after a number of retailers adopted Huabei, or Ant Check Later, a loan and installment service.

Credit score by Alibaba applicable for visa applications to Japan or Luxembourg (ECNS.com), Rated: A

Sesame Credit, a credibility scoring system used on Alibaba’s Ant Financial platforms, could be used as supporting documents for visa applications to Japan and Luxembourg, the People’s Daily reported on Thursday, citing the company’s announcement.

Ant Financial users with a score of at least 750 for Japan, or 700 for Luxembourg, on the scale which ranges from 350 to 900, will be “exempt from the normally required process of submitting bank records when applying through Alibaba’s travel-booking service provider for visas,” said the statement.

Interview with Co-founder and CEO of Monaco, Kris Marszalek (Urban Crypto), Rated: A

KM: We’ve certainly seen a number of people questioning this approach, I think it remains to be seen whether the decision was right or not. Our initial plan was to follow the advice of TokenMarket and launch in July, after at least a month of pre-marketing. We decided to go with an accelerated timeframe when we found out a competing project, that also does FX+Crypto was getting ready to launch their ICO in June.

UC: Can you tell us where are you guys based?

KM:  The only physical presence we have is in Hong Kong at the moment.

UC: What is the status of the Visa connection?

KM: We’re in the process of becoming a VISA program manager. Our card designs were not approved yet, so you can’t see any VISA logos on the website and apps. We’re just following the protocol here. Another reason we want to be extra careful is that TKN case showed VISA and other companies are not really keen on being associated with ICOs at this moment.

European Union

Revolut expands into business market (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Revolut, a financial technology (fintech) firm that offers foreign currency to consumers abroad at the interbank rate available on the financial markets is to expand into the business sector with claimed interest from large European corporations such as Virgin Atlantic.

Users of the new Revolut for Business app can set up an account within five minutes and hold, exchange or transfer money from 25 currencies, including British pounds, euros or U.S. dollars from this home bank account.

Three packages ranging from £25 up to £1,000 per month are available to business end users, who get additional features such as real-time spending notifications and data analysis alerts, plus dedicated customer support.

International

Real Estate & Alternative Investments in Bulgaria & Around the World (Novinite), Rated: A

The latest innovation in smart investing comes from stREITwise with their use of new legislation to provide one of the first crowdfunded office REITs. The idea behind their launch was to deliver private real estate crowdfunding into the hands of a younger group of investors who enjoy crowdfunding sites and would like to invest using the same technology.

Instead of relying on buying private REITs through financial advisors with hefty sales commissions and REIT fees added on, their new REIT keeps fees around 2% while avoiding joint venture deals that tend to add an additional layer of costs. New property deals are sourced directly to avoid outside consultants. Their first REIT specializes in acquiring and managing office space in central business districts and other neighborhoods in the U.S. where there is a need.

India

Why India’s Fintech Startups Are Flocking To Disrupt The UAE (Forbes), Rated: AAA

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry in India (ASSOCHAM), India now stands third after the UK and USA in fostering the growth of technology startups.

Sandeep Jhingran, co-founder of cross-border payment start-up Remitr, says, “UAE has a high appetite for innovation. Investors here are ready to pay for creativity, and disruptive companies stand a fair chance to thrive.”

With more than 2.6 million members and a 30% population share, Indians constitute the largest expatriate community in the UAE. Specifically, there is a growing need for diverse financial services. While India’s fintech sector peaked in 2015, with investment reaching USD$2 billion, UAE’s fintech sector is showing signs of steady growth. A report titled State of Fintech by Wamda says that the number of fintech startups launched in the MENA region will reach 250 by 2020 from the current 105, and will be predominantly involved in offering payment solutions, P2P lending or raising capital. Notably, most of the startups surveyed in the report originated from the UAE.

India’s top court halts plan to link for biometric ID to tax (SMH), Rated: A

Indian citizens cannot be forced to enroll for a 12-digit unique identity number to be able file tax returns, the country’s top court said in a ruling that may be a hurdle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to move transactions online.

The Supreme Court partially stayed a law that made the Aadhaar card mandatory for filing returns or for obtaining a 10-digit alpha-numeric code the Income Tax Department issues to tax payers. The stay is needed till a question on the right to privacy under Indian laws is decided by a constitution bench of the top court with at least five judges, a two-judge panel ruled.

Asia

PT INVESTREE Radhika Jaya (Investree), a pioneer peer-to-peer lending (P2P) marketplace in Indonesia, officially registered with the Financial Services Authority (OJK) on May 31 with the registration number of S -2492 / NB.111 / 2017 as indicated on the “Investee Radhika Jaya Registered Evidence” letter from OJK.

Investree is registered as an Information-Technology-based Lending and Borrowing Service Provider under the Directorate of Institutional and Products of Non-Bank Finance Industry (IKNB) administration.

As of June 5, 2017, Investree had successfully disbursed loans amounting 148 billion rupiah with 592 total loans, a 17.5% average rate of yield, and no defaults.

3 Western Governments Partnering With Asian FinTech Intitatives (Edgy Labs), Rated: A

The OCC feels it is high time to create a regulatory framework for FinTech banking institutions as the number of FinTech companies in the U.S. has soared. Investment in FinTech companies has increased more than ten times in the last five years, currently around $24 billion USD worldwide.

Meanwhile, FinTech Investment in Other Parts of the World

According to Nikkei again, soon, 10 new cryptocurrency platforms will be in use in Japan. This is all building on top of Japan’s already significant FinTech investment. Both legally and financially, Japan laid the groundwork in the spring of 2016 when they passed bills to recognize cryptocurrencies as the digital equivalent of money.

Singapore has FinTech Investment deals with South Korea, the UAE, France, and Japan, and their unique position in Asia makes them an ideal partner for FinTech-friendly countries in other regions.

In an effort to make intellectual Fintech investment, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission signed an agreement with Indonesia in order to share information of FinTech market trends and regulatory developments.

Swift, operator of the global interbanking platform, recently chose Hyperledger Fabric as the core tech for its blockchain proof-of-concept.

Nostro accounts make international transactions for the global banking system possible. Simply put, banks put their money into nostro accounts that are closer to a transaction destination so that funds are available to make global transactions more efficient.

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, DBS Bank, RBC Royal Bank and Wells Fargo will all be participating in testing the Swift PoC.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday June 2 2017, Daily News Digest

alternative lending mergers & acquisitions

News Comments Today’s main news: OCC policy on exam treatment of violations goes into effect July 1. Comparisons of Zopa’s IFISA to others. RateSetter hits highest valuation. Seedrs, NatWest partner to offer alternative funding options. Zhong An seeks Hong Kong IPO. Today’s main analysis: Alternative Lending Market Analysis. International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Under the hood of asset-level […]

alternative lending mergers & acquisitions

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Nutter Bank Report, May 2017 (JD Supra), Rated: AAA

Supreme Court Rules That Cities Can Sue Lenders Under the Fair Housing Act

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a decision that reaffirms the standing of municipalities to sue lenders, including banks, for certain discriminatory mortgage lending practices that violate the federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”). The Court’s decision stated that this provision of the FHA “reflects a congressional intent to confer standing broadly,” and held that the city’s claimed injuries are within the FHA’s zone of interests. Click here for a copy of the Court’s decision.

Nutter Notes: Despite the Court’s ruling in favor of the city on the issue of standing, the Court’s ruling on the issue of proximate cause may make it more difficult in the future for cities to sue lenders for FHA violations.

OCC Issues Updated Guidance on Exam Treatment of Violations of Laws and Regulations

The updated policies and procedures direct OCC examiners to communicate violations to supervised institutions using a consistent format consisting of legal citation and description, a summary of relevant statutory or regulatory requirements, facts supporting the violation and root causes, corrective actions required, and board and management’s commitments to corrective action. The updated policies and procedures also emphasize the importance of timely and thorough follow-up and tracking of management’s corrective actions and related milestones. This policy will become effective on July 1, 2017. Click here for a copy of the OCC Bulletin.

Nutter Notes: Specifically, the OCC’s updated policy requires that examiners communicate all substantive violations to the bank in a report of examination (“ROE”) or supervisory letter, including substantive self-identified violations in certain circumstances. Examiners will be required to communicate less substantive OCC-identified violations in a separate written document if the examiners decide not to include them in an ROE or supervisory letter. The updated policy gives examiners discretion to determine whether less substantive, self-identified violations may be communicated separately. The OCC stated that it expects the bank’s board and management to take timely and effective correction of all violations regardless of how they are communicated. According to the updated policy, if management fails to correct a violation previously communicated in a separate written document by the OCC, the examiner should include the violation in the next ROE or supervisory letter. The updated policy also requires examiners to identify violations as “New,” “Self-identified,” or “Repeat,” as applicable.

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

FT Partners is pleased to present you with the latest installment of our “CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis.”

FT Partners served as the sole strategic and financial advisor to:

  • here.

    Source: FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis June 2017

    Looking under the hood of Asset-Level Disclosures: Income Verification is just the beginning (LinkedIn), Rated: AAA

    Bloomberg published an article last week focusing on a recent auto loan securitization by Santander Consumer USA Holdings, where only 8% of loans in the ~$1Bn collateral pool had income verification on the borrower.

    At Aspire Financial Technologies, we’re already believers in the power of loan level data to give Investors better visibility, understanding, and decisioning around huge volumes of consumer loans, having created the Aspire Gateway platform for Alternative and Marketplace Lending participants. In this sector, loan-level data is paramount to understanding and decisioning for Investors, and Banks providing credit facilities. So, when we learned of the new securitization ALD data files being made available this year, and a requirement from Investors to be able to consume this data, we saw an opportunity for our data engineers to clean, vet and normalize the XML (text-based) data files and load them into our infrastructure API, which is well-suited to accommodating loan level data. The result of this, was our release of the ALD Explorer in April. (Free access to the ALD Explorer is available here.)

    Although our numbers differ from Moody’s as to the % of loans where income was verified (13% vs. 8%), we note a similar conclusion: the vast majority of ~90k loans had no income verification, and were given to low credit score borrowers (WAVG score = 559).

    This is borne out through looking at another ALD Explorer report on a prime auto securitization: Ford Credit Auto Owner Trust 2017-A. This deal has less than 2% of the loans with income verification, but had a WAVG credit score of 740 (note that we have excluded in this table Credit Score Types that were either Commercial (9,437 occurrences) and Unknown/None (2,276 occurrences)).

    To Deliver on its Promise, Crowdfunding Needs Better Language (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    In Part 1 of this series on How To Fix Crowdfunding Education, I made the case for beginning all crowdfunding education by teaching the core fundamental that cuts across all forms of crowdfunding: participation.

    To begin, we need to be more careful in our use of the word “crowdfunding.”

    Since the passing of the Title III equity crowdfunding rules in the U.S., many who write and speak about equity crowdfunding have stopped using the “equity” part of the phrase. Among other impacts, I’ve watched conversations on LinkedIn forums about rewards crowdfunding strike terror into the hearts of project creators as someone offhandedly introduces the terms “investor” and the “SEC” into the discussion of their campaigns. “Investor” is a particularly problematic word when it is used interchangeably to describe both the people who back rewards campaigns (often described as “investing in a creator’s ideas”) and investment in equity or debt offerings. Even the word “equity” itself is confusing since many securities are not actually equity, but debt. And “rewards” doesn’t come close to expressing the power of this kind of crowdfunding to galvanize communities around ideas.

    Then there is the issue of jargon.

    So if “online” is what distinguishes equity crowdfunding from an IPO (Initial Public Offering), does that mean online lending and online donation are crowdfunding, too? To add to our alphabet soup, there’s the DPO (Direct Public Offering) U.S. investment crowdfunding that predates the JOBS Act, and the CPO (Community Public Offering) the acronym used to describe intrastate crowdfunding offerings in Oregon. And then, there’s the “crowdfunding IPO” the term being floated about in publications the likes of The Wall Street Journal and Fortune to describe Spotify’s potential Direct Public Offering (DPO).

    We need consistency in our language to build trust. Looking around the industry, there is language already in use that we could adopt and use consistently. For example, a recent Forbes article by Devin Thorpe was titled “Investment Crowdfunding: What Works And What Needs Fixing” rather than “equity crowdfunding.” By using the word “investment” or “crowdinvesting” instead of “equity” we can make a clear distinction that participants in this type of crowdfunding are investors, but that not all of these investments result in an equity stake in a business.

    Goldman Sachs’ new online lending business is changing the bank’s culture (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Omer Ismail, the chief operating officer of Marcus by Goldman Sachs, described the online lending business as “more casual” in an interview on the Lend Academy Podcast.

    Ismail believes that some of that more relaxed, creative culture is beginning to find its way into other parts of Goldman Sachs.

    “I was with the chief technology officer of Goldman and I went down to his office a couple of days ago and I noticed that now he has white walls so it’s actually really cool to see how folks at Marcus are actually influencing other parts of Goldman.”

    Top 9 most active VC investors in fintech (Pitch Book), Rated: A

    Since the beginning of last year, 605 US venture investors have participated in at least one fintech transaction, spreading a total of

    NEW FINTECH LEADERS JOIN THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL DATA RIGHTS GROUP (Yodlee), Rated: B

    The Consumer Financial Data Rights (CFDR), an industry group formed by leading companies in the financial sector to support the consumer’s right to access their financial data, has expanded its membership to now include 27 companies. Recent additions include ActiveHours, Clarity, DataCoup, Draft, LifeLock, Morningstar, NextCapital, Onist, Oportun, Petal, Quovo, SnapCheck, Vested, and WorldRemit.

    Kushner-backed Cadre wants to raise $ 65M at $ 800M valuation (The Real Deal), Rated: B

    The Jared Kushner-backed real estate investment platform Cadre is looking to raise $65 million in venture funding.

    The funds, if raised, would give Cadre a valuation of more than $800 million, the Information reported.

    The Token Fund – Enter the Digital Mutual Fund (The Merkle), Rated: B

    The Token Fund is akin to a traditional market mutual, index, or hedge fund.

    So this is a digital fund management group that is aiming to bring non-crypto savvy traders and investors into the digital market, while also providing a service to the veterans users and traders of crypto.

    Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and does not necessarily reflect the views of any employees of The Merkle.

    United Kingdom

    Zopa Innovative Finance ISA: how it works, rates and how it compares (Love Money), Rated: AAA

    Zopa, one of the major peer-to-peer lenders in the UK, has announced it will roll out its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) from 15 June offering returns of up to 6.1%.

    The new Zopa Core deal will join Zopa Plus, while the Zopa Access (offering returns of up to 2.9%) and Zopa Classic (3.7%) deals will close by 1 December 2017.

    Product Risk Markets Target return Minimum Investment Amount*
    Zopa Core IFISA A*, A, B, C 3.9% £1,000
    Zopa Plus IFISA A*, A, B, C, D, E 6.1% £1,000

    The new Zopa Core product will lend in the same risk markets (A*-C) as Access and Classic did, but, crucially – like Zopa Plus which launched in March 2017 – it will not be covered by the Safeguard fund.

    Zopa says it’s scrapping Safeguard as tax laws have changed, allowing investors to claim tax relief from bad debts, so it’s no longer needed, plus it emphasises retiring Safeguard will provide greater expected returns and make products easier to understand.

    Lending Works is Zopa’s closest rival with an IFISA option. It also allows investors to lend to individuals, but it expects lower returns of 3.3% over three years and 4.4% over five years, after fees and bad debts.

    The Crowd for Angels IFISA for example offers returns of up to 9%. This crowdfunding platform raises cash for companies wanting to expand, diversify or develop their business through crowd bonds and shares.

    Rivals in this space include the Crowd2fund IFISA , which can earn you 8.7%, the Crowdstacker IFISA offering rates between 5-7% and LendingCrowd IFISA offering 6% returns.

    Peer-to-peer platforms in this market include Landlord Invest (offering rates of up to 12%), Relendex (10%) and Landbay (3.75%).

    If you’re happy to take on more risk you could try Abundance, an ethical peer-to-peer platform raises money from investors for green energy projects.

    RateSetter hits highest valuation at £200m after recent funding round (Growth Business), Rated: AAA

    RateSetter raised £13 million from existing shareholders, including Woodford Investment Management and Artemis on Tuesday. Since this round of funding, the London-based peer-to-peer lender announced that its valuation now exceeds £200 million. The investment formed its eighth fundraising round, and took RateSetter’s total amount raised in equity to £41.5 million.

    Seedrs teams up with NatWest to offer alternative funding options (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: AAA

    Through the programme, the crowdfunding platform will be joining a panel of funders to provide alternative finance solutions to business and commercial customers of NatWest and RBS in the UK who are unable to access the financial support they need through traditional funding routes.

    Seedrs is currently the only equity-based finance provider on the panel, which features other finance providers such as iwoca, Assetz Capital, Funding Circle, Royal Bank of Scotland Social & Community Capital and Together.

    LendInvest Capital Announces Montello Real Estate Opportunity Fund Milestone (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    LendInvest Capital, a UK-based specialist real estate lender and fund manager, has announced that its flagship private debt fund, the Montello Real Estate Opportunity Fund, is now managing over £100 million ($128m) on behalf of private and institutional clients.

    The Fund hit its three-year track record in January 2017 and surpassed the £100 million milestone at the end this past April, reported LendInvest, “the culmination of a very active year” during which the Fund more than doubled in size (up 113% from  £47m AUM at 30 April 2016 to c. £100M AUM at 30 April 2017). The Fund also had a record quarter for fundraising between January and March of this year, receiving £30 million of new investment.

    Basset & Gold unveils four-year marketplace lending bond (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

    BASSET & GOLD is launching a new four-year bond backed by marketplace lending deals, with regular reinvestment of the interest stream set to deliver higher yields.

    The new debt offering from the direct lending and alternative finance specialist will return a compounding fixed yield of 30.9 per cent at the end of the term, equivalent to an annual return of 7.72 per cent.

    Honeycomb raises £105m from oversubscribed share placing (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

    HONEYCOMB Investment Trust has raised £105m from an oversubscribed share placing, which it will use to capitalise on new business opportunities.

    The alternative finance-focused investment fund said on Wednesday that it had successfully completed its placing of 10 million shares, issued at £10.50 per share.

    Finimize allows you to create a free financial plan from your mobile (This is Money), Rated: A

    Quick, simple, jargon-free – the Finimize My Life plan seeks to sort your finances out, giving you sensible savings goals, investment options and easy plans to pay off debt.

    As many as two-thirds of those aged 18 to 34 wish they had received more money advice at a younger age, according to research from Santander.

    Do you think financial literacy remains a problem then?

    Max: I do. We’ve done some research with YouGov and the results speak for themselves: 59 per cent of millennials could not confidently explain what an Isa is, 84 per cent couldn’t tell you what the term ‘equity’ means and 90 per cent couldn’t confidently explain what ‘asset management’ is.

    Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 50 per cent were not confident explaining ANY of the financial terms listed in the survey.

    Why do you think managing our personal finances has been hard for millennials? 

    Max: It is unsurprising that financial literacy levels are so low amongst my generation. We were never taught these terms in school and it can be daunting to try and plan your financial life when you feel in the dark about how the industry works.

    Do millennials have money to save and invest? 

    Max: Yes. It comes down to confidence: of the millennials we surveyed, 52 per cent of those with between £10,000 and £24,999 of savings do not feel confident explaining what an Isa is.

    How does it work?

    Max: Once you’ve registered with Finimize you enter a few simple personal details.

    These include your country of residence, age, salary, savings, passive income, spare income, whether you own a house (this is a yes or no question), if you have income protection and whether you have any bad debt such as credit cards or personal loans.

    Once a user has provided the basic inputs, the platform generates a financial plan for someone like you.

    Would you take financial advice from a robot at your bank? (The Telegraph), Rated: A

    HSBC has become the latest of the major banks to announce a low-cost online investment service that will use algorithms to match customers to an investment portfolio.

    The service is aimed at those with less than £15,000 to invest, and the bank promised costs would be “far lower than industry standards”.

    The services typically take customers through a questionnaire online to get a picture of their finances and determine how much risk they are willing to take, before advising which investments to put their money in.

    NatWest launched its Invest service in February to its existing customers. The service offers five funds run by Coutts & Co, each with a different portion in stocks, bonds and cash. It charges investors 0.95pc on the first £500,000 they invest and then 0.7pc on any investments above that amount.

    Barclays users pay 0.2pc on money held in funds and 0.1pc on all other investments, with a minimum fee of £4 a month and maximum of £125 per month. Fund and other investment trading costs £3 and £6 respectively if completed online.

    P2P Lender Wellesley Retrenches After Departure of CFO Alasdair Lenman (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

    Wellesley has entered a period of retrenchment as CFO Alasdair Lenman has departed the company after less than a year on the job. The Wellesley Group consists of Wellesley & Co Ltd, Wellesley Finance Plc and Wellesley Group Investors Ltd.

    Stephen Bell, Wellesley’s Chief Risk Officer, updated on the performance of their loans including non-performing assets;

    “The Wellesley loan book continues to evolve and now stands at 65 loans with combined committed facilities of £271 million. During 2016 the drawn balanced increased by 10% to £163.6 million which was made up of new loans and additional drawdowns on existing loans of £118.6 million.”

    China

    China’s Zhong An aims to raise at least $ 1 billion in Hong Kong IPO – sources (Reuters), Rated: AAA

    Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, has resumed a plan to raise $1 billion or more in a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of this year, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

    Zhong An, whose major shareholders include Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) affiliate Ant Financial, plans to apply for listing in the coming weeks, said one of the people, who declined to be identified as the matter is confidential.

    The Shanghai-based insurer chose Credit Suisse, JPMorgan and UBS in October to lead the IPO, but later suspended the plan to explore a mainland listing.

    Research on Financial Inclusion and Poverty Reduction in China (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

    Case study 1: CFPA MicroFinance

    • As of Dec 2016, CFPA Microfinance currently has branches in 229 counties and 18 provinces throughout China, and 85% of the branches are located in areas designated by the Central or Local Governments as poverty stricken counties.
    • As of Nov 2016, CFPA Microfinance has disbursed loans valued at RMB CNY 18.4 billion ($2.7 billion) to 1.61 million clients, with average loan size of CNY 11,000 ($1,620). 62% of all loans have been deployed for the purpose of raising livestock, breeding fish and farming and etc.
    • Approximately 3 million low-income villagers have received microloans from CFPA Microfinance for improving their livelihood and raising local production.

    Social development:

    • 91% of all CFPA Microfinance clients are women
    • At least 80% of CFPA Microfinance clients would not have been able to borrow from anywhere else, according to a survey by the China Agriculture University and China Academy of Social Sciences
    • 49 out of the 53 CFPA Microfinance operating outlets are in China’s Nationally Designated Poverty Countries, the poorest areas in the country.

    Case study 2: Ant Financial

    When it comes to poverty alleviation, Ant Financial chose CFPA Microfinance to partner with.

    With the two parties cooperation in technology and channels, it is possible that when a farmer needs to borrow money, the lending decision would be made based on big data, rather than the information collected by loan officers.

    Research shows that, by the measure of “digital financial inclusion index” created by Prof. Huang Yiping, the condition of underdeveloped areas in China in 2015 are relatively better off compared with five years ago.

    Case study 3: CreditEase

    CreditEase’s efforts in financial inclusion to reduce poverty can be best illustrated by the example of Yinongdai.

    What Yinongdai does is that it helps to match “charitable lenders” with impoverished credible rural borrowers. To be more specific, “charitable lenders” can choose a farmer’s project and “donate” at least RMB 100 ($14.70), and lenders can get roughly 2% return annually.

    For over the seven years, Yinongdai has collected over 200 million RMB ($29 million) from 150,000 lenders, and helped about 20,000 needy farmers, Tang Ning said in an interview in Apr 2017.

    The shortage of financial services in China’s rural areas amounts to $ 447 billion. (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

    According to data from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the market space of rural finance in China reached to $447 billion since 2014. With policy supports on rural finance and the maturing and saturation of the urban financial market, there comes up an attractive blue ocean market in rural finance.

    In recent years, many participants have flooded into rural market, including traditional financial institutions, agriculture service providers, as well as e-commerce platform and internet finance companies, but few of them succeed.

    Up to now, the traditional institutions such as rural credit cooperatives are still the main force to serve rural areas, however, it could not meet the capital needs of farmers’ production and livelihood.

    Source

    Blockchain Startup Wyre Acquires Remitsy for China Market Push (CoinDesk), Rated: B

    Blockchain payments startup Wyre has acquired industry startup Remitsy in a cash and equity deal of an undisclosed amount.

    According to CEO Michael Dunworth, it was Remitsy’s close proximity to China’s market that was the chief factor prompting the move. (Remitsy uses a combination of blockchain technology and banking relationships to convert user currencies for China-based users).

    European Union

    Robo-Advisor Ginmon receives asset management license (EXtra Magazin), Rated: A

    The Frankfurt-based Robo-Advisor Ginmon has now received the license from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, BaFin) for financial portfolio management pursuant to section 32 of the German Banking Act (KWG). Up to now, the digital asset management had only one permission for financial intermediaries according to §34f of the trade regulations.

    International

    International P2P Lending Volumes May 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

    Milestones reached this month are:

    • Assetz Capital crosses 250 million GBP lent sinch launch
    • Lendinvest reaches 1 billion GBP in origination since launch

    Australia

    Robo-advice for SMSFs: what accountants need to know (In the Black), Rated: A

    Accountants referring clients to robo-advice tools need to be wary of licensing constraints.

    We understand that a number of accountants who have chosen to operate without an AFS licence authorisation have entered into arrangements with digital financial advice providers (or “robo-advisers”) to allow their clients to access digital advice about SMSFs.

    Under these arrangements, accountants refer their clients who need financial product advice (for example, about whether or not to establish an SMSF), to a digital advice tool which can provide that advice.

    While digital advice providers might indicate that their tools can be used in such a way that unlicensed accountants who refer clients to the tools would not be providing financial services, this may not always be the case.

    India

    Flipkart will soon offer customers financial products and services (VC Circle), Rated: A

    Homegrown e-commerce major Flipkart is mulling over providing financial products and services online, a segment that has seen tremendous growth in India in the last few years.

    A dedicated team for financial services and products is already in place and lead product manager for fintech and consumer credit products at Flipkart, Monomita Roy Avasarala, has already initiated talks with online lending startups, the report said.

    Flipkart would offer mutual funds and insurance products besides credit and loans, the publication reported citing undisclosed sources.

    Google Launchpad picks 6 startups from India, shows love for AI (Tech in Asia), Rated: B

    This is the only fintech startup from India to make it to the latest Launchpad batch. IndiaLends – like the name suggests – is a lending product.

    It offers personal loans, free credit reports, home loans, and credit cards to consumers. You can check your loan eligibility using the IndiaLends app, which can also alert you when an EMI is due and help you manage and track all your credit accounts as well as monthly spending. IndiaLends uses artificial intelligence tech for credit rating, loan eligibility, and so on.

    Asia

    e-payments make advances in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong (The Asset), Rated: A

    Bank Negara Malaysia, the central bank, on May 22 announced the merger of Malaysian Electronic Clearing Corporation (MyClear) and Malaysian Electronic Payment System (MEPS) to form Payments Network Malaysia or PayNet.

    On May 5 DBS introduced its Smart Nation Ambassador Programme (SNAP). The programme will see DBS recruiting up to 1,000 ambassadors that will encourage small, cash-based merchants to adopt DBS PayLah! QR codes as a payment method in Singapore.

    Bank of China Hong Kong and WeChat Pay Hong Kong announced a collaboration to promote mobile payments in Hong Kong, on May 19.

    Swift introduced a new cross-border payments tracker that enables international payments to be traced in real-time on May 23.

    Japan looks to double cashless payments in 10 years (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: A

    Cash-heavy Japan aims to double digital payments to 40% in the next decade by helping metropolitan-area businesses afford cashless services to better attract foreign visitors and open their wallets.

    The goal, set by the Financial Services Agency and the industry ministry, will be part of a plan to promote fintech, the intersection of finance and information technology, in a growth strategy to be compiled in June. The move is also a step toward better accommodating foreign tourists, with an eye toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    Japan’s current 19% rate of cashless payments is less than half the over-50% level seen in nations including South Korea and China, but the targeted 40% rate would put it roughly on par with the U.S.

    Broken down by industry, around 90% of Japan’s lodging facilities accept card payments, compared with roughly 70% of supermarkets and just half of taxis.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor