Thursday March 29 2018, Daily News Digest

Thursday March 29 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi changes wealth portfolios. Silver Lake buys $500M of Credit Karma stock. Half of Zopa deposits are into IFISA accounts. Landbay considers IPO, opens Seedrs campaign. Wonga South Africa enters personal lending. Today’s main analysis: 7 reasons to hate the long bond (A GREAT READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: The benefits of additional data from […]

Thursday March 29 2018, Daily News Digest

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United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi Announces Changes to Wealth Portfolios (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, online lending platform SoFi announced it was making changes to wealth portfolios. SoFi made changes in all five risk strategies – Conservative, Moderately Conservative, Moderate, Moderately Aggressive, and Aggressive.

Conservative:

“Our lowest risk portfolio invests heavily in bonds, which may be appropriate for someone investing with a lower tolerance for risk or a shorter time horizon, like under three years. With bonds, there are three options: Short-term bonds are considered lower-risk/lower-reward, intermediate-term bonds are considered moderate-risk/moderate-reward, and long-term bonds are considered higher-risk/higher-reward.

Source Crowdfund Insider

Moderately Conservative

“The Moderately Conservative strategy is also weighted toward short-term bonds, so it’s a fairly cautious approach. Historically, we’ve selected both investment-grade bonds (lower risk, lower interest rate) and high-yield bonds (higher risk, higher interest rate). Now, we’re reducing some of that high-yield exposure and increasing the amount of investment-grade bonds to lower the overall risk of this portfolio. This strategy also invests a bit in the stock market. Our approach here (and in other strategies) is to balance our investments across the globe. We’re putting a little less in Emerging Markets, less in U.S. Markets, and more in Developed Markets outside the U.S. (like Japan, parts of Europe, and Canada). We believe that these new allocations will give this portfolio a relatively better chance to grow.”

Source Crowdfund Insider

Silver Lake Buys $ 500 Million Stake in Credit Karma (Fintech Collective), Rated: AAA

San Francisco based Credit Karma has received $500m in a secondary offering from Silver Lake, valuing the company at $4b.

Credit Karma isn’t receiving any proceeds or issuing any new shares as part of the transaction, Chief Executive Kenneth Lin said in an interview. Rather, Silver Lake is amassing common shares from earlier investors and employees in a so-called secondary sale that values the 11-year-old company at roughly $4 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

How You May Benefit from Additional Data When Reviewing Subprime Applicants (Lendit), Rated: AAA

Nearly 80 million adults have what is considered subprime credit, according to Experian data.

The takeaway: while Darrell has a higher biweekly income than Nancy, he is much less stable in his borrowing history. And, while Nancy has been late on a few payments, she has a proven track record of ultimately satisfying her debts.

These examples illustrate why lenders hoping to help consumers in the growing nonprime and subprime markets stand to benefit from alternative credit data.

Sophisticated Investors May Be Harming Fintech Lending Platforms (Harvard Business School), Rated: AAA

But lending platforms, also called peer-to-peer lending, must address a major design problem: Sophisticated investors have been gaming the system by applying specialized screening tools to scoop up the choicest loans with the lowest default rates, leaving less experienced investors with less attractive loans to choose from. After these lower-grade loans perform poorly—that is, the borrowers fall into arrears with payments or default altogether—these less savvy investors may flee the platform.

Can lending platforms make their systems more equitable for all investors?

In their new working paper Marketplace Lending: A New Banking Paradigm? Vallée and Yao Zeng, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Washington, address these issues from the perspective of what platforms can do to level the investing playing field.

The key variable to control, Vallée and Zeng found, is the amount of information available about loan applicants. When platforms share a lot of information about applicants with potential investors—data such as income, debt level, and credit history, and even whether the loan is financing a wedding, for instance—experienced investors can precisely pin down the safest loans to back.

The researchers looked at all transactions executed by LendingRobot users for a three-year period between January 2014 and February 2017, including more than $120 million invested on the two major lending platforms, LendingClub and Prosper. They found that using the LendingRobot screening model paid off by reducing the average loan default rate by more than 20 percent compared to the average level on the platforms.

Bond Investors Should Double Down On Due Diligence As Yields Rise (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Appealing to this new financial demographic is the idea behind such companies as Upstart and Social Finance Inc. (commonly known as SoFi). Since 2013, SoFi has securitized about $9.5 billion in loans, while Upstart last year packaged $338 million of personal loans into two deals.

SoFi targets top college graduates – Harvard lawyers, Yale doctors, Wharton bankers – people whose outstanding student-loan balances match their outstanding career potential. For SoFi, this cohort is a good bet to provide lower-cost loans that allow the buyers to de-lever faster and hopefully return for car loans, mortgages and wealth management services such as college and retirement savings plans. Upstart took the idea a stage further by widening the customer base beyond the Ivy League.

Kabbage Data Shows Mobile is the Future for Small Business Lending (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Mobile devices have changed consumer expectations. People now expect that you can have access to anything you might need right from your mobile device. While this has historically been the case for consumer financial apps, Kabbage released data today on small businesses which shows they too are leveraging mobile to better manage their business.

They analyzed behavior of almost 150,000 small business and found that between April 2014 and February 2018 loans accessed through mobile increased by more than 360 percent. Dollars accessed through mobile increased over 1,220 percent.

Petal, WebBank to launch card for ‘credit invisibles’ (American Banker), Rated: A

The fintech startup Petal announced a partnership Wednesday with WebBank to officially launch a credit card for the estimated 65 million people who have insufficient credit history to qualify for a traditional credit card.

The CFPB has identified 45 million people who have no credit score,” Gross said. “Experian and others have indicated that there are 50 million more people that are thin file people and have a have a credit score that’s not accurate because of limited data at the credit bureau. Andreessen Horwitz has estimated 90 million people are misscored — that’s a third of the U.S. population.

Property Coin ICO: A Securities Token for a Real Estate Portfolio (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Aperture is a new platform that is focusing on the real estate marketplace putting a new spin on property crowdfunding. While not the first blockchain based real estate startup, Property Coin (PCX) is in the midst of a security token offering that is claiming first when it comes to crypto denominated securitization / structured real estate portfolio using distributed ledger technology.

Operating in the fix and flip space, Aperture says they have delivered over “50% un-levered IRRs so far – a claim that is pretty impressive.

In aggregate, their team claims they have been involved in the closing of over $150 billion of real estate financing transactions and have originated over $10 billion in mortgage loans, having worked for some of the largest investment banks in the world.

A mortgage in 30 minutes? Fintech says it’s coming (American Banker), Rated: A

Lenda claims to make the fastest mortgages out there — currently two weeks start to finish, with an eventual goal of 30 minutes in a nearly all-digital process.

Launched in 2014, Lenda has made $200 million worth of mortgages, is licensed in 12 states and plans to expand to 12 more later this year. Jason van den Brand, its co-founder and CEO, said that despite other big players, the mortgage arena is ripe for further disruption.

How Lenda works

Lenda lets the consumer log in to their bank account from its portal to retrieve the necessary three months of bank statements. (They could also download the statements from their Dropbox, Box or Google Drive account and then upload them to Lenda.)

Income verification and employment verification are automated where possible. To be sure, some employers don’t share employment data with databases used by lenders. In such cases employment verification needs to be manual.

Consumers ready for a digital mortgage

Consumers, meanwhile, seem to be increasingly ready for digital mortgages. According to a Harris poll commissioned by Fiserv, 69% of consumers already research loan options online and 68% said they review loan documents online. Among millennials, 48% said they would be comfortable researching loan options on their smartphone.

New small businesses have a tough time in these 10 cities, report says (Fast Company), Rated: A

Specifically, it looked at businesses that earn an annual revenue of less than $7,500,000, have been in business for at least six months and no longer than 60 months, and submitted a loan query to LendingTree between Jan. 1, 2016, and Jan. 23, 2018. The self-reported data was then limited to the 50 most populous metropolitan areas, and with that, a list was born.

Here are the 10 worst cities, per LendingTree:

  1. Cincinnati
  2. Rochester, N.Y.
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Louisville, Ky.
  5. Birmingham, Ala.
  6. Detroit
  7. Harrisburg, Pa.
  8. New Orleans
  9. Virginia Beach, Va.
  10. Chicago

Here are the 10 best cities, per LendingTree:

  1. Sacramento, Calif.
  2. Grand Rapids, Mich.
  3. Portland, Ore.
  4. Knoxville, Tenn.
  5. Denver
  6. Seattle
  7. Tulsa, Okla.
  8. Albuquerque, N.M.
  9. Fresno, Calif.
  10. Los Angeles

With No Movement On Lending Reforms, Catholic Group Starts Microloan Program (WOSU), Rated: A

Faced with watching some parishioners struggle to pay back high-interest loans, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Diocese of Columbus launched its own microloan program in Licking County in late 2016. Since then, it’s expanded to four other counties.

The non-profit organization has partnered with a local credit union to offer loans of up to $500. Borrowers then make monthly payments for 12 to 15 months to pay off loans that carry an interest rate of 3 percent.

That’s a fraction of the rate for loans from payday lending businesses, where interest can exceed 600 percent.

The Catholic microloan program is open to people of all faiths, and Zabloudil says about 75 percent of loan recipients have made good on their payments. Part of the reason for that, Zabloudil says, is they work to ensure borrowers don’t get in over their head.

The program currently offers loan to people from Franklin, Delaware, Fairfield, Knox, Licking and Ross Counties. Zabloudil hopes to eventually take the program to the 17 other counties served by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

 

 

LENNAR TO INTRODUCE ONLINE, MOBILE MORTGAGE APPS (Builder), Rated: B

Lennar Corp. plans to start using mortgage-application technology from San Francisco, Calif.-based startup Blend in an effort to attract younger buyers. By applying for a mortgage online or on a phone, consumers can shave 10 days off the process, executives say. The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Kusisto reports:

Making it easier for those buyers to get mortgages could help Lennar with attracting millennials, a critical group of home buyers that have been put off from buying new homes by the high prices and long commute times to many communities. An additional obstacle on the margins for younger home buyers is the complicated process of applying for a mortgage.

GoKapital Launches Its Nationwide Business Loans Affiliate Program (PR News), Rated: B

GoKapital, an online lender from Miami Florida, has launched an affiliate program that will allow bloggers, webmasters, and digital marketers to earn commissions when they refer new customers to one of their business loan programs.

GoKapital’s Affiliate program highlights:

  • Business loans ranging from $10,000 to $1,000,000 for every industry. Servicing businesses in all 50 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico
  • 24-hour funding with 95% approval rate
  • Dedicated support and integration manager

Marshall Lux Joins Marlette Funding as an Advisor (Business Wire), Rated: B

Marlette Funding, LLC, owner of the Best Egg personal loan platform, today announced the addition of Marshall Lux as an Advisor to the Board and Company.

Marshall Lux has been a Financial Services consultant and practitioner for 30 years. He began his career at McKinsey where he served all manner of financial service firms across a variety of subsectors and functional areas. Marshall led McKinsey’s and BCG’s private equity practice. He has extensive relationships across PE Firms.

Seven banks in seven months select Jack Henry’s Core Director platform (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Jack Henry & Associates’ banking division is in seventh heaven with the revelation that seven US community banks within the last seven months have selected to implement its Core Director processing platform.

The platform can be installed in-house or implemented through JHA OutLink Processing Services, Jack Henry Banking’s outsourced offering.

The firm names two of the banks – California International Bank and the State Bank of Bottineau, located in North Dakota. FinTech Futures has contacted Jack Henry for the other five names but they won’t be revealed yet.

United Kingdom

Accounts promising rates up to 15% are drawing in savers – with 12,000 at Zopa alone (This Is Money), Rated: AAA

Half of all customer deposits at peer-to-peer lender Zopa since the start of the year have come via its Innovative Finance Isa, despite only launching the tax-free accounts in June 2017, This is Money can reveal.

Zopa, which was the first to offer the new style Isa product, said 12,000 customers have opened one of its two Isas, which offer up to 4.6 per cent interest.

For savers with a cash Isa, the FSCS offers protection of up to £85,000 per banking licence. This means that if something goes wrong with the bank or building society where you have deposited your money, you will never lose the first £85,000.

Meanwhile for those with a stocks and shares Isa, the first £50,000 is protected, as long as the provider belongs to the scheme.

Landbay opens Seedrs round to new investors as chief eyes IPO (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

LANDBAY has announced that it is opening its latest equity funding round to new investors on Seedrs, as its chief executive unveils the company’s flotation ambitions.

The peer-to-peer lender, which specialises in buy-to-let mortgages, has already raised its target of £1.25m from this funding round but it has been opened up again to new investors.

Landbay recently hit the £100m cumulative lending milestone, with over 25 per cent of that amount having been originated in the last three months.

LendingCrowd raises $ 2.8 mln (PE Hub), Rated: A

LendingCrowd said March 28 that it secured another 2 million pounds ($2.8 million) in funding led by Equity Gap. Also participating were a number of private investors from Scotland’s entrepreneurial and finance scene and the Scottish Investment Bank. LendingCrowd, of Edinburgh, Scotland provides a peer to peer lending platform.

Credit unions and the tech revolution: Lessons from the Abcul conference (Coop News), Rated: A

But technology also presents opportunities to reach new markets – making it vital that credit unions keep up with new developments, delegates at this year’s conference of the Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul) were told.

Pitching his fintech to the conference, he said it could offer new possibilities to the sector, such as partnering with the Post Office to offer branch facilities where members can deposit and withdraw money.

“Mobile use is continuing to shoot up. 78% of the UK population is using a smartphone two-four hours a day – and fastest growth is the over -55s. In the South Manchester Credit Union 65% of traffic comes from mobile devices. It’s something we’ve got to accept.”

Colchester is top area for buy-to-let (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

Colchester in Essex is the top area to invest in buy-to-let based on capital growth, transaction volumes, rental yield and rental price growth, LendInvest research shows.

In Colchester prices are rising by 9.98% per year, rental growth is increasing by 3.41%, transaction volumes are rising by 2.79% and yields stand at 3.71%.

Despite topping LendInvest’s list Colchester is far from the best in terms of yield, with Manchester offering returns of 5.42%.

The worst area to invest is in East Central London, where capital gains are falling by 3.76%, rental price growth is sliding by 1.1% and transaction volume growth is down 1.73% year-on-year. Despite all of these factors landlords in that area still make a yield of 2.9%.

Scott Wright: Will RBS fund lead to better deal for SMEs? (Herald Scotland), Rated: A

In a growing economy there is a balance to be struck between ensuring banks are well-capitalised and providing the credit private companies need to expand. That much is recognised by leading business figures such as Mike Welch and Jim McColl, with the latter planning to launch his own bank to help address the funding issues.

In that context, the £425 million Royal Bank of Scotland has set aside to boost competition in the banking sector for SMEs is to be welcomed.

And it is encouraging that Nationwide said it would direct that funding to the UK’s 5.7 million smaller and micro businesses rather than the big corporates, given that is arguably firms of this size which have suffered most from the tightening of bank lending. It is also SMEs, broadly speaking, which have been caught up in the shocking mistreatment scandals that have to occurred at certain banks since the financial crisis.

Cryptocurrencies yet to convince the savvy investor – Assetz Capital (Finextra), Rated: B

Investors in the Assetz Capital platform are yet to be convinced by cryptocurrencies, with just 16% seeing them as worthwhile investments.

The peer-to-peer lending platform canvassed the views of its investors in the Q1 Assetz Capital Investor Barometer. 43% believe the entire market is on the brink of collapse, while 40% feel cryptocurrencies are still too immature at present with significant risks attached. 14% feel it is a worthwhile investment but only in moderation, with just 2% thinking it is the future of investments.

The doors are open to MBAs in finance, including fintech, wealth management and venture capital (Find MBA), Rated: B

One route into the fintech sector is the Spotcap Fellowship, which provides up to £8,000 towards the cost of an MBA and a path to working at the Berlin-based online lender.

Niels Turfboer, UK managing director of Spotcap and an IE Business School MBA graduate, says he created the scholarship to address a talent shortage. A survey by recruitment website Indeed found that 20 percent of top fintech job vacancies were left unfilled after 60 days.

 

 

China

CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund Invests in Branch International (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading FinTech conglomerate in China, announced that its venture fund, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (“CEFIF”), recently joined a group of prestigious investors to participate in the Series B investment round of $70 million in Branch International. Other strategic investors in this round of financing include International Finance Corporation (IFC), Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures and Victory Park.

According to the report recently published by CreditEase, jointly with IFC and Stanford Business School, there are over two billion adults globally in the emerging markets who do not have access to basic financial services (click here to download the Financial Inclusion Report). On a daily basis, Branch processes tens of thousands of loans, in amounts ranging from $2.50 to $500, and expects its total loan origination to exceed $250 million in 2018. Recently entered into the Nigerian market, Branch is currently growing 50 percent month-over-month within that country and 20% month-over-month overall.

European Union

How Fintech is Fixing Broken Credit (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

For millions of people, a lack of access to credit is just another part of life. Yet, without this access, it can be incredibly difficult for businesses and customers to connect with each other. In fact, according to The World Bank, despite a 20% increase between 2011 and 2014 in the number of adults with access to formal financial services worldwide, an expected 2 billion adults worldwide are unbanked. In addition, some 200 million businesses are excluded from the formal financial system.

The problem is particularly prolific in high growth markets; with a 2015 PwC report putting India’s unbanked population at 233 million (that’s nearly every 1 in 6 people). In South East Asia, a further 264 million people are without access to credit (including a staggering 80% of Cambodians). And even beyond the individuals affected, some 200 million businesses are excluded from the formal financial system.

A key way that we are achieving this at PayU is through our €110 million investment in German fintech company Kreditech, a leading technology group for digital consumer credit using machine-learning based underwriting. With traditional credit models simply not catering to large sections of the population, collaborative partnership can be instrumental in finding new ways to offer innovative solutions to the huge problem at hand.

International

Seven reasons to hate the long bond (INTL FCStone Email), Rated: AAA

The price of long-term treasuries will fall because:
1 – The global savings glut is turning into a global savings squeeze
2 – Just look at a chart of Treasury yields
3 – Speculative traders have a massive one-way bet on curve-flattening
4 – China could (should?) sell long-term Treasuries to teach Trump a lesson
5 – The Federal Reserve is reducing the size and duration of its holdings: it still has $526 bn of long bonds to sell!
6 – U.S. public debt is abnormally short: deficit-driven issuance will hit the long end disproportionately
7 – Forward guidance artificially compressed term premia: economic uncertainty will make them rise again

Source: INTL FCStone
Source: INTL FCStone

Chinese savings are unlikely to support anymore U.S. bonds for at least five reasons:
• The disappearance of China’s trade surpluses: China’s trade surplus has fallen from 10% of GDP in 2007 to 1% last year. China may become a deficit country next year.
• The Belt and Road initiative: China has found much better uses for its savings than financing the U.S. military and boomers’ Social Security claims. Going forward, China’s mountains of savings will build the infrastructure of Central Asia, the horn of Africa, Russia, Iran, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe, rather than flood the U.S. Treasury market.
• American protectionism: In the unlikely event that Trump’s bid to reduce the U.S.-China trade deficit by $100 billion next year is successful, China will have $100 billion less to invest in the U.S. Treasury market.
• China’s retaliation against American protectionism: Despite Trump’s claim that “trade wars are easy to win”, other countries have national interests too. China also has industries to protect, jobs to defend, and face to maintain. China is sitting on $3.1 trillion in currency reserves: according to the U.S. Treasury, China holds about $1.2 trillion in U.S. national debt (that just includes official accounts).

Source: INTL FCStone

 

Fintech and Property: What You Need to Know (The Urban Developer), Rated: A

Fintech is disrupting the global finance industry, to the benefit of both businesses and consumers.

Advancements in communication and information technology has enabled the rapid growth of technology platforms that provide transactional services. Online payment systems, debt platforms and online exchanges allow companies to better manage their clients and use the data collected to provide the best possible service.

What Fintech products will the property industry gain the most benefit from?

Data Analytics: Using information and data from Fintech platforms will help advisors and agents to make informed decisions for their clients. They will be able to get a better understanding of the client’s overall position, while also increasing the level of personalisation for the client.

 

Raising Capital: There are a number of avenues available for raising capital and the digitalisation of fundraising will open up new opportunities. Using Fintech products will not only speed up the process, but it will also open the door for reaching new investors through a number of online platforms.

India

Nuo Bank, India’s First Decentralized Cryptocurrency Bank, Raises $ 250,000 from Directors of PayU India (Crypto News), Rated: AAA

Despite government’s discouraging stance towards cryptocurrencies India’s crypto startups are getting their deserved thumbs-up from the industry and investors. One such promising startup known as Nuo Bank just raised about Rs. 1.6 crore ($250,000) from the CEO and MD of PayU India within a week of its launch, which shows the kind of trust that both PayU directors have in its growth potential.

Next, like other major cryptocurrency companies Nuo bank will also have its own coin. It’s going to issue 200 million Nuo tokens to customers, which represent 20% of its 1 billion token supply. The value of these tokens will be determined from smart contracts, and the smart contracts stipulate that 25% of Nuo Bank’s revenue should be kept reserved for these tokens.

P2Ps are in a race to build 1st blockchain platform here (The Economic Times), Rated: A

From established players like Faircent to early stage companies like India Money Mart, Paisadukaan and OML P2P, all are trying to develop the industry’s first blockchain platform and also share data about lending transactions between them in order to mitigate frauds.

All these companies have applied and are waiting for the NBFC P2P licence from the Reserve Bank of India.

Faircent, the country’s largest P2P platform has committed upwards of $1 million for this kind of a solution which they feel will help them reap huge benefits when traction on these platforms gains.

 

Asia

Fintech startup takes receivables platform to blockchain (Global Trade Review), Rated: A

The Singapore-based firm forecasts a US$2tn market opportunity in its use of blockchain to provide a secure invoice factoring solution using its customised cryptocurrency. With its token pre-sale set to end on April 8, the group’s initial coin offering will launch on April 9.

Acudeen Technologies brands its platform as “an inclusive environment for small businesses who are having a hard time getting financing using traditional means”.

Africa

Wonga South Africa Enters the Personal Loans Market (The African Exponent), Rated: AAA

Fintech craze changing face of lending (Business Daily), Rated: A

The numbers are in and the jury is out. The world over the fintech craze that underpins lending outside the traditional banking ecosystem continues unabated.

Whether the channel of consumption is online, mobile or the services packaged differently such as payday lending and layaway financing, investments continue to pour in chasing opportunities in a vertical that is quickly getting overcrowded with little to no service differentiation and a continued insistence on insight wizardry riding off copious amounts of personal data ingested.

Will technology save independent financial advice? (Money Web), Rated: B

Essentially technology can do two things for the advisor. It can significantly reduce the costs of administration and record keeping, while also making these processes simpler and more efficient.

“The whole market place is talking about digital – the rewiring of the investor and the investment advisor,” Wilson says.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday February 2 2017, Daily News Digest

Thursday February 2 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi acquires mobile banking startup Zenbanx.  LC class action suit to be arbitrated. Goldman CIO touts Marcus as FinTech startup. Prosper appoints Usama Ashraf as CFO. Today’s main analysis: P2P lending was a product of the financial crisis. Own SoFi through Renren. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Smaller P2P players likely to struggle.  How to […]

Thursday February 2 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Israel

News Summary

United States

SoFi moves beyond lending with acquisition of mobile banking startup Zenbanx (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Online lender SoFi is stepping up its efforts to take on America’s banks by buying fellow fintech player Zenbanx, enabling it to offer checking accounts, credit cards and international money transfers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Although terms have not been revealed, the deal is expected to be worth around $100 million when it closes later this month.

Founded in 2012 by former ING Direct CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann, Zenbanx offers a mobile banking account that lets people save, send and spend money in multiple currencies both domestically and internationally. The firm is not a bank, teaming up with FDIC member Wilmington Savings Fund Society, which issues accounts.

OUR ACQUISITION OF ZENBANX (SoFi), Rated: AAA

We have never been shy about SoFi’s ambitions to become the center of our member’s financial lives. Offering deposits, credit cards, and payment solutions is key to that ambition, and we think we can offer something better than incumbent players with the same kind of innovation we’ve brought to other areas of finance, like student loan refinancing, personal loans, and mortgages.

Today, we got a lot closer to being able to provide those products with the acquisition of Zenbanx, a Delaware-based company that offers a mobile banking account that lets people save, send and spend in multiple currencies.

With the addition of Zenbanx, SoFi is poised to make banking much more frictionless. We can’t wait to show you what’s in store.

Class Action Against Lending Club and WebBank Headed to Defeat (JDSupra), Rated: AAA

On Monday, a federal district court in the Southern District of New York granted a motion to compel arbitration in Bethune v. Lending Club Corporation, et al., a closely watched putative class action raising important issues for the fintech industry.

Under the Federal Arbitration Act, the court’s decision is potentially subject to immediate appeal to the Second Circuit under § 1292(b). The decision, especially if it is affirmed, may provide increased certainty and comfort for the marketplace lending industry and investors.

Own SoFi, Other Fintechs Through Renren (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

There is one company called Renren that has allocated to numerous fintech firms and is currently publicly traded on the NYSE under symbol RENN.

Renren has participated in SoFi’s series B, D, E and F rounds for a total investment of over $242 million. According to the 2015 year end report, “The Company held 28.85% and 21.20% equity interest of SoFi as of December 31, 2014 and 2015, respectively.”

Renren also hold significant positions in Motif (10%, their CEO was the most recent guest on the Lend Academy Podcast, Lending Home (14.7%, which just crossed $1 bn in originations) and Fundrise (25.3%, which is in the process of raising money from the crowd, has originated over $210 mn in originations and touts 123k members).

Goldman CIO touts new consumer lending business as ‘fintech startup’ (SearchCIO), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., financial adviser to corporations, governments and the world’s one-percenters, is stepping out of its comfort zone. The global investment bank recently unveiled Marcus.com, an online lending platform for consumers. The platform not only represents a new customer focus — ordinary people who get into debt — but a new technology strategy at Goldman.

Fintech startups rely on technology to provide faster, more agile customer service than the traditional Wall Street behemoths. Marcus, which is built on APIs, was born out of the same thinking.

Indeed, Chavez said Goldman is not only exploiting APIs, but open source and cloud services as well — a trio he referred to as the most “profound drivers” of innovation in financial services he’s ever experienced.

Goldman is not alone. The use of APIs has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. In 2015, there was a 12-fold increase in API calls. A majority of the revenue at Salesforce, Expedia and eBay — between 50% and 90% — comes from APIs; for some companies such as Twilio, a cloud communications platform, 100% of its revenue comes from APIs, Chavez said.

The Marcus online lending offering is an example of a plug-and-play API strategy; Chavez and his team built and launched the platform in 12 months.

How to earn Bitcoin through p2p lending (CryptoCompare), Rated: AAA

That is why we want to introduce you to BTCjam, a peer-to-peer lending website that connects lenders and borrowers directly. BTCjam was founded in 2012 and has already facilitated over $10 million dollars worth of Bitcoin in loans.

  1. Step 1: On the top right corner, click the “Invest” button
  2. Step 2: You will be taken to the loan listings. We want you to check out the filter below. These are: Term (time period of the loan), BTCjam score (the rating given to the borrower according to his profile information and to the loan requested. Basically a credit score), type (this dictate the currency value in which the investment will be returned) and advanced
  3. Step 3: Now once you find a listing that you like, click on its name
  4. Step 4: This next step is probably the most important one. We want you to take a good look at all of these fields below. Number 1 shows how many BTC is missing for the loan to be fully funded. Number 2 shows the Listing rating and the verified profiles of the user. The more profiles linked, the most likely it is the person to be the owner of these profiles. Number 3 is the description of the business plan or motive for the loan. Make sure the plan proposed is sound and that the borrower has a backup plan to repay the funds Lastly, number is the borrower reputation, which he can acquire from previous loan
  5. Step 5: Once you have analysed all of these fields and are ready to invest in this loan, click “Invest
  6. Step 6: Enter the amount of BTC you want to invest and click “Invest” once more

Prosper Marketplace Appoints Usama Ashraf Chief Financial Officer (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Prosper Marketplace announced today it has appointed Usama Ashraf as Chief Financial Officer. As CFO, Ashraf will oversee the company’s capital markets function, as well as all of the company’s finance activities. As head of the Capital Markets team, he will be responsible for expanding the company’s funding sources by bringing new investors onto the Prosper lending platform.

What to Expect From Real Estate Crowdfunding in 2017 (Equities.com), Rated: A

While growth slowed somewhat in 2016 (likely in response to top-of-market trepidation) the 40% figure is still robust, and the US accounted for a large share of the $1bn of overall industry growth this year. In 2015, the $1.5bn in volume for US real estate crowdfunding represented only 0.3% of total real estate finance transactions in the US, indicating that the sub-industry still has enormous room to grow, even while remaining modest as a share of overall commercial real estate activity in the economy.

The trend of division and specialization among real estate crowdfunding platforms is likely to continue, with the potential for consolidation in the advent of a dip in the market.

The transition of the executive branch will likely have a major impact on commercial real estate capital markets, and therefore on the prospects for the young real estate crowdfunding industry. The trouble is, no one can credibly claim to know what that impact will be.

The Colleges That Offer The Most Bang For Your Student Loan Buck (Lifehacker), Rated: A

Online student loan marketplace LendEDU did an analysis of 752 public and private 4-year colleges. The site looked at two main factors: average student loan debt per graduate and the average early career pay for graduates. They used these two criteria as the risk and reward for attending college to determine which schools give you the biggest upside for the amount of money you have to spend.

Unsurprisingly, schools like Princeton, Yale, and Harvard trend towards the top of the list, but those are also among the hardest to get into.

The Battle to Control Trillion in Investment Direction (Dara Albright Media), Rated: A

In the Fall of 2016, I penned an article entitled, “Modernizing the Self-direct IRA – The Trillion Dollar FinTech Opportunity” – the first in a new series of articles that focuses on next-generation retirement planning. The piece underscored how FinTech will mend America’s flawed retirement system and foster the growth of “digital” investing.

Perhaps the majority of America’s retail investors are too busy reluctantly allocating their retirement dollars to sanctioned bond funds – many of which yield more clout than performance – to even notice the race to create a next-generation retail retirement product that will economically custody coveted micro-sized alternative investment products and, in doing so, ensure that a greater number of Americans maintain more properly diversified retirement portfolios.

Unlike previous corporate clashes, the winning IRA model is easy to predict. The frontrunner will be the one possessing the most optimum technological and regulatory framework to accommodate the needs of the modern retail investor. Today’s retail investor is not looking for another mutual fund. He is not begging for ETFs. Nor is he interested in day-trading stocks. Instead, he is craving yield, and he is demanding access to the same level of returns that institutions have been enjoying for years through alternative asset diversification.

Yes, you read that correctly. Retail brokerages would prefer to limit access to investment products or exit the retail retirement business altogether than to deal with the regulatory headaches of helping small investors prepare for retirement.

3 Years Later, the Jobs Act Continues to Drive Growth in CRE (Commercial Property Executive), Rated: A

The combined effects of the Jobs Act, digital advertising, and online investing platforms are currently driving rapid growth in CRE investments.

Investors enjoy greater autonomy on digital platforms because they’re able to build their own high-performing portfolios. Rather than putting money into pooled investments, they can pick and choose specific opportunities that appeal to them. Some sites even list institutional quality offerings to private investors and allow them to participate alongside institutional capital.

Global crowdfunding investments in real estate are expected to hit $250 billion by 2020.

Here are three key reasons the industry will show continued growth:

  1. Evolved functionality and flexibility.
  2. Enhanced community building.
  3. Maturing Millennials. In fact, 23 percent of the world’s millionaires are Millennials.

DealIndex study indicated that young investors are 10 times more likely than Baby Boomers to use online investing platforms, even though investing is growing among the 50-years-and-older crowd. Naturally, as Millennials’ influence increases, online investing platforms will mature as well.

Video: Accessing Peer-To-Peer Loans For Alternative Income (RIA Channel), Rated: A

Allen Webb, Senior Portfolio Specialist at RiverNorth Capital Management talks with Julie Cooling, Founder and CEO at RIA Channel about their new marketplace lending strategy, specifically, RMPLX.

Watch the interview here.

How You Can Leverage A Business Competition Win (Forbes), Rated: A

Women may think it’s not ladylike to brag. The truth is, if you want to get ahead in the world, even if you’re a nice girl, you’ve got to brag a little. When done right, it can be an effective way to get attention for your product or service and grow your business.

So how do female founders brag without sounding boastful? By winning a competition, such as OnDeck’s Seal of Approval Contest.

Applying for money from an online lender is less intimidating, commented Corcoran. It’s fast — unlike the 33 hours it may take with a bank — and easy, she said. It’s leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs who are seeking capital.

Employing crowdfunding to start or expand your business (SlideShare), Rated: A

United Kingdom

P2P Lending Platform Flender Selects Equifax to Support Underwriting for UK SME Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Following the closing of its Seedrs equity crowdfunding campaign, peer-to-peer lender Flender has selected Equifax Limited to support the underwriting for UK small and medium enterprises (SME) loans.

According to Finextra, Equifax will be supplying real-time consumer and commercial to help make the underwriting process automated and optimized. This data, which will be provided by Equifax Business Insight’s solution, will give a comprehensive view of SME loan applicants.

Smaller P2P players likely to struggle, says alternative lender (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

With the many political, regulatory and economic twists and turns of 2016, 2017 is set up to be a strange year in the world of alternative finance.

With the larger platforms announcing record second-half results in the six-month period after the Brexit vote, they are also attracting increasing amounts of capital in the form of equity.

Smaller P2P players, however, will likely struggle to lure the necessary lending or growth capital to survive independently, so we expect a degree of consolidation and some to drop out of the market altogether.

We predict that this will attract a huge amount of capital on to the main platforms and represent as much as 30% of all capital inflows to P2P platforms this year, assuming all large P2P lenders such as Assetz Capital get approved before the end of March 2017, and perhaps as much as 50% in 2018.

RateSetter’s former chief risk officer joins The Money Platform (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

THE MONEY Platform has hired RateSetter’s first-ever chief risk officer Kevin Allen (pictured) to head up its credit decision processes and grow its borrower base.

Allen joined the recently-launched peer-to-peer payday lender on Monday 23 January, after three-and-a-half years at RateSetter.

Allen joined RateSetter – which is one of the ‘big three’ P2P lenders – as CRO in July 2013 and went on to become head of retail lending. He helped to increase lending from £3m to £60m per month and was instrumental in growing the provision fund from under £1m to £23m, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The firm is looking to shake up what it calls the “morally bankrupt” payday loan market, by offering a more ethical alternative. With a representative APR of 165 per cent, it is much less expensive than some of the big-name payday lenders in the market.

The Association of Alternative Business Finance Launched Today (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

The Association of Alternative Business Finance (AABF) launched today (1 February) with the major ambition of championing and promoting the best standards of industry practice.

The seven founding members, Capify UK, Catalyst Finance, Credit4, Fleximize, Liberis, The Just Loans Group and YesGrowth have clearly defined four operating principles that members will be required to adhere to:

  • Transparency
  • Responsibility
  • Fairness
  • Security

A key early initiative for the AABF is for members to create and subscribe to a centralised database for Personal Guarantees that will prevent borrowers over committing themselves and help identify potential fraudulent activity.

Behind the scenes: How the Funding Circle process works (Funding Circle), Rated: A

To recap, once you’ve submitted an application online:

  • Your Account Manager will need 3 months business bank statements, the last set of full, filed accounts at Companies House and if these are over 16 months old we’ll need P&L and balance sheet information for the last financial year end.
  • Then, an Underwriting Assistant will carry out some initial credit checks and searches on the financial documents you’ve submitted.
  • Our Credit Assessment team will then look at whether the loan is affordable, if it makes sense and whether it fits our credit criteria.
  • Once the loan is approved, you’ll receive an email with the offer conditions and loan contract. Once the contract has been signed by a company director, scan it back to us along with:
    • A direct debit mandate
    • I.D. and proof of address documents for all guarantors
    • If it’s a Limited company, a personal guarantee
  • The team will then carry out a few final fraud checks, and once complete the loan will be listed at random either as a whole loan, where an institutional investor buys the entire loan, or as a partial loan where thousands of investors lend to your client. The funding process typically takes one to five working days.
  • Once the process is complete, your client will receive the funds within 24 hours.

ThinCats founder: Peer-to-peer lending was a product of the financial crisis (BusinessZone), Rated: B

It was a remarkable change in the way things were done. The key thing now is; can we get a sufficient foothold, so that if the economy improves and the banks come back into the market in a big way we’ll be able to withstand that? I think it will be five years before the banks even consider that. Things may have changed forever.

We made £2m loans in our first year, most of which came from founders and shareholders. I think we did about £5m in the second year, then it doubled each year after that.

We basically hung on their shirt tails – let them do the marketing.

European Union

French Finance Regulators Embrace Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The old Paris Stock Exchange, the Palais Brongniart was buzzing again as international Fintech startups, bankers, insurers, and investors gathered there for two days of panel discussions, Fintech startup pitches and networking at the second edition of the Paris Fintech Forum last week.

While “stable” and “agile” may sound like a contradiction in terms, Francois Villeroy de Calhau insisted that they are not. Regulation is a positive asset for Fintechs as it strives to limit potential risks for customer protection and financial stability.

The French authorities see the Brexit as an opportunity for France to regain a stature as a financial center.

The danger for the Continent is now that the post-Brexit UK, freed from the yoke of EU directives, could decide to compete with the Continent through large scale financial and fiscal deregulation. The UK, which already enjoys an 80% share of the European alternative finance sector, could then maintain or even widen the gap.

Strengthening the communication with fintech firms, implementing their own digital transformation and developing Regtech are key elements of the regulators’ strategy.

Israel

Not Just Hi-Tech: Israel Competes in Global Asset Management (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Clarity has launched its own multi-manager fund which allows its clients to invest in a globally-diversified portfolio of high-yielding private debt strategies, such as real-estate-backed debt, senior corporate lending and peer-to-peer lending. Clarity clients benefit from the firm’s access to top-tier debt investment managers globally and from its due diligence and investment selection capabilities. Since the fund’s launch in late September, it has accumulated tens of millions of dollars in assets under management. The fund targets Eligible/Accredited Investors.

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

August 22nd 2016, Daily News Digest

August 22nd 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s most interesting news are about banks and their paradoxical branches;  how real estate listings could come with financing included; how Bondora proves a 16.7% return to investors; China is putting in place P2P loans and individual caps ; last but not least the pros and cons of regulatory sandboxes. United States Goldman […]

August 22nd 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

  • 9-months-old online real estate auction house partners with LendInvest. “On the information page for each pre-qualified lot, summary funding details will be presented alongside other key property information.” Imagine if in the US when you go to an open house you can receive guidelines on what financial parameters will automatically qualify you for the house !

European Union

New Zealand

China

India

  • An article advocating for a regulatory sandbox for P2P lenders. For example, P2P lenders should receive the right to operate with “1,000 customers in one city, for three months”. This approach has worked tremendously well in China since the 1980s where the government provided capitalistic sandboxes in Shanghai and Shenzhen/Guangzhou at first. Then the government re-used this sandbox idea for any new initiative. A proven approach at a Chinese scale. If it worked in China perhaps it will work elsewhere.

 

United States

Meet Marcus, Goldman Sachs’s Online Lender for the Masses, (New York Times), Rated: AAA

After much internal discussion, the Wall Street firm has decided to call the retail banking operation Marcus — the first name of the company’s founder, Marcus Goldman.

Marcus is expected to be officially unveiled when the bank is ready to roll out the offering, most likely in October, according to people who were briefed on the plans.

Initially, Marcus will offer relatively small consumer loans, a business that Goldman has traditionally avoided.

One potential benefit of the retail banking operation is that it could help temper the reputational problems that Goldman suffered after the financial crisis, when Rolling Stone magazine called it “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”

The big question is whether Goldman will learn to successfully serve retail customers, something it has not done.

The Marcus business was referred to internally as Mosaic and has been operating with a staff of around 100 people.

Greater Scrutiny Looms for ‘Rent-a-Charter’ Deals, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

The startups’ regulatory advantage may be fleeting. Last month, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. proposed guidelines, including one that banks that partner with third-party firms to make loans “will generally receive increased supervisory attention.”

Though the FDIC has had guidelines for relationships between banks and outside vendors, the new proposal focuses specifically on lending partners, including proposing yearly examinations rather than every 18 months. It also recommends that banks should set “performance standards for third parties” and “require access to data.”

Fewer than 50 U.S. banks work closely with online lenders, estimates Brian Korn, a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP. “The FDIC wants to make sure these banks are doing their homework and aren’t just puppets,” he said. He added that in his experience such banks were “very focused on safety and soundness, even more so than other banks of their size.”

Among the most active banks working with online lenders are WebBank, a unit of conglomerate Steel Partners Holdings LP, and Cross River Bank in New Jersey.

The banks declined to comment on the FDIC guidelines. The FDIC is seeking comment on the proposal.

Some experts argue rent-a-charter arrangements reduce risk. Taxpayers aren’t in danger of being on the hook if a loan fails, while borrowers are given wider access to credit even if banks don’t want to take risks.

Online lenders that partner with banks, such as Elevate Credit Inc., have already been subject to some FDIC examinations, according to its chief executive, Ken Rees, because under a decadesold law, a bank’s primary federal regulator has the authority to examine certain service providers and vendors.

Meanwhile, court decisions in Maryland and West Virginia over the past two years defended state regulatory actions to stop an online lender from making loans at interest rates higher than the states permit, though the lender was working with a partner bank.

In July, Colorado authorities sent letters to Avant and Marlette Funding LLC saying state law would apply to loans made by them, although banks originated the loans, according to reports by Kroll Bond Rating Agency Inc. Avant and Marlette subsequently removed certain loans made to Colorado borrowers from bond offerings , Kroll added.

A revised Connecticut law that took effect in July requires companies that sell leads to lenders for people who want small loans, even if they don’t ultimately originate them, to obtain licenses as lenders.

Peer IQ analyzes Loan Purchase Agreements, (PeerIQ Email), Rated: AAA

Prosper announced Source: PeerIQ

Anatomy of a Loan Purchase Agreement
Purchasing raw whole loans involves substantial legal and administrative investment.  Originating platforms (“Sellers”) and whole loan investors (“Buyers”) enter into multiple negotiated contracts to purchase loans. These include the Loan Purchase Agreement, Loan Servicing Agreement, Loan Representation and Indemnity Agreement.
An LPA sets forth the economic terms, obligations, and representations for both the seller and buyer of loans. A

Developing a global financial architecture, (Tech Crunch), Rated: AAA

In their Insights article A World Awash in Money, Bain & Company define trust architecture as strong property rights protections, reliable legal systems and institutional depth. What this really boils down to is safety and transparency: People want to see that the money they send across borders is going where it is supposed to. Though the examples Bain uses detail larger foreign direct investments, these architecture problems persist even at the peer-to-peer level.

So what obstacles does technology need to overcome to create a reliable infrastructure to move money to emerging economies?

In his insightful article, When Bitcoin Grows Up, British journalist John Lanchester dives into why, historically, banks came about in the first place. When we spend money or get paid or give a loan, what we’re really doing is making an entry on a register. That entry says “this thing of value is being transferred.” Before the invention of common currencies, people would barter goods directly, or keep informal “IOUs” to log debts. The creation of banks allowed people to log their transactions in a centralized, authoritative ledger — the banker’s.

Though it’s difficult to paint heterogeneous markets in such broad strokes, the trend is clear — poorer people have less access to banks. This makes it hard to store and transact money.

One solution, which Lanchester evaluates thoroughly, is that of digital currencies based on technology such as blockchain.

Another problem for the developing world is the failure of many countries’ trust architecture to provide reliable personal identification and credit underwriting.

To solve this problem, the Indian government has famously rolled out an initiative to give a digital identity to its 1 billion+ residents using biometric identification. Now, following its critical success, Russia, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are all exploring similar programs.

Another novel approach to creating credit files comes from Kenya, home to the wildly successful Safaricom startup M-Pesa. In 2013, 43 percent of Kenya’s GDP flowed through M-Pesa. The tech is built on a radically simple idea: If you have access to someone’s cell phone account, you have a way to identify them individually and a history of payments to tell if they’re creditworthy.

Innovative technology firms, well-versed in the challenges of the developing world’s financial trust architecture, stand to revolutionize the way money is sent and lent globally. These solutions could also “trickle up” from the personal level to larger-scale investments, as transfer risks are smoothed across geographies. The inertial build-up of capital pools in the developed world creates an almost limitless opportunity for those platforms that can overcome the hurdles damming it.

U.S. banks want to cut branches, but customers keep coming, (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Despite banks’ nudging toward online tools, many U.S. customers are not ready to give up regular visits to their nearest branch, complicating the industry’s efforts to slim down.

U.S. banks have trimmed the number of branches by 6 percent since it peaked in 2009, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp data. The 93,283 branches open at the end of last year was the lowest level in a decade.

Yet analysts who have examined the data say banks should have done more to offset the pressure on revenue from low interest rates and regulatory demands.

The number of FDIC-insured banks has fallen by more than 25 percent over that time.

Bankers across the industry say that online banking complements traditional services for U.S. customers, but few have gone fully digital. While other factors are at play, one difference is that U.S. customers still routinely use checks and need branches to process them, said Rick Spitler, managing director at consulting firm Novantas.

The traditional branch costs roughly $2-4 million to set up and $200,000-400,000 per year to operate, according to Ed O’Brien, an analyst at Mercator Advisory Group.

Executives at JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N, the country’s largest bank, say each branch earns about $1 million in annual profit, but takes a decade to reach its full potential.

John Elmore, vice chairman of community banking and branch delivery at U.S. Bancorp, says branches are especially important for small businesses that need to deposit cash frequently, prefer to negotiate loans in person, or want strategic advice.

They have reduced the number of tellers and moved them to the back. Their ATMs can perform more sophisticated tasks and banks have developed nifty mobile apps for routine banking needs. They are even experimenting with digital loan underwriting.

Yet customers still expect contact with bank staff and JPMorgan recently had to hire more tellers after customer complaints.

Bank of America Corp BAC.N, which has closed a quarter of its branches since 2009, could eventually serve as a test case.

 

Kickfurther Buyers Crowdfinance $ 10.2 Million of Inventory, (PR Web), Rated: A

Kickfurther Consignments are not loans. Buyers provide inventory, marketing, and sales support for businesses, and they earn Co-Op profits when Consignment Inventory sells. In this way, the interests of the businesses are directly aligned with the interests of their Buyers.

Kickfurther is an inventory crowd­funding marketplace that connects companies with individuals. The Kickfurther marketplace enables consumer product companies seeking capital to grow by sharing sales opportunities with individuals interested in participating in micro-retail.

Businesses post Consignment Opportunities by choosing the amount of inventory they want, the consignment profit Buyers will earn as inventory is sold, and the estimated duration of time it will take to sell the inventory based on prior sales history. Since its 2015 launch, Kickfurther has funded $10.2 million of inventory in 339 Consignment Opportunities by 288 product companies. Kickfurther users have earned, on average, more than 2% consignment profit per month on completed Co-Ops.

OnDeck Soars to #16 on Selling Power’s “50 Best Companies to Sell For” List, (PR Newswire), Rated: A

OnDeck® today announced it has been named to the Selling Power 50 Best Companies to Sell For list for the fourth consecutive year, rising to #16 on the list, ahead of sales giants ADP (#18), Google and Microsoft (tied at #37) and IBM (#50).

“OnDeck’s top twenty ranking on the Selling Power 50 Best Companies to Sell For list is a clear indication of our relentless commitment to fostering a top-notch workplace environment where employees feel both supported and challenged,” says Paul Rosen, Chief Sales Officer at OnDeck.

OnDeck’s robust compensation packages include medical, dental, vision and life benefits, up to four months of paid parental leave, lunch on OnDeck plus a fully-stocked kitchen, 401(k) matches, compensation for education, student loan refinancing and more.

Nova Credit launching from Y Combinator to give immigrants access to U.S. credit, (Tech Crunch), Rated: A

For millions of immigrants (roughly 15 million) landing on U.S. shores — even ones who had successful jobs abroad — there’s no way to access credit.

Collecting credit information and credit proxies (like cell phone billing receipts and records) into a single report it calls the “Nova Credit Passport”, Nova Credit passes the report onto the lender so that they can make a more informed determination on whether to accept or reject a credit application.

Both the UN and the World Bank have identified financial inclusion and the ability to access global credit as one of the keys to development and poverty alleviation globally.

Nova makes its money by charging lenders for access to their reports, in the same way Experian and Equifax do.

So far, the company is concentrating on two markets, India and Mexico, which account for roughly 21 million immigrants to the U.S. every year. As the company expands it intends to add countries in the UK, the European Union, Brazil, Russia and China.

Launching at Y-Combinator’s demo day this weekend, Nova Credit is already generating buzz among financial services companies. It has also partnered with organizations immigrant organizations like fwd.us and Partnership For A New American Economy.

“We’re partnering with credit unions and fintech lenders,” said Goulimis. “Credit unions are committed to financial inclusion and trying to move away from taking shots in the dark [and] on the other hand we’ve been working with bigger fintech lenders [who] are trying to underwrite people who are unbanked.”

Message from Realty Mogul CEO, Jilliene Helman, (Email from Realty Mogul), Rated: A

What [Realty Mogul is] here for: to give more people on both sides of the marketplace (real estate companies and real estate investors) better access to real estate investing through innovation (in technology, products, regulations, or any other way).

Until now, RealtyMogul.com was only open to accredited investors. To date, over 80,000 people have expressed interest in what we do by joining our investor network, but only the 25,000 accredited investors within that group could invest through our platform.

So we did just that – starting this week, investing on RealtyMogul.com is finally available to nearly all investors*.

MogulREIT I Basics

Thanks to recent changes under The JOBS Act (more specifically, Title IV of the JOBS Act known as Regulation A+) we are now able to offer non-accredited investors the opportunity to invest in a diversified pool of commercial real estate investments through a single investment, MogulREIT I, a real estate investment trust (or “REIT”).

A “REIT” is a company that owns or finances real estate. REITs give their investors the opportunity to participate in large-scale real estate transactions by purchasing shares of the company that owns or finances them. REITs typically do not pay tax at the company level, and so they avoid the double-taxation problems that many corporations face.

Our first REIT, MogulREIT I, is a public non-traded REIT. That means that it is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, but is not traded on a stock exchange.

MogulREIT I investors can enjoy regular income, potential capital appreciation, and diversification across geographies, property types, and investment types.

We designed MogulREIT I to be accessible through our online platform, RealtyMogul.com. By offering it directly to investors instead of through other third-party distribution channels, we are able to eliminate the high expense loads that result from traditional, commission-based sales.

Investors in MogulREIT I will not be charged any sales commissions and the organization and offering expenses are anticipated to be approximately 3% of the target total raise of amount. Traditional non-traded REITs typically charge an average sales commission of 7% and organization and offering expenses of up to 15%**. That’s 400% more than what we charge.

Next FTC Fintech Forum to Discuss Crowdfunding, P2P Payments, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced their next Fintech Forum.  The next event will take place on October 26th at the FTC HQ in Washington, DC.

At the first Fintech forum, the FTC managed to bring together a respectable group of industry representatives. As we understand it, FTC staff is reaching out to potential panelists now.

The half-day forum will examine the various models of crowdfunding and peer-to-peer payments used by companies, the potential benefits to consumers, and possible consumer protection concerns. In addition, the forum will look at how the FTC Act and other existing consumer protection laws might apply to companies participating in these areas.

United Kingdom

Online auction house launches pioneering partnership with lender, (Estate Agent Today), Rated: A

LOT11, an online auction house, is teaming up with short-term lender LendInvest in the first alliance of its kind. On the information page for each pre-qualified lot, summary funding details will be presented alongside other key property information, such as floor plans and legal documents, reflecting the imperative of arranging auction finance in advance of a bid for prospective bidders.

LOT11, which is only nine months old, attracted participants from more than 120 countries to its most recent online auction.

European Union

Bondora Publishes Annual Report for 2015, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The reports can be found here.

Bondora, a European peer to peer lender based in Estonia, has been on a big push to bring greater clarity and transparency to their lending platform. The initiative is not a requirement but a strategic decision to drive investor confidence and utilization.

Earlier this month, Bondora published an audited annual report from last year. As a private company there is no mandated need to do this but Bondora has published it regardless.

Bondora raised equity in the amount of €4.5 million during 2015 and thus strengthened the balance sheet substantially.

Bondora may be a smaller platform but they have big ambitions.  The P2P lender claims some of the highest returns in the industry and hosts a secondary platform for investor liquidity.  The current annualized net return on investment stands at 16.7% and the highest grade loans are generating about 12 % today.  Most loans are small distributed across three countries: Estonia, Finland and Spain. Anyone may invest in Europe. US investors must be accredited.

New Zealand

P2P lender Squirrel Money is the first to launch secondary market for investors in NZ, (SMN Weekly), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender Squirrel Money announced on Thursday it is launching secondary market next week, which will allow loans to be on-sold to other investors. The Squirrel offer will be the first P2P secondary market available in New Zealand.

Squirrel Money expects that the launch of the secondary market will encourage more people to make long-term investments.

Keep in mind, however, that Investments being sold through the Secondary Market are subject to an administration fee of 1% (up to a maximum of $50) per investment sold.

Squirrel Money has so far lent $225,899 in loans. Earlier this year, the company raised $3,424,400 through its crowdfunding campaign on Snowball Effect – NZ’s leading equity crowdfunding platform.

China

P2P platforms face lending caps, (Global Times), Rated: AAA

Chinese authorities will roll out rules governing the country’s peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms, which are expected to set borrowing limits for the sector, a move experts said on Sunday highlights the regulatory emphasis on inclusive finance.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), together with several other departments, will set specific borrowing limits in the Interim Measures for the Administration of Business Activities of Online Lending Information Intermediaries, which are expected to be issued around February 2017, domestic news portal thepaper.cn reported on Saturday, citing anonymous sources close to the matter.

Specifically, the report said an individual would be able to borrow no more than 200,000 yuan ($30,211) from a single P2P platform and no more than 1 million yuan in total from various platforms.

As for companies or other organizations, the amount should not exceed 1 million yuan from one platform or 5 million yuan from several platforms.

According to a draft version the CBRC released in December 2015 for public comment, P2P platforms should focus on small-scale lending and, with adequate risk management capabilities, should keep close control of borrowers’ total balances from all P2P platforms.

“At present, some P2P platforms may see ‘big orders’ for money, lending tens or even hundreds of millions of yuan to some real estate enterprises or other capital-intensive sectors, instead of supporting individuals and small and micro-sized enterprises,” Luo told the Global Times on Sunday.

“They will need to adjust their business once the borrowing caps become official,” Luo said, noting that tighter controls are inevitable.

India

Creating space for financial services, ( LiveMint), Rated: A

It is widely acknowledged that financial inclusion, and financial services more broadly, are at an inflection point in India. The so-called JAM trinity (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) and recent regulatory innovations (like the introduction of differentiated banking licences) have set the stage for a transformation.

As Nandan Nilekani eloquently put it, India has reached its “WhatsApp moment” in financial services.

Notably, there is a chicken-and-egg problem of innovation. Regulators desire to fully understand the potential risks of new technologies and approaches before making a decision.

So, how does one overcome this chicken-and-egg problem? One big idea that is taking shape is that of a “regulatory sandbox”.

A sandbox is a mechanism through which the regulator permits realistic simulations and limited-scale experiments of financial innovations in controlled environments (often ‘relaxing’ some regulatory norms). It studies the results of these experiments, and then makes final regulatory decisions. The sandbox functions as a safe space to try out innovations, and understand their associated risks, before allowing full-scale roll-out.

Here’s where a sandbox approach could help—by permitting an experiment where P2P lending platforms can be given some regulatory leeway such as being allowed to access centralized credit score and KYC databases, and hold funds in centralized accounts. Such an experiment could be run as a pilot with a limited set of customers—for instance, 1,000 customers in one city, for three months. If the regulator is satisfied that there were no major regulatory issues, the regulatory leeway could be formalized into the regulations.

Author:

George Popescu