Thursday May 4 2017, Daily News Digest

auto loan originations

News Comments Today’s main news: Banks pull back on car loans as used-auto prices plummet. Trump’s expected OCC pick, a banker, signals paradigm shift. Elevate Credit rated a buy. RateSetter rejigs relationships with former wholesale lending partners. China Rapid Ffinance raises $60M in IPO. Today’s main analysis: Goldman Sachs embraces banking’s bland side. Global money transfer. Today’s thought-provoking articles: German […]

auto loan originations

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

China

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Banks Pull Back on Car Loans as Used-Auto Prices Plummet (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo & Co., one of the largest U.S. auto lenders, last month reported a 29% fall in its auto loan originations for the first quarter from a year earlier. The decline, the biggest for the San Francisco-based bank in at least five years, was part of a common refrain in quarterly announcements from lenders including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. , Ally Financial Inc. and Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc.

Bankers’ caution is increasingly showing up in car sales, which Tuesday came in worse than expected for April. The declines are mostly occurring in lending to riskier borrowers, in particular those with low credit scores, where lending had ramped up for years.

Some banks, including regionals Fifth Third Bancorp and  Citizens Financial Group Inc.,  are beginning to retreat from higher-quality “prime” auto loans as new risks emerge.

Some anticipated the market would cool off after record new car sales in 2015 and 2016. But banks are also posting higher losses on defaulted auto loans, hit by a mix of more borrowers falling behind on payments and the declining value of used cars.

When lenders repossess cars, they resell the vehicles and use the proceeds from the sale to recover as much of the unpaid balance as possible. Declining values mean that lenders are recouping a smaller share of those balances. Lenders who are repossessing cars tied to prime auto loans that were securitized in 2015 are recovering about 51% of the unpaid loan balances on average, down from 56% for 2014 loans and 65% for 2011 loans, according to S&P Global Ratings.

Car loans have been among the fastest-growing consumer lending categories since the last recession.

 

Mimecast Limited versus Yirendai Ltd. Head to Head Compare (CMLVIZ), Rated: AAA

We will compare the two companies on revenue growth, earnings, revenue per employee, operating margins, free cash flow and valuation.

  • Yirendai Ltd. has larger revenue in the last year than Mimecast Limited.
  • YRD is showing a profit while MIME has negative earnings over the last year.
  • YRD generates substantially larger revenue per employee ($344,000) than MIME ($202,000).

  • Both companies are growing revenue. Yirendai Ltd. is growing revenue massively faster than Mimecast Limited.
  • For every $1 in revenue, the stock market prices in $6.42 in market cap for MIME and $3.66 in market cap for YRD.

Goldman Sachs Embraces Banking’s Bland Side: Lending Money (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The firm has been opening its checkbook for the past several years to finance corporate takeovers, lend against mansions and art, and make personal loans for things such as kitchen remodels and fixing broken windshields.

It is exploring new credit businesses such as trade finance, equipment leasing and extending credit that consumers use for online purchases, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Loans outstanding across Goldman have doubled to $95 billion since 2011, filings show. Real-estate loans are up 10-fold. Business lending has tripled, while loans in its private-wealth division, secured by everything from stock portfolios to rare artwork, have quadrupled. Goldman doesn’t report revenues tied to lending, which remains a small part of its overall business.

 

Elevate Credit Inc (ELVT) Now Covered by William Blair (The Cerbat Gem), Rated: AAA

They set a “buy” rating and a $12.00 price objective for the company. Compass Point reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $9.00 price objective on shares of Elevate Credit in a report on Tuesday, April 18th. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $11.00.

Shares of Elevate Credit (NASDAQ:ELVT) opened at 7.64 on Monday. Elevate Credit has a one year low of $7.00 and a one year high of $8.86. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $8.05 and its 200-day moving average is $8.05. The firm’s market capitalization is $99.33 million.

State Regulators Mount Counter-Offensive Seeking to Stop OCC’s Fintech Charter (Lexology), Rated: A

Clearly, CSBS is mounting a legal counter-offensive to the OCC’s attempt to license entities historically regulated by the states. While state and federal regulators currently are arguing as to who should control the regulatory sandbox, the true focus of regulatory concern should be on the development of innovative financial services, consistent with safe and sound operations, with viable and effective consumer protections. While, historically, payments companies and lenders have been regulated by the states, the OCC’s SPNB Charter has sparked a dialogue as to whether the current regulatory system for fintech operations is viable. Innovation of financial services may also require innovation of financial services regulation. Rather than trying to pigeon-hole financial services into traditional regulatory models, perhaps it is time for regulators, at both the federal and state level, to act in concert to develop a system of licensing, regulation, and enforcement for financial products and services that is efficient, not redundant, and minimizes the regulatory burden on financial institutions while it provides for the continued protection of consumers. Setting aside the merits of the pending suit, the right policy prescription will likely involve the federal and state governments working together to minimize the regulatory burden while appropriately protecting the safety and soundness of FinTechs and provide necessary consumer protection.

Trump’s Expected OCC Pick Signals Shift at Regulator That Could Ripple Through Financial Markets (WSJ), Rated: A

President Donald Trump’s expected move to replace the Comptroller of the Currency signals a change in direction at the bank regulator that could ripple through the financial markets, from private-equity buyouts to financial technology—and even municipal securities.

Comptroller Thomas Curry, whom people familiar with the matter say could be replaced as soon as this week, is a career regulator appointed by President Barack Obama. Mr. Curry used his office to tamp down on what he viewed as overly risky lending practices in the banking industry.

His expected replacement—Joseph Otting, a former chief executive of OneWest Bank—would be the first former banker to hold the comptroller’s job since the 1990s.

Wall Street Pushes Back on Mnuchin’s Idea of Ultralong Debt (WSJ), Rated: A

A committee of Wall Street advisers is pouring cold water on a proposal by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to issue superlong 50-year and 100-year U.S. government bonds, arguing that the big pension funds and insurers expected to buy the securities won’t have much interest.

The committee meets quarterly, in advance of a regular release by the Treasury on its plans for financing the U.S. debt. Currently, the U.S. Treasury issues no debt longer than 30 years. Mr. Mnuchin has argued that ultralong bonds could be a useful tool for locking in today’s low borrowing costs for a very long time. Last month, the Treasury requested the advisory committee analyze the viability of bonds longer than 30 years.

The 30-year bond strengthened Wednesday, after the advisory committee cast doubt on the idea 50- and 100-year bonds. The yield on the 30-year Treasury dropped to 2.963% from 2.982% on Tuesday, according to Tradeweb. Yields fall as bond prices rise.

A key question for the Treasury is what types of investors would buy ultralong bonds, especially if the members of its advisory committee aren’t interested. Relatively few individual investors have 100-year or even 50-year investing horizons.

Real Estate Crowdfunding to Take Center Stage at Crowd Invest Summit (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Crowd Invest Summit, the country’s largest crowdfunding investment conference, taking place on September 6 th and 7th at the Los Angeles Convention Center, has today announced that it will be expanding its focus on Real Estate crowdfunding.

Since the signing of the JOBS Act in 2012, Real Estate Investing has been the fastest growing segment of the new Crowdfunding Industry. According to Fundingtree.com, over $3 Billion Dollars has been raised so far.

Crowd Invest Summit is the largest investment focused crowdfunding event in the country. It was founded by pioneers in the equity crowdfunding sector Josef Holm and Alon Goren. The conference was developed with the vision that every American – whether accredited or not – can now become equity investors.

Nav raises $ 13 million to help small businesses with credit scores (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs is leading a $13 million investment in Nav, a startup that helps small businesses with financial advice and credit scores. Billionaire Steven Cohen’s Point72 Ventures is also investing, along with Clocktower Ventures and the CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund.

This follows $25 million that was invested in the company last year, and is considered part of the same Series B round, bringing the total to $38 million.

Characterizing Nav as a Credit Karma for small businesses, King believes his startup will “materially decrease the death rate of small businesses in the U.S.” They currently have over 200,000 customers, most of whom don’t pay anything for their credit score, but can opt to pay about $20 per month for added financial advice.

Data Suggests That Venmo Is Winning Mobile Payments (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

  • 68% of mobile payments users are using Venmo most often.
  • Venmo processed $6.8B in mobile payments in Q1.
  • Rapid smartphone adoption, alongside a large unbanked population, makes the theme of mobile payments an attractive investment.

In the days leading up to the quarter, a new survey of 2,170 Millennials found that Venmo is leading the category. The researchers asked the following question: “Which of the following mobile payment apps do you use most often?”

Researchers found that 44% of respondents answered “Venmo”, 1% of respondents answered “Square Cash”, 14% of respondents answered “My bank’s mobile payment app”,and 4% of respondents answered “Other”. However surprisingly, 35% of respondents answered “I don’t use a mobile payment app”.

Colorado versus Fintech (OLPI), Rated: A

On February 15, 2017,  the Administrator of the Uniform Consumer Credit Code for the State of Colorado (“Colorado”) sued Avant and Best Egg (in separate actions), claiming in both actions that they violated Colorado’s usury rate and entered into loan agreements containing a governing law provision other than Colorado.

Shortly after, WebBank and Cross River separately sued Colorado seeking Declaratory Judgement and Injunctive Relief.

On April 25, 2017, Colorado filed a Motion to Dismiss both Complaints for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief.

Colorado initially argues that WebBank’s action for declaratory judgement should be dismissed based on the well-pleaded complaint rule. There seems to be two issues with this position: (1) WebBank was purposely left out of Colorado’s initial complaint (although this theory might apply if Avant brought the federal action for declaratory judgment), and (2) diversity jurisdiction does apply as to Avant and WebBank vis-a-vis Colorado.

Second, Colorado argues that WebBank’s action should be dismissed because WebBank’s injury is too attenuated. Colorado does not directly address WebBank’s contention that the suit challenges WebBank’s overall business model.

Finally, Colorado argues that “interest exportation does not preempt the application of state usury laws to non-banks as a matter of law.”   Colorado seems to acknowledge WebBank’s right to preempt Colorado’s usury rate based on DIDA (the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 – extending the National Bank Act’s preemption to FDIC-insured state banks).  Colorado argues that WebBank is trying to assign its preemption to Avant – that Avant is the lender.

Colorado also argues that the valid when made doctrine is not applicable because “there is no ‘subsequent usurious transaction’ between WebBank and Avant that is alleged to invalidate a consumer’s loan obligation.  Instead, Avant merely purchased the subject consumer loans from WebBank.”  This is a difficult argument to follow.  Colorado sued Avant claiming that Avant loans are usurious and Avant, and not WebBank, is the true lender.  Colorado points out that Avant buys the loans from WeBank within two business days of the loans being made.  Relying on Midland in the Avant action, Colorado states that Avant cannot “enforce a bank’s federal interest rate exportation rights when they purchase loans from banks (or purchase loan receivables) because banks cannot validly assign such rights to non-banks.”   It seems to imply that Colorado is not saying the loans are invalid (due to Avant having a Supervised Lender’s License), but rather the loans just need to be limited to the Colorado usury rate –yet, as noted, the argument is difficult to follow.

What fintech is going to do to banking (Financial Times), Rated: A

  • Fintech is ultimately about taking away frictions.
  • I guessed that there was a 25 or 30 per cent chance that 10 years from now, there was about a 25 per cent chance that there would be a fintech company with the kind of $250bn market cap that some big American banks have. I do not expect that in the foreseeable future fintech will have the kind of existential impact on banks that Netflix has had on Blockbuster. But I do think in some areas fintech companies are likely to have the kind of effect Skype has had on the big telephone companies — forcing drastic reductions in pricing and profit margins on some key products.
  • I was quite serene about the impact of fintech on financial stability.
  • By providing for faster settlements, more transparency, and diversification, fintech is likely to have as many stabilising as destabilising effects.
  • If the large banks of today are not as large five or 10 years from now, I think it is more likely to be because of bad lending, heavy regulation or market pressures to break up because the whole is valued less than the sum of the parts than because of disruption from fintech. I say this because much of what fintech does depends on the banking system and because I doubt that over this horizon banks can be completely disrupted.

FinTech Funding in New York Declines (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

In the report from data provider CB Insights, The Global FinTech Report: Q1 ’17, it found that during the first three months of the year, fintech funding to venture capital-backed New York companies dropped by 35 percent on a quarterly basis. However, while financial technology deals in the state rose by 26 percent from Q4 ’16, it registered a 33 percent drop below the same quarter last year.

During the first three months there were three New York City companies – Namely, Trumid, and Payfone – who were among the top ten U.S. financial technology backed deals.

Namely raised $50 million in Series D funding from Altimeter Capital, Scale Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, Four Rivers Group, Matrix Partners, and Greenspring Associates.

Trumid raised $27.6 million in Series D funding from Thiel Capital, and Payfone raised $23.5 million in Series E funding from BlueCross Blue Shield and Andrew Prozes.

First Associates Implements AI to Enhance Customer Satisfaction and Boost Portfolio Performance (PRWeb), Rated: A

First Associates has announced today that it has implemented A.I. enabled speech analytics as part of its third-party loan and lease servicing. The speech analytics platform facilitates higher quality customer interactions while ensuring compliance with financial industry regulations.

Using speech analytics, First Associates monitors, scores and provides agent feedback on 100% of voice interactions with consumers using data-driven benchmarking. Traditional loan servicing management techniques call for a 1% sample size of voice interactions using human quality assurance agents to assess quality and effectiveness. The company has already seen significant improvements across quality and performance metrics from the implementation.

Adams Business Credit Rebrands as Context Business Lending (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Adams Business Credit, a national asset-based lender, will rebrand as Context Business Lending, bringing the firm in unison with the family of businesses and affiliates under Context Capital Partners, an alternative investment firm. The newly named Context Business Lending will continue to focus on providing flexible working capital solutions for businesses that do not qualify for traditional bank financing.

Context Business Lending typically provides loans of up to $15 million for lower middle-market businesses that may be experiencing some type of challenge, which may include: rapid growth; seasonal fluctuations; supply chain and vendor pressure; operating losses/negative net worth; turnaround and restructuring; merger or acquisition and debtor-in-possession financing. The firm is sector agnostic and works with businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, wholesaling and service sectors.

‘Hybrid’ Approach To Robo Investing Models a Winner (Insurance News Net), Rated: A

Investors who rely on “robo-only” investment models are making a big mistake, financial advisor tells InsuranceNews.Net.

McElwee provides three specific reasons why that’s the case:

  • Robo advice assumes that the past is destined to repeat itself.
  • People make bad financial decisions when they are under financial stress.
  • Questions, questions, questions. Robo advisors build financial profiles of clients based on a set of questions designed to reveal how a client thinks about risk, return, and financial planning.

MoneyLion Shortlisted for Top Industry Award (MoneyLion Email), Rated: B

 May 11th.

Usage of MoneyLion’s app nearly quadrupled in the second half of 2016, allowing them to track $12bn in transactions from more than one million users. To date, users have saved over $5 million in rate reductions through MoneyLion.

De Rito Partners Chooses RealtyShares for Acquisition of Shops at Fry’s Marketplace Shopping Center (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, has just announced an $800,000 commercial equity investment in Mesa, Arizona, funded through the company’s network of accredited investors. The deal is sponsored by De Rito Partners, one of Arizona’s largest retail investment and brokerage firms.

De Rito Partners acquired the property in 2016, and is seeking to capitalize on a temporary tenant turnover in a formerly fully-leased retail property. The firm intends to use the funds raised through RealtyShares to invest in tenant improvements and implement a leasing strategy to achieve market-level rents.

The property is shadow-anchored by a Fry’s Marketplace, one of the largest grocers by sales in the Phoenix metropolitan area according to Chain Stores Guide. The shopping center is comprised of more than 20,000 square feet of rentable retail space, and is currently leased to tenants including Starbucks, H&R Block and Subway. It is located at the intersection of two major thoroughfares, four miles from downtown Mesa.

De Rito Partners owns 20 properties, manages approximately 1.9 million square feet of retail space, represents 180 shopping centers in a leasing agency capacity, and is currently developing a Fry’s Marketplace-anchored shopping center and a strip center located in Chandler, AZ.

Download a complimentary copy – ALTERNATIVE CREDIT GUIDEBOOK (NN Investment Partners), Rated: B

United Kingdom

RateSetter rejigs relationships with former wholesale lending partners (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The acquired motor finance companies are Vehicle Stocking Limited and Vehicle Credit Limited. Both firms were acquired out of their parent company’s administration, and both have previously received wholesale funding from RateSetter. RateSetter will now lend directly to these companies’ customers.

The size of these two motor finance firms’ combined loanbooks is roughly £30m. These portfolios are said to be “performing well”, and we’re told they would have continued to be serviced had RateSetter not stepped in.

Another of RateSetter’s former wholesale lending partners is George Banco, a guarantor lender with a representative APR of 49.7 per cent. RateSetter has now taken an equity stake in the company, and will lend directly to its 10,000 customers.

Lendy: 2017 is the Year that P2P Lending Finally Matures (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Lendy, a UK based peer to peer lending platform in the secured property sector, believes 2017 is the year for P2P lending to finally mature. Management says that P2P will shift from alternative finance to “main challenger to the traditional banks.”  But to accomplish this goal, P2P lending platforms must build upon best practices and operate more like mainstream lenders while providing rigorous due diligence and superlative service.

Lendy advocates on four key steps in providing a better service than traditional financial firms:

  • Initial due diligence – carry out an extensive ‘know your customer’ (“KYC”) process when they first source a loan.
  • Legal panel – after the loan has passed the first stage it is then reviewed by a legal panel. Solicitors ensure that a legal charge is properly made against each security property, and that each of the security properties has good title.
  • Valuation – use a highly rated independent firm to value security properties.
  • Credit checks – put each lending proposition under extensive scrutiny to determine its viability.

Robots and responsibility (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Robo-advice has become a widely-known concept in the financial advice community over the past 12 months, as more and more firms launch their own proposition.

In addition, it is important to have someone understanding the algorithm from the client experience, and for advisers to grasp the inputs into the algorithms.

One of the areas that needs to be tackled, according to Mr Strachan, is the grey area between fully automated guidance and full-on advice.

The report, The Next Frontier: The Future of Automated Financial Advice, outlines the amount people will be prepared to pay for the use of a robo-adviser. By the far the largest cohort said they would be prepared to pay £125, with popularity rapidly declining the more the price goes up.

Automated advice on investing £11,000 charged at £225 only received support from 16 per cent of people, while a £360 fee saw support from 6 per cent.

Fintech startup Curve names Callum McCaig as its first PR hire (Gorkana), Rated: A

London fintech startup Curve has made its first PR and comms hire with the appointment of Burson-Marsteller’s Callum McCaig, as the business prepares to scale out of ‘beta’ and launch its digital banking platform to the mass market. 

Curve has raised £3m in seed funding from investors, including Seedcamp and the founders of Transferwise, Betfair, Azimo and Google Wallet, and plans to announce a Series A funding round later this year.

MarketInvoice joins UK FinTech Financial Crime Exchange (Finextra), Rated: B

MarketInvoice, the world’s largest peer-to-peer online invoice finance marketplace, has joined the UK FinTech Financial Crime Exchange (FFE), a joint initiative by think tank RUSI and risk consultancy FINTRAIL, launched today.

The FFE brings together FinTech firms who have agreed to collaborate, by sharing best practice and pooling information on financial crime typologies to protect their customers and strengthen their sector’s ability to detect and counter the global threat of financial crime, including money laundering, terrorist financing, bribery and corruption, tax evasion and market manipulation.

The UK FinTech sector is at the forefront of the global FinTech revolution, contributing £7b to the UK economy.

European Union

German Crowdfunding Association Urges Regulator Not to Exclude Real Estate from Crowdfunding Regulation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Invited to defend their views vis-à-vis the financial commission of the parliament, representatives of the German Crowdfunding Association have challenged the government’s position and presented substantial counterarguments.

As a reminder: crowdfunding regulation at European Union (EU) level was so far deemed “premature” by EU authorities and is therefore not included in the Capital Markets Union, the EU’s effort to harmonize capital market regulations at EU level. Hence, each EU country currently issues its own regulation which creates a legal patchwork and hinders cross border deals.

The German government’s report firstly notes that German real estate projects represent 10% of the successful projects and 33% of the capital raised through crowdinvesting, that is €36 million. Projects are typically residential property development, mostly construction, the reminder being renovations. German real estate crowdinvesting nearly doubled in size last year while the growth of startup crowdfunding slumped.

The government finds this trend negative. It justifies its proposal to exclude real estate from the scope of the crowdfunding exemptions as follows:

  • The large share of real estate in crowdinvesting represents a deviation from the intention of the legislator which was to foster the funding of high-growth startups.
  • There is no lack of funding for real estate projects. Social real estate, for example, can be funded through schemes that are specific to social housing. 
  • Real estate crowdinvesting could be considered as a form of deregulation of real estate finance which could, bearing in mind the role played by real estate in the 2008 financial crisis, create a price bubble, and ultimately pose a threat to financial stability.

The Crowdfunding Association and crowdinvesting platform leaders found many of the government’s arguments “incomprehensible” and offered point-by-point rebuttals:

  • Crowdfunding counters price bubbles and real estate overheating. The current real estate market boom is in no way due to crowdfunding, which is much too small to influence market prices, but rather to macroeconomic factors such as the currently low interest rates.
  • Crowdfunding helps finance real estate SMEs and innovative entrepreneurs. There is no sensible criterion for distinguishing real estate financing from other types of business financing.
  • The risk of subordinated debt instruments is not specific to real estate. It would therefore be more appropriate to open crowdinvesting to all securities, including profit sharing securities, rather than to exclude real estate from crowdinvesting.

Currently, the German crowdfunding market is disproportionately small. It is surpassed on the Continent by the French market (28% smaller GDP) and dwarfed by the UK market (15% smaller GDP).

This guy is quickly but quietly building Sweden’s next fintech giant – already operating in 65 markets (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Johan Tjärnberg is quietly building a fintech business that may prove as successful as Klarna. During 2016, his payments company, Bambora, grew 20% to revenues of SEK 2 billion.

Bambora is a platform that aggregates hundreds of payments services, and it’s currently available in 65 markets. Bambora’s clients can even choose to use Klarna as their payment service.

During 2017 the business will expand to North America, where the number of merchants using the service will increase by 10,000 over the year. That will boost the sales of the group by 30% to EUR 260 million, Johan Tjärnberg said to Bloomberg News.

Currently, the company has about 100,000 clients, of which 30,000 are located in the US and Canada.

Can a Public-sector Organization Become a Fintech Disruptor? (ValueWalk), Rated: A

In 2010, Klaus Regling, the head of the euro-area rescue fund for the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), asked me to join the board. I agreed, and said that I wanted to build the Google of the public sector. He looked at me and asked: “Why Google? We can be better than that.” And of course, he was right.

The ESM provides financial assistance to Eurozone countries that have lost market access. It was set up at the height of the euro crisis. Without the ESM, countries such as Greece would have defaulted, and the euro would have broken up. The ESM is the institution that kept the euro together during the crisis. Our total lending capacity is $742 billion. We have provided assistance to five countries: Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. In all, we have provided $281 billion in loans, which is three times as much as the IMF over the same period of time.

Here is how we are planning to move forward to build a modern public institution.

Digital at Heart

First of all, we wanted a lean model, and so we kept only the strategic functions in-house, like funding, economics and investments. We outsourced support functions and non-strategic functions as much as we could. We were the first financial institution worldwide to use a fully cloud-based trading system.

Secondly, we wanted to leverage new technology where possible.

Finally, our workforce of tomorrow, made up of millennials, is the first in our field to consist almost entirely of technology natives.

A Public Sector-driven Fintech solution

Europe has launched the capital markets union, an ambitious effort to harmonize corporate, tax, and bankruptcy laws across the countries of Europe. The differences between these laws are vast because of centuries of history in the 28 members of the European Union. Now we hope to make the laws more similar, because it would create a truly pan-European financial market. For example, the union would break down borders for private equity investment and venture capital, and open up an alternative channel of funding for small- and mid-sized enterprises. Thus, it would reduce Europe’s heavy reliance on bank lending.

The ECB idea is about the centralization of settlement and payment processes for securities. This is a very important initiative, and one that could be complemented by a similar initiative for the primary issuance of securities. It is worth considering a European public sector issuance platform to help distribute debt more efficiently: a fintech solution, driven by the public sector.

One could even think of using new technologies, such as blockchain, to set up the new issuance platform.

International

P2P MONEY TRANSFERS TO DRIVE DIGITAL PAYMENT GROWTH AS MARKET APPROACHES $ 3.9 TRILLION IN 2017 (Juniper Research), Rated: AAA

A new study by Juniper Research has found the value of digital payments will approach $3.9 trillion this year, representing an increase of more than 14% on last year’s total. While the bulk of transaction value (55%) will be accounted for by online retail purchases for physical goods, P2P (Person to Person) money transfers will see the largest year-on-year net increase in value ($200 million).

The new research – Digital Payment Strategies: Online, Mobile & Contactless 2017-2021 – argued that the US would see particularly strong growth, with the bank-backed Zelle Network expected to build on its successful debut in 2016 as additional banks come on board.

The research also emphasised that the demonetisation policies employed by India’s government had encouraged a surge in mobile wallet adoption and, with it, sharp increases in both P2P and mobile retail transactions.

Global Money Transfer (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Download this must-read report here.

Australia

CFA considers AI, robo-advice in exams (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

The CFA Institute believes artificial intelligence, fintech and robo-advice will have the greatest impact on the financial services industry – to the extent it is considering including such topics in its examinations.

An overwhelming majority (70%) of CFA members globally who took part in a study said affluent investors will be positively affected by automated financial advice tools in the form of reduced costs, improved access to advice product choices.

Respondents (46%) however, were concerned about automated financial advice algorithms being the biggest risk emanating from robo-advice, followed by mis-selling (30%) and data protection concerns (12%).

China

VC-backed China Rapid Finance raises $ 60m in US IPO (AVCJ), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance (CRF), a VC-backed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, is trading up 32% on its IPO price following an offering on the New York Stock Exchange that raised $60 million.

The stock closed on May 2 at $7.90, giving the entire company a market capitalization of around $448 million.

India

P2P funding platforms or traditional banking systems (India Info Online), Rated: AAA

India’s P2P Lending sector is poised to grow at a rapid pace thanks to favourable demographics, rising computer literacy, internet connectivity and the ongoing wave of digitalisation among others. With the higher economic growth, the credit-backed consumption growth may jump too.These could be the possible triggers for the growth of P2P Lending Industry.

There is no official assessment suggesting the size of the market in India. But it is estimated to be around Rs 200 Cr. The P2P lending industry may grow 25 to 30 times over next 5-6 years. Talking about the interest rate, the yield on 10-Year Sovereign benchmark bond hovers in the range of 6.45% to 6.95%.

However, it is also important to note that the P2P Lending sector is unregulated.

On the other hand, in P2P lending projects, investors can earn in the range of 14% p.a. to 30% p.a. on a reducing balance method. In P2P Lending, interest rates are decided depending upon the creditworthiness of borrowers.

Asia

5 Korean Fintech Startups to Watch in 2017 (Seoul Space), Rated: AAA

Blocko is a blockchain technology startup that developed the platform called CoinStack v3.0 and was able to raise $1.3 million in their series A funding led by Samsung Venture Investment Corporation.

Korean fintech startup company Honest Fund is a P2P crowdfunding company that raised over $6 million in funding led by KB Investments, Shinhan Capital, Hanwha Investment, and others.  It is a peer to peer personal loan lending service that connects borrowers and lenders directly without the need of banks.  These funds will not impact the borrower’s credit rating and will charge between 5% to 15%with the average being 9%.  They offer a different personal credit review model compared to the banks that only look at a person’s credit rating.

PeopleFund is the first Peer-to-Peer lending platform through a Bank in Korea focused on unsecured personal loans.  In 2015 alone PeopleFund has processed over $13 million in loans.

8 percent is a P2P lending company that raised over $13 million.  Their APR is set at 8 percent which is why the company is called 8 percent.  Established in late 2014 this P2P lending company has become the pioneer in this industry.  8 percent reviews an application and based on credit score and other measures.  It is cheaper for clients to use 8 percent than a bank and therefore 8 percent has been able to grow every month.  Loans for startup employees and a bridge for big companies have been their new model in 2016.  They made news in 2016 for getting funding of $10 million from KG Inicis, one of the leading payment gateway companies in Korea.  Bringing together investors and creditworthy borrowers are what 8 percent brings to the table.

Viva Republica runs a money transferring service called TOSS which raised over $48 million in funding from Altos Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Paypal, and KTB Network. They are known for Toss, which is a financial services platform that makes payment system easier by only asking users for 1 password to go along with three easy steps.  The max they can transfer per transaction is $430 which makes everyday payments easy.  Now they have over 6 million registered users in Korea and Toss has already processed over $3 billion in transactions. Toss now does credit scoring as well as micro-loans and is looking into cross-border money transfers and loan brokerages.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday February 9 2017, Daily News Digest

south korea p2p

News Comments Today’s main news: Huge spike in deposits after Lending Works launches IFISA. Public-private partnership forms Online Lending Policy Institute. Today’s main analysis: How private debt/alternative credit boosts income, risk-adjusted returns. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What roll-back of Dodd-Frank means for MPL. An end to P2P wholesale lending. BondMason calls for end to provision funds. United States Private-public […]

south korea p2p

News Comments

United States

  • Private-public partnership forms OLPI. AT: “This is an interesting approach to dialogue concerning MPL innovation, regulation, and growth. Where the Marketplace Lending Association exists primarily for the benefit of lenders, the OLPI seems to have its focus on consumers. Both attempt to influence public policy, but they different paths.”
  • What rollback of Dodd-Frank means for MPL. AT: “I completely agree that regulation legitimizes the industry, but I am concerned that over-regulation can kill innovation. On the other hand, there is a real danger that protectionist policies can lead to banks reverting back to risky lending practices, hurting consumers, and making it difficult for marketplace lenders to compete. I hope we can strike a fine balance that encourages innovation, fosters competition, and provides more options for consumers.”
  • Zoot Enterprises XOR Data Exchange partner on risk mitigation.

United Kingdom

European Union

China

Asia

News Summary

United States

Unique Public and Private Partnership Forms Online Lending Policy Institute (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI) today announced its formation and the appointment of its first Executive Director, Professor Cornelius Hurley. OLPI will provide a one-stop resource for those interested in Fintech generally and marketplace lending specifically. The OLPI will provide research and education to ensure informed policy and best practices.

The OLPI provides policy analysis, in-depth research, broad educational initiatives (like the successful MPL Policy Summit), and relevant and engaged thought leadership to foster responsible growth of online lending (providing a strong bridge between established financial services and technology knowledge). To that end, the OLPI convenes various stakeholders, facilitates industry consensus, and encourages the development of a regulatory framework that protects borrowers while promoting innovation.

Key activities of the OLPI will include:

  • Substantive research that affects the online lending industry
  • Publishing white papers, studies, and reports
  • Engaging policy makers and industry stakeholders in the creation of forward-thinking public policy
  • Commissioning studies to ensure policymakers and those studying the industry have accurate data to rely on
  • Hosting the annual MPL Policy Summit to share, educate, and exchange ideas
  • Acting as the one-stop solution for all who seek to understand legal and regulatory landscape of online lending
  • Providing the tools necessary to ensure responsible innovation in Fintech– OLPI will be a valuable research resource for the various associations that have already formed to advocate for Fintech

To reach its goals, the OLPI knew it was important to be led by an expert in financial services thought leadership that has built a reputation of integrity and innovation with the banking community at large. The OLPI is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Cornelius Hurley as the first Executive Director of the Institute. Professor Hurley brings more than 35 years of diversified legal, entrepreneurial, and academic experience in the financial sector.

OLPI’s growing roster of members includes founding members Cross River Bank, Boston University’s Center for Finance, Law & Policy, and RocketLoans, among others. OLPI will announce its broader membership, including many leading industry players at LendIt 2017, where OLPI will host a day of legal and regulatory panels.

What Trump’s Rollback of Dodd-Frank Means for Marketplace Lending (Forbes), Rated: AAA

For marketplace lenders, the industry has matured despite a relative lack of federal regulation and uniformity. While it has thrived due to reduced oversight from lending authorities, a wave of deregulation in Washington could be a curse rather than a blessing as it can further erode the legitimacy fintech pioneers have started to garner since the great recession.

While reactionary regulations can hinder economic recovery, Dodd-Frank was structured in a way that made enacting new rules a heavily vetted process.

Bank lending has increased at a rate of 6 percent a year since 2013, reaching a record high of $9.1 trillion in commercial loans in 2016 and JPMorgan increased core loans more than 10 percent across all categories. If the banking sector has struggled under Dodd-Frank, it hasn’t curtailed profits.

Dodd-Frank has made it much more difficult for consumers to gain access to mortgages and other loan products and raised some costs, in turn affecting profitability, particularly among smaller community banks.

Regulation For Marketplace Lenders Creates Legitimacy

Without smart regulation, fintech companies will continue to be at a disadvantage when compared to brick and mortar counterparts, making it more difficult for a still-developing industry to establish itself as a legitimate entity.

Disruptive innovation can often flourish in this vacuum, but there’s a cost. Without the legitimacy that regulation offers, marketplace lending could struggle to be taken seriously as a direct competitor of the established banking system.

The danger lies in overregulation, but we are a long way from that.

Zoot Enterprises, XOR Data Exchange Partner For Risk Mitigation (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Zoot Enterprises has announced that it has formalized an agreement with XOR Data Exchange to provide Zoot clients access to multi-industry data predictive of identity theft and fraud risk. With the rise in online fraud, clients rely on Zoot to identify new ways to support their business strategy and quickly react to new fraud trends.

The partnership will bring a wider variety of predictive data sets and analytics to institutions that rely on Zoot for their platform needs across a wide variety of industries including financial services, merchant services, telecom, insurance, and healthcare. By sharing data through XOR, businesses are reducing credit and fraud losses, while providing additional insight into fraud rings that may target several different industries and establishing the creditworthiness of businesses that may not be identified using traditional providers.

United Kingdom

Huge Spike in Deposits Reported After Lending Works IFISA Launched (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Lending Works CEO Matthew Powells reported an influx of more than 500K GBP deposits within 3 hours after launching the Lending Works Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). Lending Works’ IFISA product offers 4% (up to 3 years) or 4.7% (up to 5 years term) tax-free for investments on the p2p lending marketplace.

A recent survey of Lending Works’ existing investors found that 88% plan to open an IFISA, with around a third expecting to invest between 10,000 GBP and the maximum threshold of 15,240 GBP of their annual ISA allowance into the IFISA before the end of the tax year in April.

First major peer-to-peer Isa becomes available, offering up to 4.7pc tax-free (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

Lending Works has become the first large peer-to-peer company to offer an “innovative finance Isa”, beating several better-known rival lenders to the launch.

The new Isas will offer the same rates and terms as Lending Works’ existing accounts. Investors can lend over a three or five-year period. Three-year loans attract interest of 4pc and five-year loans earn 4.7pc. 

Of these only three have launched an Isa. The companies, Abundance, CrowdStacker and Crowd2Fund have lent out less than £100m between them in total.

An end to the nascent P2P wholesale lending market (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Last weekend, the Mail on Sunday reported that lending money to businesses that in turn lend that money on — aka wholesale lending — is something the regulator reckons doesn’t count as P2P lending. According to the Mail, the FCA thinks P2P lenders doing this “would mimic banking – but without the same protection for individuals or regulations for the firms involved”.

Good news for fans of clarity. Less good news for fans of Ratesetter, a leading P2P lender with a boundary blurring business model and a wholesale lending operation that has historically made up around 15 per cent of its loan originations, as we showed in March last year.

The FCA’s views on wholesale lending in the P2P sector are not entirely clear. One advisor to P2P lenders said “different platforms have been getting different messages”, but suggested the practice might raise the question of whether deposit taking was going on. As they explained it, a lending business borrowing from a P2P lender would, in effect, be borrowing money from ordinary people for the purposes of lending it on, which is not a million miles away from what a bank does. In short, the P2P lender might be viewed as a channel for attracting deposits.

P2P investing firm calls for end to provision funds (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

PEER-TO-PEER lenders should not use provision funds, a P2P investment manager has argued in a new report.

BondMason claims the funds, used by platforms such as Zopa and RateSetter, are just a tool to attract lenders.

The investment firm, which aims to get clients a seven per cent return by selecting P2P loans across approved platforms on their behalf, argues that provision funds “do little (nothing) to improve returns for well-diversified investors.”

Looking at the wider market, the BondMason report found lending in the P2P market grew by 39 per cent in 2016 to £3.2bn but warned that this was down from the annual growth of 91 per cent between 2014 and 2015.

19 laptops containing customer information have been stolen from fintech company GoCardless (Business Insider), Rated: A

Fintech business GoCardless is offering some customers free credit monitoring for a year after admitting 19 laptops containing personal information were stolen from its offices.

The stolen laptops contained personal data on an unspecified number of customers, such as email addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth, and names, according to The Register, which first reported the theft. Importantly, no financial data was held on the laptops.

LendInvest unveils refurbishment product (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

LendInvest has launched a refurbishment product with interest between 0.92% and 1.1% per month which is rolled up and paid at the end of the term.

The loan is based on gross development value, not loan-to-value – and is available up to 70% GDV.

Customers can take out loans between £100,000 and £2m for terms up to 18 months.

Peer to Peer Lending on “Right Path” as Wealth Managers Seek Quality Investments (Crowdfund Insider), Rate: A

BondMason has published its Market Report 2017 reviewing the trends in the UK peer to peer lending market.  BondMason is a platform that provides investors a method to diversify their investments across many P2P lending platforms.

According to BondMason’s research, P2P lending is beginning to see a flight to quality as the industry matures and weaker platforms exit the market. BondMason’s numbers indicate that the UK direct lending market totaled £3.2 billion of lending in 2016. This is an increase of 39% versus 2015 but a drop in growth as the industry grew by 91% from 2014 to 2015.

BondMason believes there is significant room for growth of the online lending sector. While P2P lending accounted for £3.2 billion during 2016, the total addressable market is between £100 to £120 billion in the UK.

NatWest to offer online investment fund service and ‘robo-advice’ (Financial Times), Rated: B

NatWest is unveiling a service for customers to access investment funds online through the bank for the first time, ahead of plans to launch a “robo-advice” service later this year.

The service, called NatWest Invest launches later this month and will allow bank customers who do not wish to pay for financial advice to choose their own funds and invest with a minimum of £500.

Other banks in the UK are planning to follow suit by offering robo-advice. Santander is among the lenders in the process of developing an automated advice service and has invested in robo-adviser provider SigFig.

FinTech Monthly (Tech City News), Rated: B

Monese, an online banking app, raised a $10m Series A round. The app enables non-native citizens to open a UK bank account.

Seedcamp sold part of its stake in money transfer startup TransferWise. This news came shortly after it was reported that US giant Andreessen Horowitz increased its investment in the London-based startup.

And finally, Mastercard has launched a mobile marketplace for East Africa’s agricultural sector. The digital platform, called 2KUZE, meaning ‘let’s grow together’ in Swahili, will enable farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via their phones.

European Union

How Private Debt/Alternative Credit Boosts Income and Risk-Adjusted Returns (LinkedIn), Rated: AAA

Quantitative easing has caused a significant distortion of asset prices and market dynamics. It has had an enormous impact on the price of most publicly-traded liquid assets, causing yields to drop below a level any return can historically justify. In this context, investors are looking for alternative solutions and private markets offer significant investment opportunities and value enhancement.

Alternative Investments and Alternative Credit have asset solutions that are very different from each other with very dissimilar drivers. Understanding these asset classes requires specialization and expertise. For example, in banks, sub-asset classes such as shipping, trade and commodity finance, infrastructure finance, leverage loans, and leasing are executed by specialized departments and treated as asset classes on their own merits.

Firstly, the active asset managers and institutional investors are providing the alternative sources of credit either directly or through their clients. This began the growth of a credit market along with the traditional bank lending in some sectors. The shrinking balance sheets of banks presented a tremendous opportunity for investors who were jolted by traditional fixed-income securities and needed options for diversification and higher yields.

Secondly, many new so-called Fintech companies in Alternative Lending have entered the market and established business models which are challenging the traditional status quo. They are still small in size in comparison with incumbent players; however, their business model is addressing many current challenges in the financial sector (inefficiency, information asymmetry, maturity transformation).

The increasing participation of the institutional investor market and new platforms are likely to bring more transparency regarding the actual return contribution of different asset classes in the future.

How Does Alternative Credit Enhance Risk-Adjusted Return and Income?

Currently, most liquid fully “institutionalized” asset classes do not offer the appropriate balance between risk and return. Monetary interventions themselves over the past few years have caused a positive return  on the most liquid public assets solely as a result of artificial demand pressure.

Contrary to public traditional fixed-income markets, Alternative Credit offers a private pricing differential (PPD) of 0.5% to 5% over the fixed income market, which is an attractive level.

In these uncertain times, Alternative Credit offers a plausible answer: “Going for the safest part in the capital structure and going for shorter tenors.”

  • Credit investments currently the highest safety in capital structure.
  • Alternative Credit can enable exposure for shorter tenors to self-liquidating assets (trade finance, factoring, supply chain finance).
  • Alternative Credit offers a floating rate exposure.

The best feature of Alternative Credit is its due diligence.

Alternative Credit offers portfolio construction opportunities to diversify other asset classes traditionally owned by banks (not mark to market) and segments that are not yet on the public market’s radar.

As equities became too volatile after the financial crisis of 2008, Private Debt became a surrogate for high-yield bonds. In addition, there was a contraction of more than 70% in the AAA-rated bonds and many of them lost their triple-A status (Preqin, 2014). This provided the cornerstone for the development of Alternative Credit, which enhanced the return of the portfolios by offering a combination of higher rates of return and lower risk.

Alternative Credit has already become the cornerstone of investments in many institutional portfolios and has become a regular source of income. It can be concluded that Alternative Credit is the new form of asset class that is expanding quite rapidly, in part due to the shortage of credit created by the credit crisis.

What drives the success of crowdfunding campaigns? (Invesdor), Rated: A

The first article, titled “Success drivers of online equity crowdfunding campaigns” addresses the research question that Andrea so aptly formulated. The question is highly relevant, as a large part of crowdfunding campaigns – both on Invesdor and on other platforms – have not reached their funding targets. Could something be done to increase the probability of a campaign succeeding?

Based on sixty campaigns that had been conducted via Invesdor, we found the following:

1.  Campaign characteristics that are pre-determined by the target company – with assistance from Invesdor – are relevant in determining the campaign’s success:

  • The lower the minimum investment requirement, the more investors and funds a campaign can be expected to attract.
  • Campaign duration is negatively associated with the number of investors.
  • Higher funding targets seem to attract larger numbers of investors.
  • The availability of financials in the pitch is positively associated with the number of investors.

2. The use of the entrepreneur’s (and Invesdor’s) networks is important for campaign success.

  • The more money the target company can raise through its and Invesdor’s private networks during the hidden phase, the more investors and more funds it is likely to attract in total.
  • Posting the campaign on social media is a strong predictor of success.

3. The understandability of the target company’s products may play a role in success

  • The results indicate that companies that offer consumer products, rather than products targeted to other businesses, may be more likely to conduct successful campaigns.

The results presented here are based on an aggregate assessment of campaigns and investments.

Fellow Finance Group 1 January – 31 December 2016 (Fellow Finance), Rated: B

2016 was a year of rapid growth for Fellow Finance. The number of platform users grew 220% and the total amount of intermediated consumer and business loans in Finland and Poland was above 50 million euros. This growth resulted in the overall loan volume exceeding 90 million euros which strengthened Fellow Finance’s position as the leader of the crowdfunding platforms in the Nordic countries and with 4,3% market share in continental Europe (source: Liberum Altfi Index). In Finland, Fellow Finance’s market share was over 30% of the whole crowdfunding market (source: Ministry of Finance of Finland). The average of annual yield for investors was 11%.

China

Hong Kong government dismisses report ranking city 5th for fintech (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

The government has dismissed a research report ranking Hong Kong only fifth last year among leading fintech hubs, saying the study did not directly compare financial technology development but rather financial and business environments as a whole.

During a Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday, finance sector legislator Chan Chun-ying asked the government why Hong Kong ranked three spots behind rival Singapore – which ranked second – in the report by global accounting firm Deloitte.

Banks should embrace fintech boom (The Straits Times), Rated: A

Fintech complements rather than threatens banking institutions. In my experience, banking has always been about technology, so today’s fintech innovation boom represents evolution rather than revolution for traditional banking. It is supplementing and diversifying the existing financial system – not replacing or disrupting it.

If we look closely, fintech is currently only focusing on a mere fraction of the financial services spectrum. To date, much of the focus of fintech has been on retail banking services – lending and financing along with payments-related products and services, where mobile and e-commerce has led to real demand from consumers.

Similarly, peer-to-peer lenders appear to be more focused on small businesses and higher-credit-risk borrowers than on mainstream banked clients.

Asia

Korean government to tighten watch over P2P lending (Pulse), Rated: AAA

From the second quarter, the government plans to toughen watch and scrutiny on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending service in burgeoning demand in South Korea.

Currently, moneylenders with assets worth at least 12 billion won ($10 million) fall under the broad state regulation. Smaller lenders can run money business upon registering with local governments.

Under a new act that would go into effect in the second quarter, small lenders also would have to comply with state regulation and watch.

Kelvin Teo erases borders with an online lending platform (Asian Review), Rated: A

In January last year, Riza Fansuri was in a quandary. The 37-year-old, who runs a small food supplier in a Jakarta suburb, wanted to develop new products, but that would take money. He tried applying for loans at banks, but they all turned him down because he could not provide sufficient collateral.

Desperate for help, he turned to a website for peer-to-peer lending, a method of debt financing that allows individuals to lend and borrow money directly from each other online instead of borrowing from banks. Half in doubt, he applied for a loan, and a week later, he managed to secure the 100 million rupiah ($7,485) needed to carry out his plan. His company successfully created two new products — instant ice cream and pudding mixes — that now account for 40% of its sales.

The website Fansuri used is run by Funding Societies, a fintech startup that operates in Indonesia, Singapore and soon in Malaysia. The company was founded by Kelvin Teo, a graduate from Harvard Business School, and Reynold Wijaya, an Indonesian classmate from the school. In less than two years, the company has arranged more than 360 loans worth a total of $19 million.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor