Thursday January 4 2018 Daily News Digest

most funded fintech segments

News Comments Today’s main news: U.S. blocks Ant Financial from buying MoneyGram. Victory Park exits Prosper. Money360 closes $500M in CRE loans. Prosper appoints new marketing chief. Indian startup funding at 3-month low. LaLa World Global to launch token sale. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for December 2017. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub to turn around in 2018. Top hedge […]

most funded fintech segments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

The U.S. Is Blocking a Chinese Fintech Giant from Buying MoneyGram (Technology Review), Rated: AAA

American authorities have decided that Alibaba’s digital payment firm, Ant Financial, won’t be allowed to acquire the cash transfer company Moneygram.

Money360 Passes $ 500 Million in Commercial Real Estate Loans Closed (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate (CRE) loans, today announced it has surpassed half a billion dollars in loans closed since inception. This includes $357 million in loans closed for the year 2017.  The milestone comes on the heels of other recent successes for Money360, including the initiation of a partnership with Ten-X, the nation’s leading online real estate transaction marketplace, in which Money360 works to accelerate commercial real estate transactions for buyers, sellers and brokers by offering pre-approved financing for qualified properties and buyers.

Money360 specializes in bridge and permanent loans of $1 million to $20 million. Recent loans closed during the period include:

  • A $7.8 million bridge loan for an office property in Evansville, Indiana, brought to Money360 by Benjamin Kadish at Maverick Capital
  • A $7.5 million bridge loan for a full-service hotel in Cromwell, Connecticut, brought to Money360 by Rushi Shah at Conlon Capital
  • A $6.8 million bridge loan for a nationwide portfolio of Pier 1 retail properties, brought to Money360 by Al Dannatt at Commercial Resource Capital
  • A $6.8 million bridge loan for a mixed-use center in Charleston, South Carolina, brought to Money360 by Dominick Scorzo at Ivenhoe Capital Advisors
  • A $4.4 million permanent loan for a retail center in Mount Olive, New Jersey, brought to Money360 through our partnership with Ten-X
  • A $4 million bridge loan for an office building in Amarillo, Texas, brought to Money360 by Steve States at States Mortgage
  • A $3.2 million bridge loan for a retail center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, brought to Money360 by Martin Chera at Express Mortgage

In addition to record loan generation activity and new partnerships, Money360 has taken a number of notable steps in 2017 to further position the company as a leader in commercial real estate and alternative investing, including:

  • Hired new top talent to support company growth.
  • Named a top five company in the real estate fintech industry by Deloitte based on total investment dollars received.
  • Gained backing and support from Ron Suber. Mr. Suber not only invested in Money360, but also joined the firm as a strategic advisor.

M360 Advisors surpasses $300M in Assets Under Management

Finally, Money360 announced that its affiliate, M360 Advisors (“M360”), surpassed $300 million in assets under management.

3 Turnaround Stocks to Consider in 2018 (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

One name that has been sold off very recently is Lending Club (NYSE:LC), the leader in the relatively new industry of FinTech personal lending.

Lending Club’s fee-based model depends on increasing volumes, so growth-oriented investors were likely scared off by the reduced targets.

However, I think the hate has gone too far. Lending Club is the largest and only publicly traded loan marketplace, which has made it the go-to for institutional investors looking for exposure to consumer loans. By tightening credit, Lending Club has demonstrated a long-term commitment to sound underwriting, which should deepen its relationships with these important investors.

And while Lending Club did reduce its near-term guidance, it still guided for roughly 20% revenue growth and increasing profitability next year, which isn’t too shabby. The market opportunity in U.S. credit card consolidation — Lending Club’s core business (though not its the only one) — is still large, at $300-$350 billion, which means Lending Club’s current $11.5 billion loans outstanding only amounts to about 3-4% of this market.

TOP HEDGE FUND INDUSTRY TRENDS FOR 2018 (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Despite the plethora of negative articles about the hedge fund industry, hedge fund assets have reached an all-time high 5 quarters in a row. Across the hedge fund investor landscape, we see a significant improvement in sentiment towards the industry. We forecast that industry assets will grow by 5.5% over the next 12 months.

Strategies that will gain assets include:

  • Quant
  • Asia long/short equity  – The IMF predicts that 2/3 of world growth will come from Asia over the next 5 years. Less than 5% of Hedge Fund industry assets are invested with Asia based managers.
  • Reinsurance
  • Higher turnover fixed income
  • Strategies that blur the lines between private equity and hedge funds – Most of these are private lending/specialty financing.

Strategies that will lose assets include:

  • Traditional long/short equity focusing on the developed markets.
  • High beta fixed income managers.

Arms race for Alpha

The industry is experiencing an information arms race with respect to how much information can be gathered and how quickly it can be processed.  Information advantages are often short-lived, and many managers are investing in a host of new technologies such as quantitative analytics, alternative data sources and Artificial Intelligence in an attempt to enhance their decision making and improve traditional investment processes. Information and technology are being used to increase efficiency and accuracy in sourcing information, researching ideas and executing investments.

Increase in hedge funds shutting down

The hedge fund industry remains over saturated with an estimated 15,000 funds. We believe approximately 90% of all hedge funds do not justify their fees, as evidenced by the mediocre returns of hedge fund indices. Fed-up with poor performance, investors are increasingly more likely to redeem from underperforming managers leading to an increase in fund closures.

Bullish on Cryptocurrency industry despite potentially one of the largest bubbles in capital markets history

Cryptocurrency is in its infancy stage and will continue to experience tremendous innovation, evolution and exponential growth over the next decade. There are already more than 120 hedge funds focused on cryptocurrencies and block chain technology. We expect this number to increase 2 to 3 times in 2018.

Prosper Marketplace Appoints Former Bank of America Executive Justine Metz Head of Marketing (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace today announced it has appointed Justine Metz as Executive Vice President of Marketing.

Metz brings more than 25 years of marketing experience and joins Prosper from SRS Acquiom, a financial firm that specializes with M&A transactions. Prior to that, Justine served as Head of Global Wealth and Investment Management Marketing and Sales Support at Bank of America, where she was responsible for driving growth, profitability and loyalty for Bank of America’s Wealth Management business, Merrill Lynch and US Trust. She has also held senior positions at Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley and GE Capital (GEFA).

MoneyLion Secures $ 42 Million Investment to Accelerate Growth (BusinessWire), Rated: A

MoneyLion, the digital personal finance platform for the financial middle class, announced today it has secured a $42 million Series B funding, led by Edison Partners. Existing investors FinTech Collective and Grupo SURA, as well as new investors Greenspring Associates and Danhua Capital also participated in the round. All told, MoneyLion has now raised $67 million in equity financing.

The latest investment follows rapid growth of the MoneyLion platform, which has surpassed 1.5 million users and has experienced 178% compounded growth in revenue since 2015. The company, which is cash flow positive, plans on using the growth capital to increase investment in technology and continue to expand its product line.

How Tech Sends Clients Running Back to Human FAs (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

While investors have been using digital tools as an entry into financial planning, they’re simply inundated by too much data and eventually turn to human advisors for help, Cerulli Associates says, according to the publication.

Nonetheless, investors’ appetite for digital advice isn’t subsiding: digital platforms were expected to reach $220 billion in client assets by the end 2017 and more than $600 billion by the end of 2022, according to the report cited by FA magazine.

 

Celsius to replace traditional future exchanges like CME and CBOT with crypto lenders (LeapRate), Rated: A

Celsius, a blockchain powered lending and borrowing platform, just announced that it aims to replace big banks and futures exchanges, like the CME and CBOT, with crypto coin holders who will earn returns through lending. Using its platform, which will launch in Q1 2018, Celsius members can easily borrow coins at significantly reduced rates compared to traditional financial institutions, while lenders can earn automatic interest by holding coins in the Celsius Wallet.

Dubbed as “The Wallet That Pays Back”, registrants who deposit coins into the Celsius Wallet will receive up to 7% per year on loaned coins.

Celsius plans to offer a variety of powerful financial tools for crypto asset holders, including:

  • Peer-to-Peer Lending 
  • Peer-to-Peer Borrowing 
  • Crypto Shorting: Network members will be able to short crypto assets by borrowing coins from lenders almost instantaneously.
  • Global Credit 
  • Capital Protection: Celsius will provide protection for all coins, by collecting a portion of the principal interest amount from borrowers.

Crypto P2P lender Celsius readies for launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

CELSIUS, an Ethereum-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is set to launch during this quarter.

Lenders will receive up to seven per cent year by depositing coins into the Celsius Wallet that are lent out to the platform’s network of members, according to LeapRate.com.

2018’s Best Credit Cards & $ 7.4B in Extra Interest Following Fed Hikes (WalletHub Email), Rated: A

With millions of people making a financially themed resolution for 2018 and recent Fed rate hikes expected to cost credit card users an extra  Best For… Card Name Travel Rewards

The Mastermind Behind Chase’s Industry-Changing Sapphire Reserve Card Sets Her Sights on Banking (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Pam Codispoti had a dilemma. She’d been brought on by JPMorgan Chase & Co.to develop a credit card for affluent millennials in 2014—a time when no one thought the group wanted credit cards.

Chase’s response was the Sapphire Reserve. The $450-a-year card came with a sign-up bonus of 100,000 reward points and allowed holders to use them at a wide variety of hotels, airlines, restaurants, and more. Holders were also rewarded extra for spending in those categories, and even given a $300 annual travel credit.

CFPB 2018 outlook: More deregulation, more upheaval (American Banker), Rated: A

The first 11 months alone under former CFPB Director Richard Cordray saw a steady stream of enforcement actions and regulatory policies that by itself would make the bureau’s year more eventful than that of other agencies. That span also saw the Trump administration’s challenges to Cordray’s leadership, and the congressional repeal of the CFPB arbitration rule.

Indiana lawmaker files bill to cap payday loan interest rates at 36 percent (rtv6), Rated: A

State Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) filed on Tuesday the first of its kind legislation that would cap small loan finance charges at 36 percent.

Currently, the cap for payday loans in Indiana is 391 percent, according to Walker.

Indiana ranks 44th, among the worst in the nation, when it comes to bankruptcy and Hoosiers and their communities lose about $70 million a year in payday loan fees, according to the Indiana Institute for Working Families.

If in case you have debt, keep away from this massive mistake many debtors make (Kaplan Herald), Rated: B

In June, cumulative U.S. household debt reached $12.84 trillion, a $114 billion increase from the first quarter.

Four 4 in 5 Americans are in the red, according to data from a provided exclusively to CNBC.

United Kingdom

Victory Park Capital fund exits Prosper loans (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The £336.8m VPC Specialty Lending fund has sold its total holding in Prosper marketplace loans, representing 4.1 per cent of the Company’s net asset value [NAV].

Valuing Funding Circle (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Back in 2014, Lending Club and OnDeck were riding high. The American startups led a pack of online lending companies “disrupting” consumer and business loans respectively.

The hype reached fever-pitched as they floated within weeks of each other. Lending Club was valued at $5.4bn. OnDeck at $1.3bn.

So, hats off to Funding Circle, the British online lender that is preparing to follow in the footsteps of its struggling peers across the Atlantic.

Making the most of your money (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

AS INFLATION grows ahead of expectations, far too many savers are seeing the value of their hard-earned cash decline.

Recent research from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that just under a third (30 per cent) of UK adults would not be able to cope if their mortgage repayments increased by £50 a month.

With the recent 0.25 per cent rate rise, it won’t be long before these households feel the squeeze.

The rise of P2P

UK savers and investors are also willing to back British businesses. Six in 10 (63 per cent) would be willing to lend to a business. Over a quarter (26 per cent) would lend to a business that could use their assets as security. A quarter (25 per cent) would lend to an established business that has been operating for a few years and 11 per cent would lend to a start-up business.

Click here for more information on ArchOver.

Folk2Folk Announces New CEO as Giles Cross Takes Over Leadership Role P2P Lending Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Folk2Folk, a unique peer to peer lending platform that combines physical locations with an online platform matching investors with small business loans, has announced the appointment of Giles Cross  Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Cross joined Folk2Folk as Chief Marketing Officer in June 2017.

 

Property Lender Financed Around 1,800 UK Homes in 2017 (Landlord News), Rated: A

LendInvest, a leading specialist property lender, lent £500m to help professional property investors, developers and landlords buy, build or renovate around 1,800 UK homes during 2017.

This marks a 33% increase on the previous year’s £375m lending record.

LendInvest has now lent a total of over £1.2 billion to property investors and developers.

High touch meets high tech (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FAIRNESS IS pivotal to Newable Lending’s ethos when it comes to lending – and it’s not afraid to nail its colours to the mast. The peer-to-peer business lender is a member of Responsible Finance, a trade body working to increase access to fair finance.

FCA financial advice director steps down (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: B

FCA director of life insurance and financial advice Linda Woodall has stepped down from the regulator.

The regulator understands she intends to retire. A replacement has yet to be appointed.

European Union

New EU financial market rules off to smooth start: Watchdog (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

The rollout of new European Union securities rules on Wednesday has been glitch-free so far, though disruptions in coming days and months cannot be ruled out, the bloc’s markets watchdog said.

But given the complexity and size of the reform, Esma could not rule out glitches in coming days or weeks, Maijoor said.

Rocky start for Europe’s financial market revamp (Handelsblatt Global), Rated: A

Even after a year-long delay, precious few experts fully understand the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, Europe’s biggest financial markets reform in almost a decade.

Among other key changes, and in a belated nod to technological progress, telephone-based trading will be replaced with electronic platforms in bonds and off-exchange derivatives. And consumers should immediately see financial advice standards rise.

Analysts estimate that MiFid II will cost $6 billion (€5 billion) to implement in the first five years.

Exclusive Interview with Fast Invest CEO Simona Vaitkune (ChipIn), Rated: A

We recently sat down with the CEO of Fast Invest, Simona Vaitkune to have a chat with her about the project as well as finding out her thoughts and insights.

Tell us about how you came up with the idea of Fast Invest. Did you face a problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for Fast Invest to fill?

Everything started when I wanted not only to save money but to earn from my savings, to get passive income. I began to search for a platform which would fit me, but I could not find anything because I wanted to do it easily and safely without investing a lot of money.

What do you think is the biggest problem Fast Invest will solve and why is the problem important to solve?

Fast Invest is solving a problem that I mentioned before – complexity and large entry point of investment platforms. With Fast Invest, you can start investing from 1 Euro, Zloty or Pound. On top of that, you do not need to worry about your money, because we offer BuyBack and default guarantees.

International

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

Mintos finished a remarkable month fueled by the cashback promotion. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 582 million Euro.

This month I added PeerBerryLook&Fin and MyTripleA.

Source: P2P-Banking

Setting the Tone for 2018 in the Most Important Charts of 2017 (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: AAA

In 2017, lending startups around the world scored almost $4 billion in total funding, followed by $3.55 billion gathered by InsurTech startups, $3.24 billion invested in payments, and, of course, $850 million pocketed by startups building blockchain-based solutions.

Keep shoppers, the planet, and your profits happy by allowing in-store returns (Biz Report), Rated: A

Reverse-logistics firm Optoro found that nearly half (45%) of people will begin sending back unwanted items no sooner than the ripped up wrapping paper has been balled and binned. UPS recently forecast that returns would peak at 1.4 million packages on Wednesday 3 January, 2018, up 8% on last year and the fourth consecutive yearly increase. UPS said consumers returned more than 1 million packages a day to retailers last month.

According to Optoro’s report, the majority of returns (91%) will take place in-store. While total returns account for more than $351 billion in lost sales for U.S. retailers (Appriss Retail) the fact that most of those returns are happening in store is good news. More than half (57%) of shoppers who return items to a physical store make additional purchases during the process.

Could blockchains replace banks in real estate lending? (American Banker), Rated: A

The startup Propy recently sold an apartment in the Ukraine through its blockchain, and in the last week of December it began letting Californians buy and sell properties on its blockchain using bitcoin. They will be able to use U.S. dollars next year.

ShelterZoom has built an Ethereum-based platform that went live Dec. 14. RealBlocks lets people invest in housing on its blockchain with fiat or digital currency (and starting in February 2018, its own tokens). It has completed seven deals so far.

RealBlocks lets people invest in rental properties like Section 8 housing over a blockchain.

It has also partnered with SALT Lending so that after February, participants will be able to take out a loan or line of credit using the tokens they buy from RealBlocks as collateral.

A blockchain could also facilitate crowdsourced mortgages. Instead of taking out a $200,000 loan from one lender, a borrower could get $2,000 each from 1,000 investors.

18 Blockchain Predictions for 2018 (Consensy), Rated: A

Bitcoin as a digital store of value is the least interesting use of blockchain … There, I said it.

A Loan

Source: Consensys

An Initial Public Offering or Crowdfunding

Source: Consensys

10. People will take control of their online identities

We will continue to see the growing trend wherein people, companies, and machines manage their identity self-sovereignly rather then by a third party service provider like a bank, Facebook, or another internet service provider.

Interestingly, governments will increasingly find themselves as attestors to these self-sovereign identities, similar to how Zug, Switzerland is attesting to citizens identity usage with uPort, Ethereum leading self-sovereign identity solution.

11. In 2018, governments and regulatory bodies will mandate the use of blockchain to track and trace high value assets.

Major Fortune 50 companies are already demanding public chain track and trace use cases for which they are using the Viant platform to build their solutions.

18. The total market cap of blockchain-based digital assets will exceed $2 trillion U.S. dollars by January 1, 2019.

The price of ether will exceed $2,000 in 2018. Ether will continue to outperform bitcoin, and the total market cap of ether will exceed that of bitcoin in 2018.

8 fintech trends on our radar for 2018 (O’Reilly Media), Rated: B

  1. AI will be implemented across the stack
  2. New products will make advanced analytics easier
  3. Blockchain technologies will be used in financial services products
  4. Data partnerships will increase
  5. We’ll see even greater regionalization and regulation in payments – This is an area where both startups and global companies are flourishing. The technologies, protocols, and players vary by region. I’m amazed by how widely used QR codes are in China (WeChat and Alipay) and the rest of the world (GoPay in Southeast Asia, Paytm in India). For companies operating in the EU, PSD2 is a new 2018 regulation aimed at fostering innovation and competition in the payments industry.
  6. Customer experience will be increasingly mobile
  7. There will be increased pressure around privacy and security
  8. More quants will be analyzing or trading cryptocurrencies
Australia

Can a fintech lending firm disrupt the big four? (Asiamoney), Rated: AAA

As CVs for Australian bankers go, Jason Yetton’s background doesn’t quite scream ‘disruptor’. High-flyer perhaps, certainly ambitious and across trends. But helming a startup?

Two years on from Westpac and now running SocietyOne, the Sydney-based loans fintech that is one of Australia’s more prominent financial startups, the mid-career Yetton seems to bite with near evangelistic fervour the very hand of establishment banking that once nourished him.

Australian banking is backward in many critical areas, Yetton tells Asiamoney. He wants to see a tech-led democratization that would revolutionize payments and settlement, as well as lending, data and information infrastructure, while allowing customers to switch banks without penalty.

The current system preserves the status quo, Yetton says, in which the formidable foursome control 80% to 85% of Australia’s banking market and from which they earned a collective A$32 billion ($24 billion) in the 2017 financial year.

India

Funds Raised By Indian Startups Hit Three-Month Low (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Funds raised by Indian startups hit a three-month low, as four startups together managed to raise just around $10 million last week. That compares with $36 million raised by 10 startups the week before in angel, seed or venture capital funding.

Online lending firm Lendingkart Finance Ltd. raised around $3.7 million (Rs 25 crore) from the country’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India to grow its loan books, the company said in a statement.

Indian start-up ecosystem on a growth path in 2018 (Outlook), Rated: A

India’s start-up eco-system has been growing at a rapid pace and has all the right ingredients to support the fast paced economic growth of the country. With an addition of 1000 start-ups in the year 2017, the start-ups have played a big role in the growth of the Indian economy, making it a major source of employment, innovation and industrialisation.

i2ifunding, India’s second largest P2P lending platform plans to expand its business across the country, instead of focussing on metro cities.

Asia

LaLa World Global to Launch $ 10M Public Token Sale Jan. 5 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Blockchain startup LaLa World is pleased to announce the long anticipated launch of the Lala Token sale to commence on January 5, 2018 and to run through February 5, 2018. A total of 150 Million LALA Tokens will be released in an initial coin sale (ICO) starting this Friday.

LALA World Products from their Financial Ecosystem Include:

  1. LALA Transfer – A Peer-to-Peer local and global remittance backed by crypto as well as fiat.
  2. LALA Bill Pay – Local and International bill payments for you and your family.
  3. LALA Lends – Domestic and International peer-to-peer lending via crypto and fiat, individual and small businesses.
  4. LALA Card – Crypto and Fiat card synced to your Wallet and usable at millions of PoS globally.
  5. LALA Kit – Contains a mobile phone with pre-loaded LALA Wallet, LALA Insurance, LALA Card, partners’ products, etc.

LaLa World is a wholesome financial ecosystem for the unbanked, starting with migrants and their families back home. Investors can purchase LaLa Tokens here: 

8 promising Fintech Startups in Singapore to Watch in 2018 (Fintech News), Rated: A

  1. MyCash Online is an online marketplace designed for migrant workers in Malaysia and Singapore.
  2. Instarem is a remittance startup that aims to offer fast, safe and cost effective cross border money transfer services for individuals and businesses from countries including Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore to more than 25 countries.
  3. Singapore Life is a new life insurance firm which commenced its operations in 2017 by providing insurance solutions via its online platform.
  4. soCash has developed a solution that allows people to withdraw cash at small businesses part of its “Cashpoints” network. The solution plugs into the mobile apps of banks.
  5. Bluzelle Networks is a blockchain startup that’s building a decentralized, on-demand, scalable database for decentralized applications.
  6. TenX is a cryptocurrency payment platform that consists of a wallet, physical debit card, bank account, ATM access and more.
  7. AGDelta is a Singapore headquartered fintech software company specialized in digital wealth management.
  8. Flywire, formerly peerTransfer, is a provider of international payment solutions headquartered in Boston with operations in Singapore, China, Australia, Spain and the UK.
Canada

New payday loan rules still too soft, says group (CBC.ca), Rated: A

On Monday, New Brunswick became the eighth Canadian province to introduce regulations governing the payday loan industry.

Earlier this week, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission announced a new set of regulations, including mandatory licensing for payday lenders, requiring then to display posters showing their rates, and making insurance on loans optional.

Lenders are also prohibited from issuing more than one loan at a time to the same consumer, or lending more than 30 per cent of the consumer’s net pay.

Under the new rules, the commission is able to take action against unlicensed lenders and those that fail to comply with legislation.

Africa

Kenya most lucrative market for fintech top staff in Africa (Business Daily), Rated: AAA

Kenya is the most attractive market in Africa for workers in the fintech industry with new data showing that companies pay the highest salaries in comparison to their peers on the continent.

In a recent survey, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) found that executives and senior managers working for Kenyan fintech companies earn each a base monthly salary of Sh2 million (Sh24.6 million or $238,509 annually) and Sh1.2 million (Sh14.2 million or $137,303 annually), respectively.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday January 4 2018 Daily News Digest

most funded fintech segments

News Comments Today’s main news: U.S. blocks Ant Financial from buying MoneyGram. Victory Park exits Prosper. Money360 closes $500M in CRE loans. Prosper appoints new marketing chief. Indian startup funding at 3-month low. LaLa World Global to launch token sale. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for December 2017. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub to turn around in 2018. Top hedge […]

most funded fintech segments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

The U.S. Is Blocking a Chinese Fintech Giant from Buying MoneyGram (Technology Review), Rated: AAA

American authorities have decided that Alibaba’s digital payment firm, Ant Financial, won’t be allowed to acquire the cash transfer company Moneygram.

Money360 Passes $ 500 Million in Commercial Real Estate Loans Closed (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate (CRE) loans, today announced it has surpassed half a billion dollars in loans closed since inception. This includes $357 million in loans closed for the year 2017.  The milestone comes on the heels of other recent successes for Money360, including the initiation of a partnership with Ten-X, the nation’s leading online real estate transaction marketplace, in which Money360 works to accelerate commercial real estate transactions for buyers, sellers and brokers by offering pre-approved financing for qualified properties and buyers.

Money360 specializes in bridge and permanent loans of $1 million to $20 million. Recent loans closed during the period include:

  • A $7.8 million bridge loan for an office property in Evansville, Indiana, brought to Money360 by Benjamin Kadish at Maverick Capital
  • A $7.5 million bridge loan for a full-service hotel in Cromwell, Connecticut, brought to Money360 by Rushi Shah at Conlon Capital
  • A $6.8 million bridge loan for a nationwide portfolio of Pier 1 retail properties, brought to Money360 by Al Dannatt at Commercial Resource Capital
  • A $6.8 million bridge loan for a mixed-use center in Charleston, South Carolina, brought to Money360 by Dominick Scorzo at Ivenhoe Capital Advisors
  • A $4.4 million permanent loan for a retail center in Mount Olive, New Jersey, brought to Money360 through our partnership with Ten-X
  • A $4 million bridge loan for an office building in Amarillo, Texas, brought to Money360 by Steve States at States Mortgage
  • A $3.2 million bridge loan for a retail center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, brought to Money360 by Martin Chera at Express Mortgage

In addition to record loan generation activity and new partnerships, Money360 has taken a number of notable steps in 2017 to further position the company as a leader in commercial real estate and alternative investing, including:

  • Hired new top talent to support company growth.
  • Named a top five company in the real estate fintech industry by Deloitte based on total investment dollars received.
  • Gained backing and support from Ron Suber. Mr. Suber not only invested in Money360, but also joined the firm as a strategic advisor.

M360 Advisors surpasses $300M in Assets Under Management

Finally, Money360 announced that its affiliate, M360 Advisors (“M360”), surpassed $300 million in assets under management.

3 Turnaround Stocks to Consider in 2018 (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

One name that has been sold off very recently is Lending Club (NYSE:LC), the leader in the relatively new industry of FinTech personal lending.

Lending Club’s fee-based model depends on increasing volumes, so growth-oriented investors were likely scared off by the reduced targets.

However, I think the hate has gone too far. Lending Club is the largest and only publicly traded loan marketplace, which has made it the go-to for institutional investors looking for exposure to consumer loans. By tightening credit, Lending Club has demonstrated a long-term commitment to sound underwriting, which should deepen its relationships with these important investors.

And while Lending Club did reduce its near-term guidance, it still guided for roughly 20% revenue growth and increasing profitability next year, which isn’t too shabby. The market opportunity in U.S. credit card consolidation — Lending Club’s core business (though not its the only one) — is still large, at $300-$350 billion, which means Lending Club’s current $11.5 billion loans outstanding only amounts to about 3-4% of this market.

TOP HEDGE FUND INDUSTRY TRENDS FOR 2018 (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Despite the plethora of negative articles about the hedge fund industry, hedge fund assets have reached an all-time high 5 quarters in a row. Across the hedge fund investor landscape, we see a significant improvement in sentiment towards the industry. We forecast that industry assets will grow by 5.5% over the next 12 months.

Strategies that will gain assets include:

  • Quant
  • Asia long/short equity  – The IMF predicts that 2/3 of world growth will come from Asia over the next 5 years. Less than 5% of Hedge Fund industry assets are invested with Asia based managers.
  • Reinsurance
  • Higher turnover fixed income
  • Strategies that blur the lines between private equity and hedge funds – Most of these are private lending/specialty financing.

Strategies that will lose assets include:

  • Traditional long/short equity focusing on the developed markets.
  • High beta fixed income managers.

Arms race for Alpha

The industry is experiencing an information arms race with respect to how much information can be gathered and how quickly it can be processed.  Information advantages are often short-lived, and many managers are investing in a host of new technologies such as quantitative analytics, alternative data sources and Artificial Intelligence in an attempt to enhance their decision making and improve traditional investment processes. Information and technology are being used to increase efficiency and accuracy in sourcing information, researching ideas and executing investments.

Increase in hedge funds shutting down

The hedge fund industry remains over saturated with an estimated 15,000 funds. We believe approximately 90% of all hedge funds do not justify their fees, as evidenced by the mediocre returns of hedge fund indices. Fed-up with poor performance, investors are increasingly more likely to redeem from underperforming managers leading to an increase in fund closures.

Bullish on Cryptocurrency industry despite potentially one of the largest bubbles in capital markets history

Cryptocurrency is in its infancy stage and will continue to experience tremendous innovation, evolution and exponential growth over the next decade. There are already more than 120 hedge funds focused on cryptocurrencies and block chain technology. We expect this number to increase 2 to 3 times in 2018.

Prosper Marketplace Appoints Former Bank of America Executive Justine Metz Head of Marketing (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace today announced it has appointed Justine Metz as Executive Vice President of Marketing.

Metz brings more than 25 years of marketing experience and joins Prosper from SRS Acquiom, a financial firm that specializes with M&A transactions. Prior to that, Justine served as Head of Global Wealth and Investment Management Marketing and Sales Support at Bank of America, where she was responsible for driving growth, profitability and loyalty for Bank of America’s Wealth Management business, Merrill Lynch and US Trust. She has also held senior positions at Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley and GE Capital (GEFA).

MoneyLion Secures $ 42 Million Investment to Accelerate Growth (BusinessWire), Rated: A

MoneyLion, the digital personal finance platform for the financial middle class, announced today it has secured a $42 million Series B funding, led by Edison Partners. Existing investors FinTech Collective and Grupo SURA, as well as new investors Greenspring Associates and Danhua Capital also participated in the round. All told, MoneyLion has now raised $67 million in equity financing.

The latest investment follows rapid growth of the MoneyLion platform, which has surpassed 1.5 million users and has experienced 178% compounded growth in revenue since 2015. The company, which is cash flow positive, plans on using the growth capital to increase investment in technology and continue to expand its product line.

How Tech Sends Clients Running Back to Human FAs (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

While investors have been using digital tools as an entry into financial planning, they’re simply inundated by too much data and eventually turn to human advisors for help, Cerulli Associates says, according to the publication.

Nonetheless, investors’ appetite for digital advice isn’t subsiding: digital platforms were expected to reach $220 billion in client assets by the end 2017 and more than $600 billion by the end of 2022, according to the report cited by FA magazine.

 

Celsius to replace traditional future exchanges like CME and CBOT with crypto lenders (LeapRate), Rated: A

Celsius, a blockchain powered lending and borrowing platform, just announced that it aims to replace big banks and futures exchanges, like the CME and CBOT, with crypto coin holders who will earn returns through lending. Using its platform, which will launch in Q1 2018, Celsius members can easily borrow coins at significantly reduced rates compared to traditional financial institutions, while lenders can earn automatic interest by holding coins in the Celsius Wallet.

Dubbed as “The Wallet That Pays Back”, registrants who deposit coins into the Celsius Wallet will receive up to 7% per year on loaned coins.

Celsius plans to offer a variety of powerful financial tools for crypto asset holders, including:

  • Peer-to-Peer Lending 
  • Peer-to-Peer Borrowing 
  • Crypto Shorting: Network members will be able to short crypto assets by borrowing coins from lenders almost instantaneously.
  • Global Credit 
  • Capital Protection: Celsius will provide protection for all coins, by collecting a portion of the principal interest amount from borrowers.

Crypto P2P lender Celsius readies for launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

CELSIUS, an Ethereum-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is set to launch during this quarter.

Lenders will receive up to seven per cent year by depositing coins into the Celsius Wallet that are lent out to the platform’s network of members, according to LeapRate.com.

2018’s Best Credit Cards & $ 7.4B in Extra Interest Following Fed Hikes (WalletHub Email), Rated: A

With millions of people making a financially themed resolution for 2018 and recent Fed rate hikes expected to cost credit card users an extra  Best For… Card Name Travel Rewards

The Mastermind Behind Chase’s Industry-Changing Sapphire Reserve Card Sets Her Sights on Banking (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Pam Codispoti had a dilemma. She’d been brought on by JPMorgan Chase & Co.to develop a credit card for affluent millennials in 2014—a time when no one thought the group wanted credit cards.

Chase’s response was the Sapphire Reserve. The $450-a-year card came with a sign-up bonus of 100,000 reward points and allowed holders to use them at a wide variety of hotels, airlines, restaurants, and more. Holders were also rewarded extra for spending in those categories, and even given a $300 annual travel credit.

CFPB 2018 outlook: More deregulation, more upheaval (American Banker), Rated: A

The first 11 months alone under former CFPB Director Richard Cordray saw a steady stream of enforcement actions and regulatory policies that by itself would make the bureau’s year more eventful than that of other agencies. That span also saw the Trump administration’s challenges to Cordray’s leadership, and the congressional repeal of the CFPB arbitration rule.

Indiana lawmaker files bill to cap payday loan interest rates at 36 percent (rtv6), Rated: A

State Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) filed on Tuesday the first of its kind legislation that would cap small loan finance charges at 36 percent.

Currently, the cap for payday loans in Indiana is 391 percent, according to Walker.

Indiana ranks 44th, among the worst in the nation, when it comes to bankruptcy and Hoosiers and their communities lose about $70 million a year in payday loan fees, according to the Indiana Institute for Working Families.

If in case you have debt, keep away from this massive mistake many debtors make (Kaplan Herald), Rated: B

In June, cumulative U.S. household debt reached $12.84 trillion, a $114 billion increase from the first quarter.

Four 4 in 5 Americans are in the red, according to data from a provided exclusively to CNBC.

United Kingdom

Victory Park Capital fund exits Prosper loans (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The £336.8m VPC Specialty Lending fund has sold its total holding in Prosper marketplace loans, representing 4.1 per cent of the Company’s net asset value [NAV].

Valuing Funding Circle (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Back in 2014, Lending Club and OnDeck were riding high. The American startups led a pack of online lending companies “disrupting” consumer and business loans respectively.

The hype reached fever-pitched as they floated within weeks of each other. Lending Club was valued at $5.4bn. OnDeck at $1.3bn.

So, hats off to Funding Circle, the British online lender that is preparing to follow in the footsteps of its struggling peers across the Atlantic.

Making the most of your money (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

AS INFLATION grows ahead of expectations, far too many savers are seeing the value of their hard-earned cash decline.

Recent research from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that just under a third (30 per cent) of UK adults would not be able to cope if their mortgage repayments increased by £50 a month.

With the recent 0.25 per cent rate rise, it won’t be long before these households feel the squeeze.

The rise of P2P

UK savers and investors are also willing to back British businesses. Six in 10 (63 per cent) would be willing to lend to a business. Over a quarter (26 per cent) would lend to a business that could use their assets as security. A quarter (25 per cent) would lend to an established business that has been operating for a few years and 11 per cent would lend to a start-up business.

Click here for more information on ArchOver.

Folk2Folk Announces New CEO as Giles Cross Takes Over Leadership Role P2P Lending Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Folk2Folk, a unique peer to peer lending platform that combines physical locations with an online platform matching investors with small business loans, has announced the appointment of Giles Cross  Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Cross joined Folk2Folk as Chief Marketing Officer in June 2017.

 

Property Lender Financed Around 1,800 UK Homes in 2017 (Landlord News), Rated: A

LendInvest, a leading specialist property lender, lent £500m to help professional property investors, developers and landlords buy, build or renovate around 1,800 UK homes during 2017.

This marks a 33% increase on the previous year’s £375m lending record.

LendInvest has now lent a total of over £1.2 billion to property investors and developers.

High touch meets high tech (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FAIRNESS IS pivotal to Newable Lending’s ethos when it comes to lending – and it’s not afraid to nail its colours to the mast. The peer-to-peer business lender is a member of Responsible Finance, a trade body working to increase access to fair finance.

FCA financial advice director steps down (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: B

FCA director of life insurance and financial advice Linda Woodall has stepped down from the regulator.

The regulator understands she intends to retire. A replacement has yet to be appointed.

European Union

New EU financial market rules off to smooth start: Watchdog (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

The rollout of new European Union securities rules on Wednesday has been glitch-free so far, though disruptions in coming days and months cannot be ruled out, the bloc’s markets watchdog said.

But given the complexity and size of the reform, Esma could not rule out glitches in coming days or weeks, Maijoor said.

Rocky start for Europe’s financial market revamp (Handelsblatt Global), Rated: A

Even after a year-long delay, precious few experts fully understand the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, Europe’s biggest financial markets reform in almost a decade.

Among other key changes, and in a belated nod to technological progress, telephone-based trading will be replaced with electronic platforms in bonds and off-exchange derivatives. And consumers should immediately see financial advice standards rise.

Analysts estimate that MiFid II will cost $6 billion (€5 billion) to implement in the first five years.

Exclusive Interview with Fast Invest CEO Simona Vaitkune (ChipIn), Rated: A

We recently sat down with the CEO of Fast Invest, Simona Vaitkune to have a chat with her about the project as well as finding out her thoughts and insights.

Tell us about how you came up with the idea of Fast Invest. Did you face a problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for Fast Invest to fill?

Everything started when I wanted not only to save money but to earn from my savings, to get passive income. I began to search for a platform which would fit me, but I could not find anything because I wanted to do it easily and safely without investing a lot of money.

What do you think is the biggest problem Fast Invest will solve and why is the problem important to solve?

Fast Invest is solving a problem that I mentioned before – complexity and large entry point of investment platforms. With Fast Invest, you can start investing from 1 Euro, Zloty or Pound. On top of that, you do not need to worry about your money, because we offer BuyBack and default guarantees.

International

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

Mintos finished a remarkable month fueled by the cashback promotion. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 582 million Euro.

This month I added PeerBerryLook&Fin and MyTripleA.

Source: P2P-Banking

Setting the Tone for 2018 in the Most Important Charts of 2017 (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: AAA

In 2017, lending startups around the world scored almost $4 billion in total funding, followed by $3.55 billion gathered by InsurTech startups, $3.24 billion invested in payments, and, of course, $850 million pocketed by startups building blockchain-based solutions.

Keep shoppers, the planet, and your profits happy by allowing in-store returns (Biz Report), Rated: A

Reverse-logistics firm Optoro found that nearly half (45%) of people will begin sending back unwanted items no sooner than the ripped up wrapping paper has been balled and binned. UPS recently forecast that returns would peak at 1.4 million packages on Wednesday 3 January, 2018, up 8% on last year and the fourth consecutive yearly increase. UPS said consumers returned more than 1 million packages a day to retailers last month.

According to Optoro’s report, the majority of returns (91%) will take place in-store. While total returns account for more than $351 billion in lost sales for U.S. retailers (Appriss Retail) the fact that most of those returns are happening in store is good news. More than half (57%) of shoppers who return items to a physical store make additional purchases during the process.

Could blockchains replace banks in real estate lending? (American Banker), Rated: A

The startup Propy recently sold an apartment in the Ukraine through its blockchain, and in the last week of December it began letting Californians buy and sell properties on its blockchain using bitcoin. They will be able to use U.S. dollars next year.

ShelterZoom has built an Ethereum-based platform that went live Dec. 14. RealBlocks lets people invest in housing on its blockchain with fiat or digital currency (and starting in February 2018, its own tokens). It has completed seven deals so far.

RealBlocks lets people invest in rental properties like Section 8 housing over a blockchain.

It has also partnered with SALT Lending so that after February, participants will be able to take out a loan or line of credit using the tokens they buy from RealBlocks as collateral.

A blockchain could also facilitate crowdsourced mortgages. Instead of taking out a $200,000 loan from one lender, a borrower could get $2,000 each from 1,000 investors.

18 Blockchain Predictions for 2018 (Consensy), Rated: A

Bitcoin as a digital store of value is the least interesting use of blockchain … There, I said it.

A Loan

Source: Consensys

An Initial Public Offering or Crowdfunding

Source: Consensys

10. People will take control of their online identities

We will continue to see the growing trend wherein people, companies, and machines manage their identity self-sovereignly rather then by a third party service provider like a bank, Facebook, or another internet service provider.

Interestingly, governments will increasingly find themselves as attestors to these self-sovereign identities, similar to how Zug, Switzerland is attesting to citizens identity usage with uPort, Ethereum leading self-sovereign identity solution.

11. In 2018, governments and regulatory bodies will mandate the use of blockchain to track and trace high value assets.

Major Fortune 50 companies are already demanding public chain track and trace use cases for which they are using the Viant platform to build their solutions.

18. The total market cap of blockchain-based digital assets will exceed $2 trillion U.S. dollars by January 1, 2019.

The price of ether will exceed $2,000 in 2018. Ether will continue to outperform bitcoin, and the total market cap of ether will exceed that of bitcoin in 2018.

8 fintech trends on our radar for 2018 (O’Reilly Media), Rated: B

  1. AI will be implemented across the stack
  2. New products will make advanced analytics easier
  3. Blockchain technologies will be used in financial services products
  4. Data partnerships will increase
  5. We’ll see even greater regionalization and regulation in payments – This is an area where both startups and global companies are flourishing. The technologies, protocols, and players vary by region. I’m amazed by how widely used QR codes are in China (WeChat and Alipay) and the rest of the world (GoPay in Southeast Asia, Paytm in India). For companies operating in the EU, PSD2 is a new 2018 regulation aimed at fostering innovation and competition in the payments industry.
  6. Customer experience will be increasingly mobile
  7. There will be increased pressure around privacy and security
  8. More quants will be analyzing or trading cryptocurrencies
Australia

Can a fintech lending firm disrupt the big four? (Asiamoney), Rated: AAA

As CVs for Australian bankers go, Jason Yetton’s background doesn’t quite scream ‘disruptor’. High-flyer perhaps, certainly ambitious and across trends. But helming a startup?

Two years on from Westpac and now running SocietyOne, the Sydney-based loans fintech that is one of Australia’s more prominent financial startups, the mid-career Yetton seems to bite with near evangelistic fervour the very hand of establishment banking that once nourished him.

Australian banking is backward in many critical areas, Yetton tells Asiamoney. He wants to see a tech-led democratization that would revolutionize payments and settlement, as well as lending, data and information infrastructure, while allowing customers to switch banks without penalty.

The current system preserves the status quo, Yetton says, in which the formidable foursome control 80% to 85% of Australia’s banking market and from which they earned a collective A$32 billion ($24 billion) in the 2017 financial year.

India

Funds Raised By Indian Startups Hit Three-Month Low (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Funds raised by Indian startups hit a three-month low, as four startups together managed to raise just around $10 million last week. That compares with $36 million raised by 10 startups the week before in angel, seed or venture capital funding.

Online lending firm Lendingkart Finance Ltd. raised around $3.7 million (Rs 25 crore) from the country’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India to grow its loan books, the company said in a statement.

Indian start-up ecosystem on a growth path in 2018 (Outlook), Rated: A

India’s start-up eco-system has been growing at a rapid pace and has all the right ingredients to support the fast paced economic growth of the country. With an addition of 1000 start-ups in the year 2017, the start-ups have played a big role in the growth of the Indian economy, making it a major source of employment, innovation and industrialisation.

i2ifunding, India’s second largest P2P lending platform plans to expand its business across the country, instead of focussing on metro cities.

Asia

LaLa World Global to Launch $ 10M Public Token Sale Jan. 5 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Blockchain startup LaLa World is pleased to announce the long anticipated launch of the Lala Token sale to commence on January 5, 2018 and to run through February 5, 2018. A total of 150 Million LALA Tokens will be released in an initial coin sale (ICO) starting this Friday.

LALA World Products from their Financial Ecosystem Include:

  1. LALA Transfer – A Peer-to-Peer local and global remittance backed by crypto as well as fiat.
  2. LALA Bill Pay – Local and International bill payments for you and your family.
  3. LALA Lends – Domestic and International peer-to-peer lending via crypto and fiat, individual and small businesses.
  4. LALA Card – Crypto and Fiat card synced to your Wallet and usable at millions of PoS globally.
  5. LALA Kit – Contains a mobile phone with pre-loaded LALA Wallet, LALA Insurance, LALA Card, partners’ products, etc.

LaLa World is a wholesome financial ecosystem for the unbanked, starting with migrants and their families back home. Investors can purchase LaLa Tokens here: 

8 promising Fintech Startups in Singapore to Watch in 2018 (Fintech News), Rated: A

  1. MyCash Online is an online marketplace designed for migrant workers in Malaysia and Singapore.
  2. Instarem is a remittance startup that aims to offer fast, safe and cost effective cross border money transfer services for individuals and businesses from countries including Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore to more than 25 countries.
  3. Singapore Life is a new life insurance firm which commenced its operations in 2017 by providing insurance solutions via its online platform.
  4. soCash has developed a solution that allows people to withdraw cash at small businesses part of its “Cashpoints” network. The solution plugs into the mobile apps of banks.
  5. Bluzelle Networks is a blockchain startup that’s building a decentralized, on-demand, scalable database for decentralized applications.
  6. TenX is a cryptocurrency payment platform that consists of a wallet, physical debit card, bank account, ATM access and more.
  7. AGDelta is a Singapore headquartered fintech software company specialized in digital wealth management.
  8. Flywire, formerly peerTransfer, is a provider of international payment solutions headquartered in Boston with operations in Singapore, China, Australia, Spain and the UK.
Canada

New payday loan rules still too soft, says group (CBC.ca), Rated: A

On Monday, New Brunswick became the eighth Canadian province to introduce regulations governing the payday loan industry.

Earlier this week, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission announced a new set of regulations, including mandatory licensing for payday lenders, requiring then to display posters showing their rates, and making insurance on loans optional.

Lenders are also prohibited from issuing more than one loan at a time to the same consumer, or lending more than 30 per cent of the consumer’s net pay.

Under the new rules, the commission is able to take action against unlicensed lenders and those that fail to comply with legislation.

Africa

Kenya most lucrative market for fintech top staff in Africa (Business Daily), Rated: AAA

Kenya is the most attractive market in Africa for workers in the fintech industry with new data showing that companies pay the highest salaries in comparison to their peers on the continent.

In a recent survey, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) found that executives and senior managers working for Kenyan fintech companies earn each a base monthly salary of Sh2 million (Sh24.6 million or $238,509 annually) and Sh1.2 million (Sh14.2 million or $137,303 annually), respectively.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday December 12 2017, Daily News Digest

P2P investors

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm raises $200M at almost $2B valuation. Elastic Line of Credit surpasses $1B in funding. Klarna signs 500 online retailers in U.S. Zopa makes changes to Isa. Mintos adds first Russian loan originator. Flexiti offers online financing for e-tailers in Canada. Today’s main analysis: UK alternative finance is still healthy. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cross River […]

P2P investors

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Asia

Russia

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

Max Levchin’s Affirm raises $ 200 million at a nearly $ 2 billion valuation (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The San Francisco-based company confirmed that it’s raising $200 million, led by GIC, a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund. Existing investors Khosla Ventures and Spark Capital are also participating.

Affirm’s valuation is estimated to be between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Investors are betting on Max Levchin, the PayPal co-founder who runs Affirm.

Elastic Line of Credit Surpasses $ 1 Billion in Total Funding (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the Elastic product has originated more than $1 billion, and has served over 200,000 customers since 2013.

Elastic, a bank-issued line of credit offered by Republic Bank & Trust Company (“Republic Bank”), currently has more than $260 million in total principal outstandings across over 150,000 open accounts.

Klarna North America Sees Surge In U.S. Merchant And Consumer Adoption Of Its ‘Smoooth’ Financing Solution (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Since Klarna introduced its financing solution in the U.S. in October 2016, 500 online retailers have already enrolled in the simple and ‘smoooth’ credit solution that is fully integrated into the online checkout process. Available in 10 countries via a single API, retailers include powerhouse global brands like Microsoft, TaylorMade, Overstock and Lenovo.

Why Cross River Bank and Mastercard are collaborating on cardless ATM access (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Cross River Bank, the bank of fintech startups, is working with Mastercard to give consumers cardless access to ATMs through an offering called Mastercard Cash Pick-Up. It allows businesses or individuals to send cash payments by logging in to the Cash Pick-Up platform via their bank’s website or mobile app and entering the necessary transaction and recipient. When they’ve done that, recipients receive a text message with the order number, PIN and a link that helps them locate a participating ATM nearby.

The offering highlights the role of mobile phones in banking’s new normal — mobile is more than just a channel, it’s the thing that’s guiding both financial incumbents and consumers alike through  the shift from physical to digital banking, which still hasn’t been fully realized.

For now, Mastercard Cash Pick-Up is only available at enabled ATMs in the U.S., where the postal service plays far too big a role in payments, particularly low dollar disbursements, Isaacson said.

 

Once Shunned, Regulated Industries Now a Lure for Some Investors (Xconomy), Rated: AAA

Niehenke theorized that consumers whose trust in traditional banks had eroded might become a willing customer base for financial technology startups. But it was a bumpy time for tech companies entering the highly regulated financial sector.

Among those startups was Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending startup that had been temporarily shut down in 2008 by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC maintained that the company was, in effect, selling securities rather than merely functioning as a marketplace connecting lenders and borrowers, TechCrunch reported.

CAN Capital Makes Three Strategic Hires to Strengthen Sales and Technology Teams (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CAN Capital, a small business specialty finance company, today announced three strategic hires as the company continues to invest in its technology and growth strategies. Mike Dodson, Vice President, Technology, Michael O’Brien, Director, Business Development, and Liping Deng, Director, Modeling & Analytics, have joined CAN Capital to focus on accelerating the company’s expansion.

China’s JD partners with accelerator program Plug and Play to reach US startups (TechCrunch), Rated: A

E-commerce giant JD.com, the closest rival to Alibaba in China, is broadening its presence in Silicon Valley after it announced a collaboration with accelerator firm Plug and Play to seek out and work with promising U.S. startups.

Robo-advisors hit lull in everything but VC backing as reality fragments their identity (RIABiz), Rated: A

Last summer, Sallie Krawcheck took a seat before 18 venture capitalists to raise capital for Ellevest Inc., her New York-based robo-advisor for women. See: Sallie Krawcheck astonishes industry observers by raising another $32.5 million for her robo-advisor — perhaps on strength of ‘unit economics’.

The role reversal reflects broader changes occurring across automated advice. BlackRock Inc. originally bought San Francisco-based FutureAdvisor as a retail product, then made it into a B-to-B offering. See: Why FutureAdvisor orphaned its B2C book of business, how post-Invesco Jemstep is doing and other learnings at CFA Society’s robo-panel in San Francisco

News out of Betterment has slowed to a crawl.

Wealthfront Inc.‘s Andy Rachleff leaned into the irony of robo-advisors moving away from digital-only in a September blog post.

Yet, in an autumn largely devoid of news from robo-advisors, Acorns had a blistering announcement of a much deeper integration with one of its VC backers, PayPal, which has 218 million users. See: As Acorns grapples with monetizing 1.1 million micro-accounts, the laid-back LA robo-advisor brings Wealthfront’s former chief exec onto its board.

In the case of Irvine, Calif.-based Acorns, the nudging took the form of A/B-style testing of giving investors choices of how much to invest.

Robo-adviser launches using chatbot technology (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Nuvo has launched what it describes as an “artificially intelligent digital broker powered by chatbot technology”.

The launch of the robo-adviser, which uses AI to learn about customers to pick prices for mortgages and protection products tailored to them in less than a minute, comes just days after a US company claimed to be the first in the world offering financial advice with artificial intelligence.

US Banks Look to Silicon Valley as Fintech Booms (PaymentsJournal), Rated: A

More than eight out of ten (82%) US commercial banks have pledged to increase fintech investment over the next three years as the sector continues to expand, with 86% of senior managers planning an imminent rise in investment.

The in-depth research commissioned by global Fintech provider Fraedom, polled decision-makers in commercial banks including shareholders, middle managers and senior managers.

The study also found that more than seven out of ten (71%) respondents believe that the rise of technology within commercial banking threatens traditional one to one bank and customer relationships. This disruptive impact was felt greatest by shareholders (95%) as opposed to 67% of middle managers.

Need a Shot of Capital for Business Growth? Here’s How to Find a Working Capital Loan This Year (AllBusiness.com), Rated: A

Startup founders know to look for grants, crowdfunding, and angel investors, and established small business owners understand the ins and outs of bank loans. However, another form of financing for established small businesses—working capital loans—is a little less familiar to many owners, yet working capital loans can be the ideal financial tool to handle opportunities (or problems) that present themselves in the shorter term.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • You don’t need to lay out a detailed plan of what you want to do with the money. Paperwork is minimal.
  • If your credit score is at least 500, you’ll need to show an annual profit of $50,000; if your credit score is at least 600, that gets cut in half to $25,000. If you’ve been denied a bank loan, your chances may still be good for a working capital loan.
  • You have the flexibility of choosing the type of working capital loan that best meets your needs: a term loan, cash advance, invoice factoring, revolving line of credit, or purchase order advance.

Today In Data: Consumer Spend, Venture Capital And Bitcoin Reach Record Highs (PYMNTS), Rated: A

$682 billion | Amount that consumers are expected to spend on presents and other holiday preparations this holiday shoppingseason, with retailers going the extra mile to meet them where they are in a simpler and faster way. That means upping mobile and online shopping experiences, offering a buy online pick up in-store model and launching services like curbside pickup and better shipping options.

Broker-Dealer Firms Raise Alarms That SEC’s CAT Database Isn’t Secure (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

Broker-dealer firms aren’t confident the SEC’s consolidated audit trail (CAT) – a single, comprehensive database expected to store an unprecedented amount of sensitive trade data and personal identifiable information (PII) – is secure, according to testimony delivered before the U.S. House of Representatives.

National securities exchanges, Finra, alternative trading systems and broker-dealer firms have been required to submit information on trading activities – including customer information and prices – to the CAT daily since November 15 of this year. Large broker-dealers will be required to start submitting information to the CAT by November 15, 2018, while small broker-dealers are expected to do so by November 15, 2019.

The CAT is expected to take in 58 billion records daily – including orders, cancellations, modifications, executions and quotes for the equities and options markets – and maintain data for more than 100 million customer accounts and their unique customer information, according to parties involved in the CAT.

.46 Billion in Extra Credit Card Charges Due to Upcoming Fed Rate Hike (WalletHub Email), Rated: A

Forecasts call for a 99%+ chance of a Federal Reserve rate hike on Wednesday, which would make three for 2017. The move couldn’t come at a worse time for consumers, according to WalletHub’s 

Use your 2017 budget before you lose it (LendIt), Rated: B

Having an exhibitor booth or sponsoring this event is your best chance to do business with companies shaping the fintech industry. 100+ companies have picked their spot. Download the sponsorship brochure today now and our team will help you seal the deal before your budget runs out.

Take advantage of the current ticket price and save $1,200 vs. the standard ticket.

Angie Herbers Launches Online FA Education Platform (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Financial advisor consultancy founder Angie Herbers has launched an online training platform aimed at helping advisors grow their firms.

Beyond U offers advisor education via videos, online seminars and assessments, covering such topics as operations, management, sales and marketing, client services, compensation and more, according to a press release from the firm.

United Kingdom

Zopa announces changes to its Isa (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Zopa investors can now redirect their repayments into an Isa, allowing investors to gradually transfer their funds into an Isa without having to sell loans or pay fees throughout the process.

The UK alternative finance market is still healthy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK’s alternative finance market — including marketplace lending, crowdfunding, and invoice trading — grew 43% year-over-year (YoY) in 2016, from £3.2 billion ($4.3 billion) to £4.58 billion ($6.17 billion), according to a recently released study from the 

Source: Business Insider

UK positioned to win in fintech, despite Brexit uncertainty (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Just this week the 

Small Businesses Drive 43 Percent Growth In UK Alternative Finance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Researchers said about 72 percent of market volume in 2016 can be traced back to demand for lending options among startups and small businesses, up from 50 percent the year before. That amounts to more than $4.4 billion driven by startups and SMBs in 2016.

Peer-to-peer businesses lending was 2016’s largest alternative finance market segment, which saw 36 percent year-over-year growth.

Squirrel Extends Crowdcube Campaign After Achieving £400,000 Funding Target (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, has successfully secured its initial £400,000 funding target from 450 investors through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube.

Downing enters property development space with Funding Circle hires (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

DOWNING has hired two real estate experts from Funding Circle’s property division as it enters the property development space through its crowd bonds platform.

Investors on Downing’s crowd bonds platform are being offered returns of five per cent for one year or six per cent for two years by investing in Downing Development Finance (DDF) through the DDF Property Bond.

 

Investors put trust in Scotland’s canniness (The Scotsman), Rated: B

Edinburgh Worldwide is another Baillie Gifford managed trust, though rather obscured by the group’s better known trusts. Notable performers (not a Scottish name among them) were Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a gene silencing company, LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, and IPG Photonics, a manufacturer of fibre-lasers used in metal processing.

China

 

How asset managers like FinEx Asia are using AI to disrupt traditional bank lending (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Banking disintermediation – essentially, taking out the middle man – has taken a new twist. While in recent years peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has become the poster-child for threatening banks’ lending business, a new type of hybrid disrupter is apparently starting to emerge: asset managers backed by financial technology.

One such firm attempting to cut banks out of the consumer-lending equation is FinEx Asia. The newly-licensed asset manager connects Asian investors with American consumer-credit assets, using artificial intelligence to select the loans based on risk appetite.

Founder and chief executive Maggie Ng said the company’s three funds now have US$100 million under management. They are backed by a portfolio of more than 10,000 US-based borrowers who have obtained loans from multiple online lending platforms, she said without specifying which ones.

Thomson Reuters platform to help further develop Hong Kong’s fintech offerings (SCMP), Rated: A

Thomson Reuters, the news and market data giant, is partnering with a Hong Kong government-backed body to help the city’s banks and fintech firms develop new technology, cut costs and create new products.

Celebrating its 150th anniversary in Hong Kong next year, the new arrangement will see Thomson Reuters offer its platform to financial firms to distribute their products as well as use its technology, tools and data to create products, for free.

International

Growth of Investor Numbers on P2P Lending Platforms (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Today I take a look at how investor numbers are developing at several platforms.

Source: P2P-Banking

FinTech Startup Nanopay Is For Banks, Not Against Them (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Whether bank customers are consumers or businesses, chances are good that they do at least some of their banking online. This month, startup nanopay is announcing a partnership with Canadian nonprofit interbank network Interac to help businesses manage the complexity of working across borders.

The partnership creates access for any bank account holder in the country to send funds to or receive funds from any other bank account served by nanopay. So far, that’s a short list including just India. But, according to nanopay CEO Laurence Cooke, coverage will be supported in the U.S. and China as well in Q1 of 2018.

The First Social P2P Cryptobank Datarius to Launch a Pre-Sale on December 12 (Coinspeaker), Rated: B

The Datarius main characteristics are the use of blockchain, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency operations and a special designer of the customer-adapted tariffs.

P2P lending is another characteristic of Datarius. It provides millions of people around the world with the possibility to receive and make loans using a Personal Account in the browser or through a smartphone application. It is a fast, reliable and easy way to get a loan wherever a person is. This is an opportunity to earn without involving brokers.

The pre-ITO round starts on December 12 on the official website of the Datarius Cryptobank and will last till December 31. 1 DTRC token = $ 1, but during the Pre-sale every buyer receives a 35% bonus. Soft Cap: $ 125,000.

Asia

ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF THE iFX EXPO ASIA 2018 (NewsBTC), Rated: B

CONVERSION PROS, a marketing agency within the retail finance sector and founding company behind the iFX EXPO series of financial B2B events, has announced their next event, the iFX EXPO Asia 2018, which will take place in Hong Kong from the 23rd to the 25th January 2018 at the HKCEC (Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre).

This event holds special significance, according to Gal Ron, CEO of CONVERSION PROS:

“This will be our 12th show to date and we expect to showcase this steady growth as we present an expanded floor plan with more exhibitor and sponsor areas tailored to the needs of our attendees. We are also placing special focus on Crypto as well as Peer to Peer lending as we are sure that this is part of the future of the online trading industry.”

Russia

Mintos, an Online Marketplace for Loans, Adds First Russian Loan Originator to Platform. (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Mintos marketplace for loans has added its first Russia based loan originator: EcoFinance. The online lender offers investments in unsecured personal loans issued in Russia under its CreditPlus brand. Mintos reports that EcoFinance loans on its marketplace will initially be listed in Euros with investors able to earn up to 11% annually.

Africa

Kiakia — get real-time capital as a business owner or working class (Techpoint), Rated: AAA

It’s no longer news that many individuals and SMEs in Nigeria have limited access to finance, especially from commercial banks.

Kiakia, an AI and machine learning powered alternative credit scoring, customer service, direct and a P2P lending platform has launched a virtual agent called “Mr K” to help working adults and SMEs access credit.

According to the Co-founder, Olajide Abiola (who also doubles as the Chief Data Scientist), millions of naira in loans have been successfully granted to and repaid by hundreds of borrowers across 22 States in Nigeria. This comes with a loss/default/NPL ratio of below 2.3%, which is consistently maintained over a 12-month period, all thanks to Kiakia’s algorithm.

Canada

FLEXITI FINANCIAL ANNOUNCES ONLINE FINANCING TO GROW E-COMMERCE SALES FOR CANADIAN RETAILERS (Flexiti Financial), Rated: AAA

Flexiti Financial, a provider of Point-Of-Sale (POS) financing and payment technology, announced today that its award-winning POS consumer lending platform is now available for online transactions. Retailers across Canada now have access to a powerful, online financing platform that easily integrates into any e-commerce engine, offering a low-cost solution. This is a critical new offering for Canadian retailers as it overcomes two key hurdles – speed of implementation and cost – as e-commerce continues to grow as a critical sales channel.

Flexiti Financial’s POS lending platform offers low rates for retailers who want to offer their customers flexible payment options, such as 0% interest financing. Customers do not require an existing credit card to apply.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor