Monday March 5 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage says ‘no’ to lending for assault guns. Collateral enters administration. Orix invests $60M in Wecash. SMBs accept face-to-face payments via mobile devices. Today’s main analysis: The friction between new finance and old regulations (a must-read report). Today’s thought-provoking articles: 3 lessons from LendingClub’s earnings. The business schools that produce the highest salaries. Beware fintechs […]

marketplace lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Africa

News Summary

United States

Online lender Kabbage to restrict weapons lending (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Kabbage Inc, a U.S. online lender for small businesses, said it will cut ties with clients that make or sell assault-style rifles or that sell weapons or ammunition to people under 21 years old, one of the strongest steps by any financial firm after last month’s high school massacre in Florida.

3 Revelations From LendingClub’s Earnings Report (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

1. Lawsuit settlements

One piece of good news is that the company recently dealt with its largest liabilities from the 2016 scandal, settling both federal and state class action shareholder lawsuits. The bad news: LendingClub has to pay plaintiffs a total of $125 million, with $47.75 million covered by insurance, leaving LendingClub on the hook for the remaining $77.25 million. That amounts to roughly 12% of the company’s liquid assets and about 5% of the current market capitalization.

2. A challenging environment

In addition to these company-specific problems, the macroeconomic environment has become more challenging, though that is no fault of LendingClub. Increased awareness of personal loans delivered via the internet has spurred a large increase in applications, and LendingClub saw a 43% increase in applications in 2017 — much higher than the company’s 3.7% growth in originations.

3. Cost cuts in 2018

LendingClub believes it has stabilized both its credit model and its investor base in 2017 while introducing new investor products, and it will pivot in 2018 to focusing on controlling costs. Part of that will entail outsourcing its loan servicing to industry-standard third parties while reallocating internal engineers to the things that differentiate the company, like data-driven underwriting and product innovation.

For the full year 2018, the company forecasts 18% to 22% revenue growth while targeting cost growth of only 14% to 16%.

 

The top 20 business schools where graduates earn the most money, ranked from lowest to highest salary (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

With that in mind, online lender SoFi looked at the average salary graduates of American business schools earn and ranked the top 20.

SoFi’s approach is unique. It reviewed the self-reported income on over 60,000 student-loan refinancing forms from January 2014 to December 2017.

The average salary for graduates of all business schools SoFi reviewed was $109,992.

  • 20. University of Texas at Austin — $139,776
  • 3. Stanford University — $186,534
  • 2. Columbia University — $189,295
  • 1. University of Pennsylvania — $224,034

There is Friction Between New Finance & Old Regulation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Milken Institute is out with a comprehensive report this week that drills down into existing legislative action by Congress that addresses the emerging Fintech industry. This is the first report of its kind and provides a solid perspective on what Congress has accomplished to date while recognizing the fact elected officials can do far more.

“Subjecting nonbank lenders to 50 different state usury laws is inconsistent with today’s increasingly interconnected and digital global economy.”

The research provides multiple policy recommendations. In brief, they are as follows:

  • Provide certainty on “true lender” and “valid when made” issues to maintain a vibrant, competitive marketplace for credit.
  • Harmonize inconsistent state-by-state regulations related to mobile banking to drive financial inclusion and access.
  • Update tax reporting guidelines regarding cryptocurrency transactions to protect against tax evasion and to promote a more transparent, responsible marketplace.
  • Enable the reporting of alternative data that can expand access to credit.
  • Develop common reporting standards among U.S. financial regulators to foster a more transparent marketplace.
  • Require the IRS to automate certain data collection and reporting processes that can help enhance the speed and efficacy of the underwriting process.

This report is a must read policy paper for Capitol Hill staffers and US Fintech industry participants.

Read the full report here.

Equity and Credit Market Volatility, Continuing Bank-FinTech Partnerships (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US equity markets had a bad week as the S&P500 closed 3.3% lower at 2,659. CDX IG spreads widened marginally by 0.6 bps to 55 bps and CDX HY spreads widened by 8.7 bps to 337 bps. We have seen significantly higher volatility this year, driven mainly by rising interest rates and inflation expectations. No new MPL deals have priced since the rise in volatility, although we expect the first $1 Bn MPL ABS transaction to announce soon.

We share a few anecdotes from our informal conversations which we share in generic fashion to protect the innocent:

  • A large issuer: “Our bonds are oversubscribed 2 to 3x. And when we share that with our investors they want more.”
  • A large ABS investor: “We need help monitoring losses in the personal loan ABS space. Is this an indutry issue?”
  • A large investment bank (Warehouse): “We ar doubling our exposure to warehouse lending. We have the mandate to grow the book.”
  • A large investment bank (Syndicate Desk): “MPL has gone mainstream now.”
  • A lender: “The 5% risk retention requirement is hurting our ability to issue loans to consumer and grow our business responsibly.”
  • An issuer: “We are a small emerging originator and we have 7 term sheets – from large banks and small – in the last few weeks. Competition in warehouse lending is growing.”

Also heard at the conference was that Citibank is planning a Marcus-like online lender to enter the consumer unsecured loans space, although the timeline was unclear. Our view is that the GS Marcus – and specifically the ROE and NIM opportunity – is inspiring competitive response from other banks including Citi.

Marketplace lenders develop new wrinkles to attract more funding (American Banker), Rated: A

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

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

Marketplace lending’s death has been over exaggerated (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

It’s clear that equity investors no longer see the value of marketplace lenders, such as companies that provide credit at the point of sale or online lending.

Source: PaymentSource

A typical lender leverages equity into debt at a fixed ratio. If they want to grow their portfolio they have to raise equity and lever it into more debt. An off-balance sheet marketplace eliminates the equity-debt leverage ratio allowing a lender to double and triple their portfolio as quickly as they can grow their marketplace.

The SEC Goes Hot with ICO Subpoenas but are Regulators “on Shaky Legal Ground?” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The fact the Securities and Exchange Commission has been issuing subpoenas to initial coin offering (ICOs) issuers has been rumored for quite some time. Recently, multiple publications, including Crowdfund Insider, revealed this fact. The SEC has been warning of this sort of activity for many months and, while not surprising to most, it is an unpleasant moment for an issuer when that subpoena shows up.

Mulvaney says the CFPB will depend heavily on state Attorneys General for enforcement of consumer protection laws (Lexology), Rated: B

For example, the acting director noted that the agency will devote greater resources to consumer education, instead of relying heavily on enforcement actions to ensure consumers make the correct choices, reaffirming previous remarks in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece (previously covered by InfoBytes here).

Mulvaney stated that he does not anticipate devoting any further resources to mandatory arbitration clauses, citing Congress overturning its arbitration rule through the Congressional Review Act as evidence the Bureau does not have the authority to do so.

3rd Circuit holds payday lender’s arbitration clause unenforceable (Lexology), Rated: B

On February 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit held that an arbitration clause is unenforceable if the corresponding forum selection provision designates a forum that does not actually exist.

The benefits of fintech for the credit invisible (microbilt), Rated: A

 

Rethinking The Reputation Of The Merchant Cash Advance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The rise of alternative lending and familiarity of growing names like OnDeck is beginning to shift public perception of the merchant cash advance, however.

There are scenarios, too, in which a merchant cash advance may actually be the best financial option for a business in need of working capital.

“We see a lot of clients who already have a long-term equipment loan, or an SBA loan, or a loan from a traditional bank or a factoring line, and they’re looking to unlock short-term liquidity from their business,” he said. “When you take out an SBA loan or equipment loan, you have to have some type of collateral to pledge, and that money can dry up quickly. We come in un-collateralized.”

One driver behind the shifting reputation of merchant cash advances is the industry’s participation in technology adoption and innovation.

At Best Egg, talk is a best practice (American Banker), Rated: B

So, every quarter, he and the company’s management team host an all-hands meeting and outline to the company’s 100-plus employees what the most important goal for the next 90 days will be.

So the word went out to employees that for the time being, efforts to grow the business would have to take a back seat to making certain that the existing business was profitable. According to Meiler, it was employees’ focus on the task that helped Best Egg rack up $11 million in GAAP profits last year, even as competitors were still posting operating losses in the tens of millions of dollars. And, he adds, the company still grew its business by 60% anyhow.

Best Fintechs to Work For (American Banker), Rated: A

Office exercise happens beyond a standing desk at many of the companies. NvoicePay not only provides stretching areas and lockers to employees, it offers monthly classes with a certified trainer and kinesiologist. Marlette Funding’s Best Egg unit offers employees self-defense classes on site, along with yoga.

And if you like the beach, check out nCino, where employees regularly go for early morning paddleboat sessions at nearby Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, N.C., and SmartbizLoans, which hosts “Disco Yoga” at San Francisco’s Baker Beach.

Addressing an employee’s well-being and comfort comes in different forms, whether it is Cross River Bank’s policy of providing 100% of the premium for various insurance benefits covering employees and their families, Nav’s unlimited paid time off option for employees, or Ensenta’s tradition of celebrating workforce diversity with multiple holidays, including Kwanzaa, Diwali, and the Day of the Dead.

To keep burnout in check, PeerStreet mixes play with hard work (American Banker), Rated: A

To that end, they’ve established a company that regularly celebrates its successes and milestones with parties, and encourages employees to get together and have fun in nonwork environments. A prime example of the latter is the PeerStreet Olympics, an annual event in which the company is divided for a day into teams of friendly athletic competition, some of which takes place on the beach near its Southern California offices.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Collateral enters administration (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Collateral (UK), a small P2P company offering pawnbroker-style and property-backed loans with 15 per cent returns, went into administration on Wednesday after it emerged that it was not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

BondMason offers to step in on Collateral loans (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER investor BondMason has offered to step in and manage the loanbook of the troubled Collateral platform.

BondMason, which invests in loans across more than 30 P2P platforms on behalf of investors, revealed it has invested 2.48 per cent of its portfolio through Collateral, which has fallen into administration.

P2P platforms reassure investors after Collateral closure (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lending firms have been reassuring their investors about the safety of their platforms in the aftermath of Collateral going into administration.

Business lenders Ablrate and MoneyThing have both sent messages to their customers detailing their stability, performance and regulatory requirements that mean they have to hold client money separately and have a ‘living will’ that puts a plan in place should a business fail.

Growth in the number of Zombie businesses in the South East says report (Daily Echo), Rated: A

The proportion of south east companies which are only paying the interest on their debts – one of the signs of a so-called ‘zombie’ business – has risen to four per cent in December from one per cent in April 2017, according to indicative research by R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body.

This represents around 12,000 businesses in the region.

Beware Fintech Firms Bearing Bitcoin (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Rather than try and undercut banks, or chase millennial savers’ pennies at a loss, fintech firms are now leaping at the chance to make serious cash through a technology that most banks won’t even touch. What’s more, Bitcoin has the power to take over people’s lives. One trader says it’s worse than gambling; Korea calls victims “zombies.”

Here’s a roll call of recent converts: Mobile-payments firm Square Inc. has rolled out Bitcoin trading; social-payments app Circle splashed $400 million on Poloniex, only about 15 months after it had stopped offering bitcoin trading; and money-transfer company Revolut has started offering crypto trading facilities.

Trading platform Coinbase booked more than $1 billion in revenue last year, according to Recode, which, if true, is more than peer-to-peer marketplace Lending Club and more than Square. On top of the money to be made from trading fees and asset-price gains, Bitcoin could also act as a lure, helping startups cross-sell their other products to a bigger audience.

 

London Fintech Humaniq Launches New Version of Mobile App (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

On Friday, London-based FinTech firm Humaniq revealed it is marking the milestone of its mobile app reaching its first 50,000 downloads by unveiling a new, improved version.

Some of the new features include:

  • New referral program: The new 2.0 referral program will build on this by displaying community progress with referrals and thereby make the referral process more transparent and intuitive for all users.
  • Transaction options extension: Transactions can now be made through the messaging chat system.
  • New registration process: Allows users to start interacting with a Humaniq assistant bot, which becomes smarter and is learning to execute more useful commands, even without the registration.

Peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance helps firms to add 2,400 jobs (The Times), Rated: A

The country’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform said that it had supported the creation of more than 2,400 jobs since it began its Irish operations almost five years ago.

Linked Finance, which connects local businesses in need of loans with an online lending community of individuals, institutions and other investors, said firms that had borrowed money through its platform had raised staffing levels by 24 per cent on average.

City Moves for 5 March 2018 – who’s switching jobs at ArchOver? (City A.M.), Rated: B

ArchOver, the peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending platform, has announced Bill Johnston will join its board of directors as a non-executive director (NED). In his role, Bill will support ArchOver in formularising its training and development programme, to ensure it has the right talent in place as it continues to scale.

China

Orix invests $ 60m in Chinese fintech startup (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Japanese financial services group Orix bought a 6.4 billion yen ($59.8 million) stake in Wecash, a Chinese startup that uses big data and artificial intelligence to rate consumer credit.

Wecash can calculate a consumer’s creditworthiness in 10 seconds or less using phone records and other personal information, and has partnered with dozens of financial institutions so far. It also suggests potential lenders to consumers looking to take out a loan.

Only about 30% of the Chinese population is believed to borrow money from banks.

Hong Kong gives fintech measures the thumbs up (Asia Asset Management), Rated: B

Hong Kong will allocate HK$500 million (US$64.1 million) to financial services, including fintech, over the next five years, Mr. Chan said in the budget speech.

European Union

We talked to Nordic fintech queen Lena Apler – and her message to legacy banks is reboot or die (Business Insider), Rated: A

Big banks are particularly exposed when it comes to ETF funds. The fast-growing $5 trillion-dollar industry is being challenged by a crop of robo advisors, such as Apler’s portfolio company Sigmastocks, an algorithm-powered tool that tailors portfolios for customers, or BetterWealth, a roboadvisor app.

Although the region’s leading banks, such as Danske, Nordea and Swedbank are doing some good things and building new digital banking products and roboadvisory capabilities, Apler says, it won’t be enough.

Apler’s online bank Collector, which received its full banking license in 2015, has expanded to comprise cards, saving accounts and quick loans to both consumers and businesses. Collector doesn’t face the same issues as legacy banks in a digital world, Apler explains.

International

SMBs Turn To Mobile Devices To Accept Payments In Face-To-Face Environments (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

The retail point-of-sale (POS) terminal market is no stagnant business. While it is currently a $15 billion industry, Global Market Insights is expecting it to reach $45 billion by the year 2024.

Only 13 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are considering adding new payment types to face-to-face and remote environments, according to The PYMNTS SMB Technology Adoption Index.

Here are five ways SMBs are accepting payments from their customers.

  1. About a quarter – or 26 percent – of SMBs use hardware and software integrated POS to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  2. Almost two in 10 – or 19 percent of SMBs – use check scanning to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  3. And just about the same amount – 18 percent – of SMBs use NFC-enabled terminals to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  4. Fourteen percent of SMBs use mobile phones to accept payments in a face-to-face environment.
  5. Just under one in 10 – or 8 percent – of SMBs use mobile tablets. 

AltFin Shines As Investor Interest In B2B FinTech Continues (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Total venture capital across the global FinTech market between 2010 and 2017 hit a combined $97.7 billion, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47 percent.

Accenture highlighted Kabbage, the U.S. alternative small business lending firm, that secured $900 million in 2017, while other alternative finance players, like LendingPoint and SoFi, landed significant investment rounds.

This week, alternative lender C2FO showed that the alternative finance funding gears are still turning, landing $100 million from Allianz X and Mubadala Investment Company. Existing backers Temasek, Union Square Ventures and Mithril Capital also participated, an announcement said.

This week’s blockchain investment comes from Square Peg Capital, which provided $5.5 million in Series A funding to AgriDigital, an Australian company hoping to use the funds to expand into North America.

Reports in The Australian Financial Review this week said the company uses blockchain to facilitate supply chain finance to the agriculture business, offering supply chain management features also powered by distributed ledger technology.

Why More MBA Students Are Gunning For Careers In Fintech (Business Because), Rated: A

According to CB Insights, $4.7 trillion of revenue generated by financial services firms is at risk of being displaced by fintech startups.

Prominent business school alumni have founded successful fintech startups, such as Giles Andrews, who setup peer-to-peer lender Zopa after getting an MBA at INSEAD. Jeff Lynn and Carlos Silva developed crowdfunding platform Seedrs during their MBA at Oxford’s Saïd Business School. According to PwC’s Global Fintech Report 2017, funding of fintech startups has increased at an annual growth rate of 41% over the past four years, with $40 billion in cumulative investment made.

Niels Turfboer is UK managing director at Spotcap, the Berlin-based online lender.

Lending and profit on the blockchain – Bitstrades targets new markets (The Merkle), Rated: B

Bitstrades is clearly aiming to position itself as a complete platform that both links users together and also leverages economies of scale to make both lending and investing possible. The Bitstrades ICO raised millions in funding and now the BSS token is available for trading.

TigerWit Raises $ 5M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: B

TigerWit, a global fintech company, secured $5m in funding.

Australia/New Zealand

Financial planners not needed in credit space (TheAdviser), Rated: A

Bringing financial planners into the credit space would be unnecessary, according to a Commonwealth Bank executive, as there are more than enough brokers to service the mortgage needs of Australians.

The CBA executive said: “With 16,000 brokers out in the marketplace, we’re certainly not in a position where we need more people to serve Australians well in meeting their mortgage needs. For me, it’s certainly not a quantity issue.

The PC has also alleged that brokers working for lender-owned aggregators could feel compelled to provide customers with home loan products offered by the bank with an ownership share of the business.

Commissioner Stephen King referenced CBA’s ownership of Aussie Home Loans and cited figures published in the PC’s report, which said that 37 per cent of loans written by Aussie brokers were for CBA products.

We launch a new calculator that figures out the true “cost of credit” of a loan contract (Interest.co.nz), Rated: B

This one will be very helpful for readers who know just three things: how much they are borrowing, the amount of their repayments, and the number of those repayments.

It will be very useful indeed for anyone contemplating taking out a personal loan, a car loan, or even a payday loan.

With just these three items, you can work out the effective cost of credit of the debt obligation, expressed as a % per annum.

India

FY 19 – Beginning of a New Era for P2P Lending in FinTech Sector (India Info Online), Rated: AAA

India is poised to be a USD 4-trillion economy by 2022, of which USD 1-trillion would be digital economy.

Digital economy was a focal point for this budget ’18 as government’s support with regard to lending MSME’s allocated 3794 crore in the form of capital support and interest subsidy by 2022 which will help develop the MSME sector. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute about a third of India’s manufacturing output and provide employment to over 10 crore people. Despite this, the share of institutional lending in the total borrowings of MSMEs is less than 10%.

The prudential guidelines include maximum leverage ratio that can be maintained (2 times), minimum net owned funds (Rs2 crore), cap on aggregate exposure of lender to all borrowers (Rs.10 lakh), borrowers across all P2P (Rs10 lakh), exposure of single lender to borrower (Rs50,000) and maturity of loans (not exceed 36 months).

Signzy is helping banks solve customer authentication, onboarding problems with blockchain-based solution (YourStory), Rated: B

Signzy developed blockchain and AI-based solutions to digitally identify, verify, and authenticate customers. Its onboarding solution, Real KYC, has now been deployed by more than 45 large clients, including leading banks, NBFCs, mutual funds, P2P lending platforms, payment wallets, and so on.

Africa

Nigerian banks are using Facebook Messenger to onboard small businesses (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Mastercard is working with Facebook Messenger to bring a digital payments and banking experience to small businesses in Nigeria, in an effort to incentivize Nigerian merchants to close the mobile payments adoption gap and bring them onto the formal financial grid.

The payments giant, which has said it’s in the business of killing cash, is bringing this initiative to a country where 98 percent of the $301 billion in consumer-to-business payments is transacted using cash.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday April 17 2017, Daily News Digest

Monday April 17 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Republicans propose drastic overhaul of CFPB.  BOE chief sees no need for tougher FinTech regulation. CBRC assistant chair reported ‘out of contact’. Today’s main analysis: Transparency remains a sticking point for online lenders. The India FinTech Market Map. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How this FinTech CEO plans to prosper. Interview with Scott Sanborn. International regtechs […]

Monday April 17 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • Republicans propose drastic overhaul of CFPB, Dodd-Frank. GP:” This is just a proposal and it will likely change a lot by the time, if and when, it gets adopted into law. In all cases, the theme here seems to be more control and less power for the agencies.”  AT: “We saw this one coming. I didn’t expect a name change, but I think that’s interesting, especially the use of the word ‘opportunity,’ which puzzles me. Why would a regulatory agency include that word in its name? Another thing I find interesting is the deputy director holding the job at the will of the president, which I expected. However, it makes the agency serve at the whim of the winds of the political climate, like all other executive agencies. What makes that interesting is it goes against the initial conception of the agency, which was intended to be independent of the chief executive. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, good or bad either way, but we can expect the Democrats to fight this hard.”
  • How this FinTech CEO plans to prosper in 2017. GP:”The key is customer satisfaction, which itself relies on a good product, fair pricing, ease of use whom themselves depend on the cost of financing, employee satisfaction, technology quality and an infinite list of other items.”
  • Transparency remains a sticking point for online lenders. GP:”This is very interesting data. If the online lenders build a reputation of being expensive, regardless if it’s true or not, it will hurt their customer acquisition costs significantly. This has to be fought and this perception is very dangerous. In general consumers, especially opinion leaders, are not stupid. I think a good way to fight for transparency and to fight the high rate and unfavorable terms opinion is by actually releasing actual verifiable data that offers more transparency and demonstrates the rate and term points. ” AT: “It’s important that online lenders not simply claim to be transparent. Most consumers, millennials, in particular, are well aware that technology is not inherently transparent. It can be used to set up walls of opaqueness as easily as see-through curtains, or blinds. If you’re going to call yourself ‘transparent’, you’ve got to be transparent.”
  • Chatting P2P marketplaces with LendingClub’s CEO. GP:” Lending Club is really turning into a large company, run as a large company, on values and brand and letting every department alone to do what they can with controls in place. I am curious how it will defer from a large bank in two or three years.” AT: “Scott Sandborn shares some interesting insights into marketplace lending in general and LendingClub in particular.”

United Kingdom

  • BOE chief sees no need for tougher FinTech regulation. GP:”I am pleasantly surprised, and once again I understand how the UK, despite being a small market, continues to be the point of reference in finance in the entire world and has been for hundreds of years. I am yet to see a single US regulator who says even once: there is no need for more regulation.” AT: “This is a sign of maturity. In the U.S., when legacy institutions sense up-and-coming competitors, the first thing they want to do is use regulation as a protectionist scheme. Competition is good–for the goose and the gander.”
  • Researcher showcases unauthorized NFC payments with cloned Android device. AT: “This is interesting. We must all understand there’s no such thing as fail-safe security in the cyber world. Every device is a potential entry point for bad actors. In fact, every app on every device is a potential entryway for hackers and other bad actors. The key goal for security experts is to stay ahead of them. This hole needs to be plugged quickly.”

European Union

International

China

India

Asia

MENA

Africa

News Summary

United States

Republicans propose drastic overhaul of Dodd-Frank and CFPB (Housingwire), Rated: AAA

According to the summary of bill changes, the original CHOICE Act would restructure the FHFA and OCC as bipartisan commissions. The FDIC would be reorganized as a bipartisan commission with all five commissioners appointed by the president, and both the Comptroller of the Currency and the CFPB director would be removed from the FDIC board. Also, NCUA board of directors would be increased from three members to five.

The new CHOICE Act 2.0 cuts a lot of those proposed changes, and instead, the FHFA director would be removable at will by the president, with no changes to the current law regarding OCC and NCUA. The FDIC structure would stay the same as proposed in CHOICE 1.0.

The original CHOICE Act replaced the director of the CFPB with a Consumer Financial Opportunity Commission, a bipartisan independent Commission serving staggered terms.

Instead, in the newest version, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would be changed to the Consumer Financial Opportunity Agency, an executive agency with a sole director removable at will. The deputy director would also be appointed and removed by the president.

While the original CHOICE Act established a CFPB Credit Union Advisory Council, the updated one removed it because the bill eliminates mandatory CFPB advisory committees.

How This FinTech CEO Plans To Prosper In 2017 (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Along with FinTech industry guru Ron Suber, Prosper’s president, Kimball is intent on growing loan volumes, offering lower average rates compared to traditional lenders, delivering higher returns to investors and returning Prosper to profitability.

Prosper, which is the original online peer-to-peer marketplace, has originated over $9 billion in consumer loans over the past decade.

Since being appointed CEO of Prosper Marketplace late last year, Kimball has stepped outside his former financial role as Prosper’s CFO to take on a more operational-driven strategy.

David Kimball: Ultimately, the long-term success of platforms will be dependent on their ability to deliver a great product and a consistent experience. The success of the partnerships will depend on the ability for the two companies to communicate and understand each other (language, transparency, and culture), and it will depend on how well objectives remain compatible.

David Kimball: Last year, the industry did a lot to lay the foundation for a successful 2017, and we’re seeing that work pay off. The [recently announced loan purchase deal] gives us the funding stability we need to continue to grow, while at the same time giving us some great long-term partners that are invested in our business and its success.

David Kimball: A successful CFO is one who partners with the business instead of playing the finance sheriff. That requires a willingness to understand the business, to think holistically, to work with peers who jointly own the results. The CFO is the finance subject matter expert, but should be able to consider other disciplines, just as a CTO should be able to understand the financial implications of engineering decisions.

As CEO, I continue to think holistically and I now have an opportunity to flex into other areas of the business.

Transparency remains a sticking point for online lenders (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

A small business credit survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found 46 percent customer satisfaction at online lenders like Lending Club and OnDeck Capital with a 19 percent rate of dissatisfied customers – compared with large banks’ 61 percent of customers who indicated they were satisfied with their small business loan process and 15 percent of whom expressed dissatisfaction. Almost half of all customers specified that their dissatisfaction came from a “lack of transparency.”

Online lending customers are also dissatisfied with higher interest rates and unfavorable repayment terms, two common issues for the growing industry, which continues to have a higher cost of capital and for customer acquisitions.

Chatting P2P marketplaces with LendingClub CEO, Scott Sanborn (Simple Innovative Change), Rated: AAA

CL: The LendingClub story is a fascinating one and one that I’ve followed from the early days. So how does it feel to sit here and realize that so much of what is here today and the proliferation of all these different lending platforms is really because of this company and this team and what you have been able to build?

SB: I think it is exciting. It’s very gratifying to see how the initial idea has gained traction and how that has spawned new players who are bringing new energy and new ideas to different segments of the market. I think the clearest benefit is looking at how much value we’ve driven to consumers and investors.

For example, the personal loan market was actually shrinking when we first started. It shrank like 57% from 2007 to 2010, and yet we were still able to giveCL: There’s this great photo from the day of the IPO back in 2014 in which you can see just how elated you were. At the time you were the CMO and it was a very happy day, but when you stepped into the CEO role recently it wasn’t necessarily under the happiest of conditions. So, how have you handled the ups and downs of being a part of the Lending Club team, and how are do you lead the team through these challenging periods?

CL: That’s the answer you want to hear, by all means. Since becoming CEO at LendingClub, what have you learned about your own management style and how are you navigating the transition to this role?

SB: So much is swirling and changing in real-time, which means you need to keep everyone in the loop. In those early days after I stepped into the CEO role, I can’t tell you how many times we pulled all 1,500 employees together and marched them across the street to a hotel, to fit them into one room and explain, “Here’s what’s happening. Here’s what we know. Here’s what comes next.” That was certainly critical.

Lastly, we have focused tirelessly on assembling the right team. When a business is growing 80% to 100% a year for so many years it’s hard for the organization to keep up, and this was an opportunity to say, “Okay, new reality. Let’s look at what the right foundation is for the next decade of Lending Club.”

CL: One of the other reasons that I wanted to speak with you is because I often speak with seed and series A Fintech startups that’ll eventually face the challenges of being a larger organization if successful. So, what do you think are the challenges associated with trying to be an innovator while also being a larger organization?

SB: Literally, I left that conversation, and sat down with several team members in a room and said, “Okay, what are our values?” It was remarkably easy, actually, to identify what our values were. We put those down on paper and we revisit them, probably annually, maybe every 18 months or so and say, “Do they still resonate? Are they still right for this stage of the company?” Essentially all of our initial values have remained intact and we’ve added one or two as we’ve grown to reflect the new stage of the company.

Since then we have remained crisp on what our values are, and we have made sure we’re hiring to those values, and that our performance reviews reflect those values as well. That’s how you keep the essence of a company and that integrity of the company as you grow. The reality is, as you get bigger and layers get introduced and processes get introduced maintaining that value system will help the company stay, essentially, intact and stay functioning well.

CL: As we look to the vision of the future loan markets, do you think that startups will increasingly become the sourcing mechanisms of loans with financial institutions acting more as the wholesale banking providers?

SB: I think we’re not done seeing the different types of models that could emerge and how they could participate, and I think that’s part of what’s exciting. Not all of them will be great ideas, and not all of them will work, but some will.

If you look at our model, banks provide between a quarter and 30% of our funding and they have a very low cost of capital. When you combine their low cost of capital with our low operating cost it allows us to give, especially that super-prime customer, an incredible value that they couldn’t get at these institutions directly.

United Kingdom

Bank of England Chief Sees No Need for Tougher Fintech Regulation (Corporate Counsel), Rated: AAA

Fintech could pose a threat to traditional banks in the United Kingdom, according to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. But that doesn’t mean he thinks they should be subject to tougher regulation.

The Bank of England created a New Bank Start-up Unit last year, which advises companies trying to become new banks. Carney said in his speech that four mobile banks have been authorized as a result of the new division.

Some of the questions that he said need to be answered, moving forward are: “Which fintech activities constitute traditional banking activities by another name and should be regulated as such? How could developments change the safety and soundness of existing regulated firms? How could developments change potential macroeconomic and macrofinancial dynamics including disruptions to systemically important markets? And what could be the implications for the level of cyber and operational risks faced by regulated firms and the financial system as a whole?”

Researcher Showcases Unauthorized NFC Payments With Cloned Android Device (The Merkle), Rated: A

While this concept sounds ridiculous to most people, they should not underestimate the power of root malware on Android devices. By using this type of malicious software, it is possible to abuse the host card emulation protocol. Google introduced this feature in Android 4,4, as it allows for NFC payments by keeping the Android device next to a payment terminal. Unfortunately, it appears this protocol can also be used to make fraudulent purchases.

Thankfully, this exploit has been discovered by a security researcher who notified both Google and all of the applications he successfully “abused” about this vulnerability.

European Union

Aegon Leaves Legacy Behind With Ohpen’s Cloud Finserv Platform (Forbes), Rated: A

Ohpen, a banking technology company based in Amsterdam,has announced that it will partner with Aegon to develop a new platform for Aegon’s Dutch services, from banking to investments. It will also support multiple labels including Aegon’s Knab (bank spelled backwards) an entirely digital bank.

Aegon, a global financial conglomerate whose American holdings include Pimco, will replace multiple individual systems for pensions, savings, current accounts and wealth management with a single Ohpen platform running in the cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Aegon will plug into Ohpen’s platform through a flexible, 100% API-based interface.

Multiple companies under one corporate umbrella do many of the same things and have their own infrastructure and staff. Ohpen lets them merge all those activities onto a single cloud-based back end and then put an API on top so any application or Web site can get to it.

International

Keeping the banks honest: meet the regtech rule-obeyers (Wired UK), Rated: AAA

Under mounting pressure to become more transparent and accountable, banks and financial institutions are turning to regtech: technology that automates regulatory compliance.

London-based FundApps alerts financial institutions when regulations change, and gives them software to help compliance. Launched in 2010, it covers 88 jurisdictions.

Legislation in Europe requires companies to “know your customer” to make sure they’re not money laundering. That’s what Trulioo does.

Qumram records, retains and allows on-demand replays of digital activity across web, social and mobile.

US accounting rules require banks to store historical loan data to predict future repayment. “This is what we help them do,” says Vivek Subramanyam, CEO of Fintellix. Launched in 2006, it recently launched a website targeting US community banks and credit unions that are grappling with accounting regulations.

KYC3 (“Know Your Customer, Counterparty and Competition”) automates due diligence, so companies can screen potential clients.

How the World’s Richest Companies Can Help Its Poorest Citizens (Time), Rated: AAA

From Kenya and Tanzania, to Jordan and Peru, digital technology and simple mobile phones are opening up opportunities for millions of people by helping them to safely save and manage their money.

From Kenya and Tanzania, to Jordan and Peru, digital technology and simple mobile phones are opening up opportunities for millions of people by helping them to safely save and manage their money.

Four of the world’s largest telco system manufacturers — Sweden’s Ericsson, China’s Huawei, Canada’s Telepin and India’s Mahindra Comviva — have put aside their fierce competition and agreed to collaborate, not out of altruism but in order to better compete. Announced at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who works to bring competitors together to meaningfully address financial inclusion for the poor, these companies are developing a set of “application programming interfaces,” or in plain English, ways of making computers talk to each other. These APIs will create open-source standards for the development of digital financial services that are automatically compatible with each other, lowering costs for providers and increasing the utility of digital financial services for customers overall.

By governing how different digital accounts send and receive money, the APIs can be the basis for a new “internet of payments,” across which individuals, banks, merchants, employers, and governments seamlessly transact. The APIs are still under development, but when they’re complete they will be released as a global public good, available to anyone who wants to invent.

AI In Fintech: 100+ Companies Using AI Algorithms To Improve The Fin Services Industry (CB Insights), Rated: B

Funding to AI startups reached record highs in 2016 and applications for artificial intelligence technologies exist across nearly the entire spectrum of business. Highlighted here are the top 100 AI startups selected by CB Insights operating across numerous industry verticals.

China

Assistant chairman of China Banking Regulatory Commission, Yang Jiacai, reported to be ‘out of contact’ (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Fifty-six-year-old Yang Jiacai, assistant chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) was reported to be “out of contact” since Tuesday, April 11, by Chinese media Caixin and Caijing.

Caixin reported Yang had transferred all his responsibilities to his colleague, the commission’s vice-chairman Cao Yu.

Yang made his last public appearance a week ago during a press conference for the CBRC, during which he introduced some heavy-handed regulatory moves planned by the commission.

Podcast 97: Yihan Fang of Yirendai (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The origins of Yirendai and how it was incubated inside CreditEase.
  • When and why Yirendai was spun-off from CreditEase.
  • Some background on all the divisions inside CreditEase.
  • The typical borrower who comes to Yirendai for a loan.
  • How Yirendai has broken new ground in China.
  • The different channels they use to obtain borrowers.
  • The typical size, rate and term of their consumer loans.
  • How these borrowers use their loan proceeds.
  • How Yirendai differentiates themselves from their competitors.
  • Who the typical investors are who participate on their platform.
  • The average amount each of their 200,000 investors deploy on their platform.
  • How their investor product works and details of their risk protection fund.
  • How their business model works as far as revenue.
  • A breakdown of their institutional investor interest.
  • Why they decided to do an IPO in New York rather than Shanghai or Hong Kong.
  • The impact of the new marketplace lending regulations in China.
  • Yihan’s perspective on the fraud that has happened in China.
  • Details of their new Yirendai Enabling Platform that they launched at LendIt.
  • What areas Yirendai will focus on in the coming years.

China is Cracking Down on Unscrupulous Financial Services (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In a series of reports, ChinaNews is pointing to the increasing scrutiny of the Chinese government regarding financial fraud and over-all malpractice.

Now the China Banking Regulatory Commission has published measures to address risks in the financial and banking sectors. According to ChinaNews, CBRC highlighted 10 areas for improving risk control in both traditional and internet finance – which includes peer to peer lending.

All of this is taking place with the back-drop of Xian Junbo, Chairman of China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), being placed under investigation for “disciplinary violations.” He will be the most senior government financial regulator to be investigated in several years.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Big Data Company Wecash raised $ 80 million in series C funding led by China Merchants Capital, Fore Bright Capital and SIG. Two new investors – Dongfang Hongdao Asset Management and Lingfeng Capital joined the existing investors in this round.

On April 10, China Banking Regulatory Commission released “Guidelines on risk prevention and control in banking industry” to make the P2P online lending market standard by perfecting the in-out mechanisms, paying more attention to the supervision and perfecting the governance of online lending companies.

According to the PwC Global FinTech Survey China Summary 2017 released on April 6, the three main areas to be disrupted by FinTech in China over the next five years will be consumer banking, investment & wealth management, and fund transfers & payments. E-retailers, large technology companies and financial institutions will be the biggest sources of disruption.

Compared with developed countries, the market-penetration level of auto finance in China is much lower. However, it also indicates that China has a tremendous room to develop and grow.

US

Australia

China

Market-penetration

80% – 85%

70%

Less than 30%

On April 6, second-hand car online trading platform Souche closed on $180 million in Series D Funding led by Warburg Pincus. Other participants in the round included VMS Investment Group, ClearVue Partners, Haitong International, CreditEase and Morningside Capital. Notably, Souche just finished Series C Funding led by Ant Financial in the last November. In the past five months, Souche has raised a total of $280 million.

 

India

The India Fintech Market Map: 72 Startups Working Across Lending, Payments, Insurance & Banking (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Looking at Indian fintech specifically, funding to private companies in the sector boomed from about $175M in 2014 to a high of $2B in 2015 (buoyed by mega-rounds to Paytm) and then slid to $530M in 2016. Still, 2016′s total funding was more than 200% higher than total funding in 2014. A host of global corporations and their venture arms have entered the fray, eager to reach India’s mostly unbanked population and profit from the country’s tech-friendly regulatory environment.

‘Free’ credit reports from fintech portals (livemint), Rated: A

Apart from bureaus, online financial marketplaces are also offering free credit scores and reports. These reports are not counted against the free reports you can get from credit bureaus directly.

On the four fintech platforms we went to, it took no more than a few minutes to log on, authorise the fintech to access our credit report, and get it on the screen or in email. And it was also simpler to get a report here than from a bureau’s website.

On Bankbazaar, we got the report on its website and in email. Paisabazaar displays the report on its website. Both sites provided reports from Experian Credit Information Co. of India Pvt. Ltd.

FinTech: To Regulate Or Not To Regulate? Former RBI Deputy Governor R Gandhi Explains (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

In lending, peer-to-peer lenders and online SME (small and medium enterprises) lenders are targeting clients considered too risky by banks. They claim to use technologies that can assess credit worthiness in smarter ways than the traditional income statements used by banks. In payments, wallet companies have taken the lead in retail payments forcing banks to up their game.

One gripe that banks have is that these fintech firms are getting away unregulated, which gives them a lot more flexibility in how they do business.

That’s true for now, said R Gandhi, former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) who retired after a 37-year stint at the central bank earlier this month. The dilemma for the regulator is to decide when to regulate and how to regulate so as to ensure that innovative business models get a fair chance, Gandhi explained in an interview with BloombergQuint on Tuesday.

Is India ready for Peer-to-Peer lending industry? (Faircent), Rated: A

What we are trying to do is to create a P2P (Peer to peer) lending industry. Fundamentally we are providing an alternative to banking and other financial institutions.

Karun: Investors whom we call lenders can get returns up to 18% to 20% per annum which is much better than other options today. As a borrower you can avail unsecured loans at much cheaper interest rates. What we feel is that the banks make huge margins in terms of the rates that they offering customers on their savings and the rates they are lending it out to people at, in the form of loans. By reducing the margin, with Faircent as the match maker, we are able to pass value to both sides of the table, to borrowers as well as lenders.

Karun: We are purely a digital entity.   We are trying to use technology so that there is minimal offline intervention.

We’ve done a lot of marketing technology interventions, like we have a CRM which is built on top of our platform, which is a custom made CRM. We have integrated it with our lead gen channels. We have an email marketing platform using which we nurture our customers and also do promotional activities with potential customers. We have done a lot of work in trying to become Omni-channel. Three main channels which we use are email, SMS and Voice.

Karun: We are using a lot of the off- the- shelf products. But the challenge for us is really how do we integrate them with our platform. So hence we have to be much more careful about which option we choose. We are using Octane and Amazon for email. Octane is basically a mix of email and SMS which we are predominantly using for marketing.

Karun: Yes, we have a mobile app which is available on the Android and iOS platform. Right now, our focus has been more to enable our customers to access our platform on the mobile device. So for example if there is an investor who wants to invest in loans on the fly he can do it using our app. At present we’re not really focused on the app to acquire more borrowers or acquire more investors and lenders.

Razorpay plans overseas foray (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: B

Razorpay, a payment gateway solution provider focused on online merchants, plans to go international. It is looking to enter South East Asia and West Asia markets in 2018-19, Harshil Mathur, co-founder, has said.

The fintech startup, which started its journey in mid-2014, is in talks with local and global (banking) players in these markets, Mathur said.

Razorpay, which had raised Series A funding of $11.5 million, is not worried about funding for the next two years, according to Mathur.

Asia

ORIX Launches New Online Lending Business for Japanese Small Businesses (Orix), Rated: AAA

ORIX Corporation (“ORIX”) and Yayoi Co., Ltd. (“Yayoi”), an ORIX Group company, announced today that they are launching a new online lending business, a new FinTech service utilizing accounting big data and proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) based credit model.

The business will provide Internet-based lending to small businesses in Japan. A new credit model is under development, utilizing ORIX’s credit expertise, Yayoi’s accounting big data, and cutting edge AI technology by ORIX’s partner company, d.a.t. Inc. Most existing credit models in the market to date relied solely on static data such as financial reports; by utilizing dynamic data, such as day-to-day journal data and other transactional data, the new credit model is expected to offer much better predictive power than before.

ALT plans to start offering lending services on a trial basis to the approximately 600,000 companies, who are existing users of Yayoi’s online services1 in October 2017. Customers will be able to apply online, during which process they grant permission to access their accounting data.

According to a survey of 7,609 Yayoi customers, 85.0% of small corporations have a need for short-term financing, but 36.5% of those have been shying away from obtaining traditional loans, due in part to the excessive amount of time and efforts required for approval of short-term financing. With respect to sole proprietors, just 16.4% of them have obtained short-term traditional loans. Utilizing online lending can reduce complex administrative procedures, including the need to submit financial reports and other paperwork and to visit financial institutions in person, and can also shorten the time needed to obtain much needed cash, making simpler, more flexible financing possible.

AN INDONESIAN peer to peer (P2P) lending startup, KoinWorks is supporting small and medium enterprises (SME) and education by launching an art exhibition, ARTificial Intelligence which will run from April 13 to April 30 at Pacific Place, Jakarta.

Benedicto also says that KoinWorks mainly focuses on SMEs that conduct their sales and marketing activities online. He also believes that by connecting SMEs to lenders, it will bring benefits to both sides.

Benefits for lenders are through net gained interest from their investment which can be up to 19.8% annually depending on the risk level. The service also fulfils social needs by helping businesses to grow.

Users may invest in KoinWorks with a minimum deposit of US$7.50 (100,000 rupiah). The funding will be deposited in real-time at a virtual bank account. Users only need to scan and upload information from their identity card, fill in the form, and deposit the money.

LendIt China Event, Lang Di Fintech, Updates on PitchIt Competition (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LendIt, the global lending and Fintech conference, has announced the official launch of the Asian edition of their Fintech startup competition, PitchIt, in association with JadeValue, a Shanghai-based Fintech incubator. The competition is for all early stage Fintech startups in Asia-Pacific.

PitchIt will take place at the Lang Di Fintech conference, China’s largest global Fintech conference in Shanghai in July.

The 8 Finalists Will Receive:

  • Opportunity to secure investment and partners by meeting investors
  • Have your pitch heard by the international fintech community in front of an audience of international and local attendees across APAC.
  • Gain valuable exposure through global PR
  • Up to $1,000 for travel to Lang Di Fintech
  • Year-round exposure through press and brand visibility and the chance to gain mentorship from Global VCs on pitching and product positioning prior to the event.

The Winner Will Receive:

  • Mentorship, co-working space for 6 months and guaranteed investment of $150,000 from JadeValue
  • 2 free passes to LendIt USA 2018, roundtrip airfare and accommodations
  • Curated meetings for investment purposes in the US during LendIt USA 2018 (April, 2018, San Francisco)
  • Complimentary sponsorship at LendIt USA 2018
MENA

The future of digital money (Gulf News), Rated: A

At a time when the consumer relationship with cash is more virtualiser and abstract, and where use of physical cash continues to decline in many markets, the next phase of digital money offers undiscovered potential for a new period of expansive growth in transactions, beyond the limits of national borders.

The region’s e-commerce marketplace is thriving too, but it depends more on cash on delivery than on electronic payments. At the same time, a relatively low share of adults have bank accounts, while mobile money accounts have had limited success. That could be about to change. New Fintech entrants are playing their part in helping drive payment digitisation.

Furthermore, developments in payments technology are making it easier for us all to transact. Egypt’s Payfort recently has successfully helped smaller merchants accept electronic payments, and offers instalment payment options to help merchants improve sales. We’re also seeing global providers such as Apple Pay, Google Pay becoming more active in the region after a slow start and more global players are coming, for example Samsung, with Samsung Pay about to deploy payment services that are promising to be easier, faster and more secure using your Samsung smart phone.

Africa

VoguePay Wins Best Fintech Startup Award (This Day Live), Rated: B

VoguePay.com, a secure payment gateway has won the “Best Fintech Startup” at the 6th edition of the Cashless Africa Awards 2017, organised by Mobile Money Africa in Lagos recently.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor