Wednesday February 7 2018, Daily News Digest

MONEY-LAUNDERING-BY-ACTIVITY

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi named official sponsor of Big Ten. Equifax supports SME lending with new data sharing solution. UK fintech venture investment rises 150%. Klarna partners with London College of Fashion. Revolut ditches Wirecard, takes card issuances in-house. Today’s main analysis: The most wanted for anti-money laundering cases in Asia. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Banks close 1,700 […]

MONEY-LAUNDERING-BY-ACTIVITY

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

MENA

News Summary

United States

SoFi Named Official Presenting Sponsor of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament (BigTen.org), Rated: AAA

The Big Ten Conference and Big Ten Network announced a multi-year agreement naming SoFi as the presenting sponsor of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. SoFi, a modern finance company taking an unprecedented approach to lending and wealth management, will not only be the on-site tournament sponsor, but also present the on-air coverage of all 10 tournament games televised on BTN.

Equifax launches data sharing solution to support SME lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Information solutions company Equifax has launched a new solution that provides back up for the government’s Commercial Credit Data Sharing (CCDS) initiative, which is seeking to boost the economy by encouraging new entrants into the SME lending sector.

According to the platform, the new solution “gives lenders a comprehensive picture of a business’ financial health to facilitate faster and more informed lending decisions”.

Equifax was designated as a credit reference agency under the CCDS initiative, giving it access to new data sets from leading business banks, including cash flow activity and debit and credit turnover. The data will be provided to lenders through Equifax Business Insights.

Banks Shutter 1,700 Branches in Fastest Decline on Record (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The number of branches in the U.S. shrank by more than 1,700 in the 12 months ended in June 2017, the biggest decline on record, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Branch numbers fell again in the second half of 2017, according to related data submitted to bank regulators and reviewed by the Journal. That would add to the thousands of locations closed following the financial crisis, and is the longest stretch of closures since the Great Depression.

Many of the closings were in big cities and surrounding suburbs, where branches were consolidated largely because of falling foot traffic. Others were in rural areas, where some large regional lenders are leaving town altogether.

From mid-2012 to mid-2017, Capital One Financial Corp. cut 32% of its branches, SunTrust Banks Inc. 22% and Regions Financial Corp. 12%.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

What a scrappy Oklahoma bank can teach the industry about branch strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Citizens Bank of Edmond is trying to get closer to small business customers by providing space, guidance and almost anything else they might need — besides, of course, a loan.

The one-branch community bank in Edmond, Oklahoma once had another branch, 12,000 square feet located one block away from the main space, with a drive-thru window and some executive offices. But recently the bank decided to consolidate it into a single location and has now turned it into a “business social” co-working environment, called Vault 405, for its small business customers that includes wireless charging stations, conference rooms and a podcast studio.

Ideally, by creating an environment that would bring customer and community relationship returns, as well as grow deposits and loan volume. Citizens currently charges monthly rates between $400 and $1,000 for offices and $175 to $275 for desks and shared spaces. It also offers day passes.

Citizens is also addressing cash pickups for small business customers, one of the most compelling cases for banks thinking of repurposing their branches, using as much readily available technology as possible.

Why Digit is over chatbots (American Banker), Rated: A

Now, Ethan Bloch, founder and CEO of the San Francisco startup, believes his company has been offering the wrong primary user interface. “We think [chatbots] haven’t lived up to their promise,” he said. “So we are done believing they will.”

While the premise of Digit is still the same — use the service to automatically transfer funds from checking to savings every few days in amounts its algorithms believe a person can afford — Bloch believed the chatbot model is terribly flawed in its inefficiency to find out information.

Lendio Franchise Announced in Seacoast Region (Lendio Email), Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital adds trio to executive ranks (Bankless Times), Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital, a provider of small business financing solutions, announced the appointment of three senior members to their business development team. Mitchell (Mitch) Levy, Marc Seidel and Gary Lockwood were named to lead the sales teams. The new hires follow last year’s appointments of Christine Chang as CEO and Darren Schulman as COO and a $60 million commitment in capital from a large institutional investor.

US states team up to streamline fintech licensing (Finextra), Rated: A

Currently, firms offering services such as money transfers and cryptocurrency trading have to apply individually to operate in each of the 50 US states.

Under the new compact, if one of Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Washington reviews key elements of licensing – IT, cybersecurity, business plan, background check and Bank Secrecy Act compliance – the other six will accept the findings.

Wela Partners with In-Fi to Bring AI-Powered Bot to Insurance Agency Platform Website (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Wela, a fintech company that blends artificial intelligence (AI) with human advisors, today announces a partnership with In-Fi, an insurance agency management company specifically for financial institutions. Wela’s AI-powered chatbot, personified as Benjamin, is now fully integrated into In-Fi’s website, with the function of creating a more cohesive and engaging experience for their customers. Integration into In-Fi’s website is a pivotal step for Wela, which aims to place Benjamin at the center of financial decisions for families by integrating across a variety of financial service providers.

How the payday lending industry shapes academic research (American Banker), Rated: A

The hotly contested question of how to regulate payday lending is partly about ideology. How far should the government go to save repeat borrowers from their own worst habits? Your answer will depend on your political beliefs.

But this debate, like a lot of fights involving financial regulation, is also about facts. Do payday customers indeed suffer economic harm when they get into a cycle of repeat borrowing? That is an empirical question that unbiased researchers should be able to answer.

Inside Aspiration’s ‘values-based’ marketing strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

SoFi, whose earliest ads told people, “Don’t Bank. SoFi” has softened its marketing efforts, realizing the smart thing is for it to become a bank itself. Transferwise once ran provocative anti-bank ads but now advertises its own borderless account. But Aspiration isn’t shy about ruffling the feathers of the big banks. When Bank of America yanked its “free” checking accounts last month, moving them to its core checking account product that comes with a monthly $12 fee, Aspiration used it as a rallying point to get customers to bring their business to Aspiration, offering a $12 credit if they did. It claims its marketing has influenced “tens of thousands” of customers to leave B of A for Aspiration. Bank of America declined to comment for this story.

A fruitful journey from the attic to an angel investor (domain-b.com), Rated: A

Pear venture capital has helped some aspiring entrepreneurs build their foundations from scratch. How did the idea behind Pear fructify and what is the significance behind its name?
We actually started out as an angel investor. Around 2009-2010, I felt that there was no institution to help founders from ground zero. Given my background and network, I thought I could build an institution, which would help founders in their early stages to work on their ideas, which would stay in the business for generations.

Today Pear is an early stage seed fund and we invest in founders who are building category defined companies and that which focus on solving a big problem in the market.

As a venture capitalist, how do you identify potential entrepreneurs before signing them a cheque? What sectors and businesses do you look at? Considering the humongous number of aspirants, how do you identify a viable idea and that which is worth your support and funding?
If I look back at the last 18 years, there are some traits which are quite common among exceptional founders. We like those individuals who are looking to solve big problems in the market. They should either be close to the problem that they are trying to solve or they should have lived through their problem.

We also like those who have ability to track talents, are paranoid in a healthy way, have a vision and tend to question themselves every day. I also like CEOs who are captains of the ship,. the ones who usually stay till the end when the ship is sinking. Overall, we also look at size of the market. It’s fine if things don’t work out today as long as it’s going to be massive when it works. If you look at our portfolio companies, some of them have started in the unconventional space. As VCs, you live for those moments where you want to break the rule and partner with outliers.

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for January (Guru Focus), Rated: A

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its monthly Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network. The purpose of the report is to empower consumers by providing additional information on how their credit profile affects their loan prospects.

Purchase Mortgage Offers by Credit Score

Purchase

FICO Range

Average APR

Average Down Payment

Average Loan Amount

Average LTV

Lifetime Interest Paid*

All Loans

4.55%

$63,411

$238,518

82%

$199,109

760+

4.41%

$84,354

$262,661

79%

$191,975

720-759

4.45%

$59,193

$239,111

83%

$194,007

680-719

4.70%

$39,883

$217,590

86%

$206,818

640-679

5.04%

$63,301

$203,176

76%

$224,533

620-639

5.12%

$57,566

$191,642

76%

$228,749

*To enable comparison, lifetime interest is calculated for the average loan amount for all loans using the rates for each credit score bucket.

Refinance Mortgage Offers by Credit Score

Refinance

FICO Range

Average APR

Average Down Payment

Average Loan Amount

Average LTV

Lifetime Interest Paid*

All Loans

4.46%

$2,739

$244,540

62%

$199,427

760+

4.33%

$4,014

$250,651

59%

$192,669

720-759

4.38%

$3,073

$249,678

64%

$195,262

680-719

4.58%

$1,294

$238,579

64%

$205,712

640-679

4.79%

$907

$223,812

60%

$216,814

620-639

4.89%

$212,813

59%

$222,147

*To enable comparison, lifetime interest is calculated for the average loan amount for all loans using the rates for each credit score bucket.

The hottest cities where it’s good to be a home seller but not so much a buyer (The Washington Post), Rated: A

LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, recently analyzed 1.5 million purchase mortgage loan requests that came in through its system from the 100 largest cities in 2017. The study identifies the locations where buyer competition is the toughest based on three criteria:

The top 10 cities with the most competitive buyers based on those criteria include:

  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Denver
  • San Diego
  • Ventura, Calif.
  • Los Angeles
  • Seattle
  • Honolulu
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Sacramento

The three cities on the bottom of the list, where homes are more accessible to buyers and competition is less aggressive, are Youngstown, Ohio; McAllen, Tex.; and Scranton, Pa.

For the full report, click here.

CBC National Bank Among LendingTree’s Top 10 Highest Customer-Rated Mortgage Lenders in Fourth Quarter (PR Newswire), Rated: B

CBC National Bank, headquartered in Fernandina Beach and with branches in Fernandina BeachOcala and The Villages, Fla., and Beaufort and Port Royal, S.C., today announced that it has been named by LendingTree as among the Top 10 highest customer-rated mortgage lenders in the fourth quarter of 2017. It also achieved this prestigious designation in the first quarter of 2017.

rateGenius Awarded Top 3 in Auto Customer Satisfaction by LendingTree for 7th Consecutive Quarter (PR Newswire), Rated: B

rateGenius is pleased to announce that it has once again been named Top 3 in Auto Customer Satisfaction by LendingTree.

M Financial Group Partners with Plug and Play Insurtech to Enhance Client Experience in Life Insurance Space (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Plug and Play Insurtech welcomes M Financial as its 55th partner. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon and comprised of 155 Member Firms across the U.S., as well as the U.K. and U.A.E., M Financial is searching for startups to transform the life insurance industry for the clients they serve. Startups accepted into Plug and Play’s platform will have the opportunity to pilot their technology with M Financial and the other partners in the program. M Financial is the first Plug and Play partner that is both a distributor and reinsurer of life insurance products.

5 Passive Income Ideas That Still Work In 2018 (SavingAdvice), Rated: B

Peer to peer lending: The demand for credit is sure to continue for centuries to come. There is always someone in need of some quick business loan or a personal loan and this gives a quick opportunity if there is another person with the capital and risk appetite to back it up. With the current boom in crypto currency usage, you can take advantage and set up a peer-to-peer lending service. Alternative funding can very well give traditional banking a run for the money because some people need quick loans but cannot have the convenience of applying through the mainstream banking system. Peer-to-peer lending offers the keys to unlock instant liquidity to a wide online community and offers attractive rewards to those who supply the capital.

A great advantage to the lender is that once a peer to peer lending platform has been selected, the popularity of the wallet will ensure that there is exposure to a wider target of borrowers. Most banks often get restricted to lending to people within a certain country or state. Since peer-to-peer lending is blockchain-backed, anyone around the globe with access to the platform can lend money to another peer and start earning money over the duration of the loan contract.

United Kingdom

LendInvest completes £16m development deal in three weeks (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: AAA

Property finance lender LendInvest has completed a £16m financing deal with established development finance borrower, Yogo Group, in just three weeks.

Taking a Deeper Look into the Moving Average For Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (Stock Press Daily), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L) are in focus today as the charts are revealing that the Mesa Adaptive Moving Average (MAMA) is holding steady above the FAMA, or Fractional Moving Average.  This environment typically indicates that there might be a buying opportunity aligning in technicals.  When there are crossovers between the FAMA and MAMA, the shares are often widely traded.  When the MAMA crosses above the FAMA, it means that the shares are likely to move higher.  Conversely the opposite occurs when the MAMA crosses below the FAMA.  The Mesa Moving Average was first mentioned by John Ehlers in a paper published in a 2001 edition of Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities Magazine.

Venture investment in UK fintech more than doubles (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Fintech companies, such as TransferWise and OakNorth, raised $1.8bn of venture capital investment last year, up more than 150 per cent from $704m in 2016, the year of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, the data show.

The surge in UK funding contrasted with an 18 per cent drop in global fintech investments to $14.4bn, according to the report by Innovate Finance, the British fintech trade body.

The UK industry was boosted by handful of large fundraisings of more than $90m. The biggest was by TransferWise, a cross-border payments provider, which raised $280m. OakNorth, a digital lender to small businesses, raised $203m.

Banks divided on cryptocurrencies card purchases (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

British banks are debating whether to ban their customers from buying cryptocurrencies using their credit cards after Lloyds Banking Group and Virgin Money said they had imposed such a ban.

Barclays, the UK’s leading credit card issuer through its Barclaycard business, said it was “keeping this matter under close review” after holding a meeting to discuss whether to follow the lead of Lloyds on Monday.

Last week MasterCard said that cross-border volumes on its network were up 22 per cent, driven in part by customers using their credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies.

British banks are also shunning companies that handle cryptocurrencies by refusing to let them open bank accounts or closing their accounts, which has forced many of them to open accounts in Gibraltar, Poland and Bulgaria.

Lloyds Bank cutting 930 jobs (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Lloyds is axing 930 jobs within its commercial banking, chief information office, community banking, insurance, and wealth and risk management.

Looking beyond traditional banks (Specialist Banking), Rated: A

I recently came across an article headlined: “8 in 10 SMEs still prefer traditional bank loans over alternative finance.”

It noted that 83% of financial directors preferred to go to their bank as their first port of call when seeking a loan, rather than finding an alternative, such as P2P lending or equity crowdfunding.

It claimed that a lack of understanding could be the reason for this, but pointed out that almost three-quarters of finance directors (74%) believed their knowledge of alternative finance was either “average or above average”.

Challenger Bank Tandem Partners with Cognitive Banking Company Personetics (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

UK Challenger bank Tandem has announced a partnership with cognitive banking company Personetics to provide users personalised insights on their spending across all of their bank accounts in one place, as well as warning people about unexpected fees and unusual activity on their accounts.

Are you holding too much cash in your ISA? (WhatInvestmen), Rated: A

In a survey of financial advisers by Octopus Investments, three-quarters of respondents said they believe their clients hold too much in their cash ISA relative to the rest of their portfolio.

The majority (83 per cent) feel their clients are put off investing in stock and shares due to the risk of losing money, followed by concerns of an overstretched (49 per cent) and volatile (46 per cent) market.

The Differences Between Short Term Loans and Payday Loans (SWNS.com), Rated: A

If you need to borrow money, a variety of options are available. Two of the most common short term borrowing options are payday loans and short-term personal loans, both of which provide immediate access to cash to help you pay bills, purchase items and run your financial life.

One of these borrowing options — payday lending — has been in the news a lot over the last few years, as new regulations make the industry more borrower friendly.

Short-Term Personal Loans

Most people use short-term loans for purchasing certain items or covering other major expenses.

From a borrower’s perspective, the advantages of short-term loans include lower overall costs than payday loans. However, the credit check process and approval period mean that loans of this type often aren’t instant enough to help borrowers deal with urgent financial needs.

Payday Loans

Most payday loans are for relatively small amounts of money, such as £200 to £500, and are aimed at providing cash until you get paid again.

Payday loans form a major part of the UK lending industry, with an estimated market value of approximately £2 billion.

Folk2Folk appoints chapter development manager (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

P2P lending platform Folk2Folk has appointed Claire Thayers as its chapter development manager.

In the newly created role, Claire will be responsible for raising Folk2Folk’s profile across the South West and Three Counties regions and improving awareness of its products to both borrowers and brokers.

China

The key to surviving in China’s P2P marketplace? Understanding regulations (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: AAA

China’s increasingly competitive peer-to-peer marketplace requires players to understand government regulations and align their strategies accordingly, said Kevin Guo, co-founder and co-chairman of Dianrong, which specializes in making small loans over the internet.

European Union

Klarna partners with London College of Fashion (LeapRate), Rated: AAA

European payments provider, Klarna, has announced a UK partnership with London College of Fashion, UAL, in an exciting initiative to support the next generation of talent at the intersection of fashion and technology.

Fashion is now the UK’s largest online retail market segment, worth around £10.1bn, and this growth is only set to continue. By 2020, fashion will represent 28.8% of UK online spend.

With Klarna research showing 94% of retailers are investing in new technology to meet the needs of younger customers, opportunity for innovation in the sector has never been greater.

German digital business bank Penta raises €2.2m in seed funding (AltFi), Rated: A

Penta, a German digital bank for start-ups and small businesses, has secured €2.2m in seed funding, led by the UK-based and fintech-focused Inception Venture Capital .

Founded in May last year, Penta moved out of its private beta in December to a waitlist of over 3,000 local businesses. The platform has now opened its waitlist up to new users, and hopes to reach 10,000 businesses by the end of 2018.

P2P investors risk losses by lending to just one borrower (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER analysis firm 4th Way is urging investors to diversify after stress testing revealed the odds of losing money in a severe recession can be 10 times higher in some cases when lending to just one borrower on a P2P platform.

The research, released on Tuesday, applied international banking stress tests to P2P platforms it assesses such as Zopa, Funding Circle and RateSetter, and found when lending to 100 borrowers, investors have just a 0.1 per cent chance of losing 20 per cent or more of their original money.

Acquisition of 85% of Telenor Banka fails to win Serbia’s c-bank approval (SeeNews), Rated: A

Serbian online lender Telenor Banka said on Tuesday that Bulgaria-based investment fund River Styxx Capital has not received the consent of Serbia’s central bank for the acquisition of 85% of its share capital from Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor.

Telenor will support any further step that will contribute to the positive closure of the transaction, Ingeborg Ofsthus, CEO of Telenor Serbia and chair of the Telenor Banka board of directors said in a statement issued by Telenor Banka.

International

Revolut ditches Wirecard for in-house card issuing (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

Revolut will no longer be relying on Wirecard for card issuing as it has now brought this function in-house.

Asia Most Wanted Top Ten AML Cases (Fintech News), Rated: AAA

Over the last decade, the quantity of money laundered has been steadily increasing. According to The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it is estimated that approximately USD $1.6 trillion or 2.7 percent of global GDP was laundered in 2009.

Even worse, less than 1 percent of this global illicit financial flow is ever seized and frozen, meaning that the criminals are winning.

Effective anti-money laundering (AML) regulations and processes are essential to countering such criminal activity. Yet due to tighter anti-money laundering regulations in the US and Europe, money laundering activity is moving into the Asia Pacific as a way to avoid detection.

Source: Fintech News

In December 2012, Standard Chartered was ordered to pay USD $330m to settle claims by United States government agencies that it had moved hundreds of billions of dollars on behalf of Iran. It was suggested that this practice exposed the international financial system to exploitation by to “terrorists” and “drug kingpins”.

Open banking role models: Fidor, Rabobank and BBVA (American Banker), Rated: A


Google accelerator focuses on emerging markets (IT Web), Rated: A

In its fifth year, Google Launchpad Accelerator is taking place in San Francisco this week. It focuses on start-ups that already have a product, with a good market fit, and are ready to scale.

OneFi has created Paylater, an online provider of digital financial services for the underbanked in West Africa.

Nubank is a financial technology company offering a fully digital and branchless experience, and Viva Real is an online real estate marketplace that connects buyers, sellers and renters with properties in Brazil. There is one other Brazilian start-up, Loggi, which creates new-wave logistics.

Kubo.financiero, a P2P lending platform, from Mexico.

Ayannah from the Philippines enables affordable and accessible digital financial services to be delivered to the world’s emerging middle-class.

Australia

Banks are exploiting loyal customers, warns Productivity Commission (The Guardian), Rated: AAA

The Australian financial system is uncompetitive, allowing banks and insurers to boost profits by exploiting loyal customers and adding up to $87 a month to the average mortgage repayment.

That is the conclusion of the Productivity Commission’s highly critical draft report into the sector, which finds it is “unquestionably strong” but calls for greater transparency to compare financial products and for regulators to gain powers to promote competition.

Australia gives regulator sweeping powers over bank bosses’ pay (Reuters), Rated: A

Australia has given its financial regulator sweeping powers to cap bank bosses’ pays, delay their bonuses and even ban them from the industry if found guilty of non-compliance, as it scrambles to restore trust in the scandal-hit sector.

MENA

ADGM is region’s 1st Fintech regulator, says Al Sayegh (WAM.ae), Rated: AAA

In the future, Fintech will be the most important aspect of financial services in the world, according to Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday November 9 2017, Daily News Digest

credit cards

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club plots two ABS before end of year. Scott Sanborn speaks to Lending Club’s Q3 results. Alibaba funds WeLab. Aegon sees strong Q3. Prospa originates over $500M. Jumo wins Mastercard Foundation prize. Today’s main analysis: Top cities maxed out on credit card debt. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Did Lending Club just land another blow to […]

credit cards

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

Asia

Middle East

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

Lending Club plots two ABS before year end (Global Capital), Rated: AAA

Lending Club is looking to price two more ABS deals this quarter, as the company plans to shrink its proportion of bank funding in the year ahead, executives said on a third quarter earnings call this week.

LendingClub Corp’s (LC) CEO Scott Sanborn on Q3 2017 Results – Earnings Call Transcript (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

In Q3, we delivered $154 million in revenue, the highest in the company’s history, and up 34% year-over-year, and 10% sequentially. As importantly, we generated an EBITDA of $21 million. That’s almost 5x the level of last quarter. And we’ve narrowed our GAAP losses by almost $19 million, down to $6.7 million.

We processed a record number of applications, bringing the total borrowers served by Lending Club to over 2 million since launch and an improved efficiency from last quarter.

To put that into perspective, it took 8 years for us to reach our first 1 million, and we’ve helped an additional 1 million borrowers in just the last 2 years.

Although we anticipate some short-term volume effects as we calibrate our targeted marketing to the new model, the 58% annual growth in applications we saw in Q3, combined with the conversion efforts we now have in testing, give me confidence about our outlook in 2018.

Separately, we continue to broaden our mix of investors. As part of that, we delivered on our goal to complete a second securitization that included a total of 33 investors, 10 of which were new to the LendingClub platform.

Another Blow to Online Lenders (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Lenders should be judged not on how fast they grow during good times, but how they perform in periods like today when consumer defaults are ticking up. On that basis, LendingClub LC -15.93% looks unprepared and investors are right to be skeptical of the online lender.

LendingClub, the most prominent of the online lenders, said loans to certain borrowers at the low end of the prime credit spectrum “are not currently meeting our expectations.” It will start limiting these loans, which account for around 3% of total loans, and temporarily halt their sale to investors. It will also temporarily halt this lending, which accounts for around 3% of its total loans, and also adopt a new credit model that tightens criteria for these borrowers.

Online lenders’ credit models, which analyze various factors beyond traditional credit scores, are supposedly one of their core strengths. That loans are performing worse than expected at LendingClub is a sign the models might be flawed.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

TOP MAXED-OUT CITIES (Builder Online), Rated: AAA

LendingTree®, the online loan marketplace personified by Lenny the little green guy who has the banks crawling to him, released on Wednesday the findings of its study on which cities have the dubious distinction of containing the most consumers with signs of being maxed-out with their credit cards.

Credit card balances in the U.S. are now almost $800 billion, the highest since 2009, according to Federal Reserve data.

The Most Maxed-Out Places

#1 San Diego, California
Maxed-out score: 98
San Diego residents carry $6,629 in credit card balances on average. Nearly one in five (18%) have at least one card maxed-out. That’s second only to Oklahoma City, where 18.5% of residents have a maxed-out card. San Diego residents also use more of their credit lines overall, with 32.8% utilization.

#2 Los Angeles, California 
Maxed-out score: 93
Los Angeles residents also push their credit further than most, with 17.5% of residents having at least one maxed-out card. Those that do have a maxed-out card have 1.33 maxed-out cards on average. Balances average $6,472, a touch lower than their neighbors to the South in San Diego, helping utilization come in at 32.0% versus San Diego’s 32.8%.

#3 San Antonio, Texas
Maxed-out score: 92
San Antonio residents don’t face the same high cost of living that Southern Californians deal with, but they share an affinity for using their credit cards. The study findings revealed that 17.2% of San Antonio residents have a maxed-out credit card, and their total credit card balances average $6,474, similar to those among Southern Californians.

Federal Court Grants Class Certification in the LendingClub Case, But Denies Motion to Enjoin the State Court Case (The National Law Review), Rated: A

LendingClub is facing two parallel securities litigation cases stemming from alleged false statements it made in connection with its initial public offering (“IPO”).

With respect to the motion to intervene, the federal court granted the motion, for the limited purpose of allowing the state court case plaintiffs the opportunity to “set forth their argument for why they are the better representative” of the class.  Additionally, the federal court granted the motion to intervene “on the condition that they remain under this Court’s jurisdiction so that the undersigned judge may coordinate their action with the federal action to avoid any prejudice to absent class members.”

The California state court plaintiff then argued that class certification should be denied in the federal court case because certain theories of recovery that were dismissed in the federal court case remained active in the California state court case, making the state court case “superior.”

The federal court plaintiffs responded that their proposed class was in fact superior because the price of LendingClub’s stock was lower on the day they brought the federal suit.

The federal court declined to enjoin the California state court case.  However, it did express “concerns” with “the current form of state plaintiffs’ class notice, which fails to notify class members of the parallel federal action, the pendency of Cyan and its potential effect on their case, or the potential that the filing date of their suit could substantially limit damages.”

TRACEABILITY

Lastly, the federal court addressed an issue of first impression raised by LendingClub and the individual defendants regarding the traceability of the federal plaintiffs shares.

Because of this trading pattern, the traceability of the lead plaintiffs shares turned on whether the court adopted a “last-in, first-out” (“LIFO”) or “first-in, first-out” (“FIFO”) method to calculate holdings.

If the lead plaintiff’s transactions were accounted for using LIFO, all of its holdings as of the end of the lock-out period would remain traceable to the lock-up period.  If, however, the court adopted a FIFO calculation, the lead plaintiff would have been deemed to have owned no shares traceable to the IPO.  First, the court noted that “[w]hether LIFO or FIFO applies is a matter of first impression in the Section 11 traceability context.”  The court ultimately held that LIFO applied because the majority of courts use the LIFO method to estimate losses under the PSLRA when determining a putative lead plaintiff’s stake in the litigation, and “[i]t would be incongruous to measure losses by one method, yet measure traceability by the opposite method.”

Square Patent Suggests Potential Move Into Crowdfunding (CB Insights), Rated: A

Is Square considering a move into crowdfunding? A patent filed in March 2015 and granted in September 2017 suggests that might be the case.

The patent, titled “Mobile point-of-sale crowdfunding,” outlines a method for merchants to request crowdfunding from patrons based on their processing history.

The patent reads:

“Thus, the merchant has conveniently acquired a new espresso machine, customers may benefit from the new espresso machine, and investors have received a return on investment with the added security that the techniques described herein provides (e.g. underwriting of the crowdfunding project by the payment processing system and direct repayment to the investors from POS transactions processed for the merchant by the payment processing system).”

Source: CB Insights

Square Filed a Crowdfunding Patent that was Granted in September 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Will Square ever pursue this concept? Probably not, at least not in the near term. They are still too busy figuring out vendor loans, which is probably are far more profitable vertical.

Wela Announces Record Year of Growth, Passes $ 1 Million in ARR (Marketwired), Rated: A

Wela today announces it has passed $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR), one of several achievements to mark 2017 as a record year of growth for the personal finance app. In the last two quarters, Wela doubled its total users and amount of linked accounts. Additionally, Wela Strategies, an extension of the app that manages investment accounts, passed $135 million in assets under management. Wela’s growth is evidence of a demand among millennials and young families for a personal finance solution that delivers advice in the way they want to receive it — through the convenience of an app that incorporates artificial intelligence (AI), through the skill provided by a human advisor, or a combination of the two offerings.

In 2017, Wela’s staff doubled in size, adding key management roles, including a chief technical officer, product manager and user experience manager. In an effort to better serve its rapidly growing user base, Wela plans to hire additional support for its customer experience, financial advisory and development teams in the next few months.

Acorns Buys Retirement Savings Fintech Startup Vault (Benzinga), Rated: A

Acorns, the fintech app that lets users automatically invest small amounts, announced Tuesday the purchase of Portland-based fintech startup Vault, which sells automated retirement investment plans to small businesses.

One financial fear scares millennials even more than death (CNBC), Rated: A

Death can be a frightening thought. But, according to a survey from financial-advice website Credible, there’s one thing that scares millennials even more: having credit-card debt.

Of the 500 Americans polled who are currently in credit card debt, more than 33 percent said debt is the scariest aspect of their daily lives.

The findings make sense, according to Credible. Americans hold more than $1 trillion in credit card debt and, among the respondents, the average debt is a whopping $5,290.

When asked how they got into debt, 34 percent said it was due to an emergency expense, 32 percent said their debt is due to a large one-time purchase and 4 percent said they choose not to pay their debt despite having the resources to do so.

Source: CNBC
Source: CNBC

Behavioral finance can attract fee-based assets (Investment News), Rated: A

Based on the latest research conducted at our annual ELEVATE fee-based advisory conference, one of the most important ways for independent firms to help advisers succeed in this kind of asset gathering is to help them lead with behavioral finance, and to complement that effort with client segmentation that captures qualitative and emotional factors for the adviser.

Aging pre-retirees and retirees need enhanced guidance in navigating the emotionally charged life planning decisions many of them increasingly face. Meanwhile, the highest long-term growth potential client segment, Millennials, generally opt for advice from individuals who build a truly personal connection with them, in a relationship that is as much social as it is professional.

Small Business Administration’s New York office tops billion in guaranteed loans (Westfair Online), Rated: A

Loans to small business owners backed by U.S. Small Business Administration guarantees increased 36 percent in number and 15 percent in dollar amount in the SBA’s New York district in the 2017 federal fiscal year, putting the district office over $1 billion in annual loan program lending for the first time.

In the seven-county lower Hudson Valley region, the SBA guaranteed 500 loans worth $191 million.

Goldberg said 36 percent of the region’s SBA loans were under $50,000; 42 percent went to minority-owned businesses; and 16 percent, or $160 million, went to women-owned businesses.

The top five lenders by dollar amount in the Hudson Valley were Empire Certified Development Corp. $40,726,000; Manufacturers and Traders Trust Co., $11,393,800; Noah Bank, a minority-owned bank headquartered in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, $9.12 million; Celtic Bank Corp., based in Salt Lake City, $7,886,400; and Cross River Bank, based in Fort Lee, New Jersey, $7,768,100.

In Westchester County alone, the top five SBA lenders in number of loans were TD Bank, with 42; JPMorgan Chase Bank, 39; Wells Fargo, 14; Citibank and Manufacturers & Traders Trust Co., both with 11; and New Millennium Bank, headquartered in Fort Lee, with nine loans.

The top five lenders in Westchester County by dollar amount were Empire State Certified Development Co., $8,866,000; Newtek Small Business Finance Inc. in New York City, $5,917,400; Live Oak Banking Co., of Wilmington, North Carolina, $5,165,000; TCF National Bank, based in Wayzata, Minnesota, $4,995,500; and NewBank, $4,540,000.

Wells, JPM go mobile-only in pursuit of millennials (American Banker), Rated: A

There’s any number of reasons megabanks are rolling out mobile-first banking offerings, from evolving consumer demand to increased competition from fintechs to a significant generational transfer of wealth.

But the biggest motivation for banks like Wells Fargo to develop new smartphone apps may be to ensure they get clients early in their financial lives and keep them.

The ten-year ticking timebomb (The Finanser), Rated: A

I’ve been saying for so long now that banks need to replace core legacy systems that I’m boring myself, but here I go again. The reason I’m talking about it again is that, even though some disagree and think they can fudge the issue with plug-ins, I believe that the new competition will decimate banks that don’t replace their core systems.

If you are tech first, your singular focus is on agility. It’s about fast change cycles in a microservices architecture using a SDK (software developer kit) network of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). It’s about speed, change, service, updates, vision.

If you are finance first, your singular focus is on stability. It’s about slow change cycles in a monolithic architecture using control systems and sign-off structures that avoid any exposures. It’s about risk, security, stability, control, management.

The good reason why banks make bad fintech partners (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks admit it — they are annoying fintech partners.

But, bank executives counter, fintechs are no treat either.

To manage risk and protect customers, a big part of the bank’s job is to build a “governance structure” on top of the technology that fintech executives have built.

Bankers also said that a key part of their role in fintech partnerships is simply educating tech executives about what, exactly, banks do.

Keith Noreika from OCC: The US Banking Industry Needs More Competition, Not Less #Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika delivered a speech today discussing the US banking industry. In the speech, Noreika makes an important point: US banks need more competition, not less. He also intimates that mixing commerce and banking can deliver benefits to consumers. Take this one step further, and Noreika is indicating big tech, like Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and more, should be allowed to become banks.

“Meaningful competition could have a number of other positive effects besides tempering the risk concentrated in having just a few mega banks. It could make more U.S. banks globally competitive and promote economic opportunity and growth domestically. For banking customers, particularly those underserved by traditional banks, more competition could result in better banking services, greater availability, and better pricing. If a commercial company can deliver banking services better than existing banks, we hurt consumers by making it hard for them to do so.”

Mr. Cooper Invests in Homeowner’s Insurance Platform Matic Insurance (CoverageR), Rated: B

Mr. Cooper, the nation’s largest non-bank mortgage servicer, today announced that it has led the Series A funding round in Matic Insurance, a digital insurance agency whose technology enables homebuyers to obtain homeowner’s insurance seamlessly during the mortgage process .

Matic’s insurance marketplace will enable Mr. Cooper to provide customers a convenient and modern way to shop for insurance while helping them obtain competitive insurance policy quotes and bind within minutes instead of days, all part of a digital mortgage application interface planned to launch in 2018.

LendUp Hires First Chief Financial Officer, Announces Significant Growth Milestones (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendUp today announced that Bill Donnelly, former VP of Global Financial Services for Tesla, has joined as its first CFO. The company further strengthened its leadership team with the addition of a General Manager for its loans business and a Chief Data Scientist.

Donnelly is a 30-year consumer credit veteran with extensive experience in credit cards and loans products. Donnelly spent the last four years with Tesla as VP of Global Financial Services, responsible for providing financing solutions for Tesla’s customers across 29 countries. He also served as President of Tesla’s captive finance company, Tesla Finance LLC, which offered an industry-leading leasing program innovative for its consumer-friendly agreement and for being the first end-to-end electronic lease with the ability to execute contracts on a vehicle’s touchscreen.

In addition to Donnelly, Anu Shultes has joined as General Manager of the company’s loans business, which recently surpassed $1.25 billion in originations.

Dr. Leonard Roseman has joined LendUp as Chief Data Scientist, to lead a growing team that uses Machine Learning to improve financial inclusion through expanded credit access and lowering the cost of credit to borrowers.

Concord Servicing Corporation Names New President and COO, and Adds New CFO (PRWeb), Rated: B

Concord Servicing Corporation, a leading force in the financial portfolio servicing industry, has announced a strategic reorganization of its senior management team. Changes at Concord include the promotion of Executive Vice President Shaun O’Neill to President and Chief Operating Officer, and the addition of financial industry veteran Stephen Bertrand to serve as Chief Financial Officer.

Finance Professionals Consider Bank Branch Closings, Fintech (Utah Business), Rated: B

The Economist reports that, nationally, banks have closed over 10,000 branches in the past decade. In the first six months of 2017, 869 branches closed across the U.S.

Mobile banking apps on phones have become the new ‘branches’ even as some brick-and-mortars have shuttered, continued Roger Shumway, EVP of Bank of Utah. “I don’t think branches have declined, they’re just in your hand,” he said. “For community banks, the niche you see in Utah is that they can talk to a real decision-[making] person. If they get into an issue, there’s a face, and [an app on] a phone that they love.”

“We see overall that there’s been a 30 percent drop in branch transactions, but if you look at the overall transactions including electronic, transactions are actually up,” said Zupon.

United Kingdom

Coutts claims Facebook is financial adviser of the future (FT Adviser), Rated: AAA

A combination of the rise of robo-advice and the habits of millenials could mean social media platforms such as Facebook could become major players in the financial advice market in the future, according to Coutts.

He noted that Facebook already has a service allowing individuals to make payments, and said financial advice may be a next step for the social media giant as it seeks to grow.

Analysis from IRN Consultants highlighted recent research which showed each new robo-advice customer signed up is losing the company £162.50 on average in the first year and only making £17.50 in subsequent years.

One of the companies the report pointed to was Nutmeg, whose accounts for 2014 showed revenues of £635,000 compared with operating expenses of £5.9m.

Taming the beast – the need for regulation in peer-to-peer lending (Financier Worldwide), Rated: A

Under existing Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidelines, peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders operate within a virtually unregulated space. While this is not damaging in itself, it does create a number of risks, as the FCA has acknowledged. The most significant of these risks are that as companies become more sophisticated, their resemblance to traditional financial institutions increases, but their regulatory obligations do not.

Over the past year, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of P2P lenders using low rates as an advertising measure. Unlike credit card providers that must give 50 percent of all applicants the headline rate they advertise, P2P providers can simply pick a rate and then advertise it, as, unlike their counterparts, it is very difficult for the legitimacy of their offer to be checked.

It is clear that there is a requirement for greater industry guidelines, so it can sometimes seem mystifying that bespoke regulations have not already been put in place. Simply put, this is because the P2P industry is developing at a much faster rate than the regulatory bodies are acting.

Challenger bank teams up with direct lending fund (AltFi), Rated: A

The RM Secured Direct Lending investment trust has signed a Revolving Credit Facility of £10m with challenger bank OakNorth.

Yolt announces integration with Starling Bank (AltFi), Rated: A

The money management app backed by ING has integrated with its first mobile-only bank, adding Starling Bank to its platform alongside incumbents.

Starling Bank marks the 29th bank, and first digital bank, to partner with Yolt using API integration.

New £20m fund to invest in companies helping the poor (Financial Times), Rated: A 

The Fair By Design fund will invest in companies tackling the so-called “poverty premium” — the extra costs the poorest pay for essential goods and services, such as energy, credit and food. About 6m households pay an average of £500 a year in higher charges.

The £20m fund was launched on Wednesday and hopes to raise £11m from companies, charitable foundations and rich individuals.

It will invest in companies tackling four areas: energy, finance, insurance — where the poor pay more because they cannot get credit or live in high-crime areas — and so-called “geo-based premiums” based on location.

Fair for You, an online lender, is one business seeking investment. The not-for-profit company offers cheaper loans to those with bad credit records, who go to rent-to-own providers such as BrightHouse, which an independent survey found charged more than £1,000 over three years for its cheapest washing machine. The regulator in October forced it to pay £14.8m compensation to 249,000 customers.

Committee considers how to help during Universal Credit roll out (ViewNews), Rated: B

COUNCILLOR Ros Kayes is calling on Bridport Town Council to support the local Citizens Advice Bureau as the roll out of Universal Credit in the town draws closer.

Cllr Kayes reported that Universal Credit would be rolled out in Bridport on December 4th and it is then when those claiming benefits will have to start the process of receiving the credit and will no longer receive any money from existing credit.

China

Alibaba funds lending startup WeLab to help it break out of China (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

Lending startup WeLab is flush with cash today after announcing US$220 million in its latest funding round. It operates WeLend in Hong Kong and Wolaidai in mainland China.

Online shopping giant Alibaba is among the investors, throwing in cash from the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund it set up in 2015.

China Financial Super Regulator Begins Operations (Caixin), Rated: A

A new cabinet-level committee that will coordinate various regulators to oversee China’s sprawling financial industry started operating, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

The committee, known as the Financial Stability and Development Committee, held its first meeting on Wednesday, Xinhua said.

The committee will review a strategic plan of financial reforms; coordinate China’s monetary policy and financial regulation; and forge policies on financial risk management so as to maintain country’s financial stability, Xinhua said.

Will President Xi Jinping Let Markets Decide China’s Future? (Wharton), Rated: AAA

The outlook for reforming China’s developing financial markets and the banking system remains obscured, in part, by a lag in the timing for key appointments such as a successor for Zhou Xiaochuan, longtime head of the People’s Bank of China. Some newly appointed party leaders, including Xi’s close economic adviser Liu He, are thought to support more market-oriented reforms.

With the economy still growing at an annual pace of over 6% and financial markets seemingly on an even keel, Xi’s team can claim to have weathered the post-2008 financial crisis with few major hiccups. But rising levels of corporate, banking and government debt have prompted the International Monetary Fund to raise the alarm. Estimates of the ratio of non-performing loans to total lending in the banking sector range as high as 35%. Most economists and banking analysts say the real level is likely much lower.

The level of debt in the Chinese economy skyrocketed after Beijing unleashed record amounts of stimulus — at least 17.5 trillion yuan ($2.6 trillion) — to help fend off the worst impact of the 2008 financial crisis. That credit binge has not yet been fully digested. In the years since, the level of debt surged further, much of it as “off balance sheet” lending by so-called shadow banks that operate outside the state-dominated formal banking industry.

Moody’s Investor Service estimates that the size of shadow bank lending has more than doubled since 2012, growing more than 20% in 2016 to reach 64 trillion yuan ($10 trillion), or about 86.5% of China’s GDP.

European Union

Aegon Reports Strong Increase in Earnings and Capital Ratio in 3Q 2017 (Guru Focus), Rated: AAA

Net income increases by 31driven by US

  • Underlying earnings up by 20% to EUR 556 million reflecting favorable claims experience, higher fee revenue as a result of favorable equity markets, and lower expenses in US
  • Gain from fair value items of EUR 159 million driven by positive real estate revaluations and hedging gains in US
  • Charge from assumption changes and model updates of EUR 198 million caused by conversion of the largest block of universal life business to a new model
  • Higher underlying earnings, fair value items and realized gains drive increase in net income to EUR 469 million
  • Return on equity for the quarter increases to 8.9%

Strong increase in Solvency II ratio to 195%

  • Solvency II ratio increases by 10%-points compared with last quarter to 195%. Capital generation and benefit from divestment of UK annuity book more than offset interim 2017 dividend
  • Capital generation of EUR 809 million including favorable market impacts and one-time items of EUR 485 million
  • Holding excess capital temporarily decreases to EUR 0.9 billion driven by capital injection into Dutch business
  • Gross financial leverage ratio improves by 20 basis points sequentially to 29.2% as a result of retained earnings

Strategic highlights

  • Aegon launches mutual fund joint venture in Mexico
  • Robot processes customer requests to improve administrative efficiency in Dutch business
  • Aegon Asset Management receives top ratings for responsible investment
  • Launch of mobile- and user-friendly global careers site

French Lending Platforms Adopt Common Performance Indicators (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On 8 November 2017, the French Crowdfunding Association Financement Participatif France released the common set of performance indicators that member platforms specializing in loans, mini-bonds (a debt instrument specific to SME lending marketplaces) and bonds are invited to publish.

Key indicators give a clear picture of crowdlending risk and its cost:

  1. The share of borrowed capital already repaid. The older the loans, the higher the portion already repaid.
  2. The portion of interest due already paid. The older the loans, the higher the share of interest already paid.
  3. The net internal rate of return representing the annual profitability of the loans, net of known or proven losses at the date of calculation.
  4. The maximum possible internal rate of return representing the annualized yield of loans if all loans were repaid in accordance with the original schedule.
  5. The annual cost of risk represents the decrease in profitability caused by delays and defaults relative to the maximum possible rate of return. This is the difference between (4) and (3).
Source: Crowdfund Insider

German fintech company TIS raises $ 12 million from 83North (Tech.eu), Rated: B

Treasury Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a German fintech company, has raised $12 million in funding from 83North with Target Partners and Zobito.

International

Post-crisis restrictions on international banking can blunt growth prospects in developing countries (The Financial), Rated: AAA

Growing restrictions imposed on foreign banks operating in developing countries since the 2007/9 global financial crisis are hampering better growth prospects by limiting the flow of much-needed financing to firms and households, a World Bank report warned on November 7.

Rise of Developing Economy Banks

As advanced economy banks retrenched after the crisis, developing country banks stepped into the void and expanded across borders, accounting for 60 percent of new bank entries since the downturn. The result has been an increase in banking relationships between developing countries and regionalization of international banking operations.

For example, Africa’s Ecobank started in Togo and now has operations in 33 countries across the continent. It also has offices in Paris, Beijing, Dubai, Johannesburg, and London, which allows it to attract capital from wealthy countries to invest across Africa.

At the same time, the total asset size of the world’s largest banks increased by 40 percent, raising concerns that regulatory efforts since the crisis have failed to address the risk of banks that are too big to fail. Nearly 30 percent of developing countries have put in place restrictions on foreign bank branches. These curbs are depriving many economies of opportunities to access global credit that could benefit businesses and households.

How blockchain will change major industries (The Next Web), Rated: A

Real estate

There is a long string of middlemen (think brokers, titling agencies, inspectors, etc.) who slow down the process, amplify human error, and drive up the costs of doing business.

A public, distributed blockchain ledger that acts as a living database for all deals, negotiations, and settlements in the industry can overcome many of these shortcomings and reduce the need for “trust managers.”

One of the most exciting companies in the space is REALISTO, who employs the Ethereum blockchain to overcome many of these inefficiencies. Every investment made via their crowdfunding platform is mirrored on their blockchain and verified via smart contracts.

Banking

With the formation of blockchain consortia – or groups of financial institutions that collaborate to develop blockchain solutions – blockchain is already set to affect the way financial institutions process payments and handle settlements.

Traditionally, settlements between merchants and banks can take up to days. As consumers, you would have to wait three to five days for your payments to be cleared and verified behind the scenes after swiping your debit card at a local merchant.

By digitizing payments on a secured network, blockchain can serve the 2 billion unbanked people ignored by institutional banks. To use cryptocurrencies, all you need is a smartphone – no minimum account balance, credit history, or banks.

A Combination of Blockchain and Standard Verification for Effective Decentralized Lending (Live Bitcoin News), Rated: B

Blockchain lending is a development that is growing in popularity and offering alternative and less stressful ways of acquiring loans quicker and more efficiently even at lower interest rates.

Lendoit offers a robust system which overlaps between blockchain technology and conventional verification systems. Therefore, prior to borrowing, intending borrowers are subjected to standard KYC verification during application, while other aspects of the loan acquisition and repayment processes are based on an Ethereum Smart Contract.

Australia/New Zealand

Australian Online Lender Prospa Tops Key Milestone as it Originates Over $ 500 Million in Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Prospa has claimed first in the race to originate over half a billion in small business loans. The online lender states that over the past 12 months, Prospa has experienced dramatic growth, doubling the size of its loan book. Prospa has now provided credit to more than 12,000 SMEs in Australia and is the number one online lender in the country. Prospa will provide loans of up to $250,000 with a term of 3 to 24 months.

Peer-to- peer home lending restrictions in Queenstown welcomed (Voxy), Rated: A

Queenstown Lakes District Council’s (QLDC) announcement and vote to amend its District Plan, restricting the number of days some houses can be used for short term peer to peer lending through sites such as AirBnB, will go a long way to improving rental affordability and shortages for workers in the region.

The report commissioned by QLDC from Infometrics shows AirBnB occupied 14% of the District’s housing stock in the June 2017 quarter.

Asia

Asian fintech funding exceeds $ 1b in 2017 (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Asia experienced a solid increase in fintech investment in Q3 2017, with $1.21 billion raised across 41 deals. China accounted for more than 50 per cent of all Asian fintech investment at $745 million.

Notably, corporate participation in Asia fintech venture capital (VC) deals remained high at 22 per cent of overall round counts, although actual direct investment was minimal in 2017 with just $840 million invested YTD in associated deal value.

In Singapore, an Indo-Asia Pacific business hub, the fintech sector saw $25.3 million over six deals in Q3 2017, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) continuing to be the key driver of the city-state’s fintech ecosystem.

Source: Deal Street Asia
Middle East

National Bonds challenges UAE’s ‘financial advice dilemma’ with new investment app (The National), Rated: A

Dubai-based investment company National Bonds is moving into the financial advisory space with a new digital app offering low-cost investment options, its chief executive has revealed.

The company plans to challenge poor advice, offered by UAE financial advisory firms, by launching an upgraded app in the second quarter of next year to offer customers access to a variety of investment choices – not just National Bonds, Mohammed Al Ali, its chief executive told The National.

Africa

Jumo Wins Third Annual Mastercard Foundation Clients at the Centre Prize (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The Mastercard Foundation today presented its third annual Clients at the Centre Prize to Jumo. The US$150,000 prize recognizes the innovative work of the South African-based company as a large-scale, low-cost financial services marketplace that serves poor people.

The Prize highlights best practices in financial services where client satisfaction is a priority. Close to 100 financial service companies around the world submitted entries to the competition.

The other two Prize finalists were ftcash, one of India’s fastest-growing financial technology ventures which aims to empower micro-merchants and small businesses with the power of digital payments and loans, and Destacame, a free online platform in Latin America that empowers users by giving them control over their data to build their financial capabilities and to access financial products.

Uganda: Accra Summit to Pave Way for Financially Empowered World (The Monitor), Rated: A

The Mastercard Foundation is hosting its fifth annual and largest Symposium on Financial Inclusion (SoFI) in Accra, Ghana.

The symposium, which ends today, champions the idea that, to achieve greater financial inclusion, financial service providers in developing countries must do more to meet the needs and expectations of people living in poverty.

Uganda launched its National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) 2017 – 2022 which seeks to reduce financial exclusion from 15 to five per cent by 2022.

Canada

Borrowell wins Deloitte Fast50 award (Borrowell Email), Rated: A

Borrowell has won a Companies to Watch award as part of the Deloitte Fast50 program. We are one of only eleven companies across Canada to win that award this year, and the only company from Toronto. Fast50 winners in the category for established companies include well-known names like Shopify, SkipTheDishes, Wave and Influitive. The list was announced an hour ago. 

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday July 18 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech adoption

News Comments Today’s main news: Laplanche shares vision for Online Lending 2.0 at Lang Di Fintech. Elevate named a great place to work (again). FinLeap raises 39M Euro. Crunchbase-like database launches in Singapore. Today’s main analysis: Ant Financial poised for more growth. Fintech use reaching mass adoption among digital consumers. Today’s thought-provoking articles: OCC vs. New York DFS.  Ant Financial […]

fintech adoption

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Elevate Named Great Place to Work by Independent Analysts for Second Year in a Row (4-Traders), Rated: AAA

Elevate was recently certified as a great workplace by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work®. Elevate earned this credential based on ratings provided by its employees in anonymous surveys. A summary of these ratings can be found at 

“According to our study, 87 percent of Elevate employees say it is a great workplace,” says Sarah Lewis-Kulin, Vice President of Great Place to Work Certification & List Production.

79% of Elevate employees completed a survey, resulting in a 90 percent confidence level and a margin of error of ± 2.04.

Ex-LendingClub CEO Laplanche sees new Upgrade venture growing loan volumes (Yahoo! News), Rated: AAA

Online lender Upgrade, launched by former LendingCLub Corp CEO Renaud Laplanche in April, expects to grow its loan volumes and add new asset managers to its roster of buyers in coming months, Laplanche said in an interview on Monday.

Upgrade has been testing its credit quality and risk management systems, compliance framework and other operations, as well as building up its infrastructure to deal with rising volumes before ramping up the service, Laplanche added. The company has signed up six asset managers who are already buying or plan to buy loans originated by the company, including Jefferies LLC and an unnamed Hong Kong firm, he said.

OCC vs. New York DFS: Battle for the Future of FinTech (Bloomberg BNA), Rated: AAA

In the rapidly developing world of financial technology it often is unclear who has the legal authority to regulate the activities of newly created companies. Many of these companies do not neatly fit into any established regulatory scheme. However, answering the question of who will be creating the regulatory rules for FinTech companies is important both for regulators and the FinTech companies themselves.

State Regulators Want to Regulate FinTech

Over the past several years, state regulators have been staking out positions as leading regulators of FinTech companies.

During this same period, federal regulators have announced the intention to assert control over the regulation of FinTech companies.

The OCC indicated that its authority to grant FinTech Charters to nonbank FinTech companies stems from 12 C.F.R. § 5.20(e)(1), which states that the agency may grant such charters to institutions that conduct “at least one of the following three core banking functions: receiving depositions, paying checks, or lending money.”

The Lawsuit

The DFS did not limit itself to criticizing the proposed FinTech Charters. On May 12, 2017, the DFS filed a lawsuit against the OCC in the District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that the OCC’s proposed FinTech Charters exceeded the agency’s statutory authority under the National Banking Act and violated the Tenth Amendment. Based on these claims, the DFS sought declaratory and injunctive relief that would declare the proposed FinTech Charters to be unlawful and prohibit the OCC from creating or issuing these charters in the absence of express authorization from Congress.

Third, even if the OCC prevails and begins granting FinTech Charters, state agencies such as the DFS will still attempt to regulate FinTech companies. This could lead to future disputes over the nature and scope of the federal preemption of state regulations, which will add to the confusion over which regulations apply to which FinTech companies.

As a result of these issues, FinTech companies have little idea what the future regulatory terrain will look like. This uncertainty makes it difficult for companies to predict the future regulatory cost of business decisions they would like to make today.

Worthy Financial Announces the Closing of Its Seed Financing Round (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Worthy, a digital investment app that redefines how Americans access investment products, diversify their portfolios and save for retirement, announced the successful closing of its seed financing round. The funds will be used for the full-scale roll-out of the Worthy mobile app, and will enable Worthy to expand its growing user base as well as to broaden the array of investment product options it offers retail investors.

Worthy provides users with the unprecedented ability to spend their way to retirement by investing retail round-ups into high-yielding fixed interest bonds, the proceeds of which fund growing businesses. In doing so, anyone has the capability to build a nest egg, enhance portfolio returns, mitigate risk, and generate both social as well as financial returns. Worthy investors grow their portfolios while simultaneously supporting American entrepreneurs.

Stash, now valued at $ 240 million, lets anyone start investing in the stock market with just $ 5 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Krieg and Robinson realized then that they had an opportunity to help.

They founded Stash, an app that lets you build a portfolio and start investing with only $5, plus it teaches you the ins and outs of the stock market.

Krieg and Robinson realized then that they had an opportunity to help.

The company launched in October 2015 and just closed on a $40 million Series C led by Coatue Management. That brings Stash’s total funding to $78 million and values the New York-based startup at $240 million, according to a person familiar with the company.

Stash makes money by charging a subscription fee of $1 per month for accounts with less than $5,000. When an account has more than $5,000, Stash charges a fee of 0.25% fee.

Stash now has about 850,000 customers nationwide.

Why Robo-Analysts, Not Robo-Advisors, Will Transform Investing (The Financial Revolutionist), Rated: A

Robo-advisors and robo-analysts are both important to enabling wealth management firms to cut costs without sacrificing quality of advice, but the importance of a robo-analyst to enhance the quality of investment advice shouldn’t be underestimated.

Today, many of the tasks performed by robo-advisors are low value-added services such as determining and communicating asset allocation strategies (e.g., 60% equities, 30% fixed income and 10% cash). In fact, these services are so low value-added that advisors cannot make money doing them unless they are bundled with higher value-added services.The value proposition of a robo-analyst is very different.

Specifically, by shining an analytical light in the dark corners of financial filings, robo-analyst technology can identify many critical data points overlooked by most research analysts today. No longer must investors rely on the headlines or management-manipulated earnings. With new technologies, investors can receive a much fuller, more comprehensive analysis of financial filings, company profits and valuation so as to make better informed decisions than ever before. As a result, robo-analyst tech raises the analytical bar universally, enabling investors to transcend the short-sighted and high turnover trading mentality that, in the long run, does more damage to investors than good.

Bankers Worry About Jobs Lost to Automation (Newsmax), Rated: A

A quarter of banking’s “front line” professionals are worried about losing their jobs to robots and artificial intelligence-boosted mobile apps, according to a LinkedIn survey.

In the poll of 1,012 pros from financial technology, investment banking, retail and corporate banking, financial and hedge fund management, accounting, insurance, and private equity, 25 percent said they are concerned automation will impact their job security – with 34 percent of retail bankers saying it is a significant concern for them.

The survey also found 42 percent of financial services pros think financial technology is a “direct threat” to traditional financial services, compared with 13 percent of professionals who work in traditional financial services, and 18 percent of all the financial professionals.

Matthew Wong of CB Insights on Insurtech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In today’s episode of the Lend Academy podcast we have Matthew Wong of CB Insights. He has been following innovation in the insurtech space for some time and his weekly insurtech newsletter has a subscriber base of more than 18,000 people.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Matt’s background and how he first became involved in insurtech.
  • What CB Insights does.
  • The headwinds facing insurance industry incumbents today.
  • Why millennials are not buying insurance as much as other generations.
  • Why insurtech is hot right now when it comes to VC investments.
  • Some of the most interesting companies in the insurtech space right now.
  • Why it will probably take a long time for these startups to get to scale.
  • Why Matt likes Zhong An Insurance, the first and largest online insurer in China.
  • How the incumbent insurance companies have been reacting to this surge in startup activity.
  • Why Munich Re is one of the most interesting incumbents.
  • Matt’s view on what SoFi is doing partnering with a life insurance company.
  • The endgame for many of the insurtech startups.

Solar Loans Are A Risky Investment But Not Unlike Other ABS (ValueWalk), Rated: A

Solar loans are on the rise as the industry undergoes a transition and credit investors consider whether these asset-backed securities are worth the risk. In some ways, they’re similar to other types of collateral, and credit investors are already used to dealing with the types of risk they pose. However, analysts at Moody’s warn that they’re one of the riskiest securitization asset classes.

The reason solar loans are so new is because until now, the residential solar market has been dominated by third-party ownership of solar panel systems via power-purchase agreements and leases. GTM Research projected late last year that 2017 will be the year direct ownership of residential solar panels retakes its position as the top solar financing model.

The firm projected that 55% of the U.S. residential solar capacity that’s installed this year will be bought by customers who either pay in cash or take out a loan to finance their systems.

Jefferies gives IBM Watson a Wall Street reality check (TechCrunch), Rated: A

IBM’s Watson unit is receiving heat today in the form of a scathing equity research report from Jefferies’ James Kisner. The group believes that IBM’s investment into Watson will struggle to return value to shareholders.

The narrative isn’t the product of any single malfunction, but rather the result of overhyped marketing, deficiencies in operating with deep learning and GPUs and intensive data preparation demands.

If job postings are any indication, IBM is not keeping pace with other technology companies in hiring machine learning developers.

Cascade Fintech Signs 3-Year Contract for AU10TIX ID Authentication & Onboarding Automation (WVAlways.com), Rated: A

US prepaid card and P2P payment services provider Cascade Financial Technology Corp has signed a 3-year contract to power customer onboarding and KYC with 2nd generation ID authentication and onboarding automation. AU10TIX Secure Customer onboarding (SCO) cloud service that already powers major players across financial services markets, is known not only to increase KYC robustness and fraud protection but also improve customer conversion success chances and operating efficiency.

The future of Millennial banking (Marketing-Interactive), Rated: A

In the last ten years, the fundamental assumption that financial institutions are the only avenue to financial transactions is being called to question, especially by Millennials, who are by far the most entrepreneurial generation.

In a disruptive world, what does the future of banking and finance look like? How can and should financial institutions adapt to remain relevant, or even lead in this era of change?

  • Seamless, efficient and fast

Payments are perhaps the most basic and prevalent interaction with finance for the masses, yet for the longest time, payments to businesses saw minimal innovation. P2P transfers were never a focus for banks since it was a zero commission business. This was a pain-point to Millennials, who are used to sending everything from photos to documents electronically – having to withdraw physical cash or obtaining account details to securely transfer money for lunch is considered old fashioned!

  • Flexibility and access to funds

Traditional unsecured loans might require a strong financial history or proof of steady income stream, which would be unlikely if the individual were not taking a salaried job. Cash advances on credit cards would usually incur overly high interests costs.

This creates opportunities for peer to peer (P2P) lending marketplaces such as Prosper and Lending Club, platforms which create alternative ways to access cash loans while providing alternative yields on deposits.

  • Information access

Websites such as MoneySmart, DirectAsia, GoBear and Milelion position themselves as third-party and an unbiased advisor of investment products and policies. They perform the heavy lifting of trawling through multiple sites to aggregate and analyse information, empowering consumers to make informed purchases in the shortest time.

  • The reversal to brand love

The answer lies in placing the consumer in the centre of their businesses and asking the right questions constantly to redefine scope of value-add. It is an iterative journey, and worthwhile to include consumers as co-creators in product design and transformation.

Wela, the World’s First Financial Advice App Pairing Artificial Intelligence with Real Advisors, Available for Android Devices (Marketwired), Rated: B

Wela, a personal finance app that pairs artificial intelligence (AI) and human advisors, announces today it is available for download on Android devices in addition to iOS. Wela pairs real financial advisors with AI through the personification of its digital advising algorithm, Benjamin. The first true digital advisor, Benjamin utilizes AI to track users’ daily, weekly and monthly spending habits and provides personalized advice based on their financial needs and goals. Unlike other free consumer finance apps, Wela also offers access to real financial advisors via phone, video chat or in-person at no additional cost.

The Android app contains the full functionality of the iOS version and employs the same innovative features that allow users to track all their financial accounts in one place. Wela protects user privacy by leveraging bank-level security, as well as 256-bit SSL encryption and two forms of secure authentication. Capable of aggregating data from more than 13,000 financial institutions, Benjamin pulls linked account information to run a complete analysis, helping users take steps toward financial wellness based on three main pillars: creating an emergency reserve, paying off debt and implementing an investment strategy. In addition to Benjamin’s foundational metrics, the algorithm delivers custom insights on demand, helping users stay on track to reach their short- and long-term goals.

Three Leading Lawyers Take the Helm of Manatt’s Financial Services Group (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, today announced new co-chairs of the firm’s industry-leading financial services group, with the appointment of Richard Gottlieb, Brian Korn and Donna Wilson.

Gottlieb is a partner in the firm’s Chicago office, Korn is based in Manhattan, and Wilson practices in Manatt’s Los Angeles office.

United Kingdom

MarketInvoice Stands at £1.34 Cumulative Invoices Funded (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

This past February, MarketInvoice shared it had funded invoices over £1.1 billion since platform launch in 2011. The online lender said it expects to top the £2 billion in invoices funded by the end of the year.

In Q2 of 2017, MarketInvoice announced that it had funded invoices from UK businesses worth £161.9 million. Compare this amount to the £103 million funded in Q2 of 2016 and the platform is generating some serious momentum.

In the first quarter of 2017, MarketInvoice generated £130 million in invoice finance.

RateSetter’s new chairman heralds benefits of provision fund (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER’S new non-executive chairman Paul Manduca (pictured) has heralded the peer-to-peer lender’s “simplicity”, citing its provision fund as an example, on his first day in his new role.

The asset management veteran said that financial innovation can sometimes result in overly-complex products that investors cannot understand, which is “complacent and out of step with what customers want”.

Activist investor increases stake in Ranger Direct Lending fund (AltFi), Rated: A

The LIM Asia Special Situations Master Fund has increased its stake in the £243m Ranger Direct Lending fund, following the portfolio’s move to a double-digit discount.

The Hong-Kong based fund had already invested in the closed-ended portfolio, which invests in a host of online lending platforms, owning less than 4 per cent. Last week it increased its holding to 5.48 per cent (on the 7th July).

Assetz Capital Continues UK P2P Expansion with Scotland Appointment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Assetz Capital is continuing its strategy of establishing a local presence across the UK with the appointment of Ian Craig as Regional Relationship Director to help manage operations in Scotland. The appointment comes as Assetz Capital says growth in Scotland continues with a target of £50 million in lending (subject to two upcoming completions). Assetz Capital says it is well on its way to becoming the second largest alternative finance lender in Scotland.

Craig will be responsible for helping local Scottish businesses acquire finance through the peer-to-peer platform and ensure borrowing with Assetz Capital runs seamlessly.

P2P lenders helped British Business Bank fund £717m of SME loans last year (P2P Finance news), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lenders were among the delivery partners helping the British Business Bank (BBB) fund £717m of loans to small businesses last year, the firm’s annual report revealed.

The state-backed institution, which has channelled funds through P2P platforms such as RateSetter, Funding Circle and MarketInvoice, facilitated 94 per cent of its finance through banks outside of the ‘big four’ last year, up from 90 per cent in 2015 and 79 per cent in 2014.

The BBB has a key performance indicator of having more than 75 per cent of its finance facilitated through providers other than the four largest banks over five years, so it has already surpassed that aim.

China

Renaud Laplanche Shares His Vision for Online Lending 2.0 at Lang Di Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In his first public appearance in over a year Renaud Laplanche, the CEO of Upgrade, gave a presentation this past weekend at Lang Di Fintech, LendIt’s annual Chinese conference, in Shanghai. Titled Online Lending 2.0 he laid out his vision for where he thinks the online lending industry is going next.

He talked about how one of the big innovations in Online Lending 1.0 was the introduction of more data into the underwriting process. Ten years ago, which marked the beginning of Online Lending 1.0, this new data allowed more accurate underwriting of consumers. But in Online Lending 2.0 this has expanded dramatically with not just more data but new and better tools available to analyze this data.

The two key data points that are being added in Online Lending 2.0 are location data and free cash flow analysis. We need to adjust underwriting to take into account location because a consumer in New York City has a much higher than average cost of living while a consumer in Greenville, SC has a much lower than average cost of living for example. This is why Debt-to-Income (DTI) is less important than free cash flow today.

Alibaba Affiliate Ant Financial: World’s Largest Fintech Poised For More Growth (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s (NYSE:BABA) financial affiliate, is the largest fintech in the world, and leads the pack of the world’s largest fintech unicorns, the top four of which are from China, the largest fintech market in the world: Ant Financial (US$60 billion), Lufax (US$18.5 billion), JD Finance (US$7 billion) (NASDAQ:JD), and Qufenqi (US$5.9 billion).

Alipay

Payments make up the biggest portion of fintech in China and this is expected to be the same going forward.

Mobile phones function as mobile wallets for about 425 million Chinese, or 65% of all mobile users. This is the highest penetration rate in the world. At 38 trillion yuan (US$ 5.5 trillion) last year according to data from iResearch, China is the world’s largest mobile payments market and is over 50 times bigger than the American market where mobile payments reached US$112 billion.

China’s e-commerce market is expected to continue its upward climb. Online sales represented 16.4% of China’s total retail sales in the first half of 2016 and this is expected to climb to 21.7% by 2020 which should benefit Alipaygoing forward.

Wealth Management

Wealth management is the largest area of fintech after payments.

There are about 325 million Chinese investors in Yu’e Bao, a number almost as big as the population of the United States and the fund has more assets than the rest of the top 10 Chinese peers combined.

The majority of Yu’e Bao users are millennials under the age of 30 and about 99.7% of its investors are individuals, according to its annual report, rather than companies or financial intermediaries as is usually the case at other Chinese money-market funds.

Credit scoring

Data from the World Bank’s Global Findex study revealed that the bank account ownership rate among individuals aged 15 and older is quite high in China (79% in 2014) yet credit usage is relatively low at 14% in 2014.

The People’s Bank of China covers credit profiles for just about 25% (around 350 million) of China’s 1.3 billion population and shares this data only with selected banks. This absence of reliable credit scoring is partly the reason individuals and small enterprises experience difficulty obtaining a loan from China’s state-controlled banking system which tends to favor large corporates and state-owned enterprises.

Lending

Credit data from the system will also be used to support lending activities at Ant Financial’s MYbank, an internet-only bank which provides loans to SMEs. Set up in mid-2015, the bank will extend loans up to US$800,000 as well as smaller loans that state banks usually don’t pay much attention to.

China has just 8.1 commercial bank branches and 55 ATMs per 100,000 people. This compares with US and Canada which have 28.2 branches and 222 ATMs per 100,000 people and in Europe where there are 28 branches and 81 ATMS per 100,000 people.

PBOC calls upon fintech firms to help fund system to monitor online transactions (SCMP), Rated: A

China’s central bank has urged financial technology (fintech) companies to help pay for a government-controlled monitoring system to watch over financial transactions on the internet.

Sun Guofeng, director general of the People’s Bank of China’s research institute, said the fast-growing fintech businesses have ratcheted up pressure on authorities to invest heavily in regulatory technology, or regtech, but he pointed out that it would be unfair to cover the costs by using taxpayers’ money.

Merger and acquisition may be the future trend for P2P lending sector (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, Dianrong announced that the company has purchased Quark Finance, Quark Credit Workshop and its related branches and teams. Before that, the merger has been spread for a long time. The merger seems indicate a direction for P2P lending platforms: small platforms might be realise the compliance requirements by being merged, and big platforms also could expand and increase their market share through the acquisition. Thus, mergers and acquisitions might become the next new wave of the P2P lending industry in China.

PwC: Fintech Survey China 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

There are three main areas of finance that are poised to be irreversibly changed, according to PwC. Consumer banking, investment & wealth management and transfers & payments are becoming pretty much all digital and data driven.

Some high level bullet points on China and Fintech include:

  • 68% of financial institutions expect to increase Fintech partnerships in the next three to five years
  • 85% believe mobile apps are the fastest growing customer channel
  • 71% regard price wars as one of the challenges of Fintech
  • Personal loans are at the top of the list for moving to Fintech over the next 5 years

Download the full report here.

European Union

German fintech factory FinLeap raises EUR39 million (Finextra), Rated: AAA

FinLeap, the startup platform behind Germany’s solarisBank, has secured EUR39 million in equity capital to support its ongoing fintech incubation programme.
Having launched twelve fintech ventures so far – including bank account switching platform FinReach, digital debt management outfit Pair Finance, insurance broker Clark, and Germany’s solarisBank – FinLeap is already active in ten European countries.

Regulating FinTech: the Way Forward (Fexco), Rated: A

On Friday 14th July Brian hosted an event at the European Parliament offices in Dublin entitled ‘Regulating FinTech: the Way Forward’. Speakers at the event were the Minister for Financial Services Michael D’Arcy TD, Neil Ryan, COO Quaternion Risk Management; Derek Butler, CEO Grid Finance; Camille Blackburn, Central Bank of Ireland, and Ruth McCarthy, Director of the FinTech and Payments Association of Ireland and CEO of FEXCO Corporate Payments.

The panel discussed regulatory responses to FinTech services at EU and domestic level, as well as examining opportunities within the FinTech ecosystem in Ireland.

Strong networks, good government supports and the presence of major innovators are enabling Ireland to stay at the cutting edge, and these factors will help Ireland to achieve its IFS2020 target for job creation in financial services.

Bricknode: Reporting To fFnancial Regulators With The XBLR Format Creates Confusion (Mondovisione), Rated: A

Financial institutions of various types are required to conduct periodic reporting to local regulators, like the Swedish Financial Inspection and EU-authorities like the European Banking Authority. Following the financial crisis of 2007/2008 numerous resolutions were past to increase regulations of the participants in financial markets. These initiatives are now being implemented regularly. Both MiFID II and MiFIR are scheduled to be implemented as of January 2018 with extensive reporting requirements and scarce information of how this should be implemented practically. During 2017, financial institutions and FinTech companies were impacted by EU-reporting in practice. One example is the reporting file format called XBLR were a lot of confusion exists.

International

Fintech Use Reaching ‘Mass Adoption’ Among Digital Consumers (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Findings from the EY Fintech Adoption Index 2017, published by EY, indicate that fintech firms are approaching mass adoption among digitally active consumers. Leveraging digital technology, combined with personalized solutions, fintech firms are differentiating the customer banking experience. Simplicity, clean design, personalization, real-time insights and transparency are the defining components of these new solutions.

The four key themes that emerged from the 2017 EY Fintech Adoption Index were:

  1. Fintech services have reached mass adoption in most global markets
  2. New services and players are driving increased adoption
  3. Fintech users prefer digital channels and technologies
  4. Fintech adoption will continue to gain momentum

According to the EY report, some of the primary strategies used by fintech firms to gain traction include:

  • Offering a service for free or at a much lower cost that traditionally had a cost associated
  • Solve a problem an existing customer base
  • Provide an entirely new service
  • Create word-of-mouth advocates
  • Build a strong brand identity
  • Leverage highly targeted marketing

The most dramatic variance between fintech users and non-users is the ways consumers prefer to manage their lives. According to EY, “64% of FinTech users prefer managing their lives through digital channels, compared to 38% of non-FinTech users. FinTech users are also more likely to be users of non-fintech digital platforms, such as on-demand services (digital taxis, online food, etc.) and the sharing economy (bike and housing rentals).”

India

Alt Lending platform OxyLoans plans to raise Rs 200 cr debt (MoneyControl), Rated: AAA

The city-based alternative lending platform, OxyLoans, today said it is planning to raise a debt of Rs 200 crore to meet the requirements of borrowers.

He said they have over 240 asset-backed applications from borrowers, and expressed hope to complete the process (raising debt of Rs 200 crore) within six months.

Thatavarti further said that OxyLoans, which has set a loan disbursal target of Rs 156 crore in three years, has facilitated loans to the tune of Rs 64 crore in the last nine months.

This startup is an end-to-end digital platform for lenders and borrowers – TachyLoans (KnowStartup), Rated: A

TachyLoans is an online lending marketplace catering to both Individuals & Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Their platform is based on Peer-to-Peer lending paradigm that uses the proprietary credit decision model designed with some of the best and innovative practices in the financial industry using the cutting edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning and is built through state of the art technology.

Founded by Brahma, TachyLoans is based out of Bangalore and was established in the year 2016. Brahma brings to the table more than 20 years experience and expertise in Retail Banking, Sales, Marketing and Operations.

When airlines don’t have parachutes, why should P2P lending platforms have LPF? (India Times), Rated: A

The regulations will lay out the corporate structure that each of the platforms would need to follow and most importantly the DOS and Don’ts related to dealing with lenders and borrowers. However, of late, there has been an interesting trend of platforms coming up with a lender protection fund. What does it do? In case a lender loses the money he has extended to a borrower as a loan, the lender protection fund is expected to cover the losses for the investor. On the face of it, it sounds like a good idea, but if you dig deeper, there are several issues.

The flyer is aware of the risk, but he trusts the plane. You have a life vest under your seat for an emergency landing on water, but you do not have an escape pod that can be activated if a flight is about to crash. Similarly, the lender on a P2P site should be able to trust that the lending platform has built a system that can help Lender earn higher returns by mitigating risk. While a P2P platform cannot shirk its responsibilities when it comes to investor protection, having a fund to mitigate losses is not the answer. Proper systemic safeguards and strong ethics should alone suffice.

Launching LPF would in some ways signal that a platform does not have confidence in its own credit evaluation and risk-mitigation system.

Paytm invests in Mobiquest (e27), Rated: B

India’s leading digital payments and m-commerce company Paytm has made an investment in loyalty app developer Mobiquest. The funding amount was not disclosed.

Asia

Fintech non-profit launches database for financial technology startups in Singapore (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

The Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) announced today it has created an online directory for fintech companies based in the city-state. The database contains a short description of each company and information about its founding team, funding status, and business model.

Currently listing around 300 startups, the database is free to use and data is maintained by the companies themselves. The directory looks similar to Crunchbase and Tech in Asia’s own startup database, but it’s exclusive to fintech.

The SFA built the directory in collaboration with US data company Let’s Talk Payments and its Medici platform, which provides information and resources about the fintech industry.

South Korean FinTech Firms To Offer International Money Transfer Services (ETH News), Rated: A

According to The Korea Heraldofficials at South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) announced last week that they expect approximately 40 FinTech firms to provide international money transfer services starting August 15.

Per Yonhap News Agency, South Korea’s international money transfer market currently totals approximately 10 trillion won ($8.7 billion). Opening the market to FinTech firms will encourage competition and drive down costs to consumers since the companies can offer money transfer services at much lower prices than traditional banks.

Single transfers via FinTech firms will be capped at $3,000, and individual annual limits will be set at $20,000. For FinTech firms to qualify for the FSS permit, they must possess 2 billion won ($1.77 million) and a debt-equity ratiobelow 200 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday April 26 2017, Daily News Digest

robo-advisors deal share

News Comments Today’s main news: Wela pairs AI with financial advisors in mobile app. KBRA assigns prelim ratings to Avant Funding Trust 2017-A. Assetz Capital to launch property-only, longer-term accounts. Mint Bridging ups development as FC exits market. China Creation Ventures leads $16M IceKredit round. Today’s main analysis: Affordability of houses in U.S. cities relative to income. Today’s thought-provoking […]

robo-advisors deal share

News Comments

United States

  • Wela launches mobile app pairing AI with real financial advisors. GP:”In online lending the equivalent would be mixing AI underwriting and human underwriting. “AT: “It won’t be long before everyone is managing their finances with mobile apps: Household income, investments, savings, college education expenses, you name it. Artificial intelligence will be a major part of that movement.”
  • Kroll assigns preliminary ratings to Avant Loans Funding Trust 2017-A. GP:”Avant continues to securitize and the securitization continues to perform well. This is great news for Avant and their peers.”
  • Affordability of houses in major U.S. cities relative to income. GP:”Afforability of housing, as it is the largest budget item in most people’s budget, is correlated with all kind of useful parameters like affordability,etc. However, the correlation is not always in the direction one would expect: if housing is cheap it could mean people have no credit/only expensive credit options/no good income , etc. “AT: “While interesting data, this says nothing about whether these markets are good investment markets for real estate. Rather, its says a lot more about whether John Q. Homeowner can afford to buy a home in these markets. Looking at median incomes, I’d say the majority of income earners all across the country would have a difficult time buying a home in most of these markets. But the data can also be misleading. For instance, in Dallas, the median house value is $162,300, but the average middle-class home purchaser can get a home for half that. Medians don’t give a realistic view of on-the-ground reality, in my opinion.”
  • Upgrade to hire up to 300 in Phoenix. GP:”Renaud Laplanche is hiring up to 300 people after barely opening doors. Lending Club I believe has about 1,000 employees. In my personal experience in growing companies I made the mistake of hiring too many too fast and I now prefer to see what I can do with as few people as possible.” AT: “Upgrade is expanding fast. I wonder why they chose Phoenix.”
  • Reliamax now services $275M in private student loans. GP:”A decent size portofolio. We encourage as much transparency as possible. I wish more companies published their portofolio size and numbers.”
  • RIP MPL? AT: “This is an apologia for Misys, which I think is trying too hard to convince people that banks can compete with fintech companies on technology. One problem: They haven’t proven it yet, and it doesn’t appear as if they are working at it real hard. In order for the premise to be true, community banks will have to follow the larger banks in adopting emerging technologies, and very few of them are. I don’t even think it’s on their radars.”
  • Lending Technologies introduces Leads2Lend. GP:”We have on our database close to 20 tech companies who provide platforms to lenders. How many more will enter this space? Is this a crowded space yet?”
  • Banks to overhaul their technology. AT: “There are some valiant efforts here, but big banks are not agile. I don’t see these changes happening as rapidly as their digital competitors in fintech can operate.”
  • How the CRE industry is adapting to fintech.
  • Comparative look at REITs and MPL. GP:”REIT is very tax efficient.”
  • Roostify names Frank Gelbart as CRO.

United Kingdom

European Union

China

International

  • Mapping robo-advisors around the globe. GP:”Robos market is well correlated with online lending.” AT: “That the wealthiest nation in the world would lead in WealthTech funding is not surprising. But this is about investment. U.S. consumers have not adopted robo-advice as quickly as consumers in other nations, especially Asia.”
  • Fintech patents jump, U.S. leads. GP:”I am surprised China comes in as #2.” AT: “I think U.S. creators care more about protecting their intellectual property than creators in other parts of the world, or it could be that the U.S. mechanism for protecting patents is much more sophisticated and effective than in other parts of the world. Either way, you can’t judge the size of the fintech sector by patents alone. Otherwise, the UK would be way down the list.”

Australia

News Summary

United States

Wela Launches World’s First Financial Advice App Pairing Artificial Intelligence with Real Advisors (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Wela today announces its free mobile app changing the way financial advice is delivered by pairing real financial advisors with Artificial Intelligence (AI) through the personification of its digital advising algorithm, Benjamin. The first true digital advisor, Benjamin utilizes AI to track users’ daily, weekly and monthly spending habits and provides personalized advice based on their financial needs and goals. Unlike other free consumer finance apps on the market, Wela pairs AI capabilities with a human touch, offering access to real financial advisors via phone, video chat or in-person at no additional cost.

The Wela iOS app enables users to track all their financial accounts in one place, protecting user privacy by leveraging bank-level security, as well as 256-bit SSL encryption and two forms of secure authentication. Capable of aggregating data from more than 13,000 financial institutions, Wela’s digital advising algorithm, Benjamin, uses linked account information to run a complete analysis, helping users take steps toward financial health based on three main pillars: creating an emergency reserve, paying off debt, and implementing an investment strategy. In addition to Benjamin’s foundational metrics, the algorithm delivers custom insights on demand, helping users stay on track to reach their short- and long-term goals.

Wela’s in-app budgeting tool, Benjamin, makes budgeting tangible and prevalent on a day-to-day basis. Once Benjamin is activated, the onboarding process begins with the creation of a personalized ‘Daily Spend Limit’. Benjamin then compares that number to actual daily spending and other transactions so users can understand how they are progressing toward the customizable goals they have set for themselves within the app. With real-time analysis of daily spending, rather than an end-of-month review, users are empowered with a better budgeting method and reassurance in their progress.

“Wela is the first free app to give comprehensive financial advice in real time in real-world scenarios personalized for you,” said Matt Reiner, Wela CEO and co-founder.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Avant Loans Funding Trust 2017-A (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Avant Loans Funding Trust 2017-A (“AVNT 2017-A”). This is a $192.6 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on May 4, 2017.

This transaction represents Avant, Inc.’s (“Avant”, the “Servicer” or the “Company”) fourth rated securitization collateralized by a trust certificate backed by unsecured consumer loans originated through its online marketplace lending platform (“Avant Platform”). There have been four prior unrated securitizations, in which Avant or Avant’s institutional investors were the sponsors and the collateral was unsecured consumer loans originated under the Avant Platform.

Avant has a strategic partnership with WebBank, whereby WebBank, a Utah chartered industrial bank, originates loans through the Avant Platform. Avant utilizes technology and customized scoring models to assign credit grades. The Avant website is designed to provide customers with an easy interface and quick online loan decisions at competitive rates compared to traditional lending platforms.

Avant retains a portion of loans originated through the Avant Platform. Avant does not fund loans through a peer-to-peer platform, but instead partners exclusively with institutional investors for whole loan sales.

Affordability Of Houses In Major U.S. Cities (Relative To Income) (Investment Zen), Rated: AAA

Using median income data from the U.S. census and median home prices from Zillow, this map shows how many years of median income it costs to purchase a median house in each of these cities.

DETROIT

#1

  • Median House Value: $38,200
  • Median Household Income: $25,764
  • Amount of Income Needed to Purchase: 1.5x

SAN FRANCISCO

#27

  • Median House Value: $1,147,300
  • Median Household Income: $81,294
  • Amount of Income Needed to Purchase: 14.1x

California finance startup opening downtown Phoenix office, hiring up to 300 (Biz Journals), Rated: A

San Francisco-based financial services startup Upgrade Inc. is opening its first expansion office in downtown Phoenix, with plans to potentially hire up to 300 people.

The startup is opening an operations center in July on two floors of the Renaissance Square Building One at 2 N. Central Ave.

ReliaMax Now Services $ 275 Million in Private Student Loans (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

ReliaMax, the complete private student lending solutions provider for banks, credit unions and alternative lenders, says it services $275 million in loans, an increase of nearly 670 percent from the close of 2015, driven by portfolio conversions that helped banks, credit unions and alternative lenders enter the private student loan asset class.

The ReliaMax loan servicing platform was built with the latest technology and exclusively for private student loans, making it unencumbered by the infrastructure constraints facing other student loan servicers whose platforms were designed to principally serve federal student loans or other consumer loans.

Marketplace lending RIP? (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Once banks master financial technology, the marketplace lending industry is in deep trouble, Jean-Cedric Jollant believes. And the bad news is that’s starting to happen.

“The (fintech) challengers made the move by trying to build a hybrid model where they may not own 100 per cent, 50 per cent or even zero per cent of a loan, but the need the technology to do that,” Mr. Jollant said. “They need new underwriting material and servicing software which they don’t necessarily have.”

Once more banks embrace new technology, they will be able to capitalize on a long list of advantages they have over marketplace lenders, Mr. Jollant said. Their abilities to process payments, service credit and onboard customers are superior. Close the technology gap and the banks can provide much better service at competitive rates.

“So (the marketplace lenders) are just intermediaries. Eventually they will not be able to compete with banks. The only difference between what the marketplace lenders are doing today and the banks really is the underwriting model and that gap will be breached really fast.”

Mr. Jollant believes the venture capital industry will soon begin to sour on marketplace lenders, possibly as soon as later this summer. Those surviving that will then have to withstand the next downturn, which many models have yet to be tested by.

Lending Technologies Corp Introduces Leads2Lend CAM Solution (PR Newswire), Rated: A

B2B fintech firm Lending Technologies Corp, a pioneer in loan origination technology, announces Leads2Lend, its new marketing platform for alternative lenders. Produced in cooperation with Lead One Marketing, Inc. the Leads2Lend program provides alternative finance companies with an all-in-one digital solution to identify and engage with potential new customers—ultimately leading to a stronger bottom line.

The Leads2Lend platform combines Lending Technologies Corp’s white-label customer acquisition management (CAM) technology with a digital marketing program that connects alternative finance firms with new clients. Using Lending Technologies Corp’s proprietary digital onboarding and loan building tools, designated agents can individually download leads and create bespoke lending solutions for the clients. Other functionalities include tools to expedite credit decisions and facilitate loan package construction.

Lending Technologies Corp’s white-labeled CAM technology, serving customers in the U.S. and Switzerland, provides a fully digital, mobile-responsive, end-to-end process for banks and alternative finance companies that allows lenders to save time and money while reducing the risk associated with underwriting loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises. Lending Technologies Corp provides a seamless, paperless solution to all users and gives loan officers the latest digital tools for lenders to issue credit decisions—all with a comprehensive back end.

An omnichannel overhaul in 5 steps (American Banker), Rated: A

U.S. Bank and Bank of Montreal have begun multiyear overhauls of their websites, mobile apps, call centers and ATMs.

Fix what’s broken. Both U.S. Bank and Toronto-based BMO are starting with the “dissatisfiers” — the things that vex customers or make them give up on one channel (say, mobile) and switch to another (such as the call center). JPMorgan also made this part of its approach when it rewrote its mobile app last year.

Make incremental enhancements. 

U.S. Bank’s mobile app was improved 27 times in the past two years, with the help of so-called agile development methods.

BMO also has adopted agile development. “Gone are the days when our tech people took months and months and built detailed requirements,” Badarinath said.

Create a “unified customer experience.” For years, banks have talked about having a consistent experience across mobile apps, websites, branches, ATMs, video kiosks, call centers and text messages. Yet you would not want to talk with a teller the same way you tap on a mobile app or withdraw cash from an ATM.

This fits with recent Javelin research that found most consumers would prefer to apply for credit cards in digital channels: 48% said online, 13% mobile, and 34% said they would prefer a branch. For a checking account it was 41% online, 8% mobile and 49% in a branch.

Today, only 8% of successful applications start and finish in a smartphone or tablet.

Establish an innovation team.

BMO has a group whose job is to look for interesting fintechs the bank can partner with to augment his group’s work.

Test emerging technologies.

And it is exploring options for using chatbots to let people use text messages to request and perform transactions.

Gaston envisions using augmented reality to help customers who want to purchase a car, a house or a boat understand their options.

He foresees using machine learning in the bank’s decisions about online accounts.

How is the CRE Industry Adapting to the Emergence of Fintech Solutions? (NREI Online), Rated: A

NREI recently spoke with Frank Muhlon, head of transactions at CrediFi Corp., to hear more about what’s ahead for this segment of the market.

Frank Muhlon: For sales and financing, technology allows for faster and broader market reach, meaning you have the ability to get to multitudes of investors and lenders. Being able to get to those people faster is really helping to drive the business.

The other area is risk mitigation and the opportunity to reduce your risk, which goes hand-in-hand with more transparency and more information.

Frank Muhlon: At its heart, it has always been a people business and I really don’t foresee that changing. But tech and innovation have been a hallmark of commercial real estate for some time. Eight to 10 years ago we went through a significant and humbling downturn and going through that adversity brought innovation and numerous opportunities. Institutional capital, debt and equity capital got reshuffled, and it presented some opportunities in the marketplace.

I think there is a segment of our industry that is not completely convinced that tech is necessarily disrupting our business in the way that it is disrupting other industries.

Frank Muhlon: In the last five years, the crowdfunding space has grown. There were fewer than 10 pioneering real estate platforms focusing mostly on equity investment. Now there are arguably over 100 sites covering the entire capital stack.

Five years ago, crowdfunding as a whole was a few billion [dollars] in activity globally. In 2016, it was well over $50 billion. Real estate is a more modest piece of that, but it has grown substantially as well. There was about $3.5 billion in activity on real estate crowdfunding sites in 2016. That has been a tremendous growth market, and alternative financing and lending is seeing similar trends.

The online lending industry was about $40 billion last year and it could be upwards of $1 trillion in the next five years.

Frank Muhlon: CredifX is the first cloud-based and data-driven commercial real estate financing marketplace for borrowers, brokers and lenders. The platform focuses on loans of $1 million and up across all major property types nationally. We leverage technology to match loan applicants with financing based on their criteria and the extensive loan product offerings in our lender network.

Comparative look into REITs and Marketplace Lending (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

One reason to invest in REITs is the favorable tax treatment and dividend payouts. Unlike investing in businesses where you expect to see increasing profits from continued growth, 90% of the profits have to be issued in dividends from investments in REITs. Instead of waiting for a business venture to show profits before receiving a dividend, investors get their share quarterly or annually in regular dividend checks.

With Marketplace lending, investors can expect to receive monthly disbursements throughout the lifetime of the loan. Principal investments are typically returned to investors between 6 months to 24 months, depending on loan payoff dates and loan extensions. Servicing fees vary by marketplace lending platform, but typically range from 1% – 3%, compared to REIT management and servicing fees from 3% – 15%.

Finally, REITs instantly diversify your portfolio resulting in better returns. In one REIT you may be invested in a commercial building, an apartment building, and a couple of warehouse distribution centers. The more diverse the portfolio, the better the returns, and the better the hedge against volatility.

While this style of diversification may work to the benefit of experienced REIT investors. marketplace lending allows portfolio diversification controlled by the investor.

Roostify Names Frank Gelbart as Chief Revenue Officer (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Roostify, a provider of automated mortgage transaction technology, today announced it has named Frank Gelbart as Chief Revenue Officer. Frank will be responsible for driving new and existing revenue streams as well as managing partner relationships for Roostify.

United Kingdom

Assetz Capital to launch property-only and longer-term accounts (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ASSETZ Capital is launching two new investment accounts to capitalise on the surge of demand it has experienced on both the investor and the borrower side.

The peer-to-peer lending platform is expanding its account range to seven offerings, adding a longer-term and a purely property-backed account to its existing 30-day access, quick-access, green-energy, “great British business” and manual loan accounts, it told Peer-to-Peer Finance News.

The longer-term account will offer investors an interest rate of about 4.75 per cent over one-year investments, while the new specialist account, which caters for investors who want to focus exclusively on loans secured against property rather than other assets, will target returns of around five per cent.

Mint Bridging ups development lending as Funding Circle exits market (Financial Reporter), Rated: AAA

Mint Bridging has reported an “influx” of development finance business after Funding Circle announced plans to stop lending in this area earlier in the month.

Its product ranges can accommodate up to £5,000,000 at 80% LTV, with heavy refurbishment projects up to 100% of the purchase price & 100% of the refurbishment costs.

P2PGI keeps NAV growing through UK asset-backed market (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

P2P GLOBAL Investments (P2PGI) continued to shore up its finances in March, posting a 0.55 per cent increase in net asset value, from 0.38 per cent in February, which brings first-quarter growth to 1.17 per cent.

The P2P investor’s shift away from US and unsecured assets, as well as a share buyback last month, was the main driver of the improvement.

US consumer assets now dropped to 45.1 per cent of the London-listed fund’s portfolio, down from 46 per cent a month earlier and 48.4 per cent at the start of the year.

The firm is targeting a further reduction to 30 per cent of total investment, to boost its focus on UK property and asset-backed products, where it said new origination from partnering with P2P lenders has increased significantly in the last quarter

Growth Street Reports Rapid Growth as 600 Investors Sign Up in Just 5 Months (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer lender Growth Street is reporting solid growth. The online lender said it has captured over 600 investors since platform launch at the end of 2016. Growth Street is a platform that provides online financing options for UK SMEs. The company also touted its review on 4thWay that categorized the P2P lender as one of the lowest risk platforms in the industry.

High earners log-on for robo-advice (Finextra), Rated: A

The demand for robo-advice rises with income, despite it being widely seen as a low-cost financial advice solution, according to Deloitte, the business advisory firm.

Deloitte’s research shows over half (51%) of people earning £45,000 to £70,000 would use a robo-adviser for investments, compared with just 30% of those on incomes under £15,000.
Demand is highest amongst millennials, but the research suggests other age brackets could be interested in using robo-advice. Over two-fifths (43%) of 35-44 year old workers with a pension would use robo-advice on pensions, as would one-quarter (24%) for the 45-54 year olds and a fifth (21%) of those aged 55 and above. Also, 35% of defined contribution pension holders – more than three million people – would be willing to pay for robo-advice to invest their pension pots, with demand highest (45%) among those with the smallest pensions pots, many of whom cannot afford traditional advice.

An MBA Graduate Left Banking To Launch Online Lender Spotcap Overseas (BusinessBecause), Rated: A

When Niels Turfboer enrolled in the MBA program at IE Business School in Madrid, he looked beyond a traditional career in banking. He decided to join the fast-growing fintech industry instead.

Having worked at institutional lenders for over a decade, his MBA training enabled him to spot an opportunity in the business banking space. Four years after graduation, he joined fintech startup Spotcap as managing director.

Spotcap offers working capital lines of credit — up to £250,000 — to small and medium-sized companies online. Spotcap has a run rate of £100 million in loans per year. The company operates in Spain, the Netherlands and Australia. Spotcap also opened a branch in the UK last year, despite Brexit. The business employs 100 people and has raised €75 million in venture capital.

Q. Did you know you wanted to work in fintech before the MBA? 

I’m a traditional banker. I worked for over a decade in the banking industry. But I wanted to be more entrepreneurial. There were opportunities to be entrepreneurial in banking, but after the crisis, this was gone. I chose a very particular school — IE — because it is known for having a strong focus on innovation and for being entrepreneurial. A large part of the MBA course is focused on teaching people to build and run a company.

Q. You’ve launched in the UK. After the Brexit uncertainty, are you reconsidering?

No. We moved in after Brexit. We were surprised at the result, but having analysed the situation, we concluded it’s not a negative. I see downsides, but not for our business model. We know there will be two years of deal making and uncertainty over trade barriers and freedom of movement. It tends to be bad for the economy, and this has had an impact. But we already had this knowledge moving into the market. We might be able to be more selective about lending to companies in industries that are hit hardest by the uncertainty. We are not going to do cherry picking, but we might take precautions in lending money. At the same time, during uncertainty banks are risk-averse and take a step back, and that opens up opportunities for the alternative finance sector to fill that gap.

Q. Is the MBA curriculum relevant to entrepreneurs?

Yes, at least the MBA I’ve done. At IE, 30% of the courses I did had an entrepreneurial focus.

The House Crowd Celebrates Five Years of Property Crowdfunding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Manchester property crowdfunding, the House Crowd,  is celebrating five years of operations having raised more than £44 million since it launched it 2012. According to the platform, the House Crowd now serves over 15,000 investors who have received over £9 million in returns. The House Crowd received the ‘Crowdfunding Platform of the Year’ award at this year’s inaugural Property Wire Awards, in recognition of its position in the alternative finance industry.

Lend and earn annual returns of up to 6% with Kuflink (Property Investor Today), Rated: B

The Kuflink Group is offering investors an opportunity to earn up to 6% a year through its peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, while also providing short-term finance for those looking to invest in property.

When it comes to the option to lend against various properties on Kuflink’s P2P platform and earn up to 6% gross pa for short-terms, up to 12 months usually, interest is paid monthly.

Secondly, Kuflink offer short-term lending against property for business purposes for terms of up to 24 months.

European Union

The FT 1000: The complete list of Europe’s fastest-growing companies (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

7 Optal United Kingdom Fintech 6,161%

 

21 iZettle Sweden Fintech 3,036%

 

46 Epos Now United Kingdom Fintech 1,579%

 

65 Lemonway France Fintech 1,260%

 

78 RateSetter United Kingdom Fintech 1,176%

 

146 Innofis Spain FinTech 781%

 

150 Fonix United Kingdom Fintech 761%

 

167 orderbird Germany Fintech 703%

 

198 YouPass France Fintech 615%

 

242 Trustly Sweden Fintech 501%

 

335 Prepaid Financial Services United Kingdom Fintech 367%

 

433 Paymentsense United Kingdom Fintech 261%

 

763 Smart Currency Exchange United Kingdom Fintech 114%

 

780 Deus Technology Italy FinTech 110%

 

923 HPD United Kingdom Fintech 76%
China

China Creation Ventures Leads $ 16M Round In SME Credit Firm IceKredit (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

China Creation Ventures, a newly founded venture firm established by several former KPCB executives, has led a RMB110 million (US$16 million) series A round in IceKredit Inc., a Shanghai-based credit assessment service provider catering to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Founded in 2015, IceKredit applies machine learning algorithms and big data related technologies to make all-rounded credit evaluations for individuals and SMEs in China.

Its products include an SMEs credit evaluation system and an individual credit assessment system, which consists of an anti-fraud engine, personal credit portrait and missing customer contact information restoration.

China’s new illegal fundraising topped $ 36 billion last year (Daily Mail), Rated: AAA

Chinese authorities vowed on Tuesday to step up a crackdown on illegal funding scams, after reporting 5,197 new criminal cases last year involving 251.1 billion yuan ($36.5 billion), state-run Shanghai Securities News reported.

More than 30 percent of illegal fundraising cases were related to private investment and financial intermediaries, including unlicensed investment advisers and providers of third-party wealth management products, the report said.

Moreover, financial fraud spread last year from China’s east to rural areas, where funds approached unsophisticated Chinese farmers, the office of the joint meeting said.

Last year China approved the arrest of 9,441 people on suspicion of illegal soliciting public deposits and prosecuted 14,745, according to a separate Shanghai Securities News report on Tuesday.

P2P Giant Dianrong is Preparing for Full Blockchain Integration (Coindesk), Rated: A

Already, Dianrong has co-founded a blockchain lending platform called Chained Finance; now, less than a week after the firm hired IPO expert Yawen Cui, he has revealed comprehensive plans to swap over much of the startup’s services to a blockchain.

By January of this year, Dianrong had released a statement showing that 3.62 million investors had originated a total of ¥16.2bn in loans last year alone, a 148% increase over the previous year, and its fourth year of growth.

Then, last month the firm revealed it had joined Taiwan-based Foxconn to launch Chained Finance, a blockchain trade finance platform built using technology from the Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger Project.

P2P Lending News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

P2P Lending Funds Depository Cooperation Fair was held in Chengdu
On 24th April, “P2P Lending Funds Depository Cooperation Fair”was held in Chengdu by NIFA. The Fair is aiming at building bridges between P2P Lending institutions and banks.
Owing to the Fair, over 11 commercial banks, including Xingwang Bank, Ping An Bank, Beijing Bank, Shanghai Bank, Baoshang Bank, etc., reached agreements with over 50 P2P Lending institutions and five fintech companies. Officials from People’s Bank of China (Chengdu branch), Bureau of Finance of Sichuan Province, Chengdu financial services office and other relevant departments attended the Fair, with nearly 170 participants.
Chinese:
中国互联网金融协会首办P2P存管对接洽谈会
4月24日,中国互联网金融协会在成都举办“全国网贷机构资金存管对接洽谈会”。据悉此次洽谈会在网贷行业尚属首次,旨在搭建网贷机构与银行的沟通桥梁,促进双方合作。据透露,本次对接洽谈会共有新网银行、平安银行、北京银行、上海银行、包商银行等11家商业银行,与到会的全国50多家网贷机构、5家金融科技公司实现了对接洽谈。参会人数近170余人。人民银行成都分行、四川省金融工作局、成都市金融服务办公室等相关部门领导出席会议。

P2P Lending industry may acquire a bank-like license in the future
On April 22nd, China Fintech 50 Forum(CFT50) was found in Beijing. According to Yang Dong, the vice president of Renmin University Of China Law School and the director of Fintech and Internet Security Research Center(FTCS), who involved in making CBRC Regulations on P2P lending industry, revealed that although P2P is currently playing the role of Internet information intermediary, it may develop to a bank-like institution acquiring a new type of license and the industry also has huge space in the future.
Chinese:
行业整顿后,P2P或将获得类银行牌照
4月22日,在中国金融科技50人论坛成立现场,参与银监会网贷管理办法等新规制定的中国人民大学法学院副院长、金融科技与互联网安全研究中心主任杨东透露,尽管目前P2P定位于网络信息中介,但P2P下一步的发展可能会发放许可,是类似银行的新型牌照,未来的政策空间很大。

The scale of cash loan over 600billion RMB, who will be knocked down by regulations?
Due to the low threshold, lacking of supervision and disorderly development, problems such as violent collection, high commissions and usury, etc., cast a shadow on cash loan.
According to the instructions of the State Council and the requirements of Internet Financial Risk Special Rectification Office, cash loan has been incorporated into the rectification work of controlling Internet financial risk. In addition, Notice on carrying out the rectification work of “cash loan” business activities and its supplementary documents have been issued. Regulators also began to start the cash loan risk investigation.
Chinese:
现金贷规模超6000亿元 上千家平台谁会被监管重拳击倒?
由于门槛低、缺乏监管,无序发展所带来的暴力催收、砍头息、高利贷等问题在现金贷背后投下一片阴影。
根据国务院领导批示及互联网金融风险专项整治工作领导小组办公室要求,现金贷已纳入互联网金融风险专项整治工作,并下发了《关于开展“现金贷”业务活动清理整顿工作的通知》和《关于开展“现金贷”业务活动清理整顿工作的补充说明》两份文件。各地监管部门也由此开始启动现金贷风险排查。

Half-hearted crackdown dents case for Chinese P2P (NASDAQ), Rated: A

A half-hearted crackdown dents the investment case for Chinese peer-to-peer lending. While P2P lender China Rapid Finance is set for a $100 million initial public offering in New York, the timing looks bad. Sector heavyweight Lufax, last valued at $18.5 billion, is unlikely to list soon.

Instead, lending has accelerated and there are still more than 2,000 online platforms in operation, according to industry tracker Wangdaizhijia. Loan volumes in March hit a new record of 251 billion yuan ($36 billion), bringing the total outstanding to 921 billion yuan – up 83 percent in a year.

Shoddy local enforcement is the obvious culprit. Provinces and cities interpret the rules differently, according to an industry insider.

Investors are cautious too. China’s only U.S.-listed lender, Yirendai <YRD.N>, trades at just above 6 times forward earnings, down from more than 15 times last summer.

E.Sun launches new AI chabot to offer futuristic financial advice (The China Post), Rated: B

E.Sun Bank’s (玉山銀行) AI Chatbot (玉山小i) is the latest artificial intelligence financial advisor that Taiwan-based banks have launched to assist locals with any finance-related issues.

The AI Chatbot utilizes the IBM Watson Conversation Service to interpret commands and generate responses, local media reported.

At this stage, the AI Chatbot’s responses are limited to inquiries regarding exchange rates, mortgage assessments, and credit card recommendations. It has yet to acquire the knowledge to answer questions regarding personal financing.

International

Mapping Robo-Advisors Around The Globe (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Since 2012, private robo-advisors have raised over $1.32B globally across 119 equity investments. Robo-advisors make up the largest sub-category of companies in wealth tech and account for roughly 30% of total funding.

Three of the earliest robo-advisors firms and largest in terms of total funding are Betterment, Personal Capital, and Wealthfront. Though they lead in the US, expanding internationally is a challenge because of the complex international regulatory environment, differing investment practices, and other barriers to entry.

US-based robo-advisors have received 57% of the global deal share since 2012. Germany took second with 9%, followed by the United Kingdom, and China.

The two largest robo-advisor deals outside the US went to Wacai, a robo-advisor and personal wealth management technology company based in China.

The third and fourth biggest deals went to UK-based Nutmeg, with a $37.5M Series C in Q4’16 preceded by a $32M Series B in Q2’14 that included Armada Investment Group, Balderton Capital, Pentech Ventures, and other investors.

Fintech patents jump in “arms race” between banks and startups: These are the 10 countries filing the most (City A.M.), Rated: B

Global fintech patents have grown by 49 per cent in the past five years, reaching 9,545 in 2016 according to official global filings.

The US led the way in terms of numbers of fintech patents with 4,523, more than double the number of the next country, China. The UK boasted more fintech patents than any other country in Europe, ranking seventh with 89 patents, in areas such as banking, exchanges, investment, insurance and payments architecture.

The top 10 countries filing fintech patents

  1. US
  2. China
  3. Korea
  4. Australia
  5. Japan
  6. Singapore
  7. UK
  8. Russia
  9. Canada
  10. Germany
Australia

Fintech firms that walk the talk (The Australian), Rated: A

The rush to judgment about the disruptive power of fintech is premature, given it’s not even clear which part of the financial services value chain will be most affected.

Also, no matter how you cut it, the fact remains that by the end of last year there were 39 fintech companies around the world with valuations in excess of $US1bn, including Xero, which offers cloud-based accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses and is the sole Australasian representative.

Not surprisingly, the dominant vertical where 16 of the 39 companies with valuations in excess of $US1bn ply their trade, is so-called alternative finance, which includes marketplace lending and crowd-funding.

“Consumer lending in the US is a $US1.5 trillion opportunity, and in Australia it’s $100bn and the leading players are yet to crack $1bn.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor