Thursday June 20 2019, Weekly News Digest

ASIC borrowers

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub expands borrower program. Funding Circle forced to narrow range of valuation. Yirendai revenues come from haircut loans. Chinese P2P lenders explore southeast Asia. Borrowell passes 1M members, raises $20M. Today’s main analysis: 5 ASIC findings on marketplace lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: US Core, inflation ease. Fintech lending algorithms discriminate […]

The post Thursday June 20 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

ASIC borrowers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Expands Program to Help Borrowers Actually Pay Off Debt (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

LendingClub shared a few stats on borrowers who choose this method:

  • Save an average of nearly $900 over the course of their loan
  • Cut their credit card interest rate nearly in half
  • Increase their credit score in just three months

The product has been tested for over a year and LendingClub is working with a partner network of over 1,700 credit card, bank and loan companies to make the process seamless. What’s interesting is borrowers can add up to 12 creditors per loan which is an important feature since borrowers often hold balances across many cards.

Turning Lending Club’s Worst Loans into Investment Gold (Towards Data Science), Rated: A

This is a writeup of a machine learning project I completed. In this post I hope to:

  • Describe my algorithm for predicting loan defaults.
  • Use the algorithm to construct a portfolio of clean loans

Inflation Miss (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US Core CPI rose by 2% YoY in May, just at the Fed’s target rate but below economists’ expectations. Consistently low inflation is boosting calls for a rate cut next week. The market is pricing in a 24% probability of a rate cut next week and a 76% probability of a rate cut in September.

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

Fintech algorithms discriminate 40% less than traditional lenders (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Algorithmic fintech lending is less discriminatory against minorities than traditional loan officers, according to a recent study of US mortgages. The findings signal hope that technology could provide financing that’s more fair, but the research also underscores how widespread discrimination remains.

The US housing market has long been prejudiced against minorities. When Latino and Africa-American borrowers are looking to buy a home, they usually end up paying 7.9 basis points (0.079 percentage points) more than whites to take out the mortgage, and 3.6 basis points more when they refinance the debt, according to a National Bureau of Economic Researchworking paper published this month.

Buttigieg worries tech may add racial bias to credit decisions (American Banker), Rated: A

Pete Buttigieg said the way credit scoring is done in the U.S. is fraught with inequality and he’s worried the process may get worse with systems based on artificial intelligence.

Commercial Real Estate Crowdfunding Eyes ’18-Hour Cities’ for Small Investors (The Street), Rated: A

When Clear Point Gardens, a 604-unit apartment complex in Columbus, Ohio, recently changed hands, it produced a nearly 43% gain in 16 months, an amazing windfall for investors in the deal.

All 68 of them.

The sale of Clear Point, financed with help from investors on CrowdStreet’s online platform, is the latest example of how online syndication is revolutionizing the way deals are financed in the $6 trillion commercial real estate market.

HSBC launches digital mortgage platform with help from Roostify (HousingWire), Rated: A

One of the world’s largest banks is about to join the digital mortgage revolution, as HSBC Bank USA, the U.S. arm of HSBC Group, announced that it is partnering with Roostify to launch a digital mortgage platform.

Mirador’s Trevor Dryer: ‘The world doesn’t need another high price lender’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Trevor started Mirador to fill this void of bank-originated small business lending. We talk about why he started Mirador with a lending as a service model and what painpoints he was addressing.

Dave is launching a checking account that helps users build their credit score (Business Insider), Rated: A

The Los Angeles-based company, backed by investors including Mark Cuban, the DJ Diplo, and hedge fund Mark 2 Capital, said on Tuesday it’s rolling out a new checking account product that reports all rent payments to credit agencies. The new feature, added to Dave’s original app, helps customers to build their credit. Dave plans to begin reporting utility payments later this summer.

CoreLogic Launches Marketrac Platinum (CoreLogic), Rated: A

With Marketrac Platinum, lenders and title companies can utilize the interactive platform to identify top performing real estate agents and brokerage firms to prioritize professional relationships based on market trends.

Zirtue Revolutionizes Peer-to-Peer Lending (IT Business Net), Rated: A

Sprout Mortgage Launches ACORN Automated Underwriting System (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Sprout Mortgage, the innovative force in Non-QM lending, today announced the launch of its ACORN automated underwriting system (AUS) as part of an ongoing effort to deliver value-added services to its third-party origination clients.

Finicity Integrates with LendingQB to Optimize Mortgage Origination Process (PR Web), Rated: B

Finicity announced today an integration with LendingQB. LendingQB’s platform now uses Finicity’s digital Verification of Assets (VoA) solution to allow lenders to free up resources, increase processing speed and reduce mortgage fraud while providing borrowers with a more efficient and positive experience.

Cardholders Seek to Capital-ize on Madden (The National Law Review), Rated: A

Last week, three Capital One cardholders filed a putative class action in the Eastern District of New York, Cohen v. Capital One Funding, LLC,1 alleging that the rates of interest they paid to a securitization trust unlawfully exceed the sixteen percent threshold in New York’s usury statutes.  The Plaintiffs seek to recoup the allegedly excessive interest payments and an injunction to cap the interest rates going forward.

Fundbox Tapped By Top B2B E-Commerce Software Provider OroCommerce to Power Net Terms (Fundbox Email), Rated: A

According to a 2019 research study by

Cross River poaches execs from student refinancing firm Laurel Road (American Banker), Rated: A

Cross River Bank, a Teaneck, N.J.-based bank that focuses most of its energy on supporting fintechs, is hiring several people from the student loan refinancing company Laurel Road to its capital markets team.

Cross River’s fintech partners include Affirm, Circle, Best Egg, Coinbase, Rocket Loans, Stripe, Upstart and Transferwise.

Optimizely Closes $ US105M Financing Round (Which-50), Rated: A

Optimisation platform Optimizely has closed US$105 million in financing, including US$50 million in Series D funding. The funding, led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing, also included Accenture Ventures.

Austin Niemiec Named New Executive Vice President of Quicken Loans Mortgage Services (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Quicken Loans Mortgage Services (QLMS), the second largest mortgage lender serving the needs of brokers, regional banks and credit unions, today announced that Austin Niemiec has been named Executive Vice President.

Self Lender Awarded Inaugural Inclusive Fintech 50 (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Self Lender is pleased to announce its inclusion in the inaugural list of winners of the Inclusive Fintech 50. The Inclusive Fintech 50 is a competition launched in February to help early-stage fintech companies attract capital and resources to benefit the world’s 3 billion financially underserved people. The competition was organized by MetLife Foundation and Visa Inc., with global nonprofit Accion and World Bank Group member IFC.

United Kingdom

No sign yet of breaking out of circle (The Times), Rated: AAA

The early days of a company’s life on the stock market tends to set the tone for what follows. The grief around Funding Circle’s listing began even earlier and has continued to plague it.

Days before trading in shares of the specialist online lender began at the end of September, Funding Circle and its bankers were gunning for a valuation of up to £1.75 billion, only to be forced to narrow the expected range shortly before it came to market, and then to price the shares at the lower level of 440p apiece.

Source: Refinitiv

Three Biggest Overperformers And One Underperformer In Peer-To-Peer Lending (4th Way Email), Rated: AAA

Landbay

  • Over £300 million lent.
  • Maximum loan size to property valuation (LTV) 80% – better than all the major high-street banks.
  • Average LTV: 72% – highly suitable for these kinds of mortgages.
  • Average rent: 190% of the monthly mortgage payment.
  • Over 90% of mortgages are to experienced and professional landlords.
  • Reserve fund: 0.6% of outstanding mortgages – modest but useful.
  • Type of lending: residential BTL.
  • Typical risk of this type of bank lending: very low.
  • P2P bad debts: none.
  • Interest rate: 3.54% after expected bad debts.

Proplend

  • £65 million lent.
  • Maximum loan size to property valuation (LTV) 75% and investors can choose to limit to 50% – lower than all high-street banks.
  • Average LTV  60% – highly suitable for these kinds of mortgages and loans.
  • Minimum rent on rental properties usually 110% of the monthly mortgage payment.
  • Type of lending: residential and commercial rented properties up to five years; some development lending; a mix of senior and junior debt (junior means other lenders get repaid first if the borrower’s property has to be forcibly sold to repay the loans).
  • Typical risk of this type of bank lending: low to moderate for shorter-term rental properties; moderate to high for developments and junior debt.
  • P2P bad debts: none.
  • Interest rate: 7.32% to 9.43% after expected bad debts (7.32%-12.13% before bad debts).

CrowdProperty

  • £35 million lent.
  • Maximum loan size to property valuation (LTV) 70% and investors can choose to limit to 50% – lower than all high-street banks.
  • Average LTV  61% (against starting value of property) – very low for these kinds of loans.
  • Type of lending: property development lending.
  • Typical risk of this type of bank lending: moderate to high.
  • P2P bad debts: none.
  • Interest rate: 8% after expected bad debts (7.32%-12.13% before bad debts).

Rebuildingsociety – the Underperformer

  • £15 million lent.
  • Type of lending: unsecured small business lending to sub-prime.
  • Typical risk of this type of bank lending: moderate to high.
  • P2P bad debts: 17% of total lent in pounds
  • Interest rates: estimate an average 5% after heavy losses.

British Business Bank adds £60m firepower to non-bank lender (AltFi), Rated: A

Simply, a non-bank lender, focused on SME asset financing has scored a a third financing tranche of £60m from the British Business Bank.

One fifth of UK investors upping exposure to debt investments (Investment Week), Rated: A

One-fifth of UK investors are increasing their exposure to debt amid low interest rates and Brexit uncertainty, according to research from FJP Investment, which found this number climbs to 34% when 18-to-35 year-olds are considered in isolation.

However, the independent survey – which comprises 950 investors – discovered 44% of participants are more focused on short-term debt investments over this financial year due to both political and economic uncertainty; this figure rose to 68% among under 35s.

OakNorth completes loan to Oncore IT for the acquisition of Fuse Technologies (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has provided a loan to Oncore IT, a managed service and cloud platform provider.

The finance has been used for the acquisition of Fuse Technologies, a London based provider of unified communications tools.

Brexit and drive for growth sees IT fintech salaries surge (AltFi), Rated: A

London-based java developers lead the pack, commanding starting salaries of up to £60,000, followed by software developers in the capital on up to £55,000.

Intense competition between UK-based fintechs – lead by Revolut, TransferWise, OakNorth and Funding Circle – and high street banks attempting to upgrade their services has led to bidding wars in order to gain top level IT professionals, said the report called The UK Fintech Revolution.

Lloyds first to launch open banking app for credit cards and savings (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Customers of Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland are the first to see their savings accounts and credit cards in one place, thanks to open banking technology, reports Jane Connolly.

J.P. Morgan working on a secretive digital banking project based out of London (TechCrunch), Rated: A

A number of incumbent banks are known to be developing new digital-first products in a bid to keep the new wave of challenger banks at bay and now it appears that the latest to make that move is J.P. Morgan.

According to sources, the investment bank has begun recruiting for a secretive skunkworks project within London’s booming fintech industry. Very few details are known about what exactly J.P. Morgan plans to build, although TechCrunch understands the bank is busy hiring high level developers with full-stack and cloud-based dev skills for the new project, along with other personnel.

Following Facebook’s Libra launch, UK regulator hints at greater Big Tech scrutiny (AltFi), Rated: A

The FCA says technology is dramatically changing the markets it regulates and blurring regulatory boundaries in a new report into its activities.

China

Yirendai Revenues Come From Suspect Haircut Loans (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Over 60% of YRD’s FY 2018 revenues stem from “haircut loans” (P2P service fees charged to borrowers) that are prohibited by Chinese regulation. Recent developments in the P2P lending sector with regards to questionable lending practices, unethical collections, and usury are not being disclosed in YRD’s SEC filings, leaving U.S., Canadian, and international investors completely in the dark.

The Chinese P2P Lending Market

Unlike in developed countries, there are no administrative bodies (such as the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission) which regulate peer to peer lending exchanges in China. Instead, such services are regulated by self-organized internet associations and retail banks. The lack of meaningful oversight has caused the Chinese P2P lending market to bubble into $178.9 Billion in FY2018, almost 22 times the size of the P2P lending market in the United States and 447 times that of Japan’s.

Over 850+ fraudulent/ponzi lending platforms were exposed in FY 2018 alone.

Source: iiMedia Research

But the bad numbers don’t end here:

– The total loan volume amounted to 245.9 billion in Q12019, down -55.5% Y/Y.

– 85.7 in new loans were lent in March 2019, down -53.5% Y/Y.

– Principal balance of all loans: 8,029 CNY billion, down -3.6% Y/Y.

– sum of P2P lenders and borrowers, up 21%.

Chinese P2P lending platforms look to Southeast Asia amid industry purge back home (Technode), Rated: AAA

A slew of Chinese fintech and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms are looking to more lenient markets in Southeast Asia (SEA), following a prolonged industry crackdown in China that has left the sector reeling.

Over the past year, China’s regulatory clampdown on risky financial practices has wiped out more than half of the country’s P2P lending platforms. As of May, just 900 survived, down from almost 1,900 recorded a year ago.

In early June, Indian daily newspaper the Economic Times reported that Chinese fintech companies, including WeShare, 9F Group, and CashBUS, are exploring investment opportunities in the country’s burgeoning online lending sector, particularly in the P2P lending space.

XW Bank Welcomed by IMF as One of 6 Outstanding FinTech Companies From China (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) welcomed 6 outstanding FinTech companies from China including Ant Financial, WeBank and XW Bank.

European Union

Snask helps Klarna to communicate its ‘smooth’ banking offer with off-the-wall film and photography (Creative Boom), Rated: A

When Stockholm studio Snask was approached by Klarna, one of Europe’s biggest banks, to help communicate how its revolutionary payment solutions make life easier for its customers, it set out to create seven “never-seen-before” worlds.

LHV Bank Integrates Estateguru Investments in Online Banking Dashboard (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

You might wonder why that is relevant as most readers are unlikely to be LHV Bank customers. LHV Bank is a bank in Estonia.

I think it is highly interesting, as it is – to my knowledge – the first time a bank has integrated p2p lending investments in its customer interface. So the LHV bank customers, not only see their accounts and stock depots, but also their Estateguru investments conveniently listed in their online bank dashboard. Much has been talked about what role could banks have in p2p lending (mere transaction banks? providing credit lines?) and also there is a lot of speculation if PSD2 (open banking) will help fintechs to seize the access to the customer from banks because they could control the user interface in the future. But this is actually a first step a bank takes in the opposite direction. By aggregating “non-bank” information inside the dashboard, they aim to make the banking interface more useful for the customers.

International

How Klarna is Helping the World Shop Like a Queen (Power Retail), Rated: AAA

Klarna is the latest Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) app to sweep through the world. Originating in Sweden, the BNPL platform allows users to purchase goods and schedule repayments in timeslots. At this point in time, Klarna is the first and only BNPL platform that’s available in the U.S. It’s also available in the UK, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and many other European countries.

Australia

Five key ASIC findings on marketplace lending (Cuffelinks), Rated: AAA

In April 2019, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released its third report on marketplace lending, the Survey of marketplace lending providers: 2017–18The report paints a clear picture of a once-nascent industry enjoying growth with new borrowing increasing by nearly 45% in the 2017-18 financial year. The report notes that this growth is moderating compared to the near doubling in funds borrowed the previous year (from $156 million to $300 million). By contrast, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that overall personal lending has declined by an astonishing 24% in the 12 months to March 2019.

Source: Cuffelinks

The ASIC report found that the average interest rate charged for marketplace loans entered into during the 2017–18 financial year was 11.5%, up from 10.5% in the 2016–17 financial year.

Source: Cuffelinks
India

All you need to know about P2P lending and Commodities (India Times), Rated: AAA

Vinay Mathews, Founder and COO, Faircent and Sanjay Gakhar, Vice President, MCX talks about the benefits of investing via the P2P platform and Commodities, ET Wealth investment Workshop in Delhi Listen in!

Watch the video here.

Asia

Indonesian firms turn to P2P lenders for funds (Asia-First), Rated: AAA

Small companies in Asia-Pacific are tapping new funding sources, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study commissioned by Mastercard, with peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in Indonesia reportedly posting USD1.4bn worth of transactions in 2018, an increase from USD20m in 2016.

Canada

Borrowell passes one million members, raises $ 20 million in new capital (Zone Startups), Rated: AAA

RFI alumni company Borrowell announced that it had reached significantly more than a million users, making it Canada’s largest consumer fintech company by that measure.

In addition to this membership milestone, Borrowell also confirmed that it has received $20 million in Series B funding.

AltFi Toronto Summit 2019 (AltFi), Rated: B

WED, 9 OCTOBER 2019, 08:30 – 17:30 EDT

Blind Bird tickets are now on sale at a 50% discount ahead of the Summit’s agenda being announced later this Summer.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday June 20 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday January 31 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintech vc 2018

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage expands into India. GreenSky launches loan product for elective health care. Lending Works hits 150M GBP in loans in five years. Ant Financial’s money market fund shrinks to two-year low. Ant Financial raised close to combined raise of all U.S., Europe fintechs last year. Varo Money raises annual percentage yield on savings accounts to […]

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

fintech vc 2018

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

India

Other

News Summary

United States

GreenSky launches new loan product for elective health care (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The Atlanta fintech on Tuesday announced the launch of a revolving credit line of up to $25,000. GreenSky previously offered only installment loans; the new product is designed to be a better fit for elective medical providers that rely heavily on repeat business.

Is SoFi Money the Bank Account of the Future? (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

There are three main benefits that SoFi touts with the SoFi Money account:

  1. Pay zero account fees.
  2. Earn more interest.
  3. Free ATMs everywhere.

SoFi will pay (as of this writing) 2.25% on balances held in a SoFi Money account. Note about the small print: you will only earn this 2.25% for the first three months and then the interest rate drops to a (still respectable) 1.25% unless you do one of two things. Either setup a salary direct deposit of $3,000 or more a month or do $500 in debit card transactions each month. I am in the process of moving my salary deposit to my SoFi Money account.

The cash balance in SoFi Money Accounts is swept to one or more program banks where it earns a variable rate of interest and is eligible for FDIC insurance. FDIC Insurance is not provided until the funds arrive at partner bank. There are currently six banks available to accept these deposits, making customers eligible for up to $1,500,000 of FDIC insurance (six banks, $250,000 per bank).

Mixed Credit Card Issuers’ Earnings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Credit card master trust data shows that delinquencies have picked up from their lows but remain significantly below their peaks. Issuers (with the exception of Capital One), have increased loan loss reserves at a rate higher than loan growth as credit renormalization continues.

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

Source: Bloomberg, Bank Credit Card Trust Data, PeerIQ

How online platforms shook small-business lending in America (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

In the years after the financial crisis, small businesses that needed credit were stuck. New capital rules discouraged big banks from touching any borrower perceived as risky. The bond and loan markets, where larger businesses flocked for inexpensive debt capital, have little use for sums under $100,000 — which is what most small enterprises need.

A handful of non-bank lenders, payment and e-commerce companies have leapt into the gap. In an environment of easy money and economic expansion, small business lending operations at OnDeck, Kabbage, PayPal, Square and others have grown fast.

LendingTree Analysis Reveals How Personal Loan Purposes Vary by States and Credit Scores (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Key takeaways

  • Managing existing debt is far and away the most popular reason for a personal loan, representing 61 percent of all loan requests in 2018. Thirty-nine percent of borrowers plan to use their loans to consolidate debt, and 22 percent plan to use it to refinance credit cards.
  • Consumers seeking personal loans to manage debt also requested the highest origination amounts: $14,107average amount for credit card refinance, and $12,670 for debt consolidation.
  • Almost 15 percent of loans reasons are categorized as “other” — the third most popular choice. Home renovation and improvement loans are the next-most popular loan purpose, accounting for 7.7 percent of loan requests with an average loan amount of $12,384.
  • New Englanders are the most likely to use their loans to manage existing debt, taking the top five spots. The residents of MississippiLouisiana, and Arkansas are the least likely.
  • Washington, D.C. is home to the highest rates of a few offbeat loan purposes, with more residents requesting loans here for a move (7.4 percent) or business (2.6 percent). It’s also tied with New York and Louisiana as the place where wedding loans are most requested, with 1.5 percent of loans in these states intended to cover the costs of tying the knot.
  • West Virginia is the top state for borrowers requesting loans for their home, specifically home improvements (8.6 percent of loans requested in this state) or home buying (4.9 percent).
  • In Wyoming, residents request personal loans for medical expenses more than anywhere else (6.5 percent). In fact, most of the states where people are more likely to request a loan for medical costs are low-density states with more rural areas.
Source: LendingTree

See the full report here.

Cities Where Homeowners Stay Put the Longest (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • Cities with shorter housing tenure have greater price appreciation. The top 10 cities had an average tenure of 7.46 years and an average three-year home price appreciation of 12%. The bottom 10, with an average tenure of 6.63 years, have average price appreciation 30%. This suggests that higher housing turnover drives prices upwards, while faster price appreciation could be enticing home owners to sell.
  • The northeast dominates the list of cities with the longest tenure. The top three cities, Pittsburgh, New York and Buffalo are all in the northeast. An additional three northeastern cities are in the top 10 for a total of six.
  • Hot and sunny places have the shortest tenures. The three cities with the shortest tenures — Las Vegas, Phoenix and Austin — are all in warm-weather areas. This reflects high migration rates to those cities, something we looked at in a prior study on where Americans are moving. Denver is the only city in the bottom 10 that experiences a significant winter season.

A George Soros-backed fintech has raised millions to analyze consumer loan trends just as recession worries pick up steam (Business Insider), Rated: A

dv01, a New York-based startup, has raised $15 million in a series B round led by Pivot Investment Partners, a venture capital firm started by a a trio of bankers who worked together at Deutsche Bank AG. One of those ex-bankers, Dinkar Jetley, will join dv01’s board.

Kabbage hires chief revenue officer from LegalZoom (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Atlanta-based Kabbage Inc. has hired the chief marketing officer at LegalZoom as its new chief revenue officer.

Laura Goldberg‘s appointment is effective immediately, according to a Kabbage spokeswoman. She succeeds Victoria Treyger, who vacated the CRO position at Kabbage in August 2018 to accept a position with Felicis Ventures.

Varo Raises Annual Percentage Yield on Savings Account to Industry-Leading 2.80% (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

In a move to make high-yield savings available to more Americans, no-fee mobile banking company Varo Money, Inc., announced today that it raised the Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) on its FDIC-insured Varo Savings Account to 2.80% for customers whose Savings Account balance is $50,000 or less, and who have qualifying direct deposits and debit card purchases from their Varo Bank Account.1 An APY of 2.12%1 will apply if these conditions are not met.

Elevate’s RISE Brand Announces Scholarship to Promote Financial Literacy (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that its largest consumer product, RISE, will offer college scholarships in an effort to promote financial literacy.

The RISE scholarship will offer five $5,000 awards each year to students who demonstrate a desire to improve their financial knowledge and educate others on personal finance. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must complete an online financial literacy course that was developed in partnership with digital education expert EVERFI.

Credit card player Petal picks up $ 30m funding (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

New York-based credit card firm Petal is back in the money with $30 million in Series B funding.

This is Petal’s second investment from Valar, which was also the lead investor in its Series A funding round. Back in October 2018, Petal got $34 million in financing.

Fintech targets banks keen for out-of-market CRE loans (American Banker), Rated: A

As more banks take the often risky step of expanding outside their traditional markets, especially through digital means, some fintechs sense an opportunity to offer them data they need to find new customers and assess risk.

LendingClub, OnDeck Capital and Lending Tree are each online lending platforms that have bet on this trend. CrediFi, a finance data provider, aims to do the same with a focus on one of the largest asset classes around: commercial real estate.

LoanSnap Raises $ 4.7M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

LoanSnap, a San Francisco, CA-based creator of smart loan technology, raised an additional $4.7M in funding.

The round, which brought total financing to $17M, was led by Thomvest Ventures and existing investors.

Oxygen gets $ 2.3m funding for digital banking life (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

San Francisco-based digital banking service Oxygen has raised $2.3 million in funding to breathe life into its gig economy plans.

In this round it got funding from Digital Horizon Capital; Cynthia Chen, investor, advisor, executive and board member for several US-based fintechs and now co-founder and chief risk officer at Figure; ZMT Capital (China); Locus Ventures; Endure Capital; PioneerFund; Magic City; Light Bridge; Strawberry Creek; Base Ventures; The House Fund and Sam Yam, co-founder of Patreon.

Better Mortgage Secures $ 70 Million in Series C Funding from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Better Mortgage, one of the leading digital mortgage lenders in the U.S., today announced its closing of $70 million in Series C financing from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), in addition to existing investors Kleiner Perkins, Goldman Sachs, and Pine Brook. The new capital will support continued growth and investment in Better’s technology platform.

CFPB Announces $ 3.2 Million Settlement with Online Payday Lender (JD Supra), Rated: A

On January 25, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it had entered into a consent order with an online lender that extends unsecured payday and installment loans, as well as lines of credit, resolving allegations that the lender had engaged in unfair acts or practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), 12 U.S.C. §§ 5531, 5536.

Popular ‘robo-advisor’ Betterment picks Philly for its first office outside New York; to hire 20 by end of 2019 (Philly.com), Rated: A

Betterment, a digital wealth manager popular among millennials, has picked Philadelphia for the first office outside its New York home base.

The company, which manages $15 billion in assets, plans to open a Philadelphia office as soon as February, according to founder Jon Stein. Betterment is looking for office space in Center City, with the intent of adding 20 employees in its computer and engineering departments by the end of 2019.

Numerated and PayNet Partner to Improve Digital Lending (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Numerated announces that it will integrate PayNet’s MasterScore v2 within its real-time lending and growth platform. PayNet, a leading commercial lending data and analytics firm, will integrate its proprietary database within Numerated’s customizable rules- and segment-based credit decisioning engine to offer banks additional business scoring criteria for managing risk when lending to businesses in real-time.

Planet Home Lending Opens Several Branches; Sees Growth in Business Channels (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Planet Home Lending, LLC opened 26 active distributed retail branches and brought on 165 mortgage loan originators in 2018. Planet Home Lending also enjoyed additional growth in 2018 in its other channels.

Senior Counsel, Litigation (Employment Focus) (Built in Chicago), Rated: B

Guaranteed Rate is building a winning team to reinvent the mortgage experience through innovation, technology and a relentless focus on providing industry-leading mortgage products and superlative customer service.  The Senior Counsel will embrace and support these efforts by working to pursue claims and resolve disputes as appropriate through negotiation, arbitration or litigation, with a particular focus on employment claims and matters.

United Kingdom

Lending Works hits £150m of loans in five years (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Lending Works, the peer-to-peer lender, has surpassed £150m in loans to households and firms.

Nick Harding, Lending Works Co-Founder and CEO, says the firm is aiming to reaching £300m loans by the end of 2019 thanks in part to its “greatest ISA season yet ”.

LendInvest provides GBP7.35 million bridging loan in under seven days (Property Funds World), Rated: A

UK property finance specialist LendInvest has facilitated a GBP7.35 million bridging finance loan for a developer in just seven days.

Brexit blamed for slowdown in consumer lending (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

UNSECURED consumer lending has slowed to its lowest level since 2014, as Brits scale back their spending amid Brexit uncertainty.

The latest Bank of England Money and Credit statistics also found that the total number of mortgage approvals fell from 126,794 to 124,829 in December 2018, indicating an overall lag in the lending market.

Meanwhile, mortgage approvals for house purchase were around 63,800 in December – just slightly less than the 2018 average of 65,200.

Ultimate Finance lends record £1.4bn to small firms (AltFi), Rated: A

Small business financer Ultimate Finance said it lent a record £1.4bn to small firms across the UK last year.

The Bristol-based business said its overall lending jumped 35 per cent in the year to December 2018, boosted by writing more loans across its operations.

It said its bridging loans more than doubled to £31m over the period, asset finance jumped 37 per cent to £46m, while invoice finance also increased by almost a quarter to £117m.

Primary Factors to Have At Hand When Borrowing Money Online (EconoTimes), Rated: A

Online borrowing should be all about convenience, and Loanski loans have made this aspect their rising pillar for excellence. The only requirement for one to apply for a loan through the platform is they must be United Kingdom residents and have an active bank account. These minimum requirements essentially mean that anyone who uses their bank accounts frequently can have the pleasures of having an instant loan when they need it the most.

China

Ant Financial’s money market fund shrinks to 2-year low (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The world’s largest money-market mutual fund, Ant Financial’s Tianhong Yu’E Bao, was at its smallest for two years by the end of last year as Chinese regulators pressured it to downsize over concerns about systemic risk.

The shrinkage is a sign that Ant, the financial services business of Alibaba Group, is shifting away from marketing its own financial products to serving as a platform for other groups to access its huge customer base.

Cryptocurrency and pyramid schemes add to US$ 44.5 billion surge in illegal fundraising in China (SCMP), Rated: A

Chinese police investigated more than 10,000 cases of illegal fundraising last year, a 22 per cent rise in the caseload, according to China’s top prosecutors.

The total amount involved also rose, more than doubling to about 300 billion yuan (US$44.5 billion), the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said on Wednesday.

Apart from traditional hotbeds such as product marketing, real estate investment, and education, there has been a big rise in fundraising schemes in online lending, wealth management, private equity, cryptocurrency, and elderly care services.

European Union

Europe’s fintech companies are preparing for a no-deal Brexit (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Europe’s fintech companies are getting serious about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

As uncertainty looms over the U.K.’s split from the EU, the industry gathered this week at the Paris Fintech Forum. Payments providers, cryptocurrency exchanges and digital banks all said they were taking steps to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

N26 is a Berlin-based digital bank that was recently named one of Europe’s largest fintech start-ups.

Synsam Group and Klarna Launch Innovative Contact Lens Subscription in the Nordics (Webwire), Rated: A

Synsam Group has over 50 years of experience in improving people’s eye health and is today Sweden’s largest optician chain with over 190 stores in Sweden, and 500 stores throughout the Nordic region. One of the company’s most popular services is Synsam Lifestyle Contact Lens Subscription, which includes home deliveries and annual contact lens examinations. To create a better and smoother customer experience, Synsam Group and Klarna have developed a new concept that allows customers to subscribe to contact lenses by using their mobile phones instore, while they can manage all the administration around the subscription online.

International

China’s Ant Financial raised almost as much money as all US and European fintech firms combined (Quartz), Rated: AAA

When it comes to financial technology companies, Ant Financial is in it own league. The affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $14 billion in venture capital last year, not far from the $15.9 billion for all fintech investments in the EU and US in the same period. A key question is whether the growth of the world’s most valuable fintech firm is an anomaly or a sign of things to come from China.

Ant Financial accounted for 35% of global venture capital investment in fintech firms last year, according to CB Insights.

Source: Quartz

Cross River and Railsbank Announce Partnership (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cross River Bank (“Cross River”), a leading innovator and provider of banking services for financial technology companies, and Railsbank Technology Limited (“Railsbank”), a leading UK-based open banking and RegTech technology services platform, today announced that they have entered into a partnership arrangement that will provide Railsbank the opportunity to offer a variety of API-powered, banking and payment processing services across the U.S.

Fintech companies raised a record $ 39.6 billion in 2018 (Reuters), Rated: A

In the last three months of the year, five companies joined the coveted ranks of fintech “unicorns”, or companies valued at more than $1 billion. These include credit card provider Brex, digital bank Monzo and data aggregator Plaid.

Australia

Canada’s Eguana will set up local manufacturing to join South Australia Home Battery Scheme (Energy-Storage.news), Rated: AAA

The South Australia Home Battery Scheme, launched by the state government, offers a maximum of AU$6,000 assistance per household for the purchase of battery energy storage. Home storage systems are typically, but not always, paired with solar PV, and homeowners can get back between AU$500 and AU$600 per kilowatt hour of battery storage capacity purchased.

Announced in September and then launched a month later, the scheme will assist up to 40,000 households financially, with the state government putting in AU$100 million and peer-to-peer lending group RateSetter later committing the same amount of funding in the form of low-interest loans.

ING latest lender to hike variable home loan rates (Mozo), Rated: A

Online lender ING has become the latest bank to lift its variable home loan rates following an announcement earlier today.

The lender will raise rates across all of its variable rate home loan products by 15 basis points, effective as of February 7, 2019.

India

Small Business Lender Kabbage Expanding to India (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Kabbage has opened an office in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) and plans to have 125 employees by year end. For comparison, the company has about 350 employees in their Atlanta headquarters.

To our knowledge Kabbage is the first US-based lender to enter the Indian market.

RBI directs P2P lenders to file quarterly reports on key metrics (TechCircle), Rated: AAA

Lending has been our star performer: MobiKwik founder (India Times), Rated: A

As of the end of the last financial year, we have a register user base of more than 107 Mn users and a network of over 3 Mn merchants. We are aiming at 400% growth this fiscal. We are aiming at 400% growth this fiscal. We are adding over 3 Mn new users every month, one of the highest in the industry. We will have close to 200 million users by the end of 2019.

A) Lending is growing by leaps and bounds ever since we started out. The opportunity is huge with less than 10% of Indians having access to credit.

Blockchain-based Loan Marketplace Streamsource Raises $ 1 Mn Seed Funding from Accel India (IndianWeb2), Rated: A

Gurgaon-based StreamSource Technologies, a decentralized marketplace for loans, has raised $1 million in seed funding from Accel India, making it Accel’s first local investment in the blockchain sector.

Indian banks unveil blockchain-linked funding for SMEs (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

A group of 11 Indian banks have teamed together to unveil the nation’s first blockchain-linked funding for SMEs.

According to the Economic Times, the participants include ICICI, Axis, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra, Yes Bank, Standard Chartered, RBL, South Indian Bank, IndusInd Bank, State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda.

How are interest rates set on P2P platforms? (India Times), Rated: A

“Borrowers on our platform are given a score out of 100, which determines their risk profile. A score of 52 to 60 points is high risk while a borrower with more than 60 points will get a lower interest rate,” says Bhavin Patel, Founder & CEO, LenDenClub.

IndiaMoneyMart App Brings P2P Investment and Wealth Creation for Masses (Business Standard), Rated: A

lending or lending is a mode of direct financing that enables individuals to borrow and lend on mutual terms. Platforms like IndiaMoneyMart (IMM) eliminate the traditional financial institutions and enable businesses to flourish through a people to people contact.

P2P industry expectations from Budget 2019 (India Times), Rated: A

“While a great boost to the P2P industry would be via the regulator easing lending caps, we look forward to a critical role from the finance ministry for better financial inclusion by extending SOPs to retail investors,” says Dhiren Makhija, CEO, Cashkumar.

Here’s how you can invest in peer-to-peer lending (CNBCTV18), Rated: A

According to i2ifunding.com, a category A borrower may face the least risk while a category F borrower faces the highest risk.

Following interest rates are paid by borrowers across categories:

  • A category borrowers – 12.00 percent to 14.99 percent
  • B category borrowers – 15.00 percent to 17.49 percent
  • C category borrowers – 17.50 percent to 19.99 percent
  • D category borrowers – 20.00 percent to 22.49 percent
  • E category borrowers – 22.50 percent to 24.99 percent
  • F category borrowers – 25.00 percent to 36.00 percent

CreditVidya receives $ 3m funding to develop credit score tech (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

CreditVidya, an Indian alternative credit score firm, has raised $3 million in a funding round led by Bharat Innovation Fund.

Ryan Khoury, Navroz D. Udwadia and Rick Gerson (founding members of Falcon Edge Capital) also participated in the round.

Abhinav Kumar, of Trivago fame, joins Paisadukan as a marketing advisor (India Times), Rated: B

Digital marketing strategist Abhinav Kumar who shot to fame because of his appearance on television commercials of travel search engine Trivago has joined peer to peer lending platform Paisadukan as a digital marketing and branding advisor and also will be on the company’s advisory board.

Asia

P2P lending third most complained about business sector (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

The country’s growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector has become one of the most complained about business sectors partly because of high interest rates and aggressive debt collection practices, according to a report.

The report by the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) shows online lending platforms are the third most complained about business sector while property and banking rank second and first respectively.

NTU and Chinese online lender WeBank launch research centre (Straits Times), Rated: A

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and China’s first digital-only bank have opened a research centre that aims to help customers manage their finances in real-time wherever they are.

NTU research scientists and engineers from WeBank will also study how to provide personalised wealth management advice to customers, among other projects, in the five-year partnership.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

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

Tuesday November 6 2018, Daily News Digest

Data from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP morgan and US Bank shows unbanked us online and mobile banking when banked

News Comments Today’s main news: Preview of OnDeck’s Q3 earnings. Credit Karma acquires Noddle from TransUnion, expands into UK. Lufax to move P2P lending to the blockchain. WeBank hits $21B valuation. Linked Finance loans up 63%. Nubank now worth $4B. Today’s main analysis: The unbanked approaches banking like everyone else. Today’s thought-provoking articles: HSBC, Barclays bucking the trend. International P2P lending […]

Data from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP morgan and US Bank shows unbanked us online and mobile banking when banked

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

International

Other

News Summary

United States

On Deck Capital’s Q3 Earnings Preview (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

On Deck Capital ONDK 26.01% releases its next round of earnings this Tuesday, Nov. 6. Get the latest predictions in Benzinga’s essential guide to the company’s Q3 earnings report.

Earnings and Revenue

Based on On Deck Capital management projections, analysts predict EPS of 12 cents on revenue of $97.33 million.

On Deck Capital EPS in the same period a year ago totaled 1 cent. Sales were $83.66 million. Revenue would be up 16.33 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Source: Benzinga

Strong Wage Growth, HSBC / Barclays Bucking the Trend (Peer IQ) Rated: AAA

QED Investors has raised its largest fund to-date. QED raised $175 Mn in its fifth fund which is focused on early-stage FinTech. QED also released their first quarterly newsletter. (Subscribe here) Matt Burton, the founder and CEO of the Orchard platform, joined as a partner and will lead QED Belay, the newly formalized founding stage investment platform.

SoFi and Marlette are issuing their fourth Consumer Unsecured deals of 2018. SCLP 2018-4 is a $549 Mn securitization. KBRA has rated the tranches A to D AAA, AA+, A+ and BBB respectively. SCLP 2018-4 is the first consumer unsecured deal to receive a AAA rating. MFT 2018-4 is a $266 Mn securitization. KBRA has rated the tranches A to C AA, A, and BBB- respectively.

HSBC and Barclays Leaning In, Marcus and Discover Pulling Back

HSBC and Barclays are launching new unsecured personal loan products. These products will complement the banks’ existing US credit card offerings while competing head-on with Marcus on its home turf. HSBC and Barclays are looking to capture a piece of the $140 Bn personal loan market, that is growing at an annualized rate of eighteen percent.

Discover and Marcus are cautious about the growth in personal loans and the potential for higher lossesGS will temper Marcus’s origination growth and not “chase volume targets”. We note that GS is the only bank whose provision for loan losses increased in Q3 – GS provisions rose by 172% YoY to $174 Mn, while loans grew by 72% – far outpacing loan growth (and what might be expected from loan seasoning).

There’s no excuse for ignoring the unbanked, big banks’ own data shows (American Banker) Rated: AAA

When community advocates ask banks to provide accounts for the estimated 63 million people in the U.S. who are unbanked, bankers typically raised two concerns.

Both arguments appear to be shot down by a new trove of data collected from four of the largest banks: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

Seventy-four percent of the 3 million previously unbanked people who opened accounts at the four banks in the past year are digitally active. In fact, they are heavy users of online and mobile banking. They are statistically no more likely to call or walk into a branch than existing bank customers.

Source: American Banker

Credit Karma expands into insurance with auto policy service (Reuters) Rated: A

Financial technology startup Credit Karma said on Tuesday it is expanding into insurance through a new service that makes it easier for users to find cheaper auto insurance policies.

The tool generates suggestions by analyzing government information on drivers and vehicles together with data from credit bureaus and public insurance rate filings, bypassing the need for users to manually input information into long forms, the company said.

Kathryn Petralia of Kabbage (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Kabbage has changed since they launched 10 years ago.
  • The biggest challenge they have found as they have grown.
  • Their approach to data analytics and the different data sources they use.
  • Why it is important to have a complete picture when a business seems to be struggling.
  • Why they have not pursued direct lending outside of the U.S.
  • Why their banking clients have been outside the U.S.
  • How Kathryn views the competitive business lending environment today.
  • Why banks are not going head to head against Kabbage yet.
  • What Kabbage is doing to foster more gender balance throughout the organization.

ForwardLine Accelerates Growth and Achieves a 350% Increase in Loan Originations (PR Newswire) Rated: A

ForwardLine, a nationwide direct lender providing affordable loans to small businesses, has announced strong results for third quarter 2018, achieving a 350% increase in loan originations over third quarter 2017. The company attributes its growth trajectory to strategic investments in technology, enhanced analytics, and an improved overall customer experience.

Majority of Americans Expect to Use a Robo Adviser (Plan Advisor) Rated: A

Fifty-eight percent of Americans expect to use a robo adviser by 2025, Charles Schwab learned in a survey, summarized in its report, “The Rise of the Robo: Americans’ Perspectives and Predictions on the Use of Digital Advice.” In addition, 45% say robo advice will be the technology that will have the biggest impact on financial services.

In addition, by the year 2025, 57% expect to use robotics, 55% artificial intelligence, 54% virtual reality, 53% big data, 43% augmented reality, 36% blockchain and 36% cryptocurrency.

However, when it comes to financial advice, people still want the human touch, with 71% of people wanting a robo adviser that also gives them access to human advice. Among Millennials, this jumps to 79%. This is true for 73% of Gen Xers and 64% of Baby Boomers.

Forty-six percent of Baby Boomers using a robo adviser say it is perfect for their life stage, and 45% of this demographic group expect to use a robo adviser by 2025.

Is This Community Bank’s Bold Digital Play The Model Of The Future? (The Financial Brand) Rated: A

Online mortgage lending has been a very large part of NBKC Bank’s business model, and remains so.

Now, people in all 50 states can apply online for a mortgage from NBKC. Its originations run between $2.5 and 3 billion annually, and the bank is one of eight mortgage lenders on Costco’s nationwide platform.

AGORA Announces Release of First-Ever Loan Validation Report for Seasoned Loans (PR Newswire) Rated: A

AGORA Data, Inc., a secondary loan marketplace based in Arlington, Texas, announced today, the release of the first-ever Loan Validation Report for seasoned loans. AGORA’s proprietary technology enables car dealers and finance companies to avoid compliance issues with the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z), by assessing in real-time any issues with the terms of a loan, either at the portfolio or individual loan level. This includes assessment of the loan APR, Finance Charges, Principal Balance, Total of Payments, Unearned Interest and Gross Balance. Violation of Regulation Z can lead to significant penalties and other legal issues.

Roostify Names Courtney Keating Chakarun as New Chief Marketing Officer (Business Wire) Rated: B

Roostify, a leading digital lending platform provider, announced today that Courtney Keating Chakarun has joined the company as Chief Marketing Officer. Chakarun comes to Roostify from CoreLogic, where she served as Senior Vice President, Marketing & Innovation.

PeerIQ Announces Agreement with Liberty Lending (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

PeerIQ, the leading provider of risk analytics for consumer credit, today announced that Liberty Lending, a leading online platform that provides innovative borrowing solutions to deserving consumers, has entered into an agreement to license two PeerIQ products: Consumer Credit Suite and Analytics Platform.

United Kingdom

Credit Karma acquires Noddle from TransUnion and expands to the UK (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

Credit Karma, the US startup with 85 million users that offers credit reports and a platform to browse and buy other financial services, has made an acquisition to help it kick-start its first overseas expansion beyond the US and Canada: it has acquired Noddle, a UK-based credit reporting service with 4 million users, from TransUnion.

Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but Valerie Wagoner, Credit Karma’s VP of International (who had previously been at Twitter), said that it will be a full acquisition of tech and employees — 35 in all — and TransUnion is not taking any stake in Credit Karma as part of this deal, although the two will continue to work together with TransUnion providing data to Credit Karma, as it had done before.

As a point of reference — and a sign of the consolidation and competition in the market — earlier this year Experian acquired another credit scoring service in the UK, ClearScore, for the equivalent of $385 million. That service has 6 million users compared to Noddle’s 4 million. Competition authorities are still investigating that deal, and Credit Karma’s will also have to get the pass from regulators before closing.

Experian to Offer a New Trended Data ‘Multi-Dimensional View’ of UK Consumer Finances with the Launch of Credit 3D (Business Wire) Rated: A

Experian is launching a new range of services to help lenders evolve their approach to making consumer credit decisions, so businesses can make more informed decisions and deliver fairer, more affordable outcomes for their customers. It’s now possible to take a multi-dimensional view of a borrower’s financial health with Experian Credit 3D.

Knowing a consumer’s credit information at a single point in time only offers a snapshot of their financial behaviour. However, by using innovative trended and alternative data sources via Experian Credit 3D, businesses can access an unparalleled set of insights, enabling faster decisions based on a more rounded picture of affordability.

Insolvency reforms may hinder P2P loan recoveries (Peer2Peer Finance News) Rated: A

REFORMS to the way HMRC is treated as a creditor will make it harder for some peer-to-peer lending platforms to recover bad debts, an insolvency practitioner has warned.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in his 2018 Budget last week that HMRC would be given preferred creditor status in business insolvencies to ensure tax is collected.

Simon Bonney, a partner at Quantuma, told Peer2Peer Finance News this would impact any P2P platforms accepting floating charges, such as stock, receivables or cash at the bank, as security on loans.

Goji launches SIPP wrapper for direct lending bonds (Peer2Peer Finance News) Rated: A

GOJI has made its direct lending bonds available in a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) wrapper.

Investors can now access the specialist investment manager’s direct lending bond through both an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) and a SIPP.

Its diversified lending bond targets returns of more than five per cent by investing in loans sourced by alternative finance providers in the property, small business and education sector.

Lloyds Banking Group to add 2,000 jobs in digital shake-up (The Guardian) Rated: A

Lloyds Banking Group is planning a major restructuring of its workforce, adding 2,000 jobs as it refocuses its operations on digital technology.

Britain’s biggest high street lender will cut 6,000 jobs but create another 8,000 as part of a £3bn reorganisation over the course of the next two years.

The job losses will be spread across the group transformation division, corporate banking, retail and community banking, Sky News reported. New roles will be oriented towards digital technology.

Alternative Airlines: “Spread the cost of a flight over monthly instalments” (Travel Daily) Rated: A

UK based flight search site Alternative Airlines, has put the cat amongst the pigeons with an announcement of a new deal with Affirm to roll out what the American company describes as its “fair and honest alternatives” to traditional payment options.

The new partnership will see customers pay for their flights in instalments, instead of one single tranche. Giving them the opportunity to plan ahead and even open up a travellers horizons by giving them a chance to experience more wide-ranging trips, with the US customers able to divide fees over three, six and 12 months instalments.

China/Hong Kong

Chinese Wealth Manager Lufax Eyeing P2P Lending with Blockchain (Blockchain Reporter) Rated: AAA

Lufax is transferring its entire peer-to-peer (P2P) lending portfolio worth “tens of billions US dollars” onto the blockchain platform, according to a post on South China Morning Post.

Tencent-Backed WeBank Hits $ 21 Billion Valuation (Caixin Global) Rated: AAA

Tencent-backed online lender WeBank Co. Ltd. has reached a sky-high valuation of 147 billion yuan ($21 billion) after less than four years in operation, becoming one of the world’s largest “unicorn” companies.

The new valuation is based on a legal document  attached to an auction notice on Taobao.com, which described the upcoming auction of a minor stake in WeBank.

WeBank’s latest valuation makes it the fifth most valuable privately-held company in the world, based on the CB Insights list.

Hong Kong’s appeal as a virtual banking hub is about to be put to the test as first online lenders arrive (South China Morning Post) Rated: A

Of the 29 virtual bank licence applications before the HKMA, submissions have been made by WeLab, HKT, Standard Chartered Bank, as well as an alliance between Australia’s Airwallex, Bank of East Asia (BEA), and mainland firm Sequoia Capital China.

There are 21.43 bank branches and 50.09 ATMs for every 100,000 residents in Hong Kong, higher than the global city average of 12.6 and 47.55 respectively in 2016, according to World Bank data.

European Union

Linked Finance’s loans up 63% in first nine months of 2018 (RTE) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has facilitated loans of over €28m in the first nine months of this year, an increase of 63% on the same time last year.

The lender said it was on track for record growth this year.

It also noted that loans in the quieter third quarter covering the summer holiday months were up more than 62% to €9.3m, while average loan size also rose significantly – up 33% to €62,000.

International

Nubank is now worth $ 4 billion after Tencent’s $ 180 million investment (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

Nubank, the Brazilian financial services company, has raised $180 million from the Chinese internet giant, Tencent.

With the $4 billion valuation, it also makes Nubank one of the most highly valued privately held startups in Latin America.

International P2P Lending Volumes October 2018 (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Zopa leads ahead of Mintosand Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 481 million Euro. This month I added Crowdproperty.

Dofinance crossed 50M EUR total volume lent since launch.

Source: P2P Banking

The Fintech 250: The Top Fintech Startups Of 2018 (CB Insights) Rated: AAA

12 QED portfolio companies named to CB Insights’ Fintech 250 list of the most promising financial services start-ups: Shout outs to AvidXchange, blooom, CircleUp, Credit Karma, Creditas, Flywire, Klarna, LendUp, Nubank, Roofstock, Signifyd, and SoFi! (Credit: QED inaugural newsletter)

Source: CB Insights

Credit Karma

The company provides individuals with credit scores and reports and makes recommendations based on data accordingly

Klarna

Klarna offers safe and easy-to-use payment solutions to e-stores with the ambition to make e-commerce safer, simpler, and more fun.

LendUp

LendUp’s mission is to provide anyone with a path to better financial health. Through its proprietary software, it designs safe, transparent products that expand access, lower costs, and provide credit building opportunities for the population of Americans who currently have limited options within the traditional banking system because of low credit scores and income volatility.

Roofstock

Roofstock runs an online marketplace where retail and institutional investors can buy and sell homes in the United States occuped by renters.

The entire Fintech 250 list and report is available here.

Australia

New giants Afterpay and Revolut are redefining trust for the fintech generation (Australian Financial Review) Rated: AAA

More than 500 fintech aficionados hit the swanky Peninsula event space in Melbourne’s Docklands last week for the third annual Intersekt festival.

The three-day shindig, organised by FinTech Australia, debated topics such as how start-ups can capitalise on the loss of trust in incumbent institutions (exacerbated by the banking royal commission); and the extraordinary rise of “neobanks” around the world.

Anthony Eisen, co-founder of local payments star Afterpay, and Chad West, the marketing head of globally focused neobank Revolut, explained how they have lured customers by reinventing traditional fee models.

Unexpected expenses hit many of us, so here’s how to handle them (News) Rated: A

LARGE unexpected expenses are hitting the household budgets of two-thirds of Australians, and many are resorting to dangerously expensive credit cards to get themselves out of a financial jam.

Cars are the biggest cause of unpleasant financial surprises, according to new research by marketplace lender SocietyOne, followed by travel costs and medical bills.

The lender’s When ‘It’ Happens report reveals that 40 per cent of people would cover unexpected costs by borrowing money from family and friends, almost 20 per cent would add the expense to their mortgage, 31 per cent would sell stuff, and 28 per cent would take on extra credit card debt.

Asia

21 Remarkable Fintech Founders Under 35 in Southeast Asia (Fintech Singapore) Rated: AAA

Iwan Kurniawan, 28, Indonesia; Reynold Wijaya, 29, Indonesia Co-Founder, Modalku

Together with Kelvin Teo, Iwan Kurniawan and Reynold Wijaya founded Indonesia-based Modalku, called Funding Societies in its sister operations in Singapore and Malaysia, a peer-to-peer (P2P) digital lending platform that connects cash-strapped SMEs with lenders. The startup is backed by Sequoia, Softbank Ventures Korea, and Alpha JWC Ventures, and recently passed the US$110 million mark through more 3,000 loans to businesses in the region.

Rachel De Villa, 25, Philippines  Founder and CTO, Cropital

Rachel De Villa is the co-founder and CTO of Cropital, a crowdfunding platform that helps finance local Filipino farmers. Established in 2015, Cropital aims to improve the income and productivity of farmers through crowdfunding, providing scalable and sustainable financing. Through Cropital’s online platform, investors choose a farm or farms to invest in. Cropital manages the fund for the farmer making sure it goes to the right resources, assuring as well that investors will get a return on investment.

Abraham Viktor, 25, Indonesia  Co-Founder and CEO, Taralite

Abraham Viktor is the co-founder and CEO of Taralite, a P2P lending platform. Taralite’s loans are issued by financial institutions other than banks, also known as multi-financers, which allows it to reduce the interest rate up to 2% and extend the loan period of up to three years. The platform accepts houses, cars or motorcycles as collateral. Founded in January 2015 as Wedlite, Taralite graduated from startup incubator program Global Entrepreneurship Programme Indonesia (GEPI) in November 2015. Previously, Viktor was an investment banking analyst, first with Boston Consulting Group and later at Nomura investment banking.

Mohamed Abbas, 27, Singapore Co-Founder, Rely

Mohamed Abbas is a tech entrepreneur and the co-founder of Rely, a startup that enables online shoppers to shop and pay for their purchases by splitting their cost into manageable monthly payments, interest-free. Abbas is also the co-founder of Onelyst, an online marketplace that helps users from lower-income brackets compare loan rates across different licensed moneylenders. The website allows users to find loans for different purposes, such as medical or rental expenses, and produces a list of personalized options in minutes.

Gov’t To Launch Crowdfunding Platform To Help Home Buyers (Property Guru) Rated: A

The federal government announced during the tabling of Budget 2019 on Friday (2 November) that it will introduce a “property crowdfunding” platform by Q1 2019 to help Malaysians buying their first homes, reported Bernama.

On Sunday (4 November), Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the scheme is the first of its kind in the world, and will enable people to buy a home as long as they can a pay the 20 percent down payment, which can be financed via savings, debts or withdrawals from their Employee Provident Fund (EPF) account. The remaining 80 percent will be funded by investors via peer-to-peer lending supervised by the Securities Commission.

Dubbed as FundMyHome.com, the property crowdfunding platform is expected to help the Pakatan Harapan administration fulfil its election promise of one million low-cost housing within 10 years.

Malaysia teams up with The Edge on property financing portal (Tech in Asia) Rated: B

CIMB and Maybank are the participating institutions that will contribute towards the externally funded 80-percent portion of the house price, with more expected to sign up in the future.

The site – developed by finance and real estate media platform The Edge – will list about 1,000 homes costing less than US$120,000 during the first phase of its rollout. All properties listed will be completed or near completion, and buyers looking for rental income will be allowed to “buy to rent” through the portal.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday July 25 2018, Daily News Digest

Lending Club IPO

News Comments Today’s main news: Square, eBay partner on businesss loans. BNP Paribas launches UK fund for SME lending. Crowdstacker seeking 800K GBP on Seedrs. PPDAI to boost tech investment. Alipay, WeBank competition heats up. Today’s main analysis: The good news and bad news about Lending Club. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans are splurging on personal loans. How irresponsible mortgage lenders […]

Lending Club IPO

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

eBay & Square Partner on Business Loans (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY)  and Square Capital (NYSE:SQ) have signed an agreement to provide up to $100,000 in credit to sellers – in as little as one day. The partnership is not only a streamlined offering of financing for small businesses that use eBay but also a whack at traditional banks which are mostly unable to match such a speedy lending agreement.

Scott Cutler, Senior Vice President, Americas at eBay, says that eBay is committed to helping their sellers and providing credit in partnership with Square simply makes sense.

For example, if you have $30,000 CC debt and good credit you can get a 3-year payoff at about 6% and a 5 year at about 7%. That is a big improvement over a typical rate of 17.5% on purchases and an amazing 23.5% on cash advances. So you take out the $30,000 loan, pay off your credit cards and save thousands in interest while you are at it. In addition, your CC is now zero and you can start using it again.

Source: Seeking Alpha

They came to market via an IPO late in 2014 and were an immediate hit rising over 50% their first day. They were immediately valued at over $9 billion. Today they are at less than $2 billion, a drop of almost 80%.

And finally here is LC’s chart since the IPO. Talk about ugly.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Americans are splurging on personal loans thanks to fintech startups (Quartz) Rated: AAA

The stock of personal loans outstanding has grown to about $120 billion as of March, according to TransUnion data. That compares with $71.9 billion a decade ago—worth around $90 billion adjusted for inflation—when the subprime mortgage crisis crescendoed. About 17 million Americans have this type of debt which, unlike mortgages and automobile loans, isn’t collateralized by an asset.

Source: Quartz

Upstart financial technology companies like Lending Club, Prosper, and Avant account for about a third of this lending, up from less than 1% in 2010.

Source: Quartz

How Irresponsible Mortgage Lenders Created A Second Housing Bubble (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Rents Are Falling, But Prices Are Surging

I believe the culprit is a new crop of lenders who are outside of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulations on FICO scores and DTI. For example, San Francisco lender Social Finance (SoFi) is offering up to 3 million dollar loans with 10 percent down and “flexible DTI.

Source: Seeking Alpha
Source: Seeking Alpha

Firms like SoFi are the engine driving the madness in the California housing market. Here’s what Michael Tannenbaum, former Vice President of SoFi, had to say about their loans in 2016, “Sixty-five percent of the business we do is first-time home buyers; it’s a big deal we’re opening up to the jumbo first-time market.” A year later, he was gone. Other gems from the San Francisco Chronicle article – SoFi’s average loan at the time was $800,000 and two-thirds were in California. I shudder to think what their average loan size and DTI is now. Also, in addition to not being big fans of debt to income ratios, SoFi isn’t big on using other traditional measures like FICO scores to evaluate borrowers. In 2016, they declared their company a “FICO Free Zone” in a press release. Said a former business development associate, “The volume of applications coming in was crazy.” Other sources reported on the wild sex culture at the firm. As for their underwriting practices? As long as housing prices went up, they were more or less irrelevant. But, if prices go down, SoFi and their backers stand to lose a lot of money.

A Conversation with Figure’s Mike Cagney (Financial Revolutionist) Rated: A

Mike Cagney’s return to fintech’s center stage had been foreshadowed by a handful of reports suggesting that his new company would be focused on the origination of real estate-related assets and that, somehow, blockchain would figure into the mix. But Cagney, who played a foundational role in building SoFi into one of fintech’s biggest success stories before his departure, isn’t the type of entrepreneur who thinks small and nichey. With his new company, Figure, and the blockchain protocol it has built, Provenance, Cagney and his team of 80 professionals are taking aim at the gigantic world of institutional capital markets transactions. Why? Because that’s one place where the vig (i.e., rent-seeking) still sloshes around in copious amounts. But unlike SoFi, which is taking aim at banks, Cagney is now fixing his gaze on the administrators, trustees, custodians and other intermediaries who take a cut out of each securitization and other types of deals. On the eve of the first transaction to be put on Provenance (a HELOC), The FR’s Gregg Schoenberg sat down with Cagney to learn more about his plans and how blockchain is central to his mission.

Could Fintech & Blockchain Lending Further Drive The Housing Market Boom? (Forbes) Rated: A

Those who do not have the scores to secure loans from traditional lenders now have alternatives particularly in the form of P2P lenders. These platforms pool together money from interested investors and loan them out to borrowers.

They also have a much quicker turnaround compared to what customers might experience with banks and other large lenders. While these services started out only to fund smaller personal loans, some like LendingClub have grown and expanded to allow larger-value loans like mortgages to be made on the platform.

Blockchain-based lenders have built upon this crowdfunding concept and enhanced it with blockchain’s capabilities with smart contracts and tokenization. While initial efforts as espoused by the likes of 

Employer-focused PFM company gets $ 40 million (Business Insider) Rated: A

US-based personal finance management (PFM) company Even has raised a $40 million Series B funding round led by Keith Rabois of Khoshla Ventures, and including Valar Ventures, Allen & Company, Harrison Metal, Ron Conway, and Silicon Valley Bank.

Source: Business Insider

Even integrates with attendance, payroll, and banking systems to help consumers improve their financial health. Its features include Instapay, which enables users to request the money they have earned before their actual payday, and it uses AI to give users an “okay to spend” amount, so they don’t get surprised by sudden expenses. Additionally, it offers an automatic savings feature, similar to other PFM companies including Acorns and Cleo.

Fintech Startup LoanSnap Raises $ 8m in Series A Financing (Finsmes) Rated: A

LoanSnap, a San Francisco, CA-based developer of technology that protects people against dumb loans, raised $8m in Series A financing.

The round was led by True Ventures with participation from Baseline Ventures, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Core Innovation Partners, Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures, OVO Fund, Transmedia Ventures, and angel investors.

BlockFi Raises $ 52.5M for Cryptoasset-backed Loans (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

BlockFi, the leading cryptoasset to USD lender, announced today it has raised $52.5M to expand operations. Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC, a digital currency and blockchain technology investment firm founded by Mike Novogratz led the deal. This marks the industry’s first institutional investment in cryptoasset backed loans. BlockFi’s existing investors, which include ConsenSys Ventures and PJC, also participated in the funding round.

  • BlockFi planning rapid expansion of cryptoasset-to-USD lending platform
  • BlockFi partners with Galaxy Digital Lending LLC on loan purchasing facility and receives equity investment from Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC
  • Marks first institutional investment in cryptoasset backed loans

Credit Card Payoff App Tally Raises $ 25 Million (Cheddar) Rated: A

Tally, an automated debt-managing app, has raised $25 million in Series B funding with the goal of expanding its reach and finding new ways to alleviate consumers’ financial anxiety, Cheddar has learned.

Southern States Multifamily Portfolio Sells, Exceeding Targeted Returns for ArborCrowd Investors (The Daily Times) Rated: A

ArborCrowd (the “Company”) today announced its Southern States Multifamily Portfolio (SSMP) investment has been realized ahead of schedule, outpacing targeted return estimates. One of the properties in the portfolio is located in Mississippi and sold in late 2017. The two remaining properties, located in Alabama, recently sold. The aggregate portfolio sales price was $25.85 million, generating an internal rate of return (IRR) of over 29% for ArborCrowd investors.

The transaction marks the first of ArborCrowd’s six deals to complete its investment cycle, and its success is a great sign of the long-term viability of the Company’s growing platform. The SSMP investment opportunity was quickly oversubscribed when ArborCrowd presented the deal on its platform in February 2017, raising over $2.1 million in just 5 days. The over 29% IRR generated by the sale of the portfolio far exceeded the targeted 17% to 20% IRR projected by ArborCrowd at the time of the offering.

Lendio Reports Q2 Results: 90% Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth (Lendio) Rated: A

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced record growth across all areas of its business, including 90 percent year-over-year quarterly revenue growth. To date, Lendio has helped facilitate more than $900 million in financing to over 45,000 small businesses across the U.S. and Canada through its marketplace of more than 75 small business lenders. The growth milestone comes after an 80 percent increase in loans funded through the Lendio platform in the last year.

From July 2017 to June 2018, Lendio facilitated nearly $400 million in loans to more than 22,000 small businesses. The average initial loan size among Lendio’s small business customers grew to nearly $35,000. The top five industries funded through Lendio’s marketplace include construction, retail, restaurants, health care and information media.

GM Maven CEO: Peer-To-Peer Auto Lending Will Be A Large Market (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Julia Steyn, Maven CEO, on their new peer-to-peer lending program for GM car owners, and the progress Maven is making in the shared economy.


Whitepages Pro Unveils Pro Insight, a Global Identity Review Solution Powered by Machine Learning (Global Newswire) Rated: A

Whitepages Pro, a global leader in digital identity verification, today announced Whitepages Pro Insight, a new and improved manual review solution designed to help businesses assess the identity risk of their customers, approve good transactions, and investigate fraud on a global scale. As the only global identity review solution that provides six ways to search, it enables users to balance accuracy and efficiency through direct workflow integrations, machine learning-informed insight, and robust analytics.

Within Pro Insight, users are first presented with Identity Review, a comprehensive interface that verifies and cross-checks both digital and traditional identity attributes (name, email, phone, primary and secondary addresses, and IP) to verify the identity behind a transaction. The solution analyzes and presents the relationships between the five core identity attributes in several intuitive ways:

  • Confidence Score – An overall measure of the risk associated with a transaction that cross-references the five core identity attributes. The Confidence Score is powered by machine learning insights from billions of transactional patterns across the Whitepages Pro Identity Network and the 70+ data signals of the Identity Check API.
  • Positive and negative signals – A concise list of primary factors that influence a given Confidence Score.
  • Results columns – A detailed list of matches, mismatches, and invalid inputs based on the links between a transaction’s identity elements. Users can click on specific attributes to further investigate associated people, historical data, and more.
  • Distance Map – A visual representation of geographical distances between phone, primary address, secondary address, and IP address.

Center For The New Middle Class: Non-Prime Consumers Spending More Responsibly On Vacation (Payment Week) Rated: A

Non-prime consumers are significantly less likely to be taking to the road for vacation this summer, opting for staycations instead, and spending far less on vacations if they take one, a new study released today from Elevate’s 

Source: The Center for the New Middle Class

Key findings from the CNMC survey conducted in June include:

  • The non-prime are 29% less likely to take a vacation
  • The non-prime are 22% more likely to “staycation”
  • If they do take a vacation, the non-prime spend half as much
  • The non-prime are 2x as likely to have turned down a vacation due to financial constraints
  • The non-prime are 61% more likely to borrow money for a vacation
  • Non-prime spend 18% less per child on summer entertainment
  • Those with children were more likely to take vacations and borrow money to cover costs

The research also indicated that across both credit segments, summer community resource utilization (i.e. pools, parks, libraries, etc.) was relatively high, with more than 85% in both segments using these facilities. Summer entertainment expenses per child were also very similar between the prime and non-prime groups.

Read the full report here.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Crowdstacker Now Seeking £800,000 Through Seedrs Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Crowdstacker, a UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is now seeking £800,000through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. Founded in 2014, Crowdstacker describes itself as an award-winning FCA regulated online alternative investment platform that provides ISA eligible P2P loans, bonds, and loan notes.

BNP Paribas launches UK fund for SME lending (FinTech Futures) Rated: AAA

BNP Paribas Asset Management will launch BNP Paribas UK SME Debt Fund 1, offering clients access to the UK SME lending market.

The asset management arm of the bank’s new fund will invest in senior loans to SMEs with an annual turnover of less than £50 million through its BNPP AM’s SME Alternative Financing platform.

The platform uses proprietary big data technology, which pairs with the bank’s balance sheet and infrastructure.

Podcast 159: Christoph Rieche of iwoca (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Christoph Rieche is the CEO and Co-Founder of iwoca, a small business lender based in London with operations also in Germany and Poland. The name iwoca stands for instant working capital so they have leveraged technology in order to provide capital to small businesses quickly and efficiently.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Why Christoph decided to start iwoca.
  • The segment of the small business market they focus on.
  • What is behind the continued decline in overall small business loan volumes.
  • The loan product offered by iwoca.
  • The typical size of their credit lines.
  • The kinds of businesses applying for credit at iwoca.
  • How their underwriting works and level of automation they use.

Navigating through the P2P property maze (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

Landbay investors can expect returns of around 3.54 per cent on its fixed-rate product, or 3.18 per cent with its tracker-rate option, by investing in loans secured by UK property.

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association member launched its IFISA in February last year, meaning that Landbay customers can also benefit from tax-free earnings on their investments.

LandlordInvest’s investors have earned average annual returns of 11.3 per cent to date, secured by residential or commercial property, with the option of an IFISA wrapper

London Proptech Firm Goodlord Forms New Open Banking Partnership With TrueLayer (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Goodlord, a UK-based proptech platform, has formed a new open banking partnership with TrueLayer. Founded in 2014, Goodlord reports that its cloud-based platform is trusted by hundreds of agencies across the UK. The company has created a one-stop-shop by providing access to a dynamic suite of specialized services, including insurance, e-signing, referencing, and e-payments.

Starling Bank takes on Monzo with daring debit card design (FinTech Futures) Rated: B

UK digital challenger Starling Bank is upping its design game with the launch of a new teal-coloured vertical debit card as it plays catch up with Monzo.

The new card has all customer details, including name, card number and expiry date, on the back – and it’s rolling them out this week.

The card is inspired by the blue-green tones of the plumage of the starling bird. It is also one of the initial group of 16 original “web colours” formulated in 1987 to display web pages, reflecting Starling’s digital heritage.

China

PPDai to boost technology investment (Shine) Rated: AAA

PPDai, China’s first online peer-to-peer lending platform listed in the US, said today it would increase its registered capital to 1 billion yuan (US$149 million) and expand its artificial intelligence applications to hedge risks and improve investor confidence amid concerns over P2P lending.

The Shanghai-based company, which has about 71 million users ,employs AI, Big Data and blockchain to fight against risk and fraud.

Alipay and WeBank competition heats up as China reins in leverage (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Alipay and WeBank are set up perfectly to take advantage of new priorities from Chinese policymakers to increase the flow of capital to small companies and households, their approach is different as WeBank looks to use bank partnerships to make capital connections.

Alipay uses scale, data and technology capabilities to compete with banks for deposits and funds its borrowing through the ABS market.

Alipay and WeBank plan to list their finance arms soon which will continue to put pressure on the rivalry as well as the broader financial market in China.

Zennon Kapron on what’s next for Chinese fintech (China Economic Review) Rated: A

Analysing these questions is all part of the day job for Zennon Kapron, the head of fintech research and consulting firm Kapronasia. In this interview with China Economic Review, Kapron gives his take on some of the market’s recent developments, and explains why China’s fintech industry is such an exciting space to watch.

CER: How worried should we be about the recent panic surrounding China’s small P2P lending platforms?

ZK: The fact that P2P lending platforms are failing is not surprising. Many of these platforms had inadequate internal operational processes, poor lending practices, and in some cases, were just complete scams. What will be interesting to see is if retail investors will still want to put new money on these platforms. I get the impression at the moment that many investors are just trying to get their money out. Even if the P2P industry manages to right itself, it may find that all the investors are gone.

China’s P2P Online Lending Dominoes Continue to Fall (Ciaxin) Rated: A

Another domino in China’s peer-to-peer lending industry fell.

Beijing-based iqianbang.com was the latest online P2P lending platform to close down. The company announced a “benign exit” last Friday night, citing “deteriorating online lending environment and drying up liquidity.”

Investors in several P2P platforms, including iqianbang.com, gathered Monday at a local Beijing police station to report the loss of money to police.

Chinese P2P Lender’s Controller Disappears After Sponsoring Portugal (Yicai Global) Rated: A

Zheng Yansen, the controller of peer-to-peer lender Guangzhou Leader Internet Financial Information Service has disappeared, the firm announced yesterday.

It also acknowledged that ‘some of its projects are delayed’ and said it will set up a work group as soon as possible to inventory its assets and businesses, request borrowers to repay loans earlier than scheduled, and liquidate collateral as quickly as possible.

European Union

FinLeap Partners With Fabrick to Launch Financial Management Startup for Small Businesses (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

FinLeap, the fintech start-up platform behind Germany’s SolarisBank, announced on Monday it has teamed up with Italian open banking platform Fabrick to launch a new financial management startup specifically for small businesses. According to FinLeap, the startup, called Beesy, will simplify accounting, tax and banking services for micro-enterprises and freelancers.

As soon as Beesy is launched, FinLeap added it will provide more details about the services and how they work.

Rabobank’s novel approach to protecting customer data (American Banker) Rated: A

Take Dutch-based Rabobank, for example, which now converts customer data to the Latin names of flowers and animals in order to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation that sensitive client information be disguised.

At the heart of all these regulations is the mandate that companies must make sure no one can access customer data who shouldn’t, and that every effort is made to protect that data from breaches. Storing customer data in the clear — not encrypted, anonymized, or pseudonymized — is not acceptable, to regulators or anyone else.

Source: American Banker
International

MoneyGram And Visa Team To Deliver Real-Time Global P2P (PYMNTS) Rated: A

MoneyGram and Visa announced today (July 24) that they have partnered to deliver real-time digital disbursements to MoneyGram customers using Visa’s push payments platform, Visa Direct.

Launching in October in two key markets, Mexico and the Philippines, MoneyGram will expand its options in which receivers from those markets may receive and use funds instantly  via their bank-issued Visa-branded debit card or Visa-branded prepaid card  and senders may choose the option by which to send those funds. The partnership leverages the trust that consumers globally have in the MoneyGram and Visa brands, as well as the ability for receivers to access funds 24/7/365 without having to visit an agent location to pick up cash.

Australia

Property Connect enters technology agreement with Clearmatch to market new lending products (Small Caps) Rated: A

Realty services group Property Connect Holdings (ASX: PCH) has entered into a minimum five-year licence agreement to use a technology platform powered by marketplace treasury company Clearmatch, in the development and marketing of its own lending products designed to ease property market transactions.

The binding heads of agreement allows Property Connect to use the SocietyOne platform owned by Clearmatch to develop products focused on the emerging project development finance and residential mortgage sectors within the private peer-to-peer lending market.

India

P2P lending platform Monexo partners with Cube Wealth for new-clientele (Business Standard) Rated: B

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lender, has partnered with to provide clients with an alternative avenue for investments. The app-based firm’s user-base of 350,000 customers will have an option of placing a portion of their investments onto Monexo’s platform.

The market space is only three years old and until last October operated without any regulatory oversight. While there are 3,000 lenders in China with a total lending book of $500 million, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is said to have approved licenses to around eight firms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

Friday September 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today is by far the busiest and most interesting day of this past week: News: SoFi expects to make a $80mil profit in 2016, is raising $500mil eyeing entering the EU, and much more info here with numbers and strategy discussion. Klarna launching online lending to thousands of online retailers. Great data on […]

Friday September 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

New Zealand

News Summary

 

United States

Online Retailers Are Proof of Marketplace Lending’s Sustainability, (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Recent news and commentary have been anything but optimistic on the future of marketplace lending. But are the negative projections simply drummed up by traditional banks or is there a real reason to be concerned?

According to Morgan Stanley, global marketplace lending grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 123% from 2010 to 2014 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 51% from 2014 to 2020. Given that real global economic growth is closer to 3%, what explains marketplace lending’s more pronounced growth?

When pondering this subject, I find it interesting to see how other industries have fared as technology and investment have brought the end user greater value and transparency. The sector of the economy which has seen the most visible change has been that of retail where the consumer is shopping less at stores and malls while spending more online.

The trend is rapidly affecting many of the largest retail chains and malls around the country. The change in consumer behavior is all too clear to retailers like Macy’s, which recently announced the closure of 15% (100 of 668) of its stores. The bottom line is that technology combined with forward-thinking investment by some of the larger online sellers has significantly changed consumer behavior.

According to a Gallup poll last year, customers using bank branches dropped by 50% between 2011 and 2014. One function that kept many customers going into bank branches was to deposit checks. Since 2014, many banks have rolled out mobile deposit apps, further accentuating the fall in foot traffic to branches. And how does this impact lending? Traditionally, lending was one of the banking roles always done in person, whether it was a personal line of credit or a mortgage.

There are reasons for marketplace lending investors to still be encouraged. Investor returns on the main platforms have been strong, with historical yields between 5.20% and 8.37%, depending on the grade of the loan. With U.S. interest rates at or close to zero, we have seen investors searching for alternatives to equities that offer both yield and diversification and for many, they are finding this in marketplace loans.

Additionally, assuming that online lenders stay clear of overly leveraged securitization, which we saw accentuate the financial crisis, marketplace lending has the potential to reduce systemic risk by spreading exposure across many investors rather than having it sit with a small number of big banks.

What’s Next if Payday Loans Go Away?, (Morning consult), Rated: AAA

Stronger regulation of payday lending could increase the use of financial technology such as online marketplace lending, said William Michael Cunningham, founder of Creative Investment Research, which studies trends in banking in black communities.

As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau prepares to finalize proposed rules cracking down on payday lenders, critics and proponents alike are speculating on what would fill the need for short-term, small-dollar loans.

Payday lending has garnered criticism from progressive Democrats, such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who argue that the practice preys on the poor, trapping low-income borrowers in a cycle of deepening debt.

If payday lending were to become less profitable because of the rules, it could result in increased use of installment loans, advocates say.

The proposed CFPB regulation — with a comment period ending in October — would require lenders to confirm that borrowers are able to repay a loan, aiming to prevent borrowers from being stifled by high-interest rates and monthly payments.

Payday loans have become a major source of credit in low-income African-American communities as black-owned banks and other, more highly regulated depository institutions, have slumped, Cunningham said in an interview.

“For a lot of black people in a lot of communities, they don’t have a good alternative to the high-cost payday lending,” he said.

“A lot of free-market guys say, ‘This is just a legal product, and if people want to use it, then they should be able to use it,’,” Cunningham said. “To me, that’s crazy talk.”

“One could make the case that CFPB should take some of that fine money that they’re getting from these financial institutions and create a fund to create responsible depository institutions serving some of these communities,” he said.

“I think it’s the question of whether they’re regulating the product or intending to eliminate the product,” said Dennis Shaul, chief executive of the Community Financial Services Association of America, a trade group for short-term lenders.

A Pew Charitable Trusts report in August said that installment lending can still be harmful.

Shaul’s group took aim Tuesday at the CFPB, saying it “buried and ignored” a slate of positive testimonials about payday loans. CFPB did not provide a comment on the allegations. The portion of borrowers overwhelmed by payday loans — who have borrowed for an excessively long period and are mired in a cycle of renewing them — is arguably small, at 15 percent to 20 percent, Shaul said.

Klarna launches its first credit product with new U.S. partnerships,(TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Now Bigcommerce, Shopify, Magento, Demandware, OpenCart, and Cybersource (that together account for over thousands of online merchants) will be offering credit lines through Klarna. For the European fintech unicorn (currently valued at $2.25 billion and already profitable), it’s a big deal.

Klarna already provides “try before you buy” services that allow shoppers to pay after delivery (rather than paying upfront with a card or bank account), but this is actually the first time that the company can extend a line of credit online.

The company already has a banking license in Europe and is currently working with WebBankon lending in the U.S., however, it’s also considering making a bigger splash in the States by buying its own bank.

SoFi Looks to Raise $ 500 Million in Latest Test for Fintech, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Privately held SoFi hopes to raise about $500 million in equity to fund new growth initiatives among mass-market borrowers and international markets, according to the people and a presentation reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

To manage through the tougher environment, online lenders including LendingClub, Prosper Marketplace Inc., and Avant Inc. eliminated hundreds of jobs, started charging their customers more to borrow and mothballed projects to expand into new products or countries.

Now, SoFi is looking to branch out from its main student-lending business into the territory from which many of those lenders are backtracking. While it has historically focused on borrowers with pristine credit histories—the company refers to them as Henrys, or “high earners not rich yet”—SoFi is considering lending to prime borrowers with slightly lower but still good credit scores.

“Between Brexit impacting U.K. student loans to the insatiable demand for [euro]-denominated assets, the macro tailwinds support European expansion,” according to the presentation, referring to Britain’s vote in June to leave the European Union.

Unlike many fintech startups, SoFi expects to be profitable this year. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, are expected to be $81.3 million in 2016 and $262.5 million in 2017, compared with a loss of $2.8 million in 2015, according to the presentation.

The company expects to take in $357.4 million in revenue in 2016 and $638.1 million in 2017, up from $114.7 million in 2015, according to the presentation. SoFi soon could pass LendingClub in revenue if current projections hold. LendingClub’s revenue is expected to be $469.7 million in 2016 and $569 million in 2017, according to consensus estimates of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Longer term, SoFi has said it wants to compete against the largest financial players by expanding into credit cards, deposit accounts, insurance, and wealth management. SoFi projects that it will extend about $10.5 billion in student, mortgage, and personal loans this year and about $17.5 billion next year, up from $5.2 billion last year. LendingClub’s 2015 loan volume was $8.4 billion.

A fundraising of a half-billion dollars wouldn’t be SoFi’s largest. Last year, SoFi raised more than $1.2 billion in new equity from investors, including Japanese internet giant SoftBank Group Corp. and hedge fund Third Point LLC. The SoftBank investment valued the company at around $4 billion, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.

RiverNorth Gets Approval From SEC for Marketplace Lending 40-Act Fund, (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Comment: we covered the launching of RiverNorth. What we missed was that it was a public fund, aka a 40-act fund.

The fund will be listed under the ticker RMPLX and will be available through several major fund platforms over the next few months. They can raise up to a billion dollars with the new fund although the initial investment will be lower with new investors coming in over time.

The fund structure is setup as an interval fund and there will be a NAV that is priced each day. Investing is similar to that of an open-ended fund as investors can purchase at the NAV price on any day, but the liquidity is similar to that of a private fund. Liquidity is offered quarterly and the total redemption amount will vary from 5% – 25% of the fund as determined by the board of directors based on market conditions, liquidity of the fund’s assets and shareholder servicing considerations

The fund also intends to use leverage.

From the filing:

The Fund currently intends to use leverage for investment and other purposes, such as for satisfying repurchase requests or to otherwise provide the Fund with liquidity.  Under the 1940 Act, the Fund may utilize leverage through the issuance of preferred stock in an amount up to 50% of its total assets and/or through borrowings and/or the issuance of notes or debt securities (collectively, “Borrowings”) in an aggregate amount of up to 33-1/3% of its total assets.

The other two important factors for investors are eligibility and expenses. There is a $1 million minimum investment which will apply at the individual investor level if the investor does not have an existing relationship with a RIA. If the investor does have a relationship with an advisor, the minimum would apply to the advisor which could lower the minimum investment per individual. As is noted in the prospectus:

 The Fund expects that the Shares will be initially offered primarily to clients of registered investment advisers and other institutional investors.

Fees for management expenses are 125 bps, although it is waived to 95 bps for the first two years of the fund.

It’s great to finally see the 40-Act funds get off the ground and open up investing in marketplace lending to more investors here in the US. It will be interesting to see how well the RiverNorth fund is received

 

Orchard Platform Is Disrupting Financial Services From The Inside Out, (Forbes), Rated: A

Since its appearance on Forbes’ first annual Next Billion Dollar Startups list last year, the New York-based Orchard Platform has grown its team by at least 200%, partnered with over 20 new loan originators, and continued expanding internationally. But beyond that, Orchard has been working to develop exactly what marketplace lending needs to transition from this year’s growing pains into adulthood: a secondary market.

Orchard’s general mission is simple—become a turn-key solution to both sides of the marketplace lending table. But to fully accomplish that is a much more difficult task involving close collaboration with the same entities that are anathema to many startups: regulatory bodies and financial institutions.

For the past two years, Burton and Orchard have worked closely with the SEC to clarify regulations surrounding marketplace lending and launch what would become the first-ever secondary market in the space. Burton and his team applied for Orchard’s broker-dealer registration, clearly articulated their objectives, and have since moved in lock-step with FINRA to educate them on the industry, all while building out their relationships with policy leaders in D.C.

In a whitepaper on marketplace lending published this past spring, the U.S. Treasury Department made clear that there is a need for a secondary market.

While Burton argues that the LendingClub faulty loans were an isolated incident, and investors have continued to show confidence in its products, the incident exposed the danger of allowing the hype of a still-growing asset class to get ahead of its reality.

September 12, 2016.

This transaction represents SoFi Lending Corp’s. (“SoFi” or the “Company”) third rated securitization collateralized by a portfolio of unsecured consumer loans. SoFi currently originates personal loans through its state licenses or complies with certain requirements where a state lending license is not required. There was one prior unrated securitization, in which SoFi or SoFi’s institutional investors were the sponsors and the collateral was unsecured consumer loans.

The Golden Ratio of P2P, (NSR Invest Email), Rated: B

P2p is a non-volatile, uncorrelated asset with one main risk: the risk that unemployment goes up.

In finance, we call this a “sensitivity.” The good news, my friends, is that a p2p portfolio’s sensitivity to unemployment is a manageable risk. But how? By keeping the default rate in your portfolio as low as possible, of course!

Comment: An article that started well but was very disappointing afterward.  I think that by saying  ” by keeping the defaults” low is like saying “by waving a magic wand”. What you probably want to talk about is how default to unemployment correlation curves vary by loan grade. So you need to take into account that curve to predict default in rising unemployment markets and buy today consequently. 

Promise Financial Launches Digital Cosigner Loans, (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Promise Financial, the marketplace lending platform focused on life event financing, announced today that it has launched a digital cosigner loan product. In addition to the company’s individual loans, which primarily serve prime-credit consumers, cosigner loans allow Promise Financial to serve a wide range of non-prime consumers.

“Cosigner loans are a terrific option for consumers who have limited credit experience or have had credit difficulties in the past, but need and deserve access to borrower-friendly financing.”

FutureVault Launches the Most Sophisticated Digital Filing Cabinet and Safety Deposit Box Ever Built at Finovate in New York City, (Email), Rated: B

Comment: The most outrageous title and claim for the week, maybe even for the month. Perhaps a little bit of modesty would help. I would recommend avoiding phrases like “ever built” unless you can clearly prove it is the case. It is difficult to prove that nobody else has ever built this product in-house or commercialized it, ever.

 United Kingdom

FCA circles on P2P platforms with September ‘business model’ inspections, (Alt Fi Credit), Rated: AAA

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will spend the next month in site visits to the larger p2p and crowdfunding platforms with the goal of better understanding their business models , according to two people familiar with the matter.

“The authorisation department has asked us lots of questions like ‘do you have disaster recovery’…and on the other hand they are coming and asking ‘how does your business work’,” said another top industry figure also requesting anonymity.

It is broadly accepted that the FCA is more skeptical of the nascent industry than the UK Treasury which is seen as being very enthusiastic for P2P and fintech as a whole, particularly during the past six years under George Osborne’s former chancellorship.

The FCA has also said that it might take steps to mandate the disclosure of performance data: “Based on the outcome of the review, to help potential investors better understand the risks, we could consider whether to mandate additional disclosures, for example setting out how many businesses that raised funds have since failed and how many have had successful pay-outs,” it said in the review.

China

Tse and Meller — Chinese companies lead the way in fintech innovation, (Nikkei), Rated: A

Financial technologies companies backed by Chinese venture capital raised $2.4 billion in the first quarter of 2016, according to accounting firm KPMG. This represented a 49% share of global fintech investment in the period, bigger than that of North America and Europe combined.

Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba Group Holding‘s fintech affiliate, itself raised $4.5 billion in April, making it the largest round of funding for a fintech company in the world.

Four out of the five largest fintech companies in the world by valuation are now in China, according to Jason Jones, chief executive of lending industry events group LendIt: Ant Financial; Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange, or Lufax, which operates as Lu.com; Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance and JD.com‘s JD Finance.

According to the Mintai Institute of Finance, nearly 80% of small- and medium-sized enterprises in China are not adequately served by banks.

Ant Financial developed Sesame Rating, China’s first credit scoring system.

Chinese entrepreneurs’ willingness to experiment means products and services hit the market quickly and evolve quickly. Initially, AliPay, Ant Financial’s payment service, was used only as a payment method for Alibaba’s e-commerce platform. Now, AliPay can be used at brick-and-mortar stores, for utility bills and even for overseas shopping.

China has become fertile ground for fintech solutions. Online wealth management has gained traction among young middle-class consumers. As more risk-tolerant investors, they tend to favor equities and mutual funds over traditional savings accounts. At $66.9 billion in 2015, China’s peer-to-peer lending market is now the world’s largest and more than four times the size of its U.S. counterpart.

China’s internet giants have some of the most sophisticated fintech ecosystems.

Tencent founded WeBank, China’s first online-only bank, in 2014. WeBank offers the consumer, corporate and international banking services. By May 2015, it had launched a personal credit line service to select users without guarantee or collateral through Tencent’s QQ and WeChat messaging platforms. Unlike Ant Financial, WeBank acts as a platform connecting borrowers and lenders directly rather than from its own balance sheet, allowing it to avoid credit risk.

Chinese fintech companies are now starting to expand overseas. In September 2015, Ant Financial acquired a majority stake in Paytm, India’s biggest online payment company, to gain access to a massive population just beginning to embrace mobile payments.

Most Online Lending Platforms Do Business Without License, (Caixin Online), Rated: A

There were 2,235 peer-to-peer (P2P) financing sites in China by the end of August, but only 242 of them had obtained an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license from local telecom regulators, according to data compiled by Yingcan Zixun, which tracks the industry.

Draft rules by China’s banking regulators in August said online lenders should get an ICP license from their local telecom regulatory authority after registering with the government finance office. It’s a requirement that reinforces an internet regulation issued in 2000 that demands a license for all for-profit Internet information service providers.

ut, in practice, few online financing platforms follow the rules.

European Union

The European alternative finance industry is lagging far behind the US and the UK, (Business Insider), Rated: A

Comment: we saw the Cambridge report for Alternative Finance report yesterday. This is just a reminder for our readers with a pop title from Business Insider.

The European alt finance industry’s market volume was €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in 2015, up 72% from €594 million ($668 million) the year before. In comparison, the UK industry’s market volume was €4 billion ($4.5 billion) in 2015, up 84% YoY, while the market volume in the US was €34 billion ($38 billion), up 213% from 2014.

New Zealand

Xero teams up to get into finance game, (Stuff), Rated: AAA

Wellington startup Fuelled has teamed up with accounting software provider Xero to launch a new lending service.

Fuelled will advance Xero customers up to 90 per cent of the money they are owed on invoices, for up to 90 days, at annual interest rates of between 9 and 15 per cent.

Fulcher said the partnership with Xero was important because it enabled Fuelled – with borrowers’ permission – to look at customers’ accounts and see their financial position, including their bank statements.

Xero rival MYOB has also moved into the financing industry, which MYOB chief executive Tim Reed said was a natural extension for its business. Earlier this year it took a minority stake in the Australian arm of United States small business financier OnDeck, which has lent US$5 billion to businesses in North America and Australia since it was founded in 2007.

MYOB customers that applied for loans through OnDeck had to provide much less information than they would when applying for a bank loan, because of the information MYOB already had on their businesses, he said.

New Zealand Online Lender Harmoney Tops 0 Million in Less than 2 Years, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Harmoney, a New Zealand based peer to peer lending platform, has surpassed $300 million in lending just shy of their 2 year anniversary of consumer lending.

Interest rates start at 9.99% today. Lenders have averaged a realized return of  approximately 13% (net of fees and losses) since platform launch. Harmoney is the largest “Australasian” peer to peer lending marketplace providing loans from $1,000 and $35,000. The company is gearing up for growth in Australia.  Harmoney was launched with NZ $100 million of lending capital from institutions including Blue Elephant Capital Management & Heartland Bank. Heartland Bank is a shareholder in Harmoney.

As of March 2016, Harmoney reported a loss of $14.2 million before tax on revenues of $8.6 million.

Author:

George Popescu