Thursday October 19 2017, Daily News Digest

China p2p lenders

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm wants to offer financial advice. RateSetter to launch IFISA. SoFi announces Entrepreneur Program 2.0. Prosper tightens guidance on consumer loan ABS. Qudian priced IPO above range. IBM partners with 8 banks on blockchain trade platform. GuiaBolso raises $39M in Brazil. Today’s main analysis: U.S. banks get aggressive on growth. Party on, Chinese consumers. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

China p2p lenders

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

India

Asia

MENA

Latin America

  • .

News Summary

United States

Affirm Wants To Move Beyond Simple Lending to Provide Financial Advice (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Online financial services company Affirm Inc. wants to move beyond simple lending to provide financial advice to customers, its founder and chief executive said Wednesday.

Additional services Affirm wants to provide would include helping some consumers “get over this hump” of too much debt.

SoFi Announces Entrepreneur Program 2.0 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lending platform SoFi recently announced the launch of its Entrepreneur Program 2.0. The company reported that original program was launched four years ago and since then has helped four classes of 70 companies founded by the lender’s members to get off the ground with its coaching and resources.

SoFi then revealed some improvements, which would benefit the future classes.

  • More Eligibility: The program is now open to all members working as a founder or co-founder either full or part-time on an innovative and scalable tech-enabled business.
  • SoFi Offers Investment: The lender will give equity capital to each of the members of the Class. For this coming Class, this amount will be $25,000 per company.
  • New Curriculum.
  • Alumni engagement:
  • Community engagement: SoFi will engage our 380,000-plus members in the accelerator process and share the incredible companies their fellow members are working on.
  • Dedicated resources:

Prosper tightens guidance on consumer loan ABS (IFRE.com), Rated: AAA

Online lender Prosper Marketplace pulled in guidance on its US$501.05m consumer loan ABS on Wednesday, with all three of the deal’s tranches heard to be at least twice covered.

Guidance was announced at 85bp area over EDSF on the largest 0.85-year A-/A tranche (Fitch/Kroll) and 165bp-175bp over iSwaps for the US$77m 2.14-year BBB-/BBB tranche.

Guidance on the 2.89-year Class C, unrated by Fitch and rated B+ by Kroll, is 340bp area over iSwaps.

Those levels were tightened from whispers circulated at 85bp-95bp over EDSF, 180bp-190bp over iSwaps and mid-300bp over iSwaps, respectively.

US banks abandon crisis-era taboo of growth (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

“I’m happy to say our focus has shifted beyond the implementation of regulations . . . to growth,” said Mr Chavez.

No other big US bank put it that bluntly, but the sentiment seemed to be shared. With the notable exception of Wells Fargo, still trying to shake off the damage of its fake-account scandal, executives were making encouraging noises about new businesses and top-line expansion as they presented third-quarter results.

At Citigroup, for example, which shed about $500bn of assets in the years after the crisis, CFO John Gerspach talked about growth in credit cards in Mexico and wealth management in Asia. At Bank of America, which added about $90bn of assets over the year, CFO Paul D’Onofrio said he welcomed any “refinement” to rules that “allows us more access and control over our capital [and] liquidity in support of responsible growth”.

Source: Financial Times

At Morgan Stanley, James Gorman said the bank “won’t be shy” about doing deals such as last month’s acquisition of Mesa West Capital, a commercial real estate platform — prompting one analyst to remark on the chief executive’s “more aggressive” tone.

“We’re not looking for any grand splash here, but we’re open for business opportunistically,” said Mr Gorman.

Source: Financial Times

Now the mood has changed in Washington. Few laws have been ripped up, as yet, despite Donald Trump’s early pledge to “do a number” on Dodd-Frank. But new figures in agencies such as Randy Quarles, appointed this month to the most powerful bank regulatory job in the country, should make a real difference. Trade groups say they are expecting him to take a looser grip on the banks than Daniel Tarullo, the previous supervisor-in-chief at the Federal Reserve.

Banks Need Next-Generation KYC to Confront Today’s Digital Identity Crisis (Dealbreaker), Rated: AAA

Cybercrime has evolved to exploit gaps in enterprise data security and disrupted identity theft in the process. It has spawned a parallel black market on the Dark Web, where criminals transact in bitcoin to anonymously trade stolen data, minting hundreds of billions in annual and often untraceable proceeds for sellers[1].

Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2017 Identity Fraud Study said ID theft hit a record high in 2016, victimizing 15.4 million people, or roughly two-million more victims than the previous year[2]. ID theft is generally a precursor to credit card fraud, which attributed to worldwide losses of $21.84 billion in 2016[3].

Card issuers incurred 72%, of those losses last year, with card fraud expected to syphon a grand total of $88.87 billion out of the global financial system over the next four years.

Understanding the vast supply-and-demand mechanism of the Dark Web economy is integral to KYC strategy for banks. The Center for Strategic and International Studies pegs the worldwide cost of cybercrime at $445 billion a year[5]. According to the 2016 Cost of Cybercrime Study, data breaches, cyber-fraud and related disruptions impact U.S. organizations the hardest, with the average cyberattack generating $17.36 million in costs. Of the 4149 data breaches and 4.2 billion records exposed in 2016[6], as reported by cybersecurity firm RiskBased Security, the U.S. comprised 47.5% and 68.2% of those numbers, respectively.

Feedzai closes $ 50M Series C to help banks and merchants identify fraud with AI (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Feedzai is announcing a $50 million Series C this morning led by an unnamed VC with additional capital from Sapphire Ventures. The six year old startup builds machine learning tools to help banks and merchants spot payment fraud.

With 60 clients including major financial institutions like Capital One and Citi, Feedzai remains optimistic that allowing savvy customers to build on top of its service is the key to longevity.

Affirm CEO: Credit Security Is Centuries Behind (WSJ), Rated: A

Women who own businesses find bank loans harder to get (Fox Business), Rated: A

A survey of businesses conducted this summer and released Wednesday found that 30 percent of companies owned by women were able to get bank loans during the previous three months, compared to half of all the owners surveyed.

Only 21 percent of the women surveyed said they expected it will be easy to raise debt financing — essentially loans — in the next six months, compared to 44 percent of all companies. Fewer of those owners said they were likely to pursue a bank loan, at 67 percent compared to 75 percent of all owners.

The number of U.S. businesses owned by women grew nearly 27 percent from 2007 to 2012, rising to nearly 10 million from 7.8 million, according to the most recent Census Bureau figures. The total number of businesses grew less than 2 percent.

Bank of America found this year that 11 percent of owners who are women applied for loans the past two years versus 13 percent of owners who are men. Some banks have realized they need to be more aggressive in lending to businesses owned by women; Wells Fargo set a goal of $55 billion in loans by 2020, but surpassed that number in 2013, spokesman Jim Seitz says.

iCapital and CAIA Partner On Alternative Investment Education Initiative (FIN Alternatives), Rated: A

Financial technology platform iCapital Network has partnered with the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association on a sweeping education initiative aimed at increasing knowledge about alternative investing.

As part of the new initiative, iCapital will offer CAIA’s Fundamentals of Alternative Investments program to its member network of more than 1,900 registered investment advisors, broker-dealers, private banks and family offices.

Harvard Partners LLC Announces Investment Interests in Commercial Finance (Lessors), Rated: A

Harvard Partners CEO Bill Verhelle announced his firm is seeking to invest in, or purchase, small innovative U.S.-based commercial finance firms. Interest is not limited to companies already in the equipment leasing and finance industry, though he will be at that industry’s annual convention next week.

Harvard Partners is specifically interested in companies with demonstrated experience and capable management teams employing new business models. Harvard Partners’ first equity investment this year, along with another private equity investor, involved a West Coast business lending and equipment finance firm with advanced financial technology (fintech) capabilities.

Top of the Morning (Axios), Rated: B

Another sovereign wealth fund is opening shop in Silicon Valley. This time it’s Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment Co., which also is launching a $400 million direct VC fund (in partnership with SoftBank) and a $200 million VC fund-of-funds.

  • “It’s more than just setting up an office — it’s a real committed and genuine intent to be an active member of this community,” Mubadala’s Ibrahim Ajami tells Axios’ Kia Kokalitcheva, who scooped the news.
  • He adds that the direct fund shouldn’t compete with SoftBank Vision Fund, into which Mubadala has pumped $15 billion, given that it will be looking at earlier-stage deals. Get the full story.

REALTYSHARES REVIEW: AN EASY WAY TO START INVESTING IN REAL ESTATE (The College Investor), Rated: B

Real estate crowdfunding is one of the fastest growing trends in the investment community. They provide obvious value to investors who would otherwise be priced out of commercial and private equity deals. RealtyShares is one of these crowdfunding platforms, but they have a unique niche.

They work with both institutional investors and “the crowd” of smaller investors to find a wide range of projects.

To invest in RealtyShares, you need to be an accredited investor.

What Types Of Investments Does RealtyShares Offer?

  • First position liens
  • Preferred Equity
  • Mezzanine Debt (aka Bridge Loan)
  • JV (Joint Venture) Equity

Your minimum investment is $5000, and you’ll pay a 1% investment fee on equity investments, and up to a 2% interest rate spread on debt.

Private Lending Association Partners With Deal-Flow Company (Broadway World), Rated: B

American Association of Private Lenders (AAPL) has partnered with Private Money Lending Guide (PMLG). The partnership brings together an association that provides education, ethics and networking opportunities for private money lenders and a tool for deal-flow that enables borrowers and lenders to find the appropriate counterpart for their deals.

Ken Rees, CEO of Elevate, to Speak at Money 20/20 Conference (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Ken Rees, Chief Executive Officer at Elevate, a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, will speak on a panel at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas on October 24, 2017. The panel will focus on the future of alternative lending, including fintech’s potential to partner with banks to create better outcomes for both parties. The panel will also tackle the challenges that alternative lenders face now, and how to use innovation and creative solutions to address them.

SESSION: Reinventing Consumer Lending: More Access, New Models & Overcoming Big Challenges

WHEN: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 3:10-4:00pm PT

WHERE: San Polo, The Venetian Level 3 – The Venetian Las Vegas, 3355 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

United Kingdom

RateSetter plans to launch IFISA this tax year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has said it plans to apply to HMRC for ISA manager status and launch its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) before the end of the current tax year.

RateSetter said on Wednesday that it will keep lenders updated via its website but also gave people the option to sign up to its IFISA mailing list.

FCA identifies low P2P usage but fewer signs of consumer vulnerability (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

JUST 1.4 per cent of the adult population are using peer-to-peer lending or crowdfunding but the product has among the proportionally lowest levels of financially vulnerable customers, figures from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) suggest.

The data is revealed in the City watchdog’s financial lives survey, a poll of almost 13,000 consumers about the products they hold and their experiences of them.

The research shows just 180 out of 12,865 adults, or 1.4 per cent, surveyed said they have used a crowdfunding or P2P product, which the FCA says works out as 700,000 adults when weighted against the UK population.

Of those who are using P2P, 74 per cent of respondents identified themselves as male and 25 per cent said they were female.

Wellesley & Co: Get ready for proptech 3.0 with “elite survivors” (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

WELLESLEY & Co has cited predictions that there will be consolidation in the proptech sector, as firms drop by the wayside leaving “a crop of elite survivors”.

The alternative property lender said it expects the rest of 2017 and early 2018 to be “exciting for the progression of property technology” with lots of M&A activity.

LendingCrowd launches Refer a Friend promotion (AltFi), Rated: A

LendingCrowd, the peer-to-peer (P2P) lender, has launched a £50 “refer a friend” promotion as it continues to experience strong demand from borrowers across the UK.

Following a record quarter for new loans and the rising popularity of its tax-free* Innovative ISA (IFISA) accounts, investors on the P2P lending platform will be given a £50 bonus when each friend they refer invests at least £2,000. Each friend will also receive a £50 referral reward.

China

China’s Qudian IPO seen priced above range (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Online micro-credit provider Qudian Inc’s (QD.N) initial public offering could be priced above the expected range of $19-$22 per American depositary share, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The offering could give the company, backed by Alibaba’s (BABA.N) banking unit Ant Financial, a market capitalization of more than $7 billion and raise over $825 million.

Party On, Chinese Consumers (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Qudian Inc., operator of a loan platform for consumers and small businesses, jumped 22 percent on its New York trading debut Wednesday. The Beijing-based company raised $900 million in an initial public offering on the eve of China’s 19th party congress, pricing its shares above the high end of its indicative range. It’s the largest U.S. listing by a Chinese company since the $1.4 billion sale by logistics company ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc. in September 2016.

Qudian’s experience stands in sharp contrast to that of China Rapid Finance Ltd., a peer-to-peer consumer lender. In April, China Rapid Finance managed to raise only $60 million, having priced at the bottom end of its range. Since then, though, the shares have soared more than 90 percent, with most of the gain coming this month. Similarly, the October rally has brought the advance for Beijing-based consumer finance company Yirendai Ltd. to 150 percent this year.

Source: Bloomberg

Looking at Qudian’s financials, one can’t help the bullish feeling that China’s consumer credit market is only in its early stages. Qudian’s rate of loan delinquencies, defined as those over 30 days past due, is only 0.5 percent or less this year, according to the company, which relies on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Ant Financial affiliate for new borrowers and credit rating services.

Source: Bloomberg

The Young and the Leveraged (BreakingViews), Rated: A

Betting on China’s next generation of borrowers just got easier. Qudian, an online microlender backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba’s financial unit, priced its U.S. listing above its expected range on Tuesday, says Reuters. It offers fast growth, low default rates and, unlike many tech startups, is already profitable. At $24 per share, the final price represents a 2018 PE of 13.8, compared to 13.0 for smaller U.S.-listed online lender Yirendai.

China’s household debt relative to income is still low, and consumer credit is underpenetrated at 7 percent of gross domestic product, versus 20 percent in the United States, says Goldman Sachs. The investment bank expects outstanding consumer credit excluding mortgages to more than double to $1.9 trillion by 2020.

Qudian focuses on the younger segment of this market, providing small, short-term loans for ordinary purchases.

Source: BreakingViews

The truth about Ant Financial … (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

A key theme in the new book is financial inclusion and, to those ends, I made a visit to Hangzhou, China, to meet the executive team of Ant Financial.

As Americans struggle with the pains of Chip & PIN and Europeans embrace contactless payments, China has leap-frogged us all. In 2016, Chinese consumers spent $5.5 trillion through their mobile apps. That’s more than any other economy and many predict that China will be first major economy to be completely cashless. The chosen mobile payment system for most Chinese citizens is Alipay, and the company has recently started to expand its footprint globally.

Many of you may have heard of Alipay, but it is not the Chinese version of PayPal, as many think. In fact, it bears no relationship or resemblance to anything we see in Europe or America. It is distinctly Chinese and, having been born out of a need to trade, is now moving towards global dominance.

How far things have changed, in that today’s Alipay monitors every transaction from its 450 million users, in real-time with artificial intelligence monitors constantly searching for potentially fraudulent transactions. That is a far cry from where they started, but then the company has refreshed its systems architecture four times in the last twelve years and has just embarked in another refresh. They moved from basic escrow services to real-time payments to cloud to microservices, and are now working on their new machine learning and super intelligent structure. A structure that can process 250,000 transactions per second today, and is architecting systems that will scale to over 100 billion transactions per day. To put that in perspective, Visa and MasterCard handle just over 60 billion transactions per year combined, and average near 2,000 transactions per second.

Source: The Finanser

China: The frontier of networked money (SupChina), Rated: A

In the last two years, China has gone from a country without credit cards to a cashless society where even beggars use mobile phones to accept payments.

The number of P2P companies has been reduced through attrition and government regulation, and a few strong players are emerging:

  • Caixin reports (paywall) that P2P platform PPDAI Group has announced plans “to raise up to $350 million through a New York initial public offering (IPO).
  • In September, online-only insurer ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance raised $1.5 billion in an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
  • The South China Morning Post reports that shares of Qudian, a leading online consumer credit provider, “surged nearly 46 percent to US$35 on its debut trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning.” Aside from fierce competition in the sector, the SCMP says that “Qudian has one other worry — potential competition with its principal shareholder Ant Financial,” which is, like the SCMP itself, an Alibaba affiliate.
International

IBM and eight banks unleash we.trade platform for blockchain-powered commerce (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

Since January 2017, a group of seven banks (Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Societe Generale and UniCredit), together with IBM, have been developing the Digital Trade Chain platform.

Now with the recent addition of Banco Santander as a founding partner, the group have decided to rebrand the Digital Trade Chain platform to we.trade.

Banks Start Broad Use of Blockchain, as JP Morgan, IBM Lead Way (DarkReading), Rated: A

Two major players announced cross-border payment networks built on blockchain technologies Monday, and more financial services will follow soon, despite opinions about Bitcoin.

The distributed ledger technology that underpins cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is rapidly going mainstream. Blockchain is building a tremendous amount of buzz as technology and financial industry heavyweights and startups race to apply the technology in innovative new applications for the banking sector. Their efforts are starting to bear fruit in the area of cross-border payments, as three separate announcements from IBM, J.P. Morgan, and Bank of Canada highlighted this week.

The ultimate goal is to provide a secure, speedy and transparent financial platform between global markets that may have found it difficult to do business with one another due to the bureaucratic pitfalls of legacy international payment networks.

The developments this week underline that banking executives are increasingly seeing the upside of combining distributed ledgers with solid cryptographic applications for new means of facilitating payments, trades, contracts, and transactions of all stripes.

Six courses that will get you clued up on fintech (CNBC), Rated: B

New York University’s Stern School of Business has a number of courses on fintech that consider innovations in the sector, regulatory challenges and opportunities for growth.

Students have the option to learn about digital currencies, blockchain, robo advisors, personal finance and payments.

The U.K.’s Oxford University, ranked by Times Higher Education as the number one institution in the world, made its fintech debut this month.

Oxford’s Saïd Business School launched the Oxford Fintech Programme in collaboration with GetSmarter, which is owned by education tech giant 2U Inc.

Students on the course study a range of subjects within the fintech sector, including digital payments, regulatory technology, blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Imperial College London is another British university to have its own course dedicated to all things fintech.

Imperial’s ‘Fintech — Innovative Banking’ course focuses on three key areas of the industry: blockchain, digital identity and digital money and payments.

India

P2P lending platforms can put downward pressure on interest rates (livemint), Rated: AAA

Mint Money spoke to Rajat Gandhi, founder and chief executive officer of Faircent, a P2P marketplace which has been in operations since 2014, on his vision for the nascent industry in India.

Now that the RBI has given NBFC status to P2P platforms and has also come out with guidelines for the sector, what is the way ahead?

Most of the guidelines also are in line with the industry expectations, just that there are a few grey areas where we would need some more clarifications. The way I see it, the RBI document is a framework, rather than hard guidelines.

In the short term, we all have to file our applications and get certifications in place.

The P2P lending process was legitimate; the RBI framework has just validated it further. An important development is that the framework has created a redressal system— both for the borrower and the lender. While a lot of obligations will be on the platforms, there is also a lot of clarity now on our roles and responsibilities.

How do the RBI guidelines help a consumer, borrower or lender? 

The guidelines basically tell the lender particularly what they are getting into, including the fact that the principal is not protected. We as companies should also keep telling them. Because the moment an investor hears interest rate, the immediate thought is assured returns.

Secondly, the guidelines have unlocked the supply side. Borrowing till now was restricted to banks and NBFCs, which have stringent guidelines. Whereas out here, this is an exchange model and the P2P platforms cannot lend from their own balance sheet, so the platform’s returns become interest rate agnostic. Their role is only to rate and price the borrowers, and as a platform, we do not directly benefit from this rating and pricing.

If a P2P platform is interest rate agnostic, what is your business model and how does your business make money?

Basically, we charge 1% from the lender and 2-4% from the borrower, of the loan disbursed.

The guidelines also talk about P2P platforms giving services to lenders for recovery of loans. How does that work?

We have a panel of lawyers who will take up the matter on behalf of the lenders. This is charged as this is a separate service.

What is the size of P2P lending industry in India at present? 

The size right now will be roughly around (RS) 50-60 crores on an annualised basis.

Fresh funding to enable LenDenClub meet capital requirement set by RBI (India.com), Rated: A

After a successful growth stint in the past six months, LenDenClub, a P2P lending platform is looking to meet the capital requirement set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulations, banking on the newly secured capital which is being used to enhance the product platform and improve tech automation.

Earlier this month, the firm closed a USD 500,000 pre-series A round from a fund based out of Mumbai.

Kotak Bank ties up with Samsung Pay (India Times), Rated: B

Private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank today said its credit and debit card holders will be able to tap and pay using smartphones at merchant establishments.

The city-based lender has tied up with Samsung, under which its cardholders will be able to tap and pay using smartphones of the Korean electronics major having the Samsung Pay acceptance machines, a bank statement said.

PayPal bets big on India’s FinTech boom (Ogilvy), Rated: B

Financial transaction company PayPal has long been a supporter of innovation in India, having set up an incubator programme there to support local start-ups. And now, the company is evolving its partnerships with the start-ups that join the incubator, taking equity in participating firms.

Asia

Fintech startup Finja breaks new ground in Pakistan with $ 1.5m series A funding (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

The catalyst for ecommerce and other internet businesses to flourish in China, India, and Southeast Asia is digital payments. This in turn has a multiplier effect on economic growth.

That’s why today’s announcement of US$1.5 million series A funding for Pakistani fintech startup Finja is notable. More so, because Swedish investment company Vostok led the round – the Pakistan startup ecosystem rarely hits headlines for attracting international investment. Dubai-headquartered Gray Mackenzie Engineering Services also participated in the round.

Finja is giving a push to digital payments in Pakistan with its SimSim wallet.

Finja claims SimSim has been doubling its mobile wallets every month to notch up 80,000 accounts since it went live a few months ago. It has clocked transactions worth a total of US$14 million so far.

Danadidik, the platform that helps Indonesian students fund their study, raises seed funding (e27), Rated: A

Indonesian student loan platform Danadidik announced on Wednesday that it has raised an undisclosed seed funding round from Singapore-based impact investment fund Garden Impact Investments.

Danadidik Co-Founder and CEO Dipo Satria said that the new funding will be focussed on hiring, product development, and marketing.

He also stated that for the year 2018, the South Jakarta-based startup plans to launch its mobile app and is targeting to fund 2,000 students.

MENA

Abu Dhabi Inks FinTech Development Pact with Mastercard (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

Abu Dhabi’s international financial center has entered a collaboration with payments giant Mastercard to develop and accelerate FinTech solutions in the region.

The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international financial center established by a UAE Federal Decree to develop and strengthen financial services in Dubai as a global center for business and finance, is partnering Mastercard to develop FinTech activities in UAE’s capital and the wider MENA (The Middle East North Africa) region.

Latin America

Amid Brazil’s persistent economic crisis, fintech startup GuiaBolso raises $ 39 million (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Despite a continuing economic crisis, Brazil’s technology startups are continuing to attract cash and financing, with the mobile personal financial service GuiaBolso raising $39 million in fresh funding.

The new round was led by Vostok Emerging Finance, a publicly traded Swedish fund with its roots in big Russian private equity. Additional investors include Ribbit Capital, the International Finance Corp. and QED Investors, while impact investment firms Endeavor Catalyst and the Omidyar Network also participated.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday September 27 2017, Daily News Digest

small business alternative loan originations

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi’s lawsuits not affecting brand. Zopa to reopen to investors. Funding Circle revenue hits 50M GBP. CFPB sues over illegal online lending in Canada, Malta. Today’s main analysis: Why Square is entering the banking business. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Prosper loses unicorn status. Banks tell Equifax to get it together. Job loss concerns amid digital disruption […]

small business alternative loan originations

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

SoFi’s lawsuits don’t seem to be affecting its brand (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The resignation of the company’s co-founder and former CEO, Mike Cagney, amid lawsuits from employees stemming from sexual harassment allegations and other workplace issues has thrown into question whether the brand can continue to be known as a “different kind of finance company,” as it markets itself. But despite the bad news so far, the damage to the company’s standing seems to have been contained — the result of being in the shadow of bigger scandals in Silicon Valley and the company’s actions in the aftermath of the scandal.

Based on online sentiment expressed on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, forums and news sites between Aug. 12 and Sept. 23 (when the news of lawsuits first emerged), 71 percent of categorized mentions of the brand were positive, according to social media analytics firm Brandwatch. While sentiment dips Sept. 12-16 (reaching the level of 86 percent negative on Sept. 16, coinciding with Cagney’s resignation), feelings quickly rebound by Sept. 19, showing a certain resilience despite the negative press.

In addition, the quick timing of Cagney’s resignation reduced the effects of the negative news, said Crenshaw.

“I guess I don’t really care as it pertains to my loan,” said Alex Nocella, 27, a SoFi customer since 2013. “It damages my view with the way they’re operating their business, but it doesn’t change the relationship I have with them. It wouldn’t stop me from getting another loan with them.”

In addition, he said, the company was proactive about informing customers of Cagney’s resignation prior to the news becoming public by giving them a heads-up on the customer-only Facebook group.

Source: Tearsheet

Why Square Is Entering the Bank Business (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

Square Capital has distributed more than $1.8 billion in loans to over 140,000 merchants since its inception in 2014. In 2Q17, Square Capital loan volumes rose at 68% year-over-year to $318 million.

In the business of supplying alternative financing to merchant customers, Square competes with PayPal (PYPL), Amazon (AMZN), and LendingClub (LC). PayPal says it has distributed $3.0 billion in small business loans through its credit arm, while Amazon says it has supplied more than $2.5 billion in credit to its merchant clients.

Why Square Is Pursuing a Bank Charter

Square is pursuing its application for a bank charter because it’s seeking more independence in its financial services business. Square Capital head Jacqueline Reses told the Wall Street Journal, “As we scale, it’s becoming increasingly important that we have direct relationships with regulators.”

While a partnership with Celtic Bank has helped Square Capital grow, Square prefers running a financial services operation that it controls. The US (SPY) small business alternative lending market is forecast to originate $52 billion in loans by 2020 compared to $5.0 billion in 2015, according to BI (Business Insider) Intelligence.

 Why Square Opted for an Industrial Bank Model 

Square (SQ) is seeking an industrial bank license rather than a traditional bank license. Why? In deciding to go for an industrial bank license as opposed to a traditional bank license, Square chose the easy way out.

Source: Market Realist

How SFS Could Change Square Capital

Square has applied for an industrial bank charter so that it can take its lending business to a higher level and potentially unlock more growth.

However, Square intends to keep its consumer-facing financial services separate from its main bank unit.

Through Square Cash, Square is targeting the multibillion-dollar P2P (peer-to-peer) payments market. According to Forrester Research, global P2P transactions will reach $17 billion by 2019. According to Javelin Strategy and Research, the number of Americans using the P2P payment service will increase to 126 million by 2020 from 69 million in 2016.
$1 trillion alternative financing market

SFS, to be capitalized with $56 million in cash, will provide credit and offer deposit account services to merchants. The Polsky Center estimates that US (SPY) alternative loan volume rose to $34.5 billion in 2016 from $28.3 billion in 2015. Globally, the alternative financing market is forecast to grow to $1.0 trillion in the coming decade.

Square’s bank CEO will be Lewis Goodwin, an executive who recently joined the company from Green Dot (GDOT). Goodwin was CEO and president of Green Dot for several years.

Green Dot is a provider of prepaid debit card services. In 2016, Goodwin’s last full year as the company’s head, Green Dot’s revenue grew to $718.8 million from $694.7 million in the prior year.

Prosper raises $ 50 million but loses unicorn status (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

In another sign that the US marketplace lending industry has successfully 

Source: Business Insider

Banks To Equifax: Get It Together (Or Else) (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Equifax has been the Bad News Bears of financial services lately. First there was the massive data breach that sent the personal information of most of the U.S. adult population to the dark web for exploitation. Then there was the fake phishing site to which the credit rating agency accidentally referred a bunch of recently breached people, as they could not distinguish their own site from a cloned version of it. Thankfully, that site was actually set up by a security researcher to illustrate a flaw, not a real cybercriminal – but still, it hasn’t been a good fortnight for Equifax.

And now the banks – i.e. the lenders who supply credit rating agencies like Equifax with the data they need to feed their scoring model – are making loudly discontented noises in Equifax’s direction.

“If there’s only two players, then they have less ability to play them against one another” in negotiating prices for credit reports, Thomas said.

But the willingness of lenders to support Equifax is damaged by the firm’s handling of the hack so far, which has failed to impress anyone.

U.S. CFPB suing over alleged illegal online payday loan business (Biv.com), Rated: AAA

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is seeking the BC Supreme Court’s help to compel a group of former employees of a Langley company that allegedly ran an illegal online payday loan business through a web of affiliated companies in Canada and Malta.

The U.S., on behalf of the bureau, filed a petition in BC Supreme Court on September 8, naming Roo Chang, Annie Wang, Juila Zhu, May Chan, Doug Patton, Andrew Hung, Michelle Duncan and the Bank of Montreal as respondents.

The petition is related to a lawsuit filed by the bureau in New York in July 2015 over alleged violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act “by using a series of interrelated Canadian and Maltese companies … to operate an illegal online payday lending business targeting U.S. consumers in all fifty states.”

The Second Annual Online Lending Policy Summit in Washington (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Yesterday, I attended the second annual Online Lending Policy Summit in Washington DC. It was headlined by the Acting head of the OCC, Keith Noreika, Congressman Greg Meeks (D-NY), Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN) and William Isaac, the former head of the FDIC.

William Isaac was the head of the FDIC under President Reagan and he painted a stark picture of the US today where 60% of the population cannot get a bank loan. He said that we have to do better and figure out a way to lend to a broader cross section of the population.

I found Congressman Meeks to be the most engaging speaker of the day. His enthusiasm for financial innovation was infectious. He said that fintech should focus more on being an enabler than a disruptor. We need to enable more access to credit through partnerships with traditional financial institutions. He brought up the idea that fintech platforms could partner with black-owned banks that are struggling to keep up with the technological changes happening today.

Top 10 Jungle Releases Top 10 Small Business Loan Award to OnDeck Capital (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Digital media powerhouse Top 10 Jungle has just released its Top 10 Small Business Loan Reviews for 2017 and has given the top spot to New York City-based OnDeck Capital.

Acting Comptroller Noreika Comments On Madden “Fix,” Other OCC Initiatives (The National Law Review), Rated: A

In Madden, the Second Circuit ruled that a nonbank that purchases loans from a national bank could not charge the same rate of interest on the loan that Section 85 of the National Bank Act allows the national bank to charge.  Yesterday, at the Online Lending Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., Acting OCC Comptroller Keith Noreika advocated a Madden “fix” as an example of an action Congress could take “to reduce burden and promote economic growth.”  Mr. Noreika stated that the OCC supports proposed legislation that would codify the “valid when made rule” and provide that a loan that is made at a valid interest rate remains valid at that rate after it is transferred.

Mr. Noreika also was asked whether, as we have previously suggested, the OCC would address the risk posed by the theory that a bank making loans is not the “true lender” if a nonbank marketing and servicing agent acquires the “predominant economic interest” in the loans.  Unfortunately, Mr. Noreika stated that “true lender” guidance might be unnecessary at this time due to prior guidance issued during the tenures of former Comptrollers Hawke and Duggan.

With regard to the OCC’s special purpose national bank (SPNB) charter proposal, Acting Comptroller Noreika stated that the OCC is continuing to consider the proposal and intends to defend its authority to grant an SNPB charter to a nondepository company in the lawsuits filed by the NY Department of Financial Services and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.

Mr. Noreika also indicated that the OCC intends to revisit its guidance on deposit advance products, observing that its views on such products are not necessarily consistent with those of the CFPB.

First-of-its-Kind Online Subscription-based Golf Club Upgrade and Instant Financing Program Powered by Klarna (PR Newswire), Rated: A

An innovative new online golf club upgrade and financing program, developed by TaylorMade Golf (www.taylormadegolf.com) in collaboration with Klarna (www.klarna.com), provides golfers access to the newest and most advanced equipment as soon as it is released.

In the first five months since its inception, the program has experienced significant success, with a 30 percent overall lift in conversions and a five percent increase in average order value.

‘The Turn’ is a first-of-its-kind upgrade program for purchasing golf clubs. It is named for when golfers finish the ninth hole of a round of golf and then ‘turn’ for home. The program allows TaylorMade Golf fans to finance their purchases over 18 or 30 months on the TaylorMade Golf website, and keep or exchange their clubs for the latest models toward the end of the payment period. If a customer chooses to upgrade, payments on the existing clubs will stop and payments on the new clubs will begin.

The program is powered by Klarna, a global leader in providing instant financing solutions to e-tailers and customers. Customers opt-in to the program by applying for financing at the point of checkout through a simple, instant credit approval process that provides them with an open line of credit that may be used wherever Klarna is accepted.

ArborCrowd Announces $ 40.8 Million Multifamily Real Estate Deal (Crowdfund Insider

Commercial real estate crowdfunding platform ArborCrowd announced on Tuesday it is now offering a $40.8 million multifamily real estate deal to investors. The property, Quarry Station Apartments, is located in San Antonio, Texas.

Deloitte says it was hacked (American Banker), Rated: A

Another hack: Deloitte said Monday it suffered a cyberattack. But the hacker accessed data affecting only a “very few” of the big accounting firm’s clients and “no disruption has occurred to client businesses, to Deloitte’s ability to continue to serve clients, or to consumers,” the firm said.

ReliaMax Acquires Assets of FUTR Corporation (BusinessWire), Rated: A

ReliaMax, the complete private student lending solutions provider for banks, credit unions, schools and alternative lenders, today announced it has acquired the assets of FUTR Corporation, a San Francisco- and Texas-based private student loan servicing provider. The acquisition brings over 40 new lenders and $55 million in borrower servicing to The ReliaMax Solution, the only fully-integrated private student loan solution that includes borrower acquisition, origination, servicing, insurance, and capital markets/portfolio liquidity support.

Fidelity Axes Suit Over High-Cost Investments, Robo-Adviser Fees (BNA.com), Rated: A

The participants’ claim that Fidelity breached its fiduciary duties by selecting and hiring Financial Engines—an online financial advice provider commonly known as a robo-adviser—also fails, Burroughs wrote. The allegations were premised on the notion that Fidelity, rather than the plan sponsor Delta, hired and selected Financial Engines, but the plan’s language contradicts this premise, Burroughs concluded, granting Fidelity’s motion to dismiss.

LEND360 Partners with LendingTree to Award a $ 10,000 Prize to Winner of the LEND360 Startup Innovators Program (PRWeb), Rated: B

LEND360 announces LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, will award a $10,000 prize to the winner of the LEND360 Startup Innovators Program, an on-site competition where fintech startups will present cutting-edge solutions that are propelling the online lending ecosystem forward.

Startups in the fintech space will pitch solutions on the LEND360 Innovation Floor Spotlight Stage. Each company will have approximately five minutes to make their pitch followed by a brief Q&A session. All LEND360 attendees are invited to attend.

Members of the LEND360 Investor Advisory Board will judge all presentations and attendees will submit their choice via our conference app. The winner will be announced on Friday morning, October 13, and will have the opportunity to pitch their solution on the mainstage.

Check Into Cash founder pulls ads from NFL games, denounces league as ‘unpatriotic’ (Times Free Press), Rated: B

But after NFL players and coaches challenged President Donald Trump and many took a knee during the national anthem played before their games over the weekend, Jones said he is through sponsoring the wardrobes or advertising on stations that air the National Football League.

“Our companies will not condone unpatriotic behavior!” said Jones, CEO of the payday lending chain Check Into Cash and owner of Hardwick Clothes — America’s oldest suit maker.

Envestnet to buy FolioDynamix for $ 195 mln (PE Hub), Rated: B

Envestnet (NYSE: ENV), a leading provider of intelligent systems for wealth management and financial wellness, today announced that it will acquire FolioDynamix, a provider of integrated wealth management technology solutions.

How Do You Refinance Your Student Loans? It’s Actually So Much Easier Than You Think (Bustle), Rated: B

In February, Forbes reported that the total student loan debt had reached $1.13 trillionspread out across almost 45 million borrowers in the United States.

According to SoFi’s own refinancing calculator, people who refinance with SoFi save on average almost $23,000 total, or $288 a month — not an insignificant chunk of change. (Other lenders boast similar returns.) “If you’re paying an 8 or 9 percent [interest rate], and you can refi down to 4 percent, and you can lower the term — take it from 15 years to 10 years — you’ve cut the interest rate, you’ve cut the length, you would have been paying double the interest for a longer period of time,” Bradford explains.

By combining your all federal and private loans into one new private loan, you lose out on certain protections that come with federal loans, like income-based repayment or student loan forgiveness, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Research by LendEDU found that 57 percent of applicants qualify, so there’s little excuse not to at least try. And according to Student Loan Hero, across the top six student loan refinancers, it takes on average less than 20 minutes total to check your rates and apply online (or even on an app).

United Kingdom

P2P lender Zopa set to reopen to new investors (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the UK’s first peer-to-peer lender, is aiming to reopen to new investors by the end of this year following a long-running imbalance between those who want to lend money via the platform, and those who want to borrow.

Zopa’s website offers annualised projected returns of up to 4.5 per cent to those prepared to lend money to individuals via its platform for five years. However, high demand meant Zopa stopped taking new client money last December. After re-opening temporarily, it stopped again in March, and started a waiting list which has details of 15,000 potential investors waiting to lend.

Andrew Lawson, Zopa’s chief product officer, said the company was growing its book of new loans at 50 per cent year-on-year but was finding it harder to lure appropriate borrowers due to declining credit quality and fierce competition among peer-to peer lenders.

The platform’s existing investors have also been hit by long delays after a surge in demand for Zopa’s Innovative Finance Isa, which allows peer-to-peer loans to be held within the popular tax-free wrapper.

Funding Circle hits £50 million in revenue as CEO restates IPO ambitions (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Online small business lender Funding Circle lifted the lid on business performance on Wednesday, showing revenue passed £50 million for the first time last year.

  • Revenue rose 59% to £50.9 million;
  • Operating expenses rose by 43% to £103.1 million;
  • Losses dipped by 3% to £35.7 million thanks partly to a foreign exchange boost;
  • £1 billion lent last year;
  • Loans outstanding rose by 61% to £1.37 billion;

Graham Wellesley hits back at critics (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Earlier this year, a series of media reports highlighted a report from auditor BDO which stated that Wellesley & Co was “dependent on raising further capital to continue to operate for 12 months”. This statement referred to the firm’s performance as at December 2015.

However, Graham Wellesley told Peer2Peer Finance News that these reports were misleading as they referred to the firm’s mini-bonds only, and not its peer-to-peer lending platform.

LendInvest and NACFB launch broker development finance course (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

LendInvest has launched its first property development course for brokers, in partnership with the NACFB.

Aimed at providing brokers with a better understanding of how to add more value to clients that require development finance, the courses outline in detail what it takes to make sure small-scale developments run smoothly.

Can you trust the bonds that pay 8.5%? We run the rule over five deals wooing savers with juicy rates (This is Money), Rated: B

QuidCycle — 6.1 per cent

QuidCycle is a so-called peer-to-peer lending company, which brings together borrowers and savers.

There is just one bond available now, paying 6.1 per cent for five years. You must invest at least £500 and your money isn’t accessible until the fixed term expires.

THE RISKS: The worry is that the borrower won’t be able to make repayments. QuidCycle has a Provision Fund, a pot of money set aside in case borrowers can’t pay.

Your money is spread across at least five borrowers to limit your risk exposure, and there’s an option to lend a maximum of £100 to any single borrower.

Former Swift chief Campos joins Scottish financial technology vendor ID Co (Finextra), Rated: B

A leading UK financial technology company has strengthened its position in the market with the appointment of new chairperson, Lazaro Campos, and chief technology officer, Scott Leckie.

The Edinburgh headquartered business, established in 2010, has won some major clients in the UK and North America. These include a large UK retail bank, Prosper Marketplace, Marlette Funding, OakNorth Bank, eMoneyUnion, and Fair Finance. Over the last 12-months alone, the volume of transactions facilitated by the company has grown by 15% month over month.

New chairperson Lazaro Campos brings over 30-years C-level experience in banking technology, having previously served as a non-executive director of The ID Co. from 2014. He is also co-founder of innovation ecosystem company FinTechStage, member of the advisory board of financial services company Payoneer and Senior Advisor to management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Elsewhere Lazaro served at SWIFT, the global banking network, in various executive roles and was its CEO from 2007 until 2012.

International

Avalon is Inviting Investments in Its Initial Coin Offering to Reshape The Trends of Online Lending (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Avalon Capital Group, Inc. has announced that it is inviting investors from around the world to make investments in its initial coin offering. With a well-established base of research, development and operations, the company is introducing cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings as a new way of transaction for its valued customers. In addition, the rising private investment company is backed by HSBC bank with 4,000,000 USD investment already.

This blockchain based crypto lending model will open new possibilities of lending money online safely and easily. Furthermore, this decentralized peer to peer lending platform will enable anyone to lend and borrow money is a safe and secure environment online.

India

How Fintech Players can Help Banks Bridge the Gap in SME Lending in India (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

The SME business opportunity in India can be seen in possibly every sector – financial services, telecom, education, automobiles, media, food, real estate and so on. SME businesses are the biggest contributor to the economy of any country and the same goes with India. After agriculture, small business in India is the second largest employer of human resources. Also, in recent years, this sector has been weaving some of the most inspiring business success stories. In fact, MSMEs were found to account for 46% of the industrial production and 95% of the total industrial units.

From inefficacy of measures in credit flows (such as credit scoring for SMEs) to information asymmetry faced by banks and financial institutions, there are plentiful challenges that have impacted the contribution and performance of small and medium enterprises in the Indian economy. More than 80% MSME entrepreneurs are forced to resort to other unorganized avenues of financing to obtain credit assistance.

Fintech lenders can change that.

P2P Lending – A twist or a stick? (India Times), Rated: A

Although still in its infancy as a market, P2P lending firms in the US and UK in 2010 generated cumulative lending of USD 1.5m and this increased to USD 7bn in 2015 so unprecedented rise in the demand. In the US alone, in 2015, P2P platforms issued approximately $6bn in loans and based on our global analysis, this is expected to grow to $150bn by 2025 (25 times or 2400% over 10 years).

The estimated P2P lending to be generated in India over the next 5 years is pegged at circa USD 4bn (160 times the current lending size). Still this is way too low compared to China where there are circa more than 2000 P2P lending firms with a lending book size north of circa USD15bn indicating the potential to grow exponentially in India.

What are the risks involved in P2P lending?

1. Weak underwriting process resulting in bankruptcy of the P2P firm due to poorly executed business model resulting in granting loans to scrupulous borrowers with poor credit history

4. Data privacy laws could be breached if the platform firms disclose the names of the borrowers and lenders in their website.

5. If KYC and AML checks are not carried out robustly, the platform firms could be used for money laundering and routing illegal sources of funding.

Our perspectives

1. Platform based lending will invariably gain huge momentum over the next 3-5 years due to competitive interest rates and ease of making finance available.

2. Secured lending may have a better preference from a risk averse investor stand point due to the fact that this business has progressed very well since the past 5 years and there are established RBI regulations governing this type of lending.

4. Over a period of time, if unsecured P2P lending is well established like in the developed markets (e.g. Funding Circle in the UK), banks and institutional investors will potentially look to buy blocks of P2P loans to add to their portfolios.

Kae Capital backs consumer lending startup CrediFiable (VC Circle), Rated: A

Online consumer lending platform CrediFiable, which is operated by Bengaluru-based OneFiable Technologies Pvt. Ltd, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Kae Capital, the startup said in a statement.

Asia

Job loss concerns raised amid digital disruption in Indonesia (Straits Times), Rated: AAA

Disruptive innovation in digital technology is on the horizon, with bankers and toll road operators beginning to replace manual jobs with digital machines, raising concerns that millions of jobs in the finance and service sectors will be replaced.

Meanwhile, banks are opening fewer physical branches, putting more money into developing digital banking and digital offices.

State lender Bank Mandiri, the largest bank in terms of assets, has announced that it plans to open only 100 branches this year, far fewer than the annual plan of 400 to 600. Such a move will lead to a reduction in the number of new recruits taken on.

Other lenders joining the digital wave include private lender BTPN, which spent 1.3 trillion rupiah (S$131 million) on developing a digital platform, dubbed Jenius, over the past three years, while DBS Indonesia launched Digiland, an entirely paperless and signature-free banking experience.

Southeast Asia’s fintechs: Target the underbanked (Euromoney.com), Rated: A

But southeast Asia isn’t China. While Ant Financial knows China like the back of its hand, and vice versa, the company recognizes the limits in its abilities outside the country. Because of that, Ant Financial and Alipay’s work in southeast Asia is done through local partners.

It’s the Facebooks and Googles of the world that really keep the banks up at night, not the explicit fintech companies, says Yew.

CIMB says more than 90% of its total banking transactions are done through digital and self-service channels at this point.

Aquaculture investment platform GrowPal wins G-Startup Indonesia 2017 (e27), Rated: B

Global startup competition G-Startup Worldwide announced aquaculture investment platform GrowPal as the first-place winner of G-Startup Indonesia 2017.

GrowPal is a P2P lending platform that aims to help freshwater fishermen raise funding for their business.

Canada

Fear of financial loss limits investors’ opportunities (Investment Executive), Rated: A

Specifically, 72% of investors surveyed said they feel financially secure in the current economic climate and 68% said they are comfortable taking risks to get ahead. However, if investors were forced to choose between safety and performance, 83% would choose safety.

76% of investors surveyed believe that some fund managers charge high fees for just tracking an index, which investors say they can also do and at a lower cost.

Another area in which investors could benefit from good advice is alternative investment strategies that go beyond stocks and bonds. Although many investors are open to alternative investments, the Natixis study suggests a lack of education in this area may be a roadblock. For example, 71% of investors believe alternative investing is too complex and 65% say these investments are riskier than traditional asset classes.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday August 8 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck posts quarterly adjusted profit. OnDeck expands partnership with JPMorgan Chase. More than half Wellesley borrowers are in default or behind on payments. Tencent tests credit scoring. Westpac Banking invests in zipMoney. SoftBank says Q1 profit jumped 50.1% after adding Vision Fund. Fintech investments tripled in Singapore. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub Q2 earnings. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Latin America

Africa

News Summary

United States

Online lender OnDeck posts surprise quarterly adjusted profit (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

Online lender OnDeck Capital <ONDK.N> posted a surprise quarterly adjusted profit on Monday, driven by lower costs and higher interest income.

Excluding items, OnDeck earned 2 cents per share in the second quarter ended June 30, compared with the average analyst estimate of loss of 1 cent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net loss attributable to common shareholders narrowed to $1.49 million, or 2 cents per share, in the quarter, from a loss of $17.9 million, or 25 cents per share, a year earlier.

Originations fell 21.3 percent to $464.4 million.

Operating expenses fell about 6.3 percent to $44.6 million.

OnDeck Will Focus on Better Borrowers, Expanded Partnerships to Grow Originations (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

The online lender will continue this focus on higher quality borrowers going into the remainder of 2017, and will also be expanding several of its loan features, including prepaid benefits for term loans and a “more tailored” underwriting experience for businesses, said Breslow.

OnDeck Capital up more than 6% after earnings beat (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

  • Adjusted EBITDA of $3.3M vs. a negative $12.4M a year earlier.
  • Full-year guidance is reiterated: Revenue of $342M-$352M, and adjusted EBITDA of $5M-$15M. Q3 revenue is seen at $82M-$86M, with adjusted EBITDA of $1M-$5M.

OnDeck announces expanded partnership with JPMorgan Chase (MarketWatch), Rated: AAA

OnDeck Capital, Inc. ONDK, +18.48% on Monday announced it had expanded a collaboration with JPMorgan Chase, JPM, -0.02% which is providing technology that runs the online lending platform.

Chase extends relationship with OnDeck (Finextra), Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) and OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK) today announced a contract extension to continue their collaboration on the bank’s digital small business lending product, Chase Business Quick Capital, for up to four years.

Why On Deck Capital Stock Jumped More Than 20% on Monday (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Shares of On Deck Capital (NYSE:ONDK) were up more than 21% as of 3:15 p.m. EDT, after the company announced a smaller net loss during the second quarter and a promising expansion in its partnership with JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM). Shares of LendingClub(NYSE:LC), its primary rival in the world of online lending, rose 7%, as investors see On Deck’s recent performance as a good omen for the industry as a whole.

A focus on higher-quality borrowers seems to have relaxed investors’ worries about the company’s loan quality, a perennial concern given that the average On Deck loan carries an APR in excess of 40% per year.

Lending Club Q2 2017 Earnings – Back to Growth (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Lending Club’s second quarter earnings marked an important milestone for the company – a return to growth. Originations have been hovering around $1.9 billion since Q2 of last year. This quarter Lending Club announced originations of $2.15 billion for the quarter, up 10% from the prior quarter of $1.96 billion. While this is still down from their previous highs, it shows that the company is back on a growth trajectory.

Source: Lend Academy

Last quarter the company announced banks were funding 40% of loans, but that reached higher in the second quarter to 44%.

Source: Lend Academy

Borrowers

  • Achieved 10% sequential growth to over $2.1 billion in originations, driven by strong borrower demand
  • Successfully launched multiple conversion initiatives, including pricing optimization and a redesigned website
  • Improved sales and marketing efficiency by over 7% sequentially
  • Credit continues to perform in line with expectations as observed in both vintage and portfolio trendsInvestors
  • Successfully executed the first self-sponsored securitization thereby opening a new funding source, expanding the investor base with 20 new investors, and generating a new repeatable revenue stream
  • Record number of managed accounts and institutional investors participating on the platform in the quarter
  • Successfully launched new iOS mobile application for retail investors

LendingClub Shares Soar 13% on Smaller Loss (Fortune), Rated: A

Online lending platform operator LendingClub reported a smaller loss on Monday, helped by higher net interest income and a drop in expenses.

Shares of the company (LC, +12.86%) were up 13.2% at $5.90 in after-hours trading.

LendingClub shares rise 8 percent on positive outlook, higher revenue (Reuters), Rated: A

Online lender LendingClub Corp (LC.N) raised its earnings outlook on Monday after reporting the second-highest quarterly revenue in its history and a drop in costs, sending shares up nearly 8 percent.

LendingClub now expects full-year total net revenue to be in the range of $585 million to $600 million, compared with its earlier forecast of $575 million to $595 million.

Shares of the company, which connects consumers looking for loans with individual or institutional investors such as banks through its website, were up 7.8 percent at $5.46 in after-hours trading.

Online lenders upbeat about turnaround progress, but worries linger (Today Online), Rated: A

LendingClub Corp <LC.N> and OnDeck Capital Inc <ONDK.N> surprised investors on Monday with strong growth forecasts that sent the online lenders’ stocks soaring, but analysts said the sector’s health was still a concern.

OnDeck shares closed 18.5 percent higher at $5, and LendingClub ended up 4.8 percent $5.46. The stocks rose in after-hours trading but remain far below their initial public offering prices of $20 and $15, respectively.

Executives of both companies were upbeat about the progress in their turnaround plans after they reported second-quarter results.

Earnest Corp is looking to sell itself for $200 million, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, far less than the $300 million it has raised from investors.

Online Lenders Clear a Low Bar—Higher Ones Lie Ahead (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The online lending industry regained its footing in the second quarter, more than a year after it was knocked off-balance by severe disruptions in the loan marketplace. But investors’ sky-high hopes for the sector may have been lowered permanently.

Investors also were relieved that On Deck reiterated it would turn profitable later this year. Shares rose a sharp 18.5% Monday, but they fetch only about a fourth of their December 2014 IPO price, a sign of just how much the hype around these lenders has deflated.

Crucially, On Deck has moved on from funding loans through an online marketplace, the aspect of its business model that was truly disruptive. It now funds the vast majority through its own balance sheet, making On Deck more like an ordinary bank.

Both companies have to worry about rising competition. Innovative payment companies like Square and PayPal are extending more microloans to their merchant customers. Meanwhile, giants of finance like Goldman Sachs are extending more unsecured personal loans, which is LendingClub’s sweet spot.

Fintech Firm Fiserv Raises Offer for Monitise to $ 98 Million (The New York Times), Rated: A

U.S. financial technology provider Fiserv made an improved offer for Monitise worth about 75 million pounds ($98 million) on Monday, hoping to secure backing from the British financial services technology group’s investors.

Fiserv’s earlier offer, which valued the group at about 70 million pounds, drew criticism from Monitise’s investors led by Cavendish Asset Management, for being too low, given that the British group was worth over 1 billion pounds three year ago.

Fiserv’s final offer of 3.1 pence in cash per share represents a premium of 34.8 percent over Monitise’s closing price on June 12, the last before the initial offer was made.

Banco Santander, Monitise’s top shareholder with a 4.67 percent stake, had submitted a letter of intent to back the deal, as had Visa Inc, a large customer and investor with a 2.41 percent stake.

LendingRobot Series Second Quarter Report (LendingRobot), Rated: A

LendingRobot Series finished the second quarter with a healthy YTD aggregated return of 2.7%. Each Series’ return and portfolio health is in line with projections. Since April 1st, LendingRobot Series has added over 2,800 loans to its portfolio, more than doubling the number of loans held in each series.

Source: LendingRobot

 

Legislative Update 161 (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights this issue:

  • On July 10, the CFPB published a final rule prohibiting the use of mandatory predispute arbitration clauses that prevent class action lawsuits in consumer contracts for a wide array of financial products. The final rule was published in the Federal Register on July 19, and will become effective 60 days after that date, or September 18. All consumer contracts with arbitration clauses will need to comply with the rule within 180 days of the effective date, which will be March 19, 2018.
  • The House of Representatives is working to pass 12 appropriations bills by September 30 to fund federal agencies for the Fiscal Year 2018. The House Appropriations Committee passed the spending bill for financial regulatory agencies on July 13. The measure included several provisions important to Experian and our clients.
  • On July 19, Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Gregory Meeks (DNY) introduced the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act. The bill would codify the legal precedent under federal banking laws that preempts a loan’s interest as valid when made.
  • Legislators in California continue to debate legislation that would enact a broadband privacy law in the state, similar to the rule issued by the FCC and then overturned by Congress. A.B. 375 would prohibit an internet service provider from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to customer personal information.

Read the full update here.

4 Reasons Online Lenders Are Innovating With Purchasing Cards (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

In recent years, Kabbage and others have stepped up to introduce a purchasing card product to their borrowers, and with their early success, many lenders are now following suit for the following four reasons:

  1. Staying on top of the customer’s mind
  2. Speaking the language of large corporate partner targets
  3. Underwriting use of funds
  4. Revenue sharing

New Financial Technology Upgrades Bank’s Credit Review Process (PayNet Email), Rated: A

Enables Banks To Review All Credits and Focus on the Highest Risks

The real challenge is convincing bank management that they do not have to apply the same credit review process to the entire portfolio.  Adopting different processes based upon exposure size and measured risk (APD for example) should be the goal of every bank.  In other words, focus credit review efforts to those accounts that represent the greatest risk to the bank – and that is what you are hoping to do with your credit review process.

Conducting credit reviews are a “waste of time” in most cases because nothing has changed. What form that documentation takes is where PayNet can be most helpful to the prospect.

PayNet is introducing PayNet Credit Review Express, a risk management tool which streamlines the credit review process making credit review easier and less costly.

Credit Review Express assesses the credit risk of each C&I borrower each month. Banks can assign their definition of risk from delinquency to probability of default to assign high, medium or low risk to each borrower. Currently, PayNet sees less than 2% of C&I borrowers as high risk credits. Other features include automated action steps (such as Watch, Restructure, Work-out) and a customized dashboard to monitor and track activity.

FDIC defends right to charter new banks against OCC criticism (American Banker), Rated: A

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. defended its authority to approve prospective new banks in response to suggestions by acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika that his agency should be able to approve applications on its own.

Rumour mill churns in US online lending sector (AltFi), Rated: A

Whispers abound of a major financing round, an acquisition and an IPO within the US online lending space.

Perhaps chief among the rumours was the suggestion that SoFi may at last be on the brink of an IPO that was first mooted by CEO Mike Cagney in 2014.

Meanwhile, SoftBank continued to build on its portfolio-for-the-future with a $250m equity investment in small business lending fintech Kabbage.

Cities where student loan borrowers struggle with debt the most (Credible), Rated: A

So it’s important for borrowers, especially recent grads, to think about the best places to live — the cities in which they’re not only likely to find a well-paying job, but also where rents and other living expenses aren’t so exorbitant so as to add to their pile of debt.

5 cities where student loans borrowers struggle the most with debt:

  • 1. San Jose, California
  • 2. Fort Worth, Texas
  • 3. Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4. Los Angeles, California
  • 5. Denver, Colorado

5 cities where student loans borrowers struggle the least with debt:

  • 1. Dallas, TX
  • 2. Jacksonville, FL
  • 3. Houston, TX
  • 4. Columbus, OH
  • 5. Austin, TX

The key indicator for affordability was how much of a borrower’s monthly income would go towards their student loan payments and monthly housing costs.

Source: Credible

 

Marketplace Lending Explained (WealthManagement.com), Rated: A

Marketplace lending has grown by nearly 150 percent on a compound annual basis for the last half-decade. Strong growth and real longevity mean that most advisors have to consider the role that marketplace lending plays in their clients’ portfolios.

Source: WealthManagement.com

Refinancing high-rate credit card debt or other hard-money-type loans among high-quality borrowers via a marketplace lender is sensible and provides good value to all parties.

As part of a fixed income allocation, what are the risks in marketplace loans? There is the credit risk of the borrower first and foremost—here the asset can be seen as clearly pro-cyclical; in other words, as the economy improves, the asset strengthens. Correspondingly, as the economy weakens, the credit of the borrower will weaken. Additionally, there has recently been some weakness in consumer credit, primarily in auto loans and credit card defaults, though these have been largely limited to the subprime aspects of these loan categories.

United Kingdom

The Growing Alternative Finance Industry (Business Zone), Rated: AAA

The latest equity crowdfunding statistics released by OFF3R last month revealed that the first half of 2017 was the strongest 6 months for equity crowdfunding to date.

Six of the leading equity crowdfunding platforms that form the OFF3R Index raised nearly £130M in 2017 for UK private companies. This is £2M above the previous half yearly record that was reached back in the second half of 2015. March 2017, where Over £40 million was raised, buoyed the latest data and the period as a whole was characterised by some very large fundraises from Q1 2017.

The data also revealed that peer to peer lendinglevels continue to rise in the UK. The peer to peer lending statistics showed that over £1.8 billion was lent in the first half of 2017 by the nine platforms that make up the OFF3R Index. This is an increase of over £350 million from the previous half year period at the end of 2016.

The data also revealed that Assetz Capital had a record breaking month in June 2017. The total amount lent of over £30 million by the platform was higher than any previous period since the OFF3R Index began.

Toxic loans blight property peer-to-peer lender Wellesley – with more than half its borrowers behind on payments or in default (This is Money), Rated: AAA

More than half of the customers of an internet loan firm run by an aristocratic financier are behind on their payments or in default, the Mail can reveal.

Wellesley, a peer-to-peer lender which allows property developers to borrow cash from savers, is grappling with losses on its loan book.

Online lender Tandem acquires Harrods Bank in bid to expand services (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: A

Start-up lender Tandem has snapped up Harrods Bank in a deal that will bring it closer to launching a savings account.

The undisclosed deal will hand the online-only lender £80 million of additional capital and enable it to regain its banking licence , if it wins regulatory backing.

The institutional investor selling down its stake in VPC Speciality Lending (AltFi), Rated: A

Old Mutual, a sigificant shareholder in the £351m VPC Speciality Lending fund, has further reduced its holding in the closed ended portfolio following previous reductions in exposure earlier in the year.

Its holding in the fund fell below 6 per cent back in March 2017, now it has sold more shares with its stake now less than 4.99 per cent, according to regulatory filings.

VC firm behind Zopa among judges at PitchIt funding competition (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

A VENTURE capital (VC) firm that backed Zopa in its early days has been named among judges for the second annual PitchIt Europe competition.

Rob Moffat, partner at Balderton Capital, an early Zopa backer, will be one of the VC judges alongside Seedcamp’s Reshma Sohoni, Blenheim Chalcot’s Dan Cobley and managing director of CommerzVentures Patrick Meisberger.

China

Tencent credit check takes mobile payments battle to Alibaba (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Tencent is developing a credit scoring system as it ramps up its battle with rival Alibaba for a share of China’s $5.5tn mobile payments market.

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s payments affiliate, launched its Sesame Credit two years ago, parlaying its data on consumers into a measure of their trustworthiness, providing comfort for small businesses and consumers alike.

Credit scoring is popular in China, especially among younger subscribers who lack a credit history but might be eligible for a high rating that would let them rent hotel rooms, bikes or phone chargers without leaving a deposit. The services are particularly valuable given the lack of access to credit cards in the country.

Tencent is testing a credit scoring service among a small group of its subscribers, upping the stakes as the two tech titans engage in an aggressive promotion this week encouraging Chinese to forgo cash in favour of payments made with a swipe of the phone.

Top 100 List of Chinese Internet firms in 2017: Tencent surpassed Alibaba to become NO.1, and Letv was Out of the List. (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Recently, Internet Society of China (ISA) and the information center of Industry and Information Technology Ministry Jointly issued the list of “China’s Top 100 Internet Companies in 2017”. For this time, Tencent overtook Alibaba to become the No.1. Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu were still the top three for five consecutive years, while Letv was out of the list.

The top 10 of the list were:

  • No.1 Tencent
  • No.2 Alibaba
  • No.3 Baidu
  • No.4 Jingdong
  • No.5 NetEase
  • No.6 Sina
  • No.7 Sohu
  • No.8 Meituan
  • No.9 Ctrip
  • No.10 360

The list of “China’s top 100 Internet Companies” has been published every year since 2013 and has been published five times so far.The evaluation index combines seven core indicators of enterprise scale, profitability, innovation, growth, influence and social responsibility.

Central bank to regulate rapidly growing fintech (China Daily), Rated: AAA

In a report released last weekend, the People’s Bank of China said some financial products offered through internet channels by fintech companies are “systemically important” and hence will be included in its macro-prudential assessment or MPA.

The aim is to prevent cyclical risks and cross-market risk transmission, it said.

Analysts said this is the first time that the PBOC said it will include fintech businesses in its MPA.

With $ 3.58 bn in newly increased loan balance, Weli Dai becomes the largest microcredit platform in China (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 7th August, a Webank staff said in WeChat Moments that the loan balance of Weli Dai reached a milestone of over 100 billion RMB (equivalent to $14.91 bn). In a speech at the LendIt on July 16, Fang Zhengyu, the director of retail credit section in Webank, revealed that the loan balance of Weli Dai was $1.13 bn. And it has increased by $3.58 bn within just 22 days. What an amazing growth!

Weli Dai is focused on providing a cash loans product, with the loans amount from ¥500 to ¥300,000, and is operated in pure online pattern. With its white list invitation system, Weli Dai identifies the target customers effectively. The loan period is flexible from one day to twenty months, which makes users borrow and repay money at any time. Many factors contributed to the performance of Webank today, the most important is that Webank developed its business in the huge customer base of QQ and WeChat. Besides, Webank has built partnerships with nearly 40 banks for jointly making loans.

Hong Kong startup close to US$ 500mil valuation (The Star), Rated: A

TNG FinTech Group Inc, a Hong Kong-based digital wallet operator founded in 2013, is poised to close a funding round and is targeting a valuation of about US$500mil, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It has attracted almost US$60mil in the series A round from investors including a Beijing-based private equity fund, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing private deliberations.

TNG, which offers global money transfers, foreign-exchange transactions and bill payments, expects to be profitable this year and is targeting a listing in either New York or Hong Kong by 2019, the person said.

Jeffrey Chen of ZhongAn Insurance (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Jin (Jeffrey) Chen, the CEO of ZhongAn Insurance. I sat down with him when I was in Shanghai recently for Lang Di Fintech (LendIt’s Chinese event) and we conducted this interview with the assistance of his translator.

People’s Bank of China Has Fintech on Its Mind (Fox Business), Rated: A

The People’s Bank of China said in a report that it is considering expanding its risk-assessment system beyond banks to include major online financial businesses. Last month, it reached agreement with 45 nonbank financial firms– including payment systems affiliated with internet giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd.–on joining a new payment-clearing platform called Wanglian, according to listed-company documents.

This effectively gives the PBOC a clearer view of payments, enhancing regulation, said Tencent, which owns the TenPay payment system.

European Union

Fellow Finance Adds Invoice Financing (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Finnish p2p lending service Fellow Finance has opened a new invoice finance service for companies, which allows businesses to convert their trade receivables into cash immediately. In the new invoice finance service, a company gets funding against its invoice receivables directly from investors.

In adjacent Estonia p2p lending marketplace Investly, which specializes on invoice financing for Estonian and UK SMEs, is growing. The last figures we reported for them show 78% month on month and 319% y-o-y growth.

Balderton Capital on European Fintech (Stitcher), Rated: A

Rob Moffat is a Partner at Balderton Capital, a London-based venture capital firm that has invested in fintech businesses including GoCardless, Revolut, Crowdcube, Nutmeg, Seedcamp, ComplyAdvantage, Wonga, Zopa and more. Prior to joining Balderton, Rob worked at Bain & Company and Google. Rob holds degrees from Cambridge and INSEAD.

Listen to the podcast here.

International

Senate To Mull Financial Choice Act, UK Officials Look For Tighter Controls (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As has been noted in the financial and trade press, the Financial Choice Act, which was passed last month by the U.S. House of Representatives, now awaits a vote in the U.S. Senate.

In other regulatory news, one executive in Britain is calling for tighter financial regulations in the United Kingdom. Douglas Flint, departing chairman of Britain’s largest bank, HSBC, said in a statement that, amid issues such as Brexit and a revamp of the European financial order, a lack of homogeneity in regulation means there should be cooperation between overseers to find — and stop — “bad actors.” Flint advocated that “greater cooperation between the public and private sectors, together with a refresh of bank secrecy laws and regulation designed for a different age, would significantly increase the effectiveness of our joint efforts.”

Visa And The QR Code Evolution/Revolution (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As it turns out, putting that spec on the shelf helped to inform the development of the EMVCo QR code standard, which was released yesterday into a payments ecosystem that looks at them as anything but uninteresting.

China is a prime example as, over the course of the last five years, the QR code-based mobile payment has almost entirely displaced cash in the country — and leapfrogged credit and debit cards — to become Chinese consumers’ preferred alternative for payment. There are $5.5 trillion worth of mobile payments made in China per year, the vast, vast majority of which are handled via QR code.

But perhaps most striking is India and its government’s November 2016 decision to move toward a cashless society. That led the country to the accompanying adoption of a QR code-focused payments scheme based on Visa’s mVisa standard.

Getting To Scale

Visa is currently developing mVisa as a worldwide solution. The key to scale, Shrauger told Webster, is making it useful and accessible for their two client groups — merchants and their customers.

Australia

Westpac Banking Invests $ 40 Million into zipMoney (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

zipMoney (ASX:ZML) has announced a $40 million strategic investment from Westpac Banking (ASX:WBC). The investment was paired with an agreement for the two companies to explore the integration of Zip’s products and services into Westpac’s network across Australia. The investment will be by subscription of ordinary equity of 49,382,716 shares at a price of $0.81 per share. This represents a 14.1% premium over the close of $0.71 on August 4th.

India

How technology is helping investors achieve their financial aspirations (Financial Express), Rated: A

Most Indians save first and think of spending later. However, when it comes time for them to plan their expenses, they end up relying on mental estimates of their financial position. As a result, most people are never confident of 1) how much to save and 2) whether they can reach their financial aspirations with their current investment plan. This is especially true for young professionals who want to save for a secure future but also want a more fulfilling life experience. What is required is financial advice that delivers the answers to these questions in a clear and quantified way.

A solution to these issues has come from the field of artificial intelligence. Cognitive technologies is a branch of artificial intelligence that deals with the application of computers towards tasks traditionally performed by people. The aim of this process is to design a software solution that has comprehensive and detailed instructions, that enables it to do the same work that a person can. The benefits of this approach are that the same work can be done at a much faster pace, at a higher accuracy and at a lower cost.

Asia

Japan’s SoftBank says Q1 profit jumps 50.1% after inclusion of Vision Fund (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp on Monday reported a 50.1 percent rise in first-quarter operating profit, after the company included Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity fund, as a new reportable segment and booked a valuation gain.

The internet and telecoms giant said profit for the quarter through June increased to 479.2 billion yen ($4.33 billion).

Fintech investments tripled in Singapore (The Star), Rated: AAA

GLOBAL investment in financial technology (fintech) firms more than doubled in the second quarter of the year, compared with the first quarter, to US$8.4bil (S$11.4bil) across 293 deals, KPMG said in a recent report.

Investment in fintech in Singapore more than tripled to US$61.5mil (S$83.3mil), although there were only four deals, compared with seven the quarter before.

Indonesian P2P Lending Platform UangTeman Secures Million During Series A Funding Round Led By K2 Venture Capital (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, Indonesia-based peer-to-peer lending platform UangTeman announced it successfully secured $12 million during its Series A funding round, which was led by K2 Venture Capital, with participation from STI Financial Group and Draper Associates.

Middle East

UAE Authorities Plan SMB Crowdfunding Framework (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

United Arab Emirates (UAE) regulators are setting out to establish a framework to guide the small business (SMB) crowdfunding market, news reports on Sunday (Aug. 6) said.

Equity crowdfunding is expected to provide $93 billion to small- and medium-sized enterprises by 2020, reports added. In the UAE, SMBs stand to gain significantly from that trend, as these businesses make up an estimated 85 percent of all UAE companies. In Dubai, that number is even higher, at nearly 95 percent of all businesses, reports added.

Meanwhile, research from the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development found that as many as 70 percent of small business loan applications in the UAE are rejected by traditional banks, despite efforts from the national government and the Central Bank of the UAE to promote SMB financing.

Latin America

Mexican fund invests in peer-to-peer lending network (Latin Lawyer), Rated: A

Greenberg Traurig SC in Mexico City has helped Mexican venture capital fund Ignia invest in peer-to-peer lending network Afluenta.

Africa

Why African fintech startups are becoming even more attractive for investors (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Take Flutterwave, a payments company which builds infrastructure to ease processing payments across Africa, it’s just raised $10 million in its Series A round. Significantly, the round was led by leading Silicon Valley venture capital funds Greycroft and Green Visor Capital, with participation from Y Combinator and Glynn Capital.

Fintech startups are the “most attractive,” for tech investors looking towards Africa, according to a recent report by Disrupt Africa. Nearly 20% of fintech startups tracked raised money in the last two years and in 2016, there was a 84% increase in the number of fintech startups secured investment compared to the previous year. In total, since 2015, fintech startups in Africa had raised $93 million in investment as of June 2017. Flutterwave’s raise takes that total past the $100 million mark.

In more advanced economies, fintech startups are focused on disrupting the traditional banking industry by changing how people access financial services. But in most parts of sub Saharan Africa, that’s not the case. In fact, fintech startups are typically creating products and services to plug many of the gaps which currently exist.

Indeed, as of 2014, only 34% of adults in sub Saharan Africa had bank accounts. Given the sheer size of the market which remains under-served, fintech startups are presented with a huge opportunity. And for investors, all that represents a major upside.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

 

Friday June 23 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech Australia

News Comments Today’s main news: KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-4. Lending Club closes $279.4M self-sponsored securitization. Wellesley directors paid over 900K GBP last year. Renren’s Q1 results. Harmoney hits $500M. Vindi, Smartbill merge. Today’s main analysis: Recent Fed credit survey exposes clear small business financing opportunities Today’s thought-provoking articles: How the P2P sector has fared […]

fintech Australia

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

Asia

Africa

Latin America

News Summary

United States

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-4 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to two class of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-4 LLC (“SCLP 2017-4”). This is a $499.5 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is closing on July 5th, 2017.

Initial credit enhancement levels are 22.69% for the Class A Notes and 12.77% for the Class B Notes. Credit enhancement consists of overcollateralization, subordination (in the case of the Class A Notes), excess spread and a reserve account funded at closing.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loans Program 2017-4

Class Preliminary Ratings Principal Balance
A AA (sf) $443,000,000
B A (sf) $56,500,000

LendingClub Closes $ 279.4 Million Self Sponsored Securitization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) has announced its first first self sponsored securitization deal had closed. Announced after the market closed, Lending Club issued $279.4 million in notes backed by consumer loans originated on the LendingClub platform. The Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) NP Credit Trust 2017-NP1 (CLUB 2017-NP1) was described as marking the start of LendingClub’s securitization program as Sponsor, Servicer and Administrator.

Kroll rated the securities that included $162.4 million of Class A notes rated “A- (sf)”, $41.2 million of Class B notes rated “BBB (sf)” and $75.7 million of Class C notes rated “BB (sf)” backed by approximately $337 million of collateral.

In a separate note, LendingClub also announced that Brad Coleman, Principal Accounting Officer and Corporate Controller, will be resigning from his position as Principal Accounting Officer to pursue other opportunities, effective on August 10.

There’s A New Way To Pay For IVF, But No Guarantee It’ll Pay Off (BuzzFeed), Rated: AAA

Future Family, which officially launches on Thursday, aims to make the complicated, expensive, and emotionally fraught world of fertility treatments “accessible and affordable,” in the words of CEO Claire Tomkins, a former SolarCity executive. “We think of it as modern insurance for a woman,” she told BuzzFeed News.

Because most insurance plans don’t cover these services, fertility patients tend to have high incomes to begin with. In one survey by FertilityIQ, an online advice resource for patients, 42% reported yearly earnings between $100,000 and $199,999. But not everyone has necessarily saved enough to comfortably afford IVF, which costs around $20,000 on average, according to FertilityIQ. In a 2015 Prosper-commissioned survey of 213 US women, 84% said they had financial concerns about their treatments, and nearly half said that those concerns affected how much treatment they pursued.

Future Family’s standard IVF plan, which covers one cycle, is $250 a month, with no down payment. Customers can sign up for a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years, making the total cost at least $15,000. That would be cheaper than the national average cost of $20,000. The top-tier plan, which covers one cycle as well as egg storage, costs as much as $33,000 ($275 a month for up to 10 years).

Meanwhile, Future Family’s top-tier egg-freezing plan costs as much as $21,000, at $175 a month for up to 10 years of storage. FertilityIQ’s Anderson-Bialis estimates that, nationwide, egg retrieval and freezing costs average $16,000, while storage costs about $3,700 for five years.

Two years ago, Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending service, purchased, for $21 million, a lender with loans for fertility and other non–insurance-covered medical procedures. And in 2014, LendingClub spent $140 million on a similar acquisition. Its fertility loans range from $2,000 to $50,000, while Prosper’s go as high as $100,000.

One year in: How JPMorgan is transforming small-business lending (Tearsheet), Rated: A

For JPMorgan Chase, small business is big. The bank is among the third top lender of Small Business Administration loans by unit in the U.S.

As of May, Chase approved 2,375 loans in 2017 for a total $679 million. But beyond SBA loans, the bank also extended more than $24 billion in credit to 4 million small business customers in 2016 through its business banking, Ink from Chase credit card and commercial term lending. In each of the last four years, it’s extended more than $19 billion in new small business loans.

After the recession, the largest U.S. banks, Chase itself included, halted most of their small business lending, later creating the opportunity for online lenders to enter the market — like Bond Street or OnDeck. Last year, JPMorgan began using OnDeck’s technology for its Chase Business Quick Capital product, a  short-term, quickly funded small business loan. It was one of the first banks to embrace a partnership-type relationship with a fintech startup, at a time when the industry narrative still focused on startups’ potential to displace banks.

Lending Club Decision Provides Guidance For Bringing Section 11 Claims Based on Weaknesses in Internal Controls (National Law Review), Rated: A

We have been following defendants’ motions to dismiss in the In re Lending Club Securities Litigation class action, No 3:16-cv-02627-WHA, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (“the Lending Club Litigation”).

As the Supreme Court noted in Omnicare, generally a plaintiff pursuing a claim under Section 11 “need not prove . . . that the defendant acted with any intent to deceive or defraud.”  However, defendants in the Lending Club Litigation argued that plaintiffs’ claims under Section 11 sounded in fraud because they employed the same factual allegations to allege fraudulent conduct under Section 10(b), and therefore needed to satisfy the heightened pleading standard of Rule 9(b), which requires plaintiffs alleging fraud to state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud.

Plaintiffs argued that their Section 11 claims were not grounded in fraud and therefore did not need to satisfy the heightened pleading standard of Rule 9(b).

Despite this holding, the Court found that lead plaintiff had “met that heightened pleading standard with respect to three of its Section 11 claims.”  Id.  In particular the court held that lead plaintiff adequately pleaded its Section 11 claims relating to representations at the IPO regarding (1) the strength of Lending Club’s internal controls and financial reporting, (2) its relationship with Cirrix, and (3) its data integrity and security.[1]

Henry W. Ramsey Acquires 9,500 Shares of Elevate Credit Inc (ELVT) Stock (Transcript Daily), Rated: A

Elevate Credit Inc (NASDAQ:ELVT) insider Henry W. Ramsey purchased 9,500 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, June 2nd. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $7.17 per share, for a total transaction of $68,115.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the insider now owns 9,500 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $68,115.

Banks Going Digital – Transforming Branches, Apps and a Focus on Customer Experience (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The big banks have all started to understand that the traditional way of banking is a thing of the past. Keynote speaker Yolande Piazza, CEO, Citi Fintech talked about disrupting from within, changing how they operate to enable the customer and move to a mobile first approach. She explained how this approach is radical for a bank and the layers of compliance did not make the transition smooth. They have completely rethought how they hire, 50 percent of their fintech talent is from outside the company.

Other interesting areas to note while at the event were BioCatch’s innovations in cyber security with keystroke and mouse analysis along with behavioral biometrics. New payments provider Zelle launched with 40 partners, including 34 top level banks, to allow consumers to send and receive money in minutes. Banks are starting to become innovation hubs and fintech companies, once seen as competitors in the past, are helping the banks make this transformation.

Leading fintech companies like SoFi, Lending Club and OnDeck provide a template for a better customer experience and banks are taking notice.

Recent Fed Credit Survey Exposes Clear Small Business Financing Opportunities (Forbes), Rated: A

The Federal Reserve just published its 2016 Small Business Credit Survey examining the current small business conditions and credit environment. The Fed found that although big banks are still the major lenders, small business owners are having trouble accessing credit and are therefore looking elsewhere. However, while many small businesses are turning towards online lenders, SBA loans are largely underutilized.

Overall, 10,000 surveys were completed by employer firms across all 50 states. Of those surveyed, roughly half were profitable and almost two-thirds expected their revenues to grow over the coming year. Even job growth looked good, with 39% of small businesses expecting to add jobs within the next year.

PayPal has jumped into the alternative lending game and now finances as much as $3 billion in total small business capital. What’s more, PayPal recently increased its maximum financing limit to $125k, meaning that a majority of small businesses who applied for credit in 2016 could fulfill their financing needs with PayPal.

Online lenders like SmartBiz have a 62% approval rate, on average.

The Fed’s survey found that CDFIs had a 77% approval rate and small banks had a 67% approval rate. Both of these rates higher than many online lenders that are known to typically have some of the easier qualifications.

By comparison, the overall approval rate among larger banks is 54% and 46% among credit unions.

Banks should avoid replicating their millennial strategy for Gen Z (American Banker), Rated: A

Facebook chatbots (kids love messaging apps!), smartphone-enabled ATMs (they spend so much time on their smartphones!) and an on-demand ATM on wheels that will come to you (Uber is the only way to get around!). Not only are these investments failing to resonate with millennials, but the money spent is also failing to plan ahead for the next generation: Generation Z.

Born between 1995 and 2010, Gen Z consumers are looking for something more than simple digital updates: They are looking for a partner that offers them solutions for all pieces of their financial life, including their pressing concern over mounting college debt. In fact, offering “digital” solutions to traditional banking products will not be enough to impress Gen Z, as they are the first to grow up in the post-digital era, giving them high standards for technological capabilities.

Gen Z is also a highly skeptical generation with little brand loyalty; if they see a well-researched, proven option available to them, they will have no hesitation jumping ship or avoiding traditional providers altogether. Whereas 45% of millennials favor loyalty programs, only 30% of Gen Z consumers do. In fact, 41% of Gen Z say they would consider banking services from digital power players like Google, Amazon, Apple or Facebook because they are brands that they interact with daily and trust.

Acting comptroller’s wish list echoes long-held demands by banks (American Banker), Rated: A

In his first testimony to Congress, acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika is set to submit a laundry list of detailed proposals to loosen regulatory restrictions on financial institutions of all sizes — recommendations that appear to jibe with those made by the Treasury Department this month.

Noreika is offering 17 specific legislative proposals that echo the banking industry’s wish list for regulatory reform.

LendingTree Subsidiary Purchases MagnifyMoney (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE) announced on Tuesday its subsidiary, LendingTree, LLC, has acquired the company behind consumer-facing media property platform, MagnifyMoney. This news comes just days after LendingTree announced it acquired DepositAccounts.com.

According to LendingTree, the acquisition purchase has a possible total consideration of $29.5 million, which consists of 29.5 million in cash at closing, and contingent consideration payments of up to $10 million.

A former cohead of tech at Goldman Sachs has joined a startup that wants to be the iOS of Wall Street (Business Insider), Rated: A

Paul Walker, the former cohead of technology at Goldman Sachs, has joined the board at OpenFin, a startup that helps electronic-trading firms build their desktop applications.

Bain Capital Ventures, Pivot Investment Partners, and Nyca Partners have already invested in OpenFin, as have the likes of Cris Conde, former CEO of SunGard, and Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters.

Walker retired from Goldman in 2016 after 15 years with the Wall Street titan. Walker joined the firm in 2001 as a vice president in FICC strategies. He made partner at the firm in 2008.

OpenFin is looking to become Wall Street’s version of what the iOS and Android platforms are to the mobile application space.

Orchard Platform Pivot? Not So Fast. (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Earlier this week there was note circulating the Orchard was in the midst of a pivot.  Specifically, the report said Orchard was pivoting from a data/analytics platform to a loan trading platform. This was interesting as the secondary transaction platform for securities based on online loans has been in the works for quite some time.

“We have wanted to have a trading platform for years now,” said Matt Burton, CEO and co-founder of Orchard. “I am not certain where that came from. We have always wanted to facilitate [secondary] transactions. We still have the same vision.”

LENDonate Changes The Game of Nonprofit Financing by Creating Swift Access to High Quality Loans (PR.com), Rated: A

LENDonate, a fintech company, today announced the launch of its distinct hybrid, online lending platform for 501(c)(3) nonprofits. The first-of-a-kind, hybrid platform uses an innovative process that lets nonprofits source loans and donations simultaneously. LENDonate unites nonprofits with lenders, including financial institutions, philanthropic organizations, and accredited investors for quick funding of high-quality, low cost loans. LENDonate is the only marketplace lending platform that enables nonprofits to effortlessly expand their donor base while financing major projects or smoothing out uneven cash flow.

LENDonate was founded by Vivienne Hsu, CEO, a seasoned investment professional and nonprofit fundraiser. She was motivated by a desire to improve nonprofits’ access to the low-cost funding, while providing high-quality, socially impactful investment opportunities for banks and philanthropists.

Which Loans Can Help You Expand Your Small Business? (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Below is an exhaustive list of documents that your lender may request. Online lenders are less stringent and may ask for less, while traditional banks will want the entire suite. Also expect lenders to pull your personal credit score and your business credit score as part of the approval process.

  • Personal financial statement: This SBA form requires you to list your personal assets (cash, investments, real estate and cars) and liabilities (mortgages, other debts and unpaid taxes). Private lenders may ask for a similar statement.
  • Business certificate/license
  • Business plan
  • Loan application history
  • Income tax returns
  • Resumes
  • Business lease

The Small Business Administration (SBA)—which guarantees a percentage of the loan amount to banks rather funding directly—is particularly helpful for expansion loan options. The SBA will guarantee up to 85 percent of loans for as much as $150,000 and up to 75 percent of loans over $150,000. A small SBA loan of $25,000 or less can get an 8% interest rate with a payment term of fewer than seven years. The rate on a loan over $50,000 can drop to as low as 6.5% with the same payment terms. Some banks may offer private loans, but their requirements are even stricter than those of the SBA.

Online lenders offer loans with higher rates. But the online lenders often have a faster approval process than banks originating SBA loans.

Another borrowing source on the rise is peer-to-peer lending, or marketplace lending, for businesses.

OCC, CSBS Exchange Views on OCC’s Special-Purpose Charter (Banking Journal), Rated: A

The OCC’s proposed limited-purpose charter for fintech companies was the subject of a lively discussion at the American Bankers Association’s Payments Forum today, as regulators from the OCC and Conference of State Bank Supervisors exchanged at-times opposing views.

Margaret Liu, SVP and deputy general counsel at CSBS reiterated her organization’s view that in moving forward with the limited-purpose charter, the OCC overstepped its authority under the National Bank Act (the CSBS previously filed a lawsuit against the OCC on those grounds).

Kathy Oldenborg, director of payments systems policy at the OCC, emphasized that under the limited-purpose charter, fintech companies would be held the same high regulatory standards as banks, based on the products and services they provide to consumers. She added that while much of the focus around the OCC’s work on innovation has centered on the charter proposal, “the broader initiative was… the ability to signal to banks that it’s okay to innovate. You can work with fintech companies, you can partner with fintech companies, you can buy one if you want. There’s nothing that says you can’t work with fintech companies outside this whole chartering discussion.”

Home Point Financial Establishes Institutions Group (Marketwired), Rated: B

Home Point Financial Corporation (“Home Point”) a national multi-channel mortgage originator and servicer, today announced the formation of its new Institutions Group. This group will include Correspondent Lending, Capital Markets and Home Point’s wholly-owned warehouse lending subsidiary, NattyMac. Led by Maria Fregosi, Chief Capital Markets Officer, the Institutions Group will be able to efficiently and effectively serve correspondent clients with services and products that capitalize on the financial resources, technology and expertise of Home Point Financial.

Cross River on OCC Comptroller’s testimony calling on clarification of the applicability of the “Valid when Made” doctrine (Cross River Bank Email), Rated: B

Cross River Bank, a marketplace leading originator and pioneer in the banking financial technology space, released the following statement on the recommendation by acting OCC Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika to clarify the applicability of the “Valid when Made” doctrine.

It is of the utmost importance to deliver regulatory certainty and foster innovation while providing access to credit to all consumers in a compliant, safe, and sound environment. We commend Comptroller Noreika for his testimony this morning recommending clarification of the applicability of the “Valid when Made” doctrine. Cross River remains a steadfast supporter of the Comptroller’s, and the entire regulatory agency community’s, efforts to bring clarity to the regulatory framework and advance the interests of the consumers while ensuring their protection.

Aspire Retains SenaHill (Aspire Email), Rated: B

“Aspire Financial Technologies Inc. (“Aspire”) is announcing today that it has retained SenaHill Advisors LLC (

Crowdfunding Becoming Viable Way to Fund Real Estate (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

It’s estimated that by 2025 the crowdfunding real estate industry will be worth more than $300 billion. One of the reasons for this prediction is that it provides individual investors the opportunity to participate in large real estate deals even if they only have a small amount of capital to invest. Just a few years ago things were very different as crowdfunding had yet to gain traction. In 2010 the crowdfunding industry was worth $880 million but is now worth $34.4 billion which is an incredible rate of growth.

CFPB details complaint process at Comply2017 Conference (JD Supra), Rated: B

At the Comply2017 conference held earlier this week in New York City, Scott Steckel, a member of the CFPB’s Office of Consumer Response, gave a presentation in which he detailed the CFPB’s complaint process and how the CFPB shares complaint data through its complaint database.

United Kingdom

Wellesley directors were paid more than £900,000 last year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

WELLESLEY & Co’s directors collectively pocketed £923,000 last year, while the property lender reported a full-year loss of £210,288.

Chief executive and founder Graham Wellesley was awarded the highest salary of £342,000, while co-founder Andrew Turnbull took home £244,000, according to the latest annual report filed with Companies House earlier this month.

Former Lloyds Banking Group chief executive Eric Daniels, who stepped down as non-executive chairman at the end of May 2016, received £50,000. Daniels has now joined the board of Funding Circle.

How has the P2P sector fared in the year since the Brexit vote? (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, which received full FCA authorisation last month, has seen new lending grow each quarter since the referendum, from £151,803 lent in the second quarter of 2016 to £182,854 in the third and £305,970 in the fourth. It lent £328,059 in the first three months of this year.

Similarly, Zopa, also now fully authorised, has seen lending increase each quarter, from £154m in the second quarter of 2016, to £175m in the third. There was £194.3m of lending in the fourth quarter and £246.4m at the start of the year.

RateSetter, the last of the big three still awaiting full FCA approval, has seen both consumer and business lending increase.

New business lending was at £59.8m in the second quarter of 2016, rising to £73.8m in the following three months before dropping to £60.5m at the end of the year. It bounced back to £72.5m at the start of 2017.

Landbay has been more mixed, with new lending dropping from £5m in the second quarter to £282,820 in the third and £193,800 in the final three months of the year. New lending was back up to £833,300 at the start of the year.

RateSetter has seen the biggest increase, taking on 9,573 up to the first quarter of 2017 to 44,402.

Funding Circle was a close second, taking on 8,604 to 59,740, while Zopa took on 6,091, taking the total number of lenders to 60,755.

Only MarketInvoice saw a drop by 47 to 220.

Zopa has taken on the most new borrowers at 41,310 since the referendum to 171,607 while RateSetter has taken 30,286 to 203,994.

Landbay and Thincats have taken on the least, at four and 34 respectively.

The FCA received 77 submissions for the second phase of the regulatory sandbox, more than applied for cohort one. 31 applications met the sandbox eligibility criteria and were accepted to develop towards testing. The current cohort consists of the 24 firms that are ready to begin testing shortly.

AssetVault

AssetVault enables consumers to catalogue all of their assets in a secure online register and better understand their total value. AssetVault then works with insurance providers to protect the consumer and their assets with appropriate insurance products.

Beekin

Leverages artificial intelligence and data sharing to build transparency and liquidity in alternative assets (real estate, angel investments), and offers risk management and analytics services to small investors.

Experian

A mortgage eligibility tool that can be used to help consumers who are in the research phase of buying a home by increasing awareness of their eligibility, based on the lender’s affordability criteria.

FloodFlash

FloodFlash provides event-based flood insurance, even in high-risk areas.

Insure A Thing

An alternative insurance business model where the consumer makes payments at the end of the month, based on the exact cost of claims settled during that period.

Nimbla

Nimbla provides flexible trade credit insurance and credit and invoice management tools to UK SMEs, via an online platform

Paylinko A DLT-based payments solution enabling users to send and receive payments using a link.

We are now accepting applications from firms to be part of our third sandbox phase. Firms have until 31 July 2017 to submit their applications.

Departing Bank of England rate-setter takes swipe at Mark Carney in final speech (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: A

A departing rate-setter at the Bank of England has taken a final swipe at dovish Governor Mark Carney, saying record-low interest rates are no longer justified.

In her final speech as an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), Kristin Forbes questioned the continued need for “emergency” level interest rates, as well as the “substantial amount of stimulus” rolled out in the wake of the Brexit vote, stressing that forecasts for a recession and higher unemployment after the referendum have failed to materialise.

No sign of decreasing P2P appetite, claims lender (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

There has been no sign of a decrease in demand for peer-to-peer finance, online platform RateSetter has told Bridging & Commercial.

“…We’ve seen steadily increasing demand from advisers, and the value of IFA-administered accounts on our platform has doubled over the last year.

“Although there are clearly hurdles – for example, direct investments in peer-to-peer lending are not currently available through investment platforms commonly used by IFAs to buy products on their clients behalf – we see no signs of decreasing appetite.”

Jane Dumeresque, CEO at Folk2Folk, explained that the FCA process was extremely tough and was not too surprised that some had withdrawn.

Peter McDermid: help to build (The Scotsman), Rated: A

Today marks the Scottish launch of the LendInvest Property Development Academy, an adult education course that puts development skills at the fingertips of aspiring house builders.

The first London course was ten times oversubscribed and to date more than 120 “students” have completed our courses. Now we’ve rolled out countrywide to satisfy demand.

Sessions are led by experienced and, as importantly, local advisers who know what it takes to get small-scale property developments delivered on time and on budget.

Development issues

Access to finance continues to be the biggest hurdle. A severe lack of lenders in Scotland is problematic.

Any experienced developer knows that applying for and awaiting planning permission can be a long, exhausting and expensive process. This is where it pays to do your research.

Structuring a professional team is one of the most important aspects of planning for a development, and a task that can be more complex than it first appears. There are various questions that a developer needs to ask: what are the key development costs? How long will a project take?What consultants are involved in a development project and how should they all work with one another? How do developers insure their teams against delays and accidents?

Sales and marketing are commonly regarded as an afterthought, something to worry about “later”, when in fact marketing needs to be in the forefront of a developer’s mind from the very beginning.

Three out of four investors refuse to pay for financial advice (Money Observer), Rated: A

A survey conducted by investment management company Legg Mason has found that only 24 per cent of investors would be prepared to pay the typical hourly fee for financial advice – which works out on average at £150 per hour, according to unbiased.co.uk.

Just 10 per cent of those who answered said they would be willing to pay £150 or more, while an additional 11 per cent agreed that they would pay between £50 and £149.

Over a third of respondents (36 per cent) said they would refuse to pay for financial advice outright, while 15 per cent said they were unsure what they would be happy to pay.

Why Financial Advisers Won’t Succumb To The Robots Any Time Soon (Huffington Post), Rated: B

Add to this, low levels of financial education, low levels of trust in financial services generally and overwhelming product choice (e.g. 2,000+ investments) and engaging customers without a human adviser is tough. That’s why, according to the industry’s regulator the FCA, of the £208 billion invested by consumers last year 78% was through advisers.

The vast majority of investment advice consumers now get from advisers is supported by online, model driven, financial technology (FinTech) which helps advisers more scientifically assess their risk profile and develop probability based investment strategies which give them a higher chance of meeting their goals at an acceptable risk level.

There are four developments now emerging, which will almost certainly change the game:

  1. Simple, automated advice
  2. Account aggregation
  3. Social networks
  4. Artificial intelligence
China

Renren Announces Unaudited First Quarter 2017 Financial Results (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

  • Total net revenues were US$20.9 million, a 94.3% increase from the corresponding period in 2016.

    • Advertising and IVAS net revenues were US$11.6 million, a 90.2% increase from the corresponding period in 2016.
    • Financing income was US$9.3 million, a 99.7% increase from the corresponding period of 2016.
  • Gross profit was US$6.4 million, a 172.6% increase from the corresponding period in 2016.
  • Operating loss was US$17.6 million, compared to an operating loss of US$19.2 million in the corresponding period in 2016.
  • Net loss attributable to the Company was US$16.2 million, compared to a net loss of US$23.2 million in the corresponding period in 2016.
  • Adjusted net loss(1) (non-GAAP) was US$11.0 million, compared to an adjusted net loss of US$15.9 million in the corresponding period in 2016.

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: AAA

Internet Finance Giants Ant Financial, Baidu etc., working with bank for new opportunities on fintech. 

It seems a trend that internet financial giants working with traditional banks in China. Recently, Baidu built a strategic partnership with Agricultural Bank of China (ABC). The cooperation focuses on fintech areas, including co-building of financial brains and portraits of clients , precise marketing, customer credit evaluating, risk monitoring, robo-advising, etc.

Previously, both Jingdong Finance and Ant Financial Services Group have announced partnerships with banks. On 16th June, Jingdong signed a framework agreement on financial business cooperation with ICBC, planning to conduct cooperation in fintech, retail banking, enterprise credit, etc. While in the late of March, the CCB has signed a tripartite cooperation agreement with Alibaba and Ant Financial. According to the agreement, Ant financial would help CCB to boost the online credit card business. They are going to strength cooperation in offline & online channel and electronic payment business, so as to open up the credit system.

Bank of China Set Up the Inclusive Finance Division

On 20th June, the Inclusive Financial Division of BOC was founded officially. The new division aim at providing financial services in comprehensive coverage of rural and urban. According to reports, China Construction Bank (CCB), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) have all set up their Inclusive Financial Division at the general bank level.

Baidu and the Agricultural Bank reached a strategic cooperation in the layout of intelligent finance (Sina), Rated: A

In accordance with the strategic cooperation agreement, the cooperation mainly focused on the field of financial technology, including the construction of financial brain and customer portrait, precision marketing, customer credit evaluation, risk monitoring, intelligent investment, intelligent customer service and other specific applications, Around the financial products and channel users and other areas to start a comprehensive cooperation.

Bank of China Begin Fintech Move (AI Topics), Rated: B

Bank of China (BOC) and Tencent have established a joint financial technology laboratory, the lender said in a statement this week. The lab will work on cloud computing, big data, blockchain and artificial intelligence to promote financial innovations.

European Union

IDA ‘confident’ of Brexit investments pipeline, banking event told (Irish Times), Rated: A

IDA Ireland’s head of international financial services, Kieran Donoghue, has said he is “confident” that the Republic will secure a number of wins as his organisation “aggressively” pursues the opportunity to lure financial activity from London following Brexit.

Luxembourg’s politicians pin economic hopes on fintech drive (Financial Times), Rated: A

Britain’s planned departure from the EU has provided policymakers with an incentive to build a fintech hub in Luxembourg that could attract UK technology companies looking to maintain a foothold in the EU.

Prime minister Xavier Bettel has made the country’s digital transformation a priority since succeeding the long-serving Jean-Claude Juncker in December 2013. Mr Bettel launched the Digital Lëtzebuerg [Luxembourg] initiative the following year as a platform for encouraging new technology in the financial industry as well as society as a whole.

The flagship project to encourage fintech is the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology, opened with much fanfare in April with backing from the government and business groups.

Its focus is on insurance, banking and fund technology in areas such as digital investment and portfolio management, blockchain applications, payment platforms, data analytics, artificial intelligence, security and authentication.

International

How Fintech is Disrupting Banking for Businesses Around the Globe (Due), Rated: A

Same day bank transfers were rolled out in the United Kingdom almost a decade ago. NACHA, the regulatory organization responsible for the ACH system, announced efforts for faster transfers two years ago. However, very few banks are actually implementing faster transfers.

Digital wallets are a key concept in bringing financial services to the unbanked and underbanked.

Multiple large banks have added bot features to their customer service toolset, and there is no limit to how far it can go. Just a few months ago at LendIt I captured a video of someone asking a computer for help picking a credit card.

Over $36 billion were poured into FinTech ventures in 2016 alone, and about a quarter of that went to banking related ventures. Payments, investments, and wealth management were other major categories for 2016 FinTech investment.

Australia/New Zealand

Harmoney’s Marketplace Hits $ 500,000,000 (Scoop), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending marketplace Harmoney announced today that $500,000,000 in lending has been transacted through the platform in just under three years of operation. 30,000 Kiwis have made the choice to join the Harmoney community with additional support from two challenger NZ owned banks TSB and Heartland.

Kiwis have borrowed for all sorts of reasons;

  • 12,000 to pay off debt, mainly expensive Credit Card debt
  • 4,000 have completed home improvements and renovations
  • 3,000 have taken a special trip or holiday
  • Almost 2,000 have upgraded their car and;
  • 10,000 have borrowed for a vast array of other reasons, from dream weddings, book publishing to achieving their dreams at the Paralympics.

Consultation on personalised robo-advice (JD Supra), Rated: AAA

There is a clear demand, from both industry and the regulator, to allow personalised robo-advice to be provided ahead of the FAA reforms. As a result, the FMA is consulting on an exemption to allow this to happen – the exemption consultation can be found here.

The exemption will be subject to conditions but these are very similar to those that regulators have imposed in other jurisdictions (such as Australia) where our offices have been advising on for some time. We don’t expect there to be too much objection to these.

Limits:

  • Service: The exemption will be limited to financial advice or investment planning services and won’t cover the provision of DIMS under the FAA or the FMCA.
  • Product type: The robo-adviser will be limited to advice on financial products that are highly liquid or easily transferable. The FMA’s over-riding concern here is that consumers should be able to easily unwind their holdings if the robo-advice is poor or unsuitable. The proposed product list for robo-advice will be:
  • KiwiSaver and managed funds that are continuously offered and redeemed at a price based on the value of the scheme property
  • Listed equities and listed debt
  • Government bonds
  • General insurance products (home, contents and vehicle) and
  • Savings products and credit contracts (other than mortgages).

Conditions: 

  • Pre-notification procedure: A robo-adviser will need to give prior notice to the FMA setting out ‘good character’ declarations in relation to senior managers and directors and giving details of any criminal convictions in New Zealand or overseas. The FMA will need to issue a no objection confirmation in relation to the good character declarations before the robo-adviser starts business.
  • Status disclosure: The robo-adviser will need to clearly disclose that it is relying on the exemption and that the FMA has not in any way endorsed, approved or reviewed the service.
  • Disclosure: Before giving advice to a client, the robo-adviser will need to give the client sufficient information to make an informed decision, including:
  • The nature and scope of the service and whether the service is limited to a particular range of products. This will need to include:
  • Clarification of the extent of human involvement
  • Clarification that the advice provided will depend solely on the information provided by the client
  • An explanation of any limits on the advice or portfolios generated by the algorithm
  • A concise explanation of the benefits and risks of the service.
  • An explanation of the fees that must be paid.
  • Details of how the robo-adviser is paid and disclosing any actual or potential conflicts of interest that may influence the services provided.
  • An explanation of how complaints can be made.

Regulator seeks feedback on robo-advice exemption (NZ Adviser), Rated: A

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) is seeking feedback on its proposals that would enable entities to provide robo-advice.

The current law, passed in 2008, did not contemplate digital advice, meaning that personalised advice, or advice that takes into account an individual’s financial situation or goals, can only be given by “a natural person”.

The purposes of the Financial Advisers Act (‘FA Act’) are aligned with the Financial Markets Conduct Act, which include “promoting innovation and flexibility in financial markets.”

Global Credit Investments gives OnDeck Australia A$ 22.5m financing (AltFi), Rated: A

Asset manager Global Credit Investments has hit up its network of rich Australian families and raised A$22.5 million to refinance OnDeck Australia’s small business loan book.

A press release issued by both companies said the capital raise was “significantly oversubscribed”, with wealthy Australians attracted to the returns offered by OnDeck‘s loans, typically in the high-single-digits.

FinTech Australia releases fintech ecosystem map (Fintech Australia), Rated: A

Australia’s fintech industry body today released its first member ecosystem map, which helps build domestic and international understanding of the nation’s fintech strengths and diversity, particularly in wealth generation and lending.

The ecosystem map shows that wealth and investment, and consumer and business lending, are Australia’s two largest fintech sub-sectors – an outcome that is consistent with findings from last year’s.

Online Lender Prospa Appoints Damon Pezaro as Chief Product Officer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Prospa, an Australian online lender for small businesses, has appointed Damon Pezaro as its first Chief Product Officer.

Pezaro joins Prospa from Domain, where as CPO he led major transformation across the business and, apparently, a dramatic period of growth.

Asia

Asian Fintech Scene ‘Leapfrogging’ Over US In Innovation (Benzinga), Rated: A

While fintech companies proliferate in the United States, driving the expansion of a well-established financial sector with flourishing credit card and personal banking industries, Orchard Platform CEO Matt Burton is turning an eye to the east.

“In a lot of Asia, that doesn’t exist whatsoever,” Burton said at Benzinga’s 2017 Fintech Awards. “The population there are getting loans for the first time ever. There’s no credit bureaus there, so any data set that you’re able to acquire is completely proprietary.”

Matt Burton, CEO of Orchard Platform, at the 2017 Benzinga Global FinTech Awards

Africa

End of the road for mobile money loan defaulters (Standard Media), Rated: AAA

Credit reporting firm TransUnion yesterday said it had introduced into the Kenyan market a mobile score card that profiles borrowers using mobile lending platforms, which it will be sharing with banks and other lenders.

TransUnion Kenya Chief Executive Billy Owino said the Mobile Score Card would enable lenders access predictive and customised risk views while offering consumers alternative access to credit and an opportunity to build a positive credit score.

This wil be made possible by making use of mobile lending platforms. He added that the mobile money ecosystem has outgrown necessity-based transactions and peer-to-peer lending and is now transiting into mobile credit and loans.

Latin America

Two Brazilian Companies Merged to Create a Super Fintech (Crossroads Today), Rated: AAA

Vindi, a Sao Paulo, Brazil-based provider of subscription/recurring billing and payment solutions, merged with Smartbill, a Sao Paulo, Brazil-based provider of a subscription management system.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the merger of the two companies aims to consolidate the market of payments focused on the service sector in Latin America.

Companies like Thomson Reuters, Movile, B2W, Empiricus, Serasa Experian, Buscape, Smartfit, Editora Abril and the most important subscription businesses are using Vindi and Smartbill solutions.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday June 2 2017, Daily News Digest

alternative lending mergers & acquisitions

News Comments Today’s main news: OCC policy on exam treatment of violations goes into effect July 1. Comparisons of Zopa’s IFISA to others. RateSetter hits highest valuation. Seedrs, NatWest partner to offer alternative funding options. Zhong An seeks Hong Kong IPO. Today’s main analysis: Alternative Lending Market Analysis. International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Under the hood of asset-level […]

alternative lending mergers & acquisitions

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Nutter Bank Report, May 2017 (JD Supra), Rated: AAA

Supreme Court Rules That Cities Can Sue Lenders Under the Fair Housing Act

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a decision that reaffirms the standing of municipalities to sue lenders, including banks, for certain discriminatory mortgage lending practices that violate the federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”). The Court’s decision stated that this provision of the FHA “reflects a congressional intent to confer standing broadly,” and held that the city’s claimed injuries are within the FHA’s zone of interests. Click here for a copy of the Court’s decision.

Nutter Notes: Despite the Court’s ruling in favor of the city on the issue of standing, the Court’s ruling on the issue of proximate cause may make it more difficult in the future for cities to sue lenders for FHA violations.

OCC Issues Updated Guidance on Exam Treatment of Violations of Laws and Regulations

The updated policies and procedures direct OCC examiners to communicate violations to supervised institutions using a consistent format consisting of legal citation and description, a summary of relevant statutory or regulatory requirements, facts supporting the violation and root causes, corrective actions required, and board and management’s commitments to corrective action. The updated policies and procedures also emphasize the importance of timely and thorough follow-up and tracking of management’s corrective actions and related milestones. This policy will become effective on July 1, 2017. Click here for a copy of the OCC Bulletin.

Nutter Notes: Specifically, the OCC’s updated policy requires that examiners communicate all substantive violations to the bank in a report of examination (“ROE”) or supervisory letter, including substantive self-identified violations in certain circumstances. Examiners will be required to communicate less substantive OCC-identified violations in a separate written document if the examiners decide not to include them in an ROE or supervisory letter. The updated policy gives examiners discretion to determine whether less substantive, self-identified violations may be communicated separately. The OCC stated that it expects the bank’s board and management to take timely and effective correction of all violations regardless of how they are communicated. According to the updated policy, if management fails to correct a violation previously communicated in a separate written document by the OCC, the examiner should include the violation in the next ROE or supervisory letter. The updated policy also requires examiners to identify violations as “New,” “Self-identified,” or “Repeat,” as applicable.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

FT Partners is pleased to present you with the latest installment of our “CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis.”

FT Partners served as the sole strategic and financial advisor to:

  • here.

    Source: FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis June 2017

    Looking under the hood of Asset-Level Disclosures: Income Verification is just the beginning (LinkedIn), Rated: AAA

    Bloomberg published an article last week focusing on a recent auto loan securitization by Santander Consumer USA Holdings, where only 8% of loans in the ~$1Bn collateral pool had income verification on the borrower.

    At Aspire Financial Technologies, we’re already believers in the power of loan level data to give Investors better visibility, understanding, and decisioning around huge volumes of consumer loans, having created the Aspire Gateway platform for Alternative and Marketplace Lending participants. In this sector, loan-level data is paramount to understanding and decisioning for Investors, and Banks providing credit facilities. So, when we learned of the new securitization ALD data files being made available this year, and a requirement from Investors to be able to consume this data, we saw an opportunity for our data engineers to clean, vet and normalize the XML (text-based) data files and load them into our infrastructure API, which is well-suited to accommodating loan level data. The result of this, was our release of the ALD Explorer in April. (Free access to the ALD Explorer is available here.)

    Although our numbers differ from Moody’s as to the % of loans where income was verified (13% vs. 8%), we note a similar conclusion: the vast majority of ~90k loans had no income verification, and were given to low credit score borrowers (WAVG score = 559).

    This is borne out through looking at another ALD Explorer report on a prime auto securitization: Ford Credit Auto Owner Trust 2017-A. This deal has less than 2% of the loans with income verification, but had a WAVG credit score of 740 (note that we have excluded in this table Credit Score Types that were either Commercial (9,437 occurrences) and Unknown/None (2,276 occurrences)).

    To Deliver on its Promise, Crowdfunding Needs Better Language (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    In Part 1 of this series on How To Fix Crowdfunding Education, I made the case for beginning all crowdfunding education by teaching the core fundamental that cuts across all forms of crowdfunding: participation.

    To begin, we need to be more careful in our use of the word “crowdfunding.”

    Since the passing of the Title III equity crowdfunding rules in the U.S., many who write and speak about equity crowdfunding have stopped using the “equity” part of the phrase. Among other impacts, I’ve watched conversations on LinkedIn forums about rewards crowdfunding strike terror into the hearts of project creators as someone offhandedly introduces the terms “investor” and the “SEC” into the discussion of their campaigns. “Investor” is a particularly problematic word when it is used interchangeably to describe both the people who back rewards campaigns (often described as “investing in a creator’s ideas”) and investment in equity or debt offerings. Even the word “equity” itself is confusing since many securities are not actually equity, but debt. And “rewards” doesn’t come close to expressing the power of this kind of crowdfunding to galvanize communities around ideas.

    Then there is the issue of jargon.

    So if “online” is what distinguishes equity crowdfunding from an IPO (Initial Public Offering), does that mean online lending and online donation are crowdfunding, too? To add to our alphabet soup, there’s the DPO (Direct Public Offering) U.S. investment crowdfunding that predates the JOBS Act, and the CPO (Community Public Offering) the acronym used to describe intrastate crowdfunding offerings in Oregon. And then, there’s the “crowdfunding IPO” the term being floated about in publications the likes of The Wall Street Journal and Fortune to describe Spotify’s potential Direct Public Offering (DPO).

    We need consistency in our language to build trust. Looking around the industry, there is language already in use that we could adopt and use consistently. For example, a recent Forbes article by Devin Thorpe was titled “Investment Crowdfunding: What Works And What Needs Fixing” rather than “equity crowdfunding.” By using the word “investment” or “crowdinvesting” instead of “equity” we can make a clear distinction that participants in this type of crowdfunding are investors, but that not all of these investments result in an equity stake in a business.

    Goldman Sachs’ new online lending business is changing the bank’s culture (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Omer Ismail, the chief operating officer of Marcus by Goldman Sachs, described the online lending business as “more casual” in an interview on the Lend Academy Podcast.

    Ismail believes that some of that more relaxed, creative culture is beginning to find its way into other parts of Goldman Sachs.

    “I was with the chief technology officer of Goldman and I went down to his office a couple of days ago and I noticed that now he has white walls so it’s actually really cool to see how folks at Marcus are actually influencing other parts of Goldman.”

    Top 9 most active VC investors in fintech (Pitch Book), Rated: A

    Since the beginning of last year, 605 US venture investors have participated in at least one fintech transaction, spreading a total of

    NEW FINTECH LEADERS JOIN THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL DATA RIGHTS GROUP (Yodlee), Rated: B

    The Consumer Financial Data Rights (CFDR), an industry group formed by leading companies in the financial sector to support the consumer’s right to access their financial data, has expanded its membership to now include 27 companies. Recent additions include ActiveHours, Clarity, DataCoup, Draft, LifeLock, Morningstar, NextCapital, Onist, Oportun, Petal, Quovo, SnapCheck, Vested, and WorldRemit.

    Kushner-backed Cadre wants to raise $ 65M at $ 800M valuation (The Real Deal), Rated: B

    The Jared Kushner-backed real estate investment platform Cadre is looking to raise $65 million in venture funding.

    The funds, if raised, would give Cadre a valuation of more than $800 million, the Information reported.

    The Token Fund – Enter the Digital Mutual Fund (The Merkle), Rated: B

    The Token Fund is akin to a traditional market mutual, index, or hedge fund.

    So this is a digital fund management group that is aiming to bring non-crypto savvy traders and investors into the digital market, while also providing a service to the veterans users and traders of crypto.

    Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and does not necessarily reflect the views of any employees of The Merkle.

    United Kingdom

    Zopa Innovative Finance ISA: how it works, rates and how it compares (Love Money), Rated: AAA

    Zopa, one of the major peer-to-peer lenders in the UK, has announced it will roll out its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) from 15 June offering returns of up to 6.1%.

    The new Zopa Core deal will join Zopa Plus, while the Zopa Access (offering returns of up to 2.9%) and Zopa Classic (3.7%) deals will close by 1 December 2017.

    Product Risk Markets Target return Minimum Investment Amount*
    Zopa Core IFISA A*, A, B, C 3.9% £1,000
    Zopa Plus IFISA A*, A, B, C, D, E 6.1% £1,000

    The new Zopa Core product will lend in the same risk markets (A*-C) as Access and Classic did, but, crucially – like Zopa Plus which launched in March 2017 – it will not be covered by the Safeguard fund.

    Zopa says it’s scrapping Safeguard as tax laws have changed, allowing investors to claim tax relief from bad debts, so it’s no longer needed, plus it emphasises retiring Safeguard will provide greater expected returns and make products easier to understand.

    Lending Works is Zopa’s closest rival with an IFISA option. It also allows investors to lend to individuals, but it expects lower returns of 3.3% over three years and 4.4% over five years, after fees and bad debts.

    The Crowd for Angels IFISA for example offers returns of up to 9%. This crowdfunding platform raises cash for companies wanting to expand, diversify or develop their business through crowd bonds and shares.

    Rivals in this space include the Crowd2fund IFISA , which can earn you 8.7%, the Crowdstacker IFISA offering rates between 5-7% and LendingCrowd IFISA offering 6% returns.

    Peer-to-peer platforms in this market include Landlord Invest (offering rates of up to 12%), Relendex (10%) and Landbay (3.75%).

    If you’re happy to take on more risk you could try Abundance, an ethical peer-to-peer platform raises money from investors for green energy projects.

    RateSetter hits highest valuation at £200m after recent funding round (Growth Business), Rated: AAA

    RateSetter raised £13 million from existing shareholders, including Woodford Investment Management and Artemis on Tuesday. Since this round of funding, the London-based peer-to-peer lender announced that its valuation now exceeds £200 million. The investment formed its eighth fundraising round, and took RateSetter’s total amount raised in equity to £41.5 million.

    Seedrs teams up with NatWest to offer alternative funding options (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: AAA

    Through the programme, the crowdfunding platform will be joining a panel of funders to provide alternative finance solutions to business and commercial customers of NatWest and RBS in the UK who are unable to access the financial support they need through traditional funding routes.

    Seedrs is currently the only equity-based finance provider on the panel, which features other finance providers such as iwoca, Assetz Capital, Funding Circle, Royal Bank of Scotland Social & Community Capital and Together.

    LendInvest Capital Announces Montello Real Estate Opportunity Fund Milestone (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    LendInvest Capital, a UK-based specialist real estate lender and fund manager, has announced that its flagship private debt fund, the Montello Real Estate Opportunity Fund, is now managing over £100 million ($128m) on behalf of private and institutional clients.

    The Fund hit its three-year track record in January 2017 and surpassed the £100 million milestone at the end this past April, reported LendInvest, “the culmination of a very active year” during which the Fund more than doubled in size (up 113% from  £47m AUM at 30 April 2016 to c. £100M AUM at 30 April 2017). The Fund also had a record quarter for fundraising between January and March of this year, receiving £30 million of new investment.

    Basset & Gold unveils four-year marketplace lending bond (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

    BASSET & GOLD is launching a new four-year bond backed by marketplace lending deals, with regular reinvestment of the interest stream set to deliver higher yields.

    The new debt offering from the direct lending and alternative finance specialist will return a compounding fixed yield of 30.9 per cent at the end of the term, equivalent to an annual return of 7.72 per cent.

    Honeycomb raises £105m from oversubscribed share placing (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

    HONEYCOMB Investment Trust has raised £105m from an oversubscribed share placing, which it will use to capitalise on new business opportunities.

    The alternative finance-focused investment fund said on Wednesday that it had successfully completed its placing of 10 million shares, issued at £10.50 per share.

    Finimize allows you to create a free financial plan from your mobile (This is Money), Rated: A

    Quick, simple, jargon-free – the Finimize My Life plan seeks to sort your finances out, giving you sensible savings goals, investment options and easy plans to pay off debt.

    As many as two-thirds of those aged 18 to 34 wish they had received more money advice at a younger age, according to research from Santander.

    Do you think financial literacy remains a problem then?

    Max: I do. We’ve done some research with YouGov and the results speak for themselves: 59 per cent of millennials could not confidently explain what an Isa is, 84 per cent couldn’t tell you what the term ‘equity’ means and 90 per cent couldn’t confidently explain what ‘asset management’ is.

    Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 50 per cent were not confident explaining ANY of the financial terms listed in the survey.

    Why do you think managing our personal finances has been hard for millennials? 

    Max: It is unsurprising that financial literacy levels are so low amongst my generation. We were never taught these terms in school and it can be daunting to try and plan your financial life when you feel in the dark about how the industry works.

    Do millennials have money to save and invest? 

    Max: Yes. It comes down to confidence: of the millennials we surveyed, 52 per cent of those with between £10,000 and £24,999 of savings do not feel confident explaining what an Isa is.

    How does it work?

    Max: Once you’ve registered with Finimize you enter a few simple personal details.

    These include your country of residence, age, salary, savings, passive income, spare income, whether you own a house (this is a yes or no question), if you have income protection and whether you have any bad debt such as credit cards or personal loans.

    Once a user has provided the basic inputs, the platform generates a financial plan for someone like you.

    Would you take financial advice from a robot at your bank? (The Telegraph), Rated: A

    HSBC has become the latest of the major banks to announce a low-cost online investment service that will use algorithms to match customers to an investment portfolio.

    The service is aimed at those with less than £15,000 to invest, and the bank promised costs would be “far lower than industry standards”.

    The services typically take customers through a questionnaire online to get a picture of their finances and determine how much risk they are willing to take, before advising which investments to put their money in.

    NatWest launched its Invest service in February to its existing customers. The service offers five funds run by Coutts & Co, each with a different portion in stocks, bonds and cash. It charges investors 0.95pc on the first £500,000 they invest and then 0.7pc on any investments above that amount.

    Barclays users pay 0.2pc on money held in funds and 0.1pc on all other investments, with a minimum fee of £4 a month and maximum of £125 per month. Fund and other investment trading costs £3 and £6 respectively if completed online.

    P2P Lender Wellesley Retrenches After Departure of CFO Alasdair Lenman (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

    Wellesley has entered a period of retrenchment as CFO Alasdair Lenman has departed the company after less than a year on the job. The Wellesley Group consists of Wellesley & Co Ltd, Wellesley Finance Plc and Wellesley Group Investors Ltd.

    Stephen Bell, Wellesley’s Chief Risk Officer, updated on the performance of their loans including non-performing assets;

    “The Wellesley loan book continues to evolve and now stands at 65 loans with combined committed facilities of £271 million. During 2016 the drawn balanced increased by 10% to £163.6 million which was made up of new loans and additional drawdowns on existing loans of £118.6 million.”

    China

    China’s Zhong An aims to raise at least $ 1 billion in Hong Kong IPO – sources (Reuters), Rated: AAA

    Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, has resumed a plan to raise $1 billion or more in a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of this year, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

    Zhong An, whose major shareholders include Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) affiliate Ant Financial, plans to apply for listing in the coming weeks, said one of the people, who declined to be identified as the matter is confidential.

    The Shanghai-based insurer chose Credit Suisse, JPMorgan and UBS in October to lead the IPO, but later suspended the plan to explore a mainland listing.

    Research on Financial Inclusion and Poverty Reduction in China (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

    Case study 1: CFPA MicroFinance

    • As of Dec 2016, CFPA Microfinance currently has branches in 229 counties and 18 provinces throughout China, and 85% of the branches are located in areas designated by the Central or Local Governments as poverty stricken counties.
    • As of Nov 2016, CFPA Microfinance has disbursed loans valued at RMB CNY 18.4 billion ($2.7 billion) to 1.61 million clients, with average loan size of CNY 11,000 ($1,620). 62% of all loans have been deployed for the purpose of raising livestock, breeding fish and farming and etc.
    • Approximately 3 million low-income villagers have received microloans from CFPA Microfinance for improving their livelihood and raising local production.

    Social development:

    • 91% of all CFPA Microfinance clients are women
    • At least 80% of CFPA Microfinance clients would not have been able to borrow from anywhere else, according to a survey by the China Agriculture University and China Academy of Social Sciences
    • 49 out of the 53 CFPA Microfinance operating outlets are in China’s Nationally Designated Poverty Countries, the poorest areas in the country.

    Case study 2: Ant Financial

    When it comes to poverty alleviation, Ant Financial chose CFPA Microfinance to partner with.

    With the two parties cooperation in technology and channels, it is possible that when a farmer needs to borrow money, the lending decision would be made based on big data, rather than the information collected by loan officers.

    Research shows that, by the measure of “digital financial inclusion index” created by Prof. Huang Yiping, the condition of underdeveloped areas in China in 2015 are relatively better off compared with five years ago.

    Case study 3: CreditEase

    CreditEase’s efforts in financial inclusion to reduce poverty can be best illustrated by the example of Yinongdai.

    What Yinongdai does is that it helps to match “charitable lenders” with impoverished credible rural borrowers. To be more specific, “charitable lenders” can choose a farmer’s project and “donate” at least RMB 100 ($14.70), and lenders can get roughly 2% return annually.

    For over the seven years, Yinongdai has collected over 200 million RMB ($29 million) from 150,000 lenders, and helped about 20,000 needy farmers, Tang Ning said in an interview in Apr 2017.

    The shortage of financial services in China’s rural areas amounts to $ 447 billion. (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

    According to data from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the market space of rural finance in China reached to $447 billion since 2014. With policy supports on rural finance and the maturing and saturation of the urban financial market, there comes up an attractive blue ocean market in rural finance.

    In recent years, many participants have flooded into rural market, including traditional financial institutions, agriculture service providers, as well as e-commerce platform and internet finance companies, but few of them succeed.

    Up to now, the traditional institutions such as rural credit cooperatives are still the main force to serve rural areas, however, it could not meet the capital needs of farmers’ production and livelihood.

    Source

    Blockchain Startup Wyre Acquires Remitsy for China Market Push (CoinDesk), Rated: B

    Blockchain payments startup Wyre has acquired industry startup Remitsy in a cash and equity deal of an undisclosed amount.

    According to CEO Michael Dunworth, it was Remitsy’s close proximity to China’s market that was the chief factor prompting the move. (Remitsy uses a combination of blockchain technology and banking relationships to convert user currencies for China-based users).

    European Union

    Robo-Advisor Ginmon receives asset management license (EXtra Magazin), Rated: A

    The Frankfurt-based Robo-Advisor Ginmon has now received the license from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, BaFin) for financial portfolio management pursuant to section 32 of the German Banking Act (KWG). Up to now, the digital asset management had only one permission for financial intermediaries according to §34f of the trade regulations.

    International

    International P2P Lending Volumes May 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

    Milestones reached this month are:

    • Assetz Capital crosses 250 million GBP lent sinch launch
    • Lendinvest reaches 1 billion GBP in origination since launch

    Australia

    Robo-advice for SMSFs: what accountants need to know (In the Black), Rated: A

    Accountants referring clients to robo-advice tools need to be wary of licensing constraints.

    We understand that a number of accountants who have chosen to operate without an AFS licence authorisation have entered into arrangements with digital financial advice providers (or “robo-advisers”) to allow their clients to access digital advice about SMSFs.

    Under these arrangements, accountants refer their clients who need financial product advice (for example, about whether or not to establish an SMSF), to a digital advice tool which can provide that advice.

    While digital advice providers might indicate that their tools can be used in such a way that unlicensed accountants who refer clients to the tools would not be providing financial services, this may not always be the case.

    India

    Flipkart will soon offer customers financial products and services (VC Circle), Rated: A

    Homegrown e-commerce major Flipkart is mulling over providing financial products and services online, a segment that has seen tremendous growth in India in the last few years.

    A dedicated team for financial services and products is already in place and lead product manager for fintech and consumer credit products at Flipkart, Monomita Roy Avasarala, has already initiated talks with online lending startups, the report said.

    Flipkart would offer mutual funds and insurance products besides credit and loans, the publication reported citing undisclosed sources.

    Google Launchpad picks 6 startups from India, shows love for AI (Tech in Asia), Rated: B

    This is the only fintech startup from India to make it to the latest Launchpad batch. IndiaLends – like the name suggests – is a lending product.

    It offers personal loans, free credit reports, home loans, and credit cards to consumers. You can check your loan eligibility using the IndiaLends app, which can also alert you when an EMI is due and help you manage and track all your credit accounts as well as monthly spending. IndiaLends uses artificial intelligence tech for credit rating, loan eligibility, and so on.

    Asia

    e-payments make advances in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong (The Asset), Rated: A

    Bank Negara Malaysia, the central bank, on May 22 announced the merger of Malaysian Electronic Clearing Corporation (MyClear) and Malaysian Electronic Payment System (MEPS) to form Payments Network Malaysia or PayNet.

    On May 5 DBS introduced its Smart Nation Ambassador Programme (SNAP). The programme will see DBS recruiting up to 1,000 ambassadors that will encourage small, cash-based merchants to adopt DBS PayLah! QR codes as a payment method in Singapore.

    Bank of China Hong Kong and WeChat Pay Hong Kong announced a collaboration to promote mobile payments in Hong Kong, on May 19.

    Swift introduced a new cross-border payments tracker that enables international payments to be traced in real-time on May 23.

    Japan looks to double cashless payments in 10 years (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: A

    Cash-heavy Japan aims to double digital payments to 40% in the next decade by helping metropolitan-area businesses afford cashless services to better attract foreign visitors and open their wallets.

    The goal, set by the Financial Services Agency and the industry ministry, will be part of a plan to promote fintech, the intersection of finance and information technology, in a growth strategy to be compiled in June. The move is also a step toward better accommodating foreign tourists, with an eye toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    Japan’s current 19% rate of cashless payments is less than half the over-50% level seen in nations including South Korea and China, but the targeted 40% rate would put it roughly on par with the U.S.

    Broken down by industry, around 90% of Japan’s lodging facilities accept card payments, compared with roughly 70% of supermarkets and just half of taxis.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 31st, Daily News Digest

Wednesday May 31st, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Behind the scenes as Orchard platform struggles, Earnest Prices $175 million Securitization, Peer-to-peer lender Wellesley & Co. pauses origination, RateSetter raises funds as it prepares to list, China Minsheng Investment leads $262m pre-IPO Today’s main analysis : LendingClub Files Presentation in Advance of Annual Shareholders Meeting, Parallels to the High Yield Bond Market, Today’s thought-provoking articles: Blackrock’s Consumer […]

Wednesday May 31st, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Korea

Australia

India

Singapore

News Summary

United States

Victory Park Capital sells Funding Circle US and Upstart loans, (Peer2Peer), Rated: AAA

The London-listed investment trust said that the loans sold represented 3.65 per cent and 1.48 per cent respectively of the company’s net asset value (NAV) as of 31 March. The firm said it will retain its non-performing Funding Circle US and Upstart loans, which represented 0.68 per cent and 0.21 per cent respectively of NAV as of 31 March 2017.

VPC announced in November 2016 that it was winding down its P2P lending portfolio, after losses triggered substantial writedowns.

Taking into account the loan sales, the company’s balance sheet investments accounted for 63 per cent of the NAV as of 31 March 2017, as compared to 17 per cent for the marketplace loans.

“The company expects to re-invest substantially all of the sale proceeds into balance sheet investments, as well as other strategic uses,” it said in a stock exchange announcement on Friday.

Fintech has peaked, claims Morgan Stanley report, (Alt Fi News), Rated:AAA

In a pessimistic new report, researchers from Morgan Stanley have concluded that while fintech companies style themselves as disruptors they will do more to strengthen than undermine incumbents in the long term.

“Only five disruptors have survived as standalone entities out of over 450 fintech firms launched during the dotcom era,” the report said.

Fintech has been most promising in areas lacking infrastructure and where established players have been weakest. This was particularly true of blockchain and robo-advice.

However, these trends are reversing as major financial institutions have started building their own robo-advisors and acquiring blockchain startups.

“Independent start-ups in the robo-advisor space will struggle to be profitable given the high cost of acquisition and intensifying competition.

“We think however that established financial advisors, banks, insurers, etc. will keep automating parts of their value chain…to improve the infrastructure for established incumbents.”

“Marketplace lenders are poised to grow at a… moderate pace leveraging traditional institutions as primary sources of capital; in essence serving as a more efficient customer acquisition and servicing channel for traditional lenders.

“We remain bullish on the potential for marketplace lenders to take share, as they benefit from regulatory arbitrage and changing consumer behavior.”

Behind the Scenes at Orchard Platform, a Struggle to Innovatete, (NY Times), Rated: AAA

“We’re launching a full marketplace from scratch,” Mr. Burton said a few months later, at Orchard’s Flatiron district office, and we “hope everyone shows up.” But they didn’t.

More than a year after Mr. Burton revealed his big plans, Orchard has completed just a scattering of transactions. Over that time, it burned through more than $5 million in legal fees and other expenses.

Next month, hoping to add momentum, Orchard plans to unveil a scaled-back version of the platform, eight months later than first planned.

But regardless of the company’s fate, its struggles thus far reveal just how hard it can be for a new entrant — even one with successful founders, a promising service and big-name investors — to break into a highly regulated industry.

Seeking financial expertise, Orchard recruited a few Wall Street veterans from Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns. In late spring of last year, Mr. Burton had more than a dozen roadshow meetings with executives from the largest loan platforms, including Lending Club, Prosper Marketplace and Social Finance.

He hoped to charge them monthly fees of $2,500 to $5,000 to participate. Orchard also offered them the ability to be its “data partners,” so Orchard could standardize their data for trading purposes — which Mr. Burton called “the big heavy lift.”

Orchard also enlisted the help of Meredith Cross, a lawyer at WilmerHale and the former head of corporate finance at the Securities and Exchange Commission, as it met with Wall Street regulators.

But in July, S.E.C. officials told Orchard that they would consider loans being traded as securities, potentially imposing a tougher level of oversight. That made some lenders nervous about participating. Some lenders were also concerned about exposing investors they had cultivated to loans from competitors.

“We do not have a current need for a trading platform,” said Ryan Rosett, a chief executive of Credibly, which offers small-business loans. “Our capital markets team has the ability to sell our loans directly to a pool of institutional investors.”

Orchard was also fighting a separate headwind. The broader market for online loans was being buffeted by higher consumer loan defaults and investor fears. Some online lenders cut staff members, and others shut down as loan growth dried up.

As Orchard X struggled to get going, he said, legal documents for trades had “ballooned to 150 pages from a 20-page contract,” leaving him exasperated. “I’m a tech guy!” he said.

As it moves forward, Orchard has played down the regulatory issue, proceeding without an explicit formal S.E.C. ruling on whether the loans are securities. It is a potentially risky move, but one the company believes will work in part because it has dropped its goal of legal standardization, cutting the need for lending platforms to agree on regulation issues. The S.E.C. declined to comment.

In January, Orchard X arranged its first sale of about $30 million in loans from an ailing platform, a small-business lender called CAN Capital. The auction took a lengthy four weeks to complete. But Orchard X did receive a fee of 0.5 percent of the sale price.

Looking back, Mr. Burton said on April 4, Orchard should not have tried to persuade lenders to join the trading platform all at once. Having raised $30 million in 2015, Orchard plans to announce next month that it has raised an additional $20 million or more and to formally roll out its revised Orchard X transaction platform.

LendingClub Files Presentation in Advance of Annual Shareholders Meeting, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The file can be found here.

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) has filed a new form with the SEC (DEF 14A) in advance of the annual shareholders meeting which is scheduled to take place on June 6, 2017. The addition to the Annual Meeting Proxy Statement, a standard filing, includes a presentation on the company asking shareholders to support Director nominees, executive compensation and ratification of the auditor.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the filing is the synopsis of the events in 2016 that led to the departure of founding CEO Renaud Laplanche and the ensuing aftershocks that pummeled the online lender.

Law firm-issued collections letters continue to pose high risks, (Pepper Hamilton), Rated: AAA

The CFPB has pursued lawsuits, as well as formal enforcement actions, concerning misrepresentations of attorney involvement in debt collection-related communications.

On April 17, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit in Ohio district court against the Weltman, Weinburg & Reis law firm (WWR), alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) stemming from the firm’s issuance of debt collection demand letters. The CFPB’s allegations against WWR closely resemble the FDCPA allegations that were considered by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Jones v. Dufek, 830 F.3d 523 (D.C. Cir. 2016). Dufek also concerned a debt collection letter that was sent by an attorney acting as a debt collector and not as legal counsel. On March 20, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Dufek plaintiff’s petition for a writ of certiorari to review the Court of Appeals’ decision in favor of the defendant attorney/collector. Notwithstanding Dufek, however, debt collectors and first-party creditors are well-advised to be extremely diligent when using law firms as debt collectors.

In actuality, the CFPB’s complaint alleges that “no attorney had assessed any consumer-specific information . . . [a]nd no attorney had made any individual determination that the consumer owed the debt, that a specific letter should be sent to the consumer, that a consumer should receive a [collections] call, or that the account was a candidate for litigation.” Thus, according to the CFPB, the subject letters contained numerous misrepresentations that violated both the FDCPA and the prohibitions of the Consumer Financial Protection Act against unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices.

The specific deficiencies cited in the CFPB’s complaint against WWR include the fact that subject letters were printed on law firm letterhead, which prominently included the phrase “ATTORNEYS AT LAW” (in bold type and in all caps) and included the law firm’s name in the signature line.

In determining whether the Dufek letter violated the FDCPA as a false, deceptive or misleading representation, the Court of Appeals noted, as a threshold matter, that “if an attorney is acting only as a debt collector and has not formed a legal opinion about the case, he or she cannot send a letter [stating or implying] otherwise” without misleading the recipient/debtor..

Misrepresentations regarding attorney involvement in collections letters and other communications continue to be a “hot button” issue with the CFPB. The collections letters targeted in the CFPB’s lawsuit against WWR are distinguishable from the letter at issue in Dufek in that the Dufek letter included a disclaimer regarding the attorney’s review of the underlying account. Yet, the CFPB’s complaint against WWR can be read as implying that the use of attorney letterhead and the inclusion of the law firm’s name in the signature line were per se improper.

Earnest Prices $ 175 million Securitization of Refinanced Student Loans; Achieves AA (High) Rating by DBRS, (Market Wired), Rated: A

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – May 24, 2017) – Earnest today announced the close of the $175 million Earnest 2017-A transaction backed by refinanced student loans. The offering received an AA (high) rating on the senior notes by DBRS which is now only one notch below the highest attainable rating of AAA. The transaction was three-times oversubscribed and traded at the tight end of market guidance.

Earnest has now completed five securitizations of refinanced student loans since February 2016 for a total value of over $877 million. In 15 months, the company has increased its rating on the senior notes from A to AA (high), a progression that often takes several years. This speaks to the quality of the underlying collateral and the advancement Earnest has made as a programmatic issuer in the capital markets.

“This marks another strong securitization for Earnest, providing us the opportunity to welcome new investors and continue building our capital markets program. We’re thrilled at the appetite and investor confidence in our offerings,” said Louis Beryl, CEO and co-founder of Earnest.

Elastic line of credit surpasses $ 200 million in outstanding loans, (Email), Rated: A

More than $680 million funded and 155,000 customers served since 2013 validates need for expanded access to credit in the U.S.

FORT WORTH, TX – May 31, 2017 – Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the Elastic product has surpassed $200 million in total principal outstandings, with more than 120,000 open accounts.

Elastic, a bank-issued line of credit offered by Republic Bank & Trust Company (“Republic Bank”), has loaned over $680 million dollars to more than 155,000 customers, since its launch in 2013. The $200 million in total principal outstandings includes the 10% of outstandings Republic Bank retains. Elastic passed the $100 million in outstandings mark in May 2016.

About Elevate
Elevate (NYSE: ELVT) has originated $4 billion in non-prime credit to more than 1.6 million consumers to date. Its responsible, tech-enabled online credit solutions provide immediate relief to customers today and help them build a brighter financial future. The company is committed to rewarding borrowers’ good financial behavior with features like interest rates that can go down over time, free financial training and free credit monitoring. Elevate’s suite of groundbreaking credit products includes RISE, Elastic and Sunny. For more information, please visit .

Interest Rates on Connext™ Private Student Loans Decrease as Federal Student Loan Rates are Set to Rise, (Email), Rated: A

ReliaMax®, the complete private student lending solutions provider, today announced that the banks and alternative lenders participating in the Connext® Private Student Loan program will lower the interest rates on those loans. EffectiveJune 1, 2017, the lowest rates for variable- and fixed-interest rate Connext® loans for undergraduate and graduate programs will be reduced to 2.87 percent APR* and 5.40 percent APR*, respectively, and the borrower will not be charged an origination fee.

Federal student loan interest rates on new loans are scheduled to increase on July 1 for the 2017-2018 school year. These interest rates are adjusted each year based on the annual Treasury Department auction plus a set percentage amount added for each type of loan program. According to 

Blackrock’s Consumer ABS ETF and Parallels to the High Yield Bond Market, (PeerIQ Email), Rated: AAA

Shares of Lending Club and OnDeck surged last Monday 3.9% and 9.5% respectively, on reporting from the

MPOWER Financing Secures Add-on Investment from 1776 Ventures, (Email), Rated: A

MPOWER Financing (www.mpowerfinancing.com) announced today that 1776 Ventures (www.1776.vc) has doubled-down its investment in the company with an additional $500,000 investment ahead of MPOWER’s planned Series B for this summer. 1776 Ventures is an investment fund focused on seed-stage investments seeking to transform complex industries. In addition to being seed and Series A round investors, their partners have also served as a mentor and close advisor to MPOWER Financing.
MPOWER Financing is an innovative fintech company and provider of educational loans to high-promise international students who do not fit the traditional credit criteria of banks or lenders.

SoFi and JetBlue Help Customers Managing Student Loans Earn Reward Travel, (PR News Wire), Rated: B

Through the partnership, JetBlue’s TrueBlue members who refinance their student loans with SoFi will now earn 1 TrueBlue® point for every $2 they refinance through the lender, up to 50,000 points. With average monthly savings of $288*, refinancing student loans with SoFi frees up extra money that members can use to pursue travel plans, save and invest for the future, or buy a home.