Thursday September 26 2019, Weekly News Digest

LendingClub eligibility

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi intros crypto trading. Investors locked out of LendingClub in 4 states. Funding Circle asks US regulators to folow UK’s model. Fundbox raises $176M. Klarna surpasses 12M transactions per year. Today’s main analysis: U.S. subprime auto loan ABS recession scenarios (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Recession talk cooling. Consumers with […]

The post Thursday September 26 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

LendingClub eligibility

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

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News Summary

United States

SoFi Introduces Crypto Trading With SoFi Invest (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it has added crypto trading to its fast-growing SoFi Invest platform, as a response to demand from its over 800,000 members. SoFi Invest is now the first platform to offer automated and active investing with stocks, ETFs, and crypto through a single app.

SoFi Adds Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum to Invest Platform (Cheddar), Rated: A

SoFi goes live with crypto trading service for its over 800K users (The Block), Rated: B

SoFi users can initially buy and sell three cryptocurrencies – bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and litecoin (LTC). The Block first reported the story last week, saying that the firm is beta testing the service in partnership with Coinbase.

SoFi CEO on what’s next for the company (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Sofi CEO Anthony Noto joins The First Trade to discuss what’s next for the company.

Watch the video here.

Charlie Lee {LTC} praises SoFi as crypto-investing with Litecoin kicks-off (Our Bitcoin News), Rated: A

Litecoin is ranked at #6 underneath Tether, as well as Bitcoin Cash, in the market. The price jumped up at a rate of 0.60% in the course of the past 24-hours. This led to LTC scaling all the way up to $57.03 where it presently rests. The trading volume recorded stands at roughly $2.957 billion, whereas the supply has 63,337,479 LTC coins included as part of circulation. The total market cap of Litecoin amounts to $3.612 billion which depicts a massive decline compared to the value attained a week back.

SoFi CEO: Start investing in your 20s (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto discusses how his company’s consumers can now buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

SoFi Refunds Investors Hit By Capital Gains from Proprietary ETFs (ETF Trends), Rated: A

Financial technology company SoFi is offering refunds to investors hit by capital gains taxes following the change of replacing Vanguard funds with their proprietary ETFs in certain portfolios managed by their robo-adviser.

Some Investors Locked Out of Investing in LendingClub Loans (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Over the last 24 hours we’ve received several messages from Lend Academy readers alerting us that they have received information that they are no longer able to invest in LendingClub notes. There is is also an active discussion on the Lend Academy forum.

LendingClub state eligibility as of 9/24/2019. Source: Lend Academy

Funding Circle urges US regulators to follow UK model (P2p Financ News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle’s US division is urging the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to amend its restrictions on peer-to-peer retail investment.

The US financial regulator limits annual investment to five per cent of an investor’s annual income if their yearly income or net worth is under $107,000 (£86,075), rising to 10 per cent if the investor earns more than that.

Two Franchise Trends Aspiring Franchisees Should Look Out For (Forbes), Rated: A

Over the past 14 years, I’ve coached more than 1,500 people who were searching for the best franchise for their situation. I recently read the 2019 Small Business Trends 

Fintech Fundbox raises $ 176M to lend to business using AI (Information Management), Rated: AAA

Fintech Fundbox Inc. has raised $176 million in a new funding round from investors including Allianz SE and General Catalyst. The company planned to announce the funding along with a new $150 million credit facility.

A Fundbox spokesman said the new round valued the company at between $500 million and $1 billion, but would not disclose the exact valuation.

U.S. Subprime Auto Loan ABS: Evaluating Recession Scenarios (DBRS), Rated: AAA

Summary Highlights

  • Under the hypothetical Recession Scenarios, DBRS found that credit enhancement (excluding excess spread) coverage of remaining expected losses, as determined by a multiple calculation, decreased at the inception of the hypothetical recession for all of the Sample Transactions. The senior debt tranches experienced a swift deleveraging whereas some of the subordinated debt tranches could be at risk for a potential downgrade during the hypothetical Recession Scenarios.
  • After the initial decline in the multiple calculations at inception of the hypothetical Recession Scenarios, the deleveraging nature of the sequential pay structures of the transactions resulted in the calculated multiples for the analyzed debt tranches to move into the multiple range corresponding to the original rating of the debt tranche over varying lengths of time. The multiples for some of the debt tranches originally rated BB were weaker and moved into the BB range at a slower pace. As a result, those tranches would be more likely to be considered for a potential downgrade as compared to the more senior debt tranches where the structures delevered more quickly and the multiples reached the range corresponding to the original rating over a generally shorter period.
  • Over the life of the Sample Transactions, the credit enhancement multiples for all of the debt tranches analyzed, some on a delayed basis, ultimately moved into the AAA rating multiple range.
  • In each of the Recession Scenarios, the structure of each of the transactions provided sufficient credit enhancement for timely payment of interest and ultimate payment of principal of all debt tranches.
Source: DBRS

Read the full report here.

A Cooling in Recession Talk, Heat Up in Housing (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Lower rates, improved credit scores, and tighter housing inventory are improving the outlook for housing. Housing market achieved an 18-month high in housing starts and a record high in FICO scores.

The Citigroup Economic Surprise Index – a measure of actuals vs economist’s expectations – has also registered readings above the neutral baseline suggesting slowdown fears may be exaggerated.

Source: PeerIQ, CitiGroup

Consumers with Significant Liquidity Needs Often Access Alternative and Traditional Credit Markets Concurrently (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Many lenders believe that consumers who turn to the alternative credit market for liquidity do so because they have no other options. However, a TransUnion study presented today at the Lend360 conference found that these borrowers are frequently applying for and receiving traditional credit at the same time. While traditional subprime installment lenders and alternative lenders are competing over the same consumers, the study finds that the liquidity need is often not fully met in either market.

Source: TransUnion

Risk Levels Higher for Traditional and Alternative Loan Borrowers

Controlling for risk score, 8.5% of the alternative credit-active consumers had a serious delinquency in the first 12 months, vs. just over 2% for the control group. Bankcard performance was also worse. While these borrowers exhibited a preference for unsecured personal loans under $1,500 within 12 months of the alternative credit origination, they also originated auto and bankcard credit during that time.

Read the full report here.

Lendio to Double Sales Force, Expand Loan Product Offerings (Benzinga), Rated: A

Lendio today announced plans to double the sales force at its Lehi, Utah, and Woodbury, New York, offices. The company has hired 80 employees in 2019, and intends to add another 40 sales representatives by the end of the year, with plans to bring on another 40 in the first quarter of 2020. In addition to the expanding workforce, Lendio plans to bolster its selection of loan products for small businesses, with a 10% increase in the number of product offerings in the coming year.

Fintech lenders taking more market share from banks, survey finds (American Banker), Rated: A

Fintechs are continuing to siphon away customers for unsecured personal loans from traditional lenders, according to a study released Wednesday by Experian.

The study found that digital lenders more than doubled their market share in the past four years, with consumers across the credit spectrum increasingly turning to fintechs like Lending Club and Social Finance.

Fintechs now provide 49.4% of unsecured personal loans as of March compared to 22.4% in 2015, according to Experian.

Fintech Lenders Could Hold the Keys to Recession Recovery (Salon), Rated: A

Born out of the last recession, young fintech lenders have not yet been tested by a significant economic storm, and many in the industry are wrapped up in a dialogue of speculation about the industry’s ability to ride out an impending recession. It’s time to turn the conversation instead to focus on how fintech lenders can position themselves to play a critical role in recovery from the next downturn, whenever it may happen.

WeWork should ask SoFi CEO for advice on how to save the company (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

The two new guys running the slowly sinking ship known as once hot tech startup WeWork should give SoFi CEO Anthony Noto a holla on his Apple iPhone. Trust me, Noto has some good, timely advice for Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham.

Because the former Goldman Sachs banker and Twitter chief financial officer, now SoFi chief clearly gets how to rebuild a promising tech startup after a high-profile challenge or two. And then possibly, take it down the path of a successful initial public offering.

Generation Z’ers want more financial education – and innovative tools to help them learn (PR Newswire), Rated: A

As high school students return to school, they may see the benefits of new state laws across the country that require curriculums to offer a class about personal finance. This is great news for young adults as 76% of recent high school graduates agree it should be required, according to a national survey by Experian.

Many Gen Z’ers surveyed say innovative tools are the way to go when it comes to learning about credit (45%) and almost half (48%) would prefer to use tech-driven tools versus textbooks to learn more.

Survey respondents also say they are currently learning about finances mostly through their friends (28%), YouTube (27%) and some form of social media (24%).

D.C. Court Dismisses Challenge to OCC’s Fintech Charter (Manatt), Rated: A

In the latest battle over the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC’s) plan to issue special purpose national bank (SPNB) charters, a D.C. federal judge has for a second time dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS).

The decision creates the potential for circuit split, as a New York federal court reached the opposite conclusion in a nearly identical action filed by the state’s Department of Financial Services (DFS).

9 Ways To Build an Empire Without Lifting a Finger (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Another way to build your real estate empire is through real estate crowdfunding. As with investing in a REIT, real estate crowdfunding allows you to pool your money with other investors to invest in real estate. This could include multifamily units, commercial properties and bundles of single-family homes.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the top real estate crowdfunding platforms are ArborCrowd, RealCrowd, Groundfloor, CrowdStreet, PeerStreet, Small Change and RealtyMogul.

If you can afford the minimum investment — which is usually $25,000 — you can make big returns. Groundfloor boasts 10% returns for individual investors and CrowdStreet’s is even higher with 25.5% total average annual returns across all fully realized deals.

RealCrowd offers a breakdown of average annual income on a $1 million investment based on the property type: $78,000 for a suburban office, $72,000 for a retail space, $59,000 for a downtown office and $58,000 for a multifamily unit.

The Best And Worst MA Towns For Young Families (Patch), Rated: A

The online mortgage broker Lending Tree has tried to take some of the guess work out of that decision by ranking every community in Massachusetts with 5,000 or more residents based on their appeal to families with school-age children.

Hingham, under Lending Tree’s methodology, received a score of 72.5. Last-place Webster’s score was 31.9. Other towns in the top 10 included Winchester, Needham, Milton, Longmeadow, Wellesley, Cochituate, Pinehurst, Lexington and Nantucket.

JPMorgan donates $ 25M to get fintech in hands of underbanked (American Banker), Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase announced Tuesday a $25 million commitment to the Financial Health Network’s Financial Solutions Lab, a program meant to focus on the creation of fintech tools to help consumers better manage their finances.

The Financial Health Network (formerly The Center for Financial Services Innovation) previously received a $30 million philanthropic donation from the bank that spanned the last five years.

Bitcoin and Ethereum dive deep, is Bakkt to blame? (Mashable), Rated: A

“The disappointing BAKKT opening signals to the crypto community that institutions are less ready to invest in BTC at scale than was supposed, which means the price was probably too high and due for a correction. What we’ve just seen is short sellers and momentum traders piling on to make things worse, and now here we are back at support,” Alex Mashinsky, CEO at crypto lending and depository company Celsius Network, told Mashable in an emailed statement.

STRATA Trust Company Reaches $ 2 Billion AUC Milestone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

STRATA Trust Company (“STRATA”), a custodian dedicated to the complexity of holding alternative investments in tax-advantaged, self-directed retirement accounts, announced today that the firm has surpassed $2 billion in assets under custody. STRATA offers access to a range of asset classes that include private equity, private debt, real estate, crowdfunding, structured settlements and more. Since 2008, STRATA has been committed to empowering investors and the investment community with wider diversification and alternative asset custody solutions in retirement portfolios by delivering industry-leading service, education and support.

Online Pawn Lending Goes Back Offline (Business Wire), Rated: A

Prominent online lender Borro Private Finance unexpectedly ceased its collateral-based lending program this summer after nearly ten years of business. The UK-US-based establishment specialized in online pawn loans against valuable assets, including fine art, jewelry, and watches. Borro’s discontinuation of its operations comes nearly two years after the company’s withdrawal from the bridge loan market in July 2017.

Eleventh Circuit Tosses Online Lender’s Forum Selection, Class Waiver Clauses (Lexology), Rated: A

Siding with six consumers who filed suit asserting violations of state usury laws against online lenders, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh…

Marqeta Hires Vidya Peters As First Chief Marketing Officer, as Company Continues to Build Out Expansive Global Vision (Business Wire), Rated: B

Marqeta, the first global modern card issuing platform, today announced the addition of Chief Marketing Officer Vidya Peters to its executive team.

White Oak Commercial Finance Acquires Veritas Financial Partners’ Asset-Based Loan Portfolio (ABL Advisor), Rated: A

White Oak Commercial Finance (“White Oak”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, announced today it has purchased a portfolio of asset-based loans from Veritas Financial Partners, a Boca Raton, FL based specialty finance company.

Alchemy Technology And Equifax Partner To Drive FinTech Innovation (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Alchemy Technology Inc. and  Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) today announced a new partnership to drive FinTech innovation. The relationship is designed to help banks, specialty financing firms and FinTech startups accelerate their time to market with easily deployable white labeled lending solutions. The two companies will make the “tech” in FinTech available to organizations of all sizes with a powerful combination of the Alchemy Lending Operating System and Equifax data analytics, credit, identity and income verification solutions.

Ex-Goldman Sachs Managing Director Joins Lendingblock as Strategic Advisor (Lendingblock), Rated: B

Lendingblock, the regulated, open exchange for institutional borrowing and lending of digital assets, today announces the appointment of John Macpherson as a strategic advisor.

CoreLogic Credco Integrates its Three-Bureau PreQual Solution with eLEND Solutions (CoreLogic), Rated: B

CoreLogic, a global provider of property information, insight, analytics and data-enabled solutions, today announced that CoreLogic Credco integrated its Three-Bureau PreQual credit report and score solution on eLEND Solutions, an automotive technology company specializing in online and in-store credit and finance solutions. The integration of the prequalification solution gives CoreLogic Credco customers who use eLEND instant, single-source access to a consumer’s credit report and FICO score from all three national credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion or Equifax.

Tavant Named to 2019 IDC FinTech Rankings (Business Wire), Rated: B

Tavant, a Silicon Valley-based provider of AI-powered digital lending technologies, announced today it has been named to the 2019 IDC FinTech Rankings, the most comprehensive vendor ranking within the financial services industry.

United Kingdom

Klarna Surpasses 12M Transactions This Year (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

FinTech payments disruptor Klarna has announced the start of its “No drama, just Klarna” retail campaign in partnership with 13 brands in the U.K., the company said in a press release on Wednesday (Sept. 25).

Klarna offers “pay later” payment options and attracts 50,000 new users each week. The startup said that in the past year, it has processed 12 million transactions. In August, more than 100,000 U.K. shoppers downloaded the Klarna app.

Klarna reports surge in payments, merchant growth during first half of 2019 (Mobile Payments Today), Rated: A

Klarna, a London based installment financing provider and challenger bank, said it surpassed 3 million active users in the U.K. and 170,000 retail merchants worldwide.

Brits hit financial maturity at 31 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE age at which UK men and women finally feel secure in their finances is 31, according to Zopa.

The survey showed a clear split between age groups, with 21 to 25 year-olds believing 32 would be the age when they finally felt good about their finances, while those age 26 to 30 were less optimistic about the future, saying they would reach money maturity at 38.

OakNorth Bank completes £20m loan to specialist lending fund (London Loves Property), Rated: A

OakNorth Bank, the UK bank powered by OakNorth, has provided a £20m loan to the RAW Mortgage Fund, a specialist fund providing buy-to-let property loans against residential real estate in the UK.

Wonga borrowers have less than a week to submit payday loan reclaims (The Sun), Rated: A

Anyone who believes they have been mis-sold a Wonga loan is allowed to apply for compensation, but its administrators set a deadline of 11.59pm on September 30.

If you miss the deadline, you won’t be able to apply anymore and you won’t get any compensation for mis-selling.

Nexo Now Accepts Tokenized Gold for Instant Credit Lines and Will Offer Interest-Bearing Accounts on Gold (Covington Journal), Rated: A

Nexo is adding the NYDFS-regulated PAX Gold as a collateral option for its signature , bringing gold-backed lending to the blockchain.

With PAX Gold, now offers gold investors instant access to their gold wealth in over 45 fiat currencies via same/next day transfers and across 200+ jurisdictions.

European Union

Kreditech Eyes Expansion After Securing EUR 20 Million in Equity Financing (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Kreditech is ready to scale globally in the near-prime customer segment – declares David Chan, Kreditech CEO. The Germany-based online direct lender and Point-of-Sale (POS) financing provider estimates its global target market at ca. EUR 300 bn in consumer credit issuance. It aims to reach EUR 1 bn in revenue by 2025, which will be driven by growth in existing markets where Kreditech is present, as well as expansion into new geographies. Kreditech currently operates in IndiaPolandRussia and Spain, and serves over one million customers. The company has raised EUR 20 million in its latest equity financing round.

You’ve heard of challenger banks, now meet the challenger lenders (sifted), Rated: AAA

For better or worse, it was Wonga that first put “challenger lenders” on the map. The UK payday lender’s meteoric rise saw it become a household name before its collapse last year after a string of irresponsible, inflated loans.

This month alone, large funding rounds were announced by Sweden’s Capcito and Lendify, as well as by UK’s Sonovate, an invoice lender for SMEs with over 750 active clients. Banks are also watching closely, with Goldman Sach’s equity arm being a notable funder in Lendable, recently ranked the UK’s sixth fastest-growing private tech company.

In the UK, the challenger-lender industry grew to £6.1 billion in 2017, according to a study by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF). The CCAF also estimated that 29% of all new loans issued to SMEs came from challenger lenders in 2017. PwC predicts that figure will rise to nearly 40% in the next decade.

Source: Financial Times
International

Marketplace Lenders Navigate The Choppy Waters Of Compliance (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Regulators the world over are beginning to take a closer look at the alternative and marketplace lending business model.

In June, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority announced plans to impose stricter restrictions on marketplace and peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders beginning this December following the watchdog’s decision to place P2P lending platform Lendy into administration — a result, the FCA said, of the industry’s lenient requirements to disclose governance arrangements and controls.

Also, in China, analysts at Yingcan Group pointed to the government’s P2P and marketplace lending crackdown as being likely to shrink the industry by as much as 70 percent this year.

This Fintech Safari Could Be a Wild Ride (The Washington Post), Rated: AAA

From ATMs to credit cards and PayPal, the West’s dominance of innovation in consumer finance appears to have exhausted itself.

At the top of the emergent new order is the fintech duo from China — Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Next in line are Alphabet Inc. and Walmart Inc., whose highly localized smartphone payment rivalry is playing out between Google Pay and PhonePe in India. In Southeast Asia, two homegrown ride-hailing giants are aspiring to dominate commerce.

The rise of African mobile money is associated with M-Pesa, Kenya’s digital-wallet revolution. Now traditional lenders like Standard Chartered Plc, with a presence on the continent going back more than a century, are discovering that online banking can help them mobilize low-cost current and savings accounts more profitably than acquiring customers via physical branches.

Australia/New Zealand

Harmoney says the P2P lender has been ‘slowly moving to lending our own money’ since 2015 (interest), Rated: AAA

The founder of Harmoney, New Zealand’s biggest licensed peer-to-peer (P2P) lender, says he can’t see a viable P2P lending model in New Zealand which is why Harmoney has started lending its own money.

Neil Roberts and David Stevens of Harmoney (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Harmoney, the first peer to peer lender to be licensed in New Zealand, has originated more than NZ$1 billion in loans since launching five years ago.


Read the PDF transcript here.

India

Kreditech targets India after EUR20m funding boost (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Kreditech, a German-based online lender and POS financing provider focused on “near prime” borrowers, is looking to the Indian market after raising EUR20 million in funding.

The round was co-led by Runa Capital and unnamed German private investors, with participation from existing shareholders HPE Growth and Amadeus Capital Partners.
Southeast Asia

Accumulated P2P lending exceeds W6tr (The Investor), Rated: AAA

Accumulated peer-to-peer loans in South Korea have surpassed 6 trillion won ($5 billion), data showed on Sept. 26.

Outstanding P2P loans extended by 220 companies stood at 6.2 trillion won in June, compared with 4.7 trillion won at the end of last year, according to the data compiled by the Financial Supervisory Service.

Indonesia’s Investree in talks to raise series C funding for regional expansion (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

Indonesia’s fintech peer-to-peer lending startup PT Investree Radhika Jaya is in talks with several investors to raise a series C funding as the firm looks to boost its expansion in Southeast Asia.

The Securities Commission Malaysia Approves EdgeProp as First Property Crowdfunding Platform in Malaysia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has registered EdgeProp Sdn Bhd as the first “Recognised Market Operator” to establish and operate a property crowdfunding platform in Malaysia. EdgeProp was granted an approval in principle in September 2019.

FINTECH COMPANIES FACE TALENT SHORTAGE (StaffingIndustry.com), Rated: A

The majority, or 94%, of fintech companies in Singapore, say the country requires fintech talent, according to survey data from Michael Page Singapore.

The number of Singapore consumers adopting fintech products and services has drastically risen in the last two years, tripling from 23% in 2017 to 67% in 2019, according to Michael Page.

Bitcoin Daily (PYMNTS), Rated: B

And Singapore-based exchange Bitrue has announced the launch of a low-interest crypto lending platform, which goes live on September 30.

MENA

Qatar Boosts FinTech Focus (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As reported by Crowdfund Insider, the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has expanded the number FinTech-related activities that will be awarded licenses. The additional support will come from the QFC platform.

The seven firms include DecisionLogic, which focuses on advanced bank verification that lets lenders qualify borrowers.

Africa

Proven ways you can make money in real estate (Daily Monitor), Rated: A

You can utilise a variety of methods that includes any of the following:
•Seller financing through lease options
•Trading fixed assets such as cars, jewellery and more
•Taking over someone else’s mortgage payments who might be in a distressed situation
•Bringing in an investment partner with cash
•Borrowing from a bank or getting a hard money loan
•Taking out a home equity line of credit
•Utilising a peer-to-peer lending network

Caribbean

Victoria Mutual acquires shares in Barbados-based FinTech Carilend (Jamaica Observer), Rated: AAA

Victoria Mutual Investment Limited (VMIL) has acquired a 30 per cent stake in Carilend, a Barbados-based financial technologies (FinTech) company, that is said to have revolutionised borrowing and lending in the Caribbean.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday September 26 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday February 1 2018, Daily News Digest

software hacks

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi lays off 5% of workforce. BlueVine doubles invoice financing credit lines. Chime reaches 750K bank accounts, $2.5B transaction volume. SoftBank injects funding into Moven, who could be buying a bank. Zopa hits 3B GBP in lending. Crowd Genie kicks off ICO. Today’s main analysis: Coincheck’s recent hack could mean big changes in crypto lending, […]

software hacks

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Bermuda

News Summary

United States

SoFi Lays Off 5% of Staff (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The San Francisco-based financial-technology company told staffers on Tuesday it is cutting around 65 jobs, roughly 5% of its 1,300-person workforce, the people said. The layoffs are centered in SoFi’s mortgage-operations centers in Healdsburg, Calif., and Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

He added that SoFi is currently looking to fill more than 175 open jobs.

‘A 401(k) of the future’: How SoFi wants to grow student loan refinancing with WeWork (Tearsheet), Rated: A

SoFi wants to sell its loan refinancing products to WeWork and its member companies by offering them an additional 0.125 percent discount.

growing number of companies have been adding student loan repayment as a workplace benefit. With $1.4 trillion in outstanding federal and private student loans, it’s a huge market.

SoFi’s Top 20 Law Schools Producing the Highest Salary Averages (JDJournal), Rated: A

SoFi examined the salary earned upon graduation from different law schools compared to the cost of the education. They looked at 60,000 student loan refinancing applications that had been submitted to them between January 2014 and December 2016. They took that data and formed SoFi’s Return on Education (ROED) Law School Rankings. The ranking uses the average salary and student debt load of the graduates three years out of law school that is reported to them by graduates looking to refinance their loans.

The top 20 law schools with the highest average salaries are:

  1. Cornell University – $183,377
  2. Columbia University – $177,962
  3. New York University – $177,203
  4. University of Chicago – $174,238
  5. Harvard University – $173,578
  6. Georgetown University – $173,464
  7. Northwestern University – $173,204
  8. Yale University – $171,779
  9. University of Pennsylvania – $170,954
  10. Duke University – $169,096
  11. University of Virginia – $166,396
  12. University of Michigan Ann Arbor – $164,713
  13. University of California Berkeley – $163,940
  14. University of Southern California – $161,823
  15. Fordham University – $160,590
  16. Stanford University – $158,088
  17. George Washington University – $153,302
  18. University of California Los Angeles – $152,469
  19. Vanderbilt University – $149,475
  20. University of Texas at Austin – $147,444

BlueVine doubles invoice financing credit lines to up to $ 5 million (Finextra), Rated: AAA

BlueVine has doubled the credit line size for its invoice factoring product to up to $5 million, underscoring the online business lender’s push to offer fast and flexible working capital financing to small and medium-sized businesses.

BlueVine also increased the limit for its business line of credit product to $200,000 from $150,000, making its Flex Credit product an even more attractive financing option for larger or fast-growing companies.

Court upholds constitutionality of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Politico), Rated: A

A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure, a decision that preserves the agency’s independence in the face of challenges from business interests and conservatives.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 7-3 on Wednesday that a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that limits the president’s ability to remove the CFPB director during his or her five-year term does not violate the president’s authority to appoint and remove executive branch officers.

Chime Reaches 750,000 Bank Accounts, $ 2.5 Billion Transaction Volume (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Chime is on track to open more than 100,000 bank accounts per month and expects to reach 1 million total this quarter. With more than 750,000 bank accounts opened to date and over $2.5 billion in total transaction volume, Chime has emerged as the clear leader in the challenger banking segment.

While most Americans pay more than $27 a month on average in bank fees, Chime doesn’t charge overdraft fees, monthly fees or foreign transaction fees. With its award-winning mobile banking app, Chime members avoided more than $225 million in potential overdraft fees from traditional banks in 2017 alone, while putting over $72 million into savings accounts with help from Chime’s automated savings tools.

Moven to receive funding from SoftBank, plans to buy bank (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Moven, the mobile-first “neobank” founded by Brett King in 2011, is getting a multi-million dollar infusion from the Japanese company SBI Group, owner of SoftBank. At the same time, Moven says it is pursuing the acquisition of a bank.

SBI Group will hold one of the six seats on Moven’s board, and the two companies will set up a joint venture in Japan.

At the same time, Moven is making major changes to its overall business, including splitting the company in two.

On one side will be the software provider that already develops digital banking software for TD Bank in Canada and Westpac in New Zealand.

On the other side will be the neobank, which will be called MovenBank.

Is Marcus Going to Launch a Credit Card? (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Ainsley Harris reported in Fast Company today that Goldman Sachs is acquiring the employees who built Final, a credit card startup based in Oakland. Final offered a unique kind of credit card, one that would create a different virtual card number for every merchant, thereby reducing the risk of credit card fraud.

It has been a busy couple of years for Goldman Sachs when it comes to their consumer facing business. This latest deal follows a long list of acquisitions for Goldman recently:

  1. Acquisition of GE Capital Bank – this jumpstarted GS Bank giving it a huge deposit base.
  2. Acquisition of Honest Dollar – the digital retirement savings app was acquired in March 2016.
  3. Launch of Marcus with debt consolidation loans.
  4. Acquisition of Genesis Capital – not really consumer facing but could add a real estate development arm to the bank.
  5. Bond Street – employees of the online small business lender moved to Goldman Sachs.
  6. Addition of home improvement loans to the Marcus offerings.

Why big financial firms are building robos instead of white labeling (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In November, Wells Fargo launched Intuitive Investor, its digital-human hybrid offering from Wells Fargo Advisors. The following month Morgan Stanley launched Access Investing and JPMorgan Chase launched JPMorgan Digital Investing. Goldman Sachs, Raymond James, YF Financial and ICBC are all currently developing their own.

The start of the robo phenomenon was meant to address small, do-it-yourself investors, said Tom Streiff, special consultant to HBW Partners.

“A lot of these big firms have a lot more small accounts than they’re willing to admit,” he said. “Robos were one answer to that. Now they want to have something that has more of their own mark on it … not just to get the technology but to get the smart people inside.”

Typically, the white label provider will take 15 basis points of the total and leave the rest to the bank for distribution, Saxena said. Pricing from independent players, like Betterment or Wealthfront, is competitive.

SmartBiz Loans Launches AI-powered Digital Advisor Tool for Small Business Owners (Digital Journal), Rated: A

SmartBiz Loans, the SBA loan marketplace and bank-enabling technology platform, today announced the launch of SmartBiz Advisor, the first, AI-driven, online education tool that makes the financial insights and analysis provided by a typical CFO available to small businesses at no cost.

SmartBiz Advisor is an intelligent online platform that allows small business owners to easily and quickly learn how banks typically evaluate their business on key criteria before applying for a loan.

The Future of Real Estate, Part 2: A Crowdfunding Revolution? (GuruFocus), Rated: A

A well-managed crowdfunding platform should provide a range of deals, after having done sufficient due diligence itself so as to not place potential investors in financial jeopardy, and itself in legal jeopardy. When dealing in investment assets, whether equity or real estate, investors are still expected to be sophisticated and have the means to weather losses that are part and parcel with any private investment deal.

A growing cast of players

Interestingly, even as equity crowdfunding in startup companies has been slow to take off (Indiegogo’s platform raised just $7.53 million in equity investments during its first year of operation), real estate crowdfunding platforms have been popping up like weeds. RealtyMogul.com, for example, has an investor community of 150,000 people that have invested $318 million through its platform since it went live in 2012. The crowdfunder claims to have returned $70 million to investors thus far. RealtyShares, founded in 2013, has also posted big numbers, with platform users reportedly investing $700 million across more than a thousand deals.

A new breed of of private REIT

Private REITs are obviously opaque and potentially dangerous, but the crowdfunding platform has forged ahead all the same. Perhaps, with their interactive dashboards and high levels of investor transparency, these crowdfunded REITs will be able to correct some of the ills of their less technologically sophisticated forebears.

This College Grad Found an Affordable Way to Start Investing in Real Estate (The Penny Hoarder), Rated: A

The Fundrise Starter Portfolio would invest her money into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States. It would do all the heavy lifting for her — and play landlord on her behalf.

She didn’t need to have hundreds of thousands of dollars stashed away, either. She could get started with a minimum investment of just $500.

Fundrise lists an average annualized return of 11.44% in 2017. Investors pay 1% in annual fees — a 0.85% asset-management fee and a 0.15% investment advisory fee.

Breaking down the barriers of real estate investment: A Q&A with Peter Vekselman from WeLend (AtlantaAgent), Rated: A

Q: What sort of problems were you experiencing when it came to financing real estate projects?

The problem is that behind the scenes the money is handled by hedge funds. All of the hedge funds on Wall Street do their own thing and no one knows who they are. So what happens is you have a potential investor and the first problem for them is finding the financing.

Q: How exactly does We Lend work, and how does it help solve some of the problems previously mentioned?

I’ve consolidated and cut deals to put all the hedge funds under one roof, so now investors don’t have to go through this huge undertaking to find the funds. They can came to us, and we can underwrite them and then figure out on the back end the best match.

It’s like LendingTree for the investor world.

Q: What types of projects and people does We Lend work with?

We work with small developers or a mom-and-pop builder that does five properties a year. And we mainly work with residential properties only because there are more residential opportunities than anything else.

In terms of price points, we try to stay as low as $50,000 per project.

On Deck Welcomes Paul Rosen & James Hobson As Two New Senior Vice Presidents (OnDeck), Rated: A

Today, On Deck announced the appointments of Paul Rosen as Senior Vice President of Sales and James Hobson as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Platform Solutions.

Santander Consumer USA And AutoFi Team Up To Provide Car Buyers And Dealers With Fast And Easy Online Sales And Financing (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SC, or the Company) today announced that it will work with automotive technology leader AutoFi to streamline and simplify the car-buying process for consumers, while giving dealers a robust digital sales channel.

Climb Credit Reveals A Solution To Student Lending Crisis (Climb Credit Email), Rated: A

A few key findings include:

  • The median student saw a 66.7% salary increase
  • For Climb students who have held two different jobs since attending their program, there is a median pay increase of 38.9% from the first to the second job
  • Nearly three out of four students surveyed said they would not have been able to attend their education program if they didn’t have Climb Credit as a financing option

House Approves New Payday Loan With 200 Percent Interest Rate (Indiana Public Media), Rated B

The Indiana House approved legislation Wednesday to create a new type of payday loan – with interest rates of up to 200 percent – that opponents argue amounts to predatory lending.

The legislation creates a loan of between about $600 and $1,500, with a term of up to 12 months.

Consumers warned not to borrow from unlicensed online lenders (International Falls Journal), Rated: B

The Minnesota Commerce Department warns Minnesota consumers not to borrow money from unlicensed lenders that advertise and offer short-term, payday or installment loans through the internet.

United Kingdom

Zopa hits £3bn lending landmark (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA said that it now has more than 60,000 active investors and more than 300,000 borrowers.

It has now lent out more than £3bn since inception, Zopa said on its website on Wednesday, having lent more than £985m in the past 12 months.

Investors are lending on average £13,000 while the average loan amount is £6,000.

China

Chinese internet users grow to 772 million (Technode), Rated: AAA

China now has 772 million internet users according to a report published by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) today (in Chinese).

Growth rates of internet users have remained steady. During 2017, a total of 40.74 million new netizens were added with a growth rate of 5.6%. Internet penetration rates have reached 55.8% in China, more than the global average (51.7%) and the average rates for Asia (46.7%).

The number of mobile phone users in China has reached an impressive 753 million. The proportion of internet users using mobile phones rose from 95.1% in 2016 to 97.5% in 2017.

Since the end of 2016, the proportion of internet users that pay with their phones rose from 50.3% to 65.5%.

There was another number that went up at an impressive rate. The number of internet users buying internet financial products in China has reached 129 million, up 30.2% from the same period last year.

Alibaba-backed online lender MYbank owes cost-savings to home-made tech (Reuters), Rated: A

MYbank expects double-digit increases in all growth measures in 2017 due to lower costs enabled by technology, the bank’s president, Huang Hao, said in an interview at his office in Hangzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

As a result, the cost of approving a small business loan can be as little as 2 yuan, compared to at least 2,000 yuan ($317.97) at a traditional bank, according to data provided by the bank.

European Union

Remarks by Vice-President Dombrovskis at the European Financial Forum 2018 in Dublin (Europa.eu), Rated: AAA

 

Our immediate priority is to complete the Banking Union. For this, we should move in parallel on risk reduction and risk sharing. All elements are on the table. On risk reduction, this includes our November 2016 bank reform package and our ongoing work to reduce Non-Performing Loans. On the risk sharing side, we recently came with ideas on how to unblock negotiations on the European Deposit Insurance Scheme. And we have broad support to finalise the work on the backstop for the Single Resolution Fund. So the time is ripe to move at political level on completing the Banking Union.

The second immediate priority for deepening the EMU is setting up the Capital Markets Union. Deeper capital markets across Europe will increase risk-sharing among private investors and improve the shock-absorption capacity of the economy. In the past three years, we have taken fundamental steps towards deeper and more integrated EU capital markets. Of the 33 actions we announced in 2015, 25 have now been completed.

One strength of Ireland’s financial sector is asset management. As of September last year, Irish fund managers had more than €4.2 trillion assets under management. A true Capital Markets Union would enable Irish fund managers to further benefit from the full scale of the single market. In March of this year, revised rules for the EU venture capital label – EuVECA – will enter into application. Large managers can then run EuVECA funds, providing economies of scale and trusted brands. We have also expanded the range of eligible assets, and decreased the costs associated with cross-border marketing.

We are also looking more broadly at the rules for offering funds across the EU. This market is still predominantly organised along national lines. For example, 70% of the assets under management are held by funds available for sale in only one EU country. The share of alternative investment funds that is marketed in more than three countries is very low – only 3%.

Europe has what it takes to develop a globally competitive Fintech sector. We can rely on our strengths in research and engineering. For example, we have 32 artificial intelligence research institutions in the world top 100, which is more than the US or China. I also see great Fintech potential here in Ireland, with its strong information technology culture.

We will also present a legislative proposal to enable EU-wide crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.

The future of finance will not only be digital, it will also have to be green.

• Third, we could boost green investments and loans by introducing a so-called green supporting factor. This could be done at first stage by lowering capital requirements for certain climate-friendly investments, such as energy-efficient mortgages or low-carbon cars. However, this exercise would be delicate. Green does not mean risk-free. Any measures would have to be carefully calibrated, and based on a clear EU classification.

CreditEase Founder, CEO Ning Tang Spoke at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: B

CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading financial technology conglomerate specializing in inclusive finance and wealth management, announced that its Founder and CEO, Mr Ning Tang, participated and spoke at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

Under the central theme of “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”, this year’s meeting has drawn an estimated 2,500 participants, including a record number of heads of state and leaders from politics, business, academia, and civil society.

“Technology has greatly improved access to financial services for Chinese consumers and small businesses in the past decade, and we expect more progress to be made in the SME lending space with the help of FinTech in coming years,” said Mr Tang. “Financial services like angel investing and VC/PE, powered by technology, will bring more high-quality growth to the Chinese economy.”

International

IOU Financial partners with CDE solutions in funding CDE’S network of 26,000 convenience store owners (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), an online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Marietta, GA-based POS solutions provider CDE (CDEsolutions.com).  Through this strategic partnership, CDE’s network of 26,000 convenience store owners nationwide will be able to access IOU’s fast, convenient, non-collateral funding solutions.

Crebit: Blockchain DLT in wave of transforming P2P financing (NewsBTC), Rated: A

Adopting Blockchain and DLT for P2P lending system can facilitate capital mobilization within the financial system through flat-out transfer of monetary values from parties unrestricted by barriers-to-entry. Thus, the potential for P2P lending in support of free international financial flows remains vastly untapped.

Ipsos MORI veracity Index shows 75% of investors complain about banks data provision, but rather P2P investment groups maintain a credible and transparent operation.

Crebit is a blockchain-empowered network provider that offers global microfinance lending collateralized by crypto assets, based on the artificial intelligence credit scoring system. This microfinancing solution leverages blockchain technology to finance through top cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple against up to 80% of investors collateralized crypto assets value. Crebit leads the way into crypto financing by building P2P lending agreements on smart contracts in the secured and decentralized Ethereum blockchain. The platform matches funding gaps for crypto holders, traders as well as multiple exchanges and transaction solutions. Crebit aims to provide businesses and individuals a decentralized credit scoring database for innovative and trustless transaction solutions unrestricted by geographical boundaries.

Australia

Trial by fire in an untested market (CMO.com.au), Rated: AAA

But this is precisely why Rebecca James, Prospa’s new chief marketing and enterprise officer, took the job almost five months ago.

“In just five years, the team has lent over $500m. But there are 2.1 million small businesses in Australia, and over half need cashflow support to take advantage of opportunities, to grow, or to cover an unexpected cost. My hope is to take the Prospa proposition and meet the growing needs of this audience. We’re just getting started.”

Launched six years ago, Prospa is now Australia’s number one online lender for small business, providing loans to more than 12,000 small businesses across the country. In November, it placed second in the AFRFast 100 for 2017 thanks to a 239 per cent average revenue growth since 2013-14. Last year, Prospa secured over $50m in equity and debt funding, and doubled the size of its loan book.

Online Cash Flow Loans Australia Announces Unsecured Cash Flows Loans Up To $ 500k (PRWire), Rated: A

Online Cash Flow Loans is a fast emerging player in the online cash flow loans marketplace. The organization is an arm of Magnolia Finance that specializes in offering low cost business loans to small businesses in Australia.

These cash flow loans are tailored to meet the growing business finance needs of businesses operating in the hospitality, retail, construction, medical and agribusiness. Basically any small business operating in Australian and in need of unsecured business loans can apply for business loan online on the company website.

Loan terms from 3 to 24 months
Same day funding
Flexible repayment options
Redraw facility available
India

Budget Reaction Rajat Gandhi, Founder & CEO, Faircent. com (Faircent Email), Rated: AAA

Hon. Finance minister budget speech reflects the government’s intent to increase the credit access for the MSME sector and women entrepreneurs under MUDRA scheme. P2P lending is using technology and new-age data and diligently working towards taking organised credit to the non and under-banked segments of the Indian economy. This is an opportunity for the government to directly invest or co-fund through registered P2P Lending Platforms and ensure credit access for MSMEs, New-To-Credit as well as female entrepreneurs. P2P lending is an asset class ensuring flow of investments from those with surplus to those in need. Hence it’s important that the lenders are supported through tax incentives. We look forward to working with the govt towards common goal of financial inclusion.

The popular FinTech platforms serving MSMEs in India (KNN India), Rated: A

Keeping in view the credit crunch faced by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector in India due to various reasons, new FinTech platforms are coming up to improve loan disbursal to the sector.

According to a media report, there are four popular FinTech platforms that are helping in robust loan disbursal – CreditMantri, Aye Finance, CoinTribe and Faircent.

P2P Lending Set to Explode in 2018 And Beyond (CXO Today), Rated: B

RBI’s much awaited official guidelines for Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platforms to bring them into the ambit of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is set to boost online lending. It is fast emerging as an investment option for retail lenders.

Asia

MAS Regulated Peer to Peer Lender Crowd Genie Announces Initial Coin Offering (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie Financial Services Pte Ltd, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has announced an initial coin offering (ICO) via their related entity CGSPV Pte. Ltd. The peer to peer lender states that it intends on issuing 60 million Crowd Genie Coins, or CGCoins, for a soft cap of USD $5 million. The public sale commences today and 400 CGCoins may be purchased for a single ETH. Bonus CGCOINs, between an additional 5% and 25%, will be given to early buyers as an incentive.

Coincheck’s recent hack could mean big changes in the crypto space (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck revealed on Friday that its 

Source: Business Insider

Online lenders join gold rush into SE Asia (Ecns.cn), Rated: A

Chinese online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies have been rushing into Southeast Asian countries in recent months to cash in on untapped and lightly regulated markets that feature huge potential, as growth in the domestic market slows amid tightening regulations.

While much of Southeast Asia offers a promising future for these lenders given its huge population and underdeveloped financial services industry, most of the Chinese companies are betting on short-term gains rather than long-term growth, an industry expert noted on Wednesday.

Over 50 Chinese online lenders have launched overseas operations, with Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Cambodia being the top destinations, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Wednesday.

In Indonesia alone, there are more than 50 Chinese consumer lending apps at the moment, up from 30 just a month ago, the report said.

Here are the new services launched by startups in Indonesia this week (e27), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Investree on Tuesday officially launched a sharia-based P2P lending programme.

The programme has been tested since November 2017. The startup claied that by January it has managed to channel IDR2.7 billion (US$200,000) worth of loan from 1,340 lenders to 313 borrowers.

Bermuda

Peer-to-Peer Lending & Equity Crowdfunding (Bernews), Rated: AAA

A Bermudian expert on information technology, asset and risk management tools is today celebrating the global launch of her book on peer-to-peer lending and the securities crowd funding industry.

“The book, entitled ‘Peer-to-Peer Lending and Equity Crowdfunding: A Guide to the New Capital Markets for Job Creators, Investors and Entrepreneurs,’ highlights the inequality gap is widening and persists worldwide,” a spokesperson said.

“The book not only describes how debt and equity crowdfunding works but also explains investment approaches, secondary markets, governance and compliance, transparency, and risk models that are necessary for investors to make informed decisions.

The book is available here.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday December 22 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: DV01 finishes year with $7.9B in consumer unsecured bonds. PayPal invests in Raisin. Affirm CEO affirms its product is a personal loan. LexinFintech share price surges. The state of P2P lending in New Zealand. InvestUp considers cryptocurrency investing. Today’s main analysis: Why bitcoin is a threat to LendingClub. Today’s thought-provoking articles: High-tech lenders go after […]

LendingClub charge offs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Cayman

News Summary

United States

High-tech lenders target the decades-old store credit card (Reuters), Rated: AAA

The once-hot online lending industry has been battered by scandal and losses since last year, but one of the oldest forms of lending – store credit – is increasingly attracting tech companies aiming to supplant a retailer’s credit card.

One such lender, San Francisco startup Affirm, is attracting investment and large customers by using a new approach to underwriting that allows it to approve more borrowers than traditional store credit cards.

Max Levchin, Affirm’s founder who also co-founded one of the earliest digital payments companies, PayPal, boasts that Affirm approves 126 percent more borrowers than Synchrony Financial, the largest issuer of private-label credit cards.

Startup Affirm CEO Clarifies that Product Is a Personal Loan – Not a Credit Card (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

Consumers looking for a personal loan option have another one to consider in Affirm, which is a startup from PayPal co-founder Max Levchin. With Affirm, consumers can access a loan, a form of credit, to buy items at a store, which was originally interpreted to be similar to how a credit card works.

But Levchin has pointed out there are important differences between an Affirm loan and credit cards.

Who Uses Affirm?

Generation X and Millennials are the customers who most frequently use Affirm. Younger consumers have seen how carrying high credit card balances affected their older relatives, and they are less likely to want to have much credit card debt.

The annual percentage rate can be steep, going from as low as 10 percent to as high as 30 percent. But, unlike credit cards, the interest isn’t compounded.

Why Bitcoin Frenzy Is Terrible News For LendingClub (SeekingAlpha), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (LC) has had plenty of troubles over the years. Back in 2015, you could throw a dart at a list of financial stocks and hit a double if you held it through today. LC stock, by contrast, has destroyed shareholder value since its IPO. Even the recent Trump financials rally did next to nothing for LC stock, and now shares are back to near new all-time lows after a downbeat earnings report:

Source: SeekingAlpha

In a booming economy, the G-rated loans did so badly that they jacked up interest rates almost 3% on consumers while also reducing expected returns by more than 3%. This suggests that the G-rated loans were fully 6% short of expectations. This speaks to massive problems with the company’s underwriting, and leaves you to wonder just how badly internet-originated subprime loans will fare when a recession hits and the unemployment rate goes up again.

Source: SeekingAlpha

Bitcoin Losses Ahead?

If you are someone with a low income and a challenging financial position, you have an almost no-lose proposition (if ethics don’t get in the way). You borrow money on a credit card or from LendingClub, “invest” it in Bitcoin or Ethereum, and then hope it keeps going to the moon. If it does, you make many multiples of your interest expense, and have hit the lottery.

Now if the trade goes bad, and Bitcoin plummets, what is your debtor going to do? Since there is little consequence to defaulting on unsecured debt (and LendingClub has a reputation for being a lax debt collector), you simply stop paying on the note. The borrower has a win/win situation – essentially the lender is financing purchase of lottery tickets. I don’t know about you, but I’d need a much higher interest rate than even the 15 or 20% you might get off a low-end LendingClub note to justify that risk.

Source: SeekingAlpha

DV01 to Finish 2017 With $ 7.9 Billion in Consumer Unsecured Bonds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that offers institutional investors transparency and insight into lending markets, announced on Thursday it is set to close 2017 with $7.9 billion of consumer unsecured bonds. This news comes just a few months after the company launched its Cashflows for Securitizations feature.

The company revealed that it has launched a redesigned Securitizations homepage to celebrate the $7.9 billion of consumer unsecured bonds.

SoFi Vs. Earnest Student Loan Product Comparison (StudentLoans.net), Rated: AAA

SoFi offers their clients an option. You can choose variable refinancing rates which currently range 2.75 to 6.84 percent if you enroll in the company’s autopay option. Fixed rates range from 3.25 to 7.24 percent.

Earnest offers their clients both variable and fixed rate options. For the variable option, the rates currently start at 2.57 percent APR while fixed rates start at 3.35 percent APR with their autopay options.

Both SoFi and Earnest do not have a maximum within their loan amounts, but the amount a client owes will affect the interest rates that are offered.

Repayment Options

SoFi offers a number of repayment options for their refinancing product. This includes flexible rates, terms, and an ability to set automatic payments that drop your rate by 0.25 percent. Repayment terms range from 5 to 20 years.

Earnest refinance loans offers the flexibility in the way of terms that range from 5 to 20 years. With their loans, you will be able to increase payments, pay lump sums, provide bi-weekly payments, skip a payment to pay later, and offers an interest break for those who set up automated payments.

American Financial Exchange (AFX) Announces Two-Year Anniversary Highlights (PR Newswire), Rated: A

American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic interbank lending market focused on U.S. small and mid-sized banks, announced today the second anniversary of its electronic trading platform. AFX facilitates the determination of Ameribor®, a transaction-based interest rate benchmark for small- to mid-sized banks via its electronic trading platform.

Since opening, more than $100 billion cumulative has been successful transacted. Recently, daily volumes have averaged approximately $350 million with several days of volume highs over $500 million principal traded.

Is Peer to Peer Lending the Best Option for Small Company Financing? (Newswire), Rated: A

If your small company needs a borrowing arrangement but does not have a credit rating that benefits instant endorsement from the banking institutions, you need to sign up for an alternative solution of capital such as peer to peer lending.

Rather than signing up to a recognized traditional bank for a financial loan, you create a proposal to be lent from people who, (if they are interested in your offer), sign up for the loan request in amounts as low as $25.

Unsecured business loans and where to get the best ones if you have bad credit (Las Vegas Informer), Rated: A

Kabbage

Kabbage offers loans that go between $2000 and $150,000, and the APR goes between 24% and 99%. They ask for no minimum credit score but you need to have been in business for at least one year in order to qualify, and have annual revenue of over $50,000.

Fundbox

With Funbox you’re looking at a loan amount of $1000 that can go all the way up to $100,000. The APR goes between 15% and 59%, and they also cater to the needs of people with bad personal credit.

OnDeck

With OnDeck you’re looking at loans that go up to $100,000 and an APR that can go from 14% to 40%. Unlike the other two, here you need good personal credit and also you need to be good at managing your cash flow. You will need a personal credit score of at least 600, not to mention an annual revenue of at least $100,000.

LendingClub

At LendingClub you can get a loan of up to $100,000, from a minimum of $5,000, with an APR that goes between 9.8% and 35.7%.

New Real Estate Investing Resource Platform is Changing the Landscape (Benzinga), Rated: A

Think Realty is a membership-based resource platform developed exclusively for real estate investors. Since launching in 2016, investors across the nation and around the globe have signed up at ThinkRealty.com to become Think Realty Members, with an 81 percent increase in membership in the past six months.

Think Realty’s reach continues to expand with its national talk radio show, Think Realty Radio, which will begin airing January 1, 2018 on Wall Street Radio. Think Realty is presenting four national conferences for investors in 2018, beginning with the Think Realty Conference & Expo in Dallas, Texas, February 24 and 25. The other locations are Baltimore, Maryland, April 14 and 15; Irvine, California, July 14 and 15; and Atlanta, Georgia, September 22 and 23.

The 10 biggest real estate tech deals of 2017 (The Real Deal), Rated: A

WeWork is now worth $20 billion. Compass is valued at $2.2 billion following a December funding round. Have you heard of Placester? Well, investors think it’s worth $202 million. The Jared Kushner-backed real estate crowdfunding startup Cadre now has a $800 million price tag.

  • 1) WeWork, $4.4 billion fundraising round
  • 2 & 3) Compass, $100M and $450M fundraising rounds
  • 4) Cadre, $65 million fundraising round
  • 5) Placester, $50 million fundraising round
  • 6) Common, $40 million fundraising round
  • 7) HomeLight, $40 million fundraising round
  • 8) Roofstock, $35 million fundraising round
  • 9) Knock, $32.5 million fundraising round
  • 10) Opcity, $28.77 million fundraising round

Congress: Hands off new rule protecting families from payday lenders (Herald Sun), Rated: A

Ignoring the voices of families and communities who have worked for many years for relief from the harms of predatory payday lending, a handful of members of Congress have introduced legislation that would nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s national rule to rein in payday-lending abuses. Their legislation uses Congressional Review Act authority to repeal the rule and prevent the Consumer Bureau from issuing a similar rule in the future, giving predatory payday and car title lenders a free pass.

Why Amazon won’t buy a bank in 2018 (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Forget the speculation about Amazon buying a bank next year. But don’t count it out from adding banking to its near endless line of offerings.

For Amazon, providing financial services is just a means to an end: making more money by selling more things. Other retailers are still its main competition — not banks.

Why banks want to collaborate now on open banking standards (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Every U.S. banker is watching their European counterparts react to the looming Payment Services Directive, or PSD2, which will come into effect in 2018. When that happens, banks will lose their monopoly on customer data as merchants and retailers like Amazon will be allowed to retrieve customer account data from the banks (with customers’ permission).

Now, U.S. banks want to get ahead of their own regulators when it comes to creating data exchange standards. It can take 18 to 36 months to get a framework in place, Courbe said, but banks know they need to start exchanging data with other companies today.

LendingTree Adopts the RevJet Marketing Creative Platform (Sys-Con Media), Rated: A

RevJet, the first smart marketing creative platform, today announced that LendingTree has adopted RevJet’s system for producing, approving, personalizing, serving and automatically optimizing all formats of digital ad creative. Using RevJet to take a methodical approach to experimentation, LendingTree is able to deliver a higher volume of leads to their business partners while optimizing for revenue.

 

United Kingdom

December’s Lending Impact and Borrower Stories (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

Whatever the season, small businesses work harder on any given day than Mr Claus on Christmas Eve. To celebrate their hard work and determination, we’ve created our very own Christmas Carol, looking at the past, present and future of small businesses. We begin with the small business past, looking at the history of small businesses, and how they adapted during the industrial revolution. Next up, dive into the small business present and learn about the impact they have on today’s world and the trends that have helped them along the way. Finally, discover what the landscape might look like for businesses in years to come in our small business future.

In our latest case study video, meet David, founder of The Creative Whisky Company.

Peer to Peer Robo-Lending Platform InvestUp Sizes Up Cryptocurrency Investing (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

FCA authorised crowdfunding aggregation platform InvestUp may be going crypto. The UK based Fintech has so far focused on the peer to peer lending space but management is currently looking at adding algorithm driven cryptocurrency investing.

InvestUp shares that 2017 has been another good year for P2P lending having delivered, on average, 10.74% to investors.

Protecting the future of peer-to-peer lending (Gov.uk), Rated: A

Today the peer-to-peer lending industry was given a boost of confidence as the government began legislating to clarify that no business borrowing through a peer-to-peer platform needs to be regulated as a ‘deposit taker’ (often referred to as a ‘banking licence’) unless that is their core business. The legislation will ensure that the industry can continue to thrive and innovate while still benefiting from the UK’s high quality regulatory standards.

The Committee on Exiting Europe Publishes Sector Reports Including Document on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Exiting the European Union Committee, appointed by the House of Commons to examine the process of the Department for Exiting the European Union , released a grouping of documents from the Department today. As one may expect, the slew of reports addressed certain aspects regarding ramifications of the UK’s departure from Europe.

The Fintech Sector Report highlights the current regulatory regime in the EU and how cross border transactions take place between continental Europe and the UK. The document describes Fintech as covering four different categories:

  • Investment, advice (including Robo-Advisors) and  neo or challenger banks
  • Regtech for compaliance
  • Payments including digital currencies such as Bitcoin
  • Alternative finance including crowdfunding and peer to peer lending

Read the full UK Fintech Report here.

Bank of England approves Tandem’s Harrods Bank takeover (AltFi), Rated: A

Tandem can now end the year on a high note after the Bank of England today gave regulatory approval for the challenger’s purchase of Harrods Bank.

The deal will now give Tandem access to a full banking license and the 10,000 customers attached to Harrods Bank, as well as the bank’s mortgage and savings books. According to Tandem, the purchase will also come with a “significant capital injection”.

UBS and EPAM Win Best Use of IT Private Banking/Wealth Management for SmartWealth App at Banking Technology Awards (NASDAQ), Rated: B

EPAM Systems (NYSE:EPAM), a global provider of digital platform engineering and software development services, and UBS AG, the world’s largest wealth manager, have been awarded for Best Use of IT Private Banking/Wealth Management at the Banking Technology Awards held on December 13, 2017 in London.

China

Chinese online lender LexinFintech surges in U.S. market debut (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Chinese online lender LexinFintech Holdings Ltd’s (LX.O) shares surged in their U.S. market debut on Thursday, brushing aside worries related to Beijing’s recent crackdown on the booming micro-credit industry.

LexinFintech’s shares touched a session high of $14.88, a 53 percent jump from its IPO price that valued the Shenzhen-based company at $4.51 billion.

China online lending IPO meets tepid demand as fintech zeal wanes (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech, the latest Chinese online consumer lender to complete a US initial public offering, has met with muted investor demand amid concerns over Beijing’s regulatory clampdown on dubious lending practices.

Lexin scaled back its planned $500m IPO on Nasdaq to $109m, and final pricing was at the bottom end of the price range initially marketed to investors.

Qudian, which is backed by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, raised $900m on the New York Stock Exchange in October — the largest US IPO by a Chinese fintech group. After hitting that high point investor interest quickly slid: last month PPDAI raised $221m in a deal that priced below the initial price range.

Since their IPOs, both Qudian and PPDAI have faced allegations of issuing misleading financial disclosures. Qudian closed at 48 per cent below its IPO price on Thursday, while PPDAI was down 44 per cent.

Source: Financial Times

Is Qudian A Bargain Or A Falling Knife? (SeekingAlpha), Rated: A

QD’s stock price has taken a nosedive, plummeting from its $24 IPO price to $12.9 as of 12/19/2017. Given QD’s strong earnings and fast growth rates in the past, the current price may appear to be a great bargain. Is that true?

QD’s strong past operating performance is mainly driven by its online cash-loan business, which brings in 83.3% of its total revenue.

The regulations can be distilled into three key rules: (1) cap the interest rates at 36% (2) limit the leverage of cash-loan companies at 3 or lower, and (3) forbid commercial banks, insurance companies, P2P, etc from investing in cash loans. These rules will put QD’s extraordinary profits to an end, as discussed below.

  • Rule #1: The interest rate caps may turn QD’s strong profits into negative. While QD may have already compiled to the 36% interest cap by the time of its IPO, QD’s revenue will still take a nearly 1/3 cut, holding all else equal.
  • Rule #2: The leverage limit will bring QD’s entire cash-loan business to a halt. According to QD’s 3Q report (Qudian Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2017 Unaudited Financial Results), as of 09/30/2017, its capital structure consists of Liability: 11.18 billion; Mezzanine equity/convertible preferred shares: 5.94 billion;Total Shareholders’ deficit: 1.78 billion. However, the national regulation limits the maximum leverage at 3, or even at 1 according to some regional regulations (21jingji news). It is clear that with 1.78 billion shareholders’ deficit, QD has to raise literally billions of additional funds to satisfy this rule, which is “mission impossible” given the third rule as discussed below.
  • Rule #3: restricting the financing sources will shut the door for QD to raise additional capital.
QD PPDF
Market Cap 4,243 2,175
Total Transactions 3,938 3,231
Revenue 223 192
Net Income 100 83

Brett Diment: 2018 Will be China Fintech’s Breakout Year (FiNews), Rated: A

Fintech will increasingly be associated with Beijing, Shenzhen and Hangzhou in 2018 instead of Silicon Valley, Aberdeen Standard’s Brett Diment details in a contribution for finews.asia.

The Chinese online-payment industry already accounts for around half of global transactions. Alipay, operated by Alibaba’s financial arm, is the market leader.

But Tencent’s Tenpay has been catching up fast. Tenpay’s stroke of genius was to allow its users to send electronic hongbao – the red envelopes of money traditionally given as a Chinese New Year gift. Some 16 million online hongbao were sent in 2014 – rising to a billion in 2015. This helped Tenpay’s share of the online-payment market to reach around 40 percent in just three years.

The University of Hong Kong Online Fintech Course Now Open for Registration (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The Fintech MOOC is a six-week online course on innovations in finance and is designed to provide a foundational understanding of the global changes impacting all financial services.

European Union

Mayo businesses raise almost €800,000 through Linked Finance (The Connaught Telegraph), Rated: A

LINKED Finance, Ireland’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company, has raised almost €800,000 for Mayo-based businesses.

Eighteen Mayo businesses, including Doherty for Men, Main Street, Castlebar, and Electric Escapes, based in Westport, have raised funds through Linked Finance’s online lending platform (www.linkedfinance.com) to facilitate business growth.

Electric Escapes has raised €50,000 over two separate funding rounds, facilitated through the platform.

PayPal backs fintech deposit marketplace Raisin (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Raisin has secured an undisclosed sum of investment from digital payments platform PayPal. The money will be used to accelerate the growth of Raisin across its core European geographies.

International

Blockchain is “no longer in proof of concept” phase (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Sin has just helped launch the world’s first cross-border bancassurance distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform, working with China Life Insurance and Guangfa Bank in Macau.

In another sign that the technology may be fit for commercial purpose, SME lending platform ModulTrade has settled its first blockchain-based export transaction out of China.

This transaction was small –  just over US$1,000 – but again shows that the technology is beginning to be used outside of the laboratory.

The company teamed up with Rabobank to complete an inventory financing transaction on the blockchain that resulted in a real-time payment for farmers.

All payments were made in real time, using a Rabobank-backed digital dollar, pegged to the Aussie dollar. The digital dollar was issued and cleared by a central issuing and settlement institution.

BENCHMARKING DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY (All About Alpha), Rated: A

Two scholars affiliated with the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, in Great Britain, have prepared a fascinating overview of the present state of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT).

  • The protocol layer of this ecosystem is only slowly maturing, and the limit of this maturation is one of the key challenges for the broader adoption of DLT;
  • Most users experiment with only small-scale, isolated layers, with live applications allowed only as “permissioned” layers;
  • There is an increasing focus on creating common standards of enterprise DLT frameworks that will allow for interoperability, but this effort to overcome fragmentation is itself fragmented into “a variety of consortia”;
  • Ethereum in particular has been tested at 57% of central banks, either via the public network or a permissioned version.

Nearly half of the surveyed DLT start-ups are in North America (47%). The second largest group by continent is that which hails from Europe (28%), then 19% (Asia Pacific).

But employment isn’t precisely aligned with the number of enterprises on each continent. A full 61% of employees working in this field are in North America, and only 13% are in Europe.

RCN ANNOUNCES DECENTRALAND PARTNERSHIP (Bitcoinist), Rated: A

Earlier this week, RCNannounced their new partnership with Decentraland, the blockchain-based virtual reality platform where users can acquire virtual land to create and monetize their content.

Under the new partnership, RCN will be able to integrate its credit protocol with the Decentraland platform. This will enable users who own plots of land, content, or businesses created in the 3D world to issue and receive loans.

The Top FinTech Trends of 2017 … were they? (The Finanser), Rated: B

Rise of InsurTech

True. I’ve seen a lot of InsurTech movement this year with a number of standout start-ups like BackmeupBrollyBuzzmoveCuvvaInmybagLuther and Neos.

Rise of RegTech

Yep, I’ve heard more about RegTech this year than ever before, although that’s unsurprising when most banks have at least two staff checking the work of each employee (Citibank has 40,000 compliance people!). Consultancy picks out 100 of the most innovative firms in this space.

Platforms, APIs and Open Banking are the key

I feel like I’ve been talking platforms all year and, with PSD2 and Open Banking coming into play in January 2018, it is certainly true that platforms, APIs and Open Banking have definitely been the theme of 2017.

China and emerging markets focus

Ah yes, I definitely think this year has been a big year for financial inclusion and discussions of Ant Financial and Tencent.

Australia/New Zealand

Banking without the banks: the state of peer-to-peer lending three years on (The Spinoff), Rated: AAA

In 2014, New Zealand was one of the first countries to legalise peer-to-peer lending.

For the latter, Snowball Effect and PledgeMe led the way with the FMA awarding its first equity crowdfunding licences to the two firms. For the former, the first licence for P2P lending was granted to Auckland-based platform Harmoney, which was founded by Neil Roberts that very same year.

To date, there are eight licensed P2P lending services currently operating in New Zealand with more than 20,000 investors currently registered with P2P lending intermediaries. When it comes to borrowers, there are more than 200,000 individuals currently registered with P2P services.

Source: The Spinoff

Since launching in September 2014, it’s lent more than $655 million via 37,000+ loans and paid more than $87 million interest in total. In the most recent financial year, Harmoney saw over more than 830,000 investments made in loans by almost 5,400 unique investors.

Source: The Spinoff
India

Want Good Financial Advice? Ask a Digital Lending Platform (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

The need for credit can come for a variety of reasons, and can be catered to by a vast plethora of different loan products.

Clearly, if you had to get good financial advice, AI-leveraging algorithms are a better bet than humans. So why not use the same technology to help individuals and SMEs find the right credit options for their needs?

Asia

NewsBTC Interviews the Crowd-genie Team (NewsBTC), Rated: A

NewsBTC: Why is licensing so important? How difficult is it to get in Singapore? 

Crowd-genie: Being registered and licensed are two different stories. As peer to peer lending platform involves enormous monetary transactions, a securities license is crucial for regulated lending activities.

NewsBTC: Can you please explanation of how reputations coin work?

Crowd-genie: For each repayment, from the borrower to lenders, we will incentivise on-time payment by adding CGCOIN “Credits” to the borrowers’ wallets. This will be a spendable asset that will be tracked separately in the Digital Passport. The more CGCOIN Credits earned, the higher their reputation, and that in turn, will increase their chances of getting higher investments from more lenders and/or a lower interest rate.

 

Source: NewsBTC
Cayman Islands

Robot to speak at Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (Cayman Compass), Rated: B

Sophia, the world’s first robot to be granted citizenship of a country, will be one of the speakers at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit on Feb. 8 to 9, 2018, organizers announced Thursday.

At the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit, Sophia will be interviewed on stage by a representative from event sponsor KPMG.

Organizers say the robot’s appearance complements the theme of the investment conference, “Wired: the rise of alternative investments in a digital age,” which targets opportunities at the intersection of alternative investing and technology.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday December 7 2017, Daily News Digest

Robinhood

News Comments Today’s main news: Credible raises $50M in Australian IPO. Kabbage considers IPO. Blockchain project gives New York homeless a digital identity. Funding Circle surpasses $5B global lending, $1B to U.S. businesses. RateSetter publishes 2016-17 accounts. Starling Bank gets full FCA, PRA approval. N26 launches premium debit card, partners with WeWork. Revolut rolls out bitcoin services. Vietnam gets first P2P lending platform. IOU […]

Robinhood

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Kabbage Mulling An IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

According to FT Partners, the FinTech market saw a record 412 financial deals during the third quarter of 2017. One of the largest deals in the quarter involved a $250 million investment by Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY) in billion-dollar unicorn Kabbage (Private:KBGE).

Kabbage generates revenue from the fees on the loans. It expects revenue of over $200 million in 2017, roughly double the revenue in 2015. The company claims to have a loss rate lower than the rest of the industry, and that its direct lending business had turned profitable in the fourth quarter of 2016. It expected the whole business to be profitable in the second half of this year.

Kabbage plans to use the funds for expansion into Asia and build new products like insurance and payroll services. It will also be positioning the company for a possible IPO.

Securitizations Securing the Future (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

As we near year’s end, we’re excited to announce that LendingClub has closed its third self-sponsored securitization. The $330 million transaction saw immediate traction and has further increased access to consumer credit for the stable and scalable pool of investor capital in the liquid Asset-Backed Securities (ABS) investor market.

Of note, with 48 total securitization investors this year, over two-thirds 34 are new to LendingClub, including insurance companies, hedge funds, a bank and a pension fund.

We Analyzed 7 Of The Fastest-Growing Personal Finance Apps Of All Time To Figure Out The Secrets To Their Success (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Ninety-two million millennials will soon be in what Goldman Sachs calls their “prime spending years.” In aggregate, they command $1.3 trillion in annual spending.

(Bankrate found 83% of millennials don’t think they’ll ever retire: they simply “don’t think they’ll have the money” to do so.)

Source: CB Insights

For three of the tools we looked at — Mint, Level Money, and Check — we studied how their product evolved all the way up to their acquisition (by Intuit, Capital One, and Intuit, respectively).

Source: CB Insights

What follows are the results of our analysis — six secrets to success in the world of personal finance management.

1. Use pre-launch marketing to build both trust and hype

Mint had by far the most significant growth in its valuation — from $0 to $170M in just two years.

Source: CB Insights

2. Making the first experience valuable

Keeping users around is hard: according to Localytics, the average mobile app loses 80% of its users within just three days of download.

The best apps retain about 70% of users after three days. The next-best retain about 60%.

Source: CB Insights

3. Design for The Specific User You Want

Source: CB Insights

Millions Are Hounded for Debt They Don’t Owe. One Victim Fought Back, With a Vengeance (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

A few minutes later, Therrien’s phone buzzed. It was the same guy. He gave his name as Charles Cartwright and said Therrien owed $700 on a payday loan. But Therrien knew he didn’t owe anyone anything. Suspecting a scam, he told Cartwright just what he thought of his scare tactics.

Therrien had been caught up in a fraud known as phantom debt, where millions of Americans are hassled to pay back money they don’t owe. The concept is centuries old: Inmates of a New York debtors’ prison joked about it as early as 1800, in a newspaper they published called Forlorn Hope. But systematic schemes to collect on fake debts started only about five years ago. It begins when someone scoops up troves of personal information that are available cheaply online—old loan applications, long-expired obligations, data from hacked accounts—and reformats it to look like a list of debts. Then they make deals with unscrupulous collectors who will demand repayment of the fictitious bills. Their targets are often poor and likely to already be getting confusing calls about other loans. The harassment usually doesn’t work, but some marks are convinced that because the collectors know so much, the debt must be real.

The problem is as simple as it is intractable. In 2012 a call center in India was busted for making 8 million calls in eight months to collect made-up bills. The Federal Trade Commission has since broken up at least 13 similar scams.

This New Blockchain Project Gives Homeless New Yorkers A Digital Identity (Fast Company), Rated: AAA

Three thousand homeless people in New York are about to receive a special holiday gift: a free smartphone that allows them to manage their digital identity, access shelters and food pantries, and make use of financial services.

The project comes from Blockchain for Change, a New York City startup that has developed a mobile app called Fummi that’s preloaded on the phone. It has teamed up with Life Wireless, which provides phones to low-income groups using federal subsidies. Also involved are NYC service providers like Urban PathwaysPart of the Solution (POTS), Hakook, and the Robin Hood Foundation.

Life Wireless is distributing the phones, starting in the Bronx. The service groups create the blockchain identities for individuals. Once on the system, they can then open an account, receive money, and track their activity.

Blockchain for Change has raised more than $500,000 in a seed round, but it’s also planning a public initial coin offering where it hopes to raise up to $50 million. It generates revenue by charging fees to users at a rate of $3 per month.

On Earnings Calls, Which Tech Company Are Senior Execs Most Obsessed With? (CB Insights), Rated: A

More than Google, Apple, or Facebook, there’s one company that CEOs and public company execs are talking about the most. We analyzed earnings call transcripts to identify the new king of technology.

Amazon has been mentioned nearly 3000 times in the last year.  That’s more than Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft combined.

Source: CB Insights

 

Global Debt Registry joins Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (Finextra), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company, today announced its membership to The Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (WSBA).

WSBA is an industry non-profit trade association created for financial market professionals, by financial market professionals. The alliance engages market participants, regulators, policymakers and technology innovators to advocate the adoption of blockchain’s distributed ledger technology.

Discover Enables Apple Pay Cash (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Discover has announced that transactions made with Apple’s new Apple Pay Cash card will leverage the Discover Network.

The card is part of the new Apple Pay functionality, which allows U.S. customers to quickly, easily and securely send and receive money among friends and family. When Apple customers receive money on a supported device, the money is added to their new Apple Pay Cash card. They can use the money instantly to pay someone or to make purchases using Apple Pay in stores, apps and on the web.

Payday lender Curo to launch in New York with $ 620m valuation (Financial Times), Rated: A

One of America’s biggest payday lenders is launching on the stock market with a $620m valuation, cashing in on mounting hopes that the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress will ease regulatory restrictions on the sector.

Curo Group, which targets “underbanked” consumers and is behind WageDayAdvance in the UK as well as Speedy Cash in the US, begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Shares in the private equity-backed company were priced on Wednesday evening at $14 per share, according to Bloomberg data.

Jury Convicts Online Lender Of $ 220M (Mondaq), Rated: A

Recently, a Manhattan federal jury convicted Richard Moseley Sr., the head of an online network of payday lenders and loan servicers, on charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and Truth in Lending Act, among other counts.

Moseley was convicted due to his leadership role over a vast and complicated system of interrelated companies that collected over $220 million from more than 600,000 borrowers and deceived regulators in the process. Convincing state and federal regulators and even his own lawyers that his companies were based offshore and not bound by U.S. law, Moseley coordinated a network of lenders and loan servicers that routinely misled both consumers and regulators.

Instamotor Customers Can Now Apply for Financing While Shopping For A Used Car (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Instamotor, the free online used car marketplace, announced today that its customers can now apply for and receive financing for vehicles on its platform.

An estimated 54% of used car buyers need financing according to Experian. By working with leading direct-to-consumer automotive lenders, Instamotor will become one of the few true automotive marketplaces to enable its users to shop for a used car and secure the financing more than half of them will need, all conveniently integrated in one place.

Loans enabled through Instamotor will be available to consumers with FICO scores as low as 500, which are people who commonly have trouble receiving optimal loan terms through traditional financing methods. Also, the application is optimized to be completed entirely in the comfort of one’s home rather than in a dealership office or credit union.

Lendio Opens New Franchise in Nashville (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Marketplace lending platform Lendio, recently announced its has opened its new franchise located in Nashville, Tennessee. Lendio revealed that its franchise program makes accessing business loans easy by helping small business owners skip the legwork of looking for a small business loan.

Progressive Leasing and Marqeta Partner to Power New Lease-to-Own Financing Experience (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Marqeta, the open API payment card issuing platform, and Progressive Leasing, a virtual lease-to-own company and a division of Aaron’s, Inc., today announced a technology partnership that will enhance the checkout process for Progressive Leasing customers.

As one of the largest players in the lease-to-own industry, Progressive Leasing sought a partner who could support their needs today and provide innovative solutions to help build their future payment checkout roadmap. Through the partnership, Marqeta will enable Progressive Leasing to issue virtual cards at the point of sale and work with them to create additional innovative payment offerings.

With the partnership, Marqeta will enable Progressive Leasing to take advantage of a wide range of modern features, including virtual card issuance, tokenization, and its patent-pending Just-in-Time (JIT) Funding, allowing Progressive Leasing to authorize and reconcile transactions in real time.

Real estate crowdfunding expands into more niche markets (Curbed), Rated: A

To those unfamiliar with real estate crowdfunding, the Fair-Haired Dumbbell development in Portland may be just the kind of wacky, esoteric project one envisions when imagining what happens when strangers pool funds online, crossing Kickstarter with construction. A pair of six-story towers connected by a skybridge, the commercial project does in fact resemble a hand weight, with an ostentatious, colorful Italianate pattern sprawled across the facade for extra impact.

Funded in part by investors who pooled money via the Crowdstreet crowdfunding platform, the building, located in a former industrial neighborhood called Burnside Bridgehead, is also open for business and looking for tenants. It’s the city’s first crowdfunded building, and a sign that the growing world of real estate crowdfunding has developed and matured since a 2012 change in investment regulations made these platforms possible.

While reliable numbers about this growing and fragmented market prove difficult to come by, research firm Massolution estimated the global market for real estate crowdfunding surpassed $3.5 billion in 2016.

Hope grows that a larger SEC crackdown on ICOs is coming — and soon (TechCrunch), Rated: A

More than $3 billion has been raised through so-called initial coin offerings so far in 2017.

That wait-and-see stance looks to evolve into much more action in 2018, suggest those who’ve either spoken with the Securities and Exchange Commission or otherwise have a vested interest in its rulings. (The SEC isn’t commenting publicly on its specific plans.)

Just Friday, a new division of the agency that’s focused on ICOs filed charges against an outfit called PlexCoin that reportedly raised $15 million from thousands of investors by promising a 1,354 percent return in 29 days or less.

Credit score row as FICO chief hits out at banks over ‘Fako’ rivals (Financial Times), Rated: A

A row has erupted over credit scoring after the head of FICO, the company whose metric underpins trillions of dollars in lending decisions in the US, hit out at some lenders for supplying customers with a rival measure he dismissed as “Fako”.

The group that supplies lenders with the rival assessment, VantageScore, hit back, saying Mr Lansing was spreading “misinformation aimed at discrediting FICO’s only real competitor”.

The spat points to the opacity of credit scoring, a crucial part of America’s consumer finance economy that is in the spotlight after the huge data loss at the credit reporting company Equifax.

Tips for Reducing College Costs (Earnest Email), Rated: B

Source: Earnest

Roostify to Integrate With Black Knight’s LoanSphere Empower Loan Origination System (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Roostify, a provider of automated mortgage transaction technology, today announced that it has signed an agreement with Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE:BKI) to integrate its platform with Black Knight’s LoanSphere Empower loan origination system (LOS). The integration will enable Empower users to add further efficiency and transparency to the loan origination process – from application to closing.

Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator Unveils New Class of Fintech Disruptors (Business Insider), Rated: B

Envestnet | Yodlee(NYSE: ENV) today announced the members of the newest Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator class.

The members of the 2017–2018 Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator class are:

  • Amplifunds helps donors find non-profits that match their interests and performance expectations.
  • Datasine turns transactional data into psychometric insights, allowing banks to better serve their customers.
  • Golden helps families care for their senior parents’ financial health, wealth and security.
  • Peanut Butter offers a cloud-based software to help employers attract college-educated talent by managing student loan assistance programs.
  • Starbutter AI makes text and voice chat Artificial Intelligence (AI) agents that help consumers pick financial products like credit cards and mortgages.
  • Stessa enables property owners to manage, track, and communicate performance of their real estate assets.
  • Tangello improves home affordability by bridging the gap between renting and buying and offering a flexible, lower cost, and quicker way to finance homes, directly from mobile devices.
  • Veryfi provides mobile-first bookkeeping software that empowers business owners by automating the tedious parts of accounting through AI and machine learning.

AutoGravity Names Sheng Wang As Chief Technology Officer (PR Newswire), Rated: B

AutoGravity has announced the appointment of Sheng Wang as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to drive the company’s global engineering efforts. Wang joins AutoGravity’s executive team with responsibility for leading product and engineering to deliver a trustworthy and innovative car buying experience that empowers the consumer.

Prior to her appointment as CTO, Wang led AutoGravity product development as the company’s first Director of Product, building cross-functional teams to develop and launch the award-winning AutoGravity platform, as well as branded platforms for Volkswagen Credit and Kia Motors Finance. Wang joined AutoGravity with more than fifteen years of leadership experience in the technology industry and an uncompromising dedication to building dynamic teams and high-impact products that people love.

QCash Financial Wins Financial Times Future of Fintech Awards for the Innovation Category (BusinessWire), Rated: B

QCash Financial, a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) providing automated, cloud-based small-dollar lending technology for financial institutions, announced that it was selected as the winner of Financial Times Future of Fintech Innovation Award.

The FT Future of Fintech awards recognize pioneering companies able to demonstrate innovative ideas capable of creating lasting change in the financial services sector on a global scale. Financial Times offers an Innovation Award for newer Fintech companies that are bringing out novel solutions. QCash Financial was awarded the Innovation Award.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle passes $ 5 billion lent globally, including $ 1 billion lent to US businesses (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle today announced that investors have lent more than $5 billion globally to small businesses through the Funding Circle platform. This has supported a network of 40,000 businesses across the UK, USAGermany and the Netherlands and helped to create more than 100,000 new jobs.*

Today’s news follows a record November for Funding Circle globally with the business facilitating more than $260 million of lending, including $175 million in the UK (£130m), $70 million in the US and $15 million in Continental Europe (€14.5m). Together this has helped thousands of business owners to access fast, transparent finance to grow their businesses, and will lead to an estimated 7,500 new jobs.

With US businesses now having accessed more than $1 billion in funding through the platform, Funding Circle becomes the first lending platform anywhere in the world to have facilitated more than $1 billion across two markets.

Your December Review – Insight and Analysis (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

Your lending has reached £3 billion in the UK! November was also a record month, with £129 million lent to small businesses in the UK.

Over half of Brits (56%) think they have the skills to run their own business, but only 13% believe they’re entrepreneurial.

Source: Funding Circle
Source: Funding Circle

RateSetter Publishes 2016-2017 Accounts (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Wednesday, UK peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter released its accounts for the year ending on March 31, 2017. The online lender reported that revenues were £23.7m, up 38 percent from 2015-16; loans under management grew by 23 percent, from £581m to £714m; the number of active lenders grew by 36 percent from 31,036 to 42,049; and, over the same period, the number of active borrowers grew 27 percent from 161,000 to 204,000.

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter’s losses jump as it takes a hit from bad loan to ad company (Business Insider), Rated: A

RateSetter booked a pre-tax loss of £23.3 million in the year to March 2017, compared to a £5.3 million in the previous year. The company operates a peer-to-peer platform that matches retail investors with individuals looking to borrow money.

Operating losses were £9.2 million last year but the figure was pushed higher by a one-off write-down relating to a loan the platform made to Adpod Limited, an advertising business RateSetter lent £12 million.
‘A resilient business’
RateSetter’s accounts also show that revenue rose by 38% to £23.7 million. Loans under management rose by 23% to £714 million. The number of active lenders on the platform rose by 36% to 42,049 and the number of borrowers rose by 27% to 204,000.

Goodwill impairment helps push Ratesetter further into to the red (Verdict), Rated: A

A goodwill impairment pushed pre-tax losses for RateSetter down to £23m in the year ending March 2017, despite revenue growth of 38% to £23.7m.

The company, which launched a consumer vehicle and commercial assets HP offer this year, saw a rise of 36% in the number of lenders and 27% of borrowers. However, operating losses of £9.2m were further weighed down by a £14.1m goodwill impairment on a loan to advertising company Adpop.

In 2015 Vehicle Trading Group, a company operating in motor finance for consumers and dealerships, used a wholesale facility from RateSetter to lend £12m to Adpop. Both Vehicle Trading Group and Adpop subsequently went into financial difficulties, and RateSetter then bought the two companies.

RateSetter thus decided to back Adpop’s repayments of third party loans, preventing its provision fund from absorbing the hit, as it normally would in case a borrower defaults.

Starling Bank Receives Full Regulatory Approval from FCA & PRA to Offer Broad Portfolio of Financial Products (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Starling Bank has been granted approval by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) to offer customers a wide array of financial products by the mobile only bank.  Starling Bank received a licence to operate as a bank by the Bank of England in 2016. The digital only challenger bank will now be able to provide; mortgages, consumer loans, ISAs, and other investment products via their App. No bricks and mortar necessary.

Barnett backs P2P Global Investments for recovery (Citywire), Rated: A

P2P Global Investments (P2P), the largest of the listed alternative lending funds, has won the backing of Invesco Perpetual’s Mark Barnett, its largest shareholder, for the turnaround plan it outlined last week.

The future of advice is ‘Fintegration’ (Professional Adviser), Rated: A

The financial advisory sector has seen much change in the past few years, much of it driven by new technologies and a wave of new market entrants. While we are seeing consolidation and innovation in response, this is just the start. So if you thought the merry-go-round was slowing down, then grab hold tightly because it is only going to accelerate.

‘Fintegration’ – the integration with fintech services – is emerging as an important factor.

What is common to both groups is their appetite for financial online and digital services – from online banking and mortgage management to peer-to-peer lending platforms. There is no doubt we will shortly see the fully integrated dashboard becoming commonplace.

China

China targets booming online lending as crisis fears build (Hong Kong FP), Rated: AAA

The 24-year-old secretary is among millions of Chinese who have turned to proliferating online companies that dish out quick loans — and are worrying the country’s leadership.

Jia started accumulating her debt when she was in college, turning to tech titan Alibaba when she could not get a credit card.

The ease of a few taps on her phone and a four minute wait led Jia to borrow and borrow and when she was finally able to take out a card, she used it to repay Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial.

But her debt reached roughly US$9,000 this summer, and her monthly interest payments eclipsed her meagre salary.

‘Lending nirvana’ 

Alternative lending, with loans that can be wired to accounts within minutes, has taken off in China and accounts for 85 percent of the global market, according to a University of Cambridge report.

European Union

N26 launches a premium debit card for ‘the digital customer,’ partners with WeWork (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

N26, the European mobile banking service, today announced the launch of N26 Metal, the company’s premium MasterCard-affiliated debit card “tailored to the needs of digital customers” at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin. N26 Black customers in Germany, France, Italy and Austria will be able to sign up for the new NFC-enabled card, which obviously features a metal core made from tungsten and that makes the card weigh a lot, starting December 14.

It’s also worth noting that this is the first metal card in Europe that supports contactless payments.

What better company to partner with then than co-working and real estate startup WeWork. Using the N26 Metal service, N26 customers will also be able to join the WeWork network and get credits to reserve workspaces and conference rooms.

International

Currency trader Revolut’s offer to those champing at the bitcoin (The Times), Rated: AAA

Revolut, which provides foreign currency services to consumers and small businesses, said that from today its users would be able to buy bitcoin and other “cryptocurrencies” using 25 conventional currencies.

BFS Capital has Extended Over $ 1.7 Billion in Financing to Businesses across the US, UK and Canada (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Marking its 15th anniversary year, BFS Capital, a leading small business financing platform, announced it has now extended over $1.7 billion in financing since funding its first deal in 2002. The company also reported that over 75 percent of its originations have occurred in the last five years and more than 25 percent took place in the last 18 months. For full year 2017, BFS Capital expects to generate more than $300 million in originations, a new annual high.

Recent Origination Milestones in Online Lending (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, Kabbage announced they had crossed the $4 billion mark. They have now lent to more than 130,000 small businesses which they claim is the largest customer base of any online small business lender.

This week LendingHome announced it had crossed $2 billion in mortgage loans for homeowners and real estate investors.

Funding Circle UK crossed the £3 billion (approx. $4 billion) mark in small business lending for their UK business.

LendingClub quietly announced total small business originations of $500 million since 2014 in a recent blog post.

Emerging markets are under pressure, but I’m buying the dip (CNBC), Rated: A

The Chinese government instituted tough new regulations on online consumer lending platforms, which are made up of payday loans and peer-to-peer lending. Some of them are associated with large holdings in the emerging markets exchange-traded fund like Ant Financial, an Alibaba Group affiliate.

While much of this is a continuation of the Chinese debt bubble, the move suggests that it has gotten out of the regulators’ control.

We see a global trade boom continuing to drive emerging markets as global Purchasing Manager indexes show continued growth in demand for manufactured goods. For example, Korea is already registering signs of slowing Chinese demand but is still showing 9.6 percent year-on-year growth for November exports. However, we continue to watch the tone out of Washington, since a shift toward more protectionism could put a dent in this.

Viola FinTech is a new $ 100M Israel-based VC fund targeting fintech startups around the world (TechCrunch), Rated: B

Viola, the Israel-based technology investment group, is launching new independent VC fund targeting fintech startups from anywhere in the world. Dubbed Viola FinTech, the “cross-stage venture fund” has an initial closing of $100 million but will extend that towards $120-150 million. It is backed by global banks, insurance companies and asset managers from North America, Europe, APAC and Israel, including Scotiabank, The Travelers Companies, Inc and Bank Hapoalim.

Australia/New Zealand

San Francisco’s Credible Raises $ 50 Million in Australian IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

San Francisco-based financial technology company Credible Labs Inc. is going public, but not on a U.S. exchange.

The startup, a consumer loans marketplace, raised $50 million (A$66 million) in an initial public offering on the Australian Securities Exchange, according to a statement Thursday.

The IPO values Credible at A$300 million, about 50 percent higher than the valuation it got in its last fundraising round, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the details aren’t public.

Yellow Brick Road Adds Prospa to Lending Panel in Boost to Aussie Small Business (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Yellow Brick Road has added online lender Prospa to its lending panel. The move was described as an effort to diversify its lending offerings for Australian small business customers. Yellow Brick Road is a full service wealth management company that offers products and services for home loans, financial planning, insurance, superannuation, and investments.

Marketplace lenders must ‘start educating’ SMSFs on opportunities, discipline (Nestegg), Rated: A

Speaking to Nest Egg, CEO of fully licensed marketplace lender Zagga, Alan Greenstein said that self-directed investing is now a “very, very big part of SMSF investment” and that according to Zagga research, well over 30 per cent of SMSFs at a sophisticated wholesale level are self-directed investors.

Pointing to a recent whitepaper produced by Zagga, Mr Greenstein said SMSFs tend to be invested at either end of the spectrum; very high risk and high yielding opportunities, or very low risk opportunities.

He said that Zagga’s newly launched ZAG Fund offered a middle ground, with a targeted net return of 6.5 per cent.

Ngā Tangata Microfinance breaking hold of predatory lenders (Scoop), Rated: A

With loan capital provided by Kiwibank, Ngā Tangata Microfinance (NTM) provides no-interest loans to qualifying clients for family well-being and relief from high-interest debt.

An evaluation conducted by the University of Auckland’s Centre for Applied Research in Economics found NTM’s no-interest loans were crucial in helping low-income clients break the cycle of debt caused by predatory payday and fringe lenders.

Partnering with local budgeting advisors, NTM has now disbursed more than $660,000 in no-interest loans to more than 300 clients, with 70% of the support being for relief from high-interest debt. It is estimated these loans had potentially saved clients a total of more than $1 million in interest and additional costs. Requests for help continued to trend up – 30% more NTM loans were approved in the past 12 months compared to the previous year, amounting to nearly 130 loans worth $275,000.

India

Loans are easy to get, but are they for you? (livemint), Rated: AAA

When you buy a phone, you have the option to pay for it then or pay later. You have this option even when you are buying grocery or paying bills. Credit these days can be available relatively easily, even for amounts as low as Rs1,000. In fact, in a country where you need to have a good credit history and credit score to get loans from banks, you can now get loans on your phone—even if a bank would not lend to you.

According to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. Ltd (CMIE), personal loans (incremental numbers) increased 179% and credit card outstanding rose 34.63% in value during April to October period in FY 2017-18. In comparison, incremental numbers during the same period for housing loans showed negative 32.7%.

Source: livemint

HDFC Bank Ltd saw a 35.75% growth in personal loans and 44.50% growth in credit card business in the second quarter (on a year-on-year basis). ICICI Bank, in its second quarter results this financial year said that its personal loan book saw a 40.1% year-on-year growth and the credit card business grew by 36.5%. And this is true for the non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) as well. Bajaj Finance Ltd saw a 42% growth in consumer lending in the same period.

Asia

Vietnam launches first peer-to-peer lending platform (XinhuaNet), Rated: AAA

Vietnam has launched its first peer-to-peer lending service Vay Muon, enabling people to borrow and lend money without having to go through a financial institution.

Matching lenders and borrowers via a smartphone application, the lending platform does not require mortgages and one-on-one meetings, local VTV online newspaper reported on Thursday.

First-time loan requests will be reviewed and disbursed within four hours and subsequent requests will be handled in just half an hour.

‘Korean startups should do what they are good at to get funding’ (The Investor), Rated: A

Korean startups flock to Silicon Valley hoping to become the next Facebook or Google. However, setting up a business from scratch where thousands of new startups come and go every year, is not easy, and becoming a “unicorn” is near impossible.

One fundamental reason is because they can’t get enough funding, according to Tim Chae, head of the Korean unit of US accelerator 500 Startups.

First of all, a company should either run a business in a certain sector for which Korea is widely famous worldwide, such as beauty and e-sports segments, rather than roll out me-too services and products.

Datarius Cryptobank Participates at BlockShow Asia 2017 (Digital Journal), Rated: B

On November 29–30 a large-scale event — Block Show Asia 2017 — was held, and Datarius Cryptobank participated in this event.

Datarius Cryptobank is a unique project. This is a first social cryptobank built on base of the distributed register technologies using neural networks and artificial intelligence. The main attractive features of the project for investors and future customers are the lowest transaction fees, as well as P2P-lending.

Canada

IOU Financial Surpasses US$ 500 Million in Loans Originated (Cision), Rated: AAA

IOU Financial Inc. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), announces today that it has facilitated more than US$500 million in financing to thousands of merchants and small businesses across the United States and Canada since launching its lending platform.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor