Wednesday June 27 2018 Daily News Digest

Bank of Amazon unbundling financial services

News Comments Today’s main news: Consumer debt surpasses mortgage debt. Funding Circle, INTRUST Bank expand partnership. Revolut offers app store for business banking. VPC Specialty Lending hits record monthly returns. Today’s main analysis: Amazon’s big push into lending, and beyond. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The past and future of banking. Should income investors consider P2P lending? Banks can’t partner themselves into […]

Bank of Amazon unbundling financial services

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United States

United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

Consumer Debt Now Surpasses Mortgage Debt (Investopedia) Rated: AAA

Mortgages may represent the largest debt for households, but as a percentage of disposable income, home loans are comprising less of a liability, LendingTree found.

In a research report, the online lender, which analyzed data from the Federal Reserve, said that mortgage-related household debt has declined 5.5%, while consumer credit, which includes revolving credit and installment loans, jumped 45%. Of that, 42% was student loan debt. What’s more, LendingTree found that American household debt is on track to hit $1 trillion above the 2008 peak by the end of June. The debt figure has been increasing at a 3.4% annual rate and includes mortgage debt.

By the end of the second quarter, LendingTree is forecasting total mortgage and consumer debt to reach $15.7 trillion compared with $14.7 trillion 10 years ago.

INTRUST Bank and Funding Circle expand partnership (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the small business loans platform, and INTRUST Bank, a leading US regional bank headquartered in Kansas, today announced the next phase of their strategic partnership to support the growth of US small businesses. Following the successful launch of this partnership earlier this year, the second phase increases INTRUST’s funding commitment and kicks off a targeted, co-branded marketing campaign, giving business owners across KansasMissouriOklahoma, and Arkansas greater access to fast and flexible financing.

To date, over 150 American small businesses have received loans backed by INTRUST through the Funding Circle platform. The upsized commitment is anticipated to increase this number above 500.

Amazon and Their Push Into Fintech (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Last week CB Insights released this really interesting report titled, Everything You Need To Know About What Amazon Is Doing in Financial Services.

Source: Lend Academy

The report provides an in depth look at the moves Amazon has made in payments, lending, the new Amazon Cash program and also takes a look at how the company has been developing fintech programs internationally.

By the simple addition of a debit card, Amazon could move the unbanked into a quasi bank account that could be used at places beyond Amazon.

They have had a small business lending operation since 2011 and much fanfare was made about the $3 billion they have loaned through June 2017. But that doesn’t even put them in the top three online small business lenders in that time period. OnDeck, Kabbage and CAN Capital all loaned more.

To be fair Amazon is not trying to be a general purpose lender. Their SMB lending operation is targeted solely at Amazon marketplace sellers as a way to help them grow their business so they will sell more products on Amazon. It is not clear they have a desire to do more than that.

Source: CB Insights

The Banking Industry: Past and Future (The Motley Fool) Rated: AAA

INDUSTRY FOCUS // Financials // 06-25-2018

One of the big things that’s happened over the past 25 years is that the big banks have gotten bigger. We now have what are known as the Big Four banks in the U.S. — CitigroupBank of AmericaWells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. All of those have grown substantially through acquisitions, not just from the financial crisis, which saw a lot of consolidation, but beforehand. Actually, three of the four were actually acquired themselves, and the acquiring companies just decided to keep the names because they were more recognizable.

Douglass: I believe that peer-to-peer lending will represent at least 25% of total lending spent in 25 years. Now, I only say 25%. For me, it’s very clear that peer-to-peer lending has become a lot more widespread and a lot more feasible than it was previously. I do expect the peer-to-peer lenders — or a bank, perhaps, who hops in — to help solve for one of the current difficulties, which essentially is poor underwriting by some of the peer-to-peer facilitators right now, meaning that the investors who are putting the money in aren’t making the kind of money that they’d hoped to — I believe those will ultimately be solved.

But, I only say 25% because banks have legitimately trillions of dollars to lend, and they will absolutely be looking for ways to deploy that capital effectively. So, I would expect that they will be helping facilitate a lot of these peer-to-peer loans. I believe they will be, in some cases, investing alongside. I think they will often invest in alone, and perhaps then sell it to peer-to-peer lenders for an arbitrage so that they can do it all again, sort of like you see with agency-backed mortgages.

Marcus Is Not Adding Credit Cards Products … Yet (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

Marcus, the consumer lending arm for Goldman Sachs, wants to become the one-stop shop for many of your financial matters, except for one: credit cards — at least for now. Right now, Marcus is heavily focused on launching a savings platform in the U.K. in the coming months, Talwar said. 

The challenges for a new ‘bank’ with a famous parent (American Banker) Rated: A

When JPMorgan Chase set out to make its digital-only brand Finn, it quickly rejected the idea of using it to lure millennial customers over to the institutional side of the bank.

Finn has also found that for the 27 states where JPMorgan Chase is part of a shared ATM network but has no ATMs or branches of its own, customers have difficulty depositing cash. While those same customers can still withdraw cash and often don’t carry money with them, customers that work for tips have a hard time keeping Finn as their main banking account.

Sharestates Launches New Loan Programs  (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Sharestates announced the launch of a Long-Term Portfolio Loan Program to facilitate the needs of borrowers throughout the life cycle of their real estate projects.

Some highlights of the Long-Term Portfolio Loan Program include 30 and 40-year mortgage terms, interest rates ranging from 5.99 to 7.5%, loans with a 10-year interest only period, followed by 20 or 30 years of amortization, as well as the ability to cover three or more properties under a single loan.

Venmo officially launches its own MasterCard-branded debit card (TechCrunch) Rated: A

Venmo today is officially introducing its own debit card in partnership with MasterCard, following beta tests of a Visa-branded debit card last year. The new card will allow Venmo users to pay anywhere MasterCard is accepted in the U.S., and will record transactions to the user’s Venmo account for easy splitting with friends. It can also be used at an ATM to withdraw funds from the Venmo’s account’s balance.

Unlike the beta version of the card, the MasterCard-branded Venmo card can be used to withdraw up to $400 per day at ATMs displaying the MasterCard, Cirrus, PULSE, or MoneyPass acceptance marks. No fees apply for U.S. MoneyPass ATMs, while the others will charge a $2.50 ATM domestic withdrawal fee.

There are no fees for using the card for purchases, even if you get cash back at the point of sale. However, if a signature is required to get cash back at a bank, you’ll pay a $3.00 Over the Counter Domestic Withdrawal Fee, the company says.

PayPal gets anti-fraud ability with $ 120m acquisition of Simility (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Following on from its $400 million purchase of Hyperwallet on 20 June, it has now acquired fraud prevention and risk management platform Simility for $120 million.

Following the close of the deal, merchants on the PayPal platform will gain access to fraud tools that can be customised through their existing account management dashboard.

Crowd lending fintech raises more than $ 17M (American Banker) Rated: A

The crowd lending startup P2Binvestor has secured more than $17 million in funding from more than 20 participants to expand its bank partnership program, the company announced Thursday.

CrowdOut Capital Surpasses $ 100 Million in Loans to Middle Market Companies to Fuel Growth (Business Wire) Rated: A

CrowdOut Capital, the first tech-enabled online marketplace to fund corporate loans for middle market companies, announced it funded more than $112 million in loans in less than two years. Accredited investors choose from the company’s vetted loan offerings on a deal-by-deal basis.

CrowdOut funds loans as small as $3 million to companies with annual revenues between $10 – $500 million to fuel growth.

James Gutierrez of Insikt (Lend Academy) Rated: A

My next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast has spent his career doing just that. James Gutierrez is the CEO and Founder of Insikt. Since I last had James on the show a lot has changed but their mission is still to improve the financial health of the underserved consumer.

Banks can’t partner themselves into digital relevancy (American Banker) Rated: AAA

For banks, these partnerships won’t generate the quantum leap they need to move beyond a decades-old, product-centric mentality to deliver next-generation financial services that consumers deserve. At best, financial institutions may gain a workable solution that squats awkwardly in the existing infrastructure and brand. At worst, after a lot of time and effort — and increasing their infrastructure costs — banks will fail to deliver any noticeable difference to customers beyond a flurry of press releases.

StraightUp Announces Merger With Slice (PR Newswire) Rated: A

StraightUp, an innovative real estate-focused platform giving investors access to previously unavailable development opportunities, announced today a merger with Slice, the first blockchain-based REIT for investors around the world.

StraightUp was designed to democratize access to previously unattainable high-potential investment opportunities in New York City. As a result of merging with Slice, the new and improved platform will give international investors access to premium equity opportunities in desirable cities across the country, including New York CityLos Angeles and San Francisco.

Mobile app for underbanked looks to go national (American Banker) Rated: A

You could easily mistake Anne Leland Clark, a Twin Cities nonprofit executive, for a banker with with big, national ambitions as she discusses her organization’s digital platform for the underbanked.

The product, known as Fair Financial, launched in a pilot program this week to serve about 500 local customers over the next 18 months.

Majority of Americans Won’t Use a Credit Card to Pay for This Summer’s Vacation (Herald Courier) Rated: A

The survey of over 1,000 U.S. respondents, conducted by Affirm, found that Americans typically take their biggest vacations of the year over the summer, and cost is a major factor when planning travel.

55 percent of Americans said it’s very important to have the cost of the vacation paid off before going. The cost of a trip can linger even after the vacation is over: 32 percent of people said they regretted taking a vacation altogether.

House passes bill allowing telecom, utility payments in credit scores (American Banker) Rated: B

The legislation, authored by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is aimed at helping consumers, those in particularly lower-income and minority households, build their credit histories.

Under the bill, information about a consumer’s utility or telecommunications service may be reported only to the extent that the information relates to payment by the consumer for such service.

Depositing the Future (NullTX) Rated: A

What differentiates Depository Network from both of those companies/platforms is the fact that Depository Network is actually not a lending platform. Rather, it is a depository infrastructure that other P2P lending platforms, banks and credit institutions can utilize. Depository Network is the world’s first fully decentralized multi-platform collateral network that connects traditional lending and blockchain technology.

Invoice Factoring Edges Out Competition Among Short-Term Borrowing Options (PR Newswire) Rated: A

When a business needs to raise capital, the more short-term the borrowing options, the better. For every option, though, business owners must weigh the increased cash flow against the trade-off. Interstate Capital looked at a breakdown of options – from bank loans to savings – invoice factoring comes out on top.

AFR Announces Expanded Technology Offering (AFR Wholesale) Rated: B

American Financial Resources, Inc. (AFR) announces that it has completed a pilot and will now be providing its broker network with notification when a house for which AFR owns the servicing is listed for sale. This will enable AFR’s broker partners an opportunity to reconnect with the homeowner and, ideally, assist with their next mortgage, on both the relisted property as well as the borrower’s next home.

Wells Fargo revamps premium card to compete on rewards (Payments Source) Rated: B

Two years after JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched an arms race in credit-card rewards with its Sapphire Reserve card, Wells Fargo will now offer three points per dollar spent on dining, travel and streaming services such as Netflix on its Propel card. Other purchases will earn one point per dollar, and points are redeemable at one cent per point.

United Kingdom

Revolut Now Offers an App Store for Business Banking (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Revolut, a digital only bank that says it is signing up over 120 businesses per day, has launched a new services for their business customers – Revolut Connect. This new feature is described as an “App store” for businesses to help provide easier access to digital tools.

With more than 60,000 businesses uses their bank now,  Revolut Connect is designed to help firms easily connect and build integrations for the most popular business apps, including accounting platforms like FreeAgent, communication tools like Slack, Apps to help with tax, payroll, expense management and more. Revolut adds that many more popular Apps are in the queue. Revolut wants to create a one stop mobile experience where businesses may manage all of their financial needs in a single mobile friendly application.

VPC Specialty Lending sees record monthly returns (AltFi News) Rated: AAA

The £289m VPC Specialty Lending investment trust has recorded its highest monthly return to date for May 2018, according to stock market filings.

Its net asset value [NAV] total return for the month of May, the latest numbers released by VPC, was 1.03 per cent for the month. Returns comprised 0.94 per cent of income gains and 0.09 per cent of capital gains.

Should Income Investors Consider P2P Lending? (Morningstar) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer investment trusts now have around £1 billion of assets under management between them, but the jury is still out on whether or not they are worth backing.

P2P trusts launched four years ago as direct peer-to-peer lenders including Zopa and Funding Circle were fast gaining traction. The trusts promised exposure to hundreds, or even thousands, of different peer-to-peer loans, in return for a juicy dividend yield.

Majority of brokers’ biggest frustration is lenders changing their mind on a deal (Mortgage Introducer) Rated: A

Over half (56%) of brokers said the lenders changing their mind on a deal frustrates them the most about the specialist finance market, LendInvest found from surveying brokers at the NACFB Commercial Finance Expo in Birmingham.

A quarter (24%) identified the lack of good service as their main frustration. Rates not being good enough was an issue for 14% of those surveyed, while only 6% of those surveyed cited lack of choice as their biggest frustration.

Acceptance of robo advice on the rise (Financial Reporter) Rated: A

According to a recent poll carried out at the Intelliflo Change the Game conferences held in Manchester and London, robo-advice is now regarded as less of a threat to business for advisers than it has been in recent years.

Last year, both options gained equal top share in the poll (37% each of 315 respondents), while this year,’ robo-advice’ dropped to 25.5% (419 respondents), with ‘large product providers going direct’ down slightly but still the top concern at 32.5%.

A guide to liquid IFISAs (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

But the rising popularity of the secondary market and ‘instant access’ accounts have created enhanced liquidity for P2P investors. On an array of platforms, lenders can sign up for long-term loans before selling their stake to others, while some of the bigger platforms allow free or low-fee withdrawals.

We’ve put together a guide to all the platforms offering IFISAs with extra liquidity…

  • Ablrate
  • Abundance
  • Assetz Capital
  • CapitalRise
  • Crowd2Fund
  • Folk2Folk
  • Funding Circle
  • FundingSecure
  • HNW Lending
  • JustUs
  • Landbay
  • LandlordInvest
  • LendingCrowd
  • Lending Works
China

Chinese online lending platform Hui Ying Financial lowers US IPO deal size to $ 32 million (Nasdaq) Rated: AAA

Hui Ying Financial Holdings, which operates an online peer-to-peer lending platform in China, lowered the proposed deal size for its upcoming IPO on Tuesday.

The Shanghai, China-based company now plans to raise $32 million by offering 5.6 million shares at a price of $5.85. The company had previously filed to offer 6.8 million shares at the same price. Hui Ying Financial Holdings will raise -19% less in proceeds than previously anticipated and command a market value of $436 million. Shares are currently listed on the OTCQB under the symbol SFHD.

European Union

Raisin and Banco BNI Europa Deepen Collaboration (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Fintechs Banco BNI Europa and Raisin have furthered the collaboration between the two firms. Banco BNI Europe says it has entered into a cooperation to allow Portuguese savers to gain access to the best savings rates available from across Europe.

International

Global Debt Registry Launches Decentralized Ledger for the Loan Market  (Payment Week), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (“GDR”)today announced the launch of its loan registry designed to verify and provide transparency on loan data on the cloud-based IBM Blockchain Platform. All loan level collateral positions and verification activity will now be immutably recorded on the decentralized registry with highly secure permissioning and access controls to provide new levels of efficiency to the $400bn asset backed securities (ABS) market.

Mobilum Crypto Payment Processor Partners With EthicHub Crowdlending Platform (Bitcoin Exchange) Rated: B

Mobilum is a cryptocurrency enabled payment processing platform which allows for cryptocurrency payments in real time at points of sale via an already existing debit or credit cards of the customer and the issuer of the Mobilum token. Mobilum recently announced its partnership with EthicHub, an affiliation that is expected to bolster a mutual sharing of investment opportunities for users on both platforms.

EthicHub’s crowd lending projects have provided financial solutions for small projects especially those involving farmers in less economically disadvantaged parts of the world, an accomplishment for which it was awarded the Best financial inclusion project at LaBitConf in Bogota as well as the award of the “Start-up with the Greatest social impact” at Unconference Fintech Awards in Madrid, Spain.

Australia

Mortgage Choice partners with P2P lender (The Adviser) Rated: AAA

Mortgage Choice has announced that it has partnered with RateSetter in a move that would provide its 600 brokers with access to personal loans and green loans offered by the P2P lender.

RateSetter CEO Daniel Foggo claimed that the partnership was part of the lender’s plan to develop its broker relationships.

ING distribution boss joins RateSetter (Independent Financial Adviser) Rated: B

ING’s former head of third-party distribution, who led relationships with financial advice and mortgage broking networks, has left to join fintech peer-to-peer lender RateSetter.

India

All Financial Transactions on Faircent Conducted through Escrow Account (BW CI World) Rated: AAA

Faircent.com was the first platform in India to meet all guidelines prescribed by RBI and receive the NBFC-P2P certification in May, this year. This is a validation of the business model that we have painstakingly built over the last five years.

All financial transactions on our platform are undertaken through an escrow account under the trusteeship of ITSL (an IDBI Trusteeship Services Ltd). Borrowers are evaluated by our fully-automated credit evaluation mechanism across more than 400 data points to understand their ability, stability and intent to repay before they are listed on the platform.

Canada

Finastra to sell Canadian-based Collateral Management Corporation business to Teranet (Finastra) Rated: AAA

Finastra today announced that it has entered a definitive agreement to sell its Canadian-based Collateral Management Corporation (CMS) business to Teranet. The transaction is expected to close in July 2018, subject to required regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

CMS will join Teranet as a new complementary line of business. Jointly, they will deliver enhanced, integrated solutions to a broad set of financial services customers, leveraging investments in technology, rich insightful data, and market leading electronic registry and workflow platforms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday March 2 2018, Daily News Digest

Seed

News Comments Today’s main news: How Funding Circle wants to fix the financial system. VPC Specialty Lending, Ranger Direct see dividends move up. Klarna triples net profit, mainly in Nordic countries. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can Seed solve banks’ digital onboarding issues? How banking institutions can decentralize (The best read of the day). Institutional […]

Seed

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Asia

News Summary

United States

This neobank believes it can solve banks’ digital onboarding problem (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Since 2014 the neobank Seed has been reimagining one of the sleepier areas of banking: deposit accounts for small businesses.

Rather than walk into a branch — Seed, of course, has none — yoga instructors, food truck owners and other would-be customers can apply for accounts in less than five minutes on the startup’s web or mobile app. If approved, they receive a business debit card in the mail.

Now Seed, led by veterans of the fintech Simple, is selling banks software to help them solve one of their most pressing problems: finding a way to open accounts online as branch transactions continue to decline.

Source: American Banker

Lendio Franchise Announced in Clemson Region (Lendio), Rated: A

Lendio, the marketplace for small business loans, today announced the opening of a new Lendio franchise in the Clemson, South Carolina Region. Through the Lendio franchise program, Andy Ronemus will help local businesses in the community apply for loans, review their options and secure funding, easing the financial hurdles for small business owners.

In A Time of Need, A Woman Rises To Disrupt Fintech In Puerto Rico (Forbes), Rated: A

One notable leader in this endeavor is 

Fintech Startup Magilla Wants to Be the Match.com of Loans (Big Law Business), Rated: A

Since its launch in January 2016, Sacramento-based startup Magilla Loans says it’s originated more than $5 billion in loans and is changing the way lenders connect with borrowers. The platform can shrink into a few days what can often be a weeks- or months-long process of loan applications, data submissions and waiting just to get a loan term sheet.

Crowdlending helped Shorewood business woman’s dreams come true (tmj4), Rated: A

One Shorewood businesswoman did this all on a website called Kiva.

Shelia Long’s business is a workspace that helps ladies who work from home come together to get inspired.

“It was so great as the loans were coming in you can see like Switzerland, Boston, Carlsbad, Texas,” said Shelia Long.

One-hundred-thirty-seven people in total used PayPal to help her get to a goal of raising $8,000 at zero-percent interest.

Validus Specialty Launches Package Policy for Fintech Companies (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Validus Specialty Underwriting Services, Inc. (Validus Specialty) announced on Thursday a comprehensive package policy specifically designed for private U.S. fintech companies. According to the company, the solution is designed to address Fintech’s complex risk management needs, which are traditionally underserved by incompatible and inadequate policy forms.

What’s next for marketplace ABS? Revolvers, ETFs & IOs (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: A

Last year, marketplace lenders learned that maintaining diverse sources of funding is just as important as managing the credit risk in their loans.

LendingClub, Marlette Funding and others developed their own securitization platforms, rather than relying on whole-loan sales to large investors. They also invited some of these investors to contribute seasoned loans to collateral pools for these in-house deals.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS WARY OF PASSIVITY (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Geopolitical events are the most worrisome prospect on the minds of the decision makers at institutions looking ahead to 2018. The percentage of respondents who believe such events will have a negative impact this year is at 74%. The second most worrisome? Asset bubbles (65%).

More than three fifths (63%) of those surveyed said that the growth of passive investing has increased systemic valuation risk: 59% believe that flows into passive strategies artificially suppress volatility.

In 2015, Natixis found that 64% of institutions said they were upping their investments with active managers. In 2016, that number rose to 67%. In the latest survey it rose again, to 68%.

Be cautious when seeking income (Money Week), Rated: A

But Square Pie had sold bonds on the Crowdcube platform, offering lenders 8% a year. It illustrates why so many people are suspicious of mini-bonds (debt issued by small, retail-orientated firms). Anyone thinking of lending to just the one relatively new business has to be aware of the risks – and then ask: is 8% enough?

A more diversified option

The latest offering in this category comes from a platform called Goji, which aggregates a variety of direct-lending and peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. It has just brought out a Renewables Lending Bond, which pays out anything from 5.5% for a three-year term (with regular income) to 7.6% over five years, where the interest is rolled up at repayment. The underlying assets are provided by a direct lender called Prestige Group, which lends to clean-energy projects.

The book of loans – around 39 – has an average duration of four years, with a typical loan-to-value ratio of between 70% and 80%.

2018 LightStream Home Improvement Survey (PR Newswire), Rated: A

More than half (58 percent) of homeowners are planning to spend money on home improvement projects in 2018, according to the fifth annual LightStream Home Improvement Survey. LightStream is the national online lending division of SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI). Budgets for renovations are on the rise: among homeowners planning renovations, 45 percent will spend $5,000 or more — an all-time survey high. Those planning to spend $35,000 or more doubled from 2017.

The survey shows robust enthusiasm for renovation, as well as a thoughtful desire to balance a home’s needs and the homeowners’ budget, so they have the financial confidence to move forward. Specifically, the survey revealed the following trends:

    • Home “Sweat” Home
      The majority of homeowners plan to invest sweat equity, as 65 percent say they’ll do at least some of the work themselves. The 18-34 group is particularly fond of do-it-yourself projects, with 70 percent planning to work on at least a portion of their renovation.
    • Staying — and Aging — in Place
      Only seven percent of homeowners are renovating to prepare their homes to be sold, the lowest percentage since 2015. Instead, 14 percent of homeowners across all age groups — not just baby boomers — are citing “aging in place” as a reason for making a home improvement. Even respondents aged 18 to 34 (11 percent) and 35 to 44 (10 percent) say they’re renovating “to prepare my home so I can stay in it as I get older.”
    • Tax Reform Boosting Budgets
      With recent passage of tax reform, homeowners have already begun calculating how the changes might affect what they spend on home improvements. One in four homeowners who have set a budget for renovation projects stated that tax reform has had an impact, with 18 percent increasing their budget and seven percent decreasing it.
    • Paying for Projects
      The majority of homeowners (62 percent) plan to pay for projects, at least in part, by using savings. Additional payment strategies were further revealed. Intent to fund through home equity lines of credit (HELOC) jumped from 10 to 13 percent. “U.S. economic growth and limited housing inventory have contributed to healthy home equity gains,” said Ellen Koebler, SunTrust head of consumer solutions. “HELOCs can offer a financial solution for many homeowners, as accrued value may be available to tap for renovations.”

At the same time, the percentage of people intending to use a home improvement loan has grown 29 percent from 2017 with 54 percent more 18- to 34-year-olds planning to fund projects through home improvement financing.

Crowdfunding your way to homeownership (Mic), Rated: A

According to recent research from the National Association of Realtors®, 24% of buyers under age 36 saved for their down payment for more than two years.

NAR research also found that 25% of homebuyers ages 36 and younger used a gift from relatives or friends for some or all of their down payment.

Platforms have popped up that simplify this process: HomeFundMe, which launched last year, and Feather the Nest.

An estimated 1,500 “nesters” have used Feather the Nest to crowdfund a down payment since 2014, according to company president Beth Butler, with an average goal of $10,000 to $15,000.

JPMC’s FinLab Launches $ 3M Contest For FinTech Startups (PYMNTS), Rated: B

To help identify FinTech products that may improve the financial health of underserved populations in the U.S., the Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) launched its fourth annual $3 million challenge. The lab focuses on products that meet the financial needs of overlooked populations, JPMorgan Chase said in an announcement.

Accounts in Transit (O’Dwyer PR), Rated: B

Kwittken signs up Laurel Road, online lender of student loans, personal loans and mortgages. Aaron Kwittken’s firm will be responsible for raising awareness of the company’s products through content marketing, brand activations, thought leadership and traditional media relations. Laurel Road, which is part of Darien Rowayton Bank, recently surpassed $3 billion in student loan originations.

United Kingdom

Keeping the little guys in the loop: How Funding Circle hopes to fix the financial system (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

“When we think about the people we hire, it’s all about energy,” says Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings. “We want staff to share their excitement about what they do with others in the office – even if they’re talking about tax.”

“Even though we now have 800 employees, we still feel like a small business. We still push for opportunity and for people to be creative.”

VPC and Ranger funds see dividends tick up, but remain below target (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The £219m Ranger Direct Lending and £337m VPC Specialty Lending investment trusts have announced their latest quarterly dividends with both portfolios showing an uptick since their last pay-outs.

Leeds offers business loans through peer-to-peer platform (Room151), Rated: A

Leeds City Council is to use a peer-to-peer lending platform to lend money to local businesses.

The authority has decided to use the rebuildingsociety.com platform — based in the city — to provide money for small and medium sized businesses with an LS postcode.

Isas 2018: Innovative Finance Isas hit stumbling blocks (Financial Times), Rated: A

Innovative finance Isas (IF Isas) offer the promise of a good return, sheltered from tax, to investors willing to take on the higher risks of the peer to peer (P2P) finance market.

The market has taken longer than expected to ignite, however, as providers struggle to match growing demand with limited supply. Many new investors will find the door shut, at least for now.

Growing consumer indebtedness in the UK combined with the prospect of rising interest rates could push up default rates on loans, sharpening the dangers for those invested in the highest-risk P2P products.

How does the Isa allowance actually work? (Which?), Rated: B

For the tax year 2017-18, the maximum amount you can pay into one – or a combination – of Isas held in your name, is £20,000.

Once the new tax year for 2018-19 begins on 6 April, your allowance resets – once again to £20,000.

There are five main types of Isas. The current annual limits are as follows:

  • Help to Buy Isa: Money can only be used to buy your first home, and savings receive a government bonus of 25%. You can save £1,200 in the first month, then £200 per month thereafter. Therefore, in the first year you will have a limit of £3,400. In the following years the limit will be £2,400.
  • Lifetime Isa: Expressly for first-time buyers or to be used in retirement once the account holder has reached the age of 60. There’s a 25% government bonus on savings up until the account holder is 50 years old. You can pay in up to £4,000 per year.
  • Cash Isa: A traditional savings account – money you pay in grows with the provider’s interest rate. You can pay in up to £20,000.
  • Stocks & shares Isa: Money you deposit is invested in stocks & shares by the provider. Returns can be higher, but so is the risk that you may end up with less money than you paid in. There will also usually be fees involved for managing your investments. You can pay in up to £20,000.
  • Innovative finance Isa: Money paid in is invested in Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending platforms, and you receive the interest when this loan is repaid. There is also some risk involved. You can pay in up to £20,000.
European Union

Klarna’s profits driven by growth in Nordics and Germany (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The Swedish group posted a 27 per cent increase in revenues to SKr4.53bn ($546m) while net profit more than tripled to SKr346m. Klarna processed about €18bn in online transactions last year, an increase of 42 per cent.

Klarna reports double-digit sales growth (Finextra), Rated: A

As a result, 89,000 retailers globally now use Klarna products, this represents a 20% growth compared to the previous year. Available in 14 countries, retailers are increasingly adopting Klarna solutions which makes the payment processes as smooth as possible for consumers. As a result of the surge in retailer adoption, Klarna now handles 10% of all online payments in Northern Europe.

International

How Banking Institutions Can be Decentralized (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Decentralized banking is a term that has been construed in the wake of the cryptocurrency boom.

Cryptobanks are decentralized platforms that provide the usual services that centralized banks provide, primarily lending services and credit scoring, but essentially cuts out all of the middlemen that a centralized bank uses. The people needed in a bank to approve loans and structure financial data are replaced in a crypto banking ecosystem by smart contracts and p2p, peer-to-peer, services.

What kind of technologies do crypto banks use?

P2P, Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, Machine Learning, Big Data and smart contracts are used in crypto banking.

All transactions are recorded on the Blockchain.

Machine Learning Big Data.These technologies help to automate the lending process and cut through bureaucracy. AI can work 24/7 and match lenders with borrowers.

Do crypto banks have their own native currency?

Yes. Native cryptocurrencies help make the bank global.

Datarius, the first social p2p crypto bank, for instance, uses their own native token DTRC for all transactions. This helps create a standard for a global payment system within the p2p lending process.

What is social lending?

Thanks to Big Data and AI, crypto banks can see beyond a borrower’s credit score to identify their level of trust. Listings can include Trust Limit, Trust Management and User Ratings which helps AI decide if the participant is justified in borrowing from a specific lender.

Crowdlending: Anatomy of a successful strategy (EurekAlert!), Rated: A

The entrepreneur’s strategy for achieving this can be summarized in three stages. The first consisted of bypassing the banking monopoly on his platform using “cash vouchers,” a tool dating from 1937 that had long been forgotten. They allow personal loans to be made without a bank as intermediary. Secondly, by collaborating with future competitors, the public authorities and the sector’s regulators(2), the entrepreneur contributed to the development of a long-term crowdlending regulation in France. This collaboration relies on the creation of a meta-organization(3) called “Financement Participatif France” (FPF), which worked to define the status of “Intermédiaire en Financement Participatif” (IFP, equivalent to “crowdlending financing intermediary” in English), which regulates this new market.

Asia

Smartag International Signs Agreement to Provide Fintech Solutions to Rural Indonesia (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Smartag International, Inc. entered into a joint venture agreement with PT. Supratama Makmur Sejahtera (“PTSMS”), an Indonesian Fintech company to form a Joint Venture Indonesian PMA company in which Smartag will own 51% equity and PTSMS will own 49%. This follows an earlier MOU signed on October 12, 2017 between PTSMS and PT Rijan Dinamis Selaras (“RDS”) representing Pondok Pesantren Riyadhul Jannah Pacer Mojokerjo, founder of Consultative Assembly of Indonesian Boarding Schools which has a network of 28,000 boarding schools to undertake a Fintech project (the “Indonesian Project”).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday February 20 2018, Daily News Digest

Loan Charge Rates

News Comments Today’s main news: Cross River Bank, PeerIQ partner on loan data.Coinbase to offer crypto payments service to compete with PayPal.Better Mortgage hits $1B in mortgage loan funding.LendingClub updates Truth in Lending Statement.Zopa to launch a credit card.Funding Circle plans IPO at $2.1B valuation.Prospa ranked #1 among high-growth firms in APAC. Today’s main analysis: […]

Loan Charge Rates

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

APAC

Other

News Summary

United States

Fintech-friendly Cross River Bank partners with PeerIQ on loan data (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Cross River Bank in Fort Lee, N.J., has entered into a partnership with PeerIQ, a provider of consumer loan data analytics, in an effort to streamline capital sourcing between online lenders and institutional loan buyers such as small banks.

Coinbase Now Powering Payments in Digital Currency (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, has launched Coinbbase Commerce, a payments platform that allows merchants to accept digital currency anywhere, anytime.

Millennials SME Owners Prefer Online Alternative Lenders to Tradtional Ones (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

According to Mercator’s report, Business Banking Services: Keeping Up with Millennial Owners, 27% of total U.S. SMEs have used online alternative lenders (P2P lenders or marketplace lending platforms) in 2017.

Of this number, 48% of millennial owners (aged 18–34), currently have a loan from an alternative lender compared to 25% of SMEs run by owners over 35 years of age. Further, these millennial owners said they are twice as likely to use alternative lenders than their older counterparts.

Source: Bank Innovation

P2P lending soars but SMEs generally wary of finance (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

The 2018 Small Business Finance Markets report, released on Tuesday, found that P2P business lending rose by 51 per cent in 2017. In contrast, bank lending to UK small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) fell to £700m in 2017 from £3bn the previous year.

Despite increased demand for alternative finance, the report found that 70 per cent of smaller businesses would rather forego growth than borrow. The BBB’s analysis found that only 1.7 per cent of small firms sought new loans over the last 10 quarters – a record low since its index began in 2011.

Less than half (43 per cent) of businesses surveyed were confident they would get a loan if they applied, even though most new loan applications (72 per cent) are approved.

Better Mortgage Hits $ 1 Billion Dollars in Mortgage Loans Funded after Launch in January 2016 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Better Mortgage, a digital mortgage company focused on improving access to home financing for a new generation of homeowners, announced that it has funded over $1 billion dollars in mortgage loans to date. Better launched in January 2016, making it the third fastest online lender to reach this $1B milestone — per research published by Lend Academy in July 2017.

The Case for M&A (Why Banks Should Buy Online Lenders) (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Tech firms have already demonstrated they can open these markets. The largest money market fund in the world, Ant Financial’s four-year-old Yu’e Bao, was built on a sweep from the AliPay payments product. Intuit can utilize proprietary accounting and tax data to underwrite (and acquire) borrowers in novel ways. Amazon can underwrite small businesses using inventory turnover and reams of customer data.

“Big Tech” firms also have proprietary platforms and channels – in-home (think ‘Alexa’), apps, in-car, and mobile to name a few.  However, in the US – at least for now – Big Tech firms lack a regulatory “swimlane” to compete with banks in lending and payments on a national scale. Their non-bank and commercial status confines their activities to narrow forms of lending, affinity partnerships, and lead generation. Until that impediment is dissolved, “Big Tech” firms need to partner with national banks with unsecured lending capabilities to fully unlock these markets.

Our argument is that banks without an unsecured lending capability risk losing long-term customer relevance. Banks that do not have an unsecured lending business do not have a seat at the table.

Source: PeerIQ

Which Banks are the logical buyers?

Banks that have the following characteristics would make a short-list of likely acquirers:

  • Are active in lending, but have a gap in unsecured consumer loans
  • Banks with asset management or structured products arms that can package loans into new products (e.g., ABS offerings, investment vehicles, etc.). Also, banks that have aspirations to develop a robo-advisor
  • Banks that have a demonstrated history of partnering with FinTechs
Source: PeerIQ, SEC filings, bank corporate websites

We assume underwriting and loan terms similar to those today (e.g. ~700 credit score, 15% coupon, $15k principal, 3 to 5 year term). We assume annual charge-off rates of 5%. We assume a 1.5% deposit funding charge and a leverage ratio of 15%.

We find that a bank can generate 10% NIM, 2 to 3.5% ROA, 15 to 20% marginal-ROE during good times.

Update to Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

As of Friday, February 23, 2018, recent updates made to the Truth in Lending disclosure statement for unsecured consumer loans will take effect. The forthcoming Truth in Lending disclosure statement is available here.

Will LendingClub Turn a Corner in 2018? (Guru Focus), Rated: A

LendingClub has a market cap of about $1.6 billion, which makes it one of the biggest players in the peer-to-peer lending market.

The company’s stock price has plunged nearly 40% over the last four months and this could continue unless the upcoming earnings call changes investor sentiment. LendingClub was valued at about $9 billion in late 2014 but it has dropped to about $1.6 billion.

Source: Guru Focus

Pricey personal loans would be outlawed by bill that would reshape state lending industry (Los Angeles Times), Rated: AAA

A bill introduced Thursday by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) could dramatically reshape California’s lending industry by capping interest rates at roughly 20% for consumer loans between $2,500 and $10,000. Since rate caps were removed by the Legislature in the 1980s, there’s been no limit to the amount of interest lenders can charge on those loans.

That has led to startling growth in the market. In 2016, more than half of the loans between $2,500 and $5,000 and about 21% of larger loans charged interest rates of 100% or higher. In all, Californians in 2016 — the most recent year for which state data are available — borrowed $1.1 billion at triple-digit interest rates.

But Kalra’s bill would do much more than ban lenders’ priciest offerings. The bill would extend an existing set of rate caps that now apply to loans of less than $2,500 to all loans of up to $10,000. That would cap interest rates at roughly 19% for loans up to $10,000.

Had the caps been in effect in 2016, 98% of loans between $2,500 and $5,000 and 95% of loans up to $10,000 would have been outlawed. Only about $91 million of the $2.7 billion in loans made in those sizes in 2016 had rates below 20%.

BFS Capital Announces New 5 Million Credit Line (BFS Capital Email), Rated: A

BFS Capital, a leading small business financing platform, today announced it is has received a new $175 million revolving credit line provided by funds managed by Ares Management, L.P. BFS Capital will use the new facility to accelerate the growth of its lending business, following a record year where the company generated more than $300 million in originations, a new annual high.

Braviant Holdings Announces $ 7 Million Equity Raise (Braviant Email), Rated: A

Braviant Holdings, a leading fintech startup that uses advanced analytics and proprietary technology to make smarter lending decisions, has raised $5 million common equity from Loom Capital, LLC. Alongside the equity investment, Braviant has entered into an exclusive partnership with a subsidiary of Trend Capital, a tech-enabled digital marketing platform affiliated with Loom.

VPC’s portfolio sales drag on performance (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

VPC Specialty Lending Investments has reported a total net asset value (NAV) return of 3.07 per cent for 2017 – below its target return levels.

PeerStreet Review (Benzinga), Rated: A

In addition, “accredited investors” need only apply. Investors must have a net worth greater than $1 million in liquid assets (meaning the equity in your home doesn’t count) or you need to earn more than $200,000 per year or make $300,000 jointly.

PeerStreet’s minimum investment is $1,000 and account fees range from 0.25% to a 1% setup fee. The investment length ranges from six to 24 months.

Marla Blow of FS Card (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Marla’s time at the CFPB indirectly led to the founding of FS Card.
  • Why creating a new credit card company is so complicated and challenging.
  • What their Build card is and who is their target market.
  • How they are able to offer an secured credit card to people that banks reject.
  • The types of data they use to find stable customers in the subprime segment.
  • The typical size of the credit line they provide to these customers.
  • The profile of their target customer and how they are using the credit card.
  • How they are providing financial education to these people.
  • How FS Card is acquiring these credit card customers.
  • The percentage of their customers who have qualified for credit line increases.
  • Why improving credit scores of their customers is a key metric.
  • How they are able to issue these cards through their partner bank.
  • How FS Card makes money.
  • What regulators could be doing to help subprime consumers get more access to responsible credit.
  • What more should fintech companies be doing to help these underserved people.
  • The biggest challenges that FS Card has to overcome to become a large and successful credit card company.

How does real estate investing benefit from technology (Realty Biz), Rated: A

Buying and selling property has already become much more accessible due to technology, and this trend is only going to speed up. While historically, real estate professionals, investors, and landlords have been reluctant to pay for technology, and the data available has been spotty, the tide is turning as more wake up to the opportunities. Investment values are shooting up in many places due in a large part to technological advances, including the ability to market real estate to audiences beyond the immediate community and to close deals securely, quickly, and remotely with investors.

BBVA taps digital start-up Azlo to target US freelance market (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

BBVA has partnered with digital business account provider Azlo to target the freelance market in the US.

According to BBVA, by 2020 in the US alone, 43% of workers will be employed in freelance capacities – a trend that is expected to continue to grow.

Goldman Sachs and rivals home in on risky consumer banking (Financial Times), Rated: A

Lloyd Blankfein was a breezy opening act at a big industry event this week in Key Biscayne, Florida. On stage at the Ritz-Carlton the chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs was talking about Marcus, the bank’s new online savings and lending platform, which is targeting borrowers with scores as low as 660 on the 300-850 Fico scale. Goldman calls such people “creditworthy”; others call them subprime.

Banks Urged to Take On Payday Lenders With Small, Lower-Cost Loans (WRAL), Rated: A

Those who find themselves pinched for cash often turn to high-cost payday lenders. But traditional banks and credit unions could serve that role for borrowers and do it at much lower rates, according to a new proposal from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

B of A’s Moynihan: Big banks are ‘fine’ with Dodd-Frank (American Banker), Rated: A

While small and regional banks are pushing for a rollback of the Dodd-Frank Act, big banks are largely supportive of the 2010 financial reform law, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said Thursday.

African-American Entrepreneur Launches Innovative Mobile Tax Refund Loan App to Revolutionize the Tax Industry (Black News), Rated: B

Good news for Americans struggling with income tax returns given the recent changes in the tax laws with the enactment of The PATH ACT. A visionary African-American entrepreneur, Marshawn Govan, has come up with an innovative mobile tax refund loan app that is all set to revolutionize the tax industry and make tax returns simpler for Americans.

Titled as MKG Tax Refund, the state of the art program is a patent pending mobile tax refund Collateral Driven Interest & Investment (SaaS) Software-as-a-Service (FOF) Fund-Of-Fund multi-manager investment application.

Add Another Bank to Fintech Roostify’s Roster of Investors (Bank Innovation), Rated: B

If there’s any question that digital mortgage firms are gaining attention from larger fintech players and investors, then look no further than venture capital firm Santander InnoVentures‘ investment in Roostify, a startup that digitalizes the mortgage application process.

French asset manager signs record deal in the Meatpacking District (The Real Deal), Rated: B

Tikehau Capital, a Paris-based firm with $15.6 billion in assets under management, signed a lease for the top two floors at Rockpoint Group’s new development at 412 West 15th Street, sources told The Real Deal.

The 11-year lease covers nearly 10,000 square feet on the top two floors of the 18-story building, which offer sweeping views of the Hudson River.

Lawmakers highlighted that H.R. 3299 — the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017 — clarifies current law to ensure innovative marketplace lending remains in-tact while simultaneously providing safe consumer protections.

H.R. 3299 passed through the House by a vote of 245-171 and went on over to the Senate, which received it, read the measure twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

United Kingdom

Zopa on hiring drive to support credit card launch in 2018 (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA is recruiting staff to develop its new credit card, which it plans to launch later this year as a feature of its digital bank.

Temasek-backed Funding Circle plans IPO at .1b valuation (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lender in the UK, is planning to list on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) that will see it float at an estimated valuation of £1.5 billion ($2.1 billion), according to a report by Britain’s Sky News.

Funding Circle set to hire Morgan Stanley to lead London flotation (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDING Circle is reportedly poised to hire Morgan Stanley to lead a flotation on the London Stock Exchange in the second half of this year.

The largest P2P platform by loan book size in the UK is expected to hire the US bank in the coming weeks, according to Sky News.

Lendy reports 224% turnover increase (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Lendy has revealed a 224% turnover increase in 2016 (to £29.2m), compared with the previous year (2015: £9m).

The P2P lending platform has published its audited accounts for 2016, which also showed that profits before tax increased to £3.3m, compared with the £53,000 reported in 2015.

Lending Works chooses Credit Kudos to power new Open Banking initiative (Finextra), Rated: A

Credit Kudos, a challenger credit bureau, and Lending Works, a fast-growing peer-to-peer (P2P)  lending platform, are partnering to enable customers to benefit from the UK’s Open Banking  initiative, a secure way for banking customers to take control of their financial data. Credit Kudos  and Lending Works’ partnership is one of the first initiatives to use Open Banking to improve  customer experience in the finance industry.

Currently, approximately 60% of Lending Works’ borrowers are provided with  instant and automated credit decisions, whereas the remaining 40% require some manual  processes. Within the new world of Open Banking, Lending Works expects to increase that figure  to up to 90% of credit decisions being fully automated.

Small businesses look to specialist lenders for loans (Financial Times), Rated: A

British small businesses are diversifying their sources of funding away from big banks, as a growing number turn to specialist asset-backed lenders, peer-to-peer finance sites, private equity and venture capital investors.

Fewer small businesses are applying for loans than in the past five years and more of them fear that if they did they would be rejected, according to the latest report into small business finance by the British Business Bank, a government-backed development bank.

Out of the UK’s total of 5.7m small businesses, only 1.7 per cent applied for a loan or overdraft last year, the fifth consecutive year of decline since 2012.

There’s never been a better time to seek alternative finance (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: A

There are also several privately funded lenders (with a local presence in the province through brokerages) such as Atom Bank, Relendex, Thin Cats and Dunluce Capital which have all completed a number of deals in Northern Ireland from cash flow loans to property development finance.

The Access to Finance initiative supported by Invest Northern Ireland offers a variety of support including start-up funding, loans and equity investment.

WhiteRock Capital Partners manages the £50m NI Growth Loan Fund (Access to Finance) which offers loans from £50k to £1.25m to local SMEs. With an extensive network of funding partners, we work hard to deliver the most appropriate support for local businesses.

ArchOver readies for IFISA launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ARCHOVER is planning to launch its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) in the next few weeks.

Crowdfunding Comes of Age (moneyexpert), Rated: A

Crowdfunding is gaining serious traction in the UK market, with the sector pushing past the £10 billion milestone in 2016. While, most people will probably still associate the idea of ‘crowdfunding’ with websites like Kickstarter or early stage equity investments, the reality is that 97% of the market is debt-based – either P2P lending or Crowd Bonds.

Both P2P lending and Crowd Bonds are also making big strides into the mainstream thanks to their inclusion in the new(ish) Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), which allows investors to earn interest tax free on their investments.

It’s time to get clear on the Innovative Finance ISA (moneyexpert), Rated: A

With the birth of the Lifetime ISA (LISA) for 18-39 year olds on 6 April 2017, the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) is no longer the baby of the ISA family. But it is perhaps still the least well understood.

The peer-to-peer lending industry celebrates its 13th birthday this year. Has it finally grown up? (Verdict), Rated: B

Whether that’s Paypal in the US or the start of the peer-to-peer lending industry (P2P) in the UK, financial services were changing long before the global recession hit.

The P2P industry is celebrating its 13thbirthday this year. With big changes afoot in its major players such as Zopa, as well as Funding Circle, what is next for P2P lending?

China

China Gets Pushback on New Rules to Curb Lending Practices (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Chinese regulators and commercial banks are butting heads over new rules Beijing is rolling out to tackle off-the-books lending that’s compounding China’s debt woes.

Particularly targeted are practices banks use to move loans off their books by repackaging them as investments. Banks transfer the loans—mostly corporate and local government borrowings—to brokerages and other types of shadow lenders, which then peddle the rebundled investments to investors. Such maneuvers accounted for $3.5 trillion in off-balance lending as of last year.

European Union

Online Lending Market Growth Continues With Spanish Purchase (Prague Post), Rated: AAA

Wonga’s latest acquisition is Spanish company Credito Pocket, who was a lending company based in Barcelona. This is aimed to boost the visibility of their Wonga.es domain.

BinckBank and Raisin double up for Dutch savings market (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

BinckBank says it will be the first in the Dutch banking sector to offer its clients access to European savings products via its cooperation with Raisin.

Augmentum Fintech to raise £100mln to cash in on Europe’s financial disruption (Proactive Investor), Rated: A

A new trust aimed at Europe’s fast-growing fintech sector is looking to raise £100mln ahead of a float in London.

Augmentum Fintech PLC said the financial services sector is ‘ripe for disruption and disintermediation’ but, unlike other sectors such as retail and travel, this has yet to happen.

ING Diba Buys Lendico (P2P Banking), Rated: A

Bank ING Diba acquires p2p lending marketplace Lendico. According to Finanz-Szene.de the transaction was reported to the German Federal Cartel Authority last week. The bank has confirmed the acquisition.

International

Digital Identity Pioneer IdentityMind Global Lands $ 10M (Coverager), Rated: AAA

IdentityMind Global, the leader in Digital Identities You Can Trust, today announced that it has closed a $10M Series C round of financing. In addition to all existing investors, the round was co-led by Benhamou Global Ventures and Eastern Link Capital and included Hanna Ventures, Overstock.com, and Zanadu Capital Partners.

Coin-backed P2P platforms shrug off crypto volatility (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum suffered from price falls in January but many firms are still seeing the benefits of creating their own cryptocurrency to use for P2P lending. One provider, SOFIN, is currently looking to raise up to $1m (£720,000) to create a token that can be used as a tool to bypass high exchange rates so loans can be funded internationally.

FintruX’s whitelist closes in 11 days (AMBCrypto), Rated: B

The global P2P lending ecosystem, FintruX backed by Ethereum and No-Code development has reopened the Token Sale, FTX which is used to power the FintruX network and is set-up as a mean to reward or get rewarded for participating in the marketplace. The token’s minimum per transaction at present is 0.1 ETH.

Harnessing the Full Potential of the $ 600 Billion Crypto Network (NewsBTC), Rated: B

Gluwa and Aella Credit are the two fintech companies that have come together to create a blockchain based protocol that will allow investors to lend in any crypto.

These two companies plan to launch Creditcoin, which will operate across blockchains in the P2P lending market.

The Gluwa platform, to be powered by Creditcoin, will address the issues of accessibility of the crypto market by those in the fiat world by seamlessly connecting them with cryptocurrencies.

GISC LoanCoin Network (NewsBTC), Rated: B

GISC LoanCoin Network is a utility token based lending and borrowing platform that allows users to leverage their blockchain assets to secure cash loans. The network is optimal for P2P and B2B credit financing on a global scale.

iP2PGlobal Announces Its Pre-ICO Crowdsales For Its TWQ Token On Feb 19 (CoinTelegraph), Rated: B

The TWQ (Tawarruq) is an ERC20 token that confer the right to the token holder to submit an application for a personal financing based on a Commodity Tawarruq Trading program, through the iP2PGlobal platform and have it listed in the platform for prospective lenders to view and choose to finance.

10TWQs are needed to apply for a personal financing of up to 5ETH.

Australia

Australian Online Lender Prospa Ranks #1 in List of High Growth Firms in Asia Pacific (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Prospa, a Sydney based online lender servicing the SME market, has received a nice recognition as it took the top spot for a high growth firm in Asia Pacific. According to a recent ranking of the top 1000 firms in Asia-Pacific by the FT, Prospa ranked number one having experienced revenue growth of 1600% during the time period of 2103 to 2016.

Payday lender Nimble Money up for sale, bids due this week (Financial Review), Rated: A

Privately owned personal loans company Nimble Money is on the block, with its two founders believed to be seeking an exit.

Street Talk can reveal Melbourne-based Baillieu Holst has been hired to find a buyer for the business and has been marketing the short term loans provider to financial services industry players and private equity firms in recent weeks.

Interested parties have been told Nimble Money is on track to make about $15 million in earnings this year, following significant growth in its loan book over the past 12-months.

It’s expected to be worth about $100 million.

Loans.com.au slashes variable rates for home buyers (Canstar), Rated: B

Online lender loans.com.au has cut interest rates on its variable rate home loan to just 3.52% (3.56%* comparison rate).

Comparatively, the next lowest variable home loan for owner-occpupiers at the time of writing sits at 3.54% (3.55%* comparison rate).

Over $ 11.5 million lent by payday loan alternative (finder), Rated: B

BaptistCare has approved 16 loans per week to some of Australia’s most financially vulnerable people.

The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILs), a microfinance program aimed at providing small no- and low-interest loans to financially vulnerable people, has this week announced it has surpassed $11.5 million lent in NSW. The loans are designed to help people on lower incomes purchase essential goods and services.

The loans are provided through BaptistCare with the scheme run under Good Shepherd Microfinance in partnership with NAB and the NSW Office of Fair Trading.

India

Financial services execs invest in fin-tech startup Fincash (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Mumbai-based personal finance startup Fincash.com has raised Rs 1 crore ($150,000) in a fresh funding round from a group of angel investors from the financial services sector, a company statement said.

The startup will use this money to build its team, expand its product line, acquire customers and make its services available across more cities and towns, the statement added.

Fintech startup Aye Finance raises Rs 25 cr from Vivriti Capital (Economic Times), Rated: B

Fintech company focussed on the MSME sector Aye Finance has raised Rs 25 crore through a securitisation deal facilitated by Vivriti Capital.

APAC

Lendit’s accumulated volume of loan tops W100b (The Korea Herald), Rated: AAA

Lendit, a peer-to-peer lending platform operator in South Korea, has extended a combined 101.8 billion won ($95.4 million) in nearly 7,300 consumer loans as of Monday to midrange borrowers seeking lower interest rates, according to the fintech startup Monday.

How VC Firm Magma Partners is Tapping Into the Untapped Chilean Fintech Market (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

With government-backed initiatives and a finite business of copper export, Nathan Lustig, co-founder and managing partner at Magma Partners, saw huge potential in the Chilean fintech market.

Lustig points out that only 30% of Chileans have credit cards, while only 50% have bank accounts, “and that’s the more advanced population,” he said. Additionally, consumer experience is “pretty horrible for about 80% of this population,” he said.

One area within the fintech space that Magma has been particularly interested in is invoice-based lending, also known as factoring. In its portfolio is Portal Finance, a startup that provides SaaS for the factoring industry.

Portal Finance earns between 0.5% to 1% for every deal the bank accepts.

Talad platform offers SME loans based on invoice collateral (The Nation), Rated: B

Talad Invoice, a lending platform initiated by a fintech startup, is expected to grow at an exponential rate this year, following two years of peer-to-peer lending using invoices as loans collateral, said Watewiboon Pumipue, chief executive officer of D90 Capital Co, which operates the financial platform.

Finda envisions online financial marketplace (The Korea Herald), Rated: B

Finda operates an eponymous web portal that provides information about over 7,000 financial products — ranging from personal and mortgage loans, investment instruments, credit cards to insurance products — standardized in Finda‘s own format. Users can be offered easy-to-understand and up-to-date information about products online, she said.

Finda gathers information primarily from an open API by the Financial Supervisory Service, but since the FSS’ database provides data, including interest rates, of the previous months, Finda reflects updates directly from sellers — banks, insurers, credit card firms and peer-to-peer lending platforms.

Africa

Global Startups Boot Camp Coming To Rwanda (KTPress), Rated: A

Rwanda will next month host a continental Startup boot camp (SBC) that will source innovative and top startup talents in the country and across the globe.

SBC is a global family of industry-focused accelerators, which last year launched its first-ever Africa-based programme.

Canada

KiWi’s marketplace loans set for imminent Canadian debut (Financial Post), Rated: A

The next stage in the development of Canada’s first credit fund that invests in marketplace loans — unsecured consumer and small business loans provided by online lending companies — is set to play out over the next month.

The gang behind KiWi Private Credit Fund — formed last summer with $30 million of contributions from institutional and high-net-worth investors — is planning to meet the Canadian platforms.

Russia

Microfinancers warn Central Bank of return to 90s (Realnoe Vremya), Rated: A

The regulator has been fighting against expensive and very risky loans for several years already. Last July it tightened reserve requirements for MFO again: they must add 100% interest for payday loans with a delay of more than 90 days.

Firstly, the regulator is going to restrict the size of payday loans to 10,000 rubles, secondly, to reduce the biggest term of such loans to 15 days, thirdly, to reduce interest rates to 1,5% in 2018, to 1% in July 2019 a day. Now the largest payday loan is 45,000 rubles. The maximum term is 2 months, while extra payment on such loans is limited to a threefold size of a loan.

Payday loans account for 57,6% of all loans that MFOs granted in the second quarter of the last year.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday August 8 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck posts quarterly adjusted profit. OnDeck expands partnership with JPMorgan Chase. More than half Wellesley borrowers are in default or behind on payments. Tencent tests credit scoring. Westpac Banking invests in zipMoney. SoftBank says Q1 profit jumped 50.1% after adding Vision Fund. Fintech investments tripled in Singapore. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub Q2 earnings. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

LendingClub

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United Kingdom

China

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International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

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News Summary

United States

Online lender OnDeck posts surprise quarterly adjusted profit (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

Online lender OnDeck Capital <ONDK.N> posted a surprise quarterly adjusted profit on Monday, driven by lower costs and higher interest income.

Excluding items, OnDeck earned 2 cents per share in the second quarter ended June 30, compared with the average analyst estimate of loss of 1 cent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net loss attributable to common shareholders narrowed to $1.49 million, or 2 cents per share, in the quarter, from a loss of $17.9 million, or 25 cents per share, a year earlier.

Originations fell 21.3 percent to $464.4 million.

Operating expenses fell about 6.3 percent to $44.6 million.

OnDeck Will Focus on Better Borrowers, Expanded Partnerships to Grow Originations (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

The online lender will continue this focus on higher quality borrowers going into the remainder of 2017, and will also be expanding several of its loan features, including prepaid benefits for term loans and a “more tailored” underwriting experience for businesses, said Breslow.

OnDeck Capital up more than 6% after earnings beat (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

  • Adjusted EBITDA of $3.3M vs. a negative $12.4M a year earlier.
  • Full-year guidance is reiterated: Revenue of $342M-$352M, and adjusted EBITDA of $5M-$15M. Q3 revenue is seen at $82M-$86M, with adjusted EBITDA of $1M-$5M.

OnDeck announces expanded partnership with JPMorgan Chase (MarketWatch), Rated: AAA

OnDeck Capital, Inc. ONDK, +18.48% on Monday announced it had expanded a collaboration with JPMorgan Chase, JPM, -0.02% which is providing technology that runs the online lending platform.

Chase extends relationship with OnDeck (Finextra), Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) and OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK) today announced a contract extension to continue their collaboration on the bank’s digital small business lending product, Chase Business Quick Capital, for up to four years.

Why On Deck Capital Stock Jumped More Than 20% on Monday (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Shares of On Deck Capital (NYSE:ONDK) were up more than 21% as of 3:15 p.m. EDT, after the company announced a smaller net loss during the second quarter and a promising expansion in its partnership with JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM). Shares of LendingClub(NYSE:LC), its primary rival in the world of online lending, rose 7%, as investors see On Deck’s recent performance as a good omen for the industry as a whole.

A focus on higher-quality borrowers seems to have relaxed investors’ worries about the company’s loan quality, a perennial concern given that the average On Deck loan carries an APR in excess of 40% per year.

Lending Club Q2 2017 Earnings – Back to Growth (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Lending Club’s second quarter earnings marked an important milestone for the company – a return to growth. Originations have been hovering around $1.9 billion since Q2 of last year. This quarter Lending Club announced originations of $2.15 billion for the quarter, up 10% from the prior quarter of $1.96 billion. While this is still down from their previous highs, it shows that the company is back on a growth trajectory.

Source: Lend Academy

Last quarter the company announced banks were funding 40% of loans, but that reached higher in the second quarter to 44%.

Source: Lend Academy

Borrowers

  • Achieved 10% sequential growth to over $2.1 billion in originations, driven by strong borrower demand
  • Successfully launched multiple conversion initiatives, including pricing optimization and a redesigned website
  • Improved sales and marketing efficiency by over 7% sequentially
  • Credit continues to perform in line with expectations as observed in both vintage and portfolio trendsInvestors
  • Successfully executed the first self-sponsored securitization thereby opening a new funding source, expanding the investor base with 20 new investors, and generating a new repeatable revenue stream
  • Record number of managed accounts and institutional investors participating on the platform in the quarter
  • Successfully launched new iOS mobile application for retail investors

LendingClub Shares Soar 13% on Smaller Loss (Fortune), Rated: A

Online lending platform operator LendingClub reported a smaller loss on Monday, helped by higher net interest income and a drop in expenses.

Shares of the company (LC, +12.86%) were up 13.2% at $5.90 in after-hours trading.

LendingClub shares rise 8 percent on positive outlook, higher revenue (Reuters), Rated: A

Online lender LendingClub Corp (LC.N) raised its earnings outlook on Monday after reporting the second-highest quarterly revenue in its history and a drop in costs, sending shares up nearly 8 percent.

LendingClub now expects full-year total net revenue to be in the range of $585 million to $600 million, compared with its earlier forecast of $575 million to $595 million.

Shares of the company, which connects consumers looking for loans with individual or institutional investors such as banks through its website, were up 7.8 percent at $5.46 in after-hours trading.

Online lenders upbeat about turnaround progress, but worries linger (Today Online), Rated: A

LendingClub Corp <LC.N> and OnDeck Capital Inc <ONDK.N> surprised investors on Monday with strong growth forecasts that sent the online lenders’ stocks soaring, but analysts said the sector’s health was still a concern.

OnDeck shares closed 18.5 percent higher at $5, and LendingClub ended up 4.8 percent $5.46. The stocks rose in after-hours trading but remain far below their initial public offering prices of $20 and $15, respectively.

Executives of both companies were upbeat about the progress in their turnaround plans after they reported second-quarter results.

Earnest Corp is looking to sell itself for $200 million, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, far less than the $300 million it has raised from investors.

Online Lenders Clear a Low Bar—Higher Ones Lie Ahead (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The online lending industry regained its footing in the second quarter, more than a year after it was knocked off-balance by severe disruptions in the loan marketplace. But investors’ sky-high hopes for the sector may have been lowered permanently.

Investors also were relieved that On Deck reiterated it would turn profitable later this year. Shares rose a sharp 18.5% Monday, but they fetch only about a fourth of their December 2014 IPO price, a sign of just how much the hype around these lenders has deflated.

Crucially, On Deck has moved on from funding loans through an online marketplace, the aspect of its business model that was truly disruptive. It now funds the vast majority through its own balance sheet, making On Deck more like an ordinary bank.

Both companies have to worry about rising competition. Innovative payment companies like Square and PayPal are extending more microloans to their merchant customers. Meanwhile, giants of finance like Goldman Sachs are extending more unsecured personal loans, which is LendingClub’s sweet spot.

Fintech Firm Fiserv Raises Offer for Monitise to $ 98 Million (The New York Times), Rated: A

U.S. financial technology provider Fiserv made an improved offer for Monitise worth about 75 million pounds ($98 million) on Monday, hoping to secure backing from the British financial services technology group’s investors.

Fiserv’s earlier offer, which valued the group at about 70 million pounds, drew criticism from Monitise’s investors led by Cavendish Asset Management, for being too low, given that the British group was worth over 1 billion pounds three year ago.

Fiserv’s final offer of 3.1 pence in cash per share represents a premium of 34.8 percent over Monitise’s closing price on June 12, the last before the initial offer was made.

Banco Santander, Monitise’s top shareholder with a 4.67 percent stake, had submitted a letter of intent to back the deal, as had Visa Inc, a large customer and investor with a 2.41 percent stake.

LendingRobot Series Second Quarter Report (LendingRobot), Rated: A

LendingRobot Series finished the second quarter with a healthy YTD aggregated return of 2.7%. Each Series’ return and portfolio health is in line with projections. Since April 1st, LendingRobot Series has added over 2,800 loans to its portfolio, more than doubling the number of loans held in each series.

Source: LendingRobot

 

Legislative Update 161 (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights this issue:

  • On July 10, the CFPB published a final rule prohibiting the use of mandatory predispute arbitration clauses that prevent class action lawsuits in consumer contracts for a wide array of financial products. The final rule was published in the Federal Register on July 19, and will become effective 60 days after that date, or September 18. All consumer contracts with arbitration clauses will need to comply with the rule within 180 days of the effective date, which will be March 19, 2018.
  • The House of Representatives is working to pass 12 appropriations bills by September 30 to fund federal agencies for the Fiscal Year 2018. The House Appropriations Committee passed the spending bill for financial regulatory agencies on July 13. The measure included several provisions important to Experian and our clients.
  • On July 19, Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Gregory Meeks (DNY) introduced the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act. The bill would codify the legal precedent under federal banking laws that preempts a loan’s interest as valid when made.
  • Legislators in California continue to debate legislation that would enact a broadband privacy law in the state, similar to the rule issued by the FCC and then overturned by Congress. A.B. 375 would prohibit an internet service provider from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to customer personal information.

Read the full update here.

4 Reasons Online Lenders Are Innovating With Purchasing Cards (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

In recent years, Kabbage and others have stepped up to introduce a purchasing card product to their borrowers, and with their early success, many lenders are now following suit for the following four reasons:

  1. Staying on top of the customer’s mind
  2. Speaking the language of large corporate partner targets
  3. Underwriting use of funds
  4. Revenue sharing

New Financial Technology Upgrades Bank’s Credit Review Process (PayNet Email), Rated: A

Enables Banks To Review All Credits and Focus on the Highest Risks

The real challenge is convincing bank management that they do not have to apply the same credit review process to the entire portfolio.  Adopting different processes based upon exposure size and measured risk (APD for example) should be the goal of every bank.  In other words, focus credit review efforts to those accounts that represent the greatest risk to the bank – and that is what you are hoping to do with your credit review process.

Conducting credit reviews are a “waste of time” in most cases because nothing has changed. What form that documentation takes is where PayNet can be most helpful to the prospect.

PayNet is introducing PayNet Credit Review Express, a risk management tool which streamlines the credit review process making credit review easier and less costly.

Credit Review Express assesses the credit risk of each C&I borrower each month. Banks can assign their definition of risk from delinquency to probability of default to assign high, medium or low risk to each borrower. Currently, PayNet sees less than 2% of C&I borrowers as high risk credits. Other features include automated action steps (such as Watch, Restructure, Work-out) and a customized dashboard to monitor and track activity.

FDIC defends right to charter new banks against OCC criticism (American Banker), Rated: A

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. defended its authority to approve prospective new banks in response to suggestions by acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika that his agency should be able to approve applications on its own.

Rumour mill churns in US online lending sector (AltFi), Rated: A

Whispers abound of a major financing round, an acquisition and an IPO within the US online lending space.

Perhaps chief among the rumours was the suggestion that SoFi may at last be on the brink of an IPO that was first mooted by CEO Mike Cagney in 2014.

Meanwhile, SoftBank continued to build on its portfolio-for-the-future with a $250m equity investment in small business lending fintech Kabbage.

Cities where student loan borrowers struggle with debt the most (Credible), Rated: A

So it’s important for borrowers, especially recent grads, to think about the best places to live — the cities in which they’re not only likely to find a well-paying job, but also where rents and other living expenses aren’t so exorbitant so as to add to their pile of debt.

5 cities where student loans borrowers struggle the most with debt:

  • 1. San Jose, California
  • 2. Fort Worth, Texas
  • 3. Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4. Los Angeles, California
  • 5. Denver, Colorado

5 cities where student loans borrowers struggle the least with debt:

  • 1. Dallas, TX
  • 2. Jacksonville, FL
  • 3. Houston, TX
  • 4. Columbus, OH
  • 5. Austin, TX

The key indicator for affordability was how much of a borrower’s monthly income would go towards their student loan payments and monthly housing costs.

Source: Credible

 

Marketplace Lending Explained (WealthManagement.com), Rated: A

Marketplace lending has grown by nearly 150 percent on a compound annual basis for the last half-decade. Strong growth and real longevity mean that most advisors have to consider the role that marketplace lending plays in their clients’ portfolios.

Source: WealthManagement.com

Refinancing high-rate credit card debt or other hard-money-type loans among high-quality borrowers via a marketplace lender is sensible and provides good value to all parties.

As part of a fixed income allocation, what are the risks in marketplace loans? There is the credit risk of the borrower first and foremost—here the asset can be seen as clearly pro-cyclical; in other words, as the economy improves, the asset strengthens. Correspondingly, as the economy weakens, the credit of the borrower will weaken. Additionally, there has recently been some weakness in consumer credit, primarily in auto loans and credit card defaults, though these have been largely limited to the subprime aspects of these loan categories.

United Kingdom

The Growing Alternative Finance Industry (Business Zone), Rated: AAA

The latest equity crowdfunding statistics released by OFF3R last month revealed that the first half of 2017 was the strongest 6 months for equity crowdfunding to date.

Six of the leading equity crowdfunding platforms that form the OFF3R Index raised nearly £130M in 2017 for UK private companies. This is £2M above the previous half yearly record that was reached back in the second half of 2015. March 2017, where Over £40 million was raised, buoyed the latest data and the period as a whole was characterised by some very large fundraises from Q1 2017.

The data also revealed that peer to peer lendinglevels continue to rise in the UK. The peer to peer lending statistics showed that over £1.8 billion was lent in the first half of 2017 by the nine platforms that make up the OFF3R Index. This is an increase of over £350 million from the previous half year period at the end of 2016.

The data also revealed that Assetz Capital had a record breaking month in June 2017. The total amount lent of over £30 million by the platform was higher than any previous period since the OFF3R Index began.

Toxic loans blight property peer-to-peer lender Wellesley – with more than half its borrowers behind on payments or in default (This is Money), Rated: AAA

More than half of the customers of an internet loan firm run by an aristocratic financier are behind on their payments or in default, the Mail can reveal.

Wellesley, a peer-to-peer lender which allows property developers to borrow cash from savers, is grappling with losses on its loan book.

Online lender Tandem acquires Harrods Bank in bid to expand services (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: A

Start-up lender Tandem has snapped up Harrods Bank in a deal that will bring it closer to launching a savings account.

The undisclosed deal will hand the online-only lender £80 million of additional capital and enable it to regain its banking licence , if it wins regulatory backing.

The institutional investor selling down its stake in VPC Speciality Lending (AltFi), Rated: A

Old Mutual, a sigificant shareholder in the £351m VPC Speciality Lending fund, has further reduced its holding in the closed ended portfolio following previous reductions in exposure earlier in the year.

Its holding in the fund fell below 6 per cent back in March 2017, now it has sold more shares with its stake now less than 4.99 per cent, according to regulatory filings.

VC firm behind Zopa among judges at PitchIt funding competition (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

A VENTURE capital (VC) firm that backed Zopa in its early days has been named among judges for the second annual PitchIt Europe competition.

Rob Moffat, partner at Balderton Capital, an early Zopa backer, will be one of the VC judges alongside Seedcamp’s Reshma Sohoni, Blenheim Chalcot’s Dan Cobley and managing director of CommerzVentures Patrick Meisberger.

China

Tencent credit check takes mobile payments battle to Alibaba (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Tencent is developing a credit scoring system as it ramps up its battle with rival Alibaba for a share of China’s $5.5tn mobile payments market.

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s payments affiliate, launched its Sesame Credit two years ago, parlaying its data on consumers into a measure of their trustworthiness, providing comfort for small businesses and consumers alike.

Credit scoring is popular in China, especially among younger subscribers who lack a credit history but might be eligible for a high rating that would let them rent hotel rooms, bikes or phone chargers without leaving a deposit. The services are particularly valuable given the lack of access to credit cards in the country.

Tencent is testing a credit scoring service among a small group of its subscribers, upping the stakes as the two tech titans engage in an aggressive promotion this week encouraging Chinese to forgo cash in favour of payments made with a swipe of the phone.

Top 100 List of Chinese Internet firms in 2017: Tencent surpassed Alibaba to become NO.1, and Letv was Out of the List. (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Recently, Internet Society of China (ISA) and the information center of Industry and Information Technology Ministry Jointly issued the list of “China’s Top 100 Internet Companies in 2017”. For this time, Tencent overtook Alibaba to become the No.1. Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu were still the top three for five consecutive years, while Letv was out of the list.

The top 10 of the list were:

  • No.1 Tencent
  • No.2 Alibaba
  • No.3 Baidu
  • No.4 Jingdong
  • No.5 NetEase
  • No.6 Sina
  • No.7 Sohu
  • No.8 Meituan
  • No.9 Ctrip
  • No.10 360

The list of “China’s top 100 Internet Companies” has been published every year since 2013 and has been published five times so far.The evaluation index combines seven core indicators of enterprise scale, profitability, innovation, growth, influence and social responsibility.

Central bank to regulate rapidly growing fintech (China Daily), Rated: AAA

In a report released last weekend, the People’s Bank of China said some financial products offered through internet channels by fintech companies are “systemically important” and hence will be included in its macro-prudential assessment or MPA.

The aim is to prevent cyclical risks and cross-market risk transmission, it said.

Analysts said this is the first time that the PBOC said it will include fintech businesses in its MPA.

With $ 3.58 bn in newly increased loan balance, Weli Dai becomes the largest microcredit platform in China (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 7th August, a Webank staff said in WeChat Moments that the loan balance of Weli Dai reached a milestone of over 100 billion RMB (equivalent to $14.91 bn). In a speech at the LendIt on July 16, Fang Zhengyu, the director of retail credit section in Webank, revealed that the loan balance of Weli Dai was $1.13 bn. And it has increased by $3.58 bn within just 22 days. What an amazing growth!

Weli Dai is focused on providing a cash loans product, with the loans amount from ¥500 to ¥300,000, and is operated in pure online pattern. With its white list invitation system, Weli Dai identifies the target customers effectively. The loan period is flexible from one day to twenty months, which makes users borrow and repay money at any time. Many factors contributed to the performance of Webank today, the most important is that Webank developed its business in the huge customer base of QQ and WeChat. Besides, Webank has built partnerships with nearly 40 banks for jointly making loans.

Hong Kong startup close to US$ 500mil valuation (The Star), Rated: A

TNG FinTech Group Inc, a Hong Kong-based digital wallet operator founded in 2013, is poised to close a funding round and is targeting a valuation of about US$500mil, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It has attracted almost US$60mil in the series A round from investors including a Beijing-based private equity fund, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing private deliberations.

TNG, which offers global money transfers, foreign-exchange transactions and bill payments, expects to be profitable this year and is targeting a listing in either New York or Hong Kong by 2019, the person said.

Jeffrey Chen of ZhongAn Insurance (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Jin (Jeffrey) Chen, the CEO of ZhongAn Insurance. I sat down with him when I was in Shanghai recently for Lang Di Fintech (LendIt’s Chinese event) and we conducted this interview with the assistance of his translator.

People’s Bank of China Has Fintech on Its Mind (Fox Business), Rated: A

The People’s Bank of China said in a report that it is considering expanding its risk-assessment system beyond banks to include major online financial businesses. Last month, it reached agreement with 45 nonbank financial firms– including payment systems affiliated with internet giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd.–on joining a new payment-clearing platform called Wanglian, according to listed-company documents.

This effectively gives the PBOC a clearer view of payments, enhancing regulation, said Tencent, which owns the TenPay payment system.

European Union

Fellow Finance Adds Invoice Financing (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Finnish p2p lending service Fellow Finance has opened a new invoice finance service for companies, which allows businesses to convert their trade receivables into cash immediately. In the new invoice finance service, a company gets funding against its invoice receivables directly from investors.

In adjacent Estonia p2p lending marketplace Investly, which specializes on invoice financing for Estonian and UK SMEs, is growing. The last figures we reported for them show 78% month on month and 319% y-o-y growth.

Balderton Capital on European Fintech (Stitcher), Rated: A

Rob Moffat is a Partner at Balderton Capital, a London-based venture capital firm that has invested in fintech businesses including GoCardless, Revolut, Crowdcube, Nutmeg, Seedcamp, ComplyAdvantage, Wonga, Zopa and more. Prior to joining Balderton, Rob worked at Bain & Company and Google. Rob holds degrees from Cambridge and INSEAD.

Listen to the podcast here.

International

Senate To Mull Financial Choice Act, UK Officials Look For Tighter Controls (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As has been noted in the financial and trade press, the Financial Choice Act, which was passed last month by the U.S. House of Representatives, now awaits a vote in the U.S. Senate.

In other regulatory news, one executive in Britain is calling for tighter financial regulations in the United Kingdom. Douglas Flint, departing chairman of Britain’s largest bank, HSBC, said in a statement that, amid issues such as Brexit and a revamp of the European financial order, a lack of homogeneity in regulation means there should be cooperation between overseers to find — and stop — “bad actors.” Flint advocated that “greater cooperation between the public and private sectors, together with a refresh of bank secrecy laws and regulation designed for a different age, would significantly increase the effectiveness of our joint efforts.”

Visa And The QR Code Evolution/Revolution (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As it turns out, putting that spec on the shelf helped to inform the development of the EMVCo QR code standard, which was released yesterday into a payments ecosystem that looks at them as anything but uninteresting.

China is a prime example as, over the course of the last five years, the QR code-based mobile payment has almost entirely displaced cash in the country — and leapfrogged credit and debit cards — to become Chinese consumers’ preferred alternative for payment. There are $5.5 trillion worth of mobile payments made in China per year, the vast, vast majority of which are handled via QR code.

But perhaps most striking is India and its government’s November 2016 decision to move toward a cashless society. That led the country to the accompanying adoption of a QR code-focused payments scheme based on Visa’s mVisa standard.

Getting To Scale

Visa is currently developing mVisa as a worldwide solution. The key to scale, Shrauger told Webster, is making it useful and accessible for their two client groups — merchants and their customers.

Australia

Westpac Banking Invests $ 40 Million into zipMoney (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

zipMoney (ASX:ZML) has announced a $40 million strategic investment from Westpac Banking (ASX:WBC). The investment was paired with an agreement for the two companies to explore the integration of Zip’s products and services into Westpac’s network across Australia. The investment will be by subscription of ordinary equity of 49,382,716 shares at a price of $0.81 per share. This represents a 14.1% premium over the close of $0.71 on August 4th.

India

How technology is helping investors achieve their financial aspirations (Financial Express), Rated: A

Most Indians save first and think of spending later. However, when it comes time for them to plan their expenses, they end up relying on mental estimates of their financial position. As a result, most people are never confident of 1) how much to save and 2) whether they can reach their financial aspirations with their current investment plan. This is especially true for young professionals who want to save for a secure future but also want a more fulfilling life experience. What is required is financial advice that delivers the answers to these questions in a clear and quantified way.

A solution to these issues has come from the field of artificial intelligence. Cognitive technologies is a branch of artificial intelligence that deals with the application of computers towards tasks traditionally performed by people. The aim of this process is to design a software solution that has comprehensive and detailed instructions, that enables it to do the same work that a person can. The benefits of this approach are that the same work can be done at a much faster pace, at a higher accuracy and at a lower cost.

Asia

Japan’s SoftBank says Q1 profit jumps 50.1% after inclusion of Vision Fund (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp on Monday reported a 50.1 percent rise in first-quarter operating profit, after the company included Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity fund, as a new reportable segment and booked a valuation gain.

The internet and telecoms giant said profit for the quarter through June increased to 479.2 billion yen ($4.33 billion).

Fintech investments tripled in Singapore (The Star), Rated: AAA

GLOBAL investment in financial technology (fintech) firms more than doubled in the second quarter of the year, compared with the first quarter, to US$8.4bil (S$11.4bil) across 293 deals, KPMG said in a recent report.

Investment in fintech in Singapore more than tripled to US$61.5mil (S$83.3mil), although there were only four deals, compared with seven the quarter before.

Indonesian P2P Lending Platform UangTeman Secures Million During Series A Funding Round Led By K2 Venture Capital (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, Indonesia-based peer-to-peer lending platform UangTeman announced it successfully secured $12 million during its Series A funding round, which was led by K2 Venture Capital, with participation from STI Financial Group and Draper Associates.

Middle East

UAE Authorities Plan SMB Crowdfunding Framework (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

United Arab Emirates (UAE) regulators are setting out to establish a framework to guide the small business (SMB) crowdfunding market, news reports on Sunday (Aug. 6) said.

Equity crowdfunding is expected to provide $93 billion to small- and medium-sized enterprises by 2020, reports added. In the UAE, SMBs stand to gain significantly from that trend, as these businesses make up an estimated 85 percent of all UAE companies. In Dubai, that number is even higher, at nearly 95 percent of all businesses, reports added.

Meanwhile, research from the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development found that as many as 70 percent of small business loan applications in the UAE are rejected by traditional banks, despite efforts from the national government and the Central Bank of the UAE to promote SMB financing.

Latin America

Mexican fund invests in peer-to-peer lending network (Latin Lawyer), Rated: A

Greenberg Traurig SC in Mexico City has helped Mexican venture capital fund Ignia invest in peer-to-peer lending network Afluenta.

Africa

Why African fintech startups are becoming even more attractive for investors (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Take Flutterwave, a payments company which builds infrastructure to ease processing payments across Africa, it’s just raised $10 million in its Series A round. Significantly, the round was led by leading Silicon Valley venture capital funds Greycroft and Green Visor Capital, with participation from Y Combinator and Glynn Capital.

Fintech startups are the “most attractive,” for tech investors looking towards Africa, according to a recent report by Disrupt Africa. Nearly 20% of fintech startups tracked raised money in the last two years and in 2016, there was a 84% increase in the number of fintech startups secured investment compared to the previous year. In total, since 2015, fintech startups in Africa had raised $93 million in investment as of June 2017. Flutterwave’s raise takes that total past the $100 million mark.

In more advanced economies, fintech startups are focused on disrupting the traditional banking industry by changing how people access financial services. But in most parts of sub Saharan Africa, that’s not the case. In fact, fintech startups are typically creating products and services to plug many of the gaps which currently exist.

Indeed, as of 2014, only 34% of adults in sub Saharan Africa had bank accounts. Given the sheer size of the market which remains under-served, fintech startups are presented with a huge opportunity. And for investors, all that represents a major upside.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

 

Friday July 7 2017, Daily News Digest

mobile banking

News Comments Today’s main news: Orchard Platform, Experian partner on big data. Marlette closes $369 ABS transaction. OCC seeks to make banks fintech enforcers. MarketInvoice Q2 results. Dashu Finance raises $117M. BNI Europa enters Portuguese market with Puzzle. TWINO expands into central Asia. Today’s main analysis: The state of consumers and technology (a must-read report). International P2P volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: High-tech, low-effort loans […]

mobile banking

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United States

Orchard Platform, Experian collaborate on big data challenges (Cision), Rated: AAA

Experian® and Orchard Platform, the provider of data, technology and software to the online lending industry, have joined together to announce a strategic collaboration that will give institutional investors access to Experian’s depersonalized consumer credit data. Orchard’s institutional clients can use depersonalized credit data for ongoing monitoring of borrower creditworthiness for loans in existing portfolios. Experian also will provide access to anonymized historical data sets for enhanced credit modeling, analytics and reporting.

Delivering greater transparency, high-quality data and analytical tools to the market is central to the mission of both companies. Orchard’s institutional clients should benefit from the use of Experian data to not only make more informed investment decisions through refined credit modeling but also through the ability to manage risks more effectively with more current loan data. Experian has been harnessing the power of data for many years to help consumers, financial institutions and governmental organizations make more informed and effective decisions. Raw data without the right level of interpretation is nothing more than untapped potential.

Marlette Funding Closes $ 369 Million Securitization Transaction (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Marlette Funding, LLC, a leading provider of online consumer lending platforms and services, announced it has closed its third securitization from its proprietary “MFT” shelf. Approximately $369 million of Best Egg unsecured personal loan collateral was financed via three classes of Notes and one class of Certificates with certain loan sellers retaining risk on a portion of the Certificates.

The transaction was significantly oversubscribed and successfully priced well inside the two previous Marlette sponsored offerings. In this transaction ratings for each of the offered Notes attained one higher category to AA (sf), A (sf) and BBB (sf), respectively, by Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA). Underwriting the transaction were Goldman Sachs, who served as the structuring agent, Deutsche Bank and Citi.

This transaction, in similar vein to MFT 2017-1, involved the sale of loans by Marlette and four other whole loan buyers who accessed the securitization markets via the MFT shelf.

The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2017, US (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

The US market is fueled by empowered customers, who experiment with and rely on technology. In 2017, for example, 14% of US online adults use a fitness tracker, 8% use a smart speaker with a personal assistant, and 7% use Apple Pay.1 Forrester’s Empowered Customer Segmentation shows that about a quarter of US online adults are Progressive Pioneers, the most empowered consumers who lead the demand for product and experience innovation. Smartphone and tablet usage is now common among mainstream US consumers: Three-quarters use a smartphone, and half use a tablet.

Get the full report here.

The high-tech, low-effort loans winning over online shoppers (American Banker), Rated: AAA

In a study of more than 2,000 consumers conducted by Researchscape and sponsored by Klarna North America, 47% said that when shopping online, they would like to be presented with the option of instant financing.

The customer types in very little information — in some cases, nothing more than a name and email address. No effort is required.

Behind the scenes, Klarna’s underwriting software takes in data from more than 100 sources and uses artificial intelligence to make a credit decision in less than a tenth of a second.

Jim Lofgren, Klarna’s CEO for North America, theorizes that instant loans have become popular as a reaction against widely publicized card fraud and data breaches. Essentially, people are drawn to not having to surrender a bunch of information.

“The phone is only this big and you don’t like the inconvenience of having to pull up the card and keypunch all those numbers in and verify everything every time you want to make a purchase,” Lofgren said. “Instant financing lends itself well to the smartphone environment.”

Aaron Allred, CEO of Acima Credit, a provider of instant leases at the point of sale, gives a lot of credit for the growing U.S. market in the U.S. to Affirm, a startup based here.

Lofgren calls Klarna’s credit issuing platform the “secret sauce of what we do.”

It takes into account more than 180 creditworthiness variables.

Goldman Sachs is working on an iPhone app for the masses  (Business Insider), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs, which has been expanding its offerings to retail consumers in recent years, is building an iOS app for its growing crop of digital retail banking services, according to a job listing on the company website.

Here’s the job posting (emphasis added):

We are looking for an expert iOS developer to work on a greenfield enterprise-grade project delivered on iOS platforms.  Our goal in engineering is to facilitate the creative, iterative, and data driven creation of our all digital retail bank. As a Mobile Developer you will be working closely with our marketing team and UX designers to build mobile user experiences which will be A/B tested for effectiveness and impact to our clients. The code you write will reach millions and help redefine the firm.”

BETTERMENT CEO: We ‘could become the Amazon of financial services’ (Business Insider), Rated: A

Betterment, the largest independent roboadviser in the world, with $9 billion under management and 270,000 customers, thinks it might be able to do the same in finance.

Chaparro: Incumbents have had their own robo offerings for years, and they have their big brand and infrastructure to back them up. What makes you so certain Betterment can survive up against such competition?

Stein: For the same reason why we often see those few innovators break out.

You could also ask “Why did Amazon break out and become the dominant online retailer?” — some would say dominant retailer period. And why wasn’t it Barnes and Nobles, Target, or Walmart, or anybody else? It is because Amazon has a specific focus. They didn’t have conflicts with a set of existing infrastructure and systems and people who were built around doing things the old way.

In Lending, Next-Day Payout Doesn’t Cut It (PYMNTS), Rated: A

“So, many of these lenders have been wrestling with this problem for a long time,” said Edwards. “The number one complaint they get after a loan is approved is, ‘Why do I have to wait on my money?’”

That speed factor is why some online lenders may lose market share to competition. If a borrower’s car breaks down and he needs the vehicle to get to work, an online loan that takes a week for funds to transfer to his account won’t be much help. Instead, Edwards said, those borrowers are going to go to someone who can provide cash immediately.

The emergence of push payments and instant funding perfectly addresses this need for lenders. Push payments use the same mechanism as pull payments — only in reverse, moving funds from a business to a consumer. They deploy existing rails to do this, instantly transferring funds to credit and debit cards or a PayPal account.

For Ingo Money, API technology has been critical to making it easy for lenders and other companies to deploy push payment capabilities.

What Fintech Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Big Tech Companies (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

You may have heard of a number of successful “big tech” execs leaving behind great jobs at companies like Apple and Google to develop a new passion project in fintech. The trajectory from big tech to fintech is becoming increasingly common. What makes for a successful transition and what can big tech folks take with them in their new ventures?

Mission matters.

This is a lesson I learned repeatedly at Google. What you are trying to do as a company, and often as a team within a company, matters. It’s not simply having a mission, but having a mission that galvanizes others to action.

Leverage the “tech method.”

A huge lesson I learned from my career is the benefit of building a platform that empowers an ecosystem. Think about Android, AirBnB or Amazon. If your business model is designed to benefit other participants in the ecosystem, rather than competing with them, it can have far-reaching impacts that turn an industry in your favor. If you can create a system that connects buyers, sellers, service-providers, etc., you have the ability to change how that industry functions.

Use your network.

Leverage your network in a way that also allows them to participate in your cause. The successful big tech to fintech pioneers do not view the companies they have left as something in the past, but rather an ongoing support group.

Get creative.

We do lots of things, but one amusing yet somehow successful example is taking pictures of people wearing our PeerStreet hats.

Finra Fines Have Skyrocketed for Offenders (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The industry’s self-regulator imposed 624 monetary sanctions in 2016 – a 10% drop from the 691 it doled out the year prior, according to the report. But revenues from fines grew to $173.8 million in 2016 from $80 million in 2015, according to the regulator.

Finra also ordered firms to pay back $27.9 million in restitution to investors last year, according to the report. The fines helped the regulator post net income of $57.7 million in 2016, compared to a net loss of $39.5 million the year prior, Finra says.

In addition to a boost from fines, the regulator’s portfolio returns grew $70.9 million year-on-year, according to the report.

Two major lending changes mean it’s suddenly easier to get a mortgage (CNBC), Rated: A

First, the nation’s three major credit rating agencies, EquifaxTransUnion and Experian, will drop tax liens and civil judgments from some consumers’ profiles if the information isn’t complete. Specifically, the data must include the person’s name, address, and either date of birth or Social Security number.

Of about 220 million Americans with a credit profile, approximately 7 percent have liens or civil judgments against them. With these hits to their credit removed, their scores could go up by as much as 20 points, according to a study by credit rating firm Fair Isaac Corp. (FICO).

In addition to the FICO changes, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are allowing borrowers to have higher levels of debt and still qualify for a home loan. The two are raising their debt-to-income ratio limit to 50 percent of pretax income from 45 percent.

Creating a Bridge Between Fintech and FinServ (qlik), Rated: A

With this in mind, I recently set out to create examples of utilizing the Qlik platform in the Fintech space.

Ripple distributed financial ledger:

Working with our Qlik partner (Pomerol Partners) we utilized the Restful API’s provided by Ripple to access all 8.7 million payments transacted on the Ripple platform.

Lending Club peer-to-peer lending and alternative investing:

Whether it is Fintech, Insurtech, Regtech or any other new & exciting technology, there is one certainty…the data from these systems will need to be combined with other information to get a complete picture of the customer relationship, profitability and risk profile of the business.

OCC SEEKS TO MAKE BANKS FINTECH ENFORCERS (Yodlee), Rated: A

But, even amidst serious uncertainty with regard to the future of a federal charter for certain fintech firms, the OCC continues to demonstrate that it has every intention of continuing to expand its jurisdiction over the fintech market. Earlier this week, the agency released supplementary guidance to its risk management bulletin on third-party relationships for federally regulated banks. The new guidance very broadly defines third-party relationships as “any business arrangement between the bank and another entity, by contract or otherwise.” The guidance further notes that “If a fintech company performs services or delivers products on behalf of a bank or banks, the relationship meets the definition of a third-party relationship,” and the OCC would require that the bank include that fintech firm as part of its OCC-supervised third-party risk management process.

Bank web lending can be faster and cheaper (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

The company, with four subsidiary banks in New York and Pennsylvania, continues to do a traditional community banking business. Yet, just as every local retailer is potentially competing with Amazon and Walmart.com, Tompkins and other commercial lenders face competition from the likes of Kabbage and other business-oriented online lenders that promise fast online service with minimal hassle.

A year and a half ago, the parent company began evaluating web-based services from outside vendors that could help its subsidiary banks deliver what customers desired. What they found was a service that could integrate with their existing systems and credit standards—as a pure technology play, not a substitute for the bank’s own lending.

In January the company began rolling out Lightning Loans, beginning with the Tompkins VIST affiliate.

Payday Lender Taps Wall Street For Cash As Regulations Bite (ValueWalk), Rated: A

As lenders grow, they’re turning to the ABS market for funding as a natural step of diversifying. Securitisation trades began in 2014 and are slowly gaining traction around the world. Last year, P2P Global Investments Plc and Zopa Ltd. produced Europe’s first securitization of unsecured consumer loans originated online. The $179 million transaction was backed by 27,137 lines from individuals. This deal followed Funding Circle’s first securitization of peer-to-peer loans, comprising small-business debt — another first for Europe.

And as the pace of securitization picks up for peer-to-peer, other short-term non-traditional lenders are looking to get into the market. According to the June 30 issue of the Asset-Backed Alert, payday lender DFC Global is eyeing securitization as a funding source.

At least one other payday lender, Check ‘n Go, is known to be looking at the asset-backed bond market as a funding source.

Legislative Update 160 (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights:

  • The CFPB estimated in its May 2015 study “Data Point: Credit Invisibles” that more than 45 million American consumers are credit invisible, meaning they either have a thin credit file that cannot be scored or no credit history at all.
  • On June 8, the US House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act on a strictly partisan vote with Republicans supporting the bill and Democrats opposing it. In addition to making broad changes to the Dodd-Frank Act, the bill would substantially transform the CFPB into an enforcement agency by repealing the Bureau’s supervision authority, abolishing the UDAAP provision
    and prohibiting the public disclosure of complaint data.
  • On June 12, the US Treasury Department released a report on the Administration’s priorities for financial regulatory reform. The report was requested as part of the President’s February Executive Order on Dodd-Frank Reform.
  • Massachusetts H.B. 157 stipulates that no person or company engaged in trade or commerce shall have a right to obtain, possess, sell, lend, distribute, disseminate or use any person’s account number without his/her prior written permission. Account number is defined to include each person’s social security number, driver’s license number, license plate number, bank account number, credit card number, account number at a retail store which sells goods or services, account number at a business which sells goods or services on-line, telephone number and all other account numbers of all kinds and varieties.

See the full legislative update here.

Public Pensions Should Weigh Pros and Cons of Alternative Investments (Plan Sponsor), Rated: A

The allocation to alternative investments more than doubled from 9% to 24% during 2005 to 2015, according to data by the Public Plans Database (PPD), which accounts for more than 95% of pension assets. Between 2010 and 2016, traditional equity returned about 14% compared to private equity at 25% minus fees.

In 2005, for example, the maximum share held in alternatives by any plan was less than 30% and half of plans held less than 10%. As of 2015, however, the maximum allocation among plans was more than 50%, and only 9% of plans held less than 10% in alternatives.

New Teeth Dental Solutions Provides Exceptional Dental Implant Dentistry (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Another unique service that New Teeth Dental Solutions offers is their financing options. Dental service is considered a compulsory service to all people, and at a patient’s convenience, the clinic provides a choice between dental loans (CareCredit, Healthcare lending) and patient financing plans (Lending Club) that allow a low monthly payment with no down payment for at least three to seven weeks.

18 States Sue Betsy DeVos for Refusing to Enforce Student-Loan Protections (New York Magazine), Rated: B

Federal law already allows borrowers to apply for loan forgiveness if they attend a school that deployed fraudulent advertising or violated state consumer-protection laws. But the process for securing such forgiveness can be cumbersome. And some schools limit their students’ capacity to win settlements in fraud cases, by forcing them to pursue justice through arbitration instead of the court system.

These defects became conspicuous during the Obama administration’s final years, as hundreds of for-profit colleges collapsed amid accusations of widespread fraud. The demise of the mega-chain Corinthian Colleges, alone, led to more than 15,000 loan discharges, totaling $247 million.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia reject that rationale. On Thursday, 19 Democratic attorneys general, led by Massachusetts’s Maura Healey, filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in federal court, accusing DeVos of refusing to enforce duly enacted regulations in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. They are hoping to convince a federal judge to order the administration to implement the new rules.

Elevate to Release Second Quarter 2017 Earnings on Monday, July 31, 2017 (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. today announced that it will release its second quarter 2017 financial results after the market closes on Monday, July 31, 2017.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-Peer Lender Flender Celebrates First Wave of Successfully Funded SME Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The recently launched peer-to-peer lending platform, Flender, announced on Thursday it is celebrating the successful funding of its first batch of SME loans. According to the online lender, companies that received their requested funding include one of Europe’s fastest growing lingerie retailers, a café, and coffee roasting chain, a further education provider and developers of non-toxic disinfectant technology.

MarketInvoice sees record-breaking Q2 (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The growth builds on its previous record set in Q1 2017, with the firm funded invoices worth £161.9m in Q2 2017 providing UK business with critical working capital.

June 2017 was the company’s busiest ever month funding invoices worth £64.2m. The value of invoices funded is up 57.2 per cent from £103m (Q2 2016) to £161.9m (Q2 2017), and the current cumulative value of invoices funded stands at £1.34bn.

VPC Speciality Lending fund sees income growth but NAV hit (AltFi), Rated: A

The £350m VPC Speciality Lending fund saw a fall in its net asset value [NAV] of 0.68 per cent in May after a 0.62 per cent income return but a -1.3 per cent capital loss. It’s income return was the fifth consecutive payout increase.

Bridging ‘dabblers’ expected to exit the market (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

Earlier this week, asset finance lender Borro announced it was leaving the bridging sector with new chief executive officer John Allbrook citing overcrowding in the market as the reason for the decision.

“However, if you are well funded and provide a first-class service there is plenty of business. I suspect the cost of funding was prohibitive for Borro which was only a small player. Potentially others will exit this market, such as the ‘dabblers’ who may excel elsewhere but have been drawn into the property market seeing the potential returns while not realising what is involved and how competitive it is.”

Some of the UK’s hottest fintech firms went down, including Monzo and Revolut (Business Insider), Rated: A

A number of UK fintech startups encountered technical issues on Thursday, warning customers that their payments may not go through.

App-only banks and firms including Monzo, Revolut, Loot, Starling Bank, and Curve all ran into problems due to a supplier that provides some of their underlying technology.

How fintech can beat the banks and offer you competitive savings rates (Startups.co.uk), Rated: B

Rather than the modest 0.1% or 0.5% offered by most banks, the alternative saving and investment sectors have seen significant growth, offering rates of up to 15% per annum.

Peer-to-peer loans

This is currently one of the most popular ways to obtain a higher interest rate, with the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry estimated to reach £7bn in 2017.

Equity crowdfunding

This allows you to pitch to purchase a stake in a small business or start-up. Usually through a platform like Crowdcube, the business states how much of a stake they are willing to give up based on their valuation e.g. 7% or 15%.

Product Savings Rate Per £1,000 per annum Source
Peer to peer loans 3.3% to 9.9% £1,033 Zopa
Innovative Finance 8% £1,080 Innovative Finance ISA
Property investing 3.5% £1,035 Landbay
Business loans 10% to 15% £1,150 Rebuilding Society
Guarantor loans 10% £1,100 Guarantor My Loan
Equity Crowdfunding 1% to 20% Depends Crowdcube
China

PAG, Primavera Lead $ 117M Round In Online Unsecured Loan Lender Dashu Finance (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

Asian alternative investment management firm PAG and China-focused private equity firm Primavera Capital Group have led a RMB800 million (US$117 million) series C round in Dashu Finance, a Shenzhen-based online lender of unsecured loans to small and micro enterprises that traditionally could not secure funding from banks.

Dashu specializes in credit analysis based on big data, a method traditionally applied only to credit card loans and micro loans. It has issued over RMB200 billion in accumulated unsecured loans to individuals over the past several years, it said in an announcement.

In addition, Dashu offers its credit analysis tools to traditional financial institutions such as banks. To date, it has helped commercial banks issue micro loans worth roughly RMB10 billion. The cumulative non-performing loan ratio of these loans is around 2.3%, it says.

P2P firm Jusheng gets new funding (Shanghai Daily), Rated: A

ONLINE finance firm Jusheng Assets announced yesterday in Shanghai to finish a new round of finance, which made its registered capital hit 300 million yuan (US$43.5 million) and triple the previous level.

The new investor Zhejiang Fengzhou has core business in tourism, hotel and construction materials, which will help the platform find projects related to consumption upgrade as the national strategy, said Yang Dengpeng, chairman of Jusheng.

European Union

Challenger Bank BNI Europa Announces “Puzzle”, an Online Lender to Streamline Consumer Credit (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Announced today, “Puzzle“, as it has been named, is the first totally digital and real time credit application in the Portuguese market.

“Puzzle” offers credit of up to three thousand euros with different payment maturities and is intended to be a quick response to small credit needs.

Accel leads Series B round for PayFit (PE Hub), Rated: A

PayFit, which simplifies payroll management and core HR processes for SMBs, announces that it has closed a €14 million Series B investment led by global venture capital firm Accel, with participation from Xavier Niel and Otium Venture.

Founded just one year ago, the startup has grown to have more than 600 clients and a team of more than 40 employees. This round will enable PayFit to continue to expand its suite of digital HR processes, kickstart its international expansion, with an initial focus on Europe, and double its workforce by 2018.

PayFit’s ambition: become the go-to solution to manage core HR and payroll processes for SMBs in Europe
PayFit drastically simplifies payroll management, which can be complex, expensive and time consuming for businesses of all sizes, particularly SMBs in countries with complicated labor laws. PayFit’s Software-as-a-Service solution is fast, intelligent, intuitive and automated. It allows employers to easily manage payroll on their own, saving time and money, and comply with local labor laws without having to be a payroll expert.

Accelerating internationalization – first step: Europe
The startup is planning to launch internationally with an initial focus on Europe. Rollout will begin with Spain, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. Markets with labor laws that can be as complex as those in France are a particular focus, as PayFit can bring significant core HR and payroll improvements to local businesses. In each market, PayFit will launch a fully localised version of its solution, covering all relevant regulations.

International

Why Banks And Startups Should Collaborate On Fintech (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Volume migration to pure digital players remains in the low single digits in the US, multiple challenger banks in the UK are facing funding and regulatory issues before they are even out of the gate, and many of the more successful fintech insurgents have been bought by incumbent banks just as they matured into legitimate competitors. Disruption of the banking industry hasn’t turned out to be a dramatic big bang; instead, the erosion of bank profitability by low interest rates and increased regulatory costs has triggered an industry-level response in which banks are using technology to improve efficiency and the customer experience. Instead of going extinct, the dinosaurs have been evolving.

London-based TransferWise, which allows consumers to transfer money internationally at a fraction of the traditional cost, is actually disruptive because it lowers fees by smart trade matching between buyers and sellers.

But TransferWise is an exception. Most fintechs have struggled to create sustained competitive differentiation.

This doesn’t mean that banks can be complacent. The asteroid strike on the banking industry is still possible, but is far more likely to come from existing tech giants than small startups. Amazon is now lending a billion dollars a year to merchants on its platform, a drop in the ocean for the largest commercial banks, but a statement of intent. While it hasn’t happened yet, Accenture research suggests that the combined disruption from fintech startups and Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon could cause full-service banks in developed markets to lose about 35% of their market share over the next five years.

International P2P Lending Volumes June 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

 

The unconquerable attraction of cash (ATM Marketplace), Rated: AAA

An online survey of consumers in France, Germany, Israel, the U.K. and the U.S. poll revealed that fintech does appear to be gaining traction, with Israel emerging as a leader in early-adoption, according to a press release.

Nevertheless, cash remains king in most of these countries. For instance, in Germany, 75 percent of adults still use paper currency and coins to make purchases at least once a week.

What is more, nearly 1 in 10 Israeli adults say they have used alternative financing or lending services within the last 12 months.

Source: ATM Marketplace

 

Source: ATM Marketplace
Source: ATM Marketplace
Australia

KKR bids $ 500 million for Australian mortgage lender Pepper (PE Hub), Rated: A

U.S. private equity giant KKR & Co LP moved to bolster its presence in Australia’s lucrative mortgage market on Wednesday, joining a rush of players hungry for a slice of a property boom even as the sector shows early signs of slowing.

KKR Credit Advisors LLC made a $500 million bid for non-bank lender Pepper Group Ltd at an indicative price of A$3.60 per share, a 4 percent discount to Tuesday’s close. Pepper shares sank 7.2 percent to A$3.48 on Wednesday.

India

How alternative lending startups are rewriting traditional lending habits in India (India Times), Rated: AAA

People like Desai form the key clientele for financial-technology startup MoneyTap, which has developed a lending product called Credit Line—essentially, it assigns Rs 25,000 to Rs 5 lakh to a borrower deemed eligible for a loan.

The startup has nearly 300,000 registered users in about six months of launch. Like MoneyTap, which recently raised about $9 million from Sequoia India and others, a dozen-odd startups have attracted a string of investors to back them in the past few months.

EarlySalary secured $4 million from IDG Ventures and Diwan Housing Finance, and PaySense recently raised $5.3 million from Jungle Ventures.

The lending models are diverse—to allow customers to buy online; to buy consumer durables from regular stores; providing salary advances; or helping cover unplanned requirements such as medical bills.

Yes Bank taps AI to directly offer small loans to students (India Times), Rated: A

Yes Bank has partnered with fintech startups like Redcarpetup, Anytime Loans and FRS Labs among few others to adopt innovative technology based solutions for various businesses, such as lending, anti-fraud detection and easier customer onboarding processes.

Redcarpetup will allow the bank to lend to students, which is something banks have never done before. The technology company has identified about 100 colleges in the National Capital Region and underwrites applicants on the basis of the college, the type of course, their education background and their social circle.

Anytime Loans is an automated P2P lending platform that uses artificial intelligence to read facial features and feed it into a predictive model that determines the borrower’s propensity to default. The company has disbursed Rs 68 crore over the last 30 months to 38,700 entities for personal loans, business loans and education loans. Its gross defaults are at a low 0.6 per cent.

Where is fintech headed? Seven start-ups chart their course (livemint), Rated: A

Atyati Technologies: Mobile delivery

Bengaluru-based Atyati Technologies Pvt. Ltd, is a technology platform provider for the rural banking sector in India.

The company’s long-term vision is to have more services and products—custom lending products, insurance, e-tailing, etc.—across more geographies and more points of service, besides achieving quality-of-service levels in remote areas that are on a par with those in the metros.

FinBox: Banking on apps

This fintech aims to increase the revenue of lenders by increasing the number of customers on their books by reducing the cost of acquiring and servicing the loan—which it essentially does by building software tools such as application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs).

FlexiLoans: Data-driven

The goal of FlexiLoans, the fintech platform run by Mumbai-based FlexiLoans Technologies Pvt. Ltd, is to provide working capital financing to small- and medium-sized businesses in India that are currently underserved by traditional institutional channels due to lack of collateral or inadequate credit history.

FundExpert: Robo adviser

Gumption Labs Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which launched FundExpert’s automated investing platform in 2016, wants to make monitoring investments “super-easy, using algorithms”.

IndianMoney.com: Financial guidance

Today, IndianMoney.com boasts of being “India’s largest financial education company”, with over 200 employees, serving 80,000 financial intermediaries and 3 million consumers.

KrypC: Blockchain riders

This fintech provides blockchain technology solutions to various organizations to enable them “to utilize blockchain features such as privacy, security and trust”, among others.

Turtlemint: Insuring its future

Touted as India’s first online-offline insurance platform, Turtlemint is building a pan-India network of offline partners and, according to co-founder and CEO Dhirendra Mahyavanshi, has been “a pioneer” in the online insurance aggregation domain with offerings like ‘match score’, ‘policy recommender’, ‘renew in a snap’, etc.

Fintech is now an innovator and enabler, says KPMG India’s Neha Punater (livemint), Rated: A

“This industry is definitely a force to reckon with,” Punater added, pointing out that the global annual growth of the fintech sector at 55% is not led by volume expansion but by investment, which shows investor confidence in the space. “Compared to about 12,000 global start-ups, there are about 900 Indian fintech firms—and over 120 of them were started in 2016 alone. An investment of $2.25 billion has been infused into Indian fintechs from 2010 to 2016,” she added.

The Indian fintech market, according to her, typically mirrors global trends. “Payments-related companies have the highest market share at 25% in India and in the world. Payments, lending and wealth management are growing, while P2P (peer-to-peer) lending, blockchains and payment banks are still nascent. Many payments-related activities are still in the business-to-consumer space but we haven’t seen much happening on the business-to-business side,” she added.

According to Punater, wealth tech is the third-largest sector in the fintech space and is still relatively small.

Asia

 

TWINO expands into Central Asia with Kazakhstan loans (IBS Intelligence), Rated: AAA

TWINO, a European peer-to-peer lending platform, has announced that it has started to list short-term loans via its Kazakhstan originator.

Kazakhstan is the sixth country to appear on the peer-to-peer lender’s platform. It is also the first time a European peer-to-peer lender has expanded into Central Asia.

The Kazakh loans have a duration of one month and will offer investors a return rate of 11% per annum.

Convenience drives growth of South Korean P2P lenders (Asian Review), Rated: A

The Korea P2P Finance Association said that accumulated loans of its 56 members reached 1.2 trillion won in June, up 665.1% from a year ago when the total reached 152.6 billion won. Month-on-month, total loans rose 17.5%.

“It is very convenient. Borrowers can get short-term loans quickly while investors enjoy higher profitability,” said Kim Soo-hyun, an analyst at Shinhan Finance Investment. “They may threaten banks’ business in the long term, if they become equipped with more advanced technology infrastructure.”

Lenders focusing on real estate projects are leading the market, with the biggest lender, Tera Fintech, accounting for 147.5 billion won of total loans in June, followed by Roof Funding with accumulated loans of 114.3 billion won.

Deputy Finance Minister I of Malaysia: Disruption in Banking is The Normal (SAT PR News), Rated: B

In a room of over 200 senior level bankers, Deputy Finance Minister I, YB Dato’ Wira Othman Aziz made a call to Malaysian banks during his opening speech at the 9th BankTech Asia Conference & Exhibition, an event co-organized by Knowledge Group of Companies, to disrupt themselves before others do it for them.

Quoting recent studies from Gallup which states that more than half of Malaysian banking consumers are indifferent towards their primary banks, YB Dato’ Wira Othmanbrought attention to this point to illustrate the industry’s need for an overhaul to remain relevant.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The Rise of UK Institutional Peer-to-Peer Lending

institutional lending

Institutional involvement in UK Peer-to-Peer lending remains low relative to the US, where institutions represent more than two thirds of the market. In 2015, institutions represented just 32% of consumer lending by total volume in the UK and just 25% and 26% of real estate and business lending respectively. So, why might this be? Well, […]

institutional lending

Institutional involvement in UK Peer-to-Peer lending remains low relative to the US, where institutions represent more than two thirds of the market. In 2015, institutions represented just 32% of consumer lending by total volume in the UK and just 25% and 26% of real estate and business lending respectively.

Source: 2015 Nesta Report

So, why might this be? Well, it’s fairly normal for institutional involvement to remain fairly low in the early stages of a new sector. On the most basic level, new sectors are simply not large enough for institutions to invest in, as they often require the ability to write large tickets, in the tens of millions, while also ensuring that they do not represent too large a proportion of a particular provider/platform. Also, until the sector gains the stamp of approval from the regulators and has a decent track record, those in charge of an institution’s wealth are simply unwilling to put their necks on the line for it. Instead, they’d rather invest in well-known, blue chip asset classes which their peers are all invested in too. There’s much less chance someone will get fired for those investments if they get into trouble. Furthermore, the P2P lending ecosystem is still in its early stages, which means that access to independent research and adequate due diligence tools are largely unavailable.

But, the sector is poised for change, and institutional involvement is growing. According to Nesta, in 2013 just 11% of P2P platforms reported some level of institutional funding. By 2015, this had increased to 45%. If we look at the big 3 platforms, which have the scale to accommodate institutions, this trend is certainly clear. Prior to 2014, these platforms had little to no institutional involvement, but institutional lending has increased significantly since then.

Institutional Lending (as a % of total volume)

Source: Orca Analysis and Assumptions. Data unavailable for Zopa in 2017

One of the key milestones for institutional involvement in P2P lending was the involvement of the British Business Bank. The British Business Bank is a UK Government-owned economic development bank established to increase the supply of credit to small and medium enterprises as well as providing business advice services. It has so far invested £135m through a number of P2P platforms including Funding Circle, through which it has invested £100m, Zopa, RateSetter and Market Invoice.

Additionally, there are a number of investment trusts available to investors which raise predominantly from institutions when they launch. Some of the larger investment trusts include P2P Global Investments (£730m), VPC Specialty Lending (£310m) and Ranger Direct Lending (£140m). Institutions have been attracted to these trusts thanks to their promise of high yields in this low yield environment and the belief that the teams involved have the skills to construct the best performing portfolios. Some of these investment trusts ran into a bit of trouble in 2016 when many began to trade at a large discount to NAV (>20%), having previously traded at a premium. Such price to NAV swings can be driven by numerous factors. Although it is likely that lacklustre performance of the underlying loans are a large contributing factor to declining sentiment, other short-term considerations are likely to also be at play. Some short-term explanations were provided by Cormac Leech, a principal at Victory Park Capital, who felt accounting quirks and Brexit / sterling weakening were causing the discount and that that these issues would be ironed out over time. Indeed, since the end of 2016, many of the discounts of the large investment trusts have narrowed by half.

Is this a good, or a bad, thing? There are a few different perspectives to take. Theoretically, institutional involvement is a great thing for borrowers, lenders and aggregators alike. Institutions mean more capital for lending, which in turn helps to grow the sector and stabilise the businesses of the platforms. Institutions help to also raise awareness with other investor groups, thus helping even more capital to flow into the sector. As platforms become larger and more profitable, we may also see cost savings passed on to investors.

This all sounds great, but there are a few snags to be aware of. Relying too heavily on institutional investors may cause investor concentration on the platforms, which leaves platforms vulnerable to being destabilised by just one investor withdrawing. Zopa and Funding Circle have both stated their commitment to retaining a diverse mix of investors, including retail, institutional and government funding. An issue that some of the larger platforms are already facing is that they are struggling to originate enough borrowers to keep up with the supply of lenders. This can cause issues for retail investors, as platforms may reject capital from retail investors (as Zopa has previously done) or platforms may be encouraged to take on riskier loans. The FCA recently stated that they were concerned about potential conflicts of interest that may be created by institutional involvement. The main concern here is that institutions may be able to cherry-pick deals to the detriment of non-institutional investors.

Another issue to be flagged is whether heavy institutional involvement undermines the social purpose surrounding P2P lending (i.e., finance ‘for the people, by the people’), which perhaps undermines the differentiating factor associated with the sector. While this is true to some extent, particularly in P2P equity crowdfunding and donations, P2P lending should ultimately be viewed as an investment opportunity which offers attractive yields with diversifying benefits in a well-constructed portfolio.

There may be some concerns but, on balance, institutional involvement should be seen as a positive sign for the P2P sector. So long as P2P participants remain well-versed on the risks involved and the FCA implements the necessary rules, institutions can help P2P lending to mature and grow in credibility.

Author:

Samantha McBride is a Director at Orca, which provides investors and financial advisors with the research required to perform in-depth due diligence on peer-to-peer investments. Samantha gained her Law degree in 2009 from the London School of Economics and has worked in financial services for the last eight years. Samantha began her career in mergers and acquisitions, working as an Investment Banking Analyst for both Nomura and Deutsche Bank, before moving into Investment Management. Prior to joining Orca, Samantha worked as a Senior Investment Associate at Partners Capital, a global outsourced investment office, and, most recently, a Portfolio Manager & CCO at Elm Partners, a quant-driven, low-cost investment manager.

Wednesday May 3 2017, Daily News Digest

funding circle

 News Comments Today’s main news: China Rapid Finance goes public at $350M valuation, down from C round valuation of $1bil. VPC Specialty Lending Investments annual results continues to disappoint Morty launches fully-automated mortgage marketplace. Barclay’s opens Europe’s largest fintech site in London. Airwallex wins $17M funding. India to see fintech regulations soon. Today’s main analysis: National survey shows instant […]

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United States

Elevate Announces Expanded Elastic Funding Capacity (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”) announced today that Elastic SPV, which purchases loan participations in the Elastic line of credit product originated by Republic Bank & Trust Company (“Republic Bank”), increased its debt facility with Victory Park Capital from $150 million to $250 million. This is the first step in a two-step process to further increase and diversify the funding capacity for the Elastic line of credit product.

During the second quarter of 2017, an additional SPV will be created as another funding source for the Elastic line of credit product. This additional SPV for Elastic would provide additional funding, diversified funding sources and further lower the cost of funds.

SoFi’s first PR campaign answers the question, ‘How do I ask for a raise?’ (PRWeek), Rated: AAA

Starting May 15, SoFi staffers will participate in an online series that will offer users tips on communicating their value in the workplace and tell inspirational stories. The company will hold workshops in eight U.S. cities including New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, on negotiating pay raises, non-monetary benefits, and other topics. Career expert Nicole Lapin will appear at the New York event.

The average SoFi student loan customer is about 33 years old and has a student loan balance of about $75,000, more than twice the national average. A SoFi survey also found 50% of young, college-educated professionals had not negotiated their own salaries, and 54% said they don’t know their “market value.”

PayPal launches a small biz toolset, ‘Business in a Box,’ with WooCommerce & Xero (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

PayPal today launched a new service, called Business in Box, aimed at bringing more U.S. small business owners to its payments platform. The service, which was developed in partnership with WooCommerce and Xero, offers merchants a suite of tools for running their online businesses, including an online storefront, accounting tools, the ability to apply for working capital from PayPal and, of course, support for taking payments either online or offline, via PayPal.

Business in a Box is largely aimed at first-time business owners who already know what they want to sell and have a roadmap in mind, as well as at established offline businesses that want to make the move online.

Often, these business owners would otherwise turn to an e-commerce platform, like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce or WooCommerce, to establish their online presence and take advantage of other add-ons that can help them with other aspects of their business, like running promotions, marketing, order management, shipping, social media and more.

The company also noted today that PayPal Working Capital has now helped more than 115,000 businesses worldwide access more than $3 billion in loans and cash advances since the service launched in 2013.

National Survey Shows Instant Financing Will Drive Business to Online Retailers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

American consumers appear to be warming up to instant financing options when purchasing goods and services online. According to a new national survey, three quarters (75 percent) of consumers indicate they would be likely to select an online retailer that offered instant financing compared to another that did not; 28 percent would be very likely to change merchants in order to use instant financing.

Instant financing is an easy-to-use, revolving line of credit that consumers apply for within a merchant’s online checkout. It allows consumers to spread purchases over time with low APR financing offers, and provides an alternative to credit and debit cards when paying for an online purchase.

The online study was fielded between April 10 and 13, 2017 by Researchscape International on behalf of Klarna North America (www.klarna.com). The survey of 2,024 consumers, ages 18 and older, was designed to better understand the behaviors and attitudes of consumers towards instant financing. Consumers were quota-sampled using 32 different cells (gender by age by region) to closely match the overall national population.

In terms of how instant financing might impact their spending while shopping online, 39 percent of consumers indicated they would spend more money on a purchase if they had the option of instant financing compared to 42 percent who would not and 19 percent who did not know if they would spend more money.

Smartphone owners, 88 percent of consumers who responded, were asked about the ease and willingness to enter certain types of personal information when applying for instant financing. Among the information seen to be “too much trouble” to enter were Social Security number and bank account numbers (51 percent each), and credit card numbers (40 percent). On the other hand, just over a tenth of consumers found it to be too much trouble to enter an email address (11 percent), birthday (12 percent) or spouse’s name (12 percent).

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) would like to be presented with an instant financing option while shopping online
  • Just over a quarter of consumers surveyed (28 percent) have used instant financing while 68 percent have not and 4 percent were not sure if they had

Beyond probing consumers’ thoughts regarding availability, the survey also asked about the convenience and ease-of-use factors of instant financing. For instance, a majority of consumers (52 percent) expect to wait three or more minutes to be approved for instant financing. Twenty-eight percent would expect to wait two minutes and just 20 percent would expect to wait under a minute. Klarna’s approval process typically provides an approval in under a minute with only simple, top-of-mind information required.

This infographic illustrates the impact of instant financing on consumers’ purchasing decisions as revealed in a survey conducted by Klarna in April 2017. (PRNewsfoto/Klarna)

Morty launches fully-automated mortgage marketplace (PRNewswire), Rated: A

Focused on empowering homeowners to make smarter decisions about their mortgages, today Morty (www.himorty.com) launches its fully-automated mortgage marketplace, where homebuyers can shop, compare — and close — any loan option from among its network of lenders. Morty is initially rolling out with 10 major lenders across 10 markets in the United States, with plans to expand nationally by the end of 2017.

Leveraging the founding team’s diverse experience and learning first-hand from homebuyers during its initial pilot, Morty was able to identify pain points from start to finish and prove the benefits of a marketplace model. In the over one thousand real-life loan scenarios it has run for homebuyers, Morty has observed rate and fee variances across lenders that can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in fees and monthly payments.

Morty is creating an entirely new model: access to any lender or mortgage product within a single, unified mortgage process from first click to closing day.

Here’s how it works:

  • Homebuyers create a simple financial profile by linking their income, assets, employment, and property information and describing their homeownership goals.
  • Morty’s pricing engine algorithmically matches the homebuyer’s profile with each lender’s eligibility and pricing guidelines to show accurate, customized quotes, inclusive of all lender fees and closing costs.
  • Borrowers see their loan options in full transparency and compare across lenders and products.
  • Never once leaving the Morty platform, the homebuyer chooses a loan and Morty automates the process all the way to the closing table.

In addition to its launch, Morty also announces that it has raised $3 million in funding led by Thrive Capital with participation from SV Angel, FJ Labs, Corigin Ventures, MetaProp, Techstars and several angel investors.

RealtyeVest Is the One-Stop Platform for Real Estate Investing and Project Financing (PR Newswire), Rated: A

RealtyeVest, Formerly IHT Realty Group, officially unveiled their new brand and optimized website. Destined to become one of the largest real estate crowdfunding platforms in the US, the new RealtyeVest website () provides a simple, secure and transparent platform for accredited investors, real estate developers and owner-operators.

“Our decision to rebrand from IHT Realty Group to RealtyeVest was a result of listening to feedback from our strategic partners and observing best practices in the industry,” said Daniel Summers, CEO. “We believe our new name better represents the essence of our business, and we are excited about the innovative technology that powers our new online marketplace. We spared no expense in the new build, providing a win-win to our investors and Sponsors.”

RealtyeVest is an online marketplace that connects investors and Sponsors (real estate owner-operators) to crowdfund exclusive real estate investments. Their platform allows its members to browse, research and make informed investment decisions on these exclusive properties.

Lending IPOs Find Cautious Investors Amid Consumer Credit Fears (Bloomberg), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Ltd. on Friday became just the second consumer lender this year to list in the U.S., following Elevate Credit Inc. earlier in April. Although they do business on opposite sides of the world, the duo has much in common: Both face investor questions about the reliability of their borrowers, both begin trading amid a particularly iffy time in the credit cycle and — perhaps consequently — both slashed their IPO price days before going public.

When LendingClub Corp. went public in 2014, some hailed the event as the dawn of a new era for finance. Shares have since fallen 60 percent from the IPO price.

“China Rapid Finance is coming to the market during a turbulent time in the China peer-to-peer industry as regulators roll out more controls to clean up what has so far been chaotic growth in the past few years,” MCM Partners analyst Ryan Roberts wrote in a note on the stock’s first initiation, a buy rating. “The company reduced the pricing range by about 40 percent, which we suspect reflected tepid demand from backers,” the note said.

Both recent IPOs are now trading up from their reduced offering prices by nearly 25 percent. MCM says the IPO valued China Rapid Finance at 4.7 times its book ratio. William Blair on Monday said that Elevate Credit is trading at 7.5 times its 2018 estimated earnings per share.

This Startup Wants to Be the Amazon of Real Estate (Inc), Rated: A

Even so, the 29-year-old Williams is a force, as is his company. Since launching, Cadre has generated nearly $1 billion worth of deals, raising close to $70 million in funding from high-profile investors such as Peter Thiel, Goldman Sachs, and Jack Ma.

So Williams set up a website where he could analyze these homes using a tax parcel ID–which tracks the value of a property over time–and measured this against what they were selling for. Using the data, and bolstered by the cash of wealthy Harvard alums including the Kushners, he started buying dozens of properties and flipping them for three times their original price. “By the time I graduated, I was at a crossroads: Do I scale this business nationally, or do I do tech banking at Goldman Sachs?” he recalls thinking.

Williams decided to do both. He pulled 18-hour days as an investment banker–and then would quietly work on his startup from the comfort of a supply-closet-size room by night. Real estate, he figured, was a valuable asset that ought to be made available to more (and more average) investors.

Cadre is an e-commerce site for investing in real estate. It connects customers–primarily wealthy individuals, referred to as “qualified purchasers”–to property deals across the U.S. (Cadre requires a minimum investment of a few hundred thousand dollars; that’s somewhat less than what a traditional fund requires, but likely more than what you’d pay to buy into a real estate investment trust, or REIT, which trades like common stock.) Williams declined to comment on what exactly the company charges its investors–it asks for an upfront fee and a recurring subscription rate–though notes that it’s in the range of a “couple hundred basis points.” A fund, by contrast, will typically take 2 percent of the investment, and then 20 percent of profits over time.

Although Cadre faces competition mainly from the traditional brokers, a growing number of startups have emerged in the real estate leasing space, such as 42Floors, a San Francisco website that lists commercial real estate and office rentals, and Rofo, an online marketplace for property listings and potential tenants that can facilitate lease deals without broker intervention.

NCAP Notice to Clients regarding Public Record Standards (Experian Email), Rated: A

In 2015, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion announced the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP), a set of initiatives designed to improve the accuracy of credit report information, as well as to provide consumers with a better experience interacting with the nationwide Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs).

In June 2016, the CRAs announced enhanced public record data standards for the collection and timely updating of public record data reported on consumer credit reports.  The enhanced standards require: (i) minimum consumer identifying information (name, address, social security number and/or date of birth) (“PII”) and (ii) minimum collection frequency for public records (at least every 90 days).  These enhanced standards will apply to new and existing public record data on the CRAs’ respective consumer credit reporting databases. As previously announced, these enhanced standards are effective July 1, 2017.

Based on information provided by our public record vendor about the data available from courts and recorders’ offices, we expect bankruptcy public record data will continue to meet the enhanced collection and reporting standards. However, civil judgments and approximately half of tax lien data are not expected to meet the enhanced standards.

During the week of July 10, 2017, the CRAs will remove from their databases previously collected public record data that does not meet the enhanced PII standards. This includes the removal of all judgment public records and the portion of tax liens not meeting the enhanced standard. Public record data will also be monitored for adherence to the enhanced PII and collection frequency standards after July 1, 2017.

Despite the anticipated loss of significant volume of public record data from credit files, impact analysis conducted by the CRAs, as well as leading scoring model companies using CRA data, show a modest risk scoring impact and minimal loss in predictive performance as a result of these changes.

Please contact any member of your Account teams with questions you may have or forward questions to:

Robo Advice: Better Than No Advice? (Forbes), Rated: A

The proliferation of Robo-Advisors bringing low priced financial services out into the market has received significant buzz over the past few years.

When it comes to managing your money, minimal human intervention can be good or bad. The good comes when the algorithms and mathematical rules produce an asset allocation that is sensible for the purpose for which it is intended. The good also comes when the “human advisor” interjects personal preferences and judgments that are in the clients’ best interest.

Now, let’s analyze the downside, which can be a very deep and chasm. How we consider money, how we use money, how we value money, and what we believe about money is very human, indeed, and cannot be solved by mathematical equations.

For those who are looking for an asset allocation and a low-cost entry into investing, Robo advice can be a great place to start.

Helping Clients Determine Risks in Alternative Investments (Wealth Management), Rated: A

Alternative investments constitute a growing $7 trillion industry and more than 10,000 hedge funds have money in alternative platforms. Yet, most retail investors are just learning about these lucrative asset classes.

To illustrate the difference for clients who may not be familiar with alternative investments, ask them to imagine this scenario. A successful real estate flipper has bought and sold 25 properties in five years. After finding a great deal on a house in foreclosure, he applies for a bank loan to purchase it. The bank declines, spooked by four open mortgages he holds on current projects.

He’s never defaulted, but the bank still judges him as overleveraged because his loan-to-value ratio is 50 percent. It doesn’t fit into the bank’s rigid evaluation box, which has become even more stringent after the 2008 financial crisis. The perceived risk is much higher than the actual risk.

Then, he approaches an alternative lender who sees he’s willing to put his own money into a property in a desirable neighborhood and to offer a personal guarantee. The decision comes down to actual risk. Can this property fall in value by 50 percent in nine months? Will the borrower flip it in nine months for a handsome profit? By understanding the data and the flipper’s borrowing track record, the lender concludes that he will flip the house and fronts the capital.

FLEETCOR to Acquire “Cambridge Global Payments,” a B2B International Payments Provider (BusinessWire), Rated: A

FLEETCOR Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: FLT), a global provider of fuel cards and workforce payment products to businesses, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cambridge Global Payments (“Cambridge”), a B2B international payments provider.

Lantern Credit Appoints Ricardo Gomez-Acebo to Board of Managers (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Lantern Credit, a financial technology company working to solve systematic inefficiencies in the consumer credit industry, adds Ricardo Gomez-Acebo to its Board of Managers. He joins Chairman John Mack, Vice Chairman John Sculley, James Held, Seth Johnson, Kevin Knight and Chad Swensen on the Lantern Board.

Gomez-Acebo has more than 30 years of experience in the Spanish and International Retail Banking sector, holding various executive roles at Spanish banks Banesto and Banco Santander including General Manager of Europe for Banesto. Gomez-Acebo led business development with strategic financial partners at Banco Santander and most recently is heading risk management for the bank.

Incumbent financial services’ millennial strategy (The New Yorker via CB Insights Email), Rated: B

Attorney Jonathan Frutkin Featured Speaker at Washington D.C Crowdfunding Conference (Benzinga), Rated: B

Radix Law’s principal attorney, Jonathan Frutkin, will be a featured speaker at the “Fourth Annual Conference and Workshop for Crowdfunding USA” scheduled for May 4 to 5 at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Frutkin is the author of the book Equity Crowdfunding: Transforming Customers into Loyal Owners.

United Kingdom

RateSetter upgraded transparency to “top-tier” level, says 4th Way (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER’S upgraded data disclosure on its loan book and expected losses has brought its transparency to a top-tier level, according to peer-to-peer lending research firm 4th Way.

Based on the amended methodology, expected cumulative losses now stand at £18.06m, which paired with the current £22.44m provision fund buffer result in a 124 per cent coverage ratio – six per cent higher than last reported.

RateSetter’s data table now provides a clear estimate of the losses expected over the lifetime of its loan book, spelling out the losses that have already materialised and future expected losses for each year of origination, as well as a detailed breakdown of different types of arrears, provision fund adequacy levels, and investors’ expected returns.

Sharing the voice of British small businesses (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

What we discovered is that small businesses are going for growth, unfazed by the uncertainty caused by last year’s referendum result and the snap election. Nearly 70% of UK small businesses expect their turnover to increase within the next 12 months – half of whom expect a steady increase of between 6 and 20%, and only 6% expect turnover to decrease.

Small businesses, who already account for 60% of private sector employment, will continue to drive much needed job creation this year. More than half of the businesses we spoke to are planning to hire at least one new full-time member of staff over the next year. With more than 5 million small businesses across the country – this could mean the creation of millions of new jobs in the next 12 months!

When asked what their one policy priority is in the run up to the election, tax was by far the most important issue. With business rates mentioned specifically nearly 300 times, 40% said that they want the new Government to focus on this area after the election. The second most important policy area, according to a quarter of businesses, was of course Brexit.

To date investors have lent £2.2 billion to more than 23,000 UK small businesses.

 

UK SMEs set to back Tory leadership (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A vast majority of the 2,300 firms interviewed by the country’s third largest small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) lender are poised to throw their weight behind Theresa May’s party as the best positioned to deliver Brexit, despite half of them opposing the separation from the 28-nation bloc in the referendum last year.

The research also confirmed that UK SMEs have quickly shrugged off Brexit-induced economic worries, as seven in 10 firms expect to deliver stronger profits in the next 12 months and only six per cent forecast a drop in turnover over the same period.

Flender is granted its P2P credit license (AltFi), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer friends and family lender, Flender announced it has now received its full authorisation from the FCA and has also launched operations in Ireland.

The platform says it has funded loans of over €900,000 since its soft-launch, without any marketing or advertising. It has seen demand from companies in a wide range of industry sectors including construction, F&B, energy companies, retailers and more. It reports that it has attracted over 750 registered users, 138 campaigns submitted with 11 currently live on the platform.

RateSetter Partners with George Banco, Acquires Two Motor Finance Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RateSetter previously provided financing to George Banco. RateSetter will now lend directly to George Banco’s growing customer base with George Banco generating the leads.der George Banco. RateSetter has also acquired an equity stake in the George Banco company.

Additionally, RateSetter has acquired specialist motor finance providers Vehicle Stocking Limited and Vehicle Credit Limited out of their parent company’s administration. RateSetter will rebrand both businesses and invest in them to build on its current motor finance capabilities. RateSetter previously provided wholesale finance to these businesses.

UK P2P Lender Growth Street Celebrates Marketplace Rate Drop, Signals Increased Momentum (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Growth Street’s marketplace rate dropped on Monday from 6.5% AER to 6.4% AER, rewarding borrowers with a 10bps drop in their costs of funds. The UK P2P lender attributes the drop to the momentum it has built on its platform, welcoming over 700 investors to date since the launch of its investment offering in November.

FUNDING CIRCLE REVIEW (Orca Money), Rated: A

Loans are split into a minimum of £20 chunks or loan parts allowing investors to achieve a high level of diversification when investing relatively low amounts. Funding Circle suggests lending to a minimum of 100 businesses to achieve a 1% exposure to any one business. When investing a minimum of £2,000, Funding Circle’s auto-bid function will achieve this level of diversification automatically.

Borrowers across Funding Circle are all small to medium sized businesses (SMEs), borrowing between £5,000- £1million for loan terms of 6 months to 5 years.

Funding Circle is the only peer-to-peer lending platform of scale which operates across multiple geographies. The P2P platform has expanded from the UK to the USA, Germany and Spain. 74% of Funding Circle’s group (Funding Circle Holding Limited) revenue in the period ending the 31st December 2015 came from its UK business (Funding Circle UK Limited).

VPC Specialty Lending Investments Annual Results Continues to Disappoint (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC (LSE:VSL.L) released 2016 annual results last week and according to Chairman Andrew Adcock, results continue to disappoint. Shares in the fund that invests in various online lending assets continue to trade at a significant discount to the net asset value per share. As of December 31, 2016, VPC had deployed 87% of its NAV (with its cash holding of 13% temporarily elevated due to the recent sale of the Funding Circle U.K. portfolio). During 2016, VPC generated an NAV return of 0.85% for the Ordinary Shares and distributed dividends of 6.00 pence per Ordinary Share relating to the income earned during the year.

Going round in circles (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

The recent news that peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle plans to stop all property development lending by mid-2018 came as something of a surprise.

Risk is always a factor in construction, but it is how that risk is managed that is important. Funding Circle’s withdrawal could allow other lenders to enter this space, and increased competition will be no bad thing in giving developers greater choice.

While we appreciate that there are always certain areas of the market that give cause for concern, many of our clients have a clear appetite for further growth. While demand is strong, and developers continue to be starved of funds by traditional lenders, the market for alternative finance – and peer-to-peer lending particularly – will come to the fore.

China

Former Unicorn China Rapid Finance Goes Public at a $ 350M Valuation (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The IPO price was set at $6.00 and the company raised $60 million which was adjusted down from their anticipated raise of $105 million. Back in 2015, it was reported that the company had a pre-money valuation of $1 billion after closing a $35 million Series C. The company is now valued at $350 million.

At time of writing shares were trading around $7.10 per share.

The fact that China Rapid Finance and Yirendai before them chose to go public in the US is significant. In a recent Lend Academy podcast with Yirendai CEO Yihan Fang, she stated that they felt the US was more educated on marketplace lending. This coupled with the fact that Ning Tang (Founder of parent company CreditEase) and other management members had experience in the US and were more comfortable with the US capital markets led to their decision to list in the US.

Another company that could seek a US IPO is Ppdai.com who last year said it could go public in the first half of 2017.

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

Financial Company of XIAOMI Raised A Round of 100 Million RMB

Today, FuMi Tech, MI’s related eco-chain company, announced it has finished A round of financing and raised 100 million RMB. This round of financing led by Buddhism Capital, with MoBai Capital and the previous investor ShunWei Capital participated. The fund will be continuously used to improve users’ experience.

WeBull, one of the products of FuMi Tech, providing trading services of US and HK stocks, and supporting real-time quotes of global stock, foreign exchange, funds and derivatives markets of over 20 countries. In fact, FuMi Tech has previously raised a joint investment of 50 million RMB from MI and ShunWei Capital.

China’s State-owned Commercial Bank Breaking the Ice between P2P platforms

Recently, China Construction Bank(Guangdong Branch) has launched its P2P funding depository product “Dragon depository”, and currently the bank has reached agreements with several P2P lending platforms.

According to an insider of CCB, the two critical measurements for their P2P cooperators are: bad debts and overall strength of the platform.The participation of CCB will promote the compliance process and bring a sustainable development of P2P lending industry.

NDRC(National Development and Reform Commission): Promote the Construction of Asia Credit System

The first Asia Credit Rating Agencies CEO Fair & Systemic Risk International Seminar was held in Beijing recently. Hongwan Chen, the deputy director of the financial department of National Development and Reform Commission, said that the regional cooperation across Asia is important for it could accelerate the Construction of Credit System in the area. He also advise to build credit record for local companies incorporated overseas and foreign investors, and set up a “blacklist” about those seriously illegal enterprises.

China Rapid Finance a consumer lending force in China (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Dr. Wang completed his Ph.D in statistics at the University of Chicago in 1995 before moving on to Sears Credit where as head of analytics he developed models employing credit bureau data while also overseeing the creation of a credit data warehouse. He returned to China, where in 2001 he founded  China Rapid Finance which began by developing credit scoring and decisioning models that helped companies issue more than 100 million credit cards.

In 2010 they made the move into marketplace lending, where they teamed up with more than 100 Chinese internet companies to analyze and score data that allowed them to preselect customers.

Seven years later China Rapid Finance has become China’s leading online consumer credit marketplace after facilitating 15 million loans to two million borrowers, beginning with small amounts for short durations and growing into longer-term loans for larger amounts.

EMMAs total 500 million and have been underserved by traditional credit providers, who focus on the 300 million super prime people who work for government or large institutions, Dr. Wang explained. He estimates China’s consumer credit coverage at roughly one-fourth that of the United States. While roughly 60 per cent of Americans have credit coverage, that rate is 16 per cent in China.

EMMAs are prime and near-prime consumers who are educated and have stable employment in the services and with startups and SMEs, but they have little credit history and cannot obtain bank credit.  They also largely stayed away from the notorious shadow banks, a large (no one knows precisely how large) opaque industry which helped fuel both real estate and small consumer loans.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes April 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle leads ahead of Zopa and Lendinvest. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 445 million Euro.

Milestones reached this month are:

  • Younited Credit crossed 500 million Euro loan volume since launch

European Union

Barclays Opens Europe’s Largest FinTech Site in London (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Barclays has today opened its flagship open innovation site, Rise London, in Shoreditch. It is Europe’s largest co-working space dedicated to financial technologies (FinTech).

Rise, created by Barclays, brings together from across the world a carefully curated community of FinTech startups, along with our corporate clients and other experts, to work on Barclays’ customer and business opportunities and together help to create the future of financial services.

Rise London will house more than 40 FinTech companies, along with Banking and Technology teams from Barclays, and will serve as a gathering place for leaders in the FinTech and venture capital communities. Rise London will play host to more than 200 hours of learning, workshops, hackathons and networking on a monthly basis.

Australia

Melbourne fintech Airwallex just won $ 17 million funding from Mastercard, Sequoia and Tencent (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Australian cross-border payment startup Airwallex has secured US$13 million ($17.4 million) in a funding round to continue its expansion overseas.

For Sequoia — the 45-year-old firm famous for investing in famous tech brands such as Apple, Google and AirBnB – the deal represents its Chinese arm’s first investment in an Australian startup.

Airwallex founder and chief executive Jack Zhang told Business Insider that the company, which already can make payments to 100 countries, will use the cash injection to expand its physical presence in locations such as London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan.

FinTech Australia Reflects on First Year (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FinTech Australia, the advocacy group promoting all things fintech related in Australia, celebrated its one year anniversary by sharing its “Year of Review.”

India

India to see regulations for fintech space soon: KPMG report  (Outlook), Rated: AAA

The government is expected to come out with regulations for fintech (financial technology) space as the industry is likely to witness increased payments and lending activities, a study said today.

Over the next quarter, insurtech may come into its own in India, according to the report.

Citing Paytm attracting Asia’s largest funding round of USD 200 million in March quarter, it said AI and blockchain may be big bets for investors apart from payments, open data and data analytics.

Over the quarter, investment into Asia’s fintech space hit USD 492 million across 33 deals, as per the report.

SoftBank Said in Talks to Invest $ 1.4 Billion in India’s Paytm (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

SoftBank Group Corp. is in talks to invest about $1.4 billion in India’s One97 Communications Ltd. in a deal that would value the owner of the country’s largest digital-payments provider at about $7 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal is not yet finalized and the terms may yet change, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. One97 Communications, whose Paytm unit has seen business surge as India took most of its paper bills from circulation, has also had discussions with two other investors, one of the people said. The company was last valued at $4.2 billion, according to research firm CB Insights.

3 Alternative Lending Trends That Have Made Fintech Startups Popular (Inc42), Rated: A

Traditional banks have left quite a few gaping holes when it comes to unsecured loans, especially for salaried people who are not employed in companies that they classify as A/A+ category.

Quick Personal Loans

Customers, it appears, are warming up to online alternative lending portals, and it is predominantly due to the speed with which the loan application is processed, verified and approved. Tedious documentation, in addition to ambiguous rules and non-transparency in the whole process that a customer faces with banks, has made entrepreneurs reinvent lending for salaried employees. The ease and convenience of digital (and painless) transactions are considered priceless. There are lenders such as Qbera, which disburses personal loans up to INR 5 Lakhs in 24 hours.

Alternative Fixed Income Products Become More Popular

2016 saw RBI releasing a set of directives regarding P2P loans in India. The paper recommends NBFCs status for P2P lenders, which is almost consistent with what the P2P sector has been demanding. This liberal approach helps to protect the interest of all stakeholders without choking innovative ideas. P2P lenders are hoping for these recommendations to become regulations after the budget announcement, which will give the arena a facelift.

Short-Term Payday Loans

You don’t get instant cash from banks and online payday loan providers often save the day. As they are offered for shorter tenures compared to online personal loans, it gets repaid more quickly, which is a definite plus. You can even opt for monthly, fortnightly, weekly or daily loans.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday May 1 2017, Daily News Digest

Upstart

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle US to bolster capital markets team. US investors in Yirendai try to preserve lawsuit. Fed wants a say in fintech rules. Ablrate gains ISA manager status. Mizuho commits to fintech partnerships. Today’s main analysis: AI fintech startups offer loans on new credit. Global fintech report from CB Insights. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Multi-seller ABS […]

Upstart

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

International

Australia

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Funding Circle US to bolster capital markets team (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle US is currently advertising for a number of capital markets jobs, all based in San Francisco. Among the listed jobs is a newly created Head of US Capital Markets role.

A Funding Circle spokesperson told us that Sachin Patel is now running capital markets for the firm globally.

There are currently five capital markets jobs listed in the US.

US Investors In Chinese Online Lender Fight To Preserve Suit (Law360), Rated: AAA

Shareholders in Chinese peer-to-peer lending company Yirendai Ltd. asked a California federal judge on Thursday to keep their securities fraud suit against the company and its executives alive, saying their request to dismiss the case rested on mischaracterizations and factual arguments the court couldn’t consider.

The investors sued Yirendai in 2016 after news that Chinese regulators were cracking down on the peer-to-peer lending business sent its stock tanking.

AI Fintech Startups Offer Loans on New Credit (Nanalyze), Rated: AAA

We’ve found more than a dozen AI fintech firms through our friends at CB Insights that claim their machine-learning algorithms can evaluate loan applications in milliseconds while minimizing defaults.

Many of these companies target so-called thin-file borrowers—people with little credit history—who are usually trying to consolidate debt from high-interest credit cards.

CB Insights reported in its 2016 Global Fintech report that investments dropped from an all-time high of $14.6 billion in 2015 to $12.7 billion last year. Online loan companies, in particular, took something of a hit in 2016. The last quarter was particularly tough, with a 31 percent tumble in loan originations. (However, overall, the top online loan sharks companies tracked by S&P Global Market Intelligence improved their bottom-dollar on loan originations by 15 percent from year-to-year, mostly on the backs of small businesses and students.)

Avant offers direct unsecured personal loans ranging from $1,000-$35,000 with funding delivered as soon as the next business day. It has served more than 500,000 customers worldwide, though last year’s downturn for digital lenders also hit Avant. Its year-to-year loan originations were down 12 percent to about $1.7 billion.

Led by a bevy of former Google-ites, including former Google CIO and ZestFinance CEO and founder Douglass Merrill, ZestFinance has raised $62 million in equity financing, including an undisclosed amount last July. Total funding is $262 million thanks to a couple of additional rounds of debt financing. Peter Thiel’s name again appears on the long list of investors.

Key VC tech investors like Andreessen Horowitz and Khosla Ventures have helped pour $320 million of equity into Affirm, bringing total funding to $420 million after a $100 million round of debt financing from Morgan Stanley. The company is led by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.

Upstart is an AI fintech version of Lending Club. Meaning it provides peer-to-peer lending. Like ZestFinance, it particularly markets to the skinny jeans crowd, offering loans of up to $50,000 to help consolidate debt, pay off student loans and build credit history for those living in hipster cities like Portland and Brooklyn. The machine learning bit involves taking less tangible variables like education, college major and astrological sign into account.

Upstart CEO (and former president of Google Enterprise) Dave Girouard told TechCrunch he expects his company to become profitable this year. He predicts Upstart will originate about $1 billion in loans this year after doing about $650 million in loans in its first 2½ years.

Federal Reserve wants a say on U.S. fintech rules -Brainard (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

The Federal Reserve wants to give input on future rules governing how technology companies move into consumer lending markets, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said on Friday.

Policymakers will have to determine whether financial technology, or fintech, companies may tap the Fed for services that large, traditional banks enjoy.

“The OCC’s proposal raises interpretive and policy issues for the Federal Reserve regarding whether charter recipients would become Federal Reserve members or have access to Federal Reserve accounts and services,” Brainard told a conference at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Ten Marketplace Lending Options for Accredited Investors (Lend Academy), Rated: A

LendingHome launched in 2014 but quickly established themselves as the leader in the category. They are the only real estate crowdfunding platform to have reached $1 billion in total loans issued, a milestone they crossed in December, 2016 just two and half years after launching.

PeerStreet were founded just 18 months ago but they are already making a name for themselves. They are also focused on the fix & flip market providing loans ranging from 6-24 months in length. They target 6-12% returns and they maintain a conservative maximum LTV (loan-to-value) of 75%.

Sharestates has offered both debt and equity investments, although the vast majority of their deals are for debt. These deals are similar to other platforms with loan terms typically 6-24 months targeting 8-12% returns.

RealtyMogul is one of the most established players in the space having launched in 2013. They have done around $260 million in deals and today they focus primarily on commercial property.

Patch of Land is 100% focused on debt deals tied to mainly residential properties but with a small number of commercial properties as well.

RealtyShares is a “full stack” capital provider, meaning they offer both debt and equity deals on a single project for borrowers. They have done some large deals including this $5.9 million deal for a 132-unit apartment complex in Ohio.

The world leader in marketplace lending for small business loans offers US accredited investors a solid option. Loan terms range from 12 – 60 months and interest rates from 5.49% – 27.79%. Loans are rated from A+ for least risky down to D grade. They have a marketplace where you can browse the loans on offer or you can setup automated investing strategies based on loan grade. As I wrote this there were 12 loans available on their marketplace. Funding Circle provides financials and other details about each company although they don’t provide the company name.

Streetshares is a relatively new small business lender, they launched in 2014, and they are focused primarily on providing funding for military and veteran community businesses. Run by two veterans they provide three different products: term loans (3 – 36 months), lines of credit ($5,000 – $100,000) and government contract financing (for companies dealing with federal or state government contracts).

P2Binvestor, or P2Bi for short, is an asset backed lender providing revolving lines of credit typically backed by accounts receivables. These lines of credit range from $250,000 to as much as $10 million.

Upstart has been something of a quiet achiever when compared to some of their well-established competitors. Founded by ex-Googlers they have a very data-centric approach to their business. One of the things that makes Upstart unique is they were the first platform to look at a borrower’s education and factor that into the lending decision. Interest rates range from 6.37% – 29.99% APR, loan terms are three or five years and amounts range from $1,000 – $50,000.

Could Facial Recognition Technology Transform Insurance? (FA Magazine), Rated: A

In Wilmington, N.C., a high-tech company called Lapetus Solutions has developed a technology it calls Chronos that interprets facial characteristics such as baggy eyes, rosy cheeks and double chins to estimate a person’s life expectancy. One purported use of this futuristic-sounding software is to help insurance companies assess risk quickly and inexpensively. Customers could then purchase life insurance online in record time, perhaps circumventing the usual medical examination altogether.

In theory at least, insurance carriers want to provide coverage only to those less likely to need it. The better the carriers understand and predict risks, the better they can manage their liabilities. So if facial recognition technology identifies risks that were previously unknown or unknowable, it could render some consumers uninsurable, an advantage perhaps for the insurance company but not the consumer.

But Erin Ardleigh, president and founder of Dynama Insurance, an independent insurance brokerage based in New York City, isn’t so sure. “How would facial recognition technology help underwriters? I suppose if it could identify clients [who were] engaging in risky behavior, such as smoking or skydiving,” she says.

Rodgers, though, contends that the decision of whether to try this or any other new technology may ultimately come down to dollars and cents.

McHenry Working With Senate Democrat on New Fintech Bill (Bloomberg BNA), Rated: A

A leading House Republican on financial technology issues said April 25 he is working with a Senate Democrat on a revised “permanent beta test” bill to prod regulators to foster fintech innovation.

“You must have a default ‘yes’ to new innovation,” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) said in a speech at the American Action Forum in Washington.

McHenry said the 2017 version of the act would include “significant changes and revisions,” but he declined to discuss those. He also declined to identify the Democratic senator with whom he is working. He said he hopes to introduce the new bill in two months.

Global Debt Registry Wins FinTech Breakthrough Award (GDR Email), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company known for its loan validation expertise, today announced it has won the FinTech Breakthrough Award for ‘Best Business Lending Product’. The 

Female Fintech Founder On Series F And The Future Of Payments (Forbes), Rated: A

Karla Friede was first an executive with depth in sales and marketing and a passion for innovating. As the president and CEO of a company who had developed a new offering, a B2B payment technology, she was excited about getting to market.

Friede, now the CEO along with co-founders, Tana Law and Shaun McAravey, bought the rights to the idea from Zevez Corporation and in 2009 launched Nvoicepay.

Friede admits it wasn’t easy launching and scaling at that time. But, it taught them to be very smart with every penny. And, they had to prove their business case as they went along because investors weren’t throwing money at every shiny object.

Many B2B organizations don’t accept credit cards. And, managing ACH transfers require a lot of manual processes and the collection of sensitive financial data.

Friede says she was a little naïve in tackling the launch because the B2B payments space was so large. It’s one thing tackling Billion Dollar industries, it’s another thing dipping your toe into a market in the tens of Trillions.

Friede encourages founders to partner with people that think differently but complement your skills.

As Friede puts it, investors are looking for reasons not to invest in you…rather than reasons to invest in you. Don’t give them those reasons, give them a proven business model and secure set of customers.

Only 9% of VC-backed companies have woman CEOs so you won’t ‘look and feel like them.’ Instead, look and feel like someone who knows what they are doing and has proven it. That’s a shorthand all investors respond to.

If you are a female founder and you’re concerned about bias, she has this advice:

  • Target women-lead VCs or those with a woman partner.
  • Make it easy for the VC to relate to you.
  • Talk like the men around you.

She considers it a point of pride that they’ve raised $25M and it’s taken them to Series F to do it.

Small Change Announces Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bank Building Real Estate Offering (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform Small Change announced this week the launch of Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bank Building real estate offering. The funding portal noted that the project is seeking $300,000 to fund development of the building into co-working operator Beauty Shoppe’s flagship location.

Picker also noted that the next reincarnation of the Liberty Bank Building is having difficulty getting funds because it is considered to be the first full co-working building in Pittsburgh:

“Why is it so difficult to finance projects that bring innovation and new life to neighborhoods and cities? Must we rely on traditional financial institutions that are not very innovative at their core?”

Small Change added there is a 10% projected return on debt instrument. A full return of interest and capital is anticipated in 36 months. This is not an offer to sell securities.

State Bank Regulators Sue to Stop the OCC’s Fintech Charter (National Law Review), Rated: A

As we reported last fall, New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo stated that she was “ardently opposed” to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC’s) intention to process applications for a new financial technology (fintech) company charter. We now see just how much her counterparts in other states share that view, as the state bank regulators recently came together under the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) banner to ask the federal courts to stop the OCC’s fintech charter initiative.

In turn, we believe that the CSBS action will act as a further disincentive for at least some fintech companies to pursue a national bank charter at this time.

Are Robo-Advisers in Your Future (My Prime Time News), Rated: A

Rather than having a “real” human being as your financial adviser, you can now hire a robot, or robo-adviser. The automated adviser will then manage your investment funds through the use of mathematical rules called algorithms. There is almost no human interaction.

While there may be cost savings, it is important to understand their risks and limitations before using them. First, what level of human interaction is important to you? While limited human interaction may result in reduced fees, many people feel more comfortable having often complex investment decisions explained by a person they trust. Before you decide to create an account with a robo-adviser, it’s important that you understand how the system works. Robo-adviser systems are limited to the information provided, and do not seek out new information or research potential options in the same way that a human adviser would.

Therefore, remember that even if you are not dealing with a human, you still need to verify the license of the service and the registration of the product or offering with the proper authorities.

FinTech Fireside Chat with PayJoy (Center for Digital Strategies), Rated: B

PayJoy is a FinTech company based in San Francisco, CA. PayJoy is bringing consumer finance to people who otherwise could not afford modern electronics such as smartphones. Today, PayJoy’s unique locking technology enables us to offer monthly installment payment plans to millions who otherwise would be unable to afford a quality smartphone. PayJoy’s ambition is to deliver affordable consumer finance to 1B+ people worldwide to obtain a smartphone and join the modern digital, mobile economy.

Poloniex Lending Bot vs Manual Poloniex Lending (The Merkle), Rated: B

Unfortunately, Poloniex Lending Bot cannot do much about issuing loans at very low rates when the market spikes. Additionally, the bot negates any opportunity to benefit from high long-term rates. Moreover, there is a 10% fee for using the bot, which can negate some of the profits earned rather quickly. It is a convenient lending bot, granted, but it should not necessarily replace manual, lending activities for anyone who knows what they are doing.

This also means one needs to buy small amounts of said coin to effectively issue the loan. If the coin suddenly plummets in value, that can cause losses in a cryptocurrency portfolio. Then again, a lending bot would not be able to protect users from falling currency values either by any means.

United Kingdom

Ablrate Gains ISA Manager Status and Passes £20 Million in Loans (EIN News), Rated: AAA

David Bradley-Ward, CEO at Ablrate, said: “Following our successful application for full authorisation from the FCA we now have the necessary approvals from HMRC to offer an Innovative Finance ISA. We hope to be able announce the launch of our IFISA soon after integrating the necessary technology.”

However, the asset backed lender is taking a cautious attitude towards the new product.

Multi-seller ABS approach to flourish (Structured Credit Investor), Rated: AAA

Marketplace loan ABS involving a multi-seller approach is expected to become more commonplace, due to the extra control that online lending platforms can exert over the securitisation process. Investors and loan sellers also benefit from a consistent securitisation programme, but a degree of expertise is required to handle the greater complexity involved in executing such transactions effectively.

VPC Specialty Lending Net Asset Value Rises As Dividend Is Lifted (Alliance News), Rated: A

VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC on Friday said its net asset value increased significantly over the course of 2016 but said its NAV per share declined after its share capital swelled, while it reported negative total return in the period.

VPC said its net asset value at the end of 2016 stood at GBP363.1 million versus GBP201.8 million at the close of 2015, but the NAV per share fell to 95.26 pence from 100.90 pence after 182.6 million new shares were issued throughout the year.

Total shareholder return in the period was -17% versus the total return in 2015 of -5.5%. Revenue return was 6.0% versus 4.3% the year before.

Funding Circle to shut down forum amid property loan debate (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDING Circle is closing its community forum on Tuesday, as it says that some investors are “asking questions about a narrow range of technical topics” that would be better dealt with through its investor support team.

A thread on short-term property loans has now attracted 1,300 replies and more than 59,000 views. Lenders on the platform expressed their concerns around a tranche of London-based property loans that are going into default.

The platform suggested that its investors share their views on another website called the P2P Independent Forum instead.

How will your career evolve as the fintech sector grows? (Silicon Republic), Rated: A

For a start, you are probably wondering what future jobs will be available in fintech, as banking as we know it transforms into an online entity and long-standing financial institutions are shapeshifting for a new era.

If you want to work in this sector, you’ll need to brush up on the latest goings-on in the industry, and what better way to do that than to follow the experts online? To save you some trouble, we’ve provided you with a list of 10 people to follow on Twitter if you want to work in the fintech sector.

European Union

Tradeplus24 CHF100m Fintech raise in Switzerland signals Insurance move into SME Lending (Daily Fintech), Rated: AAA

Note: the deal was done in CHF which is about parity with USD, so you can read that as $100m.

A $100m Fintech raise in Switzerland in 2014 would have been inconceivable. In 2017 it is noteworthy as another sign of a rapidly maturing Fintech community in Switzerland.

I could only find the Tradeplus24 news on German language sites, so if that is an issue for you, here are the key facts:

– they raised CHF100m debt

– The debt is for lending to Swiss SME (note: they refer to KMU which translates to SME). This makes them a balance sheet lender, like Avant, not a marketplace lender like Lending Club. This means they have assured capital to offer rather than simply matching on a best efforts basis (our take is the latter is the better model long term but that you need balance sheet based lending to get a market going).

The Tradeplus24 approach is different. It brings Insurance into the mix. AsOceanoOne put it “An insurance or equal protection of investment grade quality against credit loss and fraud is in place for all pre-financed receivables. The purchase of the receivables occurs only when a credit insurance or an equal protection is in place and confirmed by the relevant protection provider.”

China

26 on trial over China P2P fraud (XinhuaNet), Rated: AAA

Twenty-six executives of a Chinese online peer-to-peer lender stood trial in Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday after allegedly cheating the public out of a huge amount of money.

The local procuratorate charged that the defendants had used two online P2P platforms, Ezubao and Sesame Financial, to illegally raise funds and then spent lavishly on luxury gifts and salaries between June 2014 and December 2015.

International

THE GLOBAL FINTECH REPORT: Q1’17 (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

While fintech covers a diverse array of companies, business models, and technologies, companies generally fall into several key verticals, including:

  • Lending tech: Lending companies on the list include primarily peer-to-peer lending platforms as well as underwriter and lending platforms using machine learning technologies and algorithms to assess creditworthiness.
  • Payments/billing tech: Payments and billing tech companies span from solutions to facilitate payments processing to payment card developers to subscription billing software tools.
  • Personal finance/wealth management: Tech companies that help individuals manage their personal bills, accounts and/or credit, as well as manage their personal assets and investments.
  • Money transfer/remittance: Money transfer companies include primarily peer-to-peer platforms to transfer money between individuals across countries.
  • Blockchain/bitcoin: Companies here span key software or technology firms in the distributed ledger space, ranging from bitcoin wallets to security providers to sidechains.
  • Institutional/capital markets tech: Companies either providing tools to financial institutions such as banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, or other institutional investors. These range from alternative trading systems to financial modeling and analysis software.
  • Equity crowdfunding: Platforms that allow a collection of individuals to provide monetary contributions for projects or companies provisioned in the form of equity.
  • Insurance tech: Companies creating new underwriting, claims, distribution and brokerage platforms, enhanced customer experience offerings, and software-as-a-service to help insurers deal with legacy IT issues.

Read the full report here.

Australia

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) anticipates getting over $200 million returned to consumers out of its so-called “fee for no service” remediation projects plus $30 million out of quality-of-advice work with the large institutions.

It said that in the financial advice space in the last 12 months it had extracted six enforceable undertakings; banned 41 individuals from providing financial advice; had four infringement notices and had undertaken seven criminal actions.

“In our fee-for-no-service remediations, we have got up to just over $60 million, and we anticipate getting over $200 million returned to consumers out of that project. We will have about $30 million in the backward-looking quality-of-advice work that we have done with the large institutions,” Bird said.

Kristen Lunman: Taking a chance on financial technology (NZ Herald), Rated: A

As the programme director for New Zealand’s first fintech-focused business accelerator programme, the pressure is on in the countdown to demo day. That’s when the teams will pitch their business plans and – they hope – attract the crucial dollars that will enable them to forge ahead.

The 39-year-old expat Canadian moved to Wellington six years ago with her husband and two pre-school children after falling in love with the country when the couple honeymooned here.

Asia

Japanese Megabank Mizuho Commits to Fintech in Series of Partnerships (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

One of the largest banks in Japan, Mizuho Financial Group, has been in the news recently for several partnerships involving fintech. According to Nikkei Asian Review, the bank is in talks to co-develop a fintech incubator that will be focused on virtual currencies, like bitcoin, and AI-based loan screening ventures. The discussions are with World Innovation Labs (WiL), a firm based out of Silicon Valley that helps US and Japanese startups raise capital, to co-found the incubator by as early as June of this year.

The creation of an incubator is not Mizuho’s first foray into fintech. Just last week, it was reported that Mizuho partnered with Cognizant (one of the world’s leading professional services companies, a member of the Nasdaq-100, and Fortune 500 company) to develop a distributed ledger solution for more efficient and secure trade financing.

Just two days after the partnership with Cognizant was reported, it was announced that Mizuho had also partnered with IBM to create a blockchain-based trading platform.

OJK’s regulation on financial technology-based lending services (Lexology), Rated: AAA

Both agreements must be drawn up in an electronic form. Providers are restricted by the following rules:

  • Providers must be established as a legal entity in the form of a limited-liability company as meant by Law No. 40 of 2007, or in the form of a cooperative as meant by Law No. 25 of 1992.
  • The maximum direct or indirect foreign share ownership in Providers in the form of a limited-liability company which are established and owned by foreign citizens and/or legal entities is 85% of the total issued capital.
  • Providers are required to have IDR 1 billion in capital (i.e. paid-up capital for a limited-liability company and self-capital for a cooperative) at the time they apply for registration and IDR 2.5 billion at the time they apply for the license. Limited-liability companies or cooperatives intending to engage in the P2P Lending Services business are required to register with and subsequently apply for a license to the OJK.
  • Providers are prohibited from conducting other businesses outside the P2P Lending Services, such as acting as lender or borrower, providing security or guarantee for other parties’ debt and issuing bonds.

Vietnamese fintechs and the $ 35 billion dream (VietnamNet), Rated: A

According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), roughly $53 billion has been reserved for fintech firms and there are over 3,500 fintech firms all over the world.

According to PwC, online payment and mobile money transfer services are becoming the gateway to approach a fraction of the population which have not yet transacted with banks.

It forecasts that mobile technology will help many new customers access financial services and open up a new market worth $3 trillion in global payments.

Vietnam has 90 million people, most of whom are young, 50 percent of whom have internet access and 70 percent use smartphone.

These factors, according to Nielsen, a market survey firm, are the important reasons for experts to believe Vietnam is a potential fintech market.

Are crowdfunding and P2P lending good investments? (The Star), Rated: A

However, there is also “equity-based” crowdfunding, which is smaller, but more interesting from an investment point of view.

Peer-to-peer lending, on the other hand, is not concerned with equity, but with debt.

In Malaysia, it will still take a few years before these alternatives really take off, either as a way to obtain debt or equity for entrepreneurs or as an investment vehicle for investors.

But some fintech crowdfunding start-ups already exist, such as pitchIN, Mystartr and CrowdPlus.asia.

For those of us looking to obtain unsecured loans for personal consumption, the bank still seems the best option. For now.

Africa

World Bank offers African FinTech startups better odds (IT Web Africa), Rated: AAA

An exclusive pan-African post-acceleration programme, XL Africa has been launched by the World Bank Group for African digital startups.

XL Africa aims at supporting enterprises in any sector that are making smart use of digital solutions and connect these businesses with angel investors and venture capital firms in a bid to raise growth capital estimated at US$1.5 million.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor