Thursday September 12 2019, Weekly News Digest

bank technology

News Comments Today’s main news: KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-4 Trust. Stripe debuts corporate credit cards. College Ave completes $300M securitization of private student loans. Yirendai issues earnings results. Today’s main analysis: Deregulating Fannie and Freddie (A MUST-READ REPORT FROM THE U.S. TREASURY). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Average FICO scores hit […]

The post Thursday September 12 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

bank technology

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

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News Summary

United States

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-4 Trust (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-4 Trust (“SCLP 2019-4”). This is a $465 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-4

Class

Preliminary Rating

Class Principal

A

AAA (sf)

$360,000,000

B

AA+ (sf)

$29,500,000

C

A+ (sf)

$47,500,000

D

BBB+ (sf)

$28,000,000

OnDeck CEO Noah Breslow to Deliver Keynote Address at 2019 LEND360 Conference (GuruFocus), Rated: A

OnDeck today announced that Chairman and CEO Noah Breslow will be a keynote speaker at the LEND360 Conference in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, September 26, 2019. Mr. Breslow will discuss industry trends in alternative data and how they are improving many aspects of online lending to small businesses.

Case activity for On Deck Capital, Inc. vs Beautyshea, LLC on Sept. 9 (Pennsylvania Record), Rated: B

‘Judgment Entered For $6,593.50 On 09-09-2019 236 Notice Of Judgment Sent 09-09-2019’

Payments giant Stripe debuts a credit card in its latest step into the financing fray (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Last week, when the popular payments startup Stripe made some waves with its first move into money lending through the launch of Stripe Capital, we reported that the company was also soon going to be launching a credit card. Now, that news is official. Today, the company is doubling down on financing with the launch of corporate cards for business customers.

College Ave Student Loans Completes $ 300 Million Securitization of Private Student Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Student loan marketplace, College Ave Student Loans, announced on Tuesday it has completed a $300 million securitization of private student loans, its third securitization and largest to date. According to College Ave, the transaction was oversubscribed attracting a broad and diverse group of repeat investors and new participants. Barclays and Goldman Sachs were joint lead underwriters on the transaction with Barclays serving as structuring agent and sole bookrunner.

The Deregulation of Fannie and Freddie; Rate Cuts; “Full Stack” Banks (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, the Trump administration released their long awaited housing finance plan that will privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The plan would require a significant recapitalization – up to $180 Bn.

Read the full report here.

Source: Federal Reserve, PeerIQ

Average FICO score hits all-time high (CNBC), Rated: AAA

For the first time, the average national credit score has reached 706, according to FICO, the developer of one of the most commonly used scores by lenders.

Source: CNBC

U.S. Consumer Debt Surges on Jump in Credit-Card Balances (Bloomberg), Rated: A

U.S. consumer borrowing swelled in July by the most since late 2017 as Americans carried larger credit-card balances to fund both everyday and online purchases.

Total credit rose by $23.3 billion from the prior month, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists, Federal Reserve figures showed Monday. Revolving debt outstanding increased by $10 billion, also the most since November 2017, while the growth of non-revolving credit was little changed from a month earlier.

Kabbage Launches New Small Business Revenue Index (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Global financial service platform Kabbage announced this week the launch of its new Small Business Revenue Index. According to Kabbage, the index has two million live data connections the platform maintains across its customer base of more than 200,000 small businesses.

The Current State of the Small Business Lending Sector (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The companies that I view as pioneers in this space are Kabbage and OnDeck.

Although Kabbage and OnDeck were early to small business lending there are many other names in this space with varying models and scale including Funding CircleStreetsharesFundboxBlueVineBiz2CreditFundation and Credibly to name a few. LendingClub also has a small business lending operation but they primarily work with partners Funding Circle and Opportunity Fund today to originate these loans.

The Challengers of Small Business Lending

Probably the most recognizable name is PayPal and the Working Capital product which, according to deBanked, has surpassed OnDeck in small business lending volume.

Patriot Financial leads $ 15 million round for Numerated (American Banker), Rated: A

Numerated, the loan technology company that incubated inside Eastern Bank and spun off on its own in May 2017, has raised $15 million from bank investment fund Patriot Financial Partners. Existing investors Venrock, Fintop Capital and Hyperplane also joined the round.

TBF Financial Buys $ 60 Million in Commercial Debt from Major Online Lender (PR Newswire), Rated: A

TBF Financial purchased nearly $60 million in non-performing loans from a major online small business lender in recent transactions, CEO Brett Boehm announced today.

TBF bought the pools of post-charge-off loans as the highest bidder in transactions arranged through multiple brokers. In most cases, the company purchases directly from alternative lenders, equipment leasing companies and banks.

LendingTree Ranks the 50 Most Expensive Towns in America (NewKerala), Rated: A

No. 1 Vineyard Haven, Mass.

Total population 17,321
Median individual income $39,045
Median home value $674,600
Affordable housing costs for a median income earner $911
Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home $2,767
Median rent payment $1,441
Home affordability deficit -$1,856
Rent affordability deficit -$530

The DeFi trend is accelerating and gaining acceptance, with Coinbase joining the fray. The leading brokerage has created the Coinbase Bootstrap Fund, to boost DeFi projects. Coinbase will invest in two projects, the Compound crypto lending scheme, and the dy/dx crypto derivative exchange.

The 30-somethings guide to creating passive income (Ladders), Rated: A

You might not have $30,000 saved up to buy a rental property right now, but do you have $500? The beauty of REITs like DiversyFund is you can start investing for the amount of money you might drop on a new pair of shoes.

There are public and private REITS as well as funds classified as real estate crowdfunding. Compare your options and find the best one that works for you.

PeerStreet Named CRETech 2019 Real Estate Tech Award Winner (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Real estate investment platform PeerStreet announced on Tuesday it won first place in CRETech’s 2019 Real Estate Tech Awards (RETAs for the Information & Intelligence – Crowdfunding category.

Zillow chooses Impac Mortgage COO Rian Furey to lead mortgage expansion (Housingwire), Rated: B

Zillow announced Monday that it is naming Rian Furey president of Zillow Home Loans.

Balboa Capital Continues Accelerated Growth, Adds 125 New Employees in First Half of 2019 (Yahoo! Finance), Raated: A

Balboa Capital, an online lender that specializes in equipment financing and small business loans, hired 125 new employees during the first six months of 2019 to accommodate the company’s rapid increase in new business and acquisition of several new strategic partners.

United Kingdom

Why crowdfunding may not be the great democratising force in investment after all (The Conversation), Rated: AAA

The digital revolution has had a huge impact on the way new and small companies are financed – and crowdfunding has been at the forefront.

Initially, crowdfunding brought great optimism that it would have a “democratising effect” on finance. On the one hand it would enable entrepreneurs excluded from traditional sources of finance to attract funding. And, on the other, it would provide new opportunities for people with even relatively modest amounts of money to invest. For example, private investors looking for higher returns than those available with high street banks have been attracted to various lending platforms – also known as peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms.

Sonovate raises £110m to drive invoice finance (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Finance tech provider Sonovate is looking to expand internationally and deploy more working capital to SMEs and mid-market businesses after raising £110 million, reports Jane Connolly.

Spotcap find 77% of SME brokers are upbeat about Brexit (AltFi), Rated: A

Over three-quarters of commercial finance intermediaries in the UK expect the number of loans they broker to increase after Brexit, with more than half saying the number will rise “by a lot”.

In July Berlin-based online lender Spotcap asked 132 UK brokers, accountants and advisers about the future of SME finance in the UK, the results of which it published today as part of a report entitled The State of Commercial Finance in the UK.

FCA urges firms to prepare for no-deal Brexit and launches helpline (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FIRMS should prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, says the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as it launches a dedicated helpline for businesses.

The City watchdog, which oversees the peer-to-peer lending market as well as the rest of the financial servcies sector, says firms who have not prepared appropriately for the UK leaving the EU without a deal may see an impact on their business.

Foreign firms eyeing P2P market entry (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

REGULATORY consultancy Bovill has reported a steady stream of interest from new entrants to the peer-to-peer lending market, particularly from overseas firms.

Brown attributed the slowdown to the fact that P2P is a more mature market, meaning there was “less of a gold rush” for new players.

H&M extends Klarna ‘buy now, pay later’ service to the UK (Fashion United), Rated: B

Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M has extended its partnership with payment provider Klarna to the UK market, offering Brit shoppers the option to ‘buy now, pay later’.

New SME services added to Starling Bank’s marketplace (AltFi), Rated: B

Digital Risks is an insurance provider for small and medium-sized digital businesses, including cover for specific threats like commercial legal protection, cyber security, management liability, employers liability, public liability and professional indemnity.

While CyberSmart is a platform for SMEs to identify digital weaknesses and achieve their Cyber Essentials Certification, the government-backed accreditation for companies looking to protect against cyber threats.

China

Yirendai (NYSE:YRD) Issues Earnings Results (Mayfield Recorder), Rated: AAA

Yirendai posted its earnings results on Tuesday, September 3rd. The technology company reported $0.24 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.48 by ($0.24), Morningstar.com reports. Yirendai had a return on equity of 32.93% and a net margin of 15.30%. The firm had revenue of $322.89 million for the quarter.

LexinFintech Secures $ 300 Million Private Placement of Convertible Notes with PAG (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Chinese consumer financing platform LexinFintech announced on Wednesday it has entered into a convertible note purchase agreement with PAG issue and sell convertible notes in an aggregate principal amount of $300 million through a private placement. 

IceKredit Raises $ 47M in Pre-Series C Funding (FINSMES), Rated: A

IceKredit, Inc., a Los Angeles, CA and China-based credit risk and credit management company, raised $47m in pre-Series C funding.

These Chinese Online Lenders Are Not For the Weak at Heart (GuruFocus), Rated: A

Beijing-based online lender Yirendai (NYSE:YRD) and Shanghai-based Paipaidai, or PPDAI Group (NYSE:PPDF), shares have been pummeled down to their lowest levels in the past year. Yet aside from receiving credit lines from large Chinese institutions amid China’s crackdown on fraud lending in their industry, both lenders appear to remain in a healthy state.

PPDAI — the older and bigger of the two lenders — came out strong in its recent quarter, beating earnings expectations. The $1.2 billion online lender reported it had 29% year-over-year growth in loan origination volume to $3 billion, compared to just 1.6% growth a year earlier.

Hexindai Announces Support For Regulators’ Decision to Include P2P Platforms in Central Bank’s Credit System (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform Hexindai (NASDAQ: HX) announced on Tuesday its support for the decision by industry regulators to include the country’s P2P platforms in the central bank’s credit system. The online lender reported that it believes this as a positive move for the P2P industry.

Sequoia-Backed P2P Lender Huobank Collapses As Beijing Mops Up Online Finance Risks (China Money Network), Rated: A

European Union

Banks raise concerns ahead of ECB meeting (Irish Examiner), Rated: A

The president of Germany’s powerful savings banks association, community lenders that dominate the country’s shopping streets, joined Dutch bank ING yesterday in criticising the ECB’s loose monetary policy.

Its 50 million customers have increased their savings by almost 5% since last year to €965bn which is roughly the size of the Dutch economy. With lending amounting to about €860bn, the banks are left with a chunky unused surplus.

Fintech Europe Selects Eight Startups for its Fourth Batch (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Fintech Europe, Plug and Play’s fintech-focused innovation platform based out of Frankfurt, Germany, announced today the eight startups selected for its fourth batch. The platform has grown its partner base to 11 Financial Institutions since its inception in May 2018. Together with Deutsche Bank, TechQuartier, BNP Paribas, Nets Group, UniCredit, Aareal Bank, Abanca, Danske Bank, DZ Bank, Elo, and Finablr, it runs two 12-week innovation programs a year.

CashDirector 

CashDirector SA is a technology company providing SMEs and banks with a Digital CFO integrated with on-line banking, helping with SMEs manage cash flow and accessing financing.

Credit Kudos

Credit Kudos is a credit bureau that uses financial behaviour to measure creditworthiness.

International

Technology Is Banks’ New Battleground (WSJ), Rated: AAA

European banks are spending vast sums on technology—but it may not be enough to defend against the incursions of bigger, richer American rivals.

U.S. lenders already dominate investment banking in Europe. The big risk for the continent’s banks is that slicker tech could give their American rivals a platform to make gains in lending to companies—the Europeans’ traditional stronghold.

This year, Europe’s banks plan to make technology investments worth in aggregate $77 billion, according to consulting firm Celent. That compares with $105 billion for their U.S. rivals. Faster, more seamless trading systems have long been a priority, but tech spending has shifted across business lines and from back office to front office. It can cover everything from maintaining decades-old systems to cutting-edge artificial intelligence.

Source: Celent

Wirecard Teams Up With Credibly to Digitalize Funding Disbursements (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Germany-based global provider of digital payments and commerce solutions Wirecard announced on Wednesday it is partnering with U.S. business funding fintech Credibly to digitalize funding disbursement. Wirecard claims to be one of the largest issuers of payout cards in the U.S. and is now offering fully digitalize solutions.

PwC to AM industry: disrupt yourself or face extinction (City Wire Selector), Rated: A

The European financial services industry is facing an ‘Amazonisation’ moment, in which those offering consumer-first solutions underpinned by sustainable finance will survive and the others will cease to compete.

That is the headline finding of 52-page report co-authored by PwC Luxembourg and Luxembourg for Finance, which investigated underlying industry trends and indicated that the European market is losing ground on its US and Asian peers when it comes to innovation and assets.

State of the Chain: Five Winning Use Cases for Blockchain in 2019 (U.today), Rated: A

Predictably it was Binance that stole the limelight, with the surprise launch of its eponymous lending platform, which was unveiled on Monday, August 26, and then proceeded to fill its initial lending quota of 200,000 BNB and 10 million USDT in a matter of seconds two days later.

Dharma and Compound have announced new products, while Coinbase has hinted that this will be the next vertical it expands into.

Lenders can enjoy annualized interest of up to 15%, which is significantly better than the negative rates they are currently offered on fiat savings and on negatively yielding government bonds.

Australia

Hopes fintech inquiry will ‘validate’ bank competitors (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

On Wednesday New South Wales senator Andrew Bragg successfully moved to secure a senate committee inquiry into the fintech and regulatory technology spaces, paving the way for a year-long review into how competitive Australia is in these sectors.

Chief executive of small business lender Lumi, Yanir Yakutiel, said the inquiry should focus on expanding the regulatory sandbox program, which is designed to help early stage fintechs test their ideas.

India

Five Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Instigating Paradigm Shift In Online Lending Space (Via.news), Rated: AAA

Currently, digital lending accounts for around 15% to 20% of the total lending market and could surpass 50% in coming years.

Asia

Chinese P2P Lending Companies Ventures to Vietnam (LearnBonds), Rated: AAA

This business model boomed in China, but following a regulatory clampdown by authorities on risky financial practices, the number of fintech and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in the country dropped from about 1,900 a year ago to just 900 in May.

It now appears that some of these Chinese P2P lending companies have not necessarily disappeared. They simple ventured into new markets and in particular Vietnam.

According to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), there were 40 peer-to-peer lending companies operating in Vietnam as of March. Of these, 10 companies are from China.

MENA

The opportunity of peer-to-peer lending in Lebanon (Executive Magazine), Rated: AAA

Through conversations with Lebanese entrepreneurs, business owners, bankers, and politicians, I have had a number of eye-opening discussions into the challenges and opportunities faced by Lebanon’s SME ecosystem. Given the country’s long-standing tradition in financial services and its large banking sector, I believe fintech—with solutions such as peer-to-peer lending, machine learning to personalize insurance solutions, and the use of artificial intelligence for wealth management—stands as a serious contender to unlock the funding challenges faced by Lebanon’s SMEs.

Latin America

SoftBank in talks to invest in Latam venture capital funds (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) is in talks with venture capital firms in Latin America to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in their funds, a move likely to speed up spending of a $5 billion regional venture capital fund, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

So far, SoftBank has only announced direct investments using the fund’s resources, injecting capital into Colombian delivery app Rappi, Brazilian lender Creditas, gym membership app Gympass and Mexican payments firm Clip, for instance.

Proptech Flat raises US$ 4.5 million pre-seed round led by ALLVP (Contxto), Rated: A

Contxto – Not only is the Mexican real estate industry huge but also outdated with many inefficient processes. Counteracting this, a new Mexican startup, Flat, recently raised US$4.5 million in one of Mexico’s largest pre-seed rounds ever.

Africa

Nigerian online-only bank startup Kuda raises $ 1.6M (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Nigerian fintech startup Kuda — a digital-only retail bank — has raised $1.6 million in pre-seed funding.

Canada

Peer to Peer Lender Lending Loop Tops $ 50 Million in Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Canada’s first peer to peer lending platform for SMEs, Lending Loop, has topped CDN $50 million in loans, according to a post by Brendon Vlaar, co-founder and CTO of the company. Lending Loop provides investment opportunities in debt-based securities to both accredited and non-accredited investors.

PayBright Raises $ 34M in Growth Equity Financing (FINSMES), Rated: A

PayBright, a Toronto, Canada-based fintech company, received a $34m equity investment from goeasy.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday September 12 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday February 7 2018, Daily News Digest

MONEY-LAUNDERING-BY-ACTIVITY

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

MONEY-LAUNDERING-BY-ACTIVITY

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

MENA

News Summary

United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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

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

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

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Mortgage Offers by Credit Score

Purchase

FICO Range

Average APR

Average Down Payment

Average Loan Amount

Average LTV

Lifetime Interest Paid*

All Loans

4.55%

$63,411

$238,518

82%

$199,109

760+

4.41%

$84,354

$262,661

79%

$191,975

720-759

4.45%

$59,193

$239,111

83%

$194,007

680-719

4.70%

$39,883

$217,590

86%

$206,818

640-679

5.04%

$63,301

$203,176

76%

$224,533

620-639

5.12%

$57,566

$191,642

76%

$228,749

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

Refinance Mortgage Offers by Credit Score

Refinance

FICO Range

Average APR

Average Down Payment

Average Loan Amount

Average LTV

Lifetime Interest Paid*

All Loans

4.46%

$2,739

$244,540

62%

$199,427

760+

4.33%

$4,014

$250,651

59%

$192,669

720-759

4.38%

$3,073

$249,678

64%

$195,262

680-719

4.58%

$1,294

$238,579

64%

$205,712

640-679

4.79%

$907

$223,812

60%

$216,814

620-639

4.89%

$212,813

59%

$222,147

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the full report, click here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short-Term Personal Loans

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

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

Payday Loans

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

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

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

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

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

China

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

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

European Union

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Fintech News

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Australia

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

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

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

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

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

MENA

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday September 7 2017, Daily News Digest

robo-advisors

News Comments Today’s main news: Square plans to apply for an ILC banking license. Laplanche boosts volumes at Upgrade. SoFi CEO pulls out of Goldman fintech conference due to recent sexual harassment allegations. RealtyMogul launches MogulREIT II. Today’s main analysis: Why broker-dealer robo-advisors miss the point. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why broker-dealer robo-advisors miss the point. RateSetter says even a millionaire couldn’t […]

robo-advisors

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

MENA

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Square to apply for industrial bank, inflaming ILC debate (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Payment processor Square is seeking an industrial loan company, according to several sources familiar with the matter, further sparking debate over whether fintech companies should be allowed to use the controversial charter.

“ICBA’s feeling about Square applying for an ILC is the same about SoFi,” said Camden Fine, the president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America. “If these entities want to be banks, they should apply for banking charters and come under full and unified banking supervision.”

Square’s main purpose for the charter will be to extend its small-business lending business, the spokesperson said. Though it also intends to take deposits, which would provide some amount of funding for its on-balance-sheet loans, the lion share of the company’s loans would still be sold off to third parties.

Square also felt the ILC charter was best suited to its structure, as the company owns a point-of-sales hardware appliance business and even a food delivery service called Caviar.

Ousted Lending Club chief boosts volumes at new venture (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Renaud Laplanche, the former Lending Club chief ousted over a governance scandal last year, is stepping up lending at his new venture, determined to re-impose himself on the market for refinancing more than $1tn of credit card debt.

Mr Laplanche launched his firm, Upgrade, in April, having raised $60m in Series-A funding from a group of investors including Union Square Ventures, Ribbit Capital and CreditEase, China’s leading online lender. As at Lending Club, he is homing in on consumers struggling with big balances on credit cards — offering to swap a floating rate of, say, 17 per cent for a fixed rate about 5 percentage points less.

While Mr Laplanche declines to say how much business he has done so far, he has begun to boost volumes, responding to steady demand from consumers and also for high-quality assets from half a dozen core institutional investors. That new cadre of investors is unfazed by the scandal which erupted in May 2016, he said.

SoFi CEO Backs Out of Goldman Event Amid Sexual Harassment Probe (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mike Cagney was supposed to take the stage at the Goldman Sachs FinTech Conference in New York City on Thursday, but he backed out amid a lawsuit and internal investigation at the firm.

Why broker-dealer robo advisors miss the fintech point (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

Over the past two years, there’s been a growing trend of broker-dealers announcing prospective launches of their own robo advisor solutions. From LPL developing a platform with BlackRock’s FutureAdvisor to Voya planning to launch a robo advisor, and Kestra Financial announcing it is working on a robo platform on the back of its acquisition of H. Beck, there’s been no shortage of announcements.

Launching a robo advisor does hold appeal among broker-dealers. Many of their reps are asking for it, either because it’s an easier way to handle smaller clients, or just to have a robo advisor option for millennial clients. Who wouldn’t want a button for the advisor’s website that young people can click to open up small accounts that will grow with time? And from the broker-dealer’s perspective, ideally, this helps them address the coming generational shift of assets from baby boomers down to millennials.

But for a broker-dealer that in the aggregate is losing 3% to 5% a year in asset outflows a decade from now, it’s a crisis, because a broker-dealer still has a multi-decade open-ended timeframe as an ongoing business entity. This is why we see broker-dealers, as well as RIA custodians, so obsessively beating the drum about advisors needing to focus more on younger clients. It’s not actually because advisors desperately need younger clients for our businesses to survive. It’s because they, the broker-dealers and RIA custodians, need us to get younger clients for them so their businesses survive and so they have younger clients after we’re gone and retired!

And so from the broker-dealer’s perspective, if millennials are pursuing robo advisor solutions, then the broker-dealer wants to roll out a robo advisor to get those younger clients and solve its own long-term generational issue. But here’s the problem with the strategy: robo advisors live and die by their ability to get clients online, and that’s not easy for anyone, especially a large base of independent registered representatives.

DOOMED TO FAIL

Betterment is just over $10 billion in total assets after six years. Wealthfront is just over $7 billion AUM in that same duration. Schwab made news for $15 billion dollars of assets, but has actually noted only a third of that total was new assets. Vanguard is now over $80 billion, but remember they had much of their assets already as well. Vanguard is direct-to-consumer through the Internet already; those in Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services were predominantly existing Vanguard investors, simply upsold to human advice. Even Edelman online, which launched in early 2013, has accumulated barely 1,000 clients and just $62M of AUM after four years (and their average robo client is actually a baby boomer anyway.)

Source: Financial-Planning

VALUE IN EFFICIENCY
In other words, the real blocking point of robo advisors is the client acquisition cost — what it takes to market and get a young investor to invest on your platform. As the founding companies learned the hard way, this is not an “If you build it, they will come,” kind of asset-gathering opportunity. Instead, robos at best have been struggling to solve those client acquisition costs in the face of slowing growth rates, and many have been getting outright buried by those costs. That’s why robo advisor growth rates continue to slow down. Most of them have already sold, and most of the ones that are left aren’t even really focusing on a pure robo strategy anymore.

RealtyMogul.com Launches Second Real Estate Investment Trust, MogulREIT II, to Invest in Multifamily Apartment Buildings (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

RealtyMogul.com, the online marketplace for commercial real estate investing, today announced the launch of the company’s second real estate investment trust or “REIT,” MogulREIT II.

MogulREIT II aims to invest in multifamily apartment communities across the United States that have demonstrated consistently high occupancy and income levels across market cycles. MogulREIT II also plans to invest in multifamily properties that offer value add opportunities with appropriate risk-adjusted returns and potential for appreciation objectives.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Housing and Vacancy Homeownership Report, the U.S. apartment market has experienced a strong recovery, as evidenced by the steady drop in vacancies and an average annual effective rent growth of 3.9% per year, between 2010 and 2015.

MogulREIT II plans to only consist of properties that satisfy RealtyMogul’s rigorous zero-based underwriting process, which analyzes each potential deal from scratch through a combination of proprietary in-house analytics and underwriting. RealtyMogul also spends over $1 million annually for the use of third-party data and technology to vet each deal. The process is so intensive, fewer than 1% of the requests reviewed by RealtyMogul pass its high underwriting standards. Keep in mind there are risks to investing, including loss of capital, so one should evaluate the full offering materials.

RealtyMogul MogulREIT II Survey Data (RealtyMogul Email), Rated: A

Overview

RealtyMogul recently commissioned Harris Poll to conduct an online survey among over 2,000 U.S. adults to better understand the reasons people choose to rent over buying a house.

Americans have shifting priorities and owning a home might not be at the top of the list

  • Roughly 7 in 10 Americans (71%) believe the home buying process is overwhelming
  • 70% of Americans believe people these days will need to rent well into their 30’s in order to save enough money to buy a home
  • Over a third of Americans (35%) would prefer renting over owning a home to maintain a flexible lifestyle
  • Roughly a third of Americans (34%) would rather save their money to spend on traveling than to put it towards buying a home
  • A third of Americans (33%) would prefer to rent than own a home if it meant they could still afford small luxuries (e.g. eating out, fancy coffee, avocado toast) in their everyday life

Read the full survey results here.

LendingRobot CEO exits (Geekwire), Rated: A

Emmanuel Marot has left LendingRobot, the peer-to-peer lending company he co-founded in 2013. He served as CEO of the startup for the past four years, navigating LendingRobot through a merger with NSR Invest in August.

Marot isn’t sure what his next career move will be but remains General Manager of Zenvestment.com, according to LinkedIn.

Legislative Update 162 (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights this issue:

  • On September 7, the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit has scheduled a hearing to review “Legislative Proposals for a More Efficient Federal Financial Regulatory Regime.” The Subcommittee has not released the full agenda, but it is expected that the hearing will focus on several bills affecting consumer credit.
  • Congress continues to consider legislation that would repeal the CFPB’s Arbitration Rule using an expedited legislative process under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The House of Representatives passed a resolution of disapproval on July 25. The Senate is expected to take up the measure upon their return from the August recess, although there is uncertainty when a vote will take place given other priorities that Congress must pass by September 30, which is the end of the US Fiscal Year.
  • On August 30, three Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that GAO further evaluate post-breach identity protection products used by government agencies.
  • Legislators in California continue to debate legislation that would enact a broadband privacy law in the state, similar to the one first issued by the FCC and then overturned by Congress. A.B. 375 would prohibit an internet service provider from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to customer personal information.

Read the full report.

StartEngine Files to Raise $ 5 Million Reg A+ Crowdfunding Offer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

StartEngine, one of the most activea investment crowdfunding platforms in the US, has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $5 million in common equity at $5 per share.

The actual listing is not yet live on the StartEngine platform. The filing indicates that up to an additional 100,000 shares may be issued as “bonus shares”. There are no selling shareholders and the entire proceeds will go to the company. According to the filing, the minimum investment is $500.

Web site steered U.S. borrowers into bad, illegal payday loans: CFPB (Reuters), Rated: A

The bureau imposed a $100,000 fine on California company Zero Parallel LLC, which as a “lead aggregator” identifies potential borrowers and then sells their information. The action shows the agency has its eye on the online side of the industry, which crosses state lines and has grown in recent years. Potential borrowers fill out web forms and then are immediately sent to a lender’s site to take out the debt.

According to a CFPB statement, Zero Parallel sold applications to lenders it knew did not follow states’ usury laws, interest-rate restrictions and prohibitions on who can make the loans, and kept borrowers in the dark about risks and costs.

Zero Parallel simply sold leads to the highest bidders, according to the CFPB, and borrowers did not know they were taking out illegal loans.

Zero Parallel will pay the fine without admitting or denying the allegations, the CFPB said. The agency also said it had reached an agreement with Zero Parallel’s owner, Davit Gasparyan, to resolve similar charges filed last year against his previous company, T3Leads, with a $250,000 fine.

FINTECH Gains Traction as Businesses Embrace Alternative Banking and Financial Solutions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Global Payout, Inc. (OTC: GOHE) makes payment solutions available to clients around the world, serving the needs of everything from commercial enterprises to government institutions. Its Global Reserve Platform is a web-based banking platform that includes everything domestic, foreign exchange, and international payment service providers need to conduct financial transactions. It handles online banking, compliance, mobile wallets, card management, biometric payments, authentication, merchant payment processing, bill payments and more, while also offering core and traditional banking products. Global Payout’s primary focus in this area is logistics, in addition to small to medium size companies, banking, and travel firms.

The CEO of Able Lending Responds to the Rumors (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Yesterday, the CEO of Able Lending, Will Davis, reached out to me to clear the air. Here is his unedited statement:

We believe this story originated by the fact that we’ve been in active discussions with a number of originators to acquire Able, and there’s a non-zero chance this story was placed in order to throw an interested party off the trail.

This anonymous source doesn’t seem to be anyone close to Able, because Able does not own a portfolio of loans (it originates and distributes loans to direct lenders, who then hold those loans on their balance sheet) and therefore has no portfolio to sell. In any event, we have no plans to go out of business and no plans to declare bankruptcy.

Passive Investments In CRE: Do They Really Exist? (Seeking Alpha), Rated: B

The wealth of new crowd-funding opportunities in CRE is just the latest addition to a long line of traditional equity funds, REITs and ETFs already offering investors the chance to invest without the high upfront cost traditionally associated with a direct CRE investment. It sounds easy, right? But how truly “passive” are these opportunities?

The only problem with passive investing in CRE? Pure 100 percent passive investing doesn’t exist.

United Kingdom

RateSetter: Even a millionaire could no longer live off savings interest (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ROCK-BOTTOM interest rates are now challenging the convention that someone with £1m in savings could live off the interest, RateSetter claims.

The peer-to-peer platform’s latest savings tracker found on average UK adults think they would need an income of £26,140 per year to live comfortably, but £1m in an average savings account would pay just 0.14 per cent interest, equating to £12,500 each year.

£1m invested in a one-year bank bond with an average rate of 0.79 per cent would earn just £7,900, while the same amount could earn £45,000 in a RateSetter account earning 4.5 per cent interest.

Investors opting to put their £1m into FTSE 100-listed stocks would have earned £80,000 in interest over the 12 months to the end of August, the research found.

Funding Circle reveals new brand positioning and identity with ‘Made to do More’ campaign (The Drum), Rated: A

The challenge was to find an emotional positioning that resonated with Funding Circle customers while instilling trust and confidence as a financial services company. Rooster Punk helped Funding Circle to identify a common thread that connects small business owners, investors and the people who work at Funding Circle. Results revealed they share a uniquely driven yet positive attitude to work and life, a restless determination to succeed and the tenacity to get there. The agency called this ‘Made to do More’.

Rooster Punk’s founder, Paul Cash, commented: “Developing Funding Circle’s new position and identity had to go deeper than a product message around faster business loans. We set out with the ambition that we didn’t just want people to buy from Funding Circle, instead we wanted them to buy into them.

Meet the firm which hopes to solve the late payment problem (City A.M.), Rate: A

This warning comes from Tony Duggan, chief executive of fintech firm Crossflow Payments, a company which acts like a cog between corporations, their suppliers, and funding providers – ensuring that suppliers don’t have to wait for a month or more to get paid.

Duggan’s warning is not just a reference to Brexit, but centres on the introduction of new payment practice laws, which will make it a criminal offence for a corporation not to make public whether it is paying suppliers according to the terms of the contract.

The code looks to stamp out problems with late payments. Ultimately it aims to improve the cashflow of businesses – largely suppliers – by making sure they are paid by their corporate customers on time.

Crossflow is a no frills sort of business; it’s basically a B2B version of peer-to-peer lending, and one that is currently pretty unique in the UK arena.

Peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance marks 1,000th loan (RTE), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has funded its 1,000th loan for a small or medium sized company here.

Figures published by Linked, which facilitates loans from individuals directly to businesses outside the banking system, show €31m has now been borrowed through the platform.

The company, which was launched in 2013, also said that €2.5m in interest has already been repaid to Linked Finance lenders.

Marrying self organising teams and customer obsession – Interview with Andrew Lawson (Customer Think), Rated: A

Highlights from my conversation with Andrew:

  • Capital One was an early pioneer in big data, data driven decision making , customer centricity and human centred product design.
  • Back in 2014, a lot of banks were talking a lot about being customer centric but when you get inside the banks there was little evidence to back that up. [Ed: Have things changed?]
  • Customer obsession is very much behind the growth of peer-to-peer lending.
  • When Andrew joined Zopa in 2014 they were a team of around 50 people lending about £20mill per month.
  • Zopa was founded to “make money simple and fair”.
  • Zopa was awarded Superbrand status in the early part of 2017. The annual Superbrands’ league table is based on independent research to identify the UK’s strongest brands, as voted for by marketing experts and thousands of British consumers.
  • Zopa still thinks of itself as a start-up despite the fact that they have been going for 13 years now.
  • In that time Zopa have never spent any money on growing their brand and have grown organically and via word of month.
  • Zopa has won a bunch of customer service awards that celebrate and recognise their approach.
  • Zopa has recently moved to a system of self-organising teams and that is helping them to achieve more and deliver more on their customer promise.
  • In the first quarter of 2016 they delivered more than they had in the whole of 2015 with the same number of people.
  • Ultimately, it’s all about creating an environment where you find and allow great people to go and solve problems.
  • Andrew’s role is all about ensuring they have the right people in the right tribes solving the right problems. It’s not about him being able to come up with all the answers as that just doesn’t scale.
  • In terms of mistakes, initially they found that their tribes went too tribal and it was difficult seeing what was going on within the tribes. That was a problem particularly given the level of technical and strategic dependencies that exist between tribes.
  • On a day to basis, their teams work in a way that is akin to a modern agile environment and are able to pick the right model (1 week sprints, 2 week sprints, kanban etc) depending on their context and preferences.
  • As is the nature of agile working, they are constantly tweaking and looking for ways to improve.
  • Other challenges they have faced include the management of people from different backgrounds, skillsets and with different experiences.
  • Given that they are now 250 people in London, the next big challenge for them will be how do they move this system into a remote context.
  • The heart of their success has been in creating those relationships where there weren’t relationships before i.e. between business people and tech people. It’s easy when you sit next to them or are in the same office but more difficult when you are in different locations, time zones or even speaking different languages.
  • They embraced a lot of Spotify’s approach as there are lots of things written about them and by them on how they organise themselves (videos, talks, blog posts, slide shows etc). Google ‘Spotify and Tribes’ to find more.
  • Don’t make assumptions around customers needs. Go and ask then as you will almost certainly be wrong.


UK fintech investment rises in H1 (Finextra), Rated: A

More than a billion dollars was invested in British Fintech companies in the first half of this year, over a third more than the same period in 2016, according to trade body Innovate Finance.

Fintech employs over 60,000 people in the UK and contributes $9bn (c.£7bn) to the economy.

Two peer-to-peer lending platforms also received significant rounds of investment. London-based FundingCircle a marketplace which allows investors to lend directly to SMEs raised another £80m in equity funding. Venture capital group Accel led the funding round alongside investors such as Temasek from Singapore. The business lent £1.1bn in 2016. In June Zopa another peer-to-peer lender raised £32m from Indian investor Wadhawan Global Capital and European venture capital fund Northzone. The business plans to use the funding for the ambitious roll out of its own retail bank.

China

After regulators ban on coin fundraising, over 40 ICO platforms closed (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Several platforms have taken steps after the central bank’s announcement of ban on ICO (initial issue of tokens). Up to September 5th, more than 40 platforms in China have taken measures to suspend the operation, registration or even permanently stop the service of ICO. Among them, ICOAGE, a well-known ICO platform, has launched a one-key withdrawal function. Meanwhile, ICOAGE’s official website says that it will actively negotiate with the project side, and even if the project does not accept the refund, ICOAGE will pay the relevant digital currency in advance to ensure the safety of investors. It is worth mentioning that, despite the regulation to stop the ICO, there still stages “the last madness” in the market, with some of tokens’ daily gains exceeding 30%.

China steps up financial regulation to address risks (China.org.cn), Rated: A

China’s ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a digital coin fundraising scheme, was only part of a broader campaign to curb the country’s financial risks.

In an announcement Monday, China’s central bank ordered a complete halt on new ICO offerings, in which technology start-ups issue their own digital coins, or “tokens,” to investors to access funds.

Similar to ICOs, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending served as an Internet-based alternative for companies and individuals to borrow money. As the P2P industry took off in recent years, it also made room for high-profile fraud, which prompted regulators to act fast.

European Union

Klarna’s newest investor could hold the key to ‘growing the company’s revenues manifold’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Klarna last week reported some impressive revenue growth, which, combined with a push into digital banking and recent deals with VISA and Stripe make its future prospects look rosy.

What could make Permira a strategic asset for Klarna, is its stake in Magento, one of the world’s biggest e-commerce platforms. The idea would be to integrate Klarna with Magento; a goal that Lundell says was in the works already before Permira’s entry.

Seeing that Magento runs some 15 percent of global e-commerce, getting visibility on the platform could open up a gigantic new market for Klarna and its CEO and cofounder Sebastian Siemiatkowski.

Mambu’s SaaS Banking Engine Helps N26 Transform Operations (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

Mambu announced that its innovative solution is being used by N26 to allow the Berlin-based mobile bank to integrate systems and quickly bring services to market in support of its growth strategy.

Before N26 was granted a full banking licence in July last year, it used the services of a partner bank and then migrated to its own platform in late 2016. Since then their customer base has grown by 500%, helping them reach the 500,000 customer mark in August 2017.

Mintos Reports Topping €300 Million Milestone in Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Latvia based Mintos has reached a new milestone having now topped  €300 million in online loans since platform launch two years ago. Mintos reports that more than €200 million has been invested in 2017 alone, making Mintos a market leader in continental Europe claiming a 40% market share.

Mintos states that as of September 2017, approximately € 1 million is invested in loans through Mintos daily, which is three times more than just a year ago.

European Central Bank working on new fintech licensing guidelines (Independent), Rated: A

The European Central Bank is working on new licensing guidelines that would also cover financial technology firms, Daniele Nouy, the ECB’s top bank supervisor told a conference on Wednesday.

The fintech sector, though still relative small, has been stealing market share from traditional lenders in a variety of sectors from payments to lending, attracting investment $6.5bn (£4.9bn) in the first half of the year.

Wirecard Supports Fellow Finance’s Market Entry in Germany and Ensures a Completely Digital Credit Process (Business Insider), Rated: B

Wirecard supports the Finnish FinTech company Fellow Finance to enter and provide a digital infrastructure for the German financial market. Wirecard is supporting Fellow Finance by placing their German full banking licence at the Fellow Finance’s disposal and in addition enabling a completely digital credit process. For example, the identification of the borrower as well as the signature of the credit agreement are made fully electronically.

The market volume of German alternative online financial services grew enormously between 2013 and 2015. In peer-to-peer consumer lending alone, there was year-on-year growth of 95%.

International

Q2 2017 Fintech Insights (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Source: FT Partners

Get the full report here.

Banking the Unbanked through AirFox ICO (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

AirFox’s groundbreaking idea involves using a mix of micro-credit and advertising to facilitate to make mobile data plans accessible to the world’s poor and underprivileged.

AirFox will launch their initial coin offering (ICO) on September 19, 2017 at 10:00 am EST. The token on sale is called AirTokens (AIR) and the period of sale has been fixed at 31 days. There are plans afoot to sell a total of 1.5 billion AIR, out of which 1.05 billion (70 per cent) are on offer at the crowdsale. AirTokens are based on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.

Laying out his vision Victor Santos, CEO and Co-founder of AirFox says, “Investors will be able to hold AirTokens that will be used by Lenders and Advertisers to sponsor the mobile internet of millions of users. There will be a market for buyers and sellers of AirTokens. Those who wish to take the AirTokens and lend micro-credit to users, will also be able to earn an interest using the data that we collect on the smartphone.”

AirFox raises $ 6.5M in token presale (CoinReport), Rated: A

AirFox, the firm utilizing advertising and blockchain technology to bring smartphone data and internet to 4 billion people in the developing world, has met the presale target of its token, AirToken (AIR), almost two weeks early, raising $6.5 million, according to an email CoinReport received from BIGfish Communications, AirFox’s PR firm.

India

Modalku Gets Audited to Gain Public Trust (Jakarta Globe), Rated: A

Mitrausaha Indonesia Group, also known as Modalku, a homegrown marketplace that provides peer-to-peer lending, received an “unqualified opinion” which is the best possible audit outcome  from public accounting firm Purwantono, Sungkoro & Surja, hoping it will help the company gain the public’s trust.

Purwantono, Sungkoro & Surja, a member of Ernst & Young, granted the company an “unqualified opinion” ranking after reviewing the company’s financial statements, income reports and other relevant comprehensive income statement, equity changes, cash flow datat and other information for the year ending Dec. 31. A ranking of this stature means the statements are deemed sound.

Credit scoring platform CreditVidya bags $ 5 mn from Matrix, Kalaari (VC Circle), Rated: A

Mumbai-based InfoCredit Services Pvt. Ltd, which operates credit scoring platform CreditVidya, has raised $5 million (Rs 32 crore) in a fresh round of funding led by Matrix Partners, the company said.

Existing investor Kalaari Capital, which had invested $2 million in June 2016, has also participated in the round. While Matrix put in Rs 23.81 crore, Kalaari accounted for the rest.

What is P2P lending and borrowing: All you want to know about Digital marketplace for loans (Financial Express), Rated: A

In layman’s terms, Peer-2-Peer (P2P) lending and borrowing is like a digital marketplace for loans. Hence usually it is known as ‘marketplace lending’ or often gets confused with crowd-funding. Instead of applying for a loan with a bank, NBFC, private finance company or any other loan institution, you can request a loan from regular people like you and me (therefore, the term Peer-2-Peer).

Most of these loans are unsecured for a large number of people who are underbanked or thinly banked.

The actual logistics of Peer-to-Peer can be a little more complicated in India, but some platfoms like ours allow the borrower to download the app, fill the application form and apply for the loan. As a borrower, you have to fill a quick online registration form and pay the upfront registration fee which is refundable. Then proprietary credit assessment is done and a brief commentary of why you want a loan is shared with the lenders. The app requires the loan applicant to submit bank statement, upload basic KYC documents like PAN card, Aadhaar card etc. The proprietary algorithm assigns the loan interest rate and tenure to post the loan on the marketplace for lenders to assess and invest.

MENA

Developing Asia accounts for large trade finance gap (The Asset), Rated: A

Businesses particularly the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) continue to face challenges in accessing sufficient credit, resulting in a global trade finance gap of US$1.5 trillion in 2016.

Emerging economies continue to face the greatest shortfalls with developing Asia accounting for 40% of the global total in trade finance gap. The MSMEs have the biggest difficulties in accessing trade finance, representing 74% of the total rejections in 2016, compared with 57% in the previous year.

The cost of regulatory compliance can lead banks to exit client relationships as reflected by the 40% response in the 2016 survey and 45% in 2015, including the withdrawal of correspondent relationships.

Mideast fintech startup NOW Money fetches $ 1.46 mln (PE Hub), Rated: A

NOW Money has closed its bridge funding round with a total of US$1.46m.

In addition to the recent US Venture Capital investment, mentioned in a previous press release, this funding round includes $700,000 from Dubai-based Venture Capital firm, Myrisoph Capital. Other contributions have come from private investors and MENA-based women’s investor network WAIN.

WAIN is the first investor network for women in the MENA region. Its goal is to build an informed ecosystem of women investors who support women entrepreneurs in the Arab world.

Canada

IOU Financial Partners with Rubicon Global to Fund Recycling Ecosystem (Business Insider), Rated: A

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”; TSX-V:IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Rubicon Global.  IOU joined the RUBICONPro buying program to provide Rubicon’s network of independent haulers with fast, convenient and reliable, non-collateral funding solutions.

Where bank loans are not an alternative, an IOU term loan will help Rubicon’s haulers invest in equipment to take on more recycling volume and proudly join Rubicon’s expansion projects for a more sustainable world.  IOU loans will also be provided to Rubicon’s base of thousands of small businesses embracing recycling to contribute to a healthy planet.  IOU will also promote Rubicon’s innovative model to its thousands of existing and past borrowers.

Africa

Development of African ­crowdfunding platforms (DandC), Rated: AAA

Africanise crowdfunding means setting up local crowdfunding platforms with adapted technology for local investment. No bank account? Not a problem! Many African countries lack conventional money transfer infrastructure; bank accounts and credit cards still tend to be the exception, not the rule. To permit widespread participation in crowdfunding in such circumstances, mobile phone-based money transfer services (like the Kenyan financial service M-Pesa) are needed. The Indian crowdfunding platform Ketto () works with a courier service that collects cash payments.

Copying these approaches is not the way to move ahead in Africa, not least because of the lack of an adequate institutional and legal environment. First and foremost, SME financing  requires national crowdfunding platforms with traditional financing options (donation-, rewards- and lending-based). Minimum contributions must be small and payable in local currency.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Dietmar Knöchelmann and the ICC-Cal affair

A guilty plea in a high profile Israeli case highlights the role of false transaction codes to disguise online gambling payments.

Continue reading: Dietmar Knöchelmann and the ICC-Cal affair

A guilty plea in a high profile Israeli case highlights the role of false transaction codes to disguise online gambling payments.

Continue reading: Dietmar Knöchelmann and the ICC-Cal affair