Friday May 11 2018, Daily News Digest

Volume of homes flipped with loans

News Comments Today’s main news: Robinhood raises $363M. Americans on pace to amass $4T in consumer debt by end of year. Zopa to boost regulatory clout. Reserve Bank of India regulations create P2P lending road blocks. How China struggles to create a credit scoring system. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub earnings overreaction. LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report for April 2018. Today’s […]

Volume of homes flipped with loans

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United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

Robinhood Aims to Rival Coinbase in Crypto With $ 363 Million Funding Round (Fortune) Rated: AAA

Robinhood, the free stock trading app, has raised $363 million in a new investment round valuing the company at $5.6 billion.

The Series D round, announced Thursday, makes Robinhood the second most valuable private fintech startup in the U.S. after Stripe, the online payments company.

Inside SoFi’s (expensive) customer acquisition push (Tear Sheet) Rated: AAA

SoFi, which recently confirmed it had 500,000 members, is on a customer acquisition push.

The company, which initially offered student loan refinancing for high-earning top-tier graduates and has since expanded its offerings, differentiates with VIP-style “member” benefits.

It’s a customer-for-life strategy other digital banking upstarts are pursuing. Luvleen Sidhu, CEO of BankMobile, recently told Tearsheet that a “customer for life” strategy is underpinned by the reality that “every customer is a potential customer,” with product offerings tailored for different life stages. SoFi has been known to pay a high price to gain customers; last year, it reportedly acquired customers at $756 apiece. The non-financial member services are valued at $795 per customer, according to the company.

Hey Future SoFi Money Member (SoFo Money Email), Rated: A

Higher interest (1.09% for May—21x the national checking account average of 0.05%!)

  • Reimbursed ATM fees worldwide (up to 6 per month)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No overdraft fees or account fees whatsoever!
  • Easy-to-use mobile app
  • SoFi Money Visa Debit Card
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Free checks
  • Top notch customer support
  • Send money to friends and family with easy P2P at no cost
  • Bill pay
  • Direct deposit
  • PLUS access to SoFi membership including complimentary career coaching and member events when you set up direct deposit

Did we mention that if you sign up for an account and set up direct deposit you’ll get $200?

LendingClub: Earnings Overreaction (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Such a strong reaction to LendingClub hasn’t happened in years. The company is still down 20% year to date, and more than 40% in the last twelve months. LendingClub has struggled to find its footing ever since the ouster of its CEO, Renaud Laplanche, after controversy over the parking of LendingClub notes in a related third-party firm. More recently, in the wake of Wells Fargo’s (WFC) fake-account scandal, the FTC has also charged LendingClub with charging improper fees to borrowers, sending the stock to new all-time lows of $2.57.

Source: Seeking Alpha

But with this earnings quarter – the first time in a long time that LendingClub has rallied to earnings news (in Q4, LendingClub dropped 9% after missing revenue estimates; the quarter before that, it tanked 17% for doing the same). What’s interesting is that even in this quarter, LendingClub continued a three-quarter streak of missing analysts’ revenue expectations.

How Wall Street, Silicon Valley institutionalized home flipping (Curbed) Rated: AAA

As the housing market has gone from recovering to roaring over the last five years, home flipping has also increased.

Source: Curbed

According to data provided by ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data provider, some 138,410 flippers invested $56 billion in home flipping in 2017, 34.8 percent of which was financed as opposed to executed in all cash. Prior to the housing bust, the same type of easy credit that infected the traditional mortgage market was also present in home flipping. At the peak of the housing bubble in 2005, more than $100 billion worth of homes were flipped by 287,929 investors, and 66 percent of those home flips were financed with loans.

Source: Curbed

Turn the Post Office Into a Bank? First Check Japan (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Koizumi won his fight, his party crushing all opposition in a landslide, and his plan was set in motion, though the process has taken more than a decade. The company’s initial public offering in 2015 was the world’s biggest in that year. The government still owns most of Japan Post Holdings Co., and periodically sells off shares, with the goal of eventually reducing its stake to only a third from more than half now. But privatization hasn’t shrunk Japan’s postal bank itself, which remains one of the largest and most important in the world:

Source: Bloomberg

The problem was that Japan’s postal bank didn’t just take deposits — it also lent money, including to so-called zombie companies, or inefficient enterprises that survive due to below-market-rate loans.

Bond Fund Inflows, Dollar Rally and Buyback Surge (INTL FCStone Email), Rated: AAA

Source: INTL FCStone

U.S. equity ETFs have lost $35 billion since the Nasdaq index peaked in mid-March. This is the longest stretch of ETF outflows I can remember since the end of the great financial crisis. Inflows into bond funds accelerated to $16 billion over the same time. Jumping from stock to bond funds at the first sign of volatility was a logical reaction when bond yields were falling to record lows amidst the deflationary fears of the beginning of 2016.

It makes a lot less sense when corporate earnings are soaring, when deficit-related treasury issuance is exploding, and when the New York Fed underlying inflation gauge is clocking above 3%. Last but not least, the equity selloff was in large part driven by a bond market rout that pushed 10-year yields above the economically meaningless but psychologically symbolic 3% level.

Read the full report here.

The Real Estate Lending Merger That Shook Mt. Olympus (Digital Journal) Rated: A

Zeus CrowdFunding, Zeus Hard Money and Zeus Mortgage Bank—made the switch to monotheism. The three successful businesses are now united under a single brand: ZeusLending.com.

Zeus Founder and Chief Acceleration Officer Steven Kaufman claims to have consolidated all three financing businesses into a single organization to better serve the community of real estate buyers and investors who rely upon fast, no-hassle loans to conduct timely transactions.

Federal student loans are about to get more expensive. What you need to know (CNBC) Rated: A

Although the Department of Education hasn’t formally announced the new rates, this year’s bump is likely to be higher than expected, said Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert.

Americans On Pace to Amass a Collective $ 4 Trillion in Consumer Debt by the End of 2018 (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its first Consumer Debt Outlook for May 2018. Americans are on pace to amass a collective $4 trillion in consumer debt by the end of 2018. Collectively, Americans owe more than 26 percent of their income on consumer debt, up from 22 percent in 2010.

Incomes growing, but consumer borrowing growing faster
Overall, the percentage of total non-housing debt, at 26 percent of Disposable Personal Income, is now even higher than during the credit boom in the mid-2000s.

Source: Lending Tree

 

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – April 2018 (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 7.35% in April.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.35%, a decrease of 7 basis points from the prior month and 2 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $22,774, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760, up 0.57% ($130) from last month, and over 17.86% ($4,067) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had offered APRs of 4.87% on average, and loan amounts of $33,931. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $2,877 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.
Source: Lending Tree

Real Estate Crowdfunding: MG Capital Migrates Investment Opportunity Online (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Recently, CI had a chance to catch up with Eric Malley, founder & CEO of MG Capital Management during the Crypto Invest Summit in Los Angeles. While not quite there yet, Malley is interested in the potential of blockchain.  He is looking at the options of how crypto and property can make sense for both investor and issuer.

RealtyMogul’s MogulREIT I Closes $ 4.9 Million Investments in Two Retail Shopping Centers (Citizen Tribune) Rated: B

MogulREIT I, as part of its diversified income strategy, recently completed two preferred equity investments in community-based retail centers. Community-based retail centers are centrally located within their respective population centers and focus on durable tenancy that serves the needs of the working community, thereby being less susceptible to internet retailing. The transactions include a $3 million preferred equity investment in a retail center in Waterbury, CT, consisting of three multi-tenant strips with 17 suites across 50.5 acres and a $1.9 million preferred equity investment in a retail center comprised of two lots with over 27,000 square feet located in Orange County, CA. CoStar reports that within a one-mile radius of the property, average household income is over $116,000.

Goldman Sachs, Apple Team Up on New Credit Card (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are preparing to launch a new joint credit card, a move that would deepen the technology giant’s push into its customers’ wallets and mark the Wall Street firm’s first foray into plastic.

The planned card would carry the Apple Pay brand and could launch early next year, people familiar with the matter said. Apple will replace its longstanding rewards-card partnership with Barclays PLC, the people said.

Guaranteed Rate Continues Record-Breaking Streak through April (Blobe Newswire) Rated: A

Guaranteed Rate, one of the nation’s largest retail mortgage lenders, reached $3 billion in total locked loan volume for the month of April and eclipsed records previously broken in March. In a highly-competitive housing market, the retail mortgage lender showed it’s the home purchase expert by achieving the following records: 9,387 in total locked units, $2.5 billion in locked purchase volume and 8,041 in locked purchase units.

 

Why Nationwide is ditching retail banking (Tear Sheet) Rated: A

Nationwide is shutting down its retail bank, returning to its historical core business lines including insurance and retirement; part of this plan is to invest more resources in reaching the fee-only adviser community.

The move to wind down banking operations was a strategic decision to focus on trust operations that support  retirement plans, a company spokesman said. Gaining scale and becoming competitive in retail banking would have required a “significant investment.”

Digital Lending 2.0 — A New Era (LinkedIn) Rated: A

We are now seeing an evolution of the online lending model: version 2.0. This version looks in many ways like a traditional bank, albeit a much lighter and digital one, with multi-product platforms and a variety of custom offerings for consumers. With non-traditional models like Barclays and Goldman Sachs entering the market, online lenders are either partnering up or learning from the players they sought to disrupt. In digital lending 2.0, it will be important to take an open collaborative approach, broaden offerings and deepen customer relationships through more customized solutions.

Marketplace Lending Update #3: Kabbage Heads to Court (The National Law Review) Rated: A

A recently filed California lawsuit raises the stakes in the ongoing challenge to the “bank origination model.” The lawsuit, Barnabas Clothing, Inc. v. Kabbage, Inc., was filed on March 22, 2018 in Superior Court in Los Angeles and recently removed to the federal court.1 Barnabas alleges violations of state usury, false advertising, and unfair competition laws, and asserts two federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act claims. Barnabas seeks to certify a class on behalf of all California-based Kabbage borrowers and requests various relief, including that the court void the Kabbage loans.

You can do more than you think with bad credit (Inquirer Business) Rated: B

CreditCards.com, the average FICO credit score was 699 in 2016, which is just a step above fair credit. About 30 percent of Americans have poor credit, making it difficult for them to function in the financial world.

Get Creative with Loans

  • Peer to Peer LendingSince 2005, peer to peer (P2) lending has been a staple for those seeking funding with bad credit. Rather than going through an institution, you apply for and receive funds over a member-funded platform.

 

United Kingdom

Zopa to boost regulatory clout ahead of Brexit (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

ZOPA is recruiting staff to bolster its regulatory expertise and influence ahead of industry changes and developments such as Brexit.

The peer-to-peer lender is advertising for a public and regulatory affairs officer who will be responsible for building relationships with key regulatory and political stakeholders and industry bodies.

 

Nearly Half of Aspiring Property Developers Say Economic Growth Will Have the Greatest Effect on House Prices in the Next Five Years (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

According to LendInvest, when asked what will have the biggest effect on house prices in the next five years, nearly half (40%) of those surveyed viewed national economic growth as having the greatest impact. Only a quarter of respondents (24%) reportedly believe political developments, such as further elections and impending Brexit, will affect house price growth the most. And a shortage in supply of housing is the biggest concern affecting house prices for only a fifth (20%) of those surveyed, while 16% of aspiring developers cited the construction of new infrastructure such as the new HS2 and Crossrail lines as the key influencing factor.

 

Goldman Sachs has invested in a UK startup that tells you when to switch mortgages (Business Insider) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs has led a £13.6 million funding round into UK startup Trussle, a company that helps people get mortgages online and tells them when to switch to better deals.

Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments and Propel Venture Partners led the Series B investment into Trussle, which was announced on Wednesday.

Virgin Money offer highlights testing times for challenger banks (Financial Times) Rated: A

CYBG recently made a takeover approach of rival Virgin Money as challenger banks look for solutions in what has become a tough market; challenger banks are dealing with increased competition by digital entrants, not to mention the big four UK banks, rising funding costs and bigger rivals in the mortgage market; M&A activity among challengers is increasing as companies look to consolidate and digitize to compete.

 

 

Credit Kudos a bureau hero in open banking roll-out race (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Credit Kudos has got connected with banks in the UK, becoming the “first credit bureau to offer open banking services to lenders and individuals”.

According to the credit bureau, borrowers can now use its services to verify income and demonstrate creditworthiness using their financial history data.

The company has now launched connections with Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Ulster Bank, Allied Irish Bank, Danske Bank, and HSBC.

Mortgages shine in Castlight Financial’s open banking pilot (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Glasgow-based Castlight Financial is partnering with Paradigm Mortgage Services and Foundation Home Loans to launch a pilot of its affordability tool powered by open banking technology.

Called Affordability Passport, Castlight says it allows brokers to process mortgages in under ten minutes.

China

China Struggles to Establish Credit Scoring System (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

China’s government has tried for many years to establish a credit system that rivals the U.S. and Europe, but has found it a struggle to get there.

In 2015 China’s Central Bank contracted eight companies, including affiliates of TencentPing Anand Alibaba, to help build a credit system that could rival what other developed economies use. The experiment up until today has not fared well as lenders and e-commerce firms continue to use their own proprietary systems to determine risk of the borrower.

One of the main drivers behind the failure is companies were reluctant to share the data they collected. Also, conflicts of interest arose as users could be rewarded by using certain companies to drive their score up.

International

Splitit is financing purchases for debit cardholders (Tear Sheet) Rated: AAA

Splitit, a competitor to lending companies like Affirm and Klarna, is bringing its point-of-sale financing product to debit card users in the U.S. and Europe, targeting fashion and jewelry websites in particular, like Vestiaire Collective and Philip Stein.

Unlike its competitors, however, the company is focused on making the retail industry better for everyone involved — banks, processors, consumers and merchants — rather than displacing credit cards, said Gil Don, CEO of Splitit.

It might be decades before credit cards disappear, but different industries are already seeking ways to sidestep the fees that come with today’s credit card payments.

Getline ICO (GET Token): Blockchain Credit Scoring & Lending? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

The GetLine network is a peer-to-peer lending platform that is built on the Ethereum blockchain. By leveraging distributed ledger technology, the objective of this project is to disrupt the lending sector, which is currently valued at a whopping $1 trillion. Therefore, transactions will be processed instantly thanks to the direct connection between lenders and borrowers. Moreover, the platform will rely on an advanced credit risk prediction mechanism, making the entire lending process safer and accessible to lenders and borrowers respectively.

 

India

RBI regulations create roadblocks for peer-to-peer lending companies (Business Standard) Rated: AAA

Is non-bank lending a form of access to credit for those in need or an investment asset class for the well-to-do? That is the question that India’s central bank perhaps grappled with while framing the regulations for the nascent peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies.

While the regulations were put up only in November last year, a handful of companies have exited business and many others have changed tack after looking at the guidelines.

Asia

DBS Bank rolls out Singapore’s first in-app digital financial advisor that’s called ‘Your Financial GPS’ – (Business Insider) Rated: A

DBS Bank recently announced a new in-app holistic digital financial advisor which it called “Your Financial GPS”  – said to be the first of its kind in Singapore.

If you’re a DBS/POSB Bank member and have recently used your iBanking or digibank app, you might have noticed the new feature already available on the app’s main page.

Indonesia: Skystar-backed P2P lender Julo raises $ 5m Series A round (Deal Street Asia) Rated: A

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Julo has raised $5 million in a Series A funding round led by Skystar Capital and East Ventures.

Other investors that joined the round include Gobi Partners, Convergence Ventures, Provident Capital, Central Capital Ventura, Heyokha Brothers and other strategic investors, Julo announced on Thursday.

The new round of funding comes only a year after Julo raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round, also led by Skystar Capital.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday March 15 2018, Daily News Digest

Thursday March 15 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Yirendai releases Q4 & FY 2017 results. LendInvest intros fixed rate notes. Virgin Money launches financial well being portal for employees. LHV to open bank in UK to serve fintechs. Today’s main analysis: A European manifesto for an age of irrelevance. Today’s thought-provoking articles: GM launching P2P car renting service. A European manifesto for […]

Thursday March 15 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

GM Launching Peer-To-Peer Car Sharing (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

According to Fortune, the peer-to-peer car share service will allow car owners to rent out their vehicles when they aren’t using them.

Sources said the program will begin this summer through the automaker’s Maven car-sharing unit, which allows owners to put their vehicles on the platform for rent and share their profits with GM.

The service could become a full-scale business if the pilot proves to be a success. A spokesman for GM declined to comment.

Ameritech Financial: FinTech Leader in Student Loan Document Preparation Industry (PRNewswire), Rated: A

FinTech companies are focusing on using technology to drive their services and offerings and support their clients. Commonly, this means financial institutions are operating online. For Ameritech Financial, a document preparation company focusing on helping federal student loan borrowers apply for existing federal repayment plans, the private company uses technology in every part of its business to support clients in their search for relief from high student loan payments.

Growing Fintech Companies Partner to Revolutionize Digital Mortgage Technology to Make Buying a Home Easier (Benzinga), Rated: A

WebMax, a digital mortgage solution provider, and FinLocker, a financial data and analytics platform, announced today that they finalized a partnership as a result of successful execution on their five joint customers. The partnership aims to build on 17 months of collaborative efforts to further propel lenders into the digital mortgage revolution.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, between 2010 and 2017, mortgages took 70 percent longer to close and origination costs skyrocketed 80 percent as the burden of regulatory compliance grew.

 

Fintech Mobile App Pockitapp Announces Partnership With Dwolla (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

On Tuesday, fintech mobile app Pockitapp announced it has teamed up with Dwolla to deliver back-end banking integration services. According to Pockitapp, Dwolla provides a secure online payment system and mobile payment network to enable auto clearing house (ACH) transfers, including vendor payments. Pockitapp reported that working with Dwolla allows the fintech startup to offer access to all financial institutions rather than just one.

United Kingdom

LendInvest Returns to Retail Bond Market with Fixed Rate Notes (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendInvest, a UK based online marketplace platform for property finance, has announced a proposed issuance of  5.375% fixed rate bonds due October 2023 by its wholly-owned subsidiary, LendInvest Secured Income plc.

LendInvest’s first bond issuance is trading on the LSE (LIV1) and was issued in August 2017 after raising £50 million from both retail and institutional investors. This new issuance is expected to trade on the LSE as well.

Virgin Money introduces financial wellbeing portal for employees (Pensions Expert), Rated: AAA

In March 2017, the Financial Advice Working Group produced a report for HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority on financial wellbeing in the workplace.

The report said: “Many employees are struggling with their finances: they face increasing personal debt, demanding financial commitments, and a limited ability to save for the future.”

It features guidance on common money issues, such as improving credit scores and dealing with debt. The site also provides tips and guidance with links to the company’s benefits.

Estonia’s LHV to open UK bank to serve fintech industry (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Estonia’s LHV Bank is swimming against the Brexit tide by setting up shop in the UK to service the country’s thriving fintech market.

LHV UK is currently recruiting and intends to be in a position to start servicing new financial intermediaries by H2 2018. Banking services on offer will include real-time payments, overdraft facilities, and forex.

Industry reacts to Spring Statement 2018 (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: B

The chancellor addressed the House of Commons earlier today to provide an update on the overall health of the UK economy.

Mr Hammond also revealed the government’s progress since the Autumn Budget 2017 and discussed new measures to help achieve policies introduced last year.

Mr Hammond announced that the government was working with 44 areas on their bids for the £4.1bn housing infrastructure fund.

He also announced that London would be receiving £1.67bn of funding to support the development of a further 27,000 affordable homes by the end of 2021/22.

Small businesses need to explore finance options available to them (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: A

The study found that start-ups are nearly twice as likely to use personal savings as those that have been in business for a decade or more, suggesting that small businesses in the UK are not seeking support from high street lenders.

The study also showed that small businesses are more ambitious than older companies when it comes to their growth plans, with 14% predicting business growth in the next three months compared to 3% of businesses that have been trading for longer.

The top forms of finance for small businesses over the past 12 months were revealed in the research, with more than 35% of start-ups using personal finances and 15% relying on money from family members.

 

Why brexit could be a good thing for the UK’s Fintech industry (Computer Business Review), Rated: A

The UK fintech scene has the world’s biggest financial centre at its disposal. UK fintech’s will enjoy privileged access, in geographical and regulatory terms, to the enormous B2B market that the City of London gives them access to.

They will also have privileged access to the UK’s highly competitive retail finance market, worth £58 – £67 billion a year. There are also signs that leaving the EU could help invigorate at least some segments of that market. A recent article in the FT — not by any means a Brexitcheerleader — reported that small-to-medium UK providers of retail banking services are actively looking forward to Brexit in the hope that it will free them from onerous EU regulations designed for huge ‘too large to fail’ banks but now applied to all financial institutions, even smaller ones.

China

Chinese Fintech Yirendai Unveils Fourth Quarter & Full Year 2017 Financial Results (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The company reported that in the fourth quarter of 2017, it facilitated RMB 13,438.5 million (US$2,065.5 million) of loans to 202,370 qualified individual borrowers through its online marketplace, representing a year-over-year growth of 95%; 74.6% of the borrowers were acquired from online channels; nearly 100% of the loan volume originated from online channels was facilitated through mobile.

During that quarter, Yirendai facilitated 233,374 investors with total investment amount of RMB 15,967.4 million(US$2,454.2 million), 100% of which was facilitated through its online platform and 92% of which was facilitated through its mobile application. Also in the fourth quarter, total net revenue was RMB 1,824.8 million (US$280.5 million), an increase of 21% from the previous quarter and 70% year-over-year; net income was RMB 448.8 million (US$69.0 million), an increase of 48% from the previous quarter and 18% year-over-year.

Yirendai also noted that in the full year of 2017 it facilitated RMB 41,406.1 million (US$6,364.0 million) of loans to 649,154 qualified individual borrowers through its online marketplace, representing a year-over-year growth of 102%; 72.9% of the borrowers were acquired from online channels; nearly 100% of the loan volume originated from online channels was facilitated through mobile.

China’s $ 814 Billion Fund Will Cut Exposure to Volatile Markets (Bloomberg), Rated: A

China Investment Corp., which recently sold its shares of Blackstone Group LP, is seeking to boost alternative and direct investments to 45 percent or more of its overseas portfolio in the next three years, from about 38 percent at the end of last year, President Tu Guangshao said in an interview in Beijing.

The divestment of the Blackstone stake, one of the first investments for the wealth fund that was started in 2007 with an initial $200 billion, may signal CIC’s pursuit of steadier returns. It ends a wild ride for CIC — Blackstone shares plunged 89 percent from the U.S. firm’s IPO to a February 2009 trough, but have since surged almost nine-fold.

European Union

Sit Back, Relax, and Pray for the Best: A European Manifesto for the Age of Irrelevance (INTL FCStone  Email), Rated: AAA

About a year ago, European indices were outperforming, pundits were certain that the Euro would fall to parity with the dollar, and the biggest political risk was France. A year later, the Eurostoxx 50 Index has underperformed almost every major global index (in local currency at least), M. Draghi spends his press conferences talking down the Euro, and France has become the continent’s anchor of stability.

Source: INTL FCStone
Source: INTL FCStone

The Eurozone manufacturing PMI fell to 58 last month, the European Commission Economic Sentiment Indicator fell in the past two months, and, most worryingly for the European Central Bank and the normalization of monetary policy, headline inflation fell to 1.2% last month, against 1.9% a year ago. To add insult to injury, this European soft patch is taking place just as U.S. growth accelerates: the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index for the U.S. has jumped to 45, against minus 22 for the Eurozone.

Bottom Line:
1 – European indices have underperformed since May and recent economic data has disappointed
2 – The European economy is not rolling over: it is settling at a sustainable growth rate
3 – M. Draghi turned a treacherous press conference into a success
4 – Greek bonds could benefit from the normalization of European monetary policy
5 – The European discount reflects the continent’s irrelevance. That may not be such a bad thing.

See the full report here.

LENDO DAZZLES AT 2018 GIBRALTAR INTERNATIONAL FINTECH FORUM (Olive Press News), Rated: B

Lendo’s CEO, David Honeyman, joined a panel of experts including the managing director of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange Nick Cowan to discuss the crypto industry.

International

How Peer-to-Peer Lending Companies Could Benefit From Blockchain (guruFocus), Rated: AAA

Some of the blockchain’s strongest marketing points include its ability to democratize markets and, given the way peer-to-peer lending platforms operate, they could do a lot better if they adopted the use of blockchain. This could result in companies like LendingClub Corp. (NYSE:LC) and Hexindai Inc. (NASDAQ:HX), which have experienced mixed performances since going public, expand their addressable market by targeting customers that hold crypto assets of some form.

With blockchain technology, however, borrowers can tokenize the assets they own and add them to the distributed ledger infrastructure to sell, trade or use as collateral for loans. Some of these assets may not qualify as collateral in the mainstream lending market, but with blockchain technology and through tokenization, assets such as patents, intellectual property or even branding can be tokenized and used as collateral for hard money loans.

There are companies that have already launched this type of service. SALT Lending, which allows cryptocurrency traders to use their investments in the market as collateral for loans, is a perfect example. However, analysts suggest peer-to-peer lending platforms that are already established could do even better since their profiles are already proven as good alternatives for sources of loans in the credit market.

Understanding the global growth in direct lending (TMF Group), Rated: A

It’s a maturing market that’s here to stay. European direct lending has grown from a relatively unknown asset class to raising around US$22bn in 2017 alone. According to research by the Alternative Credit Council (ACC), the global direct lending market is expected to break the US$1tn mark by 2020. That’s quite a trajectory.

P2P platforms and crowdfunding sites also have an important role to play. We’re seeing them dominate the €50,000 – €1m loan range . Larger deals are more appropriate for asset managers, who have the necessary scale and risk analysis expertise.

India

Fintech startup Avail Finance raises $ 17.2 million from Matrix Partners, Ola founders, and others (The Financial Express), Rated: A

Fintech startup, Avail Finance, has raised 17.2 million in an investment round led by Matrix Partners india. The round also saw participation from Ola’s co-founders – Ankit Bhati and Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-Founder and CEO of Flipkart – Binny Bansal, Freecharge founder – Kunal Shah and founder of Mswipe – Manish Patel. The funds raised include debt and credit lines from multiple NBFCs.

 

Asia

Open banking eases regulatory hurdles in fintech (The Korea Herald), Rated: A

One of the key topics at this week’s Money 20/20 Asia fintech trade show is also the so-called open banking that allows more flexibility when these small players in the market launch their own financial services.

It is long since an established bank has shared its license and regulatory expertise through an open platform based on application programming interface, or API, but related technologies are thriving recently along with the fever for fintech across industries.

5 notable startup trends seen at Top100 Indonesia Qualifier Roadshow (E27), Rated: B

The roadshow yesterday also saw a presentation by TaniJoy, which aims to help vegetable farmers get capital through a P2P lending platform.

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

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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

August 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

August 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s news pour some cold water on P2P SME lending : SME securitizations and SME yield performance seem to be less than expected. See 1st article in US section and 1st article in UK section. Finova raised $52.5 mil , Mosaic $220 mil. And today’s the day : Lending Club and OnDeck release […]

August 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Australia

News Summary

United States

Funding Circle, and other online lenders, falter in America, (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

“Our portfolio of Funding Circle US loans has continued to substantially underperform our expectations, a trend which continued during the quarter and created a drag on the overall portfolio. We stopped purchasing new Funding Circle US loans late in 2015 so the portfolio continues to amortize down.” [ Comment: see the complete VPC Q2 2016 letter in the UK section below].

That’s from VPC Specialty Lending (VSL) Investments’ second quarter letter, released earlier this week (mea culpa, we didn’t spot it at first).

VSL’s disclosure forced Funding Circle’s listed fund to issue its own filing to the market yesterday, sort of but not outright rejecting the suggestion that loans were underperforming:

The Company’s US Credit Assets are projected to return in excess of 8% per annum on a net unlevered basis – consistent with historic performance observed on the Funding Circle US marketplace.

But that might be downplaying the historic performance a little. When Funding Circle floated its fund last year, this is the US loan performance it revealed in its November prospectus (note the numbers didn’t include expected future losses and showed the to-date performance at that time):

Sachin Patel, Funding Circle’s global co-head of capital markets, said that loans originated in the first half of 2015 had underperformed and are expected to return 7.25 per cent to its large, accredited investors, rather than the 8 per cent or more that it targets.

Funding Circle launched in the US in late 2013 and is run out of San Francisco by Sam Hodges. According to the 2015 prospectus for Funding Circle’s fund, US loans originated in early 2014 also “experienced higher than expected annualised loss rates”.

Similar missteps were seen in Funding Circle’s first years of operation in the UK too:

But Funding Circle isn’t the only online lender to small businesses in the US that is disappointing investors. According to a Morgan Stanley note last month, a second securitisation of loans originated by OnDeck, which is listed, breached its loss trigger in June:

MPLT 2015-OD3 from OnDeck breached triggers in June, joining the 3 deals we had previously highlighted – MPLT 2015- CB1 (Circleback), MPLT 2015-OD1 (OnDeck) and GLCII 2014-A (Lending Club).

That makes four online lending securitisation deals that have hit their loss trigger, meaning that cashflows are diverted to senior bondholders at the expense of the lower tranche investors. Three of those four deals, as far as we can tell, were arranged by Jefferies.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on securitisations of loans from Avant, a US consumer lender that also gets a dishonourable mention in VSL’s letter (note that Victory Park is an equity investor in Avant):

We also saw a reduction in the value of three residual interests in securitizations of Avant loans that are held at fair market value. These markdowns, which flow through capital, reflect loss curves coming in slightly higher than in the first quarter. While the capital markets have recently begun to re-open for marketplace lending loans, we have no current plans to pursue additional securitizations.

FTC Announces FinTech Forum on Crowdfunding, Peer-to-Peer Payments, (JD Supra Business Advisor), Rated: AAA

The FTC announced it will be hosting the next event in the FinTech Forum series on October 26, 2016.

BNY Mellon sees possible rise of P2P collateral lending, (Global Custodian), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending among buy-siders could emerge due to a challenging regulatory environment for sourcing and optimising collateral, according to BNY Mellon.

In the report, BNY Mellon states that institutional investors may also find further opportunities in a peer-to-peer relationship, where buy-side firms are both the collateral provider and receiver.

The report can be found here.

 Income: any Fintech to fill-in the supply shortage?, ( Daily Fintech), Rated: AAA

The world still needs current [Comment: I believe most people use the word fixed instead of current] income for a variety of reasons: wage stagnation, tax overburdening, and the usual cash flows needs that are not at all well managed.

Source: Pension Partners

Challenger banks in the UK have been offering bonds (3yrs or less) to entice customers to sign up on their platforms.

Source: Daily Finance

There are two Alternative finance options that can generate income, much like high yield bonds or publicly traded REITS have been doing in normal conditions.

Investors in the UK can invest in the LE listed

Finova Financial Raises $ 52.5 M First Round For Car Equity Loans, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: A

Finova Financial has raised $52.5 million in its first institutional funding—much of it in the form of debt—for its consumer lending service that provides car owners with a line of credit.

The funding was led by MHS Capital, with participation from Refactor Capital; CoVenture; Metamorphic Ventures; 500 Startups; Funding Circle co-founder Sam Hodges; NerdWallet co-founder Jake Gibson; and Al Hamra Group, a company owned by a ruling family in the United Arab Emirates.

A “large percentage” of the round was the credit facility, the company said, but declined to give specifics.

Founded in January 2015, Finova provides loans in exchange for liens on consumers’ cars, which the company calls a “car-equity line of credit,” which resembles a home equity credit line. Its loans are typically $1,500 to $1,700.

Finova charges about 70% less than the industry average, according to Mr. Keough said.

In contrast to typical paper applications, with Finova people can apply on a website or mobile device by providing information about their cars and driver’s licenses and receive decisions quickly, Mr. Keough said. About 65% of customers apply via phones.

The car equity loan is Finova’s first product, and the company intends to launch other products for “unbanked” consumers, as the company describes its target market.

“My investment thesis is: financial services for the rest of us,” said Sheel Mohnot, the partner at 500 Startups who leads the firm’s fintech investments. “There could not be a better fit (than Finova) for working with a population who is unbanked.”

Warburg Pincus Leads $ 220 Million Round for Solar Lender Mosaic, ( Wall Street Journal), Rated : A

Private-equity firm Warburg Pincus is leading a $220 million equity investment in energy-financing startup Solar Mosaic Inc., according to two people familiar with the situation. The company, known as Mosaic, provides loans for solar installations for homeowners. It is starting to finance other energy-efficiency upgrades that are meant to reduce utility bills.

Warburg Pincus will have a slight majority control of Mosaic through its $200 million investment, one person said. Other investors in the round include financial technology venture firm Core Innovation Capital and Obvious Ventures, a firm, co-founded by Ev Williams, that seeks to invest in startups that offer a positive social impact. Andrew Beebe, managing director at Obvious Ventures, has had a long career in solar energy.

Mosaic has said that it plans to originate about $1 billion in residential-solar loans in the coming 12 months. It secured $200 million in credit from DZ Bank as the lead lender earlier this year. NY Green Bank also participated.

The company’s business model is built around allowing people to own their own solar systems. That contrasts against the predominant model of financing residential solar under lease programs in which homeowners rent the solar power their properties generate.

Privately held GreenSky LLC and Spruce Finance Inc., backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, also operate in the category. Earlier Mosaic investors include Spring Ventures, Serious Change, Blue Haven Initiative and Bronze Investments.

Colorado Inquiry Prompts Avant to Rejig Bonds, Kroll Says, (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Avant Inc., the online lending marketplace, removed unsecured consumer loans made to Colorado residents from a securitization deal after a state regulator sought information about its lending policies, according to Kroll Bond Rating Agency. Colorado concluded that loans mad to its residents must comply with its lending statutes, even if the debts originate through partner banks in another state, as Avant does in Utah, Kroll said in an Aug. 2 report. Such statutes include usury laws and restrictions on late fees and other charges, Kroll said in its evaluation of an upcoming $200 million securitization to be sold by Avant. “In light of the letters from the Colorado regulator, Avant has removed all loans made to Colorado residents,” Kroll said. Carolyn Blackman Gasbarra, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based Avant, declined via e-mail to comment while the deal is pending. Kroll said Avant is “proactively addressing any regulator concerns.” Sheila Bair, the former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and a frequent proponent of tougher regulation, was added to the company’s board earlier this year.

Inside CommonBond’s 401(k) platform for student loan debt, (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

In July 2016, student loan platform CommonBond acquired online loan repayment advisor Gradible. The acquisition of Gradible, which uses an algorithm to recommend what the best repayment options are for student loan borrowers, has enabled CommonBond to roll out a new platform that it’s calling the 401(k) for student loans.

The 401(k) platform will enable employers to contribute to their employees student loans just as they contribute to their employees’ retirement. “What the acquisition of Gradible allows us to do is to marry up certain technologies that they’ve built with technologies that we’ve already built to accelerate the platform,” said David Klein, co-founder and CEO of CommonBond.

Gradible’s merger with CommonBond was two years in the works. A personal connection lead CommonBond to partner with the software company, becoming one of the refinance options Gradible offered on its platform. Eventually, CommonBond’s desire to expand its reach together with Gradible’s intention to accelerate its vision led to the merger.

Klein believes that bringing Gradible in-house will enable CommonBond to reach and meaningfully impact every one of the over 40 million Americans saddled with student debt, and to a certain extent this is true. As a student loan reassessment tool, Gradible can help students discover alternative ways to manage their debt, such as income-based repayment and public service loan forgiveness.

But the 401(k) will ultimately serve the “top talent”, who are the most likely to make it out of student debt in the first place.

CommonBond had one company ask it to implement the platform for them, and Klein has also piloted the 401(k) at CommonBond itself – much to its employees’ delight.

While the CommonBond-Gradible marriage can’t fix what’s broken with the student loan industry at large, its 401(k) product is opening up the traditional closed lender-borrower relationship to employers. So far, this threesome has benefited the entire loan ecosystem: lenders are getting repaid faster, employees are happier, and employers are meaningfully participating in their employees’ financial lives.

Online Lenders Have a Tough Job Ahead, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

LendingClub Corp. and OnDeck Capital Inc. have suffered through growing pains this year.

They each report second-quarter results Monday [Comment: today].

Jefferies closes Lending Club bonds sale, (Financial Times), Rated: A

Comment: our readers are familiar with this information from last week’s Monday Lending Times. I believe a reminder is a good idea though.

Jefferies has closed a private sale of bonds backed by personal loans originated by Lending Club, marking a step in the rehabilitation of the scandal-hit online lender ahead of its second-quarter earnings. Meanwhile, the Jefferies-led deal is “very positive” for the online-lending industry, said James Gutierrez, chief executive of Insikt, a platform that has sold bundles of Lending Club and Prosper loans to wealthy individuals.

Three months on, Jefferies has sold $105m of bonds backed by Lending Club loans, offering yields of 3.75 to 6.5 per cent.

Offers of unsecured personal loans sent out in the mail dropped 19 per cent in the second quarter from the first quarter, to 507m, according to Mintel Comperemedia, a market intelligence agency. All told, the industry has sent out 4.44bn loan offers to consumers over the past two years, peaking at 749m in the fourth quarter last year.

Goldman Sachs, which had been preparing a securitisation of prime loans from Lending Club before the scandal blew up in May, is prepared to bide its time, according to a person briefed on the bank’s plans.

MPOWER Brings on SoFi and Student-Lending Veteran Renee Suryan as Director of University Relations, (PR Web), Rated: A

Comment: Please see the Lending Times article on MPOWER here.

MPOWER Financing is pleased to formally announce the addition of Renee Suryan to its team. With more than 20 years of experience in student lending, including 10 years as a financial aid administrator, she joins MPOWER as Director of University Relations. Currently growing at a rate of 40 percent month-over-month in loan volume, MPOWER projects it will have more than 200 school partnerships and 21 state licenses by the end of 2016.

MPOWER Partners with FUTR to Support Domestic and International Student Loans, (PR Web), Rated: B

MPOWER Financing today announced that it is partnering with FUTR Corporation to provide superior loan servicing and support to MPOWER borrowers.

FUTR is a privately held and venture-backed higher education finance provider headquartered in San Francisco, with an operational hub in Bryan, Texas. FUTR is focused on bringing together modern technology and quality service to provide new levels of transparency and insight that borrowers need to optimally manage their financial future.

The Time To Start Thinking About Repaying Student Loans Is When You Take Them Out, (Forbes), Rated: B

Comment: article written for borrowers. Probably not useful to our readers.

Credible.com is a multi-lender student loan marketplace. One issue that’s underappreciated is that the time to start thinking about repaying your student loans is not when you graduate, but when you take them out.

The 27 fintech unicorns from around the world, ranked by value, (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Comment: Article would have deserved to be in an international section. However it is only marginally relevant to our readers and we prefer not focus our newsletter on this article. Hence we located it at the end of our US section.

An interesting list. Many of our own industry participants are present. However I had not heard of a few of them. Worth a read.

United Kingdom

VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC, (VPC Specialty Lending), Rated: AAA

Comment: There is a disclaimer the readers must read and agree to before accessing this article.

In the second quarter of 2016, VPC Speciality Lending Investments PLC (“VSL” or the “Company”) delivered a net return of 0.33%. Although the return wasbelow expectations, it does not reflect what we believe will be the level of long-term returns for our shareholders given our existing portfolio and pipeline. There are several reasons for the decline in short-term performance, which are outlined below along with the steps we are taking to mitigate these factors in the near term.

The decision by U.K. voters to leave the European Union (“EU”) and the subsequent depreciation of the GBP had a negative impact on the Company’s performance as we had to maintain an outsized cash balance related to our currency hedge. Leading up to the EU Referendum, we took a conservative approach to our cash management and credit allocations. A substantial portion of our assets are held in USD and other currencies, which are hedged to GBP via forward currency swaps. The hedging program was put in place when the investments were made following the Company’s March 2015 IPO and September 2015 C share offering. Since then, due to the substantial depreciation of GBP against USD, the Company has had to deposit in cash up to 11.5% of the Company’s NAV. While the direct effect of the currency swings on our income has been limited because our non-GBP exposure is largely hedged, the obligation to settle the hedges upon expiration and the need to maintain additional liquidity in the event the GBP depreciates further has limited our ability to be largely fully invested, as we strive to be. The outlook for the GBP continues to be uncertain – several economists have set target prices for USD/GBP at $1.20 or below with a one-year time horizon – leaving us to remain conservative. We are reviewing all available options to reduce the cash drag related to the margin requirement, including a revolving credit facility for the Company.

The majority of our whole loan portfolio performed in line with our expectations, although certain positions did experience higher than expected losses.

Accordingly, we believe we are now in the period of peak losses for our portfolios (assuming static economic conditions), leading to muted NAV returns in the near term but we expect the returns to even out over the life of the investments.

As previously announced, our portfolio of Funding Circle US loans has continued to substantially underperform our expectations, a trend which continued during the quarter and created a drag on the overall portfolio. We stopped purchasing new Funding Circle US loans late in 2015 so the portfolio continues to amortize down.

We also saw a reduction in the value of three residual interests in securitizations of Avant loans that are held at fair market value.

On a more positive note, our balance sheet loan portfolio continued to show excellent performance with no impairments and coupons ranging from 12% to 16%.

  • On 26 May 2016, the Company made initial investments in West Creek Financial, Inc., a provider of point-of-sale lease-to-own financing to underserved customers enabling purchases of durable goods such as furniture, mattresses, and appliances.
  • On 30 June 2016, the Company made initial investments in Fundbox Ltd., a provider of short-term working capital advances to small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. and the Company funded a new tranche of senior secured debt to Elevate Credit, Inc. Elevate is a provider of cash advances and installment loans to U.S. consumers.

While cash drag as a result of the currency hedge and the performance of certain whole loan investments were disappointing, we are encouraged by the performance of our existing balance sheet investments as well as the attractive terms of newer deals. In order to further demonstrate our commitment to the Company and our confidence in achieving returns of 8% or greater, we have agreed with the Company’s Board of Directors to modify our management agreement such that we will apply 20% of our monthly management fee to purchase shares of the Company at the prevailing market price on an ongoing basis, whilst the shares are trading at a discount to net asset value.

Understanding of risk remains a central issue for P2P industry, (Alt Fi), Rated: A

Andrew Tyrie, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, has written to the outgoing and incoming heads of the FCA – Tracey McDermott and Andrew Bailey respectively.

“Government policies to promote the crowdfunding sector may have the right intention – to increase competition in the small to medium enterprise lending market – but government tax incentives, in effect government subsidies, may be encouraging some consumers into the use of inappropriate products.”

The problem of a perceived lack of understanding of risk by investing consumers has been a common sector theme of late.

Analysis from AltFi Data illustrates that, to date, the lending performance of the largest UK platforms has delivered consistently positive net returns. Zopa, Funding Circle, Ratesetter and MarketInvoice together make up over 65% of the sector’s origination volume and lead the way when it comes to disclosure of their lending track record. 10 years of data representing that track record demonstrates that net returns have remained positive in a range of 5-6.5%. Bad debt performance has also been impressive, coming in at 5% for the worst ever annual cohort i.e. less than 1.7% annualized, and at no worse than 1.66%, i.e. less than 0.55% annualized, over the past 5 years.

Liberum Alt Fi Index. Source: AltFi.com

Assetz Capital Reports: Peer-to-Peer Lending Expected to Thrive As Bank of England Slashes Interest Rates, (Crowdfunding Insider), Rated: A

On Thursday, Assetz Capital one of the UK’s largest peer-to-peer lenders, announced it is predicting that both savers and borrowers will continue to turn to alternative finance companies in increasing numbers as Bank of England slashes interest rates from 0.5% to 0.25%.

Assetz Capital revealed, since launching in 2013, around £130 million has flown through its platform to credit-worthy borrowers, earning investors a total gross interest of more than £12 million to date and this lending is predicted to continue to rise rapidly.

Assetz Capital also predicted the number of business borrowers will also rise as a result of the cut interest rate.

Australia

Fintech B2B small business lending marketplace Bigstone raises million, (Financial Review), Rated: A

Fintech start-up Bigstone has raised $3 million from a range of investors, including ASX-listed diversified investments and venture capital firm CVC, to grow its small business lending marketplace and offer an alternative to the big banks.

Other major investors in the round were the founders of Bangkok-based fund Lighthouse Venture Partners Paniti Junhasavasdikul and Narith Phadungchai, in addition to private investors.

By the end of the year, Bigstone is hoping to have financed $10 million worth of loans to more than 200 small businesses.

A University of Sydney and KPMG study released earlier this year found that Australia’s online alternative finance market grew by 320 per cent in 2015 to $460 million, making it the third largest market in the Asia Pacific behind China and Japan.

Author:

George Popescu