Thursday October 31 2019, Weekly News Digest

Thursday October 31 2019, Weekly News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust (PMIT) 2019-4 to sell $138M in securities. PeerStreet raises $60M in Series C round. Funding Circle revamps secondary market. ID Finance Crowdcube campaign overfunds. Stablecoin loans surge 38%. Flender raises 75 million euro. Today’s main analysis: Genesis Capital’s digital asset lending snapshot (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking […]

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Thursday October 31 2019, Weekly News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

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News Summary

United States

PMIT funds online marketplace lending with $ 138 million (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, (PMIT) 2019-4, is counting on a de-leverage transaction structure that will boost its credit enhancement levels over time, as it seeks to sell $138 million in securities backed by unsecured consumer loans.

PMIT is also utilizing total subordination of 23.79% for the class A notes and 11% for the class B. The deal’s credit support also includes excess spread of about 9.75%, based on a collateral weighted average interest of 14.32%.

PeerStreet Announces a $ 60MM Series C Fundraise and $ 4.25 Billion in New Capital Commitments (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

PeerStreet, a platform for investing in real estate backed loans, is excited to announce it has completed a $60 million Series C funding round. Colchis Capital led the round with a consortium of institutional investors. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, World Innovation Lab and Thomvest Ventures also participated.

Some Real Estate Crowdsourced Funding Isn’t Actually Crowdfunding (Propmodo), Rated: A

Some things, such as pool parties and potlucks, are just better the more people that get involved. Another one of those things is participation in real estate investment. The more people that invest, the more capital there is to fuel deals and improve everything from office quality to housing availability. People make money and society progresses. It’s how the market should work.

Santander Enters the Ring, FinTech Charter Roadblock, Recession Checklist (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The NY Fed has increased permanent and temporary repo operation offerings from $75 billion to $120 billion and saw strong demand for its offerings.

Source: PeerIQ, Blackstone, St. Louis Fed

Digital Asset Lending Snapshot (Genesis Capital), Rated: AAA

Genesis continues to see sustained growth in its digital asset lending business. In the third quarter of 2019, Genesis added $870M in new originations, breaking our record of $746M set in the previous quarter. As of September 30, 2019, active loans outstanding stood at $450M, roughly flat from the previous quarter despite a significant decrease in Bitcoin’s price.

Originations increased 38.1% QoQ marking a sixth consecutive quarter of strong growth and bringing total originations to $3.1B since we launched the lending business in March 2018. Our loan portfolio largely sustained its value through increased cash (USD and stablecoin) loan issuance, offset by a decrease in the notional value of crypto loans outstanding.

Source: Genesis Capital

See the full report here.

Former Wall Street Traders Warn of Crypto Lending Bubble (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The availability of cheap, cryptocurrency-collateralized loans is growing unsustainably and could induce a crisis, two former Wall Street traders now working in crypto lending have told Bloomberg.

Interests rates for these services started at 11% but now sit at around 5% APR.

Another Credit Bubble Grows: the $ 5 Billion Crypto-Loan Market (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Crypto credit has expanded too quickly and is headed for a blow-up, says a group of former Wall Street traders who are now seeking riches in digital assets. A near $5 billion industry has emerged from nothing just two years ago and the number of loan platforms is rapidly proliferating, according to blockchain data company Graychain Ltd.

Kabbage: The Care And Feeding Of A Fintech Unicorn (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Want to start and grow a tech unicorn — a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion? You have to target a large market. The Atlanta-based fintech company, Kabbage, has a valuation of $1.2 billion and is on the Forbes Fintech 50 2019.

The use of online lenders among employer firms has grown markedly over the past couple of years — from 19% in 2016 to 32% in 2018, according to the Small Business Credit Survey 2019 Report on Employer Firms, Federal Reserve Banks.

While less than what small businesses borrowed from banks before the recession, small business loans are still a huge market — more than $600 billion lent each year, according to Small Business Lending in the United States, 2016.

More than nine in 10 (91%) of small business owners spend as much as 20 hours per week on cash flow management from handling payroll to invoicing and purchasing inventory, according to a Kabbage survey summarized by Forbes contributor Moira Vetter. Imagine how much more revenue a small business could generate if it had more time to focus on growth.

 

Naysayers Are Unavoidable When Launching Your Business. Here’s Why You Should Listen to Them (Inc.com), Rated: A

Entrepreneurs become successful, essentially, by refusing to do what everyone else is doing, or by doing the thing everyone else refuses to do. But even when you know you’re onto a great thing, it can be difficult to ignore the naysayers and skeptics you’ll encounter on your way to growing a business.

LendingTree Study Reveals the Most Stretched Homebuyers in America for 2019 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • Five of the top 10 cities where buyers are stretching themselves the most are in California. Though there is some speculation that the housing boom in California may be nearing its end, home prices in the state are still high. As a result, many buyers, especially those who don’t work in lucrative industries like tech, will take out large loans to cover the cost of their homes.
  • Since last year, Los Angeles and San Diego have remained the 2 cities where borrowers have to stretch their budgets the most. The leverage ratios in these two cities are 3.91 and 3.64, respectively.
  • Salt Lake City is the place with the highest leverage ratio not in California. A housing shortage is one of the key reasons buyers in Salt Lake may need to stretch their budgets so much in order to be able to afford a home.
  • Like last year, homes in the Rust Belt and the South are the most affordable in the nation. The average home price in our 10 most affordable cities is a bit more than $171,000, which is $90,000 less than the average home price for the whole nation. Furthermore, the leverage ratio in the most affordable cities is 2.25, compared with a ratio of 2.81 for the whole country.
  • Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit are where buyers are taking the smallest loans relative to their incomes. An average leverage ratio of 2.08 could make these cities attractive to potential homebuyers.
Source: LendingTree

Three Ways AI Will Impact The Lending Industry (Forbes), Rated: A

Consider the massive size of real estate lending. The Fed’s

Aura Secures $ 130 Million Credit Facility from Varadero Capital (Business Wire), Rated: A

Aura, a mission-driven financial technology company that offers affordable loans to hard-working families, today announced it has closed a $130 million asset-backed revolving credit facility with Varadero Capital, L.P. This new facility comes during a period of rapid growth for Aura in which the company has provided approximately $635 million in loans to more than 475,000 borrowers at over 1,250 partner locations since its founding in 2014.

Amount Announces Amount Pay (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Amount, a fintech company helping financial institutions reinvent the retail experience, today announced Amount Pay, an installment point-of-sale (POS) financing solution launching in Q1 2020.

Marqeta Announces New Reserve Financing Product (Financial Content), Rated: A

Marqeta, the world’s first modern card issuing platform, unveiled its new Marqeta Reserve Financing product at the Money2020 conference in Las Vegas today, a reserve financing option built into its core platform workflow. Marqeta Reserve Financing is uniquely tailored to the needs of companies struggling with the logistical, practical and administrative burdens of funding a reserve account to launch new payment card programs and keep it actively replenished with funds.

Become, the online platform for SMBs to find and optimize their funding solutions, today announced the closing of a $10 million Series A investment round led by Benson Oak Ventures and Magenta Venture, supported by RIO Ventures Holdings, iAngels, and Entrée Capital. The company has also secured an additional $2.5 million in venture debt from Viola Credit, bringing the total to $12.5 million. The funds will be used to scale up operations in the United States and Australia in order to execute Become’s mission to remove ecosystem friction and enable more SMBs to “become” the businesses they aspire to be.

The current small business lending landscape is fundamentally flawed, with 58% SMBs denied access to funding with no recourse or guidance on how to solve it.

This entrepreneur aims to boost fintech startups in Delaware (Technical.ly), Rated: A

In fact, with 9% of all jobs in the state falling under the fintech umbrella, Delaware has the highest share fintech employees of any U.S. state, according to a report conducted by the Delaware Prosperity PartnershipFirst State Fintech Lab and University of Delaware in June.

At the same time, the number of fintech startups in Delaware is small: There are a few mid-stage companies like Marlette FundingFair Square Financial and Acorns, but early-stage fintech companies are not exactly booming.

Businesses See Costly Decline of Consumer Trust as a Result of Large-Scale Data Breaches According to Annual IDology Fraud Report (Financial Content), Rated: A

IDology, a GBG company, today released its Seventh Annual Fraud Report, revealing the growing impact of large-scale data breaches and fraud on consumer trust and the critical need for businesses to balance the digital consumer experience with strong identity verification processes. The report also found that senior executives believe their companies are still not prepared to combat synthetic identity fraud and mobile attacks. Additionally, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is expected to have significant implications in 2020 and many businesses may not be ready to comply.

Five Key IDology Fraud Report Findings:

  • The true impact of data breaches: A decline in consumer trust – 49% of businesses report a decline in customer trust over the past year. Additionally, 46% indicate that increased regulations are a top impact of large-scale data breaches.
  • Fraud vectors are shifting away from point-of-sale (POS) – 58% of businesses report fraud is increasing in their online channels.
  • New fraud threats, synthetic and AI fraud on the rise – 40% of businesses across industries experienced an increase in synthetic identity fraud (SIF) over the last 12 months and 92% percent expressed concern over SIF. The study found 33% believe that the fraudulent use of artificial intelligence and machine learning will be the most severe form of fraud in the next three years.
  • Compliance is an increasing burden – 28% of businesses believe CCPA compliance will be more burdensome than GDPR while 30% believe it will be equally as burdensome. CCPA contains additional rules with respect to identity verification that go far beyond what is required for GDPR.
  • How to thrive in the changing environment  96% of businesses see identity verification as a competitive differentiator. Also, 80% believe accurate address verification is very or extremely important to the identity verification process.
Source: IDology

Varo crosses 1 million customers, with plans to become a bank by 2020 (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Digital banking brand Varo has 1 million customers, and is pushing ahead with plans to become a nationally-chartered bank early next year, CEO Colin Walsh told Bank Innovation Tuesday.

Varo offers checking accounts, savings accounts and installment loans. Becoming a nationally-chartered bank will help Varo differentiate through an expansion of its product suite, said Walsh. Like other digital-only banks, Varo intends to grow relationships with customers through multiple product relationships and integrations with other platforms. According to the company, 60% of its customers have more than one product relationship with the brand.

The changing shape of bank-fintech partnerships (American Banker), Rated: A

Blend, a fintech that initially specialized in software for mortgage lenders, is expanding into auto loans in the latest example of a startup broadening well beyond its initial area of expertise in an effort to appeal to more customers.

The San Francisco-based firm launched an auto lending product on Monday that is designed to enable consumers to upload documents quickly using mobile devices to get loan approvals faster. It comes on top of two other recent consumer-facing expansions, into home equity loans and deposit account opening products.

Walmart and Green Dot expand relationship, form new fintech program (Talk Business), Rated: A

Walmart announced a new seven-year contract agreement with Green Dot to continue as the issuing bank and manager for the retail giant’s MoneyCard program. The partners also agreed to launch a new financial tech accelerator.

As Digital Transactions Increase, Financial Services and Lending Firms Bear the Growing Cost of Fraud (PR Newswire), Rated: A

For every dollar of fraud loss, financial services companies now incur $3.25 in costs (losses related to the transaction face value for which firms are held liable, plus fees and interest incurred, fines and legal fees, labor and investigation costs and external recovery expenses), up from $2.92 in 2018. This represents an 11.3% year-over-year increase. Lenders see $3.44 in costs for every dollar of fraud loss, up from $3.05 in 2018, a 12.8% increase. Banks and credit lenders, in particular, were found to have the highest costs of fraud, with both percentages jumping double digits since last year – 17% and 16%, respectively.

Trends

  • Expansion of Mobile – There has been a significant increase in the use of mobile channels since 2018, with 73% of financial services (a 66% increase) and 71% of lending firms (an 8% increase) now offering this option to customers. This growth stems primarily from small financial services firms and digital financial services and lending firms now transacting through the mobile channel.
  • More Cross-Border Transactions – International transaction volume has risen among both mid/large-sized digital banks and all digital lenders. However, mortgage lenders have reported a significant drop in foreign transactions, which coincides with a decline in global growth and housing inventory.
  • The Rise of Botnets – A majority of banks reported double-digit year-over-year growth in botnet activity, which appears to at least be related to banks with international business reporting more transactions. Nearly half (47%) of mortgage lenders reported an average increase of 16% in botnet activity since last year. While surveyed firms appear to be aware of botnet activity, they have not been able to adequately prevent it.

Download the 2019 True Cost of Fraud study here.

Urjanet and LevelCredit Enhance Credit Files With Rent and Utility Payment Tradeline Reporting (PRWeb), Rated: A

Despite representing nearly 25% of consumer spend, until now rent, utility, cable, and telecom tradelines have been severely underreported in traditional credit reports, with only about 1% of consumer files currently including rent data and 2.4% including utility data according to FICO. When alternative data is included, it has proven to accurately score more than 90% of thin or no-file applicants, representing a powerful revenue tool that lenders can use to safely expand their markets, increase assets, and build lasting relationships with borrowers.

Urjanet and LevelCredit today announced a strategic partnership enabling lenders, banks, and fintech companies to confidently qualify thin and no-credit file consumers using rent and utility bill payment history. The partnership enhances LevelCredit’s existing rent reporting services with consumer-permissioned payment history from thousands of utility, cable, and telecom providers, helping financial services organizations safely extend credit to a growing number of consumers who aren’t getting the credit they deserve today.

Inside the Groundbreaking Nova Credit-American Express Partnership (Lend Academy), Rated: A

It all started with a cold LinkedIn message back in 2016. The co-founder of the (then) tiny startup Nova Credit, Nicky Goulimis, reached out to an executive at American Express to discuss a potential partnership. It was an audacious move but one that, three years later, has paid tremendous dividends for the company.

Behind Credit Karma’s savings account launch with Jagjit Chawla (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Credit Karma built a wonderful business providing almost 100 million people with free products to help them manage their debt. It was inevitable that they move into the asset side of their customers’ personal balance sheets. Last week, the firm announced a new savings account.

AccountScore and Equifax release new Open Banking credit risk index (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

AccountScore and Equifax have today announced the release of a new credit risk index for the consumer lending sector which allows financial institutions to more effectively understand consumers applying for credit products.

Lendio’s Online Bookkeeping Software, Sunrise, Announces Partnership With WePay (Lendio), Rated: B

Sunrise, a Lendio company, today announced a strategic partnership with WePay, the integrated payments business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Through this collaboration, Sunrise will provide its small business clients with a new feature called Sunrise Pay, powered by Chase, which gives users immediate access to invoicing capabilities as well as the ability to set up recurring payments.

Cred Appoints Former Netflix Executive to Leadership Team (Valdosta Daily Times), Rated: B

Cred, the leading global digital asset lending and borrowing platform serving customers in over 180 countries, today announced that veteran technology executive Cliff Edwards has joined the company as chief marketing officer to help accelerate understanding of blockchain technology and to promote innovative use cases for digital assets.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle revamps secondary market to boost liquidity (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer business lender, which saw its average loan part resale time rise to 124 days this month, said that following a recent review, it is introducing a new selling tool on 2 December to improve access to funds.

Funding Circle also announced that it is introducing a 1.25 per cent transfer payment, which will be deducted from the seller’s proceeds and go to the buyer of the loan part.

Funding Circle ditches selling queue (The Times), Rated: A

Funding Circle appears to have listened to complaints from investors waiting for as long as four months to take their money out of the platform.

ID Finance crowdfunding surges past £2m target as investors eye Latam region (UK Investor Magazine), Rated: AAA

ID Finance, the fintech company operating in Europe and Latin America, has surged past its £2m crowdfunding target on Crowdcube and is now overfunding with £2.3m raised from over 700 investors. The Barcelona-based lending-tech scaleup is the second-fastest growing fintech in Europe, according to Financial Times, has enjoyed strong investor demand as it looks to disrupt the LatAm market. The company will continue to take commitments from investors at crowdcube.com/idfinance

Source: Crowdcube

The House Crowd investments now available within a SIPP (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE HOUSE Crowd has announced that it is now able to accept investments through a self-invested pension plan (SIPP).

London lending start-up Koyo raises $ 4.9m and already has ‘global ambitions’ (LearnBonds), Rated: A

Digital lending start-up Koyo has raised $4.9m for its plans to sell loans to new migrants and people with thin credit histories.

Business lending platform Trade Ledger raises £1.5 million (Finextra), Rated: A

Trade Ledger, the ground-breaking business lending platform, which automates commercial lending processes for global banks and alternative finance providers, today announces strategic investment in a £1.5M round led by Hambro Perks, to further accelerate revenue growth.

M&S LAUNCHES ‘BUY NOW, PAY LATER’ SERVICE (Independent), Rated: A

Marks & Spencer is the latest retailer to adopt a “buy now, pay later” payment model, in the hope that it may attract younger customers in the run up to Christmas.

The retailer has partnered with Clearpay to launch the initiative, which allows customers to pay for purchases via a series of four instalments paid over a period of six weeks. The payments can be made via a smartphone app.

CashEuroNet, UK LLC’s Enter Into Administration (Global Legal Chronicle), Rated: B

Slaughter and May has advised the administrators of CashEuroNet, UK LLC which entered administration on 25 October 2019.

The company previously traded as QuickQuid.

China

China’s Financial Hub Moves to Shut Down P2P Lending (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

The regulator in China’s financial center has ordered Shanghai’s more than 40 peer-to-peer lenders to exit the business, people familiar with the matter said, the latest blow to an online industry that’s shrunk by half this year.

Some of the nation’s biggest platforms including Ping An-backed Lufax and Dianrong.com have been told in recent meetings with Shanghai’s financial services bureau to stop issuing new products and to wind down existing peer-to-peer lending services, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private.

European Union

Flender secures €75m funding line, slashes interest rates (The Irish Times), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending company Flender has secured a new €75 million funding line to provide loans to Irish businesses.

The rate cuts mean that loans of up to €250,000 are now available for SMEs from 6.45 per cent for terms up to 36 months.

Max Crowdfund: A Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform Leveraging Blockchain Technology to Simplify Property Investment (CardRates), Rated: A

In a Nutshell: Blockchain technology has helped many industries innovate in recent years. Max Crowdfund is one company using the technology to make investing in real estate easier and more accessible. The platform also simplifies investment managment for real estate professionals. Through the use of blockchain technology, properties can be tokenized — or broken down into investment opportunities as low as €1,000 — something that can’t be done through traditional real estate investing. Overall, the Max Crowdfund platform makes real estate investing faster, cheaper, and easier for everyone.

CNH Industrial and October signed a crowd-funding partnership agreement to offer digital funding to Small and Medium Companies. (Emergency-Live), Rated: B

CNH Industrial and the fintech lending platform October entered into a partnership agreement in July 2019 to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) working with IVECO and CASE Construction Equipment brands through the adoption of crowd-lending in France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.
International

Crypto Sentiment on the Rise? Quarterly Stablecoin Loans Surge 38% to $ 870m (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Genesis Capital, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (DCG), one of the largest investment firms in the crypto sector, has reported a 38% increase in stablecoin loans in the 3rd quarter of 2019.

Australia

Pop Up Tax Shop and Mr Tax Acquired by Queensland Accounting Group (Newsmaker), Rated: B

Mr Tax Refund was incorporated in 2012 and majority-owned by online lender, Paid International. In January 2015, Paid was sold to ASX listed, Money3 Corp Ltd.

India

P2P Lenders Grow Amid A Gloomy NBFC Environment (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: AAA

The 19 P2P lenders have now facilitated disbursals of close to Rs 500 crore, estimate industry executives who say that a good chunk of this growth has come in the last twelve months. While P2P lenders are registered with the Reserve Bank of India, the regulator does not release lending data for these platforms. As such, BloombergQuint could not independently verify the extent of loans given out via these platforms.

Online lender Aye Finance’s profits grew 10x at INR 250 mn in FY19 (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

Aye Finance Private Limited (Aye Finance) is among the few in the Indian online lending space that has been posting profits for the last two years. The company, which provides micro-financial services, has reported a net profit of INR 250 million during fiscal 2019, a 10x increased from INR 23 million net profit a year ago.

P2P Bitcoin Exchange Paxful Sees BTC/Rupee Trade Volumes Soar by 22% As India Celebrates Diwali (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: B

As India donned its festive hats to celebrate a whole week of Diwali, the real gift went to the peer-to-peer lending exchange Paxful. It saw the country’s Bitcoin trading volume on its platform reach an all-time high.

Southeast Asia

Digital Financial Services to Generate $ 38 Billion in Southeast Asia, Study Finds (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Digital financial services from lending to asset management are expected to generate at least $38 billion of annual revenue across Southeast Asia by 2025, more than tripling from $11 billion in 2019, according to a new study by Bain & Co.Google and Temasek Holdings Pte.

Online lending will comprise about half that total for the region, which houses some of the world’s fastest-evolving internet and mobile industries. Growing smartphone penetration promises to unlock internet-based services such as insurance to more than 70% of an adult population neglected by traditional banks, according to the report.

Indonesian P2P lender Investree close to Series C funding, plans expansion of Islamic business (Salaam Gateway), Rated: A

While celebrating its fourth anniversary this week, the fintech start-up that set the peer-to-peer lending ball rolling in Indonesia is preparing for its third major round of investment, possibly in the next month.

Aside from regional expansion, Investree intends to intensively develop its Shariah-compliant business unit over the coming year.

Golden Gate Ventures, Modalku invest in Indonesian accounting SaaS startup Paper.id (e27), Rated: B

Indonesia’s Software as a Service (Saas) startup Paper.id announced that it has closed an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Southeast Asia-based venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures and Indonesia’s P2P lending platform Modalku.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday October 31 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday September 19 2019, Weekly News Digest

MAS Singapore

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to get its name on a football stadium. Petal raises $300M. Funding Circle closing in on 1-year anniversary of float. Zopa sends warning of imitation scams. Cumulative UK alt lending hits 11.3B GBP. Companies to get social credit in China. Today’s main analysis: Student loan refinancing rates are down. […]

The post Thursday September 19 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

MAS Singapore

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Sundays at SoFi: NFL Stadium in Inglewood Lands a Corporate Name (Commercial Observer), Rated: AAA

Online lender SoFi Lending Corp. has secured the naming rights and a 20-year deal with the Rams and Chargers, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal. The firm agreed to pay around $20 million per year, reports say.

SoFi Stadium, which will be the largest in the NFL, is the centerpiece to the much larger $5-billion Hollywood Park project developed by Rams Owner/Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke. Construction is 75 percent complete, and the stadium is expected to open next summer for other events before the NFL preseason begins in August.

Taylor Swift to Open SoFi Stadium Next Summer (KFI AM 640), Rated: B

The opening of the $2.6 billion SoFi Stadium will happen next summer on July 25th. However it’s not for a Rams or Chargers game. Swift announced that she will play two shows (July 25th and July 26th) at the stadium as a part in her much-anticipated 2020 world tour.

Economy is Top Concern for Small Businesses Ahead of 2020 Election (OnDeck), Rated: AAA

Key Findings from the OnDeck Small Business Survey:

  • Economic concerns arise in several dimensions, including tax policy, job growth, support for small businesses, government spending and the overall economic climate. These issues were cited as the top concerns of more than 33% of those surveyed;
  • Immigration was an issue of interest for 11.3% of small business owners surveyed, ranking second behind the economy as a concern.
  • 57% of small businesses surveyed said they were either ”Very Optimistic” or ”Somewhat Optimistic” about the economic outlook for their businesses;
  • 93% of those surveyed said they plan to vote in the 2020 election.
  • 60% of small business owners surveyed said they already know who they plan to vote for in the 2020 presidential election.

President Donald Trump was the choice of 37% of small businesses surveyed, followed by Joe Biden at 18%. When combined, the top five Democratic candidates were the preference of 44% of respondents.

Student Loan Refinancing Rates Down Sharply (Credible), Rated: AAA

During August:

  • Rates on 10-year fixed-rate loans averaged 4.70%, down 22% from a July 2018 peak of 6.05%
  • Rates on 5-year variable-rate loans averaged 4.03%, down 14% from September

A borrower repaying the average graduate school debt of $84,300 over 10 years at 6.36% interest — the average rate for grad school loans in recent years — could save:

  • $20,927 by refinancing into a 5-year variable rate loan
  • $8,327 by refinancing into a 10-year fixed-rate loan

Credit card start-up Petal raises $ 300 million debt round from Jefferies (CNBC), Rated: AAA

The New York City-based company announced a $300 million debt round from Jefferies on Tuesday, adding to existing venture capital investments from names like Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.

Plaid adds credit card data to Liabilities product (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In July, Plaid launched its Liabilities product that gives developers access to real time information about what consumers owe. Expanding beyond student loan data, the company has added support for credit card information, so firms can build better debt management solutions.

GoCardless launches US debit payments solution and opens San Francisco office (TechCrunch), Rated: A

GoCardless, the London fintech that aims to become the one-stop shop globally for businesses that want to let customers pay via recurring bank payments, has launched a U.S. debit solution.

Specifically, GoCardless’  new U.S. product supports debit payments on the ACH (Automated Clearing House) network.

The company has also opened an office across the pond in San Francisco’s financial district, headed up by Andrew Gilboy, general manager, North America, who was previously the company’s chief revenue officer.

Nav Launches New Feature to Help Business Owners Boost Business Credit (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Today Nav, a fintech company that matches business owners with their best financing options for free, announced new offerings to help small business owners boost their business credit scores, giving an easy solution to developing a strong business credit profile that alternative and traditional lenders can trust and finance.

Why would HUD gut its own disparate impact rule? (The Times Weekly), Rated: AAA

Since 2013, the disparate impact rule has objectively examined the effects of business practices with lenders, landlords, insurers, and real estate professionals against the provisions of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The rule required that first a plaintiff must establish a discriminatory effect in policies and/or practices, before the defendant(s) would bear the responsibility of proving their own practices were nondiscriminatory.

During delivery of Capitol Hill testimony earlier this spring, Nikitra Bailey, an EVP with the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) also underscored the importance of disparate impact in fair housing.

“Disparate impact analysis encourages creative approaches that both increase effectiveness and inclusion,” testified Bailey. “This process and the value of disparate impact analysis was recently pointed out and endorsed by the largest personal loan company in the country, Lending Club.”

BlueVine Appoints Dosh & PayPal Vet Brad Brodigan As New Chief Commercial Officer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Online lender BlueVine announced on Wednesday it has appointed Brad Brodigan as its new Chief Commercial Officer. BlueVine reported that through this role, Brodigan will be responsible for overseeing revenue-generating functions including sales, customer service, and partner management.

Money360 Closes $ 170 Million in Commercial Real Estate Loans in July and August (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate (CRE) loans, announced today it closed approximately $170 million in loans during July and August. This benchmark brings Money360 close to $500 million in loans closed this year.

Groundfloor Now Allows Real Estate Developers to Gain Pre Approval on Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Groundfloor, a real estate lending and investing platform that allows anyone to participate directly in real estate investments, has launched a new product to make the lending process more easier for real estate investors. Groundfloor now allows certain developers to gain pre-approval on loans with a new program called “QC Maxx.”

ABS East; Stripe’s Lending Arm; Madden Decision (PeerIQ), Rated: A

In financing news, student loan fintech “College Ave” locked down a $300MM securitization and a AAA rating this week. The securitization was co-led by both Barclays and Goldman Sachs. Affirm, led by Max Levchin, is reportedly close to wrapping up a $1.5 Bn debt and equity financing with Thrive Capital and Spark Capital leading.

Stripe is mirroring other payments companies that have since built lending capabilities – notably, Square and PayPal. Stripe believes it can compete in an already crowded small business lending market (OnDeck, Kabbage, Fundera, Funding Circle, etc.) due to its data & channel advantages stemming from its payments business.

Fintech Firm OppLoans Announces Its First Bank-Led Credit Facility (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

OppLoans, a growing fintech and top rated direct-to-consumer online lending platform, announced today that it has secured its first bank-led asset-backed revolving credit facility. This facility structure will enable OppLoans to further its mission by broadening access to online personal lending products for more middle-income consumers with credit challenges.

Aura Completes Three Social Bond Issuances Totaling 5 million Over Last 4 Months (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

M&G Investments and Community Capital Management, a mutual fund that specializes in impact and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) related investments, have joined with U.S. and international banks to invest $145 million in Aura’s social bonds to finance the origination of affordable, small dollar installment loans to working families in the United States.

Challenger banks insist they’re equal to the task of lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Almost all U.S. challenger banks offer no-fee checking, savings accounts and enhanced personal financial management tools. Now some of the most popular have taken, or are poised to take, their next step: making loans.

Personal loans and credit cards are lucrative but inherently risky, and these young companies — like MoneyLion, Varo and others — will have to prove to regulators, investors and the public that they have the wherewithal to weather downturns in the credit cycle.

Cash-flow data shows promise as predictor of credit risk (American Banker), Rated: A

Melissa Koide, co-founder and CEO of FinRegLab, analyzed loan data from six lenders that use cash-flow data in their underwriting. She shares what she found.

Prevu Raises $ 2 Million in Seed Funding to Grow its Digital Home Buying Platform (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Prevu, a customer-focused digital home buying platform delivering industry-leading efficiency and savings, announced today the closing of its $2 million seed funding round. The round was led by Corigin Ventures, a prominent seed-stage venture capital firm with expertise in the real estate technology and consumer industries as well as a history of backing startups disrupting residential brokerage business models.

Embattled Prodigy Network CEO Rodrigo Niño to step down (The Real Deal), Rated: A

Prodigy Network founder Rodrigo Niño is stepping down from his position as CEO amid mounting financial and legal issues, The Real Deal has learned.

Prodigy, a real estate crowdfunding platform, has faced criticism from investors in recent months over underperforming investment properties and unpaid distributions. On Monday, an investor in one of Prodigy’s newest projects — the 13-story Standard Hotel in Chicago — filed a lawsuit alleging the firm was “insolvent” and had used investments “for purposes other than those relating to the project.”

EquityMultiple Provides Investors with Options to Take Advantage of Unique Tax Benefits (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Opportunity Zones are new, tax-advantaged vehicles for investors to earn more on their money. Created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the first qualified opportunity zones (QOZs) first hit the market in early 2018. Designated by state authorities, there are now thousands of QOZs in the US designed to boost development in selected communities. Investors receive a break on capital gains taxes which can be significant. Local officials can spur economic development which leads to more jobs. Online investment platforms immediately saw the opportunity intrinsic to QOZs with multiple platforms now offering investments in developments that benefit from these tax breaks.

Why are your Opportunity Zone Offerings better than some others available on competing investment platforms?

Soren Godbersen: There are a number of firms out there now marketing Opportunity Zone offerings to investors. We’re proud of what we have been able to offer to our investor network and there are a few things about our Opportunity Zone investments that are unique:

How to Recession-Proof Your Investments (U.S. News), Rated: A

AFTER A DECADE OF steady growth, the economic cycle is due for a reversal, with concerns of a recession.

  • Consider other types of investments outside of stocks and bonds.
  • Know that timing the market is difficult.

What to Invest in During a Recession?

Other less correlated assets include the real estate niche. With real estate crowdfunding, hypermarket segmentation is available. Investors can choose their property type and geographic region when investing in real estate. Two real estate crowdfunding platforms for accredited investors are CrowdFund and EquityMultiple. Fundrise and Groundfloor open targeted real estate investing to nonaccredited investors as well.

Litecoin Non-Profit to Hold Undisclosed Treasury Sum with Crypto Lender (CoinDesk), Rated: A

The Litecoin Foundation is putting its capital to work, lending at interest through another cryptocurrency program.

The Foundation has tapped the Celsius Network, a blockchain-based crypto lending program, to become its preferred crypto wallet, Celsius Network CEO Alex Mashinsky told CoinDesk.

As part of the deal, the Foundation will allocate an undisclosed portion of its treasury to the Network. LTC holders can receive up to 10.53% annually back on their crypto holdings and dollar loans as low as 4.95 percent as well.

Fintechs give small business more choice for credit than just banks (PaymentsSource), Rated: AAA

It’s no secret working capital is the lifeblood of all small businesses. It’s the fuel that keeps them running, helps them grow and take on new opportunities.

And yet, so many small businesses struggle with cash flow. In fact, according to a recent study from Intuit QuickBooks, 61% of small businesses have had cash flow issues in the past year.

Source: FIS

Walmart’s New Credit Cards Have One Big Goal: Boost E-Commerce (Bloomberg), Rated: A

In a sign of how much Walmart Inc. is betting on e-commerce, the retailer’s revamped credit-card program with Capital One Financial Corp. offers better rewards for online shopping and checking out with its mobile app.

The new options, which become available Sept. 24 and use Mastercard Inc.’s network, offer 5% cash back for purchases made at Walmart’s website, including groceries. At the chain’s physical stores, shoppers only get that rate for a year and have to check out with Walmart Pay at the cashier. Otherwise, store customers get 2% back.

Finicity Releases New Verification of Income and Employment Solution for Lenders (PR Web), Rated: B

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data access and insights, announced today the release of its new Verification of Income and Employment (VOIE) solution using patent-pending TXVerify technology that will speed up borrower verifications and further advance the industry shift toward a fully digital experience.

The Finicity VOIE solution digitally extracts a borrower’s pay statement data from the paystub and then cross-verifies that key data with their income transactions from their financial institutions. Enabled by its TXVerify technology, this detailed vetting process creates a real-time picture of an applicant’s income and employment for fast, accurate reports. The solution does this by leveraging the highest value data – direct from banks – along with a scan, photo or PDF of a borrower’s paystubs. This process significantly shifts the current paradigm from a mostly manual process to one that is fully digital, all while reducing fraud and increasing confidence in the underwriting process.

Sallie Krawcheck: Why ‘don’t buy daily coffee’ is terrible advice (CNBC), Rated: B

“Don’t buy daily coffee” is the go-to financial advice. Co-founder and CEO of Ellevest, Sallie Krawcheck, says that advice is misleading and just enjoy your latte.

Ethereum Development Studio ConsenSys Announces Codefi, A New DeFi Software Suite (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin announced at the Ethereal Tel Aviv press conference (on September 15) that his New York-based venture studio is launching a new product, Codefi, for the emerging decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.

Despite not having invested in emerging DeFi platforms, Lubin described P2P lending systems such as Uniswap and MakerDAO as some of the blockchain industry’s most promising projects.

ApplePie Capital Partners with LSQ Funding on A/R Franchise Financing (Monitor Daily), Rated: B

Online lender ApplePie Capital entered into a new strategic partnership with LSQ Funding Group, a technology-enabled provider of accounts receivable financing for small and mid-sized businesses.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle nears one-year anniversary of London float (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer business lender began conditional dealings on the London Stock Exchange on 28 September before being officially admitted to the bourse on 3 October. It launched with an offer price of 440p per share, giving the firm a valuation of £1.5bn.

However, its market capitalisation as of 17 September has since dropped to £348.7m, with its shares now trading at just over 100p.

Zopa warns over imitation scam firms (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA has warned over a growing number of scam operators targeting UK customers using the peer-to-peer lender’s name to dupe investors.

They include: asking customers directly for their Zopa login details; claiming to work with companies investing money in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies; or working with companies who would ask them to take out a Zopa loan to fund an investment.

Record numbers of investors and borrowers as cumulative lending hits £11.3bn (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

MORE than 150,000 lenders were invested in 321,483 loans facilitated by Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) platforms at the end of the second quarter, which the trade body deemed “a record level of involvement in the sector”.

Funding Circle is the largest P2P lender among the P2PFA platform members, having lent out a cumulative total of £5.4bn as of the end of the second quarter. It is followed by Zopa at £4.5bn, with ThinCats in third place with just over £491m.

£814m of new loans were made in the second quarter, compared to £866m in the first three months of 2019.

Monzo halts cash referrals as it hits three million users (AltFi), Rated: A

Monzo has ended its cash incentivised referral system as the firm continues to grow users at a rapid pace.

Monzo now has passed the 3 million ‘users’ number, hitting the milestone late on yesterday and is now onboarding 55,000 people to Monzo every week.

Transferwise Books Its Third Consecutive Year of Profits (Lendit), Rated: A

European fintech company Transferwise has recorded its third year in a row of profits; the company reported its net profit after tax climbed to £10.3 million in the fiscal year ending March 2019, up 66% from the previous year on revenue of £179 million;

Payment provider Klarna appearing at London Fashion Week has everybody talking (MyLondon), Rated: A

UK fashion Designer Henry Holland decided to take things up a notch in Saturdays catwalk show with a T Shirt design in collaboration with Klarna.

Klarna expands partnership with Mothercare (The Paypers), Rated: B

Klarna and Mothercare have announced an extension to their partnership, which will see Klarna’s Pay later, Pay in 3, and Slice it products available online and in-store across the UK.

OakNorth Bank provides £3.7m loan to Clearview Developments (London Loves Property), Rated: A

OakNorth Bank the UK bank powered by OakNorth has provided a £3.7m loan to Clearview Developments for a new residential development in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Smarterly and OakNorth Bank partner to offer new Notice Cash ISA range to Smarterly customers (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

The product range includes five Cash ISA Notice accounts, exclusive to Smarterly, ranging from 35 days at 1.05% to one year at 1.25%; Customers will not be able to apply for these products with OakNorth directly;

These five Cash ISAs Notice Accounts are:

  • 35 days – 1.05%
  • Three months – 1.10%
  • Six months – 1.15%
  • Nine months – 1.20%
  • One year – 1.25%
China/Hong Kong

Coming Soon: ‘Social Credit’ for Companies, Too (WSJ), Rated: AAA

A key target of China’s coming “social credit” system, which among Westerners usually triggers visions of “1984”-style monitoring of people, is actually misbehaving businesses.

Corporate America needs to prepare.

About 80% of information on the main data-sharing platform relates to companies rather than individuals, according to China consulting…

Hexindai Reports Unaudited First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2020 Financial Results (PR Newswire), Rated: A

First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2020 Operational Highlights

  • Total loan volume facilitated[1] was US$ 28.2 million (RMB192.3 million) during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, a decrease of 93.5% from the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Gross billing amount (net of VAT)[2] was US$4.7 million during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, a decrease of 90.7% from the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Gross billing ratio (net of VAT)[3] for credit loans was 16.7% during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, an increase from 11.7% during the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Number of borrowers[4] was 18,546 during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, a decrease of 36.0% from the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Number of investors[5] was 9,534 during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, a decrease of 85.9% from the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.

First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2020 Unaudited Financial Highlights

  • Net revenue was US$4.9 million during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, a decrease of 90.5% from the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Operating costs and expenses were US$12.6 million during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, a decrease of 18.9% from the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Net loss was US$7.2 million during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, compared to net income of US$29.7 million in first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Basic loss per ordinary shares in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 was US$0.15, compared to basic earnings per ordinary shares (“EPS”) of US$0.62 in first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Diluted loss per ordinary shares in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 was US$0.15, compared to diluted EPS of US$0.56 in first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Adjusted net loss attributable to Hexindai Inc.’s shareholders (Non-GAAP) in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 was US$7.0 million, compared to adjusted net income attributable to Hexindai Inc.’s shareholders (Non-GAAP) of US$29.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Adjusted EBIT (Non-GAAP) in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 was (US$5.8) million, compared to US$36.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.

Zhang Yue, senior vice president at CreditEase, discusses the demand for credit in China, write downs in her portfolio, P2P lending, their wealth management business and their expansion plans.

Securing privacy concerns in FinTech in Hong Kong (Lexology), Rated: A

Hong Kong has built a strong environment for fostering innovation and financial technology or FinTech. With its large financial sector and its strategic role with Mainland China and gateway to the rest of Asia and the world, Hong Kong has the potential to take on an important role in being a leader in FinTech. In March 2019, for example, Hong Kong issued its first virtual banking licences, which will likely increase adoption of FinTech in the financial services sector.

Emerging technologies used in Fintech services and operations come in different forms, and include:

  • data analytics that support the operations of financial institutions (for example, credit scoring, loan processing);
  • peer-to-peer (P2P) financing (such as P2P lending and crowdfunding platforms);
  • distributed ledger technology, such as cryptocurrency, bitcoin transactions and smart contract applications, as well as blockchain services to help reduce fraud by keeping provenance data on the blockchain; and
  • financial investments, such as stock trading apps, robo-advisors and algorithmic trading and budgeting apps.
European Union

Binance Announces Phase Five of Crypto Lending Featuring Privacy Coins XMR, ZEC, and DASH (Crypto-Economy), Rated: AAA

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance has announced its launch of the fifth phase of its cryptocurrency lending product in which it customers subscribe to an allocation to lend other users their funds for interest rates as high as 15% Apr.

the 15% interest rate was only available to Binance’s native coin lenders in the first phase. On Tuesday, the exchange revealed three coins that will be included in the crypto lending product including only privacy-centric coins Monero [XMR], Zcash [ZEC] and Dash [DASH]. Their annualized interest rates will be a constant 3.5% but the lending period is only two weeks starting from this Friday September 20th through October 4th.

P2P Lender creditshelf to Acquire SME Finance Provider Valendo (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

creditshelf Aktiengesellschaft has signed a purchase agreement for the acquisition of all shares in Valendo – part of the finleap Fintech ecosystem.

According to a company release, the purchase price was in the “low seven-digit amount.” Payment will take place in two separate tranches. creditshelf has the option of settling both tranches in the course of two capital increases via a contribution in kind.

International

How MAS propelled Singapore to the top of the class (Euromoney), Rated: AAA

Today, Singapore sits proudly atop the Euromoney Country Risk (ECR) rankings. Based on ECR’s blend of financial and economic data, combined with the views of leading economists, no country in the world today has a stronger financial position.

When MAS said in July 2019 that it planned to issue five new digital banking licences, analysts soon spotted that three of them were wholesale licences, open to banks and non-banks alike.

Winners will be encouraged to lend, using digital means, to small and medium-sized enterprises and other non-retail segments – further evidence that corporate banking will be the next segment to feel the hot breath of disruption on its neck.

Source: Euromoney County Risk

Goldman Leads Trulioo’s $ 70M Raise To Expand Global Digital ID (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Trulioo, the global identity verification provider, has raised $70 million in new funding, eyeing growth in its core digital identification efforts, the company announced Tuesday (Sept. 17).

The company said in a release that the funding includes $60 million in a Series C round that was led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity. Other participants included Citi VenturesSantander InnoVentures and existing investor American Express Ventures. The remaining $10 million came as unannounced follow-on financing from early investors, including BDC Capital and Blumberg Capital.

Equifax Continues Leadership In Alternative Data With Worldwide Urjanet Partnership (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) and Urjanet today announced a global partnership that empowers consumers and businesses to share their payment data from thousands of utility, telecom and cable providers worldwide for a more complete picture of individual payment history, easier identity verification and the potential for better access to credit. This partnership builds on Equifax’s leadership in alternative data, using the Urjanet Utility Data Platform to incorporate consumer-permissioned data into the Equifax differentiated data approach.

5 Reasons Investors Should Consider Tokenized Assets (Benzinga), Rated: A

According to Deloitte, we shouldn’t view DLT as just a new type of “database ” but rather as a new way to organize the security value chain from issuance to custody. But what exactly can be transmitted through this chain?

Fractional ownership – take as much as you want

Digitizing shares makes them highly divisible, meaning that investors can buy very small percentages of tokenized assets.

So long, intermediaries! 

Security tokens have a simpler investment structure and lower fees.

On the way to maximum liquidity

Cherry on top

A security token is basically a digital signature connected with a smart contract responsible for facilitation and verification of ownership rights transactions.

India

Ribbit leads Series B funding in online investment platform Groww (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Groww, an online investment platform that sells mutual fund products, has raised $21.4 million (Rs 152.5 crore at current exchange rate) in a Series B funding round led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Ribbit Capital.

Groww said existing investors Sequoia India and Y Combinator also participated in the funding round.

RBI looking at how NBFCs, HFCs set their lending rates (livemint), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is studying how non-bank lenders and home financiers price their loans, close on the heels of directing commercial banks to link their loan rates to external benchmarks.

Source: livemint

RBI restricts access to credit data of consumers (Economic Times), Rated: A

The Reserve Bank of India has ordered commercial banks and non-banking lenders to stop providing unregulated entities access to consumer data held by credit bureaus, dealing a blow to scores of fintech startups that have based their business models on such information.

Source: India Times

RBI not in favour of ‘teaser’ loans, examines rate-setting mechanism of NBFCs, HFCs (CNBCTV18), Rated: B

The banking regulator is not in favour of hybrid loan products or ‘teaser loans’, a senior Reserve Bank of India (RBI) official today clarified. The remark gains significance in the light of State Bank of India chairman Rajnish Kumar’s recent comment that SBI would seek the regulator’s view on whether banks can introduce fixed-cum-floating rate products.

No dearth of demand on credit side, disbursed credit worth INR 5 billion: Flexiloans Co-founder (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

FlexiLoans.com, an online lender for MSMEs in India, said that it has crossed a milestone number of disbursing over INR 5 billion of unsecured business loans across the country with its unique digital-only model. The Mumbai-based company, which has disbursed over 16000 loans across 1000 cities and towns in the country, says that there is no dearth of demand on the credit side. The company caters primarily to micro, small and medium-sized businesses.

How has the online lending market shaped up in the last few years?

Digital Lending market is currently at about USD 2 billion, up from about USD 1 billion in 2016. Significant traction and market niches discovered by various FinTech startups across the country have made this space very exciting, holistic and game-changing.

Online SME lender Cash Suvidha plans to raise upto $ 10 million (IBS Intelligence), Rated: B

The online lender for business and personal loans, Cash Suvidha, is planning to raise $5 million -$10 million equity funds in the next six months.

Asia

Terafunding Closes US$ 18M Series B Financing Round (FINSMES), Rated: AAA

Terafunding, a Seoul, South Korea-based Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending platform, raised US$18M in Series B funding.

Backers included KB Investment, Hana Ventures, IBK Industrial Bank and Woomi Construction.

Julo raises $ 10M to expand its P2P lending platform (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Julo, a peer-to-peer lending platform in Indonesia, said on Wednesday it has extended its $5 million Series A raise to $15 million as it looks to scale its business in the key Southeast Asian market.

The $10 million Series A2 round for the Jakarta-headquartered startup was led by Quona Capital,  with Skystar, East Ventures,  Provident, Gobi Partners and Convergence participating.

Chinese P2P Firms Seeks Business in Vietnamese Market (W7 News), Rated: A

The declining demand for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in China has prompted firms to find business elsewhere. LearnBonds report that Chinese P2P companies are eyeing Vietnam, which alarmed local lending companies.

MENA

Now Money offers alternative for Gulf’s unbanked expats (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

About 70 per cent of the population in the Middle East and north Africa do not have access to banking services, says Ian Dillon, co-founder of Now Money, a Dubai-based financial technology group.

The GCC recorded outbound remittances of $120bn in 2017, according to World Bank data. However, Gulf banks tend to exclude workers earning less than $1,400 a month, leaving most of them reliant on exchange houses to remit cash home.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday September 19 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday May 16 2019, Weekly News Digest

consumer debt

News Comments Today’s main news: iintoo picks the meat off the bones of RealtyShares. Kabbage, Affirm, SoFi among CNBC’s Disruptor 50. LendInvest cuts rates, product fees. Tencent profits, revenues surge. Pleo raises $56M. Prospa closing in on IPO. Paytm offers credit card. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report. Is POS trend putting pressure […]

The post Thursday May 16 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

consumer debt

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Asia

Other

News Summary

United States

This crowdfunding firm just picked the carcass of RealtyShares (The Real Deal), Rated: AAA

New York-based iintoo acquired RealtyShares’ assets, Inman reported. The move boosts the company’s portfolio size to $2.5 billion assets under management from $1 billion, according to the company.

Current and former investors in RealtyShares will be able to access iintoo’s crowdfunding platform, the report said. The deal — terms of which were not disclosed — is a joint venture between iintoo and Texas-based real estate firm RREAF Holdings, LLC, which will manage the investment porftolio.

Meet the 2019 CNBC Disruptor 50 companies (CNBC), Rated: AAA

14. Kabbage

Founders: Rob Frohwein (CEO), Kathryn Petralia (President), Marc Gorlin
Launched: 2009
Headquarters: Atlanta
Funding:
 $489 million
Valuation: $1.2 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
 Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning
Industry: 
Credit, financial services, lending

26. SoFi

So far, 600,000 members, $30 billion in loans

33. Affirm

Founders: Max Levchin (CEO), Nathan Gettings, Jeff Kaditz
Launched: 2012
Headquarters: San Francisco
Funding:
 $800+ million
Valuation: $3 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
 Machine learning, software-defined security
Industry: 
e-commerce, financial services, fintech

New LendingClub Account Performance – Q1 2019 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In April 2018, LendingClub provided us with $5,000 to open a brand new account. Since then we have been chronicling the status of the account on a quarterly basis. Below are links to the full series of blog posts in chronological order:

Source: Lend Academy

Personal Loan Offers Report – April 2019 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 9.23% in April.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 9.23%, an increase of 13 basis points from the prior month and an increase of 188 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $20,810, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760 was up 0.33% ($69) from last month, and down 9.44% ($1,964) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had offered APRs of 5.15% on average, and loan amounts of $19,489. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $1,565 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.

Is the Point-of-Sale Trend Putting Pressure on Plastic? (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

The latest entrant to the credit market, point-of-sale loans, may be shaking up how consumers finance large purchases. According to the TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) Q1 2019 Industry Insights Report, this phenomenon, combined with the popularity of credit card reward programs, may be particularly taxing for the private label card category.

Year-over-Year Origination Growth

Card Type Q4 2018 Q4 2017 Q4 2016 Q4 2015 Q4 2014 Q4 2013
Private Label -5.5% -6.7% -3.8% -0.1% 4.1% 9.2%
 Bankcard 2.9% 0.1% -4.4% 15.1% 7.4% 18.1%

Q1 2019 Credit Card Trends

 

Credit Card Lending Metric

Q1 2019 Q1 2018 Q1 2017 Q1 2016
 Number of Credit Cards 432.8 million 416.5 million  405.8 million 386.4 million
Borrower-Level Delinquency Rate (90+ DPD)  1.89%  1.78%  1.69%  1.50%
Average Debt Per Borrower $5,554 $5,472 $5,332 $5,193
Prior Quarter Originations* 16.5 million 16.0 million 16.0 million 16.7 million
Average New Account Credit Lines* $5,296 $5,283 $5,262 $5,091

*Note: Originations are viewed one quarter in arrears to account for reporting lag.

Growth in Personal Loans Led by Super Prime Consumers

Personal loan balances continued to climb in Q1 2019, growing 19.2% year over year to a new high of $143 billion. Over the past four years total balances have nearly doubled, growing from $72 billion in Q1 2015. Growth is occurring across all risk tiers with originations increasing 9.7% to 5.0 million in Q4 2018.  Super prime borrowers had the largest growth on the origination front with an increase of 22.5% year-over-year, compared to 19.5% over the same period last year.

Q1 2019 Unsecured Personal Loan Trends

 

Personal Loan Metric

Q1 2019 Q1 2018 Q1 2017 Q1 2016
 Total Balances $143 billion $120 billion $102 billion $93 billion
Number of Unsecured Personal Loans  21.4 million 19.2 million 16.9 million 15.4 million
Number of Consumers with Unsecured Personal Loans  19.3 million 17.6 million 15.7 million 14.7 million
 Borrower-Level Delinquency Rate (60+ DPD) 3.47%  3.51% 3.72% 3.59%
 Average Debt Per Borrower $8,618 $7,986 $7,603 $7,544
 Prior Quarter Originations* 5.0 million 4.6 million 3.7 million 4.1 million
Average Balance of New Unsecured Personal Loans* $5,432 $5,044 $5,132 $5,077

*Note: Originations are viewed one quarter in arrears to account for reporting lag.

Credit Card Loan Performance (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US consumer credit grew by $10.3 Bn in March, at a 3.1% annualized rate, the slowest in nine months. Revolving credit outstanding decreased by $2.18 Bn indicating that consumers ended the quarter more cautious about borrowing. US GDP growth has been propelled by rising consumer spending and a slowdown could put a dampener on growth.

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

30 and 90-day delinquency rates from credit card master trust data

Source: Bloomberg, Bank Credit Card Trust Data, PeerIQ

Declining Credit Enhancement in US MPL ABS is Unwarranted (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fitch is out with a report on marketplace lending (MPL) asset-backed securities (ABS) stating declining credit enhancement is unwarranted.

Fitch states that credit enhancement (CE) levels of ‘Asf’ category rated US MPL ABS have meaningfully declined since 2017, while asset quality remained relatively steady. As a result, bondholders of more recently issued transactions have less loss protection for the same amount of asset risk.

PeerStreet Reports Accelerating Growth as the Real Estate Platform Tops $ 2 Billion in Property Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

This past March, PeerStreet, a real estate crowdfunding platform, announced that it had topped $2 billion in transactions and over $1 billion in Assets Under Management. Three months early in January, that transaction number stood at $1.7 billion. If that pace holds, PeerStreet should be nearing $3 billion in transactions by the end of the year thus firmly establishing itself as a leading property lending platform. While some sectors of real estate crowdfunding have struggled, PeerStreet does not appear to be one of them.

WealthStone Announces Real Estate Platform (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

WealthStone LLC announces the formation of its new real estate platform.

Typical investments require between $10 million to $100 million in total capitalization per project, including prudent leverage. These assets are expected to provide a total annualized return of 10% to 12%, including an annual cash dividend of 5% to 8% to the equity invested in its projects.

WealthStone aims to allocate approximately $300 million of equity capital for an estimated $700 million of total investments in a variety of real estate ventures during its current deployment phase.

Fintech seeks to help customers avoid overdrafts — with assist from a big bank (American Banker), Rated: A

The savings app provider Digit on Tuesday unveiled an instant withdrawals feature that will let users move money from their Digit account to their bank account instantly. This can help them meet emergencies and avoid incurring overdraft fees and resorting to payday loans.

Startup Launches To Combine All Of Your Credit And Debit Cards Into One Digital Card (Forbes), Rated: A

Forget checking your balance on your mobile phone. Startup Binji wants you to use your debit card instead.

In stealth mode for the past twelve months, the Irvine, California fintech is launching a debit Mastercard that enables consumers to consolidate as many as twenty-four credit cards and debit cards into a single account.

Connecting the Unbanked to A Friendlier Ecosystem (Cryptopolitan), Rated: A

P2P lending platforms like AssetStream are introducing significant improvements in the world of financing, which makes lending and borrowing friendlier and more easily accessible services.

How do We Empower a Growing Number of Small Enterprises? (Cryptopolitan), Rated: A

To be exact, if a company with relatively worse credit score applies for a large loan, let’s say $1 million, they’re more likely to be approved than a smaller, more trustworthy company that applied for a $100,000 on the same terms.

Data privacy, AI, regulation: Small-business lending is changing fast (American Banker), Rated: A

“We used to have 14,000 banks. When I started at the SBA, we were down to about 8- or 9,000 banks. Now we’re down to 5,000 banks.”

Much of the technology that is transforming how small-business lending gets done is coming from fintechs, and Mills sees “the next wave of the fintech evolution” as a partnership between these innovators and banks. “Particularly small banks,” she says.

Listen to the podcast here.

Goldman Sachs execs are opening up about their plans for Marcus (Business Insider), Rated: A

The bank has made more than $5 billion in consumer loans since making the first loan in October 2016. It has also attracted more than $46 billion in deposits.

Talwar’s comments may foreshadow the next phase of Marcus’ growth, which will center on three pillars:

1. Free financial-management software offered by Clarity Money, which was bought by Goldman last year and is likely to be rebranded at some point.

2. Direct-to-consumer products such as loan and deposit products, potentially in addition to wealth-management and insurance products.

3. Strategic partnerships.

Walmart Offers Even.com To Improve Employee Financial Health (Forbes), Rated: A

Although Even.com can let Walmart employees access their wages ahead of payday, that is its least important features, according to its CEO, Jon Schlossberg. For $8 a month — like many employees Walmart pays a share of the fee — it aims to improve financial wellness. It shows  users with a glance at a smart phone how much they have left to spend safely and helps them save for specific goals.

Millennials Are Helping to Sound the Credit Card Alarm (Bloomberg), Rated: A

First, the charge-off rate among card issuers in the first quarter increased to the highest level in almost seven years. The figure is effectively a gauge of “bad debt” — it reflects the percentage of loans companies have concluded will never be repaid. As Bloomberg News’s Jenny Surane noted last month, executives like Capital One Financial Corp. CEO Richard Fairbank chalked that up to the length of this economic expansion causing some negative credit events during the financial crisis to disappear from credit bureau reports, essentially making risky borrowers look stronger.

Crypto Startup Launches Bitcoin Term Deposit Offering 9% Annual Interest (CryptoGlobe), Rated: A

A Delaware-based cryptocurrency startup called BitLeague has recently launched a Bitcoin term deposit product designed to bring mainstream-like services to the crypto economy and attract new users.

The move was announced at Consensus 2019 and, according to a press release, the term deposit will offer 9% annual interest, with a lock-in period of 3 to 36 months.

Human Rights Watch Comment on CFPB Proposal (HRW.org), Rated: A

According to research by the Pew Charitable Trusts, approximately 12 million Americans take out payday loans and 2.5 million take out vehicle-title loans each year.[3] The short-term nature of these loans and their repayment structure drive about 80 percent of borrowers to re-borrow frequently and repeatedly pay fees to refinance their accumulated debt.[4]  The 2017 rule establishes logical baselines for consumer protection, including by requiring lenders to verify that borrowers have the ability to repay the loan and its associated fees prior to issuing a loan.

The vast majority, around 73 percent, of survey respondents reported household incomes under US$40,000, with an average of two children each, and nearly half had taken out a payday, auto title, or both types of short-term loans. People reported taking out loans most often to cover unexpected expenses, but also for their everyday expenses and groceries. More than half of those who took out a loan said they had trouble repaying their loans and associated fees.[8]

Fintech charter delayed following court ruling: Otting (American Banker), Rated: A

In a recent sit-down with American Banker, Otting said he no longer expects to have a fintech firm formally apply for the new special purpose bank charter in the second quarter of the year, after a federal judge ruled May 2 that the New York State Department of Financial Services could continue with its case to invalidate the charter.

Accomplished Human Resources Executive Joins Online Small Business Lender (OnDeck), Rated: B

OnDeck today announced the appointment of Deb Stroff as the company’s Chief People Officer.  Ms. Stroff will be responsible for leading all aspects of people strategy, including overseeing organizational design, total rewards, talent management, recruiting, leadership development and learning, as well as driving the talent agenda forward as OnDeck continues to grow in scale and complexity.

Roostify and Docutech Join Forces to Amplify the Consumer Experience (Roostify), Rated: B

Roostify announced the finalization of its integration with Docutech, a provider of document eSign, eClose and print fulfillment technology.

By joining forces with Docutech, Roostify consumers can now view, complete, and eSign documents, all within the Roostify platform.

CrowdStreet Appoints Award-Winning FinTech Innovator Donna Wells to its Advisory Board (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

CrowdStreet, Inc., a technology provider with an online marketplace for direct equity investment in commercial real estate (CRE), today announced the appointment of financial technology entrepreneur Donna Wells to its Advisory Board. The news comes on the heels of the company passing the $500 million threshold in total online investments with a record number of new individual investors.

Cadre Expands Executive Team, Appointing Sam Mischner as Chief Commercial Officer (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Cadre announced today that Sam Mischner has joined the company in the role of Chief Commercial Officer. Mischner brings expertise in strategic sales and operational excellence to Cadre, where he will oversee marketing, sales, and operations.

LendingPoint CEO Chosen as Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist Southeast by EY (BusinessWire), Rated: B

LendingPoint is excited to announce that CEO and founder Tom Burnside was selected as a finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year Southeast. The program recognizes entrepreneurs in more than 145 cities around the world who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in areas such as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

United Kingdom

LendInvest cuts rates and product fees (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: AAA

LendInvest has dropped its product fees and lowered interest rates for both of its 5-year fixed rate buy-to-let remortgage products for a limited time.  

The products will be available on standard property cases up to 75% loan-to-value and up to £250,000 in loan size.

The products are offered at an interest rate of 3.60%, with the ICR calculated at the pay rate, or at an interest rate of 3.49% with the ICR calculated at 5%. Both products will have zero product fee.

CapitalRise secures new institutional funding line to write larger loans (AltFi), Rated: A

Specialist property lending platform CapitalRise has secured a £30m institutional funding line from a major financial institutional investor, as it looks to expand its loan book.

The new £30 million facility was received from a UK bank, whose name is undisclosed.

OakNorth completes £30m loan-on-loan facility with Hilltop Credit Partners (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has completed its first finance deal with Hilltop Credit Partners, a specialist funding partner for small and mid-sized residential property developers and housebuilders.

The £30m loan-on-loan facility will be used to support the recently launched real estate development lending platform, led by Paul Oberschneider, who has more than 25 years of experience in property development and asset management. Backed by Round Hill Capital, a global real estate investment firm with a focus on macro-driven residential real estate investment strategies, Hilltop Credit Partners aims to help developers who know their local markets but need access to tailored financing solutions in order to fund their projects.

Crypto lending platform for business launches this month (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

London-based financial services firm Mode has announced its first product – a crypto-backed lending platform for businesses – will launch later this month.

The company is aiming to become the UK’s first fully-regulated digital-asset bank as it works on building an ecosystem of products and services designed to bridge the gap between digital and traditional finance.

The service is aimed at companies which hold Bitcoin and Ethereum – whether through direct purchase, investment, or as payment from clients.

How to Build Your Own Startup with Micro-financing? (Cryptopolitan), Rated: A

A report on This is MONEY shows that more than 50% of UK startups with less than 50 employees were rejected for bank loans. More so, 37% of SMEs are likely to give up their search for loans after their first approach is rejected.

P2P investing not always ‘high-risk’ (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Imagine an asset class where investor returns have been overwhelmingly positive every year since its inception and incredibly stable, hovering around the mid-single digits, without the rollercoaster of the stock market.

OakNorth completes £2.5m loan to multi-site specialist school, Cressey College (fe news), Rated: B

OakNorth completes £2.5m loan to multi-site specialist school, Cressey College, to support the groups growth strategy.

Finastra appoints Mark Miller as Chief Financial Officer (Virtual Strategy), Rated: A

Finastra has announced the appointment of Mark Miller as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) effective May 13, 2019.

Mark is a seasoned finance executive, with nearly 25 years of global technology, finance and operational experience. He has worked at several industry-leading companies including, most recently, Marketo, where he was CFO and travel technology firm Sabre Corporation, where he spent 18 years in a number of leadership and executive roles including CFO.

China

Tencent profit tops forecast as fintech and cloud revenues surge (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Tencent Holdings Ltd posted record quarterly profit on Wednesday, smashing market expectations, as the social media and gaming giant booked a rise in the value of its investments while fintech and cloud revenues helped make up for declines in games.

In the three months ended March, Tencent saw 17% growth in net profit to 27 billion yuan ($3.93 billion), beating the 19.4 billion yuan average of 13 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

Boosting profit was a 46% rise in “net other gains”, such as from investments, to 11.1 billion yuan. Revenue, however, came in just shy of analyst estimates at 85.5 billion yuan, with growth at an all-time low of 16%.

European Union

Business card management platform Pleo raises $ 56m (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

Fintech Pleo, the business spending platform based around smart company cards, has raised $56 million in a Series B financing round led by Stripes, a New York-based growth fund.

Pleo will use the funding round to more than triple its headcount, from 120 to 400 employees by the end of 2020 and to accelerate product development as it aims to service the entire purchase process for SMEs across the whole of Europe. This includes adding credit, invoices, mobile payments, a vendor marketplace, VAT reclaim and more.

International

More global banks commit to Finastra’s Fusion LenderComm (Realwire), Rated: A

Finastra has signed three global banks on its Fusion LenderComm platform as part of a coordinated campaign, including BNP Paribas, Natixis and Societe Generale. With NatWest, which joined recently, the ramp up signals a move towards a new era of efficiency in this complex space.

How to capture Gen Z spend (Drapers Online), Rated: A

In a survey, 58% told Klarna that they would pay more than $5 (£3.90) for one-hour delivery – if brands cannot compete, then consumers will take their custom elsewhere.

Leading the way in terms of sustainability, 72% said they would pay more for sustainably sourced products, 55% would abandon a purchase if it was not sustainable, and 83% said it is important that brands prove be “pro-equality”.

Klarna found that most of this generation still frequent the high street, and do so more than any other age group.

Australia

Prospa IPO books close; on track for June 11 listing (AFR), Rated: AAA

Investment banks Macquarie and UBS are set to underwrite Prospa’s $610 million sharemarket float after running a bookbuild to sell the shares.

The brokers closed the bookbuild at 2pm on Wednesday and funds were told the lead managers had secured enough support to raise the $110 million required for Propsa’s initial public offering.

Home loan discount frenzy drives bargains for borrowers (Mozo), Rated: A

Popular online lender Tic:Toc has launched a $1,000 cashback offer for all new customers, while competitor loans.com.au has dropped its variable rate below 3.50% to match Tic:Toc’s ultra low rates. Homestar has a competitive low rate plus fee waiver offer on the market, while Virgin Money is enticing new customers with Velocity rewards points.

India

India’s largest mobile wallet company Paytm now offers a credit card (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The firm, operated by One97 Communications, today unveiled Paytm First Credit Card with lofty benefits as it races to bulk up its financial offerings. The cards, issued by Citi Bank, will be the first in the country to offer unlimited, one percent cashback on purchases, Paytm claimed in a statement. The company is hoping to rope in about 25 million credit card customers in the coming months.

The penetration of credit cards remains very low in India with under 50 million peoplepossessing one.

SIDBI’s pilot scheme for fintech NBFCs to boost digital lending (Business Line), Rated: A

To give a fillip to digital lending, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has put together a pilot scheme to extend financial assistance of up to 10 crore to new-age fintech non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) engaged in financing small businesses and other income-generating activities.

Asia

P2P lending in Vietnam (krASIA), Rated: AAA

In Vietnam, where the economy is booming, approximately 79% of the population is unbanked. Without a banking account, it is almost impossible for people to access financial services such as insurance and loans. The phenomenon is called “financial exclusion.”

The country has an internet penetration rate of 67%, higher than the region’s average of 58%, and nearly three-quarters of the adult population owns a smartphone.

Vietnam is fertile ground for massive fintech adoption, particularly in peer-to-peer (P2P lending).

P2P Lending to Overcome Financial Exclusion (SME Magazine), Rated: A

The global P2P market is estimated to be worth US$490 billion in 2020. By then, Vietnam’s own P2P market is expected to be US$7.8 billion, almost doubling from US$4.4 billion in 2017 according to estimates by APAC-focused consulting firm Solidiance. Currently, there are over 40 P2P lenders operating within Vietnam; several of which are prominent due to their size and reach.

Innoven Capital pulls in USD 200 million from Temasek and UOB (krASIA), Rated: A

Singapore-headquartered venture debt firm Innoven Capital received an additional USD 200 million in funding from its shareholders – Temasek Holdings and United Overseas Bank (UOB). The firm said it’s doing this in anticipation of the massive potential that Asia’s venture debt space offers.

Canada

Koho Secures $ 42M in Series B Funding (Finsmes), Rated: AAA

Koho, a Toronto, Canada-based fintech company that provides Canadians with a mobile current account and Visa card, closed a $42m Series B funding round.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Business card management platform Pleo raises $56m

The post Thursday May 16 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest

Annual fintech financing Singapore

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to roll out crypto trading with Coinbase. Walmart now offers Affirm loans. Funding Circle fund ups the ante on buyback strategy. Orca launches IFISA. LendDenClub cross 1 million borrowers, lenders milestone. Today’s main analysis: 2019 securitization update. How marketplace lending is a growing and dynamic global market. (A MUST-READ) Today’s thought-provoking articles: The 2009 […]

The post Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Annual fintech financing Singapore

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Fintech Startup SoFi to Roll Out Crypto Trading Via Partnership With Coinbase (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Fintech startup SoFi — known for its online lending services — is partnering with major United States-based crypto exchange Coinbase to roll out crypto trading support, according to a CNBC report Feb. 26.

Millennial online lender SoFi to offer zero-fee ETFs, an unexpected rival for index fund giants Vanguard, iShares (CNBC), Rated: A

The race to zero-fee exchange-traded funds has found an unlikely competitor: Online lending and personal finance platform SoFi, which has filed for two index ETFs that will waive management fees for the first year. In making the move to zero-fee ETFs, the online lender is crashing an ETF party dominated by Vanguard and BlackRock‘s iShares.

FTC orders SoFi to stop misleading consumers (MPA Mag), Rated: B

The Federal Trade Commission has ordered online lender SoFi to stop lying about how much borrowers can save by refinancing with the company.

Digital lender founded by ex-SoFi CEO raises $ 65M to fuel expansion (American Banker), Rated: A

The new company founded by Mike Cagney, the former embattled chief executive of Social Finance, plans to announce a $65 million funding round on Wednesday, bolstering firm’s expansion into other financial services, including wealth management.

With the new venture, Cagney is using some of the strategies from his tenure at SoFi — like diversification into areas typically only occupied by traditional banks. However, the new company, Figure, is focusing on different customers, and it’s taking steps to avoid scandals similar to the ones that saw Cagney step down from the SoFi helm.

Walmart teams with Affirm to offer point-of-sale loans (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Walmart will offer its customers point-of-sale loans for the first time — both on its website and in nearly 4,000 U.S. stores — under a partnership with the Silicon Valley lender Affirm.

Under the deal, Walmart shoppers will be able to get Affirm loans of three, six or 12 months to finance purchases ranging from $150 to $2,000. The loans are already being offered in Walmart stores, and they will be available to Walmart’s online shoppers in the coming weeks.

Affirm’s latest partnership brings its alternative financing to Walmart’s US stores and website (TechCrunch), Rated: A

The companies announced this morning that Affirm’s financing options would be made available in more than 4,000 Walmart Supercenters across the U.S., and will roll out to Walmart.com in the weeks ahead.

The offering will go live across Walmart Supercenters nationwide, except in Iowa, West Virginia and Puerto Rico, and will be soon available on Walmart.com.

Loan app Affirm CEO breaks down new Walmart partnership (CNBC), Rated: A

Loan app Affirm CEO breaks down new Walmart partnership from CNBC.

ABS Vegas – 2019 Securitization Update; Square Charter Status (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In regulatory news, Square’s ILC charter application has received opposition from 37 community groups. The groups are concerned about Square’s CRA activities and have asked the FDIC to bolster Square’s CRA requirements. Before this letter from community advocates, nearly all of the 15 letters the FDIC received were in favor of Square’s bid. Square is the furthest along the path to getting an ILC charter and its experience will determine whether other FinTechs follow its lead.

Structured Credit Investor magazine explores the challenges facing the maturing marketplace lending sector. Issuers need to distinguish between the borrower experience that they provide and manage liquidity. The article also makes the point that the sector is ripe for consolidation, although we haven’t seen any M&A yet.

2019 Securitization Update

The first two months of 2019 saw 5 securitization deals totaling $1.7 Bn in new issuance. The issuance volume represents a 23% drop over that seen in the first two months of 2018, as the market recovers from the volatility in equity and credit markets seen at the end of 2018. Total securitization issuance now stands at $46.2 Bn, with 147 deals issued to date.

Source: PeerIQ

The Housing Market’s 10 Year Challenge — Comparing The Housing Market of 2009 to Today (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

When the real estate bubble burst in late 2008, many Americans saw their home values fall drastically, but a lot has changed in the 10 years since — housing prices have rebounded from their lows during the Great Recession. And though prices are now starting to cool, in many cases, home values have even exceeded their 2006 highs.

On average, median home values have increased by nearly $50,000 across the 50 largest metros in the United States since 2009.

Metros where housing prices have recovered the most since 2009

San Jose, Calif.

Median home value 2009: $638,300
Median home value 2017: $957,700
Median home value change: $319,400
Median unemployment rate change: -6.4%
Median household income change: $32,991

San Francisco

Median home value 2009: $591,600
Median home value 2017: $849,500
Median home value change: $257,900
Median unemployment rate change: -5.4%
Median household income change: $27,889

Los Angeles

Median home value 2009: $463,600
Median home value 2017: $617,100
Median home value change: $153,500
Median unemployment rate change: -5.0%
Median household income change: $11,467

Source: LendingTree
Source: LendingTree

Gen Xers Carry the Biggest Auto Loan Burden; Study Finds (One World Herald), Rated: A

According to the loan comparison website, the median balance of Gen Xers who have auto loans is $18,741 is higher than other age groups. It is 9% more than baby boomers’ $17,185 median balance. This is higher than millennials’ $16,200 and 37 percent more than the lowest median balance of $13,666 held by Gen Z.

Personal Loan Interest Rates for February 2019 (Nerdwallet), Rated: AAA

Personal loan interest rates, whether you’re considering a loan from a bank, credit union or online lender, generally range from about 6% to 36%. The actual rate you receive depends on factors such as your credit score and history, annual income, existing debt and where you get the loan.

Online lenders offer the lowest starting interest rates on personal loans to borrowers with good to excellent credit.

Source: Nerdwallet

LightStream and Marcus both require a minimum credit score of 660. LightStream accepts joint applications, and one applicant can have a credit score lower than its minimum. SoFi has a slightly higher credit score requirement and requires at least $45,000 in annual income.

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Posts Earnings Results, Meets Expectations (Fairfield Current), Rated: A

Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) announced its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 11th. The company reported $0.09 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.09, Bloomberg Earnings reports. The business had revenue of $207.29 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $212.42 million. Elevate Credit had a return on equity of 15.72% and a net margin of 1.59%. Elevate Credit updated its FY 2019 guidance to $0.55-0.65 EPS.

Source: Fairfield Current

Hunt Real Estate Capital buys RealtyMogul’s proprietary loan underwriting program (Housing Wire), Rated: A

Hunt Real Estate Capital, which offers financing for all types of commercial real estate, will soon have a new underwriting system to help it originate those loans, as the company is buying a proprietary loan underwriting system from RealtyMogul.

Elevate’s Joan Kuehl Named Dallas ORBIE CIO of the Year (The Progress), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”) today announced that Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer Joan Kuehl has been named the Large Enterprise CIO of the Year by the Dallas ORBIE CIO of the Year Awards. The award honors chief information officers who have demonstrated excellence in technology leadership.

A Recession Coming? Small Business Lending Platform Kabbage Says It’s Prepared (Forbes), Rated: A

The world is bracing for a recession, with the latest data showing  in the U.S. expect it to occur by the end of 2021

If those predictions prove true, it will be the first major economic downturn for some of the nation’s leading fintechs. Born out of the ruins of the recession, these startups have enjoyed nearly a decade of success buoyed by strong economic growth, a bull run in the stock market and low unemployment.

Here’s more on the  AJC Top Workplaces midsize companies (AJC.com), Rated: B

Kabbage has been named to the list for five consecutive years and this is its first year in the top five. The private financial technology company, founded in 2009, has 489 global employes and 367 at its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta. Flexibility at work and perks, such as a daily catered lunch and snacks, are among reasons employees appreciate working for Kabbage. Wellness benefits include fitness classes, health equipment onsite, biweekly meditation classes, CPR training, an annual flu shot clinic and sponsoring sports clubs. It also fully pays health benefits for individuals and provides annual bonuses and a 401(k) match. Through its sabbatical program, employees of five years can receive six weeks of paid time off and an additional $6,000. In 2018, Kabbage participated in the Atlanta PRIDE parade and also took a stand against gun violence after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. Workers in 2019 will build a Habitat for Humanity home as part of its Kabbage Kares program, which also has supported PAWS Atlanta, Easter Seals and the Epilepsy Foundation.

Diversifying a Self-Directed IRA Made Simple with New Offering from CrowdStreet (The Progress), Rated: A

CrowdStreet, an online marketplace for direct equity investment in commercial real estate (CRE), today launched a streamlined, investor-friendly approach to investing qualified retirement account funds into commercial real estate offerings. This new option makes it easier than ever for individuals to access CRE investments with their self-directed IRAs (SDIRA), thus reducing their investment exposure to a volatile stock market and achieving more independence in managing their investments.

Liquid P2P and Interest Radar Announce Strategic Partnership (Liquid P2P), Rated: A

Liquid P2P and Interest Radar are pleased to announce that they have entered into a strategic partnership. The two third-party investing services for online peer-lending giant Lending Club will combine strengths under a single platform to deliver a more comprehensive automated tool with a patent-pending liquidity solution.

Direct Lending Investments Suspends Investor Withdrawals (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Earlier this month Brendan Ross, the CEO of Direct Lending Investments, Inc., sent a letter to investors notifying them that they have suspended withdrawals and redemptions effective February 8, 2019. Lend Academy was able to obtain a copy of this investor letter, dated February 11, that provides some color into what happened. The reason given was the delinquency of a large holding, VOIP Guardian, a telecom receivables factoring company.

Fintech deal will provide access to midsize businesses in U.S. (American Banker), Rated: A

Add HSBC to the list of banks partnering with commercial online lenders.

The bank on Tuesday announced a partnership with Neptune Financial, a San Francisco online lender that focuses on businesses with $10 million to $100 million in assets. The bank estimates that, with the access it will get to Neptune customers, the deal represents a $1.5 trillion opportunity.

Venmo debuted a limited-edition rainbow-colored card (Business Insider), Rated: A

Venmo, the PayPal-owned peer-to-peer (P2P) giant, debuted a limited-edition rainbow-colored version of its physical card product. The card will function the same as regular Venmo cards, allowing customers to pay wherever Mastercard is accepted, split costs and tips, withdraw funds from select ATMs, and manage their Venmo balance, but it will only be available for as long as supplies last, according to Venmo.

Source: Business Insider

Why digital identities will be so important in the next few years, according to Mastercard’s vice chairman (CNBC), Rated: A

The pace with which we are moving toward the internet of things is “very rapid” but we “can’t have the internet of everyone without the inclusion of everyone,” according to the vice chairman of payments giant Mastercard.

“You have to start focusing on how does the human get involved, and that’s going to be through having a digital identity,” Ann Cairns told CNBC’s Karen Tso on Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Credit Karma’s Dana Marineau: ‘We want users to think of us as more than just free credit scores’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Today’s marketer on the hot seat is Dana Marineau, Credit Karma’s vice president of brand, creative and communications. People love Credit Karma for its free credit scores, but the company provides so many other free tools. Dana’s team is tasked with elevating the brand beyond just free credit scores, as a place to get help with financial decisions and achieve financial progress. She brings a 15 year experience at EA, working on many of the top sports games in the business.

Why this small bank created a separate, digital-first brand (American Banker), Rated: AAA

When Midwest BankCentre, a community bank in St. Louis, launched the digital-first Rising Bank in February, it joined the ranks of other financial companies —generally large players such as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and MUFG Union Bank — that have created separate, digital-only brands. Unlike them, the $1.9 billion-asset Midwest hopes to keep a community bank feel at the internet-only unit.

The Future Is Plastic: Fintech Unicorn Brex Launches New Credit Card For E-Commerce Merchants (Forbes), Rated: A

Brex, a San Francisco credit card startup that reached a valuation of $1.1 billion late last year, 22 months after its founding, is launching its second product, a physical credit card for e-commerce companies. Its first card, targeted to venture-backed tech startups, has attracted more than 3,000 customers by providing higher spending limits and simplifying the application process.

YieldStreet raises $ 62M to democratise alternative investments in shipping, real estate and more (TechCrunch), Rated: A

YieldStreet — which provides a platform for making alternative investments in areas like real estate, marine/shipping, legal finance, commercial loans and other opportunities that in the past were only open to institutional investors — is today announcing that it has raised $62 million in a Series B round of funding.

Guaranteed Rate Leads Mortgage Executive Magazine’s List of Top Loan Originators in America (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

For the seventh consecutive year, Guaranteed Rate has the most loan originators of any lender on Mortgage Executive Magazine’s annual list of the “Top 200 Mortgage Originators in America,” including the number one originator.

Guaranteed Rate led the way with 36 originators ranking within Mortgage Executive Magazine’s Top 200, including three of the top five. Shant Banosian of Boston, Mass., was named the nation’s 2018 Top Originator by funding $536 Million in total loan volume.

Americans Focus On Debt Management But Lose Focus On Retirement Savings (Forbes), Rated: A

Our minds are wired to prioritize the near-term over the long-term. We shouldn’t be surprised that a new survey by 

U.S. banking regulator fights NY lawsuit over fintech charters (Reuters), Rated: A

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has asked a Manhattan federal court to dismiss a lawsuit by a New York financial regulator over its plan to issue banking charters to fintech companies, saying the lawsuit is premature.

Blockchain and data protection: the main concerns (JDSupra), Rated: A

Blockchain’s usage is no longer limited to digital crypto currencies, as blockchain databases may be deployed in innumerable circumstances and scenarios, including, for instance, within the financial services and insurance sectors for money transfer, peer-to-peer lending and transfer of securities, as well as automatic execution of contracts.

LoanStreet positions for growth with new hires (LoanStreet Email), Rated: B

After the launch of LoanStreet’s commercial lending product and the announcement of their $6.5 million funding round, LoanStreet – the first fully-integrated platform that streamlines the process of sharing, managing, and originating loans – has appointed three credit union industry veterans to support LoanStreet’s aggressive growth.

These new hires include Mike Doherty, Managing Director and Head of Credit Union Sales; Tony Harter, Business Development Director; and Joe Parvin, Business Development Director.

White Oak Business Capital Hires Carol Bader Apicella to Expand Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Markets (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

White Oak Business Capital, Inc. (“WOBC”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, has announced that Carol Apicella has joined the firm as Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer. Apicella will be responsible for expanding the firm’s markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle fund adds firepower for buyback strategy (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The portfolio, an investment trust, of loans originated by Funding Circle lowered its dividend expectations amid lower projected returns last year prompting a discount to its net asset value.

Following a move to a more than 10 per cent discount last year it started share buybacks in a bid to narrow its discount. It has now made additional capital available from its free cash flow to be deployed into share buybacks, the fund said yesterday.

Orca Innovative Finance ISA Launches, Enables Diversified P2P Investment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orca Money is finally launching its long-anticipated Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). Orca’s spin on the savings vehicle allows investors to spread their money across multiple peer-to-peer lenders (P2P) thus providing a heightened degree of diversification. Additionally, Orca Money conducts due diligence on behalf of IFISA investors.

Currently, the Orca IFISA allows access to 5 P2P platforms: Lending Works, Assetz Capital, Landbay, Octopus Choice and Lending Crowd.

Experian, ClearScore scrap merger plans (Reuters), Rated: A

Experian Plc, the world’s biggest credit data firm, said on Wednesday that it had agreed with rival ClearScore to abandon their proposed merger, after Britain’s competition watchdog indicated that it may block the deal.

NatWest launches account aggregation as Open Banking takes hold (AltFi), Rated: A

It’s been a long time coming, but Open Banking is finally spreading through the traditional banking industry, this week with the launch of account aggregation for NatWest customers.

The RBS subsidiary becomes the UK’s 4th bank to let customers connect rival current accounts.

Will Open Banking boom in 2019? (AltFi), Rated: A

It has been over a year since the Open Banking UK initiative under the Competition and Markets Authority order and Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) was launched and has become one of the industry’s biggest technology and regulatory shake ups in recent years. It is no surprise that the initiative’s first year has seen a relatively low consumer uptake. This has been coupled with reports that consumers’ knowledge of the scheme appears to be markedly low.

Aave Launches Platform to Pay Bills Using Crypto (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

In an attempt to bring crypto closer to the mainstream, the London-based fintech startup has announced the launch of Aave Pay.

The app will allow its users to pay their utility bills using digital coins by converting crypto into fiat in real-time using bank transfer facility. The company is claiming that the platform can be used to business expenses as well including employee salaries, income taxes, and other commercial or corporate expenses.

Investing in crowdfunded development projects – what you need to know (Property Investor Today), Rated: A

You can invest in peer to peer development loans for the short term or in an Innovative Finance ISA for a longer commitment period, but with the potential to earn tax free returns.

By comparison, a peer to peer lending platform with its own development company will have much more control over its projects and be able to give you more detailed and trustworthy updates.

Failed Lender Reaching ‘From Beyond The Grave,’ MPs Warn (Law360), Rated: A

Failed payday lender Wonga is damaging the finances of thousands of customers “from beyond the grave” because they cannot seek redress for allegedly missold loans as the company was not covered…

International

Some Bankers Are Doing Even Worse Than in 2009 (The Washington Post), Rated: AAA

It may not feel like it, but some corners of banking are suffering as badly as they did during the depths of the financial crisis. Global volumes of initial public offerings and share placings in January and February have been nearly 60 percent lower than in the same period last year. The numbers are worse than the first two months of 2009. If activity doesn’t pick up soon, it would be worrying evidence of the fragility of investor sentiment.

The hope is that the lull is temporary, and technical. The government shutdown in Washington has gummed up U.S. IPOs. Uncertainty over the U.K.’s future relationship with Europe just drags on. And the December stock-market wobble probably killed off deals that were being planned for the window that traditionally opens between January and the start of the full-year earnings season in late February.

Marketplace Lending – A Growing and Dynamic Global Market (DBRS Email), Rated: AAA

I wanted to share with you a new joint report from our U.S. and European structured finance teams. The new report, attached to this email, analyzes the growth of the marketplace lending market around the globe.

The commentary includes the following topics:

— The evolution in finance, from traditional banking to FinTech.
— FinTech’s influence on marketplace lending around the globe.
— Growth hurdles.
— Securitization considerations.

Bank on it: How Enova’s software expands credit access worldwide (Built in Chicago), Rated: A

Not all credit histories are created equal.

That’s the case for a large part of the world’s population who can’t get access to a loan from a traditional credit provider — like a bank — creating a world in which the hardest working people don’t always get access to the credit they need. Enova, however, believes it has a solution. The fintech company draws on the power of machine learning and data to offer products that expand access to credit for consumers and small businesses.

Blossom Capital scores $ 85m from Robinhood and Funding Circle backers (AltFi), Rated: A

Blossom Capital, which has already backed five startups including rental marketplace Fat Lama, today raised $85m which it will use to lead Series A rounds of between $5m and $10m in Europe.

Eight Simple Ways to Earn Bitcoin Online Legally (The Crypto Updates), Rated: B

Earn Bitcoins as the interest payments: If you have earned some Bitcoins already, you can put the Bitcoins to earn for you. Lend them out at particular interest rate. You can lend the Bitcoins directly to someone known at a greed interest rate and repayment period. You need to assess trustworthiness of borrower. Peer to peer Bitcoin lending is another way to let the earned Bitcoins earn for you. There are many peer-to-peer lending websites where the borrowers post the borrowing requests. Over these websites, you can act as a lender. It is also possible to fund the small portion of numbers of loans to reduce the risk.

European Union

Grid Finance suspends taking investments below € 100,000 (Irish Times), Rated: AAA

One of the largest providers of peer-to-peer loans in the State has shut down a key part of its business aimed at smaller investors, blaming an absence of regulation in the crowdfunding space.

Grid Finance, which is backed by Enterprise Ireland, wrote to holders of its “Brick” accounts – that facilitate the investment of up to €100,000 – in recent days stating that it would withdraw the offering from the marketplace.

China

Dragon Victory International: Exposure To The Chinese Crowdfunding Market At A Regulatory-Driven Discount (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

In recent years as China winds down its industrial and manufacturing powerhouse growth, it’s looking to other developed nations to determine which platforms it should invest in and pave the way to sustained economic growth. As most other major developed nations have done over the past century, financial services and engineering have been a very profitable platform and companies in China are quick to launch their own services to capitalize on the triple-digit growth in online financial services exhibited since 2003.

Similar to Hexindai (HX), which I’ve previously covered as a leading online lender which is capitalizing on the middle class appetite for debt to finance their lives and vacations, Dragon Victory International Limited (LYL) is taking on the crowdfunding segment in the People’s Republic of China. Similar to countless other platforms around the world, the company’s services are around financing new companies and capitalizing entrepreneurs through public funding and they already have over 4.5M users who use their services, a number nearly doubling each year.

Source: Dragon Victory International F-1 filings

China Fintech Today: The P2P Boom Is Truly Over (SupChina), Rated: A

This year, the government has continued to lead a reorganization of the industry:

  • More companies will die: As of February 17, only 60 percent of online lending institutions had disclosed their operational information for January 2019, including five problematic platforms.
  • However, the current asset quality of the online lending industry has improved significantly according the data from firms that did report.
  • As of the end of January 2019, the accumulated amount of the online P2P online loan industry was about 7.78 trillion yuan ($1.16 trillion). The total loan amount in January was 91.4 billion yuan ($13.61 billion), down 55.1 percent year-on-year and down 1.3 percent from the previous month.
  • Further consolidation of industry players is certain. Some experts quoted in media reports predict that the scale of future online loans will continue to shrink because of regulation.
  • Some listed companies, such as Aoma Electric and Panda Financial Companies, have abandoned their P2P businesses.
  • Aoma Electric issued a letter of concern to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on February 14, attributing the decision to the broader economic slowdown, and a high number of overdue loans.
  • Panda Gold Control in 2018 was also dragged down by its P2P business, and expects a net loss of 41.16 million ($6.13 million) to 57.63 million yuan ($8.58  million) in 2018. Faced with the uncertainty of the P2P sector, Panda Gold Control chose to divest.

A Crypto Project That Raised $ 20 Million Is Caught Faking Its Founding Team (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Launched on Dec. 2, BHB claims to offer an ethereum-based solution for peer-to-peer lending, but by Jan. 18, local media reports were already accusing the project of operating an illegal pyramid scheme. Now, CoinDesk is able to reveal inconsistencies in the information provided about its founding team that further suggest something may be amiss at the China-based project.

However, the image of Bobby White used in BHB’s marketing materials is identical to that of an economics professor at China’s Tsinghua University named Alexander White. Meanwhile, the image of Gregory Moss is the same as one used by a philosophy professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, who is also named Gregory Moss.

Tencent-backed brokerage firm downsizes US IPO amid weak market demand (Technode), Rated: A

Tencent-backed online brokerage firm Futu Securities has set the terms for its US initial public offering (IPO) to raise up to $130 million, which will value the company at more than $1 billion. The company previously set its target at as high as $300 million when it filed for the US listing in December.

Chinese tech behemoth, Tencent, owns over 38% of the company, has shown interest in purchasing up to 25% of the new shares issued.

Australia

How should accountants talk to clients about fintechs? (In the Black), Rated: A

Like the ombudsman’s office, ASIC has also made information available to educate consumers and advisers, including on its MoneySmart Borrowing Basics and Peer-to-Peer Lending sites.

Is any flexibility possible, Shiel wonders, with a peer-to-peer lending model in which the borrower likely doesn’t know who is providing the funds?

India

LenDenClub crosses 1,00,000 borrowers and lenders milestone (News Barons), Rated: AAA

LenDenClub, one of India’s fastest growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, recently crossed an important landmark with more than 1,00,000 borrowers and lenders on its platform. The breakdown of borrowers to lenders is 83,300 and 16700, respectively. The company crossed this milestone by keeping up with latest market trends, and saw an increase in the use of its product InstaMoney, which was launched in June 2018.

Why Do Fintech Startups and Investors See a Huge Potential in Lending? (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

Today, thanks to the ongoing digitization, borrowing has become as easy as it can get in India. For contrast, all it takes now is the touch of a few buttons, answers to a few verification-related questions, and anyone can receive a loan in a matter of hours or days, if not minutes. And all of this is without any collateral and while enjoying the comfort of your home. Now, compare this with taking a day off to go to the bank, doing extensive paperwork, visiting frequently to check the progress of your loan application, and ultimately, getting your application rejected because of the loan officer’s misjudgement. All while wasting two months of time in the constant to and fro and taking multiple days off from your office.

It is beyond doubt that the advent of fintech startups has altered the game of lending in India. It has become both simpler and convenient to borrow using their revolutionary approaches driven by state-of-the-art technologies. Currently, more than 1,500 fintech startups (of all shapes and sizes) are catering to the Indian market, and more than half of these startups have been launched over the last 3 years. This gives us a clear picture of how lucrative the sector is becoming for our startup ecosystem. But what is essentially fuelling this trend? Let’s find out.

Banning of UDS to benefit P2P Lending Industry (Inventiva), Rated: A

The latest ordinance of the Banning of Unregulated Deposits (UDS) 2019, was passed by the government to provide a comprehensive mechanism to ban UDS as well as to protect the interest of depositors. This is in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines on the NBFC-P2P sector, issued in October 2017 to regulate the unorganized lending business in the country.

Asia

Singapore fintech investments rose two-fold to US$ 365m in 2018 (SBR.com.sg), Rated: AAA

US$102.2m of the total funds raised went to lending fintech companies such as the homegrown Funding Societies.

Fintech investments in Singapore more than doubled to US$365m in 2018 from US$180m in 2017, putting the country amongst the top five fintech markets by funds raised last year in Asia Pacific, behind China, India, Australia and Japan, according to Accenture’s analysis of CB Insights data. The number of deals in the country rose to 71 from 61 in 2017, making it the third busiest market in the region, behind only China and India.

Source:

Validus Capital raises $ 15m for SME financing (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Validus Capital, a Singapore-based SME financing platform, has raised SGD 20.5 million ($15.2 million) in a Series B funding round, led by FMO, a Dutch public-private development bank.

Latin America

PayPal expands its small business loans initiative to Mexico (Leaprate), Rated: AAA

Online payment giant PayPal launched its Working Capital initiative in 2013 as an alternative method for business to access working capital much faster than through traditional means. Many small and medium-sized business (SMB) clients embraced the program and since then the company has advanced more than $6 billion in loans to over 170,000 businesses in the UK, US, Germany and Australia.

PayPal also recently revealed that it has partnered with Konfio, a Mexican online lender that utilizes unconventional data sources to facilitate fast credit assessments, in a deal that will allow PayPal to extend its Business loan and working capital programs to Mexican businesses.

ID Finance eyes ‘pivotal moment’ for Latam fintech as revenue in region climbs 403% (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

ID Finance, the fintech company operating in Europe and Latin America, saw revenue of $49m in 2018. This represents growth of 236% for the business, which was formally separated from its operations in Russia and CIS region last year.

The company is enjoying particularly strong growth in Latam, one of the world’s fastest growing markets for fintech adoption thanks to high mobile penetration and a sizeable underbanked population – according to the World Bank 61% of Mexico’s population is excluded from the traditional banking system, while 40% of Brazil’s 207m population are blacklisted. The company now has 141 employees in Latam and saw revenue growth of 403% in the region last year.

Challenger bank N26 expands to Brazil (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Germany-based mobile challenger bank N26 is powering on yet again as it has revealed its plans to expand to Brazil.

Africa

How FinTech Companies Inspire Africa With Mobile Technology (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

With the potential for rapid growth and job creation, FinTech firms in Africa have caught the attention of global investors. According to the London Stock Exchange Group’s 2019 “Companies to Inspire Africa” report, which highlights these firms, the FinTech sector has the second highest growth rate representation of technology and telecoms as well as financial services. As it stands, companies in this space represent more than a quarter of 360 featured firms from 32 different countries. Pan-African payments firm Cellulant is among the companies that appeared in the first and second editions of the report.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday October 11 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending securitization

News Comments Today’s main news: Marcus may reign in new loans, but not SoFi, LendingClub. Fellow Finance goes public. Aereal Bank invests in BrickVest. Aussie borrowers dump banks for P2P lenders. Figure launches HELOCs on blockchain. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ’s Q3 2018 marketplace lending securitization tracker. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How every day can be payday. Older Americans are most creditworthy. Corporate […]

marketplace lending securitization

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Goldman’s Marcus May Rein In New Loans Next Year But Rivals Aren’t Worried (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Nearly two years after exploding on the online personal lending market scene, Marcus, the unit of Goldman Sachs, is reportedly retreating, reigning in its loan origination target for 2019.

That’s according to 

PeerIQ’s Q3 2018 Marketplace Lending Securitization Tracker (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

A total of eight marketplace lending securitizations were issued in the third quarter, totaling $3.5 billion. This is the fifth highest level of quarterly issuance which is noteworthy given that the summer is typically a slower period for issuance. This is an increase of 35% from the prior year period.  It’s hard to believe that total marketplace lending issuance to date stands at $41.9 billion across 134 deals.

There has been a shift with spreads tightening and yields falling on new deals, a reversal from prior quarters. PeerIQ noted that all-in yields on consumer deals decreased 2 basis points from 3.72% to 3.7% and student deals decreased 100 basis points from 4.5% to 3.5% over the previous quarter.

Economic Growth is Solid, Lending Securitization Strong, but are Storm Clouds Gathering? (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

PeerIQ states:

“Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and Credit Suisse continue to top the issuance league tables with 57% of MPL ABS transaction volume. Citi and CS are increasing their activity in the Fintech space, with CS also offering risk retention solutions on securitizations.”

The end of the two-week pay cycle: How every day can be payday (MarketWatch), Rated: AAA

Teresa Long, an assistant manager at a Walmart near Dallas, is like many Americans: She sometimes struggles to pay her monthly bills on time, especially when her biweekly paycheck fluctuates.

Occasionally, when she was not able to budget correctly for the month, she would default on a bill, miss a payment or send in a check late. Sometimes Long would take out a payday loan, but the fees were crippling. “You’re taking a $300 loan, and, by the time you pay it off, it’s probably $1,000 or $1,500,” said the 40-year-old mother of four. “It’s extra money you could have been saving.”

So when she saw information on an internal Walmart website about a new service from an Oakland, Calif.-based company called Even, Long was intrigued. It promised to pay her up to half her wages in advance, on demand, for an average $6 monthly subscription fee.

Sources: Pew Charitable Trusts, Center for Financial Services Innovation

LendingTree Study Finds Older Generations Most Creditworthy (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its study on Americans’ credit scores by generation that found that the older someone is, the better their credit tends to be. On average, members of the silent generation (the oldest cohort) have credit scores 100 points higher than those of millennials.

Key takeaways

  • Millennials and Gen Xers have, on average, “fair” credit scores.
  • Baby boomers have “good” scores.
  • Members of the silent generation have “very good” scores.
Source: PR Newswire

Why older people have higher credit scores

One possible reason for higher scores among older people is cultural. In general, they may use credit less and may be more disciplined savers and spenders, said Kali McFadden, senior research analyst at LendingTree.

Another reason is that older Americans are more settled financially, with lower monthly costs. In general, the older someone is, the lower their mortgage payments and student loan debts are (or they don’t have such payments at all). Older Americans may also not need new furniture or have child care costs. That means they are less likely to have urgent financial costs that can result in delinquencies, which can hurt credit scores.

Millennials and Gen Xers may have to pay more for loans

Banks, credit card issuers and other lenders make lending decisions based on a borrower’s creditworthiness. They offer much better rates to borrowers with higher scores.

Source: PR Newswire

Boomers aren’t much better off

While the higher credit score of baby boomers (average credit score: 696) is a sign of better financial stability than the younger generations, there’s still room for improvement. The average boomer score trails that of the elder generation by 38 points.

The CEO of Robinhood sets out his vision after announcing another move to compete with major brokerages (Markets Insider), Rated: A

Robinhood, the zero-fee stock trading app that helped kickstart a race to the bottom in brokerage fees, has a new weapon in its arsenal as it fights to become the Amazon of personal finance: an in-house clearing system.

The $5.6 billion startup announced Wednesday that it has completed a two-year effort to build and launch its own in-house clearing provider that will allow it to save money and improve trading for its 6 million customers, cofounder and CEO Vlad Tenev told Business Insider.

Mike Cagney’s Figure Launches Blockchain-Powered Online Home Equity Loans (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Figure rolled out the first of those products yesterday: a digitally processed home equity loan that it claims can cut approval time to five minutes. According to Cagney, those Figure loans can range between $15,000 and $100,000, with funds made available to users in five days — down from the 45 days that such products usually take.

Learn more about Figure’s business model here.

Online Investing in Real Estate through Crowdfunding Expected to Grow (Urban Land Institute), Rated: A

Crowdfunding has captured the imagination—and money—of investors throughout the United States. While it is used for everything from charitable campaigns to launching startup businesses or paying legal fees, commercial real estate may be the largest online investment opportunity for crowdfunding to date, according to a panel at the 2018 ULI Fall Meeting in Boston.

“This $14 trillion market is the nation’s third-largest investment asset class behind stocks and bonds. Crowdfunding allows real estate firms to reach beyond friends and family to investors anywhere,” he said.

Toward a more inclusive fintech industry (American Banker), Rated: A

I worked for seven years in a company run exclusively by men — no women on the leadership team at all. The executive suite was physically walled off, a literal boys’ club, and no matter how valuable my performance, I wasn’t going to be a “cultural fit” for the all-male back room. Even now, 84% of venture-backed companies lack even a single female founder.

Significantrigorous research proves women in leadership make companies more profitable, and diverse leadership teams make better business decisions.

Direct lending platform Goji hits £100m in assets (AltFi), Rated: A

Goji has reached over £100 million in assets under management on its platform, the firm has said.

This latest milestone coincides with Goji becoming a partner of adviser-support network SimplyBiz.

Jake Wombwell-Povey, CEO of Goji says the firm has doubled the assets on the platform in a little over six months.

Roostify Announces Bidirectional Integration with Ellie Mae’s Encompass Digital Mortgage Solution (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Roostify, a digital lending solution, announced that its platform now offers a bidirectional integration with Ellie Mae’s Encompass digital mortgage lending platform. The seamless integration allows lenders to easily pass information between the two systems, driving quality and efficiency in the loan origination process.

States’ response to OCC fintech charter ‘disappointing,’ top Treasury official says (American Banker), Rated: B

A senior Treasury Department official said he was disheartened by state regulators’ negative response to its fintech report, which supported the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s plans to create a national fintech charter.

United Kingdom

Fintech startup Wagestream wants to tackle Britain’s ‘poverty premium’ (TechWorld), Rated: AAA

The UK’s Financial Ombudsman Service claims to have received 10,979 complaints about payday loans between April and June 2018, according to figures from its annual review for 2017/18.

The figures came just weeks after what was the UK’s biggest payday lender, Wonga, went into administration.

But London-based Fintech startup, Wagestream, has emerged to put an end to the misery of ‘poverty premium’ as it makes a stand to ‘destroy payday loans’.

Savers Offered 8% By ISA Bond That Fights for Justice (OA Online), Rated: A

INVESTORS seeking a higher rate of return – and who want to use their money to help victims of things like professional negligence – will be interested in a new bond by Just, held through an Innovative Finance ISA called Just ISA.

Launched in summer 2018, the Just ISA offers tax-free returns of 8% by investing in a bond that is ultimately used to fund legal cases on behalf of people who are seeking redress from things such as professional negligence by individuals and corporations.

London’s most influential people 2018 (Evening Standard), Rated: B

Tom Blomfield   – Chief executive of Monzo

The Oxford graduate has made carrying the ubiquitous orange payment card a mark of cool as its cult status continues to grow.

Samir Desai – Chief executive and co-founder of Funding Circle

The former management consultant has been at the helm for eight years of the leading peer-to-peer lender to small businesses.

Jaidev Janardana – Chief executive of Zopa

The former Capital One man is boss of the world’s first peer-to-peer lending company which is launching a bank.

China

Overheard in the Long Room: corporate China (FT Alphaville), Rated: AAA

Two diverging trends here. China, on a national level, is requiring more and more cash to service its debts. Not good news for those concerned about the Republic’s burgeoning debt burden, estimated to be anywhere between 300 to 350 per cent of GDP, depending on who you ask and what mood they’re in.

Source: Financial Times

This hasn’t deterred bond buyers however, as the IMF recorded a circa $40bn flow into yuan-denominated bonds over the second quarter of this year, according to Brad Setser at the CFR:

Source Financial Times
European Union

Fellow Finance goes public (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The platform is expected to raise approximately €10m. With a valuation of €55m at the close of the IPO on Tuesday, the platform anticipates rapid growth. The IPO saw 1.3 million new shares in the company on offer for an 18.3 per cent stake in the company. The offer was 2.2 times oversubscribed.

In addition to the new shares on offer, just under 1.3 million in existing shares in the company will go on sale too.

Nasdaq Helsinki welcomes Fellow Finance to Nasdaq First North Finland (Nasdaq), Rated: A

Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) announce that trading in Fellow Finance Plc shares (short name: FELLOW) commence today on Nasdaq First North Finland. The company belongs to the Financials sector. Fellow Finance is the 61st company to be admitted to trading on Nasdaq’s Nordic markets* in 2018, and it represents the 9th listing on Nasdaq Helsinki in 2018.

German Blockchain Banking Group Bitwala Teams Up With solarisBank to launch Cryptobank Services (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Tuesday, German blockchain banking group Bitwala announced it has teamed up with solarisBank to launch its new cryptobanking services. According to Bitwala, nearly 35,000 customers have already pre-registered to be among the first to get access to new service, which helps customers to manage cryptocurrencies with unprecedented convenience and benefit from the high level of security and deposit protection commanded by German banking laws.

International

Germany’s Aareal Bank invests in UK real estate platform BrickVest (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

Germany’s Aareal Bank says it plans to acquire a stake in BrickVest, the London-based online platform for commercial real estate investments.

SALT Coin Hits Retracement Target After 55% Gains (Global Coin Report), Rated: A

The announcement by SALT coin to accept Litecoin (LTC)as collateral in their blockchain lending platform led to an explosion in the price of their ERC-20 token. In a 24 hour shake-up that rocked the altcoin market just before the weekend, this crypto-lending favorite rose over US $0.82 on Friday morning. SALT (SALT) shot up 55% overnight while the rest of the market stagnated in a prolonged malaise.

The platform now offers USD loans at a 5.99% interest rate(for loans less than US$75,000) and has removed the cap on maximum loan amounts.

Nexo (NEXO) Overview: We might have gotten the first legit crypto lending platform (Captain Altcoin), Rated: A

After a prolonged period of sideways movement throughout the month of September, staying just below $0.050, the currency started growing around 21st. The slow rise lasted until 30th, when the daily trade volume sharply dropped off from $984,935 to $230,742. The same way it dropped, the volume soared back up on October 1st. NEXO price followed suit and grew to$0.0933 on a daily trade volume of $1,765,517. After a short correction of both parameters, the price and volume spiked up once again on the 5th, this time reaching $0.1143 and $1,936,530 respectively.

Source: Captain Altcoin

Crowdfunding firm aims for rapid global growth (BusinessDay), Rated: A

Finnish crowdfunding platform Fellow Finance is targeting fast international growth after a successful initial public offering (IPO) in Helsinki, its CEO says.

Founded back in 2013, the company was valued at €55m by the IPO, which closed on Tuesday and was more than two times oversubscribed.

Australia

More Aussie borrowers are dumping banks for peer-to-peer lenders, CommSec reveals (mozo), Rated: AAA

According a recent CommSec Economic Insights Report, the number of Aussies borrowing from non-bank financial institutions rose by 10.3% over the year to August.

“Banks are facing greater competition from non-banks. At the same time bank deposits are only lifting at a 2.5% annual rate, putting greater reliance on external funding. It is clearly a competitive and challenging environment for financial institutions,” said CommSec chief economist, Craig James.

Latin America

Goldman Sachs has joined George Soros and Steve Cohen in backing an Argentinian mobile banking startup (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Ualá, the one-year-old mobile banking startup, raised $34 million in its series B round led by Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, along with existing investors including a private fund managed by Soros Fund Management, Jefferies, the venture arm of Steve Cohen’s Point72, and entrepreneur Kevin Ryan, according to an announcement seen by Business Insider.

Over 50% of people in Argentina had never had a card before and are only operating in cash, so the company aims to provide these people financial inclusion by giving them access to financial system, he added.

What’s happening with crypto in Latin America? (Crypto Insider), Rated: A

Latin America is undergoing somewhat of a transformation in the world of global finance. With the state of the banking industry in many countries in the region, people are turning to one another to solve their problems. From neighborhood initiatives to cross-border peer-to-peer lending platforms and online-only independent banking solutions, Latin America is exploring new ways to approach their personal finances.

APAC

Borrowers and Lenders Discover a Reputable Financial Conduit with FundKo (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

As the world becomes ever more interconnected, as does the financial system. Borrowers and lenders are no longer confined by the parameters of a localized system. In fact, many lenders are branching out to the internet, through online companies such as FundKo.

FundKo is a peer to peer lending company in the Philippines.

No customer may invest 100% of their money on a single loan: in fact, the largest sum of money they may invest is 10% of a loan. This guideline ensures that lenders never suffer a catastrophic loss.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Will Amazon Lending Disrupt, Displace, or Prop Up Banks?

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started […]

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started as an online seller of books and CDs in 1995 and now the “everything store” has sales of more than $400 billion.

Amazon’s Lending Business

The company is virtually omnipresent in all businesses, be it furniture, electronics, food or entertainment. In 2012, it added yet another service to its stable: Small business loans.

Considering Amazon enables millions of small companies to sell their products across the globe, having its own lending arm was a no-brainer. Amazon’s entry into small-business lending could transform the banking industry in the same way it revolutionized retail. Just recently, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced that it has made $1 billion in small-business loans to more than 20,000 merchants in the United States, Japan, and the UK during the past 12 months. Since Amazon Lending launched in 2011, it has surpassed $3 billion in loans to small businesses. Further, more than 50 percent of the companies eventually take a second loan from Amazon.

Launching its own lending arm is a stroke of genius by Amazon, the company will earn interest on the loans while retailers (with the aid of the loans) will be able to sell more products on the Amazon website and thus will add to Amazon’s earnings. Its big pockets and negative working capital mean it has lots of cash to lend; a mammoth retailer database means it is fairly easy for Amazon to tap into the lucrative space.

“We created Amazon Lending to make it simple for up-and-coming small businesses to efficiently get a business loan, because we know that an infusion of capital at the right moment can put a small business on the path to even greater success,” said Peeyush Nahar, vice president for Amazon Marketplace, in a company announcement.

How Does Amazon Lending Work?

Amazon’s loan program is by invitation only. It offers short-term business loans ranging from $1,000 to $750,000 for up to 12 months to micro, small, and medium businesses selling on Amazon to help them grow their businesses. Loans are approved within 24 hours and, usually, loan money is used for inventory financing and business expansion.

Unlike traditional lenders, which use lengthy loan applications and require a host of documents, Amazon uses internal algorithms to invite sellers to the program based on the popularity of their products, inventory cycles, and other factors. It does not charge an origination fee or prepayment penalties. Furthermore, after establishing its foothold in SME lending, the company plans to branch out  into other markets where there are a lot more opportunities, such as Canada, India, France, and China.

To Be or Not To Be: A Bank

For now, the lending business is relatively a small part of its operations. But considering its vast resources and huge database, it will be interesting to see whether Amazon scales up its credit business and applies for a banking license.

According to a survey of 32,715 people in 18 countries conducted by Accenture, 31% of the respondents would switch to Google, Amazon, or Facebook for banking, if these companies offered financial services. In another report by CB Insights, Amazon has the highest customer satisfaction at 86% compared to Citi (82 percent), Capital One (80 percent), “all banks” (80 percent), TD Bank (79 percent) and Bank of America and Chase (each 75 percent). With more and more millennials opting against traditional banks, becoming a full-fledged financial institution does seem like a viable option. But will Amazon follow that path?

Regulatory Backdrop

Ever since marketplace lenders gained prominence in the financial circle, there has been a debate raging on whether or not to grant technology companies special banking charters that will allow them to compete with banks nationwide. Right now, the situation is vague with regards to regulations for technology companies. Wal-Mart, in 2006, applied for a banking license to establish an industrial loan company (ILC) in Utah. Eventually, lawmakers and banking groups blocked future banking efforts by Wal-Mart and tried to prohibit commercial companies from obtaining new ILC licenses.

Amazon can cause a similar backlash for itself and would rather want to concentrate on other aspects of its business than deal with the headaches of being a bank. Moreover, providing financial services is merely another avenue for plugging companies into the Amazon ecosystem. So the lending arm (as a non-bank) fits nicely into the overall scheme of things.

The Real Threat of Amazon

Amazon really doesn’t want to displace banks as they are one of the main consumers of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Rather, it wants to disrupt banking services. Amazon Web Services is the biggest provider of cloud computing and controls 45 percent of the global cloud infrastructure market. It is used by most of the major businesses and has become an absolute necessity for the financial sector.

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) is forming the backbone of the financial services ecosystem, with a diverse set of firms – from JP Morgan to startups such as Xignite – adopting AWS for data storage and processing,” a consulting report stated.

Apart from this, legacy banks are losing direct interaction with their customers. For example, USAA and Capital One are both experimenting with Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa as a new consumer banking channel. Amazon is not taking any direct market share from banks; rather, it is becoming the customer interface for banks and putting them in the background.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon shapes its lending business with enterprise AWS contributing a sizeable chunk to the bottom line. But with hundreds of millions of customers and merchants on its platform, you can bet it will be at the vanguard of online lending.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Will Amazon Lending Disrupt, Displace, or Prop Up Banks?

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started […]

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started as an online seller of books and CDs in 1995 and now the “everything store” has sales of more than $400 billion.

Amazon’s Lending Business

The company is virtually omnipresent in all businesses, be it furniture, electronics, food or entertainment. In 2012, it added yet another service to its stable: Small business loans.

Considering Amazon enables millions of small companies to sell their products across the globe, having its own lending arm was a no-brainer. Amazon’s entry into small-business lending could transform the banking industry in the same way it revolutionized retail. Just recently, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced that it has made $1 billion in small-business loans to more than 20,000 merchants in the United States, Japan, and the UK during the past 12 months. Since Amazon Lending launched in 2011, it has surpassed $3 billion in loans to small businesses. Further, more than 50 percent of the companies eventually take a second loan from Amazon.

Launching its own lending arm is a stroke of genius by Amazon, the company will earn interest on the loans while retailers (with the aid of the loans) will be able to sell more products on the Amazon website and thus will add to Amazon’s earnings. Its big pockets and negative working capital mean it has lots of cash to lend; a mammoth retailer database means it is fairly easy for Amazon to tap into the lucrative space.

“We created Amazon Lending to make it simple for up-and-coming small businesses to efficiently get a business loan, because we know that an infusion of capital at the right moment can put a small business on the path to even greater success,” said Peeyush Nahar, vice president for Amazon Marketplace, in a company announcement.

How Does Amazon Lending Work?

Amazon’s loan program is by invitation only. It offers short-term business loans ranging from $1,000 to $750,000 for up to 12 months to micro, small, and medium businesses selling on Amazon to help them grow their businesses. Loans are approved within 24 hours and, usually, loan money is used for inventory financing and business expansion.

Unlike traditional lenders, which use lengthy loan applications and require a host of documents, Amazon uses internal algorithms to invite sellers to the program based on the popularity of their products, inventory cycles, and other factors. It does not charge an origination fee or prepayment penalties. Furthermore, after establishing its foothold in SME lending, the company plans to branch out  into other markets where there are a lot more opportunities, such as Canada, India, France, and China.

To Be or Not To Be: A Bank

For now, the lending business is relatively a small part of its operations. But considering its vast resources and huge database, it will be interesting to see whether Amazon scales up its credit business and applies for a banking license.

According to a survey of 32,715 people in 18 countries conducted by Accenture, 31% of the respondents would switch to Google, Amazon, or Facebook for banking, if these companies offered financial services. In another report by CB Insights, Amazon has the highest customer satisfaction at 86% compared to Citi (82 percent), Capital One (80 percent), “all banks” (80 percent), TD Bank (79 percent) and Bank of America and Chase (each 75 percent). With more and more millennials opting against traditional banks, becoming a full-fledged financial institution does seem like a viable option. But will Amazon follow that path?

Regulatory Backdrop

Ever since marketplace lenders gained prominence in the financial circle, there has been a debate raging on whether or not to grant technology companies special banking charters that will allow them to compete with banks nationwide. Right now, the situation is vague with regards to regulations for technology companies. Wal-Mart, in 2006, applied for a banking license to establish an industrial loan company (ILC) in Utah. Eventually, lawmakers and banking groups blocked future banking efforts by Wal-Mart and tried to prohibit commercial companies from obtaining new ILC licenses.

Amazon can cause a similar backlash for itself and would rather want to concentrate on other aspects of its business than deal with the headaches of being a bank. Moreover, providing financial services is merely another avenue for plugging companies into the Amazon ecosystem. So the lending arm (as a non-bank) fits nicely into the overall scheme of things.

The Real Threat of Amazon

Amazon really doesn’t want to displace banks as they are one of the main consumers of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Rather, it wants to disrupt banking services. Amazon Web Services is the biggest provider of cloud computing and controls 45 percent of the global cloud infrastructure market. It is used by most of the major businesses and has become an absolute necessity for the financial sector.

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) is forming the backbone of the financial services ecosystem, with a diverse set of firms – from JP Morgan to startups such as Xignite – adopting AWS for data storage and processing,” a consulting report stated.

Apart from this, legacy banks are losing direct interaction with their customers. For example, USAA and Capital One are both experimenting with Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa as a new consumer banking channel. Amazon is not taking any direct market share from banks; rather, it is becoming the customer interface for banks and putting them in the background.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon shapes its lending business with enterprise AWS contributing a sizeable chunk to the bottom line. But with hundreds of millions of customers and merchants on its platform, you can bet it will be at the vanguard of online lending.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Friday December 15 2017, Daily News Digest

mortgage tech

News Comments Today’s main news: Walmart partners with Even, PayActiv on employee financial wellness. Moody’s says some consumer ABS sectors will be weaker next year. LendInvest has $1B in funds under management. Yirendai’s investment in Lion Rock amounts to $50M. LexinFintech kicked off IPO yesterday. Crowd Genie to launch ICO. Today’s main analysis: Why mortgage tech is finally taking off. Australian […]

mortgage tech

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Walmart Teams Up With Fintech Startups Even & PayActiv to Launch Financial Wellness Services For Associates (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Wednesday, retail giant Walmart announced it has teamed up with fintech startups Even and PayActiv to provide a suite of new financial wellness services for its more than 1.4 million associates nationwide.

Goldman Sachs’ and Morgan Stanley’s Big Growth Opportunities (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Morgan Stanley(NYSE:MS) are both trying to expand their businesses into more traditional areas of consumer banking, such as consumer loans and mortgages.

Matt Frankel: Out of all the major unsecured lending platforms — Lending Club, things like that — Marcus was the quickest one to get to $1 billion in loan volume.

The interest rates people have gotten are more competitive than the others, because they can afford to run it at slightly more compressed margins than, say, a Lending Club.

Frankel: Morgan Stanley’s robo-advisory platform just launched. So that’s one way they’re trying to branch out into more traditional areas of banking and investing.

Just to throw a couple of figures out there, Morgan Stanley’s wealth management business, which is not the highest-margin business, which is why they’re not as efficient as Goldman, their wealth management business, they’re margin has gone from 9% to 22% since 2010.

Morgan Stanley estimates that their clients still have about over $2 trillion worth of assets with other asset managers, and they’re trying to bring some of that in.

Nearly 5 Million Americans in Default on Student Loans (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The number of Americans severely behind on payments on federal student loans reached roughly 4.6 million in the third quarter, a doubling from four years ago, despite a historically long stretch of U.S. job creation and steady economic growth.

In the third quarter alone, the count of such defaulted borrowers—defined by the government as those who haven’t made a payment in at least a year—grew by nearly 274,000, according to Education Department data released Tuesday.

The total number of defaulted borrowers represents about 22% of the Americans who were required to be paying down their federal student loans as of Sept. 30. That figure has increased from 17% four years earlier.

 

Mortgage Tech 101: What It Is & Why It’s Taking Off Now (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

By the end of 2017, nearly $1.8T worth of mortgages will have been originated in the United States this year, according to government-backed mortgage lender Freddie Mac.

Yet, despite the size of the mortgage industry, the space still hasn’t digitized. Originating, processing, and underwriting a home loan with a large bank lender still requires faxes and snail mail and take almost as long as it did 20 years.

Source: CB Insights

Driver 1: New lenders increase the competition

Non-bank lenders are becoming much bigger players in mortgages. In 2011, three banks accounted for half of new mortgage loans, according to the Washington Post. As of September 2016, that share dropped to 21%.

In 2011, just two of the top 10 biggest lenders were non-bank lenders. In 2016, non-bank lenders like Quicken Loans accounted for six of the top 10.

Driver 2: Incumbents are looking to improve their technology

At an average cost of $7,000, originating and processing a loan takes over 400 pages and more than 25 humans working hundreds of hours across 50 days. Of the total, approximately $5,000 can be attributed to human processing costs.

Driver 3: Individuals’ debt burden forces them to find alternative lenders

Eighty percent of millennial renters want to buy a single-family home or apartment, but 72% cannot afford to, according to survey data from Apartment List.

Source: CB Insights

Although total US homeownership has risen to 64% as of Q3’17, when examined by age group, the percentage of homeowners under 35 years old is only 36%. This is down from 44% in 2004.

Some consumer ABS sectors to have weaker collateral performance due to pockets of borrower stress and weaker underwriting (Moody’s), Rated: AAA

The anticipated continued expansion of the US economy into 2018 will support overall collateral performance of consumer asset-backed securities (ABS), according to Moody’s Investors Service. However, growing financial strains among some pockets of borrowers and loosening of underwriting by lenders will result in slightly weaker collateral performance for several categories of consumer ABS, including transactions backed by auto loans, credit cards and unsecured personal loans.

Amid further declines in automobile sales and used vehicle prices, Moody’s says issuers will generally maintain the steady collateral quality in their 2018 auto loan and lease deals, with incremental weakening in certain collateral attributes such as loan terms. New private student loan ABS, meanwhile, will likely continue to have strong credit quality and performance.

An Open Internet is Essential for Financial Inclusion (Huffington Post), Rated: AAA

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted today to dismantle internet “net” neutrality: a vote that determined whether the internet should be treated like a public good or service or whether it should be treated like a product.

Another consequence of dismantling net neutrality has to do with undermining financial inclusion and the impending technological revolution of financial services. An array of financial technologies—online and mobile technologies referred to by their shorthand “fintech”—is heralded with the potential to expand access to financial services to underserved households and in underserved communities.

Internet connectivity is required for online and mobile transactions and many lower-income households alreadycannot afford internet service capable of making these transactions.

Online and mobile banking could become less reliable if internet service companies adjust connectivity speeds. Banks are increasingly shifting their products and services online and the number of bank branches is projected to decline by 20% over the next decade.

Prosper brings on JPM Chase veteran as board member (GlobalCapital), Rated: A

Online lender Prosper announced the appointment of Claire Huang as a board member this week as the company looks to enhance its product offerings in 2018.

Huang’s appointment was effective as of Tuesday, according to a company statement. Prior to joining the San Francisco-based lender’s board of directors, Huang was the first ever chief marketing officer at JP Morgan Chase.

INSIKT raises $ 50 million to lend to low-income communities (TechCrunch), Rated: A

An estimated 45 million Americans don’t have a credit score and others have trouble bringing up their scores, even if they are in a better financial position than in years past.

And after facilitating 125,000 loans in three years, INSIKT is raising $50 million to expand. The round is led by Grupo Coppel, with participation from FirstMark Capital, Revolution Ventures and Colchis Capital. INSIKT has raised $100 million to date.

INSIKT has built what they believe is a better alternative to payday loans, breaking up payments into smaller installments. Its white-label loan processing service is used in over 600 banks and credit union locations across California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona.

Kasisto Raises $ 17M in Series B Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Kasisto, the NYC-based creator of a conversational AI platform for finance, raised $17m in Series B funding.

The round was led by Oak HC/FT with participation from existing investors Propel Venture Partners, Two Sigma Ventures, Commerce Ventures, Mastercard and Partnership Fund for New York City.

Consumer lending 2017: Bold bets and strategic exits (American Banker), Rated: A

With the economy continuing to improve and household wealth growing, total consumer debt has increased in 12 consecutive quarters and hit a record $12.8 trillion in the second quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And, for the most part, consumers are staying on top of their bills. The American Bankers Association said recently that the midyear consumer delinquency rate held steady around 1.56%, which is below the 15-year average of 2.16%.

Banks searching for growth pushed and pulled on a variety of consumer lending levers this year. Personal loans, particularly those offered through digital channels, were especially popular as banks aimed to emulate online lenders’ speed and efficiency.

How Twine, John Hancock’s robo-adviser tool, keeps a startup feel (Tearsheet), Rated: A

John Hancock wants to change that narrative with Twine, its robo-adviser and personal finance tool it released last month.  Twine emphasizes simplicity in its look and feel — a user interface similar to many startup-developed apps out there.

John Hancock looked outside, buying San Francisco-based financial services AI startup Guide Financial in 2015.

Twine operates as a separate organizational unit based in San Francisco, while most of John Hancock’s offices are in Boston. The team of around 25 employees includes engineers, product managers, user experience designers and marketing staff. But despite being organizationally separate, Goose said the team stays in contact with the mother ship through travel and video conferencing.

41% of households mix digital, human financial advice (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

But this isn’t a return to the way things used to be, said Hearts & Wallets, the Rye, N.Y.-based research firm that conducted the study of 40,000 individuals.

Today’s investors are what the firm calls “hybrids,” who use a mix of paid and free live professional advice, digital advice and their own insights. They now account for 41% of all U.S. households, the firm said.

Blenders of digital and live advice include 68% of consumers ages 35 to 44 with investable assets between $100,000 and $250,000, and 85% of consumers under age 35 who have over $1 million in assets. In all, over 75% of consumers under age 45 with assets of over $250,000 are “hybrids,” the firm said.

USAA’s Heather Cox is blurring the lines between business and technology (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In hiring Cox, the San Antonio bank, which has a longstanding reputation for being innovative, effectively agreed to restructure the entire company. She has plans to “levelize” the business and technology teams and morph them into “business technologists,” who are empathetic and understand that technology is the enabling function of their entire business — not the checking account or the insurance policy.

The new model will make USAA look more like one of the technology “greats” — the usual suspects like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google — instead of an old bank or insurance company, Cox said.

 

Despite court win, OCC still faces legal ‘landmine’ over fintech charter (American Banker), Rated: A

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting has not weighed in on the fate of a fintech charter yet, but the ball is now squarely in his court.

The agency that Otting was just appointed to run scored a victory earlier week when a judge dismissed a lawsuit from the New York Department of Financial Services, which had challenged the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s authority to create a charter for fintech firms.

Jax small businesses turn to site to find lenders (Jacksonville Business Journal), Rated: B

New York-based Fundera has made a splash in Jacksonville with companies looking to find lenders.

Regions Bank Increases Prime Lending Rate (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Regions Bank today announced it is increasing its prime lending rate to 4.50 percent from 4.25 percent, effective Thursday, Dec. 14.

United Kingdom

LendInvest hits $ 1bn in funds under management (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Cutting out retail P2P investors doesn’t seem to have slowed LendInvest down. The UK’s leading fintech property lender now holds £765m (approximately $1bn) under management. Its capital base has more than doubled in 2017, up 104 per cent since the start of the year.

Manchester tops the buy to let index for England and Wales (PropertyWire), Rated: A

The highest yields for landlords are in Manchester at 5.55% and the city is also top in terms of rental growth at 5.76% and has a reasonable capital gains growth at 8.34%, the buy to let index from specialist lender LendInvest.

When it comes to capital gains the top city is Colchester at 11.96%, followed by Southall at 11.09%, Hemel Hempstead at 10.27%, Slough at 10.19%, Harrow at 9.89% and Ipswich at 9.44%.

Millennials will spend £1.1MILLION on rent over their lifetimes if they don’t get onto the property ladder (DailyMail), Rated: AAA

Millennials who began renting at 21-years-old and live in an average-sized property outside of London will spend an average of £110,830 in household rent before buying their first home – typically at an age of 32, according to research by peer-to-peer lending platform Landbay.

For those living in the capital – where property prices and rents are significantly higher – the amount increases to £273,210.

Source: DailyMail

Mortgage write-offs fall 79% in one year (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The value of residential mortgages written off by banks and building societies has dropped by 79% in the past year, according to the latest research.
Data from the Bank of England revealed that UK lenders wrote off £72m of residential loans in the year end 30th September 2017, 79% lower than the same period in 2015/2016 – when £348m was written off – and even lower than pre-credit crunch levels.

Developer secures £1.9m from P2P platform for Merseyside projects (Development Finance), Rated: B

Mitty Group has secured £1.98m worth of funding from Assetz Capital to develop two new residential and leisure sites in Merseyside.

UK consumers ditching banks for digital loan alternatives (Finextra), Rated: A

UK consumers looking for personal loans are increasingly shifting away from traditional banks towards digital loan providers according to Zopa, the pioneering financial services company.

Research on the price comparison sector* shows loan sales obtained via price comparison sites have doubled in the last two years.
The data highlighted by Zopa shows that over 113,000 loans were sold through price comparison sites in the 6 months to April 30 2017, representing a 139% increase compared to the same period in 2015, whereas the overall unsecured personal loan market grew only by approximately 20% in the same period.

Gibraltar launches world’s first licence for fintech firms using blockchain (Independent), Rated: A

Gibraltar’s financial services watchdog will introduce the world’s first bespoke licence for “fintech” firms using blockchain distributed ledger technology from next month in a bid to attract start-ups to the British overseas territory as it prepares for Brexit.

Twenty-two of the world’s biggest banks and fintech firm R3 have just developed an international payments system using blockchain.

Gibraltar expects firms numbering well into “double digits” to seek authorisation after the new rules come into force on January 1, Gomez said.

China

Yirendai Makes $ 50 Million Strategic Investment in Finance Services Platform Lion Rock (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

China-based fintech Yirendai announced on Wednesday it has made a $50 million strategic investment in Lion Rock through the financial service platform’s Series A funding round.

LexinFintech starts IPO amid sector crackdown (Finance Asia), Rated: AAA

The Shenzhen-headquartered online micro lender, which launched the deal on Thursday, joins a flurry of other Chinese internet finance companies, including Qudian, PPDai and Hexindai, in their rush to  raise capital with a New York listing…with a US share sale worth up to $132 million.

Chinese fintech company PPDAI Group inks partnership deal with Sun Hung Kai (SNL.com), Rated: B

The move comes after Sun Hung Kai became a strategic investor in PPDAI Group through a private placement concurrent with the latter’s U.S. IPO.

European Union

Belgian crowdlending company expands in Europe (The Brussels Times), Rated: AAA

Look & Fin, the largest Belgian player in the field of crowdlending, plans to expand again in Europe.

On average, more than one million euros is invested monthly via Look & Fin. Loans vary between €50,000 euros and €1 million, with an average term of 38 months. Individuals invest on average €2,400 and can count on an average return of 7.6%.

Can a BBVA spinoff crack the digital ID code? (American Banker), Rated: A

Governments, banks and startups have been trying for years to solve the problems associated with identifying people in a digital world. The challenges are only getting harder thanks to identity thieves, data breaches that have exposed the personal information of hundreds of millions of consumers, and the fact that some folks want to avoid having to register face-to-face.

The latest entrant, a recent BBVA spinoff called Covault, is a bit different.

Its app lets consumers store their digital identity documents, passwords and (potentially) digital currency in a secure cloud, and then share pieces of that information with others as they see fit.

Regtech insights from Suade CEO, Diana Parades (Holland Fintech), Rated: A

Diana is the CEO and co-founder of Suade, a software platform which allows financial institutions to better understand and meet their regulatory requirements.

At SIBOS2017, Paredes encouraged financial institutions to think of regulation as being at the centre of their business. More education and research for implementation is needed, suggested Paredes in our interview. Smaller companies like startups offer more agile  implementation as they are technology driven companies. Meanwhile, the big machine of a bank is becoming better at agile acceptance of new technology.

‘Regtech will prevent the next financial crisis.’

Paredes explained this quote saying that while regulation is trying to prevent another crisis, it has no implementation guide. As such, regtech will be needed to give effect to the regulation.

Saxo Payments Banking Circle Nabs Prestigious Award (Holland Fintech), Rated: B

The Banking Technology Awards 2017 has named the organisation’s Banking Circle Virtual IBAN as the Best Corporate Payments Initiative.

International

Exclusive Interview with Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky (ChipIn), Rated: A

Celsius is a peer-to-peer (P2P) and blockchain-powered global lending and borrowing network designed to enable coin holders to earn interest.

First off, why did you decide to use the blockchain to build Celsius?

The blockchain is the first real technology threat that the large banks have faced for the past 100 years. It has the potential to spur a new financial revolution from which they cannot adjust. We decided to build Celsius using blockchain to leverage the technology’s global presence and decentralized design to extract the bank’s profits and distribute them to our members.

What was your thought process behind it?

We want to find the best way to add the next 100M crypto users to the market, and we came to the conclusion that offering coin holders 5-7% in interest on their coins would be the best way to get there.

Did you face a problem within the consumer credit industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for Celsius to fill?

Unfortunately, the continued concentration in the banking sector has allowed banks to pay people less than 2% interest but charge our credit cards 25% interest when lending us the same dollars.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE GLOBAL REINSURANCE INDUSTRY (All About Alpha), Rated: A

A new paper from Milliman, a consultant to the insurance and financial services industries, discusses the ongoing transformation in and of the global reinsurance industry that alternative investment has created.

By the end of 2016, Milliman says, alternative capital in the catastrophe space consisted of around $76 billion, which breaks down as follows:

  • Collateralized reinsurance $39 billion
  • CAT bonds, $25 billion
  • Sidecars $8 billion, and
  • Industry loss warranties $4 billion.

As a proportion of the whole: alternative capital now represents roughly 13% of the available capital in global reinsurance.

Since 2011 the percentage of bonds with indemnity triggers has increased from 30% to roughly 70%.

Australia

Behind the 500% increase in small businesses using marketplace lending (SmartCompany), Rated: AAA

The number of small business customers signing onto loans through marketplace lenders has increased more than 500% over the past year, but experts say scrutiny must be put on the alternative finance sector now to ensure smaller operators get the best deal.

In 2015-16, ASIC’s survey of the sector put the total value of loans through this kind of model at $156 million, but that figure has doubled over the past year to now sit at $300 million. Total borrowers for the year jumped from 7,448 last year to 18,746 this year.

Australian Securities & Investment Commission Publishes Report on Marketplace Lending, Shows Double the Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Earlier today, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) published a report on the marketplace lending industry (peer to peer lending).  ASIC believes that by monitoring Fintech they are better positioned to assess any risk as the industry develops.

The survey covers marketplace lending activities of 12 platforms that are regulated by ASIC – so it is not comprehensive of the entire online lending sector.

In summary, there were 353 incidents or suspected incidents of fraud , compared to 126 incidents or suspected incidents of fraud during the 2015 – 16 survey. There was one cyber security incident, compared to zero during the 2015– 16 survey. There were reports of some borrower complaints but most appeared to be minor. The average default rate was 2.2%.

Source: Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Source: Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Read the full report here.

India

Impanix Fuels Loans Marketplace Finbucket With $ 1.87 Mn Funding (Inc42), Rated: AAA

New Delhi-based online loans and investments marketplace FinBucket has raised $1.87 Mn (INR 12 Cr) from Impanix Capital.

As evident from her statement, the online loans marketplace aims to use the newly raised funds in the growth of business and infuse new technology to scale further.

Asia

CROWD GENIE ASSET EXCHANGE TO HOLD ICO (Bitcoinist), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie, a fully operational Singapore-based peer-to-peer digital lending platform licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has been selected by the token holders of the ICOS platform as the latest promising project to hold its own ICO.

Unlike most projects contemplating an ICO, Crowd Genie is not a startup but rather a debt-based lending platform that has been in operation for more than 12 months. It is one of only four P2P lending platforms licensed by the MAS. The project’s vision is to build a tokenized Pan-Asian lending exchange based on smart contracts, to ensure cost-effective, safe and efficient cashflows between lenders and borrowers.

The public ICO will begin on January 15, 2018, and will run until February 15, 2018. On offer will be 50,000,000 CGCOINs, a utility token which can be used to trade on the Crowd Genie platform.

Credit Suisse Snaps Up Fintech Stake (FiNews), Rated: A

Singapore-based fintech Canopy announced it has raised fresh funding of $3.4 million from investors including Switzerland’s second-largest bank Credit Suisse as well as Lionrock Capital.

Canopy, formerly known as Mesitis, is a Singapore-based anonymous account aggregation and analytics platform for financial institutions, wealth management professionals, and high net worth individuals.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 8 2017, Daily News Digest

mobile payments APAC

News Comments Today’s main news: Square makes big move on banking. Folk2Folk CEO to step down. ZhongAn approved for $1B Hong Kong IPO. KBRA  and DBRS  assigns preliminary ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5. Assetz Capital to set up in Belfast. ZhongAn approved for $1B Hong Kong IPO. Citi Singapore launches Facebook Messenger banking chatbot. Today’s main analysis: Using digital assets to […]

mobile payments APAC

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 (“SCLP 2017-5”). This is a $527.12 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5

Source: BusinessWire

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 (SCLP 2017-5):

— $287,200,000 Class A-1 Notes at AA (sf)
— $173,800,000 Class A-2 Notes at AA (sf)
— $66,120,000 Class B Notes at A (sf)

RATINGS

Issuer Debt Rated Rating Action Rating Trend Notes Published Issued
SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 LLC Class A-1 Notes Provis.-New AA (sf) Sep 7, 2017 US
SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 LLC Class A-2 Notes Provis.-New AA (sf) Sep 7, 2017 US
SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 LLC Class B Notes Provis.-New A (sf) Sep 7, 2017 US
US = USA Issued, NRSRO
CA = Canada Issued, NRSRO
EU = EU Issued, NRSRO
E = EU Endorsed
Unsolicited Participating With Access
Unsolicited Participating Without Access
Unsolicited Non-participating

Square Makes Its Big Move On Banking (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

According to WSJ reports, Square intends to submit an application later today (Sept. 7) to form a wholly owned and operated bank in Utah.

That business unit would be called Square Financial Services Inc. — and it would be designed to offer loans and deposit accounts to small businesses. The bank would be capitalized with around $56 million in cash.

Online lender SoFi made a similar move, as did mobile banking start-up Varo Money Inc. The timing is not quite a surprise — federal regulators have been more open to the idea of new banks recently than they have been at any time since the Great Recession.

Square Wants to Be a Bank, Sort of (Paybefore), Rated: AAA

Mobile point-of-sale pioneer Square Inc. is applying for an Industrial Loan Company (ILC) charter to support the expansion of its lending business, the volume of which grew 123 percent year-over-year in the second quarter to $189 million.

The news was met with immediate rancor by at least one community banking group, which also lodged complaints about blurring the lines between commerce and banking when online lender SoFI applied for the same charter in June.

Before Square made its move, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) wrote in an August blog post that it would fight “tooth and nail” against attempts to remove the “historic separation of banking and commerce in federal law and regulation.” It reiterated that sentiment in news reports about Square’s plans on Sept. 7.

For more than a decade, CFSI has been conducting research and bringing various stakeholders—industry, regulators, consumer advocates—together around using technology to increase access to financial services. Its 2016 research estimates the size of the financially underserved market in the U.S. to be $140.7 billion.

The Dodd-Frank Act had placed a moratorium on such charters that ended in 2013, but the FDIC has been “gun-shy” since Walmart’s failed attempt to secure an ILC charter in 2006, Moeser notes.

Walmart and Affirm: A match Amazon will find hard to beat (RetailDive), Rated: AAA

At the end of August, news flashed across the wire that Walmart and Affirm were close to finalizing a pilot deal with each other. This is a game changer for three critical reasons:

  1. Affirm was started by PayPal wunderkind Max Levchin – Through a simple online application process, Affirm customers can obtain loan financing with interest rates in the range of 10% to 30% for their desired online purchases. Customers can clearly and easily see what they will owe at the time of checkout online, with no hidden costs or surprises.
  2. Walmart is involved – All indications are that Walmart is aggressively going after scan-and-go/checkout-free shopping in their stores. Scan-and-go quite possibly will be the technology that most impacts physical retail in the next 10-15 years.
  3. Affirm and Walmart are a match made in heaven for budget conscious America – Affirm’s digital financing capabilities and Walmart’s scan-and-go capabilities, when combined, will stretch the bank accounts of all Americans — especially Americans who cannot afford Prime membership fees (uh oh Amazon).

A screen pops up, and what used to be a three-pack of Crest for $5.00 is now suddenly the same three-pack but for $0.83/month for six months, or for $0.42/month for 12 months instead.

Lima One Capital Acquires RealtyShares’ Residential Debt Origination Business (Broadway World), Rated: A

Lima One Capital, the premier lender for residential real estate investors, announced today that it has acquired the residential debt origination business of RealtyShares, an online marketplace for real estate investing and financing.

Lima One Capital began partnering with RealtyShares as an institutional investor in early 2017, drawn by the quality of deals listed on the marketplace platform.

New Credit Card Option for Those With Scant Credit Histories (The New York Times), Rated: A

A New York start-up aims to use everyday financial information to qualify people with scant or no credit histories for its credit cards.

The company, called Petal, considers an applicant’s standard credit scores, when available. But it also analyzes their digital financial records, like checking accounts or, in some cases, prepaid debit cards, to rapidly assess their income and spending habits.

The company plans to target consumers who are “new to credit,” like young adults, recent immigrants and lower-income consumers, as well as others who may lack traditional credit scores, Mr. Gross said.

The idea is that by sharing information about their personal cash flow, consumers can get a quick decision on a card application and access to a low-cost card, even if they don’t fit the traditional profile of a top-tier credit customer.

The company’s Petal Visa card isn’t widely available yet, but is being tested privately starting this month. Consumers can sign up online to receive an invitation to apply.

Introducing Petal — a simple, no-fee credit card (Medium), Rated: A

Today, it’s hard to exist without a credit score.

You need one to get a credit card, finance a car, purchase a home, or qualify for a small business loan. And, increasingly, you need credit to do things that seem to have little to do with credit, like sign a lease for an apartment, set up a cell phone plan, or even get a job — nearly 50% of employers today are checking credit reports as part of a job application.¹

That access is important. The cost of a poor credit score can be as much as $250,000 in additional interest and fees over the course of your lifetime.²

The number of American adults that lack access to credit because they are new to credit is staggering:

Over 65 million, and growing as a percentage of the total population.³

The 65 million credit invisible, unscorable and thin-file consumers in the U.S. are not a snapshot of America. They are disproportionately likely to be young, black and Hispanic, first- and second-generation immigrant, and/or low- and moderate-income. The same groups that have been historically underserved by the banking system are routinely denied access and opportunity because of how the credit system works.

Two years later, we’re launching Petal — a simple, no-fee credit card, designed to make life easier for everyone.

Petal makes money from merchants when customers swipe the card, and on interest when customers carry a balance past their due date. And before customers carry a balance, we show them exactly what it will cost — in dollars, not just in interest rates and APRs. It’s our belief that customers should be able to use credit safely and affordably, without falling into costly debt.

SoFi’s Career Incubator, SoFi Accelerate, Going to Chicago (LendEDU), Rated: A

Social Finance, Inc., a fintech and student loan refinancing company, announced this week that SoFi Accelerate, the company’s career incubator, will be visiting Chicago this September.

On Sunday, September 24th, SoFi Accelerate will head to the Windy City to offer professionals a chance to hear from a couple of speakers and to develop their own path for career success.

The career incubator will only last one day and is open to SoFi members and non-members as well. There will be two speakers, Adam Foss and Ryan Holiday, that guests will have the chance to listen to.

The event will be held at the Chicago Botanic Garden at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe, Illinois from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM central time. For SoFi members, the price of admittance will be $75, while non-members will have to pay $125 upon entry. However, the first 50 non-members will receive a special discount so that they only have to pay $100 to attend.

Americans Are Spending Mind-Blowing Money on Lotto Tickets in These Top States (TheStreet), Rated: A

In some states, buying lottery tickets is an extremely popular pastime that borders on obsession. The U.S. generated $66.78 billion from lottery sales with the exception of seven states who have not legalized lotteries — Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming — based on an analysis of data conducted by LendEDU, a Hoboken, N.J.-based student loan marketplace, utilizing 2015 data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Out of the total amount, $42.27 billion was allocated for prizes, $3.18 billion was allocated for administration and $21.35 billion was allocated for proceeds.

For 2016, the Census Bureau projected there were $323 million people living in the U.S. which means the average amount spent on various types of lottery tickets is $206.69 per year, LendEdu said.

Some residents are diehard fans of playing the lottery, and Massachusetts natives spend the most money per capita at $734.85 annually while Rhode Island follows a close second at $513.75 each year. The third highest amount was spent in Delaware at $420.82, New York with $398.77 and West Virginia at $359.78.

The states with the largest amount of people generated the largest revenue – New York’s total was $7.78 billion, followed by California at $5.52 billion, Florida at $5.27 billion, Massachusetts at $5.01 billion and Texas at $4.28 billion.

Leading Carrier and Reinsurer Partner with Insurtech Startup Bestow on its Highly Anticipated, On-Demand Platform (PR Web), Rated: A

Bestow Inc., the company behind a revolutionary new approach to life insurance, today announced a partnership with Munich American Reassurance Company, the U.S. life and disability reinsurance division of Munich Re, and North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®, a top-rated carrier in the United States and member company of Sammons® Financial Group, to develop new life insurance products for Bestow’s anticipated on-demand life insurance platform.

Together, the three brands are actively working on products that will premiere as part of Bestow’s full stack, digital platform later this fall. Upon launch, the platform will give consumers an entirely new way to research, buy, and manage life insurance with product options that are affordable, simple to understand, and seamless to purchase.

Bestow’s partnership with Munich Re and North American follows the company’s recent announcement of closing $2.5 million in seed funding, led by NEA.

How to Leverage Crowdfunding to Invest Like a Millionaire (Inc.com), Rated: A

You probably don’t think of relatively small investments and passive income opportunities when talking about commercial real estate. But the new standards for commercial real estate investing are surprisingly simple and potentially profitable. Here’s what Jilliene Helman shared about the industry-disrupting platform.

Platforms like RealtyMogul let you crowdfund multi-million dollar commercial real estate investments with as little as $1,000 to $5,000. Depending on your cash flow, you can make an investment immediately and continue reinvesting the profits.

Anyone who has ever been a landlord knows that dealing with tenants and all the hands-on work that comes with it is cumbersome. But commercial real estate can be a completely passive opportunity that doesn’t require you to do anything. Jilliene agrees that you don’t need to be active in all of your investments.

Jilliene shares that in RealtyMogul’s case, they’ve now gone through 12 months at 8% distribution annualized. While some investors might take that distribution and spend it, others will take that 8% and keep reinvesting it to turn it into a compounding investment. In the second month of a payout, investors will be earning on that original 8% in addition to interest earned each subsequent month of distribution.

Affirm: The San Francisco Startup Using Fintech To Simplify Lending (Benzinga), Rated: A

Rob Pfeifer, chief risk officer at the San Francisco fintech startup Affirm, remembers the moment the company began lending: 7:57 p.m. on Aug. 21, 2014.

Since going live, Affirm has made more than 1 million loans totaling more than $1 billion.

The platform originally targeted millennials, but has drawn a wider clientele, said Pfeifer, 35, who’s scheduled to speak at the Benzinga Fintech Summit Sept. 28 in San Francisco.

BitX Funding takes online middleman approach to small-business lending (Westfair Online), Rated: A

“About four to five years ago, I worked for OnDeck Capital in Manhattan,” said Rowe, referring to a non-bank lender to small businesses, where he was a senior business development manager. “Back in 2008, when we had the market correction, banks stopped lending and small-business owners had nowhere to go to get funds. OnDeck, at the time, filled that gap.”

In 2013, Rowe in Southport launched BitX Funding as an online marketplace for small-business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to seek financing for their endeavors.

BitX Funding works with a borrower in fill out data on the company regarding how much money they want to borrow, the time frame they are working in to receive their funds and how long they have been in business. Rowe reviews the information and contacts the applicant to receive more information about the depth and scope of the requested loan. The BitX founder Rowe, who is now working with 20 banks as his company’s financing outlets, determines which applicants have the best chance of moving forward.

To date, Rowe has secured 100 small-business loans for clients. Applicants do not pay him a fee or a commission for the service, he noted, with his revenue coming from the participating lenders.

“I’m actually pre-underwriting the applications. Because of Dodd-Frank and all of the other regulations and paying an underwriter a $100,000 salary for a $50,000 loan, it’s not really in their (lending banks’) wheelhouse.”

Washington DC-based RegTech Startup Securrency Joins Forces With International FinTech Firm Humaniq (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Securrency, a RegTech company with a platform designed to streamline regulatory compliance for token offerings, has just signed an extensive strategic partnership with Humaniq, an Ethereum-based Blockchain ecosystem looking to bring financial inclusion to over 2 billion unbanked people globally.

The partnership included an investment into Securrency by Humaniq as the lead investor of their current investment round. Humaniq will also provide additional technological capabilities which will be used for their collective efforts on a LegalTech platform. This LegalTech platform is designed to efficiently match capital to opportunity in transformational emerging technologies. The platform will provide efficient access to capital for startups, liquidity for frontier markets, and a scalable securitization process for established global industries. By automating certain compliance functions and connecting legacy financial services to the power of the blockchain, the team sees a path to revolutionize technology finance.

Payments firm Baton Systems adds former Citi vice chairman Kaden to advisory board (Finextra), Rated: B

Baton Systems (“Baton”, formerly known as Ubixi), the platform for clearing, settling and managing payments between financial institutions, has appointed former Citigroup Vice Chairman Lewis B. Kaden to its Advisory Board.

He joins Arjun Malhotra, Co-Founder of HCL Technologies and Headstrong, as the newest addition to Baton’s Advisory Board.

Kaden was labeled “The Most Powerful Banker You’ve Never Heard of” by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2009. He joined Citigroup in 2005, where he oversaw the bank’s global functions and advised the CEO on numerous strategic and business matters. Kaden has also served as Chairman of the United States Government Overseas Presence Advisory Panel, as well as Chairman of the Industrial Cooperation Council of the State of New York and Governor Mario Cuomo’s Commission on Competitiveness. He holds degrees from both Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Home Point Financial Names Ross Gloudeman Chief Compliance Officer (Business Insider), Rated: B

Home Point Financial Corporation (“Home Point”), a national, multi-channel mortgage originator and servicer, today announced that Ross Gloudeman has been named Chief Compliance Officer.

Prior to joining the Home Point team, he was a Principal at AIMD Consulting, LLC, providing advisory and contract risk or compliance expertise to financial services clients. Previously, he was Senior Vice President, Executive Risk and Compliance Officer, at Walter Investment Management Corp.

United Kingdom

Industry reacts to 2,000 IFIsas opened (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Data also showed that the average investment into IFIsas during 2016/17 was £8,500, while £17m was invested collectively.

Octopus Choice launched its IFIsa last month, allowing investors to deposit as little as £10 in loans underwritten by Octopus Property.

Folk2Folk launched its IFIsa in July to its existing lenders.

Giles Cross, CMO of Folk2Folk, said: “Since the introduction of our IFIsa in July, we have seen a huge amount of interest from investors looking for an alternative income with tax-free returns.”

Some peer-to-peer platforms have found the HMRC’s figures promising, including Landbay, which launched its IFIsa early in the year.

John Goodall, CEO of Landbay, said the number of accounts that had been opened had exceeded expectations.

Folk2Folk CEO to step down (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Folk2Folk has announced the resignation of its chief executive officer Jane Dumeresque (pictured above), who will step down during September.

During her tenure, Folk2Folk opened new regional offices in Yorkshire, Somerset and the Three Counties, built further representation in Cumbria, Dorset, Cheshire and East Anglia and grew the platform’s cumulative loan book from £30m to over £170m.

Peer-to-peer lenders pledge to set up base in Belfast (Irish News), Rated: AAA

PEER-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital, which to date it has lent more than £300 million to businesses across the UK, is expanding its operations into Northern Ireland.

Get bigger profits from mini bonds (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

But in the past year we’ve seen a steady rise in the quality of these bonds, partly because reputable alternative asset managers have moved in with asset-backed propositions (ie, companies that own physical assets, providing a certain amount of security for lenders). Downing, for instance, has its own “crowd bond” business that provides debt capital to businesses, usually within an Innovative Finance Individual Savings Account wrapper. Currently Downing has two projects that allow instant access (ie, no maturity), paying a 3% yield on an energy-backed business. This is a bit on the low side, but Downing also advertises an imminent bond that involves lending to a pub business for 18 months at 5.5%.

Property lender LendInvest raised £50m when it issued the alternative finance sector’s first retail bond, paying 5.25% a year over five years. The bond issue was oversubscribed, and the bonds now trade at £102 (implying a net yield to maturity of just over 5% a year).

In the news…

• Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has reignited the debate about transparency after it admitted placing loans via rival platforms without telling its customers, reports The Times. It placed around £10m in property development loans on Wellesley, and an unspecified sum via Archover, which lends to small businesses. Both Wellesley and Archover offer investors a higher return than RateSetter. A spokesman for RateSetter said it would not lend via either platform again. RateSetter withdrew from industry body the P2P Finance Association last month after admitting it had “breached the principles of the Association”, but stressed that “no customer has experienced any loss from our actions”.

A third of financial technology startups expect to IPO within five years (City A.M.), Rated: A

The UK’s ambitious fintech startups are eyeing success on the public markets with a third of them planning an IPO in the next five years, new figures reveal.

Transferwise, Revolut and World Remit are among the country’s innovative financial technology companies with long-term ambitions of going public, signalling the burgeoning industry’s confidence.

Of the 250 fintechs surveyed in fresh research from EY and Innovate Finance on behalf of HM Treasury measuring the health of the industry, more than half also said they expect revenue to more than double over the next 12 months. Collectively, they expect to raise more than £2.5bn in their next funding rounds, having already raised £3.5bn to date.

Digital challenger bank Revolut told City A.M. it has an ambition to go public “later down the line”, while co-founder of “unicorn” startup Transferwise Taavet Hinrikus said over the summer it was time to think seriously about becoming a public company “in a few years”.

Using Digital Assets to Secure a Bitcoin Loan (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

Ledgermark Ltd develops, markets and issues distributed ledger technology, specifically; various forms and implementations of distributed ledgers that can be used in combination with technologies like Bitcoin.

The company is launching a new digital asset; Meridian (MDN). Meridian represents a fork in the road as it is different from traditional digital assets. Instead of being positioned as a bitcoin alternative, Meridian is being designed to be used in combination with bitcoin. In short, via their Bitcoin Loans Platform, Ledgermark Ltd will be accepting Meridian tokens as collateral for bitcoin loans of higher value.

Is the P2P lending industry working with Bell Pottinger? (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

The P2P industry – and those linked to it – have a relatively small exposure to Bell Pottinger, with most firms opting for smaller PR agencies.

Basset & Gold, which advises and provides financing to P2P platforms and direct borrowers, is still a client of Bell Pottinger as of 6 September 2017, but is reviewing its relationship.

P2P lender Wellesley & Co previously had a relationship with Bell Pottinger, but is no longer using them.

MangoPay – which provides payment technology for P2P lenders – was still a client of Bell Pottinger as of 2 June 2017.

Darktrace in UK’s top three fastest-growing tech companies (Business Weekly), Rated: B

Norwich-based Know Your Money is the other new entrant – in at 97.

Cambridge company CashFlows surges from 94th last time to 58th in the pantheon with annual sales growth of 72 per cent to £37.3m.

Norwich’s strength in FinTech is further demonstrated by the inclusion of  Epos Now, a payment systems developer, which is placed 53rd (down from 32nd) with growth of 81 per cent to £13.9m.

The companies in the East appear with businesses from around Britain, including designer fashion website Farfetch, peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle and money transfer provider WorldRemit.

China

Chinese online insurer ZhongAn wins HK approval for $ 1 billion IPO (Reuters), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn Online Property and Casualty Insurance Co Ltd, China’s first internet-only insurer, secured Hong Kong stock exchange approval for its planned initial public offering which could raise more than $1 billion, sources with direct knowledge of the deal said on Friday.

The company plans to start gauging investor appetite for the IPO as soon as Monday after receiving the nod from the listing committee of the Hong Kong stock exchange, added the sources. It plans to launch the IPO and take orders from investors on Sept. 18.

The IPO would be the biggest by a financial technology company (fintech) in the city, which wants to lure more new listings of so-called new economy startups. Hong Kong has had $5.73 billion worth of new listings so far in 2017, compared with $21.3 billion in all of 2016, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Sino Fortune buys $ 2.8m equity interest in online lender TouZhiJia (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Chinese fintech solutions firm Sino Fortune Holding Corp has acquired a 4.45 per cent stake in Shenzhen TouZhiJia Financial Information Service Co Ltd (TouZhiJia) for about $2.8 million (RMB19.1 million).

Sino Fortune is making the 4.45 per cent equity interest acquisition through Puhui Equity Investment Co Ltd (Puhui).

Founded in September 2014, TouZhiJia’s main businesses include vertical P2P search engine, private wealth management, and secondary loan exchange services.

TouZhiJia has reportedly accumulated 2.74 million registered users and facilitated 1.98 million transactions with aggregate transaction value of more than $2.30 billion (RMB 15.63 billion). TouZhiJia is an affiliate of Yingcan Group.

European Union

LendIt Europe Agenda Released, Discounted Pricing Ends Soon (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The full agenda is on the LendIt website, but here are a few topics I am most excited about:

  • How to Navigate Open Banking (Imran Gulamhuseinwala, Ernst & Young)
  • Digitization of Finance How Customer Expectations are Changing (Anne Boden, Starling Bank, Rhydian Lewis, Ratesetter Giovanni Daprà, Moneyfarm)
  • Implementing AI in Financial Services: Case Study (Francesco Brenna, IBM, Roberto Mancone, Deutsche Bank)
  • How Big Banks Are Approaching the New Connected World (Gilad Amir, Lloyds Banking Group, Benoit Legrand, ING, Raman Bhatia, HSBC, Gustavo Vinacua, BBVA)
  • Renaud Laplanche of Upgrade talking about Online Lending 2.0 and the state of the US fintech market.

Summer pricing of £1,295 ends at midnight on September 8th. After that, ticket prices will rise to £1,495. As always Lend Academy readers can receive an additional 15% discount by using the code LENDACADEMYVIP at checkout.

What Kinds of Fintech Platforms Help Startups with Fundraising (TechBullion), Rated: A

By the way, the alternative funding market in Europe is not just a developed one, but it is often supported by the state in every way. Moreover, crowdlending currently is a major competitor for the conventional banking area. In the future, it will consolidate its position because, due to introducing new Basel lll requirements to banks, including a reduction of risk assets, the requirements to bank lenders will become ever more stringent.

For instance, in 2015, Austria adopted an act that governs and legalizes the operation of companies involved in non-banking lending. But at the same time, in the biggest fintech country in Eastern Europe – Russia – and in several EU countries, there is yet no such document. Germany has a credit rating of companies that protect the investor.

What kinds of non-banking business lending platforms exist?

According to data of KPMG studies, the last 3 years period demonstrated a 131% growth of the share of mutual business lending, with the share of peer-to-peer consumer lending having increased merely by 54%.

  • Crowdfunding– investments for a remuneration from a company.
  • Crowdlending– this is mutual business lending assuming a return on investments (Funding Circle).
  • Crowdinvesting – an investor receives a share in a company with a view to growth of the value of one’s purchased share and, certainly, receiving dividends from company operations (Crowdcube, Seedmatch).
  • Refinancing receivables or online factoring. A loan is provided on collateral in the form of expected payments or accounts receivable.
  • Invoice discounting – this is in essence factoring, but with a somewhat other funding structure. Within its framework, funding is not split into deliveries but is paid in full on spot. In case of assignment of claims, the lender will bear the obligations of reimbursing the factor the funds underpaid by the borrower.

The Microfinance Centre’s (MFC’s) Alternative Finance Forum; October 5, 2017; Warsaw, Poland (MicroCapital), Rated: B

Event Location: Copernicus Conference Centre; Warsaw, Poland

Summary of Event: This forum aims to “introduce new forms of financial services” while covering topics including equity-based crowdfunding, social impact bonds, online lenders to small businesses and peer-to-peer lending platforms. The event has support from the European Union and its European Investment Bank Institute.

Cost: Participation is free of charge

Event Website: 

International

How digital assets are revolutionizing payments (The Asset), Rated: A

Experian, an information services group, estimates that the average error rate of bank account data is around 12.7%, indicating that there is a lack of understanding of foreign bank codes and account numbers.

A key problem with cross-border payments today is the fact that transactions are at the mercy of correspondent banking relationships.

Ripple, a global digital payment provider, has designed its XRP digital asset solely the cross-border transfer of value between enterprises.

Aside from Ripple, other companies have started to look at the usage of digital assets for transactions. Visa for instance recently filed a patent with United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) on the creation of a digital asset network to eliminate third parties and simply their transaction process.

Fintech Companies Disrupting Finance, Creating Bank of Tomorrow (Cointelegraph), Rated: B

One popular recent development in the Blockchain community is the creation of multi-crypto/fiat debit cards. These cards allow users to interchange between the given set of currencies in a seamless manner.

Luhaaar notes that fintech companies have consistently delivered better results in individual financial system services. He says that Change Bank wants to bring these companies together to create a global fintech bank of tomorrow.

India

Capital Float Digitally Removes Credit Gap (CXO Today), Rated: A

In an exclusive interaction with CXOToday, Rohan Angrish, CTO, Capital Float, takes us through how they have made it possible with the aid of technology which helped reduce wait times for SMEs, and enabled disbursement of funds in just three days. Last month, the company announced an equity raise of $45 Million (Rs. 293 crores) in Series C funding.

CXOToday: Tell us about your expansion plans across India. Any plans to go global in the near future?

Angrish: Over the past year alone, we have disbursed loans of over Rs. 2,100 crores to 12,000 plus customers across 300 cities. We will continue to identify and serve under-served SME segments. We have also ventured into financing micro-entrepreneurs like taxi drivers, travel agents, and Kirana store owners. Although these are small-ticket loans, the sheer size of these segments indicates immense potential. India will keep us busy for the short term. By the end of the financial year, we expect to have our geographic footprint spread across 500 cities from our current number of 300 cities, without increasing headcount.

CXOToday: Who are your customers?

Angrish: These include SMEs who have traditionally been denied finance due to ineligibility based on credit parameters set by formal financiers, lack of collateral and inability to furnish the required documentation.

CXOToday: Please throw light on your corporate partnerships.

Angrish: The company has partnered with ecosystem leaders across various verticals such as e-commerce (Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, PayTM, Shopclues, eBay, Alibaba, etc.), travel and hospitality (VIA and Yatra), retail (Mswipe, Pine Labs, Bijlipay, ICICI Merchant Services) and taxi aggregators (UBER and Ola) etc. Through these partnerships, we are able to effectively expand our reach to SMEs operating on these platforms.

Fintech startup EarlySalary raises Rs 5cr in debt financing from IFMR Capital (YourStory), Rated: A

Fintech startup EarlySalary, which offers instant cash loans and salary advances, has raised debt financing of Rs 5 crore from IFMR Capital. Previously, this past May, the company had raised a Series A round of $4 million (Rs 28 crore) in equity funding from IDG Ventures India and DHFL and plans to leverage its equity multiple times over the next few months.

In an earlier interaction with YourStory, Co-founder and CEO Akshay Mehrotra had said that almost 75 percent of the Rs 28 crore would be utilised for building their lending book. The remaining amount was to go into expanding their team, with a specific focus on machine learning skill sets, and helping grow the customer base.

EarlySalary has already disbursed more than 7,000 loans last month. Currently operating in eight cities including Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad, it is looking at expanding into other cities as well.

Growth deals drive VC investments in August (The Times of India), Rated: B

Online lender Capital Float attracted $45 million, while Treebo Hotels took $34 million. Bioinformatics company MedGenome attracted $30 million from investors led by Sequoia India and fitness chain operator Curefit raised $25 million from existing investors including Accel Partners and IDG Ventures.

With seed funding becoming more challenging, early stage investors are asking questions on whether the business is viable and if it can raise follow on capital, which is an indication of the market maturing, he adds.

APAC

Citi Launches First Facebook Messenger Banking Chatbot in Singapore that Provides Customer Account Information (Fintech News), Rated: AAA

Citi Singapore today announced the launch of Citi Bot – the bank’s new natural language chatbot on Facebook Messenger. Singapore is the first market for the launch of the chatbot which will be introduced progressively in the Asia Pacific region over the next few months.

This landmark initiative furthers Citi’s open architecture approach to digital banking as the bank taps on its global network to form strategic partnerships and to co-create with leading players in digital ecosystems globally and locally.

Citi Bot will first be made available to some 600 Citi customers and employees who will form Citi Singapore’s Beta Testing Community, referred to as the Citi Beta Community.

The second phase of the Citi Bot will introduce more new features such as card activation, ability to lock and unlock credit cards and transaction alerts for cards among others.

India, Indonesia lead growth in mobile payments (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Asia-Pacific now leads the way in the adoption of mobile payments, according to a report by ACI Worldwide (ACI) entitled “Global Consumer Survey and Consumer Trust and Security Perceptions.”

Within the Asia, India and Indonesia saw the biggest growth of mobile wallet use with 56% of Indian and 47% Indonesian participants of saying that they used mobile wallets. This represents a significant increase from 2014 results which saw 47% of Indian and 32% of Indonesian survey participants using mobile wallets.

Source: The Asset

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday August 24 2017, Daily News Digest

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: Walmart getting closer to a deal with Afffirm. AutoFi raises $10M. Zopa reports diminishing losses, rising revenues for 2016. Landbay closes 2.4M GBP round on Seedrs. USAmeriBank goes live on Finastra. Today’s main analysis: After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize. Today’s thought-provoking articles: A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending. What’s behind […]

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Walmart reportedly closes in on pilot deal to offer Affirm loans (Retail Dive), Rated: AAA

Walmart reportedly is closing in on an agreement with loan services startup Affirm for a pilot program under which Affirm would offer the retailer’s customers installment loans for purchases, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.The pilot could start as early as this fall.

Why are retailers so enamored with Affirm? Giving customers the option to take out an installment loan to finance a purchase gives customers more choices, making it more likely that they actually will make the purchase. Millenials and other younger demographioc consumers are often loathe to carry mountains of personal debt that way previous generations have.

However, it also has to do with the inflexible and sometimes excessive terms of store credit cards, which generally charge higher interest rates than the lowest portion of Affirm’s rate range. Still interest revenue and late fees from store cred cards contribute a significant amount of money to retailers’ bottom lines, making it difficult for them to commit to giving their customers more financing choices.

Overall though, retailers, banks and credit card companies are all starting to understand that at a time of massive change in how and where people shop, they need to make it easier for shoppers to close the deal. Mastercard may recognize this as well as Walmart does. The card network aligned with Verifone late last year to begin offering instant installment financing at the point of sale.

You can now buy 0 pants with a subprime loan (The Outline), Rated: A

Affirm may be a relatively new company, but the service it offers isn’t particularly innovative: It’s taking the concept of layaway, a type of no-interest payment plan that became popular during the Great Depression that lets you pay for things in fixed installments and take them home once you’ve paid for it in full, and twisting it for millennials.  Unlike layaway, Affirm delivers your purchases instantly — but the cost of instant gratification is interest rates as high as 30 percent.  The service is basically a cross between credit cards and layaway, combining the worst aspects of both.

Once your Affirm loan is approved, you can choose to pay it off in 3, 6, or 12 months, and interest rates range from 10 to 30 percent. The average customer takes out a $750 loan with a 21-percent interest rate and pays it back in nine months. Compared to credit cards, which have an average APR of 17 percent, and personal loans that typically have interest rates ranging from 5 to 36 percent, Affirm isn’t a particularly good deal.


Wal-Mart Stores To Exacerbate Synchrony Financial Woes With Affirm Deal (Baystreet), Rated: A

Affirm and Walmart have been in discussion about the possibility of teaming up since last year. Talks appear to have picked pace this year as the retailer continues to explore ways of giving customers access to a wide range of financing options to boost sales and shrug off competition posed by e-commerce platforms.

However, the move would also spell trouble for Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) which is the retailer’s exclusive U.S card issuer.

The fact that Affirm offers loans could significantly reduce the number of people who apply for Synchrony credit cards.

After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Credit spreads in the corporate bond market stabilized last week after a brief sell-off the prior week pushed spreads higher. The average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) tightened 2 basis points to +113, and the average credit spread of the BankAmerica Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 2 basis points to +398.

Earlier this month, British American Tobacco (BBB, stable) decided to issue $17.25 billion worth of bonds to fund its acquisition of Reynolds Tobacco. This transaction is the second-largest corporate bond deal Page 3 of 22 Morningstar Corporate Credit Research Highlights | 21 August 2017 | See Important Disclosures at the end of this report. Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 issued this year, surpassed only by AT&T’s (BBB/UR-) $22.5 billion transaction, which itself was the third-largest corporate bond deal in history. The proceeds from the AT&T transaction will be used as the final installment for the permanent financing of its pending acquisition of Time Warner (rating: BBB+/UR-). In addition, McCormick & Co. (A+/UR-) had issued $2.5 billion of new bonds two weeks ago to finance its acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser’s food division.

Through the week ended Wednesday, Aug. 16, investors pulled $2.3 billion of assets out of the highyield market. Among the open-end funds, investors withdrew $1.0 billion of funds, and across the highyield exchange-traded funds, there was $1.3 billion of net units redeemed.

AutoFi Raises $ 10 Million Series A To Make It Easier To Get A Car Loan (Forbes), Rated: AAA

AutoFi has raised $10 million in its quest to make it easier to take out a car loan.

The San Francisco-based financial technology company said on Thursday it has completed a Series A funding round, with investors including Crosslink Capital, Ford Motor Credit Company and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

AutoFi makes a white-label technology platform that allows car dealers to offer faster, online financing to customers. It recently partnered with Ford Motor Credit and is in the midst of launching at select Ford and Lincoln dealerships.

How TD Ameritrade tackles security in Facebook Messenger chatbot (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

A common refrain in financial services these days is that companies need to go where customers are, not wait for people to come to a banking app or brokerage website.

TD Ameritrade is following that advice with a Facebook Messenger chatbot that will give customers instant updates on their portfolios and trades. The bot, unveiled Tuesday, will require the unit of Toronto-Dominion Bank to work through the privacy and security issues financial firms face whenever they communicate with customers via third-party platforms such as Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa.

The Future of Simple (Simple.com), Rated: A

Over the last few years, we have been focused on rebuilding Simple’s technology on our new partner bank, Compass. Our focus on infrastructure and supporting customer growth means we haven’t been fully invested in building new technology that helps people feel confident that they’re doing money right. We have not made good on our promise to change an industry that is failing them.

We have been focused on growth instead of innovation. We have been acting like a bank instead of a technology company. And that changes today.

Today, we are recommitting to being a technology company that is completely focused on product. We are re-designing our team so that everything we do is in support of this focus. We will be ruthlessly dedicated to identifying customer problems and building products that solve them.

SuperMoney’s Auto Loan Offer Engine Will Change the Way You Buy A Car (Supermoney), Rated: A

After debuting its personal loan offer engine at Finovate in April 2017, SuperMoney today unveiled an automotive focused loan offer engine where its lending partners compete in real-time with customized auto loan offers.

The new auto loan offer engine allows borrowers to submit a single, easy, online application and receive multiple auto loan offers back. The tool makes apples to apples comparisons easy when shopping for the best auto financing rates, fees, and terms.

Only 31.6% of car buyers negotiate the interest rate on their loan

A recent survey by the Federal Reserve reported that 76.1% of car buyers negotiated the purchase price with the seller, but only 31.6% negotiated the interest rate on their loan. It gets worse. 27.1% of car buyers considered the monthly payment on their auto loan as the most important factor, but only 6.1% considered the interest rate on the loan as the most important factor (source).

 

 

Lending as a service (LaaS) and why it matters (CIO), Rated: A

Banks today are turning away more loan applicants than in recent memory thanks to stricter regulations and lingering memories of the recent financial crisis. Younger entrepreneurs who have little or no credit history often find themselves rejected from these financing options.

Even when they are accepted, the loan process can be arduous and needlessly complicated, taking longer than business owners can afford. Applications take several visits to the bank, credit checks, records requests and weeks’ worth of back-and-forth communications just to reach the underwriting phase.

The major catalyst for this new lending paradigm has been the rapid pace of online technology innovation over the last decade. Improvements in cloud infrastructure and artificial intelligence systems enable fintech companies to create reliable evaluation and matching systems for loans. Companies can now examine a potential borrower’s financial records in minutes instead of weeks. Thanks to this compressed timeline, approval can now happen in as little as one day.

Instead of multiple meetings with bank lenders over the course of many weeks to compare options, users can often be approved in under a day by a reputable LaaS company.

LaaS platforms such as Ezbob promise to approve a business loan for companies and deliver funds in under thirty minutes. The company’s algorithm examines more than credit scores, evaluating company financials and records to quickly distribute capital to those that require it most.

New Report on Fintech from the World Economic Forum (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, the World Economic Forum released a report titled, Beyond Fintech: A Pragmatic Assessment Of Disruptive Potential In Financial Services, that was the result of those and many other discussions they had with leaders from around the world. The report aims to answer the question about whether fintech companies will really change the financial landscape.

Below are some of the key findings from the report:

  • Fintech start-ups have so far fallen short of their ambitions to upend the competitive landscape in finance, driving innovation but struggling to capture market share in mature markets.
  • What fintechs have done is define the direction and speed of innovation across most areas of financial services; they have also set new and higher bars for user experience.
  • Large technology firms like Amazon and Google may represent the largest competitive threat to financial institutions, as their AI and cloud computing services become more central to the sector, and customer data rises in importance.
  • Models of financial services innovation around the world are diverging, benefitting local firms and making it harder to co-ordinate a regulatory response.

Douugh Rises to Challenge with AI-Powered Banking (Paybefore), Rated: A

Banking challenger Douugh has unveiled its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered financial platform, guided by “Sophie”—a 24/7 personal assistant for finances, reports Paybefore sister publication Banking Technology.

Douugh plans to use Sophie to help consumers make better financial decisions by:

  • Connecting a user’s existing bank accounts and credit cards, Sophie will collate, organize and inform on spending habits all in one place;
  • Using Sophie as their own personal banker to perform transactional tasks—such as paying and splitting bills, requesting money, saving, tracking and management of spending and savings goals;
  • Integrating with Alexa and Siri for voice activation.

Rebundling financial services is aspiration of startup Douugh (American Banker), Rated: A

“You are 0% of the way to your retirement goal! You have plenty of time, keep up the good work.”

This message I recently received from the Wela app reminded me to kick my retirement saving efforts into gear. It’s an example of the kind of personalized financial advice many banks and fintechs are trying to provide right now, often with artificial intelligence engines analyzing customers’ account data, predicting future trends and making recommendations.

Based in San Francisco, Douugh strives to use artificial intelligence to help the 25-to-35-year-old set reduce their credit card and student loan debt and make better spending and saving decisions.

Ripple- Just As Good If Not Better (Investing.com), Rated: A

If you could buy a wristwatch that is the same quality as a Rolex or a Cartier for $350, would you wear it?

A company called Filippo Loreti aims to deliver just that. The level of support that the young company is receiving from alternative investors is truly inspiring.

Thanks to the power of the Internet this watchmaker has already raised $6 million in two rounds of funding making it one of the most successful crowdfunding projects in history.

Smart Solutions for Smart Cities (JD Supra), Rated: B

Property “consumers” will be able to compare real-time information on a wide range of variables affecting property assets – for example, energy efficiency, connectivity and traffic noise.  Banks will no longer be the only source of funds, with fast availability of internet peer-to-peer lending speeding up the time taken to put a deal together.

Blockchain or distributed ledger technology raises a number of opportunities in this field, from mortgage valuations, to rental and service charge payment systems. Smart contracts will replace the traditional approach to conveyancing – the main incentives being that the technology will expedite the process, reduce fraud and offer total transparency.

SCORE: Dos and don’ts for crowdfunding small businesses (PostBulletin), Rated: B

To help make a rewards-based crowdfunding effort successful, Dargie offers these dos and don’ts:

Do:

  • Understand the differences between rewards-based crowdfunding, equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.
  • Pick the right platform for your rewards-based campaign.
  • Follow through on your promises. Watchdog groups and state and federal consumer protection bureaus have begun to shift their attention to deceptive crowdfunding campaigns.

Don’t:

  • Fail to manage the expectations of your campaign’s backers.
  • Launch a campaign without the liability protection of a properly formed business entity.
  • Forget about taxes.

“When We Decided to Sell the Company, it Became Apparent that RealtyShares Was the Right Choice” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Last month, Real estate crowdfunding platform RealtyShares announced it acquired technology-first, marketplace platform Acquire Real Estate.

Now, less than 30-days later, Director of Business Development at RealtyShares and former CEO of Acquire, Josh Klimkiewicz, is sharing more details about the acquisition.

“The mission doesn’t end here. I will join the RealtyShares team as the director of commercial business development to lead that channel as RealtyShares continues to scale. In my new role, I will concentrate on building long-term relationships between RealtyShares and real estate owners across the country.”

Wealth Management vs. Financial Advice: They’re Not the Same (Kiplinger), Rated: B

Wealth management is one of the terms that is most overused, and it’s often misunderstood. But it’s actually pretty straightforward. Wealth management takes things up a notch, with an adviser or advisory team providing a full range of services for the client in three distinct ways.

  1. Investment consulting
  2. Advanced planning
    • Wealth enhancement: This is the use of strategies to deal with cash-flow issues and liquidity concerns, mitigate taxes and maximize growth.
    • Wealth transfer: Advisers look for the most efficient ways to pass your wealth on to your heirs in a way that lets your beneficiaries keep most or all of the money.
    • Wealth protection: For those who are subject to a lot of liabilities, there are strategies that can help protect hard-earned savings and avoid any blind spots.
    • Charitable giving: With proper planning, donating to a charity or charities can be a win-win, maximizing support for a favorite cause while making the most of certain tax advantages.
  3. Relationship management

How to Win an Argument (Mental Floss), Rated: B

To persuasively drive your point home, follow the tips below, provided by online lender CashNetUSA’s SavingSpot blog and spotted by Entrepreneur.

United Kingdom

Zopa Reports Diminishing Loss as Revenues Rise for 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the first peer to peer lender to set up shop in the UK, has filed its annual accounts for 2016, and according to their numbers business is looking better.

Top line revenue improved by 61% jumping to £33.2 million for 2016. The operating loss stood at £5.9 million for the year, an improvement over the £8.9 million from year prior.

A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Between RateSetter’s wholesale lending saga and subsequent withdrawal from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, Zopa’s heightened loss expectations, and Funding Circlesignalling an end to manual investment, industry detractors are hardly short of fuel for their fires.

And yet we continue to endure spurious headlines that seem to be born of a broad desire to bash P2P, on the basis of seemingly anything.

Anyway. The latest episode of this kind comes courtesy of The Financial Times, which reported on Monday that peer-to-peer lending websites are “struggling to attract UK customers who want to borrow money”.

Source: AltFi

Landbay Closes £2.4M Crowdfunding Round on Seedrs (Finsmes), Rated: AAA

Landbay, a London, UK-based buy-to-let mortgage lender, has closed a £2.4m crowdfunding round.

The funds were raised via Seedrs.

The company, which has raised approx. £7m to date via the crowdfunding platform, intends to use the funds to continue to expand operations and launch new products.

IFAs still most influential source of financial advice (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

INDEPENDENT financial advisers (IFAs) are the most trusted source of external investment advice, but investors are still more likely to trust their own judgement, new research claims.

A survey by property finance firm Minerva Lending found that almost three quarters (72 per cent) of active investors prefer to take the advice of an IFA. However, the vast majority of active investors (77 per cent) said that they would rather trust their own judgement. Three in five (60 per cent) said that they would be more likely to trust word of mouth.

The survey also found that investors still prefer traditional investment advice over newer fintech solutions. Only 12 per cent of the investors surveyed said that they would trust a robo-adviser to offer financial guidance, and just 22 per cent would trust a standalone piece of software.

Should more banks form partnerships with alternative lenders? (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

More banks should be forming partnerships with alternative lenders, one business finance provider has stated.

In the bank referral scheme, the UK’s biggest banks pass on the details of SMEs that have been turned down for loans to three SME finance platforms, which then share their details with alternative finance providers.

Almost £4m of funding was accessed by 230 SMEs under the matchmaking scheme.

Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, felt there were clear benefits to the collaboration between banks and alternative lenders, but also urged for transparency.

Debunking the peer-to-peer lending myths (City A.M.), Rated: A

So let’s look at some of the common arguments raised and try to filter out the fact from the fiction.

P2P will suffer in an economic downturn

Yet the oldest UK platform Zopa – which launched in 2005 – managed to survive during the financial collapse of 2008.

Admittedly the default rates jumped to 4.2 per cent from 0.4 per cent the year before, but figures from Zopa show that investors were still able to earn a four per cent annual return during the financial crash, compared to six per cent in 2007.

P2P platform Landbay commissioned an independent report in 2015 to find out how it would perform in poor economic conditions.

While the loss rate on Landbay’s loans is 0.03 per cent in normal economic conditions, the loss rate was estimated to hit 0.48 per cent if times got tough – that is, if GDP was down 3.5 per cent, unemployment rose to nine per cent, and UK house prices fell by 20 per cent. So even if the economy shrinks, investors would not have lost money.

An interest rate rise will kill the P2P industry

But Lucy Bott, head of customer operations at RateSetter, points out that interest rates on P2P platforms are not set by the banks, but by the supply of and demand for money.

P2P is for young people

He points to a report from Nesta, which found that more than half of P2P lending investors are aged 55 and over, while a third of lenders are aged 35 to 54, and just 12 per cent of investors are under 35.

P2P Lending Sites Not Quite Wooing UK Customers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Among 1,100 British consumers polled by consultancy firm EY, only 7 percent indicated they had used such a service to borrow money this year. A separate poll of 1,050 Brits by Blumberg Capital revealed just 4 percent of them had utilized alternative lending platforms over the previous year, according to the Financial Times.

Where FinTech firms worldwide attracted $20 billion in investments over the first half of 2016, that number dropped to just $12 billion during the first six months of 2017.

The lower funding amounts could be attributed to banks having joined the peer-to-peer lending landscape, creating their own technologies or joining forces with startups to stay current, thus broadening the competitive field.

China

Fintech in China: What’s Behind the Boom? (Brink News), Rated: AAA

The country makes some of the world’s largest investments in the sector, and it has adopted fintech technologies faster than anywhere else. Companies such as Alipay, Lufax and ZhongAn Insurance have made their names across the globe by using fintech to develop some of the most disruptive business models. These players have enjoyed the fruits of fintech’s unprecedented growth by filling the gaps in China’s structurally imbalanced financial system in an open regulatory environment.

We believe the development of fintech in China has reached an inflection point. From this point, technology will be the key driver of value-chain disruption in an increasingly data-driven industry.

For example, it took four years for peer-to-peer transaction volume to exceed $5 billion in the U.S., while it took only two years in China. Lufax, a Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform founded in 2011, reached an annual loan origination amount of 9 billion yuan in just two years, compared to five years for Lending Club, the biggest peer-to-peer lending company in the U.S.

A global block chain summit was spot inspected, caused shock on ICO market (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, the Market Supervision Bureau of Shanghai Pudong New District has raided a global block chain summit that is suspected of false propaganda. According to the investigation, 35 companies set up booth to promote technology and financial products on the spot, and nearly 2,000 people attended the summit. The organizer is a Shanghai-based software technology company. The company referred to “bitcoin” technology and has developed a digital cryptocurrency ETP (entropy) on its own, which was traded on its platform.

On the spot, Law enforcement officials ordered the meeting to be halted immediately and interviewed with the parties involved. And in the same day, this news triggered a nearly 200% shock in the value of related tokens on some trading platforms, reflecting the growing risk of the ICO market. Now the company is still under investigation for alleged violations.

European Union

Klarna co-founder seeks to spur European tech giving (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

In the US, technology magnates from Microsoft’s Bill Gates to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have started a long line of high-profile, high-minded initiatives often aimed at combating disease and helping the poor.

But in Europe, where many of the unicorns — start-ups valued at more than $1bn — are of a more recent vintage, many founders are still thinking of how to make money rather than spend it.

Two years ago, Mr Adalberth had become bored with what he describes as “the constant chasing of the next goal or achievement” at Klarna. So he stepped aside from the group and its relentless attempt to conquer the digital payment world by becoming a bank and attracting Visa in as an investor.

Instead, Mr Adalberth became one of the first of the recent crop of European tech founders to think about giving away money. The result is Norrsken Foundation, which has a triple-pronged approach aimed at encouraging social entrepreneurship. His venture is risky but is likely to be closely watched by the growing ranks of multi-millionaire European founders to see if it can provide some kind of blueprint. “There is a trend in the US to give something back. This trend has come to Sweden and maybe Europe as well,” he says.

Rabobank constructs physical model to understand IT architecture (Finextra), Rated: A

Rabobank has built a 3D model of its own organisation and supporting IT systems to help visualise improvements that can be made as it embarks on its digital transformation programme.

As a banking co-operative operating at both local and regional levels, the Dutch bank runs a complex network of independent IT platforms often performing the same functions depending on local practices.

International

USAmeriBank live on Finastra hosted payments hub (Finextra), Rated: AAA

USAmeriBank selected Finastra’s hosted solution in order to have the flexibility to quickly add new payments rails and services, future-proofing its technology investment, while improving customer service and increasing straight-through processing.

In addition to quick time-to-market and ease of implementation, another benefit of using a hosted solution is a reduction of maintenance effort and total cost of ownership, as the technology and business services are maintained by Finastra.

In the coming months, the bank plans to add US ACH, and eventually real-time payments components, completing the bank’s journey to a fully-outsourced payment processing model.

AI Is the New UI – Exclusive Interview With Jake Tyler, CEO of Finn.AI (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

 

LTP: Give us a high-level paragraph pitch for your company.

JT: The Finn Virtual Banking Assistant is a personal banking and financial management assistant, powered by artificial intelligence.

Finn delivers a personal banker within a customer’s favorite channels, including Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SMS, iOS and Android apps, and web chat. We believe that AI is the new UI.

LTP: In a sentence or two, what specific problems are you solving today?

JT: We help banks connect with customers where they already are (in major instant messaging and voice platforms), adapt to a new paradigm of consumer expectations set by Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook where deep personalization and simple conversational interfaces are the norm, and reduce costs by augmenting human customer care agents with AI.

LTP: What are the biggest challenges you face when building with AI and ML, being nascent technologies? How have you overcome, or are you overcoming, those challenges?

JT: The biggest challenge is data, both quantity and quality. We address this by going deep in one core vertical – banking. We have a large, pre-existing data model in this domain that grows daily as consumers use our assistant. As new banks adopt Finn they are able to leverage this data model to deploy a high-quality assistant with proven features much faster than they would otherwise be able to do.

India

RBI to harmonise NBFC regulations (India Times), Rated: AAA

There is scope for harmonisation of regulations covering non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and the Reserve Bank is moving in that direction, Deputy Governor N S Vishwanathan said today.

He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.

Guernsey consultation to update regs governing ‘non-regulated’ financial businesses (International Investment), Rated: A

The 103-page Lending, Credit & Finance Consultation Paper  is aimed jointly at enabling Guernsey to accommodate the growing number of “innovative, often digitally-enabled, financial services which don’t neatly fit into the boxes marked banking, insurance, investment or fiduciary covered by current laws”, as well as to better protect Guernsey consumers and investors, “particularly those who are less financially able, from unscrupulous lending practises”, the GFSC says, in a summary of the LC&FCP‘s contents.

The proposed legislation would replace this existing NRFSB Law.

To read and download the consultation paper, click here.

Asia

He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.

Read more at:

The future of banking in Southeast Asia is in Cryptocurrency (Hero Email), Rated: B

There are an estimated two (2) billion people in the world who remain unbanked and underbanked. That’s roughly a quarter of the entire planet’s population who have little to no direct access to financial services most commonly found in banks and formal lending institutions.

In Southeast Asia, approximately only twenty-seven (27%) of the entire region are financially included, leaving the rest with little to no defense in times of economic crises.

Hero will build a blockchain-based credit algorithm and lending platform. Hero will be launching its own cryptocurrency coin called Hero Token through an upcoming token sale.

The majority of populations who suffer from financial exclusion live in emerging countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and their neighbors in Southeast Asia. A notable fact about this region [SEA] is that it is the fastest growing Internet region in the world and is also the fourth largest.

Backed by an award winning group of experts, the organization started operating in the Philippines in 2015 as PawnHero, offering collateralized loans using an online platform, and since then has been helping thousands of Filipinos obtain access to affordable credit.

There will also be a ‘pre-sale’ wherein people can buy tokens prior to the actual token sale and get bonuses. During the pre-sale, Hero will offer 80% of all tokens to be created for purchase by the public in the Hero Initial Coin Offering under the ticker symbol Hero. The remaining 20% of all Hero tokens will be distributed to early believers, advisors and founders.

To participate in the Hero token sale people can send the following currencies – Ethereum (ETH), ETH Classic, BitCoin (BTC), Ripple, LiteCoin, and Waves from a wallet they directly control to the Hero wallet. Aside from these, extra tokens will be offered to those who commit early. Bounties are provided when the crowdsale ends. All payments received for Hero tokens in connection with this token sale will be held in escrow in a multi-signature address, with a multi-key structure.

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Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor