Thursday August 10 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: NSR Invest, LendingRobot merge: Now the largest alt lending robo-advisor.LendInvest makes London Stock Exchange debut.Big banks losing ground to China’s fintech giants. Today’s main analysis: Q2 update from LendingClub CIO.MarketInvoice loanbook snapshot. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub’s surprise comeback.Sanborn looks ahead.Personal financial management apps fold as banks work them into their […]

Lending Club

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International

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India

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News Summary

United States

NSR Invest and LendingRobot merge to become the largest robo-advisor in the alternative lending space (LendingRobot Email), Rated: AAA

NSR Invest and LendingRobot, two of the largest specialized Registered Investment Advisors in the alternative lending space, announced today that the companies have merged to create the leading independent advisory platform for alternative lending. Lend Core LLC, the parent company of NSR Invest, acquired Algorithmic, Inc. and all its assets, including the LendingRobot website and technology.

The joint team will combine its knowledge in the industry, investment algorithms, machine learning and blockchain technologies with the goal of providing steady investment returns to more than 8000 clients.

The websites, operating, and trading systems of NSRinvest.com and LendingRobot.com will continue to function separately in the short term. In the immediate future, the company is focusing its newfound strength on the LendingRobot Series.

Q2 2017: An Update from Our CIO (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

Projected investor returns are also largely unchanged from the first quarter and continue to range from approximately 4% to 9% (see below).

A few factors that influence returns on the platform1 are listed below:

  • Economic Backdrop. The American economy remains robust but growth continues to be relatively modest. The unemployment rate has changed little over the past year, measuring at 4.4% as of July 2017. Meanwhile, GDP increased by 2.6% in the second quarter of 2017.
  • Borrower Performance. Recent vintage performance continues to come in broadly in line with our expectations. As mentioned above, we continue to see lower delinquency rates across most grades and terms than in loans issued in the second and third quarters of 2016, which we attribute to changes made in 2016.
  • Interest Rates. The overall interest rate environment remains low, though the Federal Reserve raised its Target Rate by 25 bps in June 2017. After announcing its latest rate increase, the Federal Open Market Committee signaled its willingness to raise rates further, as it “expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the Federal Funds Rate.” Interest rates on the LendingClub platform are not changing at this time.
Source: LendingClub

Lending Club makes a surprise comeback (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

In Q1 2017, US alt lender Lending Club published disappointing results, which showed a flat performance and seemingly vague turnaround plans, sparking concerns that it could be headed for a dead end. However, the company has now reported its second-highest quarterly revenue to date for Q2 of this year, with analysts pointing outthat it appears back on a growth trajectory.

In Q1 2017, US alt lender Lending Club published disappointing results, which showed a flat performance and seemingly vague turnaround plans, sparking concerns that it could be headed for a dead end. However, the company has now reported its second-highest quarterly revenue to date for Q2 of this year, with analysts pointing outthat it appears back on a growth trajectory.

LendingClub CEO Sanborn ‘Looking Ahead’ After Scandal (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) Stock Soars As Banks Prove To Be Hypocrites (BNL Finance), Rated: A

Importantly, peer to peer lending is the fastest growing industry in lending, and while there are a lot of players in the game, LendingClub is one of the largest. On many occasions over the last year, BNL Finance has told members that banks would come back and that LC stock losses were overdone.

With that said, LendingClub stock has rallied 26% over the last three sessions.

PFM apps are folding as banks work them into their own apps (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Last week,  Level Money, the money management app owned by Capital One Financial, said it will shut down on Sept. 1. Also last week, Prosper Marketplace said it would discontinue the Prosper Daily app and urged customers to bring their PFM needs to Clarity Money. Earlier last month, SoFi said it would nix the services by Zenbanx, just six months after it acquired the online banking company, and would use its technology and personnel for its own online bank.

PFM has never been a prominent feature of consumer bank accounts. For most of banks’ existence people had to balance their own checkbooks based on debits and credits. That’s changing now as banks realize the importance of personal financial management for continued customer engagement. And they’re starting to implement PFM features into their offerings to provide more complete banking experiences. As it is today, PFM is usually a separate entity found in entirely different apps like Clarity Money, Moven or Mint.

For example, one of the biggest nuisances of PFM historically has been the lack of good financial data. Customers using an app would have to hand over their online banking credentials so the third party financial app could access their banking data to be able to provide users with their financial snapshot. The data that appeared on the home screen of their online banking wasn’t always in sync with what they would see in their PFM app.

Chinese Stock That Rallied 4,555% Could Get the Boot From the Nasdaq (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Wins Finance Holdings Inc., the Chinese loan guarantor that couldn’t explain a 4,555 percent surge in its stock, is set to be delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market, which cited violations of exchange rules related to its shareholder base.

Nasdaq said Wins doesn’t meet regulations requiring it to have at least 300 shareholders who own 100 shares. The exchange’s decision was also based on “the making of alleged misrepresentations by the company relating to the 300 round-lot shareholder requirement,” as well as public interest concerns, Wins said in a statement Wednesday.

Source: Bloomberg Markets

Installment Loan Provider Earns Top Rating from TopConsumerReviews.com (PR Web), Rated: A

TopConsumerReviews.com recently awarded their highest five-star rating to Lending Club, an industry leader among companies offering Installment Loans.

“For Installment Loans ranging from $1000 to $40,000, Lending Club provides incredible customer service with fair interest rates and fees,” according to Brian Dolezal, of TopConsumerReviews.com, LLC.

StreetShares raises $ 10.3m for “Shark Tank meets eBay” approach to P2P lending (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Alternative lending platform StreetShares raised $10.3 million in a venture round this week, writes Finovate(Banking Technology‘s sister company).

The funds come from an undisclosed investor and bring the Virginia-based company’s total funding to almost $20 million since it was founded in 2013.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms Work to Find a Niche (National Real Estate Investor), Rated: A

However, as crowdfunding marketplaces are getting bigger and more investors are coming onboard, the power to raise equity through this marketplace is growing, says Tore Steen, co-founder and CEO of CrowdStreet Inc. Initially, many sponsors have been looking to raise $1 million to $2 million as a supplement to their existing base of investors. Those levels are now moving to $3 million to $5 million. CrowdStreet’s largest equity raise on a single offering to date was close to $8 million.

Although it remains a fragmented niche that is difficult to quantify, research firm Massolution had estimated the size of the global real estate crowdfunding industry at $3.5 billion in 2016.

RealtyMogul emerged as one of the early players in real estate crowdfunding. Since the firm launched in 2013, it has raised more than $280 million in equity through its online real estate investing marketplace.

Currently, CrowdStreet has more than 25,000 registered investors on its marketplace. In addition, among its active investors, over 55 percent are repeat investors.

Crowdfunding firms such as RealtyMogul are also fueling growth with online “eREITs” that allow them to target a bigger pool of non-accredited investors. Currently, RealtyMogul has 135,000 registered users on its platform, including both accredited and non-accredited investors.

How David Zalik Skipped High School On His Way To Becoming A Billionaire (Forbes), Rated: A

With that I become the first public witness to the long, irregularly shaped basement office where GreenSky, America’s third-most-valuable fintech company (after Stripe and SoFi), has been incubating in obscurity for the past decade. And it’s Zalik who holds the golden ticket: Last September, GreenSky raised $50 million at a $3.6 billion valuation. The 43-year-old cofounder and CEO still owns more than half of the company, shooting him well into the billionaire ranks.

GreenSky’s real magic, however, is something you can’t see: a model that transfers much of the risk, as well as the work, to other parties–and profits from both sides of each deal. Those 17,000 contractors not only market the loans to homeowners but also pay GreenSky, on average, 6% of the loan amount.

From Illinois’ woes to the state of credit: Jamie Dimon lets loose (Crain’s Chicago Business), Rated: A

Obviously you’re a believer in online lending, given JPMorgan’s relationship with small-business lender OnDeck. Tell me how you see online lending going.

What the real issue in peer-to-peer lending is that the borrower will need the money in good times and bad, but the lender will not lend the money in good times and bad. The second there’s a recession, they’ll pull back. That’s exactly what you saw in February of last year when all of a sudden people were pulling back in giving money to the peer-to-peer lenders, who couldn’t then make loans. And they all got crushed. Some have been quite bright. So I think Chicago-based Avant has been quite bright, and they kind of anticipated this, and they created permanent capital. There are multiple ways to create permanent capital. Securitizations kind of work. But they don’t work in tough times. They disappear. Bank relationships work. There are ways to fix the problem. But that is an issue: Can you sustain your business model through the cycle? I think some of them will succeed.

Would you ever see banks getting directly into online consumer lending?

Remember, there is nothing online lenders can do that we can’t. ling With Insurance Companies Less Miserable

5 fintech trends disrupting retail banking (and how banks can fight back) (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

  1. Quick money transfer apps – Millennials have come to expect such an experience. Many banks and credit unions are starting to realize this, but they’re a little behind the eight ball.
  2. Chatbots and Messenger-Based Payments – Soon, you’ll be able to pay for that used TV you found on Craigslist by texting the seller directly from your phone’s messenger app, including Apple which turned on the Messagespayments functionality in June 2017.
  3. Forget the Card, Pay With Mobile Devices – On its own, this doesn’t seem like much of a Trojan horse for banks, but as more people shift behaviors so too will the expectations of banking customers. And with the global mobile payments market estimated to hit $3.4 trillion by 2022, it’s worth monitoring in relation to banking customers.
  4. Smart Budgeting and Personal Finance Management
  5. Digital Currencies That Don’t Require Central Banks

Fintech expert Maule to join British digital banking startup (American Banker), Rated: A

Fintech expert Sam Maule has been hired by nascent digital banking firm 11:FS to head up its expansion in North America.

Marketplace Lending Abs Fund Form D (Weekly Register), Rated: B

The New Jersey-based Marketplace Lending Abs Fund, Lp filed Form D for $2.75 million offering. This is a new filing. The Limited Partnership raised $2.75 million. The offering is still open. The total offering amount was $2.75 million. This form was filed on 2017-08-09.

Online Lending Policy Institute to Host Second Annual Summit in Washington, D.C. (Markets Insider), Rated: B

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI), the leading voice for policy analysis, in-depth research, and education for the online lending industry, today announced it will host its Second Annual Summit on Sept. 25 at The Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C.

Capital One VP Joins veteran-focused fintech firm (American Banker), Rated: B

A former Capital One executive has moved to StreetShares, an online lending and investing platform.

Heather Tuason, formerly senior vice president of small business at Capital One, is now the fintech startup’s chief product officer, it announced Tuesday.

EquityBuild Announces Master Class Webinar on Five Years to Wealth Through the Brand New Model (Benzinga), Rated: B

EquityBuild announces a new master class on the Power of Five, highlighting their new five-year investment model.

Here is the upcoming webinar master class to attend August 14, 2017:

EquityBuild Power of Five Master Class – Find out how this unique model changing the way investors view real estate. Join us for this special event here.

Labor Department delays fiduciary rule implementation date (Reuters), Rated: B

The U.S. Department of Labor will give wealth management companies more time to get in line with the new “fiduciary rule,” a regulation that requires financial advisers to put retirees’ interests ahead of their own, the regulator said on Wednesday.

Securities brokerages like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch now have until July 1, 2019, to present retirement savers with new contracts that spell out the fees brokers make on certain investment products or transition them into accounts that charge a flat fee based on assets.

United Kingdom

LendInvest makes London Stock Exchange debut with £50m raise (Finextra), Rated: AAA

LendInvest, the UK’s leading online platform for property lending and investing, today listed a £50 million retail bond on the London Stock Exchange’s Order book for Retail Bonds (ORB).

The process to raise LendInvest’s first retail bond was closed early and oversubscribed, thanks to strong demand from retail and institutional investors. About half of the proceeds raised came from major financial institutions including several multi-billion pound asset managers, two global insurance businesses and a major UK state pension fund.

The bond pays a fixed annual coupon of 5.25% for five years, and is secured against a portfolio of property loans and guaranteed by LendInvest. From today, the bond trades under the LSE ticker LIV1.

P2P Lending: MarketInvoice Loanbook Snapshot (LinkedIn), Rated: AAA

MarketInvoice, founded in 2010, is the largest UK online P2P lending firm specialising in invoice discounting and invoice factoring. Selective invoice discounting is a facility that allows businesses to sell individual invoices at a discount in order to unlock immediate funding which can be an attractive solution for SMEs periodically strained with cashflow. In early 2017 the platform launched an additional product in the form of MarketInvoice Pro, an invoice factoring product that essentially is a debt facility which businesses can draw on backed by the business’s sales ledger.

Source: Sukhwinder Shoker

MarketInvoice celebrated its strongest origination quarter in 2017Q2 with £161.9m in invoices traded and a healthy 25.3% increase from the previous quarter. Annualised invoice origination growth (2013-2016) for the platform stands at 82.6% and, whilst encouraging, it is clear to see from the oscillation in monthly advanced funding that to-date annualised return performance has been highly influenced by seasonality trends.

Source: Sukhwinder Shoker

Invoice terms exceeding 60 days formed 28.3% of origination in 2016Q2, however, this has significantly increased to 58.2% of 2017Q2 origination.

Invoice originations have shifted away from riskier price grades since the introduction of Market Invoice Pro and this is welcome news for investors.

Meet Finimize: The fintech startup that turned a popular newsletter into a financial planning platform (Tech World), Rated: A

Rofagha quickly realised that the banks couldn’t help him, a financial advisor was unreachable with his income, and the rise of the robo-advisor hadn’t really taken off yet.

Then there is one of his favourite statistics: “86 percent of millennials save each month but they keep more than 50 percent of their assets in cash, because there is no suitable way for them to get financial advice.” This was his lightbulb moment.

Now Rofagha has launched the next phase, a financial planning platform called Finimize MyLife, which is currently in beta and has a waiting list of more than 24,000 people.

The Finimize MyLife platform is free to use and helps users create a financial plan by answering a few questions about their financial position, setting goals and then selecting from a range of options, be that opening an ISA or investing with a partner like Nutmeg or Moneyfarm.

The next steps for Rofagha will be to invest in data science so that the platform can make more tailored product recommendations for users, once it has built out its data set.

WiseAlpha opens up corporate bond market for investors (AltFi), Rated: A

Online lending platform WiseAlpha is adding corporate bond and loan investments to its platform.

Retail investors can now access Tesco’s £300m institutional bond that has a 4.8 per cent return.

Users can buy the debt for as little as  £100 and cash in their bonds via the secondary market on the platform. The grocers bond matures in 2042.

Six of the best alternative income ideas (IG.com), Rated: A

Looking at the ten years to the end of May 2017, inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI) rose 31.8%, while anyone receiving the Bank of England (BoE) base rate would have made a total return of 13.2%. In other words, cash in a bank account has lost 18.6% of its real value over ten years.

Over several years, the Investment Trust sector has seen huge growth in alternative income products, and here we list six products from sectors that investors may want to consider for inclusion in their investment allocations.

MARKET INSIGHT: OLD MONEY, NEW METHOD (Campden FB), Rated: A

Marketplace or ‘peer-to-peer’ lending can be attractive for family office investors for several reasons:

  • attractive absolute and relative returns compared to other fixed interest instruments
  • ability to create some granular/diverse portfolios through investment in loan parts
  • transparent credit process and loan pricing
  • ability to match maturity profile to desired outcomes

At present, the lack of a uniform set of standards places some obstacles for investors willing to invest across multiple marketplace lenders. The data structure, terminology, and methodologies differ greatly from platform to platform. However, good platforms are able to clearly demonstrate how loans are underwritten, an expected loss rate and basis for making investment decisions.

How can family offices engage with marketplace lenders?

Firstly, investors need to consider the asset class and risk profile they wish to invest in.

Secondly, investors need to consider how active they wish to be—in its truest form marketplace lender allow absolute discretion to bid on individual loans at whatever size suits.

Glint is a stealthy London fintech startup that promises to turn gold into a ‘new global currency’ (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Glint, a stealthy London fintech startup that promises a new “global currency,” has raised £3.1 million from a plethora of individual backers in the financial services and asset management space, alongside early-stage investor Bray Capital.

However, I understand that Glint will offer a frictionless way to both store and spend your money in gold, including at the point of sale, just like a regular local currency.

Railsbank, a new fintech startup from founder of Currencycloud, raises $ 1.2M led by Firestartr (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Railsbank, a relatively new fintech startup co-founded by CEO Nigel Verdon, who previously founded money exchange and payments platform Currencycloud, has raised $1.2 million in a funding round led by seed investment firm Firestartr.

The company, yet to see its full launch and over a year in the making, offers what it describes as an open banking and compliance platform aimed at other companies, including other fintechs, that have global banking requirements that need to be accessed programatically via an API.

China

China targets mobile payments oligopoly with clearing mandate (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China’s central bank has ordered online payment groups to operate through a centralised clearing house, a move likely to undercut the dominance of Ant Financial and Tencent by forcing them to share valuable transaction data with competitors.

China is the world leader in mobile payments, with transaction volumes rising nearly fivefold last year to Rmb59tn ($8.8tn), according to iResearch. They are now widely used for everything from high-street shopping to peer-to-peer lending.

Now the People’s Bank of China is requiring all third-party payment companies to channel payments through a new clearing house by next June, according to a document sent to payment companies on August 4 and seen by the Financial Times.

Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba Group, is the market leader in mobile payments, with its Alipay unit processing 54 per cent share of all transactions in the first quarter of the year, according to iResearch. WeChat Pay, linked to Tencent’s mobile messaging app, held a 40 per cent share.

Big banks on notice that they’re losing ground to China’s fintech giants (SCMP), Rated: AAA

“JPMorgan every year, as we speak, processes through our QuickPay 94 million payments,” she said, “But Tencent, the Chinese company, over Chinese New Year, in five days processed 46 billion payments. Basically that means 800 million payments per hour.

“Visa has a maximum capacity of processing 25,000 payments per second. But Alipay can process 50,000 payments, twice as much, per second.”

The rise of online payments through non-bank services, exemplified by Alipay and WeChat Pay – which falls under the Tenpay umbrella – in China, has caused another banking giant, Goldman Sachs, to stand up and take notice too.

The firm recently published a report, led by Mancy Sun, which reveals the value of third-party payments in China grew more than 74 times from 2010 to 2016, from US$155 billion to a staggering US$11.4 trillion.

Of that total, 56 per cent took the form of peer-to-peer transfers while about 16 per cent was consumption-related. Furthermore, payments made via third-party payment companies comprised 40 per cent of all retail sales, a figure that is still growing.

Top3 Chinese block chain asset trading platform (the second-tier platforms) (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

First of all, how to define the Chinese second-tier platforms? We refer to the following three factors:

  1. It has been established for a long time, and there is little risk of failure for the company after a long-term market test and trials.
  2. Popular and profitable.
  3. It belong to the major currencies which are the top of the list. And it has certain dominance in a few currencies.

So, the TOP3 Chinese second-tier platforms are finally selected as:

BTC
Online date: May 2013
Website: btc38.com
Registered capital: 10 million
Office address: Shenzhen

CDC CloudCoin
Online date: April 2014
Website: yunbi.com
Registered capital: 10 million
Office address: Beijing

CHBTC
Online date: early 2013
Website:chbtc.com
Registered capital: 10 million
Office address: Zhongshan city, Guangdong province

China Commercial Credit Enters Share Exchange Agreement with Sorghum Investment Holdings Limited (Markets Insider), Rated: A

China Commercial Credit, Inc. (NasdaqCM: CCCR) (“CCCR” or the “Company”), a microfinance company providing financial services to small-to-medium enterprises (“SMEs”), farmers and individuals in Jiangsu Province, today announced that, it has entered into a share exchange agreement (the “Share Exchange Agreement”) by and through its Board of Directors and majority shareholder dated August 9, 2017 with the equity holders of Sorghum Investment Holdings Limited (“Sorghum”), an Internet platform specializing in providing peer-to-peer lending services to individuals and small business owners in China. Pursuant to the Exchange Agreement, the Company has agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding equity interests of Sorghum in exchange for 152,586,795 shares of the Company’s Common Stock (the “Acquisition”). Upon completion of the Acquisition, the Company will own 100% of Sorghum, and will be a financial services group operating in both smart financing as well as microfinance sectors in China.

Sina Corp Establishes $ 500M Online Finance Fund To Back Chinese FinTech Firms (China Money Network), Rated: A

Chinese Internet portal Sina Corp said it would establish an Online Finance Fund with a target fundraising size of US$500 million to invest in Chinese fintech companies.

Fintech is one of the most important opportunities in the next three to five years, Chao said during the call. The company believes that it can leverage its own online traffic, data, and microblog services Weibo to attract users and create a strong new brand.

Sina will focus on the business categories where it can obtain its own operating license, such as micro-lending. The company is currently offering micro-lending to users via a partnership with other financial firms, but it is in the process to get its own license.

LendIt Lang Di Fintech Names Omega One PitchIt Competition Winner (PR Newswire), Rated: B

LendIt, the world’s largest show in lending and fintech, named Omega One the winner of its Lang Di Fintech PitchIt competition in Shanghai on July 16. Out of eight PitchIt finalists (and hundreds of applicants) at China’s largest fintech conference, Omega One, an automated trade execution platform, was chosen as the winner for its innovation in the cryptocurrency markets.

As the winner, Omega One received a RMB 1 million investment from JadeValue and co-working space for six months. The company also received two tickets to LendIt USA 2018 as well as round trip airfare and full accommodations for the duration of the conference. The LendIt team will also curate meetings with fintech companies and investors during Omega One’s trip to the U.S.

Lang Di Fintech was held in Shanghai on July 15 – 16, 2017.

European Union

FinTech Group Counts on BearingPoint RegTech (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Management and technology consultancy BearingPoint, a leading provider of Risk and Regulatory Technology (RiskTech/RegTech), announced that FinTech Group AG, one of the leading providers of innovative financial technologies in Europe, included BearingPoint’s regulatory reporting solution ABACUS/DaVinci in its product portfolio.

International

Fintech startup brings blockchain and cryptocurrencies to invoice finance (GT Review), Rated: A

New fintech startup Populous is introducing smart contracts, blockchain technology and digital tokens to the invoice financing space.

Having raised more than US$10mn in crowdfunding in just five days, the company has now started piloting its new platform, which lets firms and individuals sell or buy invoices globally.

Australia

Locked out of property market? Five better places for Millennials to put money (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

Below are five better places to put your money as a young Australian in 2017.

Another investment opportunity emerging with the rise of fintech is peer-to-peer (P2P) or marketplace lending.

You input a few details into an online form, such as your preferred credit grade, loan term, and maximum amount you wish to invest in any one loan. The algorithm then does the rest on your behalf, and some lenders claim returns as high as 12 per cent per annum.

Women in Finance finalists revealed (TheAdviser), Rated: B

Online lender Prospa received nods in three categories — Alison Binskin, head of operations, made the cut for Fintech Leader of the Year, Lauren Davidson received recognition for Human Relations Professional of the Year and Anna Fitzgerald for Public Relations/Communications Professional of the Year.

India

Just Rent, Don’t Buy (Business Today), Rated: AAA

India has many consumer-lending companies, but there are very few consumer-leasing firms that borrow, convert the money into assets and lease them. RentoMojo does just that and says it has discovered the playbook fairly early, which could be used across categories and not just furniture.

There is one weakness in this model – it is capital intensive, and assets have to be bought before they can be leased.

Adukia, who looks after internal finances, says that the company has lines of credit with banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and high net-worth individuals (HNIs).

There has been no independent study on the market size of the consumer-leasing business, but the company claims it is about $10-12 billion. To stay on top of this market in terms of affordability, RentoMojo does not deal with middlemen and buys directly from manufacturers, says Nain. “We also act like a quasi-bank that takes a call on the creditworthiness of its customers [to protect our revenues].”

Is our banking industry facing existential crisis from fintech boom? (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Recent developments in the rise of Robo-advisers and investments in digital and P2P lending platforms, however, appear to support arguments on the contrary. Already we are seeing Alibaba dominating the payment scene in China while similar local companies like Go-Pay in Indonesia is also rapidly evolving into a commendable competitor of the banks in the payments scheme locally.

The level of threat does not go unnoticed within the banking professionals’ sphere. Based on a survey by PWC, about 81 percent of the banking and fintech players in Indonesia would see a degree of disruption in the way the banks are doing business, with which roughly 50 percent of them observe potential significant disruptions.

On the payment and settlements front, we have also seen how fintech has exposed the inefficiencies in the banks’ existing business processes. For example, in the cross-border interbank payment, the current average transaction costs for sending remittances abroad through bank average around 10.99 percent of the nominal amount globally, according to a report by World Bank. This is highly efficient and perhaps one of the catalysts for online remittance companies like TransferWise to exist.

Another study estimates suggest that mortgage borrowers in the US and European market could potentially save $480 to $960 per loan and banks would be able to reduce costs in the range of $3billion to $11billion by lowering processing costs in the mortgage origination process. Such figure further highlights the inefficiency in the banks’ current operating structure. The figure would likely be more substantial on the percentage basis if similar survey is conducted in Indonesia.

Asia

Globe Telecom’s Fuse to Provide Loans Powered by Mambu (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Mambu, the SaaS banking engine, today announced it will be powering the consumer and business lending products of Fuse, the lending arm of Filipino financial technology firm Mynt, by September 2017.

Mynt is increasing access to  financial services through mobile money, micro-loans and technology by leveraging the mobile and store networks of its partners and parent company in a country with 113% mobile penetration but only 31% banking penetration.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which account for 99.6% percent of total registered companies in the country, as well as individuals face significant difficulty in accessing credit from incumbents due to stringent credit decisioning, limited authentication documentation and lack of collateral.

Singaporean fintech hub Lattice80 to launch office in India (Tech Wire Asia), Rated: A

LATTICE80, Singapore’s fintech hub will be opening an India branch at the end of September, as reported by Bloombergmarking the company’s first step in expanding their global operations.

The fintech hub is planning to open offices in world’s financial capitals, especially London, New York and cities in the Middle East.

MODALKU has become the first and only peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company to attain membership at the International Association of Credit Portfolio Managers (IACPM), a forum where financial institutions share and discuss best practices for credit risk management.

Modalku co-founder and CEO Reynold Wijaya stated that his team is focused on attaining international, even global standards.standards.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday July 5 2017, Daily News Digest

abs market overview

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to shut down Zenbanx. Red Ventures to buy Bankrate website for $1.24B. BofE to get tough on consumer lending. UK P2P lending surpasses 10B GBP. China re-thinks social credit. Korean P2P lending passes 300B won. LendInvest out of P2P lending. Today’s main analysis: US ABS market overview. Traditional wealth management challenged by robo boom. Today’s thought-provoking […]

abs market overview

News Comments

United States

  • SoFi to shut down Zenbanx. GP:”We do not know the details of the acquisition but we assume part of the due diligence SoFi was aware of this issue and therefore they didn’t purchase Zenbank for their customers or services, but perhaps for their team and know how?”AT: “I suspected this would happen. If they have the technology and the talent, what else do they need?”
  • US ABS market overview. GP:”steady growth in all segments except maybe auto”
  • How the market pushed Realty Mogul out of residential fix and flips. GP:”I continue to believe that fix and flip is highly correlated with the economic cycle and if a company relies on it there will be years with no origination in that market at some point.”AT: “Markets, and market conditions, change. This looks like a smart move for Realty Mogul. A good rationale, at least.”
  • Ally Bank online savings APY increases to 1.15%. GP:”Goldman Sachs online Bank increased it, Ally increased it… perhaps the FED rate adjustment is having an impact or perhaps the competition for savings dollars is increasing. Or both.  “AT: “If consumers can get better savings interest rates at online banks, why wouldn’t they?”
  • Inside the arms race between banks and startups. AT: “Focuses on negatives for banks. Seems a bit one sided. I don’t believe banks are out of the picture just yet, but we will likely see a steady decline soon. The survivors will be those banks that adapt and adopt the technology of online lenders.”
  • LendingTree, LeadsCon unveil first $25K startup innovation spotlight.
  • Tide raises $14M. GP:”Congratulations!”
  • Lifshitz&Miller investigate LendingClub. GP:”All public companies have an ongoing litany of lawsuits as soon as their stock does something un-usual. This is normal life for a public company in the US.” AT: “I don’t understand why now, a full year after the Renaud Laplanche issues.”
  • Red Ventures to buy Bankrate website for $1.24B. GP:”This is big news, and an amazing valuation. There is money in customer acquisition for fintech.”
  • Goldman raises $1B for real estate fund. GP:”Goldman has been in the real estate funding business for long time. focused on large commercial properties. Perhaps a good usage of the savings capital from Goldman Sachs bank could be real estate crowdfunding as well in the same way as Marcus works for unsecured personal lending? $1B for Goldman is not much money, this is not big news anyway. “
  • Suretly launched initial chocolate offering. GP:”Very amusing, but looks a little desperate.”

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Six months after acquisition, SoFi is shutting down Zenbanx (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Online lending company SoFi is closing down Zenbanx, the online banking provider it bought earlier this year. In an email sent to Zenbanx customers, the company announced that it will close all accounts at the end of next month.

According to a SoFi spokesperson, Zenbanx had a partnership with Wilmington Savings Fund Society (WSFS) that expired this month and, rather than renew it or find another partner, the company decided to just close existing accounts.

US ABS Market Overview (Finsight.com), Rated: AAA

Recent New Issue

The Market Pushed Us Out of Residential Fix and Flip (Realty Mogul), Rated: AAA

If you are like many investors, you loved our residential loan product. Short term investments with high yield (9-12%) and monthly distributions, what’s not to love? And as much as our investors love them, you will no longer find them on RealtyMogul.com. We stopped originating them.

The purely local nature of fix and flip lending changed with online lenders having nationwide reach and access to tremendous amounts of capital, either from retail or institutional investors. At one point, RealtyMogul.com had in hand nearly $1 billion in capital commitments to purchase fix and flip loans from institutional buyers – that’s a lot of homes!

In late 2015 we started to notice a market shift. Fix and flip loan pricing started to drop. First it was 11%, then 10%, then 9%, and in many major markets it dropped to 8%. Throw in the cost of servicing these loans and on an 8% loan, investors’ estimated return is 7%.

At 8%, there should be a relatively lower risk profile to a loan. But in fact, the opposite was true. The dramatic increase in capital in the market meant that riskier loans were demanding lower and lower rates. Borrowers with great experience, credit and lower leverage were able to get rates in the 4-5% range from banks, whereas the 9-12% loans were only available in markets where there were no alternatives and the risk was fairly high.

Ally Bank online savings APY increases to 1.15% (Reddit), Rated: A

Chat rep said that my account should reflect the new rate by the end of today.

Peek Inside The Fintech Arms Race Between Banks And Startups (International Business Times), Rated: A

Capital One is opening Capital One Cafes in major cities across the U.S., with hip decor and more laidback consulting vibes than traditional branches. JPMorgan is trying the same idea with its Manhattan technology hub. Bloomberg reportedthe bank’s $9.6 billion technology budget coincided with new startup-style offices featuring foosball tables, open workspaces and snacks. But it might be too little, too late.

While, money transfer apps like Apple Pay, Venmo and WorldRemit garner widespread adoption, some experts predict banks could also lose well over half their retail profits to fintech startups. Flashy offices won’t change the fact that the days of traditional banking are over.

Nubank looks beyond traditional credit scores, using cellphone data and driver’s license information to find creditworthy customers who would never meet the requirements of a traditional bank. Like SoFi mortgages in the U.S., Nubank interest rates are flexible and can change as the customer’s financial security increases. Combine that with a lack of fees plus a smooth mobile experience, and traditional credit cards seem very outdated by comparison.

According to a Gallup poll, the amount of Americans who feel confident in U.S. banks dropped from 49 percent in 2006 to just 27 percent by 2016.

A nationwide survey of 500 chief financial officers byWEX Virtual Payments found 55 percent consider mobile payment options very important, in addition to 54 percent who say to same of blockchain solutions.

53 million Americans aren’t served by the current credit score market,  but have great cash flow,” Thomas told IBT. Nubank in Brazil and the fintech startup Tala, which has distributed around 2 million micro-loans in places like in Kenya and Tanzania, prove there’s no need to restrict loan eligibility to traditional metrics.

LendingTree, LeadsCon Unveil First-Ever $ 25,000 Startup Innovation Spotlight (IT Business Net), Rated: A

LendingTree, the online loan marketplace, and Access Intelligence, a business information and marketing company, today announced a new initiative to showcase the top startup companies in financial technology (fintech) lead generation at LeadsCon this summer.

The “LendingTree Startup Innovation Spotlight” at LeadsCon’s Connect to Convert will recognize the most innovative fintech startups across the consumer lead generation, call center and customer experience sectors. Startups around the world can apply today at  a chance to receive exposure, bragging rights and $25,000 in cash. Finalists will be announced in August and selected live on stage amid 1,000 industry executives at LeadsCon’s Connect to Convert industry conference and expo, August 21-23 at the New York Hilton Midtown.

Banking startup Tide raises $ 14 million to ‘give small businesses back their time (Business Insider), Rated: A

Banking startup Tide raised $14 million in one of the largest Series A funding rounds closed by a fintech company this year.

Tide, a digital-only banking app aimed at small businesses, has also partnered with online lender iwoca, in a move to allow small companies access to loans of up to £100,000.

The funding round was led by specialist fintech investor Anthemis, along with Passion Capital, LocalGlobe and Creandum, the company that backed Spotify.

Lifshitz&Miller LLP Announces Investigation of LendingClub Corporation (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Lifshitz & Miller announces investigation on behalf of LC investors concerning whether LC’s former CEO, Renaud Laplanche, engaged in improper loan transactions and personal investments as a result of material weaknesses in LC’s internal controls.

If you are an LC investor, and would like additional information about our investigation, please complete the Information Request Form or contact Joshua Lifshitz, Esq. by telephone at (516)493-9780 or e-mail atinfo@jlclasslaw.com.

Bankrate website to be bought by Red Ventures for $ 1.24bn (Financial Times), Rated: A

Bankrate, the US personal finance website, is to be bought for $1.24bn by Red Ventures, a digital marketing company which is expanding its footprint in financial services.

Private equity-backed Red Ventures has agreed to pay $14 per share in cash for Bankrate, which produces online content focused on financial advice and research, such as mortgage and savings calculators and credit card and insurance comparison tools.

Goldman Raised $ 1B For A Real Estate Fund (Bisnow), Rated: B

Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that the investment bank has raised $1B for a new real estate fund, Broad Street Real Estate Credit Partners III. Further documents show it is on the road looking to raise more capital for the fund, with a source indicating to Bisnow that it is looking to pull in the same amount again over the coming months.

Around $600M came from U.S. investors and the rest from overseas, the documents show. Goldman typically puts around 20% of the equity into the funds it manages.

Suretly launched an Initial Chocolate Offering (Newsbtc), Rated: B

NYC-based startup Suretly, which raised $350K during preICO round this May, launched an Initial Chocolate Offering.

The event took place in Copenhagen, Denmark during Money2020 conference. All guests, who has visited Suretly’s booth, were gifted with a chocolate souvenirs shaped in SUR-token. Each token was packed in the individual memorable wrapping with the future Suretly ICO information.

United Kingdom

The Bank of England is preparing to get tough on consumer lending (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Bank of England ordered British banks and other lenders on Tuesday to prove by September that they are not taking on too much risk with their increased lending to consumers.

The BoE’s Prudential Regulation Authority did not set out any new rules on Tuesday but its move was the first time it has ordered firms it supervises to apply consumer credit rule more conservatively.

The PRA said it was “requesting evidence from all firms with material exposures to consumer credit of how they will – across consumer credit portfolios- ensure” they are not taking too much risk after years of low interest rates.

Lenders will have until September to respond and could then be asked to fix any specific areas of weakness by the PRA.

ORCA celebrates peer to peer lending uk surpassing £10 billion mark (Orca Money), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending has reached a significant milestone since Zopa launched the world’s first P2P platform in 2005. Over £10 billion has been cumulatively lent across 23 UK P2P platforms. In the first half of 2017 alone, over £2 bn was invested through P2P.

Take a look at the UK alternative lending ecosystem.

Traditional wealth management challenged by robo-adviser boom (Raconteur), Rated: AAA

Survey after survey shows that millennials, and indeed most potential investors aged under the age of 60, are happy to entrust their savings to a digital platform or mobile app, so long as it’s credible, secure, trustworthy, capable of offering them a range of low-cost funds and some personal investment advice.

Of the robo-advisers in the UK, the largest is Nutmeg. Launched in 2012, it has so far raised £71 million in five funding rounds from venture capitalists and others. Nutmeg has more than £600 million under management, though it remains loss making, and escalating marketing and advertising costs meant that in 2015 its losses widened from 2014.

Other UK players include Wealthify, launched in 2015; MoneyFarm, launched in Italy in 2012, and in the UK in 2016; and Scalable Capital, launched in 2016.

Brewin Dolphin has launched a robo-adviser that allows customers with between £10,000 and £200,000 to invest in one of six model portfolios at a cost of 0.7 per cent of invested assets, plus underlying charges of between 0.11 per cent and 0.16 per cent.

 

LendInvest out of P2P sticks to managing funds (Anonymous Email), Rated: A

Our sources reported that LendInvest cancelled their FCA application due to their decision to completely exit the p2p lending space.

As can be seen on the FCA website:

Firm name: Lendinvest Limited
Interim Permissions reference number: 658890

 

Permission Description Status Limitation Against Permission Permission End Date
Consumer credit business Entering into a regulated credit agreement as lender; and exercising, or having the right to exercise, the lender’s rights and duties under a regulated credit agreement. Inactive 02/06/2017
Credit brokerage Credit broking
Or
Credit broking limited to credit intermediation
Inactive 02/06/2017
No right to canvass off trade premises

It appears that this decision was due to the 36(H) legal rules around peer top peer in the UK . It has apparently become “more difficul to stay within the new 36(H) rules without becoming a bank or fund manager”. As LendInvest was already a fund manager, the company has decided to remain a fund manager and focus on that structure as opposed to applying for FCA p2p regulation.

In a similar fashion the online lender Wellesley has taken a similar approach having ‘paused’ P2P yet still shows as active.

This change makes Assetz Capital the 2nd largest business and property lender who is P2P in Europe. See

Of £295m lent, c £290m is P2P retail investors.

Kuflink Debuts Property-Backed Innovative Finance ISA & New Investment Options (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform Kuflink has launched its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) and also two investment options. This news comes just a few months after the online lender received full authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Assetz Capital bids to lend £300m after profitable year (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Assetz Capital has revealed that it made a seven-figure pre-tax profit during the 2016/17 financial year, while revenues have now reached over £10m pa.
The peer-to-peer lending platform saw a total of £126m lent through it to SMEs between April 2016 and March 2017 with £38m of that total being achieved in the final quarter.

Assetz Capital claimed it would lend over £60m during the first quarter of this current financial year as it bids to reach £300m of lending for the whole of the year.

It’s time to bring ghost houses back to the land of the living – Lendinvest (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

As the Council of Mortgage Lenders has previously pointed out, even if the government managed to push the building industry into producing 300,000 homes across the UK each year, 90% of the housing stock that will exist by 2025 has already been built. If we are to tackle the housing issues we face, it’s not just down to increasing the rate at which new developments spring up – we need to make far better use of the houses we already have, too.

An obvious problem with some of these ‘ghost homes’ is that in their current condition nobody would want to live in them. They may have been ignored for years, falling into disrepair to the extent that they may actually be unlivable.

But these are exactly the sorts of properties that savvy investors may be looking for, the worst house on the street which can be done up, turned into a nice, respectable home and then sold on at a profit.

Londoners Borrowed £17B in New Mortgages in 2016, Wimbledon & Wandsworth Top Borrowers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Londoners borrowed another £17 billion in new mortgages last year as the affluent southwest London neighbourhoods of Wimbledon and Wandsworth topped the borrowing league table and and 17 of the top 20 areas for new mortgage lending last year are in London, reported European P2P lending platform Lendy.

The highest non-London area among for new mortgages is Maidenhead, which placed 11th out of the 2,717 postcode areas in the study.

AI savings platform launches £700,000 crowdfunding campaign (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

AN ARTIFICIAL intelligence platform that has partnered with RateSetter to help people save and invest is looking to raise £700,000 through crowdfunding.

The fintech firm, Plum, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, to build its team and platform.

NatWest trials AI compliance tool to ensure financial advice is spot on (Internet of Business), Rated: A

The UK bank will use the Recordsure compliance tool based on artificial intelligence (AI) from regulatory risk specialist TCC Group in order to record face-to-face and telephone conversations between the bank and its customers – with those customers’ consent, naturally.

The AI technology is able to analyze an interaction and then classify sections of the conversation, according to Recordsure’s creators. For example, it could determine which aspects of the conversation were general chitchat, which involved financial advice, and what topics were discussed.

P2PFA Announces New Associate Membership, Publishes Names of First New Members (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has created a new category of membership to boost its ranks and add perspective to the association that represents the UK’s top online lenders.

These new members include:

  • Alterest – Provides non-bank lending markets with loan intelligence infrastructure that enables: seamless exchange of lending data in a secure and timely manner, and flexible analysis of performance and risk of any loan pool or exposure.
  • Altus Consulting: A specialist provider of consultancy services to the financial services sector.
  • Equifax: A global information solutions company that uses data, analytics, technology and industry expertise to power organisations and individuals around the world by transforming knowledge into insights that help make more informed business and personal decisions.
  • Fox Williams LLP: A City law firm with one of the leading Fintech practices in the UK, acting for over fifteen P2P lending platforms.
  • Grant Thornton UK LLP: A global consultancy that is part of a network of over forty-thousand people in 130 countries. In the UK they are led by 185 partners and more than 4,500 people.
  • Orca Money: A platform that is driving the mainstream adoption of peer-to-peer lending by providing research, analysis and tools to empower investors.
  • Simmons & Simmons: An international law firm with a Fintech team that comprises a range of multi-disciplinary lawyers from across their European, Middle Eastern and Asian offices.
  • TLT LLP: Supports large corporates, public institutions and high-growth businesses on their strategic and day-to-day legal needs.

Hive Project Launches Blockchain-Based Invoice Financing Platform, Targets SMEs (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

Despite being the backbone of every economy, small and medium-sized businesses have traditionally faced challenges in securing access to short-term financing from traditional lenders. To resolve this issue, the Hive Project today announced the development of a cryptocurrency invoice financing platform to help SMEs overcome the hurdles they face when trying to get the financing they need.

WiseAlpha Founder & CEO Rezaah Ahmad Comments on Successful Crowdcube Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

WiseAlpha, a UK first online lending platform that gives investors access to high yield institutional bond and loan investments, has overfunded its £500k target on Crowdcube by 258%, raising £1.29 million.

The largest single investment was £150K.

“We’re thrilled to have overfunded our original target and glad that the 1452 people who have invested in us so far are backing our vision of a fairer investment world where everyday investors aren’t shut out from accessing the biggest and best investments.”

UK P2P Lender RateSetter Update: Targets New Business Borrowers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Now the lender is planning to boost its direct marketing methods to diversify its new business borrowers sources, according to Peer2Peer Finance News.

Lewis appointed on b2b brief for p2p lending platform (PR Week), Rated: B

Lewis has been appointed by ArchOver, a peer-to-peer lending platform for UK SMEs, to run a campaign aimed at business audiences.

China

China changes tack on ‘social credit’ scheme plan (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Beijing has pulled back on plans to license big technology companies to develop “social credit” scores for consumers, based mainly on their online activity, because of concern over conflicts of interest, industry analysts said on Tuesday.

The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, selected eight tech companies in 2015 — including e-commerce group Alibaba’s Ant Financial and game developer Tencent — to develop pilot programmes to give consumers credit scores.

The pilots, which monitored spending patterns but also personal behaviour and social media activity, initially raised concerns about consumer privacy. Some of their metrics were seen as irrelevant, including proposals to factor in exercise routines or what time of day people went online. Others were considered more sinister, such as efforts to rate “honesty” or “trustworthiness” by linking credit scores to friends’ social media posts.

Beijing has now decided not to award any licences this year after regulators expressed increasing concern about the potential for conflicts of interest.

MYbank Deepens Push for Business Big Banks Won’t Touch (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

MYbank, the two-year-old Chinese online lender that already has 3.5 million small-business customers, plans to push deeper into a segment that’s long been shunned by the country’s largest banks.

MYbank wants to capitalize on its links to billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. by offering loans to the more than 10 million smaller merchants that use the company’s e-commerce platforms, MYbank President Huang Hao said in a June 29 interview. Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial affiliate, owns 30 percent of the online lender.

Formally known as Zhejiang E-Commerce Bank Co., MYbank was able to more than quadruple its lending through 2016, taking its outstanding loans to 33 billion yuan ($4.9 billion).

Its nonperforming-loan ratio was around 1 percent, Huang said, lower than the national average of 1.74 percent. The bank’s technology, which runs loan applications through more than 3,000 computerized risk-control strategies, has kept delinquencies in check, he said.

Still, last year’s lending explosion came at a cost, dragging its capital adequacy ratio down to 11.07 percent by December from 18.51 percent a year earlier.

Chinese tourists are driving mobile payments across the globe (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

The number of Chinese tourists abroad hit 122 million in 2016, with a vast majority of them paying via their mobile phones. That’s according to a new study from Kapronasia and CANCAN. The survey pool contained 1,000 Chinese consumers abroad and 60 global merchants.

While 67% of respondents reported that they use Alipay or WeChat Pay for overseas purchases. This represents about 41% of overseas consumption and tourists used mobile payments for more than 10% of total transactions.

The report also highlights how Chinese tourists are spending more and more in retail ($900 on average in 2016), instead of luxury items. Only 5.7% spent more than $6,288, with a total amount of $109.8 billion throughout 2016.

80% of merchant respondents cited consumer demand as one of the main reasons for adopting mobile payments, with 70% adding that mainland Chinese consumers were their largest source of global revenue. Clothing, makeup, skincare, food and beverages top the list of goods purchased with mobiles, with travel and accommodation not far behind.

UAV Startup Clobotics Raised its First Round of Financing from GGV Capital (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, a Shanghai-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) startup—— Clobotics finished its first round of financing from GGV Capital, the amount was not disclosed. According to George Yan, the founder and CEO of Clobotics, this round of financing will focus on developing and iterating their products and technology, expanding the marketing layout, and accelerating the development of Clobotics in the key vertical field.

Set up in November 2016, Clobotics is a provider of business intelligence (BI) and visualizing data, focus on the research of UAV machine vision, industrial big data acquisition, and cloud big data processing and analysis. Unlike many of the domestic manufacturers that focus on hardware plane, Clobotics is good at using leading software, technology and platforms to embed advanced technologies in the field of artificial intelligence, so as to fully explore the value of UAV-collected data.

Police Arrest 32 Employees of Company Behind ‘Straddling Bus’ (Sixth Tone), Rated: B

The test site of China’s fantastical traffic-straddling bus was dismantled in June, and now the peer-to-peer financing company that backed the project is being investigated for illegal fundraising.

Following reports of unlawful conduct, a total of 32 suspects at Beijing-based Huaying Kailai Asset Management Co. Ltd. have been arrested, according to an announcement Sunday by Beijing police on their Weibo microblog.

European Union

Investor protection vs Access to Finance: The Growth of Alternative Finance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Clearly in Europe (Brexit aside) the UK has led sector growth. A combination of a culture of entrepreneurship and risk taking has combined with a supportive government and a regulatory body tasked with a mission of fostering competition – perhaps to the frustration of traditional financial firms. The rise of internet finance in the UK has engendered few occurrences of fraud to date. Growth has been sustained. Perhaps the Brits have gotten the balance right so far?

But which country has the largest alternative finance market in the world? China, of course.

Kleverlaan points to Italy as a country that has stumbled out of the gate. Something the country is attempting to rectify with recent rule changes specifically targeting equity crowdfunding.

View the full report on alternative finance here.

The European Investment Bank Pledges €18.5 million to Finance Continental European SMEs through Lendix (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB) through the European Investment Fund (EIF) has announced that it will provide €18.5 million to back a joint investment fund designed to lend money to SMEs through crowdlending platform Lendix.

Swedish tech elite’s darling startup Karma just bagged $ 4 million for its hyper-growing food waste app (Business Insider), Rated: A

Swedish startup Karma has built an app that helps restaurants, grocers and cafés reduce their food waste by selling their surplus to consumers at reduced prices.

The company has now raised between 30 and 40 million SEK ($3,5 – $4,7m) to take on Europe after a booming start in its Swedish home market.

The seed round comes from Swedish investor Eequity and global VC fund e.ventures, which has also backed the hyped Swedish fertility app Natural Cycles.

P2P Lender VIAINVEST Hits €10 Million in Funded Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Newly launched peer to peer lending platform VIAINVEST has announced topping €10 million in loans. The 7 month old Latvian platform said consumer loans issued by VIA SMS Group, came from the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia and Spain.

Australia/New Zealand

Xpress Super and Australian P2P lender RateSetter announce partnership (Finder.com), Rated: A

RateSetter, Australia’s largest peer-to-peer lender, and self-managed-superannuation-fund (SMSF) administrator Xpress Super have today announced a partnership.

Through the partnership, SMSF investors will now have direct access to their RateSetter account via the Xpress Super platform, making it easier for SMSF investors to lend to creditworthy borrowers.

Introducing HashChing – an online marketplace for home loan deals (sa real estate news), Rated: A

Based in the heart of Sydney, HashChing is Australia’s first online home loans marketplace for broker-negotiated home loan deals.

All mortgage brokers are verified and rated through the website Artificial Intelligence Algorithm, selecting the brokers who offer the best services and then recommending them to borrowers in their area. Similar companies that had paved the way before HashChing had simply listed rates to the consumer through the bank or lender’s website.

Home loan rates on HashChing start from 3.59% p.a. and consumers can browse through the home loan deals page to see what offers are available.

Currently the company has helped over 14,500 borrowers with their home loan enquiries, all worth more than $7 billion dollars combined. Of which, $6 billion has come in the last 12 months alone, and the company also currently lists more than 600 verified mortgage brokers – including 30 mortgage brokers from SA.

Colliers’ alternative to bank funding (True Commercial), Rated: B

A new Colliers International service is providing an alternative to traditional bank funding by matching commercial property investors to development and investment opportunities.

The Capital Sourcing unit was established by Tim Lichtenstein, who has a track record in capital raising for commercial real estate assets.

India

UrbanClap Raises $ 21M in Series C (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

Home services start-up firm UrbanClap has raised $21 million in a series C funding round led by Internet investment fund Vy Capital. Led by Alexander Tamas, Dubai-based Vy Capital is a major investor in Zomato.

Early investors SAIF Partners, Accel Partners and series B investor Bessemer Venture Partners also participated in the round. Existing investors also spent approximately $1 million more to buy shares held by some employees and a part of stakes of angel investors Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, the founders of Snapdeal, UrbanClap co-founder Abhiraj Bhal told LiveMint.

Reliance Capital arm invests $ 1 mn in P2P lending platform Billionloans (VC Circle), Rated: A

Billionloans Financial Services Pvt. Ltd, a Bengaluru-based fintech startup that operates a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, has raised $1 million (around Rs 7 crore) in seed funding from Reliance Corporate Advisory Services Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Capital Ltd.

Asia

Peer-to-peer loans pass 300 billion won for first time (Korea JoongAng Daily), Rated: AAA

The number of peer-to-peer loans more than doubled in just six months, going from 96.9 billion won ($84.5 million) in June last year to over 300 billion won in December.

The change represents a 220.5 percent increase, according to data provided by the Financial Supervisory Service and Financial Services Commission.

The number of users also surged 116.6 percent to 6,632 in June compared to December’s 3,062.

Singapore fintech startup Instarem raises $ 13 mn to expand payment infra (VC Circle), Rated: A

Instarem, a Singapore-headquartered cross-border payments company founded by Indian-origin entrepreneur Prajit Nanu, has raised $13 million in a Series B funding round led by Chinese venture capital firm GSR Ventures, a company statement said.

Singapore fintech startup Validus Capital raises US$ 2.9M to grow SME lending platform (e27), Rated: A

Singapore-based fintech startup Validus Capital has raised S$4 million (US$2.9 million) from Vertex Ventures.

It will use the newly-raised round to expand regionally and grow its online lending platform.

Chinese investors eye Indonesia’s P2P lending marketplace Investree for Series B (udaipur kiran), Rated: A

Indonesian peer-to-peer lending marketplace Investree announced recently that Chinese investors have initiated discussions for an investment in the company for its next Series B round.

If successful, the deal will become one of the first international investments in Indonesia’s fintech space. Previously, the startup has raised an undisclosed Series A round in 2016 from local venture capital Kejora which typically invest US$2 to US$5 million in their portfolio firms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday June 26 2017, Daily News Digest

banks stress test

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub on its latest securitization. Atom Bank gets 30M GBP from UK government. Yoyo raises 12M GBP. ArchOver, Escalate partner. Stripe enters 6 new markets. TD Bank opens new branch in British Columbia. Today’s main analysis: Banks pass stress test. Today’s thought-provoking articles: OCC advises fintechs, MPLs. Congressman launches alt lending investigation. BNP Paribas startup camp the […]

banks stress test

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

Asia

Middle East

Canada

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Closes First Self-Sponsored Securitization to Expand Investor Access (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, today closed its inaugural self-sponsored securitization deal. The Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) NP Credit Trust 2017-NP1 (CLUB 2017-NP1) issued $279.4 million in notes backed by consumer loan assets facilitated through the LendingClub platform. The transaction marks the start of LendingClub’s securitization program as Sponsor, Servicer and Administrator. LendingClub expects to sponsor programmatic securitizations and to use the CLUB structure for future transactions. This is the fifth securitization backed by consumer loan assets facilitated through the LendingClub platform and the third rated securitization of such assets overall.

LendingClub anticipates that programmatic use of the CLUB structure could provide institutional ABS investors with consistent access to securitized assets facilitated through its platform, standardization, consistency, and a more efficient means of financing for the long-term. The transaction was rated by Kroll and includes $162.4 million of Class A notes rated “A- (sf)”, $41.2 million of Class B notes rated “BBB (sf)” and $75.7 million of Class C notes rated “BB (sf)” backed by approximately $337 million of collateral. Each tranche of notes was oversubscribed by a diverse set of investors, most of whom were new to investing in assets facilitated by LendingClub. Citi and JP Morgan acted as lead underwriters. BNP and Jefferies acted as co-managers.

“I’m very pleased with our execution. We’re broadening our platform to tap into a large and liquid ABS market and with this deal we’ve reached 20 new investors, including insurance companies and large asset managers who are looking for new ways to access the platform,” said Patrick Dunne, Chief Capital Officer of LendingClub. “This transaction also demonstrates a capital markets financing alternative for the portfolios of our existing investors, which may provide better pricing transparency and enhanced liquidity.”

Bank Stress Tests Pass, True Lender Contest in CO, GS Marcus hits $ 1 Bn (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, major banks passed their Comprehensive Capital Adequacy Review (CCAR):

Source: Bloomberg, Federal Reserve, PeerIQ

One bank that has recently entered the lending market, GS Bank, reports they have achieved a $1 Bn lending milestone and remain on track to generate $2 Bn in loans by year-end – amongst the fastest growth rates we have seen across the PeerIQ data & analytics platform.

In the wake of emerging bank competition in the prime & super-prime category, non-banks are applying a few strategies:

  • Focus on underserved credit segments where traditional banks outside of a few specialists will not compete (e.g., Fair Square Financial, Loan Depot, various non-QM lenders)
  • Compete on brand and service, rather than rate, by offering a better customer experience and integrated product mix to a targeted customer segment. (e.g., SoFi)
  • Lending-as-a-Service models that enable banks and credit unions to compete with licensed technology (e.g., Upstart, Avant, LendKey)

On the securitization front, three deals from non-bank lenders priced this week including Springleaf ($650 MM), Lendmark ($350 MM), and Marlette ($323 MM).

OCC Offers Advice on Fintechs, Marketplace Lenders (Lexology), Rated: AAA

Defining a third-party relationship as “any business arrangement between the bank and another entity, by contract or otherwise,” the OCC explained that it can include activities that involve outsourced products and services; use of outside consultants, networking arrangements, merchant payment processing services, and services provided by affiliates and subsidiaries; joint ventures; and other business arrangements in which a bank has an ongoing third-party relationship or may have responsibility for the associated records.

Whether or not a fintech company arrangement can be considered a critical activity depends on a number of factors, such as whether significant bank functions (payments, clearing, settlements and custody, for example) are involved or other activities that could have a major impact on bank operations if the bank has to find an alternative third party or if the outsourced activities have to be brought in-house.

The bulletin also clarified that no requirement exists that a third party must meet the bank’s lending criteria in order to establish a relationship.

Banks must also establish appropriate processes and systems to effectively monitor and control the risks inherent within the marketplace lending relationships, the OCC said, from adequate loan underwriting guidelines to cover credit risk management to ensuring the marketplace lender has adequate compliance management processes in place to satisfy compliance risk management concerns.

To read Bulletin 2017-21, click here.

Congressman Cleaver Launches Investigation into Fintech Lending (House.gov), Rated: AAA

Today, U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II launched an investigation into small business FinTech lending, including online companies that offer payday loan-like products for small businesses and individual consumers.

In a letter from Congressman Cleaver to the Chief Executive Officers of several rapidly emerging FinTech small business lenders, the executives were asked to share information about their company products, fees, and methods when it comes to disclosures and potentially discriminatory practices. The letters were sent to Lending Club, Biz2Credit, Fora Financial, Prosper, and Lend Up. Companies are expected to respond by August 10, 2017.

How To Fix And Flip A Property While Wearing Your Bathrobe (Forbes), Rated: A

In the first quarter of 2017, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, there were 43,615 single family homes and condos flipped. These types of transactions accounted for 6.7% of all homes sold in Q1. Across all markets, flippers averaged a $64,284 gross profit, according to ATTOM.

This other way to invest has to do with another statistic in ATTOM’s report: “Flippers” borrowed an astounding $3.5B in Q1 to facilitate property acquisition and repairs. What’s not widely known is that a majority of this capital comes not from banks, but from private investors.”

  • The platforms source projects from real estate flippers through digital and boots-on-ground marketing.
  • Each platform has underwriting criteria that helps to determine which projects will be selected for funding. Our firm requires the flipper to have completed at least three projects in the last 12 months.
  • If everything checks out, the platform will fund the project and secure a first-position mortgage on the house.
  • Most platforms are “pre-funding” the loan, meaning they’re using their own capital to originate the loan.
  • For your investment, you can earn anywhere between 7-12% annualized return.

However, there are still some limitations.

  • Accredited investors only
  • Startup risk
  • Lack of control

Online Lender Accused Of Linking With Tribe To Get Immunity (Law360), Rated: AAA

A group of Virginia residents filed a proposed class action in federal court Thursday alleging that an internet lending company engaged in a “rent-a-tribe scheme” to allow it to charge illegally high interest rates on its loans while attempting to use a Michigan tribe’s sovereign immunity as a shield from suit.

Lula Williams and four other plaintiffs claimed in their complaint that Big Picture Loans LLC purported to be owned and operated by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

CHOICE Act Helps Sharing Economy and FinTech, but a Senate Bill May Harm It (CEI.org), Rated: A

The U.S Senate should get to work on passing portions of the CHOICE Act, particularly regarding the sharing economy and FinTech. It should also shelve legislation that would harm those sectors.

One example of the latter is a terrible bill from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) that would shove any “issuer, redeemer or cashier” of a “digital currency” into the same anti-money laundering regulations as those that govern the big banks. This bill is called the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Counterfeiting Act of 2017.

Small Business Financial Stability: What is the Role of Mission-Based Lenders? (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Small business ownership’s promise of long-term asset generation is not without tradeoffs. Unexpected shortfalls in revenues or increases in expenses can be devastating to a young business, and recent research by the JPMorgan Chase Institute reveals that small businesses operate with tenuous cash reserves to cover these costs. In fact, the typical small business could only cover expenses for 27 days in the case of a financial emergency. For businesses in low-wage industries, that time window drops to 19 days.

Business cash flow volatility often has consequences for household finances. Most small business owners (76%) respondto cash flow challenges by using personal funds. This could mean drawing from personal savings, foregoing a personal salary or maxing out credit utilization limits, which can damage one’s credit score and impact opportunities to secure future sources of financing. (The majority of small business owners use personal credit scores to apply for business capital.) Accion and Opportunity Fund borrowers generally re-invest business profits into the business rather than the household – 55% of study respondents experienced an increase in business profits in the previous six months but only 30% increased their household savings over the same period.

Often, small business owners find themselves in a cycle of debt after taking out a high-cost loan. In fact, approximately one in four small business loan applicants cite refinancing existing debt as their main reason for applying. Recognizing this trend in their own applicant pool, Opportunity Fund analyzed alternative loan contracts for 104 small business owners seeking relief from high-cost loan debt. Their analysis found that the average loan imposed an annual percentage rate (APR) of 94%. Further, the average monthly loan payment for business owners was nearly double their net income.

What is the role of mission-based lenders?

  • Lending innovation: alternative finance products fulfill an important demand—to keep the doors open in the case of a pressing financial need. Mission-based small business lenders must better meet that immediate need before entrepreneurs turn to costlier options.
  • Financial advising: Among those who participated in Accion and Opportunity Fund’s study, just over a half (54%) used a business financial plan. This illustrates the imperative of increased investment in financial advising that better equips business owners to plan for and manage financial emergencies while building long-term stability.
  • Education: The financial landscape is convoluted and ever-changing, and entrepreneurs need support in navigating their options. Accion publishes 90+ online resources per year to help business owners build their business and financial skills. Opportunity Finance Network’s Venturize campaign, which helps small business owners understand their financing options, generated over 73 million impressions in its first year.
  • Leadership: Advancing responsible lending practices is not just a moral imperative. It’s also a business imperative to ensure client satisfaction and business survival.

Robo-advice and payments are counterrevolutionary, but not fintech lending (AltFi), Rated: A

Worse: because it can easily be adopted by incumbents, robo may not just be un-revolutionary but actively counterrevolutionary, claims a new report by Silicon Valley think tank the Christensen Institute.

Payments is put in the same boat, noting it requires close cooperation with powerful businesses who control important infrastructure. And cooperation means large chunks of fees collected from merchants must be shared.

The report reserves higher praise for the marketplace lending which, it claims, has enormous potential and could even undermine banking majors’ ability to set interest rates.

Nevada Imposes Fiduciary Obligations on Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers (National Law Review), Rated: A

Broker-dealers and investment advisers with clients in Nevada should review the fiduciary obligations contained in new amendments to the Nevada financial planner statute that go into effect on July 1, 2017.

As a result of the June 2017 Amendments, broker-dealers, investment advisers, and their representatives will now be classified as “financial planners” for purposes of the Nevada Securities Act and will become subject to the following provisions of the financial planner law:

  • Duties—A financial planner has the duty of a fiduciary toward a client. Accordingly, a financial planner shall disclose to a client, at the time advice is given, any gain the financial planner may receive, such as profit or commission, if the advice is followed.
  • Liability—If loss results from following a financial planner’s advice under any of the following circumstances, the client may recover from the financial planner in a civil action the amount of the economic loss and all costs of litigation and attorney fees.[2] The circumstances giving rise to liability are that the financial planner (1) violated any element of his or her fiduciary duty;[3] (2) was grossly negligent in selecting the course of action advised, in light of all of the client’s circumstances known to the financial planner; or (3) violated any law of Nevada in recommending the investment or service.

However, there are still some uncertainties that arise from this determination by Nevada to apply a statute intended for financial planners to broker-dealers and investment advisers. These include the following:

  • Duties—The June 2017 Amendments could be read to create a continuing fiduciary duty after delivering a financial plan. Registered investment advisers now deliver the plan and state that delivery ends the relationship (i.e., no continuing duty).

  • Delivery of Compensation Information—Delivery timing may be slightly off from Form ADV delivery. Form ADV is delivered to a client at or before the opening of the account, while the June 2017 Amendments call for delivery at the time advice is given.

  • Point of Sale Disclosure—It is not clear if the point of sale disclosure of compensation is intended to be different from the level of disclosure currently provided. In this regard, use of the term “gain” can be viewed as involving a different calculation than fees charged.

  • Broader Inquiry—The obligation under the June 2017 Amendments to “keep currently informed, concerning the client’s financial circumstances and the client’s present and anticipated obligations and goals for his or her family” arguably is a greater burden than is currently required.

Reg CF Portal Pivot: DreamFunded Abandons Startups for Real Estate Crowdfunding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

DreamFunded, a FINRA approved Reg CF portal, has pivoted from its original model of providing access to capital for early stage companies. Today, instead of the next cool startup gracing the pages of DreamFunded there are single family homes up for investment.

Currently, they are in the legal process of getting our 1st Title III real estate debt deal approved, which expects to go live on July 5th, 2017.

Edward Jones Tops Internet Search Ranking (Barrons), Rated: B

The 15,000-advisor firm is dominating its rivals when it comes to pulling those searchers to its sites, InvestmentNews reports, citing a new study from Hearsay Systems and Moz.

Edward Jones spends nearly half of its media investment on digital marketing, Olsen tells the publication. Most of that is geared to the local digital space. Each advisor and branch has a custom microsite—a separate site outside the main company homepage.

Morgan Stanley ranked second in overall click share percentage. It also came out on top in paid searches, or ads. Wells Fargo Advisors and Fidelity Investments came in second and third on that list.

Lendy Expands: Appoints Three New Senior Hires to Team (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy recently announced it has appointed three new senior hires to its growing team. Shane Lewin was named compliance officer, while Shaun Reynolds was appointed development finance support manager, and Pamela Guillamon was appointed international marketing manager.

United Kingdom

Atom Bank gets £30 million from the government as Philip Hammond pledges investment boost (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Startup bank Atom has received a £30 million funding boost from the state-owned British Business Bank (BBB).

British Business Bank Investments, the commercial arm of the BBB, announced it has agreed a £30 million Tier 2 capital facility with Atom, a digital-only bank founded in 2014. The facility, effectively a loan to Atom, will allow the Durham-based bank to lend out more money to small businesses.Startup bank Atom has received a £30 million funding boost from the state-owned British Business Bank (BBB).

Yoyo raises £12m as fintech defies Brexit fears (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Yoyo Wallet, the fast-growing British mobile payments app, has raised £12m from investors including the German retailer Metro Group and fund manager Neil Woodford to finance its expansion in Europe and the US.

Yoyo, which recently passed the milestone of processing more than 1m monthly payments for its 400,000 registered users, has grown rapidly since its creation four years ago as a mobile app to pay for goods in university student unions.

The app is used to handle payments in 1,700 outlets, including over 60 UK and Irish universities; the canteens of several big companies such as JPMorgan Chase; and retailers such as Caffè Nero and Planet Organic.

The latest fundraising, which takes the total Yoyo has raised in three rounds to over £20m, will be used to finance the company’s expansion in the US.

ArchOver partners with Escalate (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform ArchOver has become the first UK lender to partner with commercial dispute resolution service Escalate.

The partnership will increase ArchOver’s ability to provide loans for the SME market, as well as helping borrowers collect disputed payments and enhancing security for lenders.

Escalate will enable ArchOver to recoup any disputed assets being used as security for loans over the ArchOver platforms.

WiseAlpha Set to Complete Crowdcube Round With More Than £1.1 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

WiseAlpha, a UK online lending platform that gives everyday investors access to high yield institutional bond and loan investments, is set to close its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube with more than £1.1 million secured from nearly 1,000 investors.

The new ISA that pays 6.1% interest on your money – everything you need to know (Mirror), Rated: A

The average interest on a cash ISA is running at 0.4% according to recent figures.

So the news that a new ISA is paying 6.1% is bound to make people’s ears prick up.

Customers can put as much as £20,000 into a Zopa innovative finance ISA.

There are two rates on offer – a “Core” deal paying 3.9% returns and a “Plus” offering that pays 6.1%.

So far this year just 0.08% of loans have defaulted, although in the worst years of the credit crunch as many as 4.21% did.

Most of the time, fewer than 2% of loans actually default.

Investec Wealth launches ‘robo advice’ platform offering active management (AltFi), Rated: A

Investec Wealth & Investment has launched a new online investment platform called Click & Invest, aimed at competing in the fast growing ‘robo advice’ market.

The firm, which is one of the larger wealth management firms and part of the wider Investec group, has more than £32.5bn of client funds under management.  Its new platform aims to differentiation from the majority of robo-platforms “by going beyond algorithms and offering an actively managed investment strategy”, selecting from over 300 actively managed funds.

Individuals are not charged for setting up and creating a portfolio, commission, transferring in, withdrawing money or closing an account. Fees for Click & Invest are 0.65 per cent on the first £100,000 invested, 0.50 per cent on the, £10,000 invested and 0.35 per cent on any amounts invested over £250,000.

Fintech LendInvest’s growth slows due to ‘challenging’ property market and investment (Business Insider), Rated: A

Online mortgage marketplace LendInvest saw revenue growth slow and profits dive last year as it invested for growth and dealt with “challenging” market conditions.

Accounts seen by Business Insider show LendInvest’s revenue grew from £18.6 million to £22.1 million in the year to March 2017. That’s a significant slowdown on the prior year when revenues jumped to £18.6 million from £7.2 million in 2015.

The company made a loss of £1 million in the year to March 2017, down from a pre-tax profit of £2.4 million in 2016. Operating profits shrunk from £3.3 million to £52,000.

Linked Finance talking to AIB about lending deal (Independent.ie), Rated: A

Irish online lending company Linked Finance is in talks with AIB and other major Irish banks about future collaborations, its founder said.

Serial investor Peter O’Mahony, who founded the peer-to-peer lending platform, said the firm had been approached by AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.

Talks with all three banks are still at an early stage, but O’Mahony said there were a number of possibilities for collaboration.

China

Tencent and Bank of China jointly set up a joint financial and technical laboratory (01Caijing), Rating: AAA

Recently, the “Bank of China – Tencent Financial Technology Joint Laboratory” was established. Bank of China and Tencent Group will focus on cloud computing, large data, block chain and artificial intelligence and other aspects of deep cooperation, build Pratt & Whitney Finance , cloud finance, smart finance and technology finance.

Credit Insurance Meets Fintech: Hong Kong’s Atradius Launches New Digital Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Hong Kong-based credit insurance provider Atradius announced on Thursday the launch of its new digital fintech platform, Atrium. The company describes the portal as an innovative tool that provides customers and distribution partners with real-time data to better understand buyers, credit limits, and risks a company poses.

Chinese acquirers face tougher due diligence (Financial Times), Rated: A

A regulatory probe announced by China into the “systemic risk” of some of its biggest overseas acquirers is both welcome and troubling. Welcome because Beijing is raising a red flag over corporations long known for high leverage and opaque operations. Troubling because it creates big uncertainties, both for the future of Chinese outbound investment and for the several notable US and European brands snapped up in recent years.

The companies included so far in what is being called a “fact-checking” initiative are Dalian Wanda, the property-to-entertainment company, Fosun International, the consumer group, HNA, a diversified conglomerate, and Anbang, an unlisted insurer. Together, these four have bought $56bn-worth of companies in the past five years.

DCM Ventures leads $ 10m Series A in Chinese real estate crowdfunding platform (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

DCM Ventures has led a $10-million Series A round in Duocaitou, a crowdfunding platform for accommodation industry, according to a company announcement.

Shunwei Capital, which is co-founded by Xiaomi’s chief executive Lei Jun, also joined this round.

To date, it claims total fundraising on the platform has reached RMB4.6 billion ($670 million) from more than 10,000 individual investors.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Jiangsu Suning Bank Co., Ltd., a private online bank backed by Suning Commerce Group Co., Ltd., officially launched last Friday.

Like many of its peers, Suning Bank aims to create an online-to-offline bank driven by technology and taking advantage of its 1,576 offline direct-sale stores and thousands of franchise stores to offer payment and banking services to customers. Suning Commerce and Jiangsu Sunrain Solar Energy contributed CNY 1.2 billion and CNY 944 million to the new bank, holding a 30% and 23.6% interest respectively, and the total valuation of the bank exceeded CNY 4 billion.

On June 12th 2017, in presence of the Prime Ministers of both countries, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between China’s National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) and Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), providing a framework to intensify the cooperation between both countries in the area of digitalization of financial services.

Shenzhen Futian district has announced that it is forming a Fintech advisory committee to conduct industrial policy research, giving advice on investment promotion and gather input on regulation issues and industry trends. The committee will include 30 experts and representatives from various sections of the fintech industry.

Additionally, Futian district and Shenzhen Stock exchange also announced the launch of the first FinTech Index in China, which provides a benchmark to track the performance of companies engaged in financial technologies. The index includes all technologies applied to financial services as blockchain, digital payment and P2P online payment. It is based on May 26, 2017, and the base points are 3000.

On June 14, China Asset Management Co., Ltd. (China AMC) and Microsoft Research Asia jointly announced that the two sides will carry out strategic and cooperative research on the application of artificial intelligence in financial services and promote the intelligent transformation of the asset management industry.

On June 14, the Shenzhen Internet Finance Association, Hong Kong’s Internet Professional Association (iProA) and Singapore’s FinLab announced the establishment of the Shenzhen-Singapore-Hong Kong Fintech Hubs Federation.

China’s biggest dairy firm, Yili Industrial Group plans to invest CNY 300 million to set up a small-loans lender in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Personal credit card issued by the “letter” or will be established (iFeng), Rated: A

Phoenix WEMONEY news on the evening of June 22, Phoenix WEMONEY was informed that the personal credit card issued by the suspension, a number of third-party institutions or will initiate the establishment of “letter of the Union.”

April 20, the central bank credit management bureau director Wan Cunzhi in the “personal information protection and credit management” international seminar, for the first time announced, including sesame credit, Tencent letter, including the first batch of eight pilot personal credit card Of the credit business without a qualified.

Should You Worry About Baidu’s Fintech Move? (Madison.com), Rated: A

About 160 million people in China took out 1.2 trillion yuan ($180 billion) in online loans last year, according to iResearch. The firm sees that figure growing at an annual rate of 50% over the next three years.

iResearch reports that the average overdue rate ranges from 10% to 20%, and is the “main factor that prevents online lending from becoming a mainstream channel in China’s financial industry.”

Baidu’s Financial Services Group (FSG), which was officially formed a year ago, had 25 billion yuan ($3.7 billion) in assets at the end of its last quarter, which accounted for 12% of its total assets.

Fitch believes that Baidu’s credit risk is higher than Alibaba and Tencent’s, since those two companies are more profitable and have stronger cash flows.

But even if Moody’s downgrades Baidu’s debt from A3 to Baa1, or Fitch cuts its current rating from A to A-, the bonds would still be well within “investment grade” parameters.

European Union

BNP Paribas to Setup a 1,000-Startups Campus in Paris, France (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

There are nowadays gazillions of accelerators, incubators and startup labs, but no one comes close to Station F. Here is why:

  • The sheer size of the campus: 34,000 square meters, 310 meters long (the size of the Eiffel tower!), 1,000 startups, 3,000 startup workstations, and a total capacity to host 9,000 people. The building also houses 8 event spaces and many recreational areas, including a tennis court. More than 250 million euros are invested in its construction.
  • More than 17 big brand incubators. Next to BNP Paribas, HEC Business School, Facebook, China-based Serrinnov, online retail group Vente-Privé, VC firm Daphni, industrial group Thalès, South-Korea’s Naver, and more than a dozen other companies from all sectors will run their innovation lab or startup accelerator from Station F to benefit from the emulation and the synergies that the space offers.

For its Station F program, BNP has chosen to partner with a global partner, Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley-headquartered innovation platform with 22 locations around the world. Plug and Play prides itself with a track record of more than 2,000 backed or accelerated startups, including well-known brands like DropBox and SoundHound, and Fintechs like PayPal and Lending Club. Plug and Play invests in over 100 companies every year and connect startups to corporations.

The partnership between BNP Paribas and Station F will extend beyond hosting the accelerator. BNP Paribas will also become a reference bank for the startups and digital workers of Station F. Depending on their needs, these young companies will be able to draw on the wide range of services of the group which covers the whole spectrum from corporate finance and private equity to mobile personal finance.

Stripe refocuses European effort with 6 new markets and expanded payments platform (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

Stripe has announced a handful of tidbits that underscore the fast-growing fintech startup’s aspirations in Europe.

Thus far, Stripe has only been fully available to businesses in the U.K., Ireland, Denmark, France, Spain, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. But as of this week, another six markets have been added to the mix: Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

Sarego, a New Crowdfunding Platform for Real Estate, Starts with Large Housing Project in Vienna (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

German real estate crowdfunding platform Sarego that uses platform technology from CrowdDesk, private investors may now invest in the first real estate project on the platform. The project  is for the development company Vermehrt GmbH who is crowdfunding one million euros for the energy-efficient renovation and modernization of Gründerzeit-old building in Vienna.

International

FinTech VC Funding Slowing (Forbes), Rated: AAA

US VC funding for Fintech was down by 13% to at $6.2 billion in 2016, much of this attributed to poor performance of lending platforms and a contraction of investment as VCs re-examine where the money is going to be made in FinTech moving forward. It was noted that there were virtually no new entrant digital banks in the US.

The UK attracted $834 million of investment in 2016, down by 38%, mainly attributed to Brexit, though a bumper venture round following the referendum delivered 8 of the top 20 deals attracting $368 million.

New digital challenger banks Atom and Monzo jointly attracted over $150 million in the first half of 2017 highlighting some of the differences between US and UK FinTech when it comes to lending platforms and digital banks.

FinTechs across the payments space continue to grow and MortgageTech / RealEstateTech is emerging and is being watched closely.

Though later stage valuations have appeared to come down, they still look high, and “flat” appears to be the new “up”.

Of the many attributes that VCs look for in startups: market, product fit, disruption and innovation, the key one critical to success is talent:  the founder / CxO and team:

  • Repeat entrepreneur?
  • Domain expertise?
  • Do strategy within a complex highly regulated ecosystem?
  • Marry strategy with detail and execution?
  • Recruit outstanding people that follow?

EY Fintech Adoption Index: China Leads the Pack. USA is Just Average (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

EY has published the “Fintech Adoption Index 2017” that grades the various markets where EY operates so just about most of the developed world. When you think about the giant internet firms in China, and the ubiquity of mobile internet, it just makes sense that China leads the way.

 

Australia/New Zealand

ASIC permanently bans former AMP Financial Planning adviser from financial services (Leaprate.com), Rated: A

ASIC announced that has permanently banned Perth man, David Fong, from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities after it was found that he acted dishonestly in the course of providing financial services and failed to comply with the ‘best interests’ duty.

ASIC decided to ban Mr Fong permanently after finding that he:

  • engaged in dishonest conduct relating to client records and applications for financial products;
  • provided advice to clients that did not comply with the best interests duty, was not appropriate and did not leave them in a better position having received the advice.
Asia

Itochu partners with Sinar Mas on Indonesian fintech (AltFi), Rated: B

Itochu, Japan’s second-largest trading company, has bought a US$50 million stake in an Indonesian P2P lending company as it views Indonesia’s weak financial infrastructure as a fertile harvest for fintech credit services, Nikkei Asian Review reports.

Middle East

A deeper look at the Middle East’s FinTech market (ITP.net), Rated: A

Despite a record-setting 2015 year that saw total global funding to Fintech companies reach $46.7bn, 2016 saw a decline in Fintech investment by 47.2%.

The quarterly report noted that despite VC investments slowing down in the second half of 2016, the year concluded with $2bn invested in Q416 across 200 deals. As a result, VC funding to Fintech companies reached a record of $13.6bn in 2016, up from the $12.6bn reported the year before.

KPMG also highlighted that corporate VC investment in Fintech rose for the seventh year in a row, reaching 145 deals and a total of $8.5bn in 2016.

Canada

TD opens new branch in Richmond, B.C. at Gilbert and Lansdowne (Newswire), Rated: AAA

TD opened a new concept branch in Richmond’s Cadence by Cressey community that marries environmental sustainability and legendary customer service in a uniquely inviting space. The branch, at the corner of Gilbert Road and Lansdowne Road in Richmond, is conveniently located in the new Cadence community which is walkable and close to the waterfront and Richmond’s Olympic Oval.

More comfort, convenience and sustainable attributes include:

  • An inviting, open concept feel encourages collaboration and conversation so customers can get the meaningful, personalized advice they need. When customers come into the branch, there is a mural of the Lansdowne Park Race Track circa 1928.
  • Energy-efficient design sustainably-sourced finishes help reduce the branches environmental footprint and reinforce our commitment to the environment.
  • A customer lounge offers a comfortable space to gather or wait for an appointment with access to tea and coffee.
  • Free Wi-Fi access for customers to use while they wait or to use during an appointment.
  • Digital displays throughout the branch offer customers access to current information, advice and tips to help manage their finances while they wait to see a customer service representative.
  • Sustainable interior elements like responsibly sourced wood finishes, recycled materials and low-energy LED lighting.
  • A flexible, scalable design allows the branch to easily grow and adapt along with the needs of the community.

The branch is also designed to be a full-service advice centre with employees to meet all its customers’ financial needs in multiple languages, including English, Mandarin and Cantonese.

As part of TD ‘s extended hours, the branch is open seven days a week – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Wednesday; 9:00 am to 8:00 pm Thursday and Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday; and 11:00 am to 4 pm on Sunday.

Fintech Sandbox expands to Canada (Finextra), Rated: A

Today Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and Boston-based FinTech Sandbox, signed an historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate and expand the FinTech Sandbox model into Canada, starting in Ontario.

FinTech Sandbox will open its program in Ontario, which will provide quality data products from 32 industry-leading partners, to qualified start-ups in Ontario.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

May 23 2017, Daily News Digest

industrial bank charters declining

News Comments Today’s main news:  Yirendai reports Q1 results. Desai steps down from Funding Circle P2P fund. Yirendai reports Q1 results.  Klarna is changing its name. Uncertainty looms over SoFi’s bank charter. Today’s main analysis: Quarterly marketplace lending results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What’s in Ron Suber’s portfolio. China Rapid Finance quiet period coming to an end. Online lenders dominate Mozo awards. Over […]

industrial bank charters declining

News Comments

United States

  • KBRA assigns prelim ratings to Oportun Funding VI, LLC, Series 2017-A. GP:”The flurry of bond sales continues.”
  • What’s in Ron Suber’s portfolio. GP:”Most angel investors lose money and they do it for the fun. A few have made it a carreer. I have always been very curious what Ron Suber invested in. Finally we get some very interesting insights. The real question is: why he said yes to these and no to probably 100x more companies.”AT: “Payments, online lending, and financial inclusion. None of this is surprising. I’d expect the leader of a disruptive finance industry to back financial inclusion. It’s not just decent humanity, it’s good business sense, especially if you believe in the technology doing the disrupting.”
  • Quarterly MPL results. GP:”The take away: An average ROI of 7.73%. A great number to remember.”AT: “Interesting portfolio mix, but it doesn’t seem very diversified.”
  • Uncertainty looms over SoFi’s plan to obtain bank charter. GP:”Of course uncertainty rules in any interaction with a regulator, judge, client. The take away from this article: the chart showing the number of industrial banks over time. “AT: “Obey this rule: Don’t believe it until you see it.”
  • U.S. startups fail to attract crowd of small investors. AT: “This is a misleading headline. There are any number of reasons why non-accredited investors may not be flocking to crowdfunding opportunities, one of which is they may not know about them. Most opportunities are still open only to accredited investors. The investment for the platforms to get in front of these investors is huge, and the potential ROI on the short term is thin, so long-term business sense is undoubtedly driving the current focus on accredited investors until cash flows reach a point to do otherwise. In time, the cost of meeting regulatory demands and marketing will decrease allowing platforms to built a real business model around the non-accredited investors. Plus, small investors themselves tend to be more cautious with their money simply because a loss can be much more devastating than an equal loss to a larger investor. The market will come around–in time.”
  • Goldman, Cohen bet on Nav. GP:”A few companies are always attracting a lot of attention from the public: Apple, Goldman, Google, Facebook due to their reputation of smart strategic visionaries who have made surprising bets in the past that paid off incredibly well. Is Nav such a bet?”
  • Thousands flock to Build credit card for credit repair. GP:”Beyond the sensational title: a few startups , and now banks, are selling the “improvide your FICO” by using our product. Some of them in fact even allow you to lend money to yourself in order to achieve this via a complex locked account structure. “
  • How fintech’s are beating credit unions. AT: “Credit unions typically are not innovators. They too will come around, eventually. It will take time.”
  • Podcast: Raul Vazquez of Oportun.
  • Why Wells Fargo is engaging fintech partnerships right now.
  • Lender expansion.
  • The top 10 players in Bay Area fintech.  GP:”The interesting story here given the share of the finance industry in the world and local economy: Why isn’t New York the hot bed of Fintech? A possible answer: because people experience in finance always see all the reasons why an idea won’t work and don’t even want to try. Young inexperienced people don’t know better and try, and sometimes they find a pocket of opportunity.”AT: “San Francisco is a hotbed for fintech companies.”
  • Fintech marketer on why you should simplify your message. AT: “Simplifying your marketing message is important, but clarifying your messaging is just as important. How you say what you say is as important as saying it.”

United Kingdom

China

European Union

  • Klarna is changing its name to include ‘Bank’. AT: “This is very interesting. If Klarna can entice consumers to open up digital bank accounts and fund their retail purchases through those accounts, the company should be able to corner the market on e-commerce payments. This would be a huge boon.”

International

Australian/New Zealand

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Oportun Funding VI, LLC, Series 2017-A (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to two classes of Oportun Funding VI, LLC, Series 2017-A (“Oportun 2017-A”), a consumer loan asset-backed securities transaction.

The collateral in the Oportun 2017-A deal includes approximately $188.24 million of loans, as of the April 12, 2017 statistical calculation date. The transaction includes a three year revolving period during which additional collateral may be funded in the transaction so long as it complies with certain eligibility criteria. The preliminary ratings reflect the initial credit enhancement levels ranging from 30.0% for the Class A notes and 15.0% for the Class B notes.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Oportun Funding VI, LLC, Series 2017-A

Class Preliminary Rating Expected Initial Class Principal
A A (sf) $131,766,000
B BBB (sf) $28,235,000

Here’s what’s in Ron Suber’s portfolio (Biz Journals), Rated: AAA

Digital signature company DocuSign and online lender SoFi, which have been valued at $3 billion and $4.3 billion respectively. His involvement with Prosper itself started out as an investment in the company back in 2013.Digital signature company DocuSign and online lender SoFi, which have been valued at $3 billion and $4.3 billion respectively.

He added that he focuses on five themes in his personal fintech investing: digital transactions, the payment rails of fintech, online lending, unlocking cash for assets and financial inclusion.

My Quarterly Marketplace Lending Results – Q1 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Overall Marketplace Lending Return at 7.73%

I complained last quarter that the annualized return, based just on the latest quarterly numbers, on my main Lending Club account had dropped to 2.1% in Q4. Well, this quarter it dipped further. The balance on this account on December 31, 2016 was $39,733, the balance on March 31, 2017 was $39,472 for a -2.6% annualized return according to Lending Club’s own statements.

When I look at where the recent defaults have been coming from the majority are in the D and E grade 36-month loans issued in 2015.

My TTM return according to my own calculations is 2.56% and Lending Club says my return is 8.32%.

Last month marked four years since I invested in the Direct Lending Investments fund. It has been my best performing investment by far over this time period. While yields have come down slightly from the initial 13-15% to 10-12% today I am still very happy with this investment. As the fund has grown, today it is closing in on $1 billion, it has changed focus from investing in high yield short-term small business loans to providing funding lines for a variety of consumer, small business and real estate lenders.

Peerstreet focuses on short term loans – typically 6-24 months with yield to investors in the mid to high single digits. I like the $1,000 minimum per investment at Peerstreet which has enabled me to feel comfortable starting with a relatively small investment. I have already almost cycled through my initial investment as 11 of my first 12 properties have already paid off in full.

Uncertainty looms over SoFi’s plan to obtain bank charter (SNL), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. executives say the company is ready to be regulated more like a bank, but it is unclear how feasible it will be for SoFi to obtain the industrial bank charter it wants.

In his comments to TechCrunch, Cagney said that the goal of the charter is not to use deposits to fund loans.

SoFi has yet to submit an application for an industrial bank charter in Utah, according to Utah Department of Financial Institutions supervisor of industrial banks Shaun Berrett. As of May 19, the online lender had 28 job openings in its Cottonwood Heights location.

U.S. Startups Fail to Attract Crowd of Small Investors (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Investors sprinkled about $38 million across 142 companies since May 2016 when Title III of the JOBS Act allowed equity crowdfunding for non-accredited investors, according to data from industry tracker NextGen Crowdfunding LLC.

Swat said the practice is still in its infancy. Wefunder, StartEngine and SeedInvest are the primary crowdfunding platforms, and many founders aren’t aware that equity fundraising is an option. Of those who explore it, many decide it’s not worth the hassle and expense.

NextGen data show companies typically spend from $20,000 to $50,000 on legal, accounting and marketing — a serious outlay for a startup that’s only looking to raise a couple hundred thousand dollars.

Technology startups, quite understandably, have largely ignored the new fundraising option because they benefit more from the existing system.

Goldman, Cohen Bet on Nav (deBanked), Rated: AAA

Nav recently lifted the size of a Series B round by $13 million for lead investor Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments as well as Cohen’s Point72 Ventures and others, bringing the tally for this round to $38 million.

King points out that bringing the startup’s vision to reality is a gamble. For instance, Nav’s current customer count is 215,000 and they aspire to have 28 million.

Also part of the vision is international expansion.

Thousands are flocking to a credit card that helps repair their bad FICO scores and avoid payday loans (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marla Blow thinks she can help. A card industry veteran who spent nearly a decade at Capital One and helped run the credit card and payments division at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Blow recently helped launch a startup called FS Card, whose sole product at the moment is a credit card targeted toward those with tarnished credit histories.

The card, which is called “Build” and has MasterCard branding, enables customers to avoid the local payday lender’s sky-high rates and gradually mend their standing in the eyes of the almighty FICO.

FS Card’s strategy is to target “deep subprime customers” in the 550 to 600 credit score range, a group that’s largely been overlooked and forgotten by the big banks, according to Blow, the company’s CEO. By offering transparent rates and fees and low spending limits to start, Blow thinks she can carve out a profitable business that also helps people repair their financial bedrock.

There’s some evidence from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that lending is returning for subprime borrowers with credit scores below 660.

The payday loan industry — wherein people take out a two-week loan for several hundred dollars that comes with a fee that amounts to a 400% interest rate on average — now serves 19 million households out of some 20,600 locations across the country, according to industry group the Community Financial Services Association of America.

The Build card, on the other hand, is unsecured and requires no deposit, providing a more flexible line of credit from the get-go.

The Build card comes with a $75 annual fee and a starting credit limit of about $500 — not incidentally, the same as the maximum payday loan amount in many states — which grows as the borrower proves responsible over time. The interest rate percentage starts in the upper 20s, on the high end for most credit cards. All the terms are laid out plainly to avoid any surprises.

In a year and a half on the market, the Build card has extended $25 million in credit to nearly 50,000 customers, according to Blow.

How fintech is beating credit unions at their own game (Credit Union Journal), Rated: A

One of the leaders in that effort is Acorns, an app that connects to a user’s credit or debit cards and rounds up purchases to the next dollar, holding the accumulated difference in escrow and investing it with a risk portfolio determined by the user. The service costs just $1 per month for balances of less than $5,000 and users can withdraw their funds at any time.

The bigger issue, said Habib, is that CUs are once again being cut out of the relationship with their members’ money. Saving a nickel here and a dime there may not seem like a significant threat, but if Acorns or similar fintechs eventually enter the lending space then credit unions could really begin to feel the pinch.

While most CUs don’t have a round-up offering, one credit union that has embraced the idea is Tampa’s GTE Financial, which in 2015 launched Future Change, an app that allows members to round up purchases and set aside money to pay off their loans at the credit union more quickly.

In the two years since GTE began offering Future Change, $1.3 million per year has been moved to roundup savings accounts, with members making more than 3,500 principal payments on their loans. The app has been downloaded more than 15,000 times and Burney said members log in about 14,000 times per month.

Podcast 101: Raul Vazquez of Oportun (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The CFPB estimates there are 45 million adults in the US today who have little or no credit history.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What Raul did before he came to Oportun.
  • The three criteria Raul needed to consider when moving from Walmart to Oportun.
  • The core market of borrowers served by Oportun.
  • The percentage of Oportun borrowers who do not have a credit score.
  • The total loan volume they have done to date.
  • The typical loan terms they offer.
  • Why they base their interest rates on the size of the loan.
  • The marketing channels they use to find their customers.
  • Why they use physical locations in most of the states where they operate.
  • How they are able to do 100% automated underwriting.
  • What being a CDFI means and why it is important for Oportun.
  • The three ways Oportun gets the funding they need.
  • The work that Raul does with the CFPB Consumer Advisory Board.
  • How long Oportun has been profitable.
  • What they are working on for the future.

Why Wells Fargo is stepping up fintech partnerships now (American Banker), Rated: A

Wells Fargo is putting more focus and effort into its partnerships with tech companies — from giants like Apple, Samsung and PayPal to the smallest startups.

Lender Expansion; FHA, VA; Households Moving Toward Buying (Mortgage News Daily), Rated: A

Some originators will say that the FHA program is the “new” subprime channel – certainly the program appeals to lenders who like the profit margins, and it appeals to borrowers new to home ownership and who may not have the necessary down payment for other programs. Good LOs have a sense of demographics & population trends, and as it turns out, for the first time in a decade, more new U.S. households in the first quarter chose to buy homes than to rent, suggesting a long-term decline in home-ownership rates might be coming to an end.

Speaking of SoFi and other lenders that use computers (is there a definitive definition of “fintech?”), the WSJ discusses how investors are returning to bonds backed by online lending securitizations.

The top 10 players in fintech in the Bay Area (Biz Journals), Rated: A






See the entire presentation.

Fintech Marketer Tom Roberts On Why Simplifying Your Company’s Message Is Key (Hypepotamus), Rated: A

Regardless of how complex your product may seem, your company’s marketing message should be simple and straight-forward. A complicated, dense message could alienate customers unfamiliar with the technology and reduce your leads. Crafting a narrative around your company’s solution should translate to all sides of your target market — potential customers, investors and users.

You’ve worked on simplifying the PrimeRevenue brand and presenting the company in a more digestible way. How did you approach this?

But every marketing person should be so lucky to find a great story that is not being effectively told. That’s exactly what I discovered with PrimeRevenue. We work with some of the world’s largest brands to help them optimize their working capital, and we support their suppliers by giving them more visibility and control over what their customers owe them. I crafted the narrative around the immense ROI we deliver into a simple core messaging for both buyers and suppliers.

How did you approach the company when talking about the new brand message?

I’ve done a lot of work to simplify complicated messages for B2B audiences in the past. I find the key is putting together a logical story about what you are trying to achieve and how it will accelerate sales. Then you’ve got to be a great collaborative, internal seller of both your approach and your progress. I say collaborative since one mistake marketers seem to make is huddling with their team and then popping new “stuff” on an executive team. Unless you’re lucky, that can backfire.

Why was simplifying the brand so important for the marketing strategy?

A simplified brand message was key for us putting in place a sophisticated, multi-channel digital lead and demand generation program. Frankly, the company didn’t have much in the way of lead gen other than some field marketing at very small niche conferences.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle boss steps down from P2P fund (Citywire), Rated: AAA

Samir Desai, the founder and chief executive of Funding Circle, the peer-to-peer (P2P) lender to small businesses, has stepped down from the platform’s investment company.

FCIF is listed on the London Stock Exchange and invests in loans originated by Funding Circle. It is unusual in not levying a management fee, with the fund’s shareholders only paying the platform’s 1% annual charge. Last month it nearly doubled in size by raising £142 million from investors in a C-share issue.

Stepping back from FCIF allows Desai to concentrate on Funding Circle, whose backers include Baillie Gifford, manager of Scottish Mortgage Trust (SMT), which holds an investment in the private company in its unquoted portfolio. Funding Circle has lent over £2.2 billion in the UK having and attracted 61,000 private investors who the company estimates have made an average return f 7.2% lending through the platform.

UK Online Lender WiseAlpha Exceeds £627K During Second Crowdcube Run (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

WiseAlpha, a UK online lending platform that gives everyday investors access to high yield institutional bond and loan investments, has raised over £627,000 on its Crowdcube return in just 7 days, coming in at 125% over its original target. More than 433 investors have invested in return for 8.92% equity. The highest amount by a single investor was £150,000 for the platform pre-valued at £6,402,630.

UK P2P Lender RateSetter Announces Joanna Wright as New CRO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter has appointed Joanna Wright as Chief Risk Officer. Wright joins RateSetter from GE Capital where she was Chief Risk Officer for GE Capital Bank in the UK, leading a team of over 200 risk professionals with responsibility for prudential and enterprise risks across the bank.

HSBC voice recognition security system duped by customer’s twin brother (IB Times), Rated: A

HSBC’s much-touted voice recognition software, used by half a million customers to verify their identity and secure their bank accounts, has successfully been duped by the brother of one of its customers. In an investigation carried out by BBC Click reporter Dan Simmons and his non-identical twin, Joe, the brothers revealed that it was possible to breach an HSBC customer’s account by mimicking their voice.

After Dan Simmons set up his own HSBC voice-ID authenticated account, his twin Joe attempted to access the account by providing his account details, date of birth and saying the simple phrase. After seven repeated attempts to mimic his brother’s voice print, the bank granted him access on his eighth try.

Although Joe was not able to withdraw any money from the account, he was able to access balances, recent transactions and even transfer money between accounts, the BBC reports.

Lenders look to alternative asset classes and areas (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Last week saw a mix of property developers and finance providers come together to discuss the state of the property market.

In the afternoon, the focus shifted towards the future of the property market with a look at new types of finance, such as crowdfunding, challenger banks and peer-to-peer lending.

Even though he admitted that banks and challenger banks still dominated the space, Ashley pointed out that the alternative finance sector was continuing to grow.

As a result of new lenders entering into the development finance space, Ashley added that some lenders have been looking to move away from ‘safer’ geographical areas, such as the South East, and are targeting places further north, including Scotland.

Fears grow over P2P trusts (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Recent months have seen problems return to the fore in the £2bn trust sub-sector, which has attracted investor interest in part because of yields well in excess of 5 per cent.

Winterflood also criticised certain P2P investment trusts over disclosure levels in its latest monthly report. Analyst Simon Elliott said Ranger Direct’s partial writedown of a 20 per cent exposure to the struggling Princeton Alternative Income fund was a “disheartening episode”. Princeton had previously said its NAV would not be affected by problems at firms in which it had invested.

Of the six funds in Winterflood’s P2P trust sector, three are trading on double-digit discounts, although one – Honeycomb – trades on a premium of 12.2 per cent.

Is There Still an Advice Gap? (Morningstar), Rated: A

Four years ago, sweeping reforms were introduced to the financial advice market, aiming to improve free transparency and professionalism.

However, one of the biggest unintended consequences has been what many describe as an ‘advice gap’. This has been caused by high street banks, investment management firms and financial advisers withdrawing services for those with less than £100,000 to invest. They argue the cost of servicing these clients has become too high.

A number of advisers also used the RDR as an opportunity to leave the industry, leaving many ‘orphaned’ clients behind.

Stephen Kavanagh, chief executive of financial advice firm Chase de Vere, believes the advice gap was not caused by the RDR, but rather the regulation exacerbated existing inefficiencies in the market.

According to AXA Wealth, there is only one adviser for every 2,700 people in the UK who require help with their finances. This compares to ratios of one adviser per 1,400 people in Australia and one per 156 savers in Hong Kong.

The good news is that the advice gap is on the agenda for the Financial Conduct Authority, the regulator, alongside the Treasury. The two organisations have launched the Financial Advice Market Review, which is ongoing and aims to ensure that affordable advice and guidance is available to everyone.

Since the RDR was introduced, robo-advisers have sought to address the issue, with new entrants and established firms offering online services for those with smaller sums to invest. Some deliver investment management online, while others provide automated financial advice. They are typically powered by computer models, known as algorithms, and involve little or no human interaction.

Although Kavanagh recognises that technology has the potential to plug the advice gap by offering lower-cost services to a wider range of people, he believes the robo-advice market still has much further to go before it reaches this point.

Tinder for businesses: Five things you need to know about Peer-to-Peer lending (Independent.ie), Rated: B

One – It was invented in Ireland!

Two – As the whole process is run online, overheads are lower and lending can therefore be provided more cheaply than in more traditional financial institutions.

Three – According to Linked Finance, lenders can earn between 8.5pc and 15pc interest on the loans that they issue, however any income earned on the lending will be subject to income tax.

Four – P2P is currently not regulated in Ireland, as a result of this certain protections do not apply to consumers of P2P products.

Five – Figures for the first three months of 2017, show that the Irish P2P platform increased lending activity by more than 326pc on the same period in 2016, according to Linked Finance, and the platform has now facilitated more than €25m in loans to Irish SMEs.

China

Yirendai Reports First Quarter 2017 Financial Results (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”), a leading online consumer finance marketplace in China, today announced its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017.

Starting from the second quarter of 2016, the Company changed its reporting currency from the U.S. dollar (“US$”) to the Renminbi (“RMB”), to reduce the impact of increased volatility of the RMB to US$ exchange rate on the Company’s reported operating results. The aligning of the reporting currency with the underlying operations will better depict the Company’s results of operations for each period. This release contains translations of certain RMB amounts into US$ for convenience. Prior period numbers have been recast into the new reporting currency.

For Three Months Ended

in RMB million

March 31,
2017

December 31,
2016

March 31,
2016

QoQ
Change

YoY

Change

Amount of Loans Facilitated

6,922.7

6,675.2

3,446.5

3.7%

100.9%

Total Net Revenue

1,021.6

1,071.1

556.4

-4.6%

83.6%

Total Fees Billed (non-GAAP)

1,583.5

1,630.4

847.4

-2.9%

86.9%

Net Income

350.9

379.8

131.7

-7.6%

166.4%

Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP)

400.3

401.1

206.6

-0.2%

93.7%


A Quick Buy For China Rapid Finance At Upcoming Quiet Period Expiration (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

The 25-day quiet period on China Rapid Finance Ltd (NYSE: XRF) will end on May 23, allowing the firm’s IPO underwriters to publish reports and recommendations after this time.

China Rapid Finance acquires consumers through multiple channels, such as online travel agencies, social networks, e-commerce platforms, and payment service providers. Its business model offers smaller, shorter-term loans through its platform. The proprietary technology then analyzes the data and identifies borrowers who may qualify for larger, longer-term loans. In 2016, 89% of its total loan volume originated through this platform, and the borrowers were prime and near-prime consumers with creditworthiness closely comparable to FICO scores ranging from 660 to 720.

XRF’s principal loan amounts range from RMB500 (US$72) to RMB6,000 (US$865). Longer-term loans range from three months to three years, with principal amounts from RMB6,000 (US$865) to RMB100,000 (US$14,400).

The total number of loans has grown from 63,251 in 2014 to 6.0 million in 2016. The number of borrowers has increased from 101,384 in 2014 to 1.4 million in 2016. However, net losses reached US$131,000, US$(30.0) million and US$(33.4) million in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The average annual investment return for investors in lifestyle loans was 11.9% in 2014, 11.5% in 2015, and 11.3% in 2016.

With a market cap of $1.475M, net income of $1.116M, and a P/E of 9.1; YRD appears to be more reasonably priced in general than XRF.

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

Zhongan Financial Holding Raised ¥220M in A Round
Zhongan Financial Holding (ZFH), an auto consumer financial services provider, announced that it has raised 220 million RMB in A round of financing at the end of 2016. This capital was led by Haitong Capital, followed by Huaxin Capital, YinDuhui, Promising Capital and the listed company Sunyard.

Founded in 2014, ZFH is focused in personal car consumer financial services across the country. It provides lifecycle service of car transactions for consumers and dealers, including marketing, customer acquiring, car sourcing, trading and financing.

In addition, ZFH cooperated with banks to use the way of interbank (credit card stage) for the car consumer finance business. In this way, the cooperative bank originates credit card loans to customers, and customers mortgage the vehicle to the bank, then after the loans are issued, customers will pay the monthly payment.

Alipay to launch ““Face Identifying Payment”
Alipay has recently tested for “Face Identifying Payment” inside. In this new way of paying, the process of face identifying takes only one second, if succeed, the customer should further input the last four digits of his phone number. After the two-step verification, the payment can be completed.

Shortly after that, Alipay confirmed the news, and announced they have finished the last step of bringing “Face Identifying Payment” from laboratory to commercial use, it will soon be available on the stores of partners.

European Union

Klarna is changing its name — revealing a bold challenge to incumbent banks (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Swedish e-commerce company Klarna wants to change its name to Klarna Bank, reveals application documents received by the Swedish Companies Registration Office.

This implies that Klarna could soon be receiving its Swedish banking license, which it applied for in October 2015.

International

Should Real Estate Investors Go Global? (ETF Daily News), Rated: B

The FlexShares Global Quality Real Estate Index Fund (NYSE:GQRE) was trading at $59.44 per share on Monday afternoon, up $0.15 (+0.25%). Year-to-date, GQRE has gained 5.45%, versus a 7.10% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

GQRE currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of A (Strong Buy), and is ranked #5 of 11 ETFs in the Global Real Estate ETFs category.

Australia/New Zealand

Online lenders dominate 2017 Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards (Mozo), Rated: AAA

The awards compared 504 home loans from 89 providers, and awarded the top 10% in each of the 8 categories.

This year, Mozo found that online lenders took out more awards for great value mortgage products than in previous years, accounting for approximately 41% of the winners overall, up from just over 25% last year.

Some of the major online bank winners included Non-Bank Home Loan Lender of the Year, Homestar, which took out awards across 5 of the 8 categories and Reduce Home Loans.

InvestmentLink launches goals-based advice platform (Financial Standard), Rated: A

Financial data feed provider InvestmentLink is launching a new cloud-based platform targeted at financial planners looking to provide outcomes-oriented advice to clients.

CashDeck uses InvestmentLink’s data repository to allow clients to manage all their financial information, while advisers can use the information to generate projections and insights around client goals.

Wellington ranks #2 in the world for sharing economy (IT Brief), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer motorhome rental platform SHAREaCAMPER recently released the 2017 Return on Investment Index. The study aims to identify which cities offer the highest return on asset investment via rental peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms.

The application Airbnb was used to collect data alongside a collection of other rental platforms.

Taking into account all five of the markets researched, Wellington is ranked in second place. Auckland placed in the fifth position in the ranking.

India

Over 90% lenders in P2P lending earn gross returns of 18-26% per annum (India Times), Rated: AAA

Promise of higher returns and faster adoption of digital disruption has pulled a large number of millennials towards P2P lending, according to a report by online P2P lending platform Faircent.com. In fact as per the report, nearly 60% of the lenders on the platform are less than 35 years old.

According to the report, lenders are investing more and those with investments worth more than Rs 5 lakh are earning gross returns upwards of 22% per annum with the lowest volatility of returns. Furthermore, it states that significant increase in timely repayment has led to increase in reinvestment of returns back on to the platform, leading to further increase in returns.

Meet the Analytics & Data Science Head at Kabbage, one of the hottest fintech companies (Analytics India Mag), Rated: A

This week we bring you a closer look at Kabbage, a Fintech company headquartered at Atlanta USA, through an interaction with Ratnakar Pandey. RP, as he is popularly known, heads the Analytics and Data Science portfolio at Kabbage India.

RP has more than 15 years of experience in analytics and data science fields. At Kabbage, RP is leading the machine and deep learning models development activity across customer lifecycle, from acquisition to customer engagement to fraud prevention to risk based underwriting policy development.

Analytics India Magazine- Could you tell us more about Kabbage and your data and analytics platform?

Most of the heavy lifting that happens in Kabbage is done by technology and data, which is one of the key differentiators. We like to call ourselves a data company rather than a typical finance company. So, data is the core competency of the company and we use that in our decision making every day.

AIM- Would you like to share some of the analytics solutions you have worked on?

We use several programming and data management tools for providing both tactical and strategic analytical solutions, some noteworthy tools are Python, R, SQL, Spark, Hadoop and Scala.  In terms of statistical techniques for machine learning, we routinely use regression techniques (linear, logistics) and classifiers such as Gradient Boosting Machines (GBM), Elastic Net Regression, Support Vector Machine (SVM), Ensemble Learning etc. For forecasting and anomaly detection we use ARIMA/X, k-NN and other similar techniques. We also heavily use Natural Language Processing (NLP) for drawing insights from text and unstructured data.

AIM- What kind of knowledge and skill-sets do you look for, while recruiting your workforce?

For the positions that we are currently hiring, we are looking for 8+ years of work experience in data science, preferably in the banking and lending industry. We are keen on hiring people who can lead a project from start to finish and take the full accountability and ownership of it. We generally hire from the premiere institutes, 90% of people we have right now are from tier 1 institutes.

AIM- What are the most significant challenges you face being at the forefront in analytics space?

Lack of machine learning and deep learning talent is the biggest challenge in the Indian market.

AIM- How do you think ‘Analytics’ as an industry is evolving today? Could you tell us the most important contemporary trends that you see emerging in the present analytics space across the globe?

We are generating more data than ever before- 90% of the data that we have today is generated in last 2 years alone. This data is coming from a variety of different sources such as voice, text, transaction, sensor, chat, images, videos etc.

At this rate, Fintech will slaughter India’s banks (India Times), Rated: A

India’s banks, which still dominate the country’s financial landscape, appear to have hardly a kick left in them. Stressed assets without any loan-loss cover now exceed $96 billion, McKinsey & Co. said last week. An overwhelming 91 percent, or $87 billion, of the provisioning gap is at state-run lenders, whose net worth would be wiped out if they took the hit on their capital.

Even as McKinsey was delivering this sobering reality check, fintech was running a victory lap of sorts. Paytm, a digital payments company announced a $1.4 billion investment by Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group Corp. on Thursday, the largest funding round by a single investor in an Indian startup.

Capital First’s retail assets have grown 24-fold in six years to about $3 billion. Its bad-loan ratio of less than 1 percent compares with almost 10 percent for banks. And the latter figure is an official estimate; the reality is probably a lot worse.

McKinsey has several suggestions on how Indian banks can deal with the mess: by quarantining assets that would eventually find their footing, liquidating those that won’t, and working with professional asset managers to turn around debtors that lie in between. But even if the delicate surgery is successful, banks — especially state-run ones — will end up ceding a lot of ground to fintech.
Asia

SoftBank’s massive Vision Fund raises $ 93 billion in its first close (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

SoftBank’s huge $100 billion investment fund — the largest tech fund in history — announced its first close today… and it’s huge.

The Japanese telecom giant revealed that its VisionFund has closed an initial commitment of $93 billion from a bevy of high profile backers. They include Apple, Qualcomm, UAE-based Mubadala Investment Company, Saudi Arabia’s PID public fund, Foxconn, and Foxconn-owned Sharp. The plan is for the fund to reach its $100 billion target within the next six months through commitments from other investors.

Recent deals include Indian fintech unicorn Paytm, virtual reality Improbable Worlds, China’s Uber killer Didi Chuxing, and global connectivity company OneWeb. Beyond that, there’s been a steady flow of unconfirmed investments linking the fund to companies like WeWork.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

P2P investments in Virgin Media and similar companies

P2P investments in Virgin Media and similar companies

Rezzah Ahmed founded WiseAlpha with the ambition to democratize investing in secured corporate bonds so that retail investors can earn a superior return without taking the amount of risk present in p2p SME or consumer lending. WiseAlpha after testing in beta for 1.5 years, allowed individual investors for the first time to use its online platform, […]

P2P investments in Virgin Media and similar companies

Rezzah Ahmed founded WiseAlpha with the ambition to democratize investing in secured corporate bonds so that retail investors can earn a superior return without taking the amount of risk present in p2p SME or consumer lending.

WiseAlpha after testing in beta for 1.5 years, allowed individual investors for the first time to use its online platform, and purchase secured loans in affordable sizes of their preferred company.

The market

Secured corporate bonds are a very exclusive market, where loan size on average is worth more than 1 million GBP.  This makes it a difficult opportunity for even high net worth individuals to invest.

Banks who underwrites such bonds does not even entertain funds with AUM less than $200 million. According to the founder, only 150 big funds like Pimco, Blackrock and such invest in this market. Bonds are made available with a minimum denomination of £100,000 wherein one can execute the transaction through a stock-broker or private bank. For the average investor, invariably none of these are accessible since very few people have £100,000 to invest in a single investment.

The solution

The majority of everyday investors can now, therefore, access these investments on WiseAlpha platform and invest in companies like Virgin Media, a 20 billion GBP cable TV giant.

The average term for the bonds and loans is for 3- 10 years. For now, WiseAlpha has 6 companies on the platform. The average yield is 6.6% and the lowest is for Virgin media at 4.5% and the highest yield is 8.5% for Garfunkelux, a debt collection business.

The senior secured market is structured in a way; where the loan is usually for  30%-50% of the value of the company. The ratings for the bonds are based on LTV, so companies with more debt are at the bottom of the investment grade (B to BB range).

Companies established for a long time and having a large asset base are providing a high rate of return with lower volatility. In general, as well, secured bonds and loans provide better return with lower risk making it an interesting alternative to the products offered by the general P2P market.

Yield

Since large companies are involved in this segment; default rate is less than 1%. There is a difference between company quality and credit risk on security. Companies who usually issue such bonds are high-quality companies. But due to high levels of leverage, these companies do not enjoy an investment grade rating. This allows WiseAlpha to offer them as investments to p2p lenders.

Returns of 5-8% are in the range of p2p investing, but the risk of default is lower than a consumer or an SME.  The company does not focus on investment grade bonds as they just do not offer the returns necessary to elicit the interest of retail p2p investors.

Customers

WiseAlpha offers services not only to individuals but to third party asset managers and private small family firms, to have access to corporate loan investments that until now only the established financial institutions across the globe could access. The online platform ensures there is a scope of creating a wider investment audience for the asset class and replace the substantial costs and complexity of investing in the product.

The transparency espoused by the platform leads to a cost effective transaction which is simpler and faster. It pre-purchases the different loans and bonds and runs the risk of a loss until those are sold. Typically, it keeps some bonds and loans on its balance sheet, so that it has some stock available and can provide variety to its customers.

Company history

WiseAlpha was launched in the beginning of 2015 and is headquartered in London, UK. It was able to raise $1.25 million in seed capital from crowdfunding sites- CrowdCube and Seedrs. Its founder Rezaah Ahmad specializes in financial technology, origination, and M&A advisory. He was Director at Queensbridge Associates, a specialist firm focussed on financial and operational restructurings.

In Feb 2016, a full- fledged online investment platform was introduced which gave individuals a chance to invest along hedge fund titans in secured corporate loans of well know British companies like Virgin Media, United Biscuit, RAC to name a few.

Traction

Since the time of its launch, it has managed to bring in 600 investors on board and has done investments in low single-digit millions. The loans are senior secured bonds which essentially mean in the case of default by the borrowing company, they share the same status as the most secure bonds. Two major investment banks in the UK are backing WiseAlpha right now.

If it is able to achieve the volumes like other big p2p lending companies, it will become an interesting proposition for the banks. Banks can sell the bonds to anyone who can afford to buy and WiseAlpha act as a lender of record between the investor and the borrower.

P2P market in the UK is about $6 billion in volume and corporate secured bonds and loans are worth over $1trillion. This highlights the total addressable market for the young startup.

The future

Wise Alpha’s vision for the next five years is to develop the platform and become the central marketplace globally for this asset class of loans and bonds. It is aggressively planning to bring more companies on board. It is increasing the number of companies on its platform to 8 in the next few weeks and aiming for 20-30 companies in the next few years. In its endeavor to provide high-end service to its customers, it is starting robo tools that will enable its customers to diversify from their initial investment.

Right now, WiseAlpha is also creating a secondary market for liquidity purposes. In the secondary market, the company will either try to find a buyer or even buy the bonds for its own account. The company is trying to disrupt a segment of the industry which has long been the domain of the largest of investment banks and asset managers.

This is an attempt at not only generating superior returns for the investor but also reducing the fat fees being charged by banks and fund managers.

Author: Heena Dhir and George Popescu

George Popescu