Thursday April 4 2019, Weekly News Digest

soft spending

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm raises $300M. LendingClub charged with privacy violation. Funding Circle issues 187M GBP securitization. Zopa legacy portfolio drags. Fellow Finance facilitates 18.2M euros in March loans. Today’s main analysis: March 2019 debt report from LendingTree (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Interview with SoFi CEO Anthony Noto. The slowing U.S. economy. […]

The post Thursday April 4 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

soft spending

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United States

Max Levchin’s Affirm raises $ 300 million (Axios), Rated: AAA

Affirm, the consumer credit startup led by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, has raised around $300 million in Series F funding at a $2.9 billion post-money valuation, Axios has learned from multiple sources.

PayPal co-founder’s fintech company scores $ 300 million, plans massive hiring in S.F. (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Flush with a monstrous funding round, this San Francisco-based fintech company plans to ramp up its hiring from 580 employees to 850 by the end of the year – and the bulk will be in the Bay Area.

FTC Privacy and Data Security Report for 2018 (JDSupra), Rated: AAA

  • LendingClub, a peer-to-peer lending company, was charged with failing to deliver adequate privacy notices to consumers required by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’s Privacy Rule and Regulation P. The FTC’s complaint alleged that “LendingClub violated these rules by failing to provide its customers with clear and conspicuous notice before collecting consumers’ financial data and by failing to deliver the notice in a way that ensured that consumers received it.” Customers were instead forced to follow a series of links before being able to review the privacy policy, a method the FTC deemed to be improper.

Anthony Noto of SoFi (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The CEO of SoFi talks priorities, innovation, company culture, competition and what it will take to build a world class financial services firm

Read the full transcript of the interview here. Interview by Peter Renton.

US Economy Slowing (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US 4th quarter GDP growth slowed to 2.2%, as what is shaping up to be the largest expansion in US economic history starts to lose steam. Consumer spending also slowed in January, rising by just 0.1% MoM. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, PCE, rose by just 1.4% YoY, justifying the Fed’s decision to keep rates on hold. Overall signs point to a slowing economy in the late stages of an expansion.

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

LendingTree Debt Report – March 2019 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

After a brief respite in mid-2018, the debt-to-income ratio for consumer debt rose once more, reaching 25.41% by the end of 2018. That falls just shy of the all-time high of 25.49% set one year earlier.

Household wealth saw a $5 trillion decline last quarter

Losing $5 trillion of wealth may sound disastrous, but that’s what happened to American households last quarter. According to the Federal Reserve, total net worth of U.S. households fell from $108 trillion to $104.3 trillion in the last quarter of 2018. The loss was the biggest quarterly drop since the depths of the great recession of 2008.

PayPal Makes Its First-Ever Investment in a Blockchain Startup (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Announced today, PayPal has joined the extension of a Series A funding round in Cambridge Blockchain, a startup that helps financial institutions and other companies manage sensitive data using shared ledgers.

Neither PayPal nor Cambridge Blockchain disclosed the investment amount, but recent filings with the SEC indicate that Cambridge Blockchain has raised a total of $3.5 million in new equity from several investors over the past nine months. That follows the $7 million close of its Series A in May of 2018, and brings the total capital raised to $10.5 million.

Zillow is now a mortgage lender, launches Zillow Home Loans (HousingWire), Rated: A

Zillow announced Tuesday that it is launching its own mortgage lending operation, which it is calling Zillow Home Loans.

A payday lender in disguise? New York investigates the Earnin app (American Banker), Rated: A

As early wage access programs such as Even, PayActiv, FlexWage, ZayZoon and DailyPay gain traction, some other apps are copying their style while using a more traditional payday-loan model — sparking attention from law enforcement agencies in the process.

That’s what happened to Earnin, which is often referred to and bills itself as an early wage access provider, which give employees access to their paychecks before they are deposited. The New York Department of Financial Services launched an investigation of the firm over concerns it may be skirting state lending laws by, among other things, requiring tips from users in lieu of disclosing fees.

Crypto Lending Platform BlockFi’s Interest Account Customers Receive Their First Interest Payments (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

Leading crypto lending platform BlockFi recently announced that their Interest Account customers received their first interest payment for their Bitcoin [BTC] and Ethereum [ETH] deposits.

Since their public launch on March 5, BIA has grown by over 400% and counting. Approximately 75% of BIA clients have a balance of less than 5 BTC or 150 ETH. Their median account balance is $7,000 USD.

Crypto lenders push no-tax perk of leveraging bitcoin for cash (American Banker), Rated: A

Former Wall Street trader Edgar Fernandez used some of his bitcoin as collateral to borrow nearly $100,000, a move that let him keep his cryptocurrency and avert a tax bill on the newly acquired cash.

Genesis Capital, a cryptocurrencies lender in Jersey City, New Jersey, an affiliate of Genesis Trading, says it handed out more than $1.1 billion in cash loans and borrowed virtual cryptocurrencies in 2018. That total volume doubled in the last quarter of 2018 from the volume of the previous two quarters. Other lenders have also said they are doing more transactions, including Nexo, a cryptocurrencies lender that says it has loaned $330 million since launching last April.

Atomic Capital Goes On The Attack With New Crypto Loan Offer In The Market (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

The asset tokenization company, Atomic Capital, is making a very aggressive loan offer in the crypto lending field. Back on Wednesday, the firm will be giving USD loans for 85% of the value of the Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) used as collateral. In this way, the firm will be offering the most generous loan-to-value (LTV) in the space.

Just to put it into comparison, BlockFi offers a maximum LTV of 50%. Celsius Network, meanwhile, is giving customers 25%, 33% or 50% LTV.

Atomic will be charging interest rates of 11% and 13%. This is much more than the 4.5% or 8.95% that other competitors offer.

New $ 4.8m funding for SME bank Novo (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Novo has raised $4.8 million in venture seed financing to make banking accessible for small businesses by launching no-fee FDIC-insured digital banking.

Blend seeks to deepen bank ties with account opening product (American Banker), Rated: A

Blend is aiming to expand its customer base of banks and credit unions with a digital account opening product that it says takes some customers as little as two minutes to complete.

The account comes in addition to the mortgage products the digital loan origination fintech already offers and can stand on its own or be integrated as a package, the company said Tuesday.

Will Millennials Bring Non-banks into Their Finances? (deBanked), Rated: A

According to an Accenture surveyfrom five years ago, 34% of millennials said they would bank with Apple if such a product were available.

Best low cost franchises to get into (BM Magazine), Rated: A

Business Services Franchise

Success Member Inc.: It is the leading online loan marketplace that connects consumers with banks, credit partners and multiple lenders both nationally and internationally. They offer training with an expert to this industry of 33 years, along with a lifetime one-on-one dedicated support.

Minimum Cash Required:$25,000

  • Training and Support: Yes
  • Financing: Yes
  • SBA Approved: Yes
  • Home-Based: Yes

Goldman Sachs’ Marcus Loses Product Head (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Marcus, the consumer bank operated by Goldman Sachs, has seen its head of product Michael Cerda quit his job.

Tradeweb Raises $ 1.1 Billion in Year’s No. 2 IPO in U.S. (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Tradeweb Markets Inc. raised $1.1 billion in the second-largest U.S. initial public offering this year, after again increasing the number of shares it was selling and then pricing them above the marketed range.

Tradeweb’s IPO is also the biggest for a financial services company in the U.S. since online lender GreenSky Inc. raised $874 million in May.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Brendan Ross, Direct Lending Investments, and Others (deBanked), Rated: A

A class action lawsuit has been filed in California against Direct Lending Investments, LLC (DLI), Brendan Ross, Bryce Mason, Frank Turner, Rodney Omanoff, and Quarterspot Inc. alleging breach of contract, breaches of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary duty, and fraudulent inducement.

Read the full complaint here.

AI-Powered Asset Manager Pagaya Goes
After Real Estate (Institutional Investor), Rated: A

Pagaya, which manages money using algorithms created with artificial intelligence, has raised $25 million in a series-C financing round led by Oak HC/FT, a health care and financial technology venture firm.

The fund raise will support the company’s move into real estate, corporate credit, mortgages, and other asset classes.

White Oak Commercial Finance Adds Origination Talent in Texas (AP News), Rated: B

White Oak Commercial Finance (“White Oak”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, today announced the appointment of Andrew Bae to Director of ABL Originations, concentrating on Texas and the Southwestern U.S. region. Mr. Bae brings nearly 20 years of experience in commercial finance, most recently leading the establishment of the Dallas office for ExWorks Capital, a senior secured debt fund.

Charles Schwab Now Offers Investment Advice Digitally via Subscription (Subscription Insider), Rated: A

Clients pay a one-time fee of $300 and then $90 a quarter.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle back in securitisation market with £187m deal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has entered the securitisation market for the third time, with a £187m portfolio of UK loans originated by the peer-to-peer business lender.

Alternative asset manager Pollen Street Capital is the equity sponsor of the deal, having backed Funding Circle’s last securitisation eleven months ago.

While Funding Circle operates in the UK, the US, Germany and the Netherlands, the loans included in the securitisation are just from the UK.

Zopa legacy portfolio drags on P2PGI performance (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

P2P GLOBAL Investments (P2PGI) has blamed its poorly-performing legacy Zopa portfolio for its latest net asset value (NAV) dip.

The alternative finance-focused investment trust generated a NAV of just 0.31 per cent in February 2019, down from 0.45 per cent in January, and 0.75 per cent in December. This brings the trust’s annualised NAV to 3.7 per cent.

Will more challenger banks evolve as banking as a service providers? (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Starling Bank recently raised £75 million to fund a European expansion. As part of that announcement, the UK-based challenger said it had signed on three new clients to its banking as a service.

According to Starling, it has 20 institutional clients on its BaaS platform, which it launched in August 2018. Payment volume through the service is doubling month over month.

Monzo, following Revolut and N26, mulls new £11 per month premium offering (AltFi), Rated: A

Digital challenger bank Monzo crowned a bumper year in 2018 by coming first for customer service in an independent survey, stealing the title from regular winner First Direct. But will its growing legion of coral card-carriers ever pay for its expanding array of services?

The bank, which is now testing a new paid-for premium offering, thinks they might just do so. ‘Monzo Plus’ – as it is being called – even allows users paying a monthly fee to have Monzo cards in colours other than its famous ‘hot coral’ colour.

How to join the rush for a last‑minute Isa (The Times), Rated: A

There are now just over 48 hours left to make the most of the annual tax breaks on offer in an individual savings account (Isa). This year’s £20,000 allowance expires at midnight on April 5 and you can’t carry it over so it’s a case of use it or lose it.

Monevo Review – An Excellent Place to Begin Your Loan Search (DoughRoller), Rated: A

Through Monevo, you’ll be matched with loans of up to $100,000 with interest rates ranging from 3.99% to 35.99% APR; finding this many competitive options could take you hours to do individually. With Monevo, you can do it in about 60 seconds.

FCA warns that P2P Isas are ‘high risk’ (Money Observer), Rated: A

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned that mini-bonds and peer-to-peer loans held within the Isa wrapper are “high risk”.

Payday lending isn’t over yet – and now its victims are being shortchanged yet again (Independent), Rated: A

The administrators of WageDay Advance, which went under in February, have started contacting thousands of former customers owed compensation through being mis-sold loans by the company to urge them to join a growing list of creditors.

Compared with Wonga, WageDay was more of a piranha fish than a shark – but the problems it has created aren’t all that different.

Five ways to add IFISA diversity (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THIS WEEK is the busiest of the year for ISA providers and ISA savers alike. As the end of the tax year approaches, investors and savers are rushing to make the most of their annual ISA allowance, while ISA managers scramble to convince them that theirs is the right product.

I trust bricks and mortar and want to invest but what’s the best way to create an income from property? (This is Money), Rated: A

People are still making money from property and always will, sometimes lowering their exposure by jointly investing with friends and family, or looking at peer-to-peer lending. Investing locally can give first time investors more confidence as they know their own postcodes, and can keep an eye on what’s going on.

Finastra welcomes Sharon Doherty as Chief People Officer (Techapeek), Rated: B

Finastra today announced the appointment of Sharon Doherty, as Chief People Officer. Doherty joins from Vodafone, where she held the position of Global Organization and People Development Director. In her new role at Finastra she will have global responsibility for making Finastra the most loved and inclusive employer in the Fintech industry.

China

Regulators to pilot P2P lender registration program in back half of 2019 (technode), Rated: AAA

China is expected to start piloting a registration program for online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in the second half of this year. Regulators plan to start requiring P2P lenders in pilot cities, located in more developed regions, to register with the monitoring system. Regional and national players will have to meet certain requirements on registered capital, risk reserves, and lender risk compensation in order to be registered in the system. Regulators aim to roll out the national registration system by 2020.

European Union

Fellow Finance’s platform facilitated 18,2 million euros of loans in March (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

In March Fellow Finance investors funded business and peer-to-peer loans worth around 18,2 million euros. Cumulative loan volume grew over 415 million euros and the total number of investors grew to 12 031. You can always check the real-time peer-to-peer lending statistics on our website: www.fellowfinance.com/for-investor/statistics.

Finleap acquires German challenger bank Penta (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

European fintech ecosystem Finleap has acquired Berlin-based digital sector banking solution Penta, reports Jane Connolly.

CoinLoan Enables Borrowers to Obtain Fiat Currency Using Cryptoassets as Collateral (Cardrates), Rated: A

In a Nutshell: In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending arose as an alternative to credit offered by traditional banks. At the same time, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin also emerged. Now, CoinLoan is bringing the two together through its P2P lending platform that lets borrowers use cryptoassets as collateral for obtaining fiat (or traditional) currency. Lenders provide capital with a guarantee from CoinLoan that they will be repaid in full. Borrowers gain access to funds without needing to dispose of their cryptoassets or prove their creditworthiness.

International

Women in Fintech Demolish Glass Ceiling (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Valerie Kay, Chief Capital Officer at LendingClub, is responsible for overseeing LendingClub’s Investor Group. She addresses the need for diversity, inclusion, mutual respect and collaboration. She emphasizes the vital importance of diversity to drive better workplaces, happier customers and more profits.

Andrea Gellert, Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of online small business lender OnDeck, says she sees good progress being made by Fintechs in finding female candidates at all levels including C-Suite and board positions. She points out, “There are more female founders than there used to be. We are moving at a much more accelerated pace than previous industries did in terms of female management.”

Onfido scores $ 50 million investment (Finextra), Rated: A

Onfido, the global identity verification provider, today announced it has raised $50M in funding, bringing the total investment in the company to over $100M.

Australia

Australian neobanks target scale of UK rivals without growing pains (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Sydney-based digital bank Volt promises to offer a faster more personalised service than the country’s big four incumbents – National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac.

Melbourne-based small business bank Judo launched last June lends between A$250,000 to A$5,000,000, and is process of applying for a banking license from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

Brokers urged to seize opportunities in SME space (TheAdviser), Rated: A

According to research from small business lender OnDeck Australia, which involved a survey of 331 business with an annual turnover of less than $5 million, 25 per cent of SMEs plan to seek additional finance over the next 12 months.

India

P2P lending (Invest in India), Rated: AAA

India currently has about 30 online P2P lending platforms. Some of these are Faircent, i2ifunding, Lendbox etc. In 2018, as many as 11 P2P players received the RBI licence to operate as an NBFC – P2P company. RBI in its master directions has defined NBFC – P2P as a non – banking institution which carries on the business of a peer – to – peer lending platform. The estimated P2P lending to be generated in India over the next 5 years is pegged at around $ 4 bn. Whereas in China, the P2P lending book currently is around $ 100 bn.

Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE-based  leading SME lending platform Validus Capital (Validus) and Lighthouse Canton, an independent asset management and family office advisory services firm, jointly announce the reopening of the LCV Trade Finance Fund (the Fund) with additional capacity of US$14.8 million (S$20 million; RM60 million).

Canada

OnDeck merges Canadian ops with Evolocity (Finextra), Rated: AAA

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending to small business, today announced it has completed the transaction combining its Canadian operations with Evolocity Financial Group (Evolocity), a Montréal-based online small business lender. The combined companies are majority owned by OnDeck.

South Africa

For South Africa’s first challenger bank, conversational AI isn’t just a nice-to-have (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

South Africa’s TymeBank has launched Max, an AI-powered conversational assistant designed to help consumers learn about personal finance.

For South Africa’s first challenger bank, conversational AI is an important piece of its product roadmap.

Latin America

Why Fintech Startups Are Rapidly Becoming Unicorns in Latin America (Next Billion), Rated: AAA

Fintech was the #1 sector of venture capital investments in Latin America last year, and experts are estimating that the LatAm fintech market will exceed $150 billion by 2021.

In the past few years, over 300 fintech startups have been born in Mexico alone, coming in just second to Brazil, which boasts nearly 400 startups in its own fintech sector.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday April 4 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Friday November 17 2017, Daily News Digest

consumer debt

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage secures $200M credit facility from Credit Suisse for AI-based lending expansion. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) files suit against Think Finance. Royal Bank of Scotland to launch robo under NatWest brand. Hexindai names Citi depository bank for American Depository Receipt Program. ICICI Bank, Paytm partner on short-term credit. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ Lending […]

consumer debt

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Kabbage gets $ 200M from Credit Suisse to expand its AI-based business loans (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

After picking up $250 million in equity funding from Softbank earlier this year, the small business loans and finance company Kabbage — which uses only algorithms and machine learning (no humans) to determine an applicant’s eligibility — is announcing another big infusion of money. The company is picking up $200 million from Credit Suisse in a revolving credit facility that it will use for loans.

Specifically, Kathryn Petralia, who is the COO and co-founded the company with Rob Frohwein, said the funding will help the company increase the number of loans it can make to larger companies in the US. The average size of those loans will grow to “north of $200,000,” she said.

DBRS Assigns Ratings to Kabbage Asset Funding 2017-A LLC (DBRS), Rated: A

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) assigned ratings to the following classes of loans extended by a group of lenders to Kabbage Asset Funding 2017-A, LLC (the Facility):

— Up to $148,150,000 of Class A Loans rated A (sf)
— Up to $24,868,000 of Class B Loans rated BBB (sf)

The Facility is a warehouse financing arranged for the benefit of Kabbage, Inc. (Kabbage) to support originations of small business loan receivables. Kabbage acts as servicer for the Facility.

Study suggests many borrowers bungle credit card debt consolidation (Credible), Rated: AAA

Thanks in part to the rise of fintech companies that make loans online, more than 16 million Americans now have personal loans — an increase of 64 percent in the last five years.

Payoff — a personal lender that specializes in helping consumers tackle credit card debt — says its internal data shows borrowers who paid off at least $5,000 in credit card balances between August 2016 and January 2017 saw a 40-point increase in their FICO score within four months.

Cleveland Fed study: a cautionary tale

One year after taking out a P2P loan, borrowers had credit scores that were 16 points lower than those of the non-P2P borrowers they were matched to, on average — an impact that persisted for four years, the authors said in their working paper.

The study found no evidence that P2P lenders are providing access to credit for “underbanked” consumers — borrowers taking out P2P loans were obtain other credit from traditional banks at rates similar to other consumers.

But a number of companies on the list, including Lightstream, BestEgg, LendingPoint, Earnest, and RocketLoans weren’t around in 2012, when the most recent loans studied by the Cleveland Fed researchers were made. Several others — including Avant, CommonBond, Pave, and Upstart — were just getting off the ground at the time.

The growth in fintech lending has been a driver in overall personal loan growth, with 16.1 million consumers owing $106 billion in personal loan debt as of June 30, 2017. That’s up from the 9.8 million borrowers who owed $45 billion in personal loan debt in mid-2012.

Fed flags online lending as subprime redux, but market hits back (Global Capital), Rated: A

ABS participants, speaking with GlobalCapital this week, hit back at the report, written by Yuliya Demyanyk, senior research economist, Daniel Kolliner, research analyst, both of the Cleveland Fed; and Elena Loutskina a professor of business administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and contributing author at the Cleveland Fed.

The authors challenge the belief that peer-to-peer (P2P) loans have expanded credit to borrowers with limited access to debt since the financial crisis.

A central argument of the Fed’s report was that sector has not done much to expand access to debt for borrowers with low credit scores.

In securitization, subprime consumer ABS has thinned since the crisis. For the five major credit card issuers, the years 2008-2016 saw revolving credit available to US borrowers with a Fico score of less than 660 reduced by approximately $142bn, according to data published by online lender Elevate earlier this year.

Even portfolios backing recent marketplace loan ABS have a weighted average Fico score above 680, the level that defines so-called ‘near prime’ credits, despite the notable dip in collateral quality. Marlette, for example, had an average score of 705 for its most recent transaction which was priced in October, while Prosper had a weighted average Fico score of 709, according to data from Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

PeerIQ Lending Earnings Insights Report (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

We are pleased to release our inaugural Lending Earnings Insights report.

Below are some of the main themes that we explore in this tracker:

  • Large banks continue to retrench.  Wells Fargo’s loan portfolio is down $13 Bn YOY. Loss reserves are down at all major banks except at GS due to the ramp-up in their consumer lending portfolio. Goldman Sachs expects lending initiatives to add $2 Bn in revenue in the coming years. GS loan loss reserve increased 50% and GS had the highest improvement in ROE across its peer group.
  • Credit re-normalization trend continues remains a recurring theme across all major lending groups. Overall, loss-rates on recent vintages are increasing versus prior recent vintages, although performance remains stronger than pre-crisis levels.  Card issuers are increasing loan loss reserves at a higher rate than loan growth, indicating expectations of higher losses going forward. Discover and American Express increased loan loss provisions ~50% although loan growth is at 9% and 14% respectively.
  • Consumer installment lenders do not anticipate an increase in loss rates, after having recalibrated loss expectations and increased reserves in 2016. OneMain had the smallest increase in loss reserves at 4%.
  • Consumers now have access to greater supply of credit and credit demand continues to grow. Consumer average debt-to-incomes are below pre-crisis levels.
  • Several lenders cited the shifting competitive landscape and the role of technology in driving innovation and risk management. 
  • Where are we in the credit cycle? 
Source: PeerIQ

Goldman Sachs’ lending platform is booming (Business Insider), Rated: A

Other banks may be tempted to emulate Goldman Sachs’ move into lending, but they should proceed with caution. Although consumer credit demand in the US 

Source: Business Insider

LendingTree Holiday Shopping Survey Suggests Bigger Budgets, Selfless Spending and Mobile Shopping Among Parents this Holiday Season (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, recently conducted its Holiday Shopping Survey among 1,050 Americans aged 25 to 55 with at least one child. The results show that people generally expect to give more than they expect to receive, and although only 55 percent of respondents have a set budget this holiday season, 76 percent plan to spend the same amount or more on holiday shopping compared to last year.

According to the survey, the average holiday shopping budget across all age groups was $943, although 45 percent of respondents say they don’t have a set budget for holiday shopping this year. LendingTree’s 2016 holiday survey found that 56 percent of respondents planned to shop for the holidays without a pre-set budget.

Additionally, 29 percent say they plan to spend more on holiday shopping in 2017 than they did in the 2016 holiday season.

Source: LendingTree

Parents are setting a low bar for their children’s gift giving abilities in 2017, with 68 percent of parents expecting to receive no gifts from or on behalf of their kids.

Most parents (80 percent) plan to spend at least $100 per child this year while 37 percent of parents plan to spend at least $250 per child.  Although 62 percent of parents say they try to spend the same amount on each child, younger children have a slight advantage with 12 percent of parents admitting to spending more on younger children and only 6 percent of parents use a child’s behavior to dictate how much money is spent on their gifts.

A debit card is the primary form of payment for holiday shopping for 46 percent of respondents, as well as the primary form of payment for across all groups. Second to debit cards, 29 percent designated cash as their primary form of payment, and only 21 percent are primarily credit card users – although credit cards are considered more secure than cash or debit cards. A recent CompareCards by LendingTree survey found that 66 percent of Americans think debit cards are as safe or safer than credit cards for payments, when in fact debit cards don’t offer the same consumer protections as credit cards.

Respondents expect to do 50 percent of their shopping online and 34 percent of their shopping on their mobile phone. Millennials (age 35 and under) expect to do 40 percent of their shopping on their phone, the largest of any other age group.

LendingTree Inc. (TREE) Breaks into New 52-Week High on November 16 Session (Equities.com), Rated: A

Shares of LendingTree Inc. (TREE) broke into a new 52-week high yesterday, hitting a peak of $281.80. Shares closed at $279.40 after opening at $271.75 for a move of 2.83%. The company now has a market cap of $3.34 billion.

Sharestates, America’s Private lender, Launches Their One Click Closing Option (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Sharestates, an online real estate investment marketplace, announced today the launch of its new One Click Closing tool, a feature that will allow return borrowers to visit a page where they can upload all the details and documents required for a new loan, allowing for a seamless transfer of closing date information without further communications. The launch of this new tool coincides with the company’s overarching goal of providing borrowers with a streamlined funding process, while providing them the opportunity to solely focus on identifying viable real estate investment opportunities.

Bitcoin Tax Laws Are A Nightmare So People Ignore Them (International Business Times), Rated: A

A survey of 564 American bitcoin users by the online loan marketplaceLendEDU, revealed more than 35 percent didn’t plan to report bitcoin-related gains or losses on their tax returns. On average, respondents said the current fiat value of their bitcoin holdings were $2,930.85, although that will probably continue to rise along with bitcoin’s market price.

The Best Personal Loans of 2017 (U.S. News), Rated: AAA

Some of the most common requirements for a personal loan are:

  • Minimum credit score: Most lenders require that you have at least fair or good credit when applying for a personal loan. Each lender sets its own cutoff for what it considers to be excellent, good, fair or bad credit. In general, fair credit is a FICO score between 580 to 669 and good credit is a score between 670 to 739. Most companies require a score of at least 600, but some have greater requirements. A higher score will increase your ability to be approved, and the higher your score, the lower interest rate you’ll qualify for too.
  • Clean credit history: Lenders don’t like to see defaults, collections or bankruptcies. If you have one or more of these on your credit report, you might not be approved for a personal loan. If you’re approved, you may have to pay an exorbitant interest rate.
  • Stable employment: A lender needs to know that if it lends you money, you’ll have the means to repay it over time. Without a stable job, you could miss payments or default on the loan. Proof of employment validates your loan application.
  • Proof of identification: Lenders usually need to see proof of identification, such as a copy of your driver’s license or passport, before approving your loan. Identity theft is common and they want to prevent thieves from taking out loans under another person’s credit.

Choosing a Personal Loan Company

There are two types of lenders you can choose from: banks and peer-to-peer lenders. Banks offering personal loans include SoFi and LightStream and peer-to-peer lenders include Upstart, LendingClub, Prosper and Peerform.

Marketplace-based lenders usually have less strict credit score requirements than their bank-based counterparts. For example, LendingClub and Peerform only require a FICO score of 600 while bank-based companies such as SoFi and Payoff have minimum FICO scores of 660.

Every lender has a minimum and maximum loan amount. For example, SoFi will lend up to $100,000 while Payoff lends up to $35,000. If you need to borrow $45,000, then only look at lenders who offer that amount or more.

Best Personal Loan Companies of 2017

  • Best for very good credit, low APR and no origination fees: LightStream
  • Best for very good credit, low APR, no origination fees and a range of offerings: SoFi
  • Best for very good credit and low APR with merit-based qualifications: Earnest
  • Best marketplace for fair to good credit with merit-based qualifications: Upstart
  • Best bank for fair to good credit with merit-based qualifications: LendingPoint
  • Best for fair to good credit with a co-signer option: LendingClub

The Best Bad Credit Loans of 2017 (U.S. News), Rated: AAA

Bad credit usually is a FICO score below 640. FICO is the main scoring system for consumer credit, with credit score rangesdefined as:

  • Exceptional (800 to 850)
  • Very Good (740 to 799)
  • Good (670 to 739)
  • Fair (580 to 669)
  • Very Poor (300 to 579)

Payday Loans Versus Personal Loans

Payday Loans Personal Loans for Bad Credit
Lenders Online, brick-and-mortar Online, brick-and-mortar
Loan Amounts Typically less than $500 $1,000 to $50,000
Loan Terms Two to four weeks One to five years
Interest Rates 200 to 400 percent APR 36 percent APR or less

(Source)

Some alternative payday loan companies market themselves as more socially responsible than traditional payday lenders because they offer better terms. They also want to help consumers rebuild their shaky credit and make payments on time. For instance, LendUp provides financial education and rewards existing borrowers who repay their loans to be eligible for loans at larger amounts and lower rates. Fig Loans only charges fees to cover the costs of the loan.

Choosing a Bad Credit Lender

Consumers should evaluate lenders based on the following criteria:

  • Type of lending company
  • Credit history and general qualifications
  • Co-signer option
  • Additional eligibility qualifications
  • Employment requirements
  • Interest rates and types
  • Loan terms
  • Fees and penalties
  • Repayment options

The Best Small Business Loans of 2017 (U.S. News), Rated: AAA

According to the National Small Business Association, 69 percent of small businesses used financing in 2016, including loans, credit cards, venture capital and crowdfunding. The remaining 31 percent were not able to obtain adequate financing.

According to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, small business bank loans totaled nearly $600 billion in 2015. At the same time, lending from alternative sources such as finance companies and peer-to-peer, or P2P, marketplace lenders amounted to $593 billion.

There are two categories of alternative lenders, direct and peer-to-peer lenders:

1. Direct lenders: Direct lenders are finance companies that fund your loan with capital other than a bank and without a middleman such as a broker, investment bank or private equity firm. Some direct lenders, such as LiftFund, offer SBA loans. Typically, small to midsize businesses borrow from direct lenders.

2. Peer-to-peer lenders: Online peer-to-peer lending directly connects you with investors who usually have a diversified loan portfolio made up of small portions of loans. A loan is often divided among several investors.

Choosing a Small Business Loan

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum credit score
  • Minimum years in business
  • Minimum annual revenue

Best Small Business Loans of 2017

  • Best for very small businesses: Kabbage
  • Best for borrowers with low credit scores: OnDeck
  • Best for new businesses: Accion
  • Best for low APR: LendingClub
  • Best for invoice financing: Fundbox

Square Now Letting Some Users Buy & Sell Bitcoin Through Cash Mobile App (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Financial service company Square is reportedly now testing out bitcoin on some of its Cash mobile app users. The new feature will allow users to buy and sell the cryptocurrency through the app.

YieldStreet Surpasses $ 200M in Originations, Bolsters Leadership Team and Launches New Website amid Period of High Growth (BusinessWire), Rated: A

YieldStreet, the alternative investment platform that is working to change the way wealth is created, announced that it has surpassed $200 million in originations and has added two new executives to its leadership team: Volfi Mizrahi as Managing Director of Originations and Ivor Wolk as General Counsel. Their additions come on the heels of the appointment of Hrishi Dixit as CTO earlier this year.

$ 15 Million Investment Round Fuels Accelerated Growth at Goji (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Goji announced a $15 million investment round led by Hudson Structured Capital Management Ltd., doing business as HSCM Bermuda.

CFPB Guns for Think Finance. Files Suit Alleging Consumer Deception in Repaying Loans Not Legally Owned (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has filed suit in federal court against Think Finance, a Fintech that leverages its technology to power online lending platforms. The CFPB says the suit was filed for its “role in deceiving consumers into repaying loans that were not legally owed.”

The CFPB alleges that Think Finance illegally collects on loans that are void under state laws governing interest rate caps or the licensing of lenders.

The actual filing states:

“From 2011 through at least 2015, Defendant has performed critical functions for three separate lending businesses owned by Native American Tribes: (1) Great Plains Lending, LLC (Great Plains); (2) MobiLoans, LLC (MobiLoans); and (3) Plain Green, LLC (Plain Green) (collectively, the Tribal lenders). Defendant is therefore a “service provider” under CFPA. 12 U.S.C. § 5481(226).”

Read the filing here.

Richard Cordray’s CFPB Has Done Its Job Well (Bloomberg), Rated: A

As recently as a decade ago, the U.S. had no single regulator tasked with looking out for the interests of consumers in financial markets. Fragmented oversight allowed all kinds of bad behavior to fall through the cracks. Mortgage brokers hid the true terms of loans in piles of nearly indecipherable documents. Banks changed the order of transactions to extract the maximum overdraft fees from poor customers. Payday lenders offered products designed to trap people in an unending cycle of debt.

Cordray has accomplished a lot. The CFPB designed new, simpler mortgage-loan disclosures. It shed light on banks’ overdraftpractices. It created the first federal rules to make payday lending less predatory. It gave the public reams of valuable information, such as a database that allows consumers to compare credit-card agreements. Its practice of publishing complaints pushed financial institutions to be more responsive. Its investigation of Wells Fargo brought national attention to the fake-accounts issue.

Some of its practices (in particular, preferringdiscretionary enforcement over explicit rule-making) are less than ideal and ought to be revisited; in other areas (such as auto lendingand credit reporting) its authority should be expanded.

We need a watchdog at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Washington Post), Rated: A

Cordray’s departure gives President Trump an opportunity to appoint a new leader, and I’m concerned that this will derail the watchdog agency’s consumer-first mission.

In Cordray’s parting statement, he wrote that the agency has recovered $12 billion for nearly 30 million consumers.

Five opportunities and challenges in digital lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Despite the rapid growth of online and mobile lending in recent years, many banks are still just getting started.

Traditional banks should help govern fintech (Reuters), Rated: A

Traditional lenders should demand that online financial companies protect consumer privacy and money interests, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said on Thursday.

Banks often pay tech companies for the information they gather on borrowers. For that reason, Brainard said, those lenders can set high standards in consumer protection and privacy.

Under Trump, Banking Watchdog Trades Its Bite for a Tamer Stance (The New York Times), Rated: A

The regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees the nation’s biggest banks, has made it easier for Wall Street to offer high-interest, payday-style loans. It has softened a policy for punishing banks suspected of discriminatory lending. And it has clashed with another federal regulator that pushed to give consumers greater power to sue financial institutions.

Buffett’s ‘Million-Dollar Bet’ shows how much fees matter (Herald Tribune), Rated: A

One category of alternative investments includes hedge and private equity funds. I am not in favor of such investments, especially for the average investor, and I am not alone.

Typically, hedge fund fees are 2 percent plus an incentive, or “carry,” of 20 percent of the profits. The result is billions of dollars for the managers and far less for clients.

In 2015, Buffett lagged his hedge fund rival for the first time since 2008, gaining 1.4 percent versus Protégé’s 1.7 percent. However, 2016 saw Buffett gain 11.9 percent to Protégé’s 0.9 percent. At the end of 2016, Buffett’s index fund gained 7.1 percent per year, or $854,000 in total, compared with 2.2 percent per year, or $220,000, for Protégé.

United Kingdom

Royal Bank of Scotland to launch robo-advice under NatWest brand (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Royal Bank of Scotland is launching robo-advice for more than 5m customers as banks return to the investment market after a string of fines and as regulators attempt to plug the UK’s wide “advice gap”.

The state-backed lender is claiming to be the first in the UK to launch automated online investment advice when it opens on Monday under its NatWest brand. The service is designed for the majority of customers and for people with as little as £500 to invest as a lump sum.

The process, which costs £10 plus fees for the investment, is aimed at customers who lack the confidence to invest alone but do not wish to pay higher charges for full-blown financial advice, such as tax and inheritance planning.

Beyond the bank (Prospect Magazine), Rated: AAA

Five high street banks remain responsible for more than 80 percent of business lending, prompting calls for greater market choice both from challenger banks and from emerging FinTech (financial technology) firms. However, the introduction of new platforms and new players raises questions of integration, innovation and regulation.

Launched seven years ago, Funding Circle has since hosted 70,000 lenders and is responsible for 2 percent of total UK business lending. While going head-to-head with the banks it is worth noting that Funding Circle is also growing the market.

So what next for financial services? Will the disruptors get disrupted? Possibly. One attendee suggested that FinTech firms would soon be providing ‘white label’ versions of their services to traditional banks that would then offer those services to customers. Others suggested that the likes of Amazon and Google would provide the biggest future threat not just to banks but to today’s FinTech leaders.

RateSetter, Funding Circle, Zopa feature in Women in Fintech Powerlist (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FEMALE employees at RateSetter, Funding Circle, Zopa and Landbay have all made this year’s Women in Fintech Powerlist, which celebrates the achievements and talent of women across the sector.

RateSetter’s entrants are: Alexa McAlister, head of partnerships; Angela Yotov, head of legal; Joanna Wright, chief risk officer; Katie Brown, corporate counsel; Laurence Perrin, head of compliance; Lucy Bott, head of customer operations; and Maud Holma, finance counsel.

Women from Funding Circle who made the list are: Alysha Randall, global finance director; Lisa Jacobs, chief strategy officer; Lucy Vernall, global general counsel and global head of compliance; Maria Weaver, chief people officer; Panni Morshedi, managing director of international; Swati Lay, chief information security officer; and Vittoria Reimers, VP loan operations.

VPC takes majority stake in online lender Borro (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

VICTORY Park Capital Specialty Lending (VPC) has continued its expansion into balance sheet lending by upping its investment in online secured lender Borro.

The alternative finance-focused investment trust now has the largest stake in the firm, which provides loans secured on luxury assets, owning around 49 per cent.

How does LendInvest’s buy-to-let offering stack up to P2P rivals? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LendInvest said it will be offering buy-to-let loans through intermediaries ranging between £50,000 and £5m, with rates starting at 3.69 per cent depending on whether borrowers take a two, three or five-year fixed rate.

In comparison, Landbay facilitates fixed rate and tracker buy-to-let loans of between £70,000 and £500,000 from 3.55 per cent.

And fellow P2P lender LandlordInvest offers loans of between £30,000 and £300,000 from five per cent.

Crowdproperty Pitches to Raise 600K GBP through Equity Crowdfunding (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

UK p2p lending marketplace Crowdproperty is currently pitching on Seedrs to raise 600K GBP from the crowd at a pre-money valuation of 5.9M GBP.

Digital bank Monzo sizes up IPO (AltFi), Rated: A

In an advertisement for a new Chief Financial Officer, Monzo has let on about its plans for an IPO within three to four years time.

The posting, published today on Monzo’s job site, says:

Alongside the CEO, you’ll be heavily involved in future capital raising – pitching to investors and negotiating the best terms. In the next 3-4 years, it’s likely you’ll be responsible for taking the company through an IPO.

UK FinTech Beats Brexit Blues with New Funding Record (Digit), Rated: A

The UK fintech sector has enjoyed a record year of investment in 2017 with more than £2 billion invested across 182 deals, according to research body FinTech.Global.

Additionally, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7% experienced by firms valued below £75 million between 2014 and 2016 was supplemented with a further investment of £1.2 billion for this bracket in 2017. As for companies valued above the £75 million figure, a further £877.1 million has been committed across eight deals.

Investment in the UK’s top-10 fintech firms accounted for nearly 46.7% of the total investment between Q1 and Q3 2017. The largest of these deals went to Gryphon Insurance in June, valued at £179.6 million. Of the top 10 deals, four went to lending firms – Prodigy Finance1stStop GroupNeyber and Funding Circle, valued at £457.5 million. Of the remaining six deals, two went to challenger banks Tandem and Atom, two went to enterprise software companies Options Technology and Darktrace, and the final two went to insurtech companyies Gryphon Insurance and Revolut.

Millennials say advisers are inaccessible and too expensive (Financial Times), Rated: A

Millennials view financial advice as an industry of “exclusivity, inaccessibility and high cost,” according to research carried out by the financial advice trade body.

The poll of 178 millennials found 78 per cent of them believed they could only receive advice if they had investible wealth in excess of £50,000 but a significant number wanted advice when they had £10,000 or less.

Online-only options appealed to just 12 per cent of those surveyed.

Cardiff will host one of the first a new network of tech hubs being set up in a £21m investment (Wales Online), Rate: B

A new tech hub will be set up in Cardiff as part of a UK-wide network of regional hubs under a £21m investment announced by the UK Government.

China

P2P Lender Hexindai Names Citi As Depositary Bank for American Depositary Receipt Program (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Wednesday, Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Hexindai announced it has appointed Citi’s Issuer Services business as the depositary bank for its American Depositary Receipt (ADR) program. According to the online lender, the program was established through an initial public offering of its American Depositary Shares (ADSs), priced at $10 per ADS, which raised approximately $50 million.

Unified credit rating system expected soon, say experts (China Daily), Rated: A

A unified platform for collecting personal financial information and assessing people’s credit ratings is being planned, and it is expected to be launched soon as a part of the central bank’s regulatory framework, experts told China Daily.

It will complement the existing credit center of the People’s Bank of China, the nation’s central bank.

China Fintech Companies Dominate Top-10 List of Global Innovators (China Money Network), Rated: B

Compared with the ranking last year, two more Chinese firms were added to the top 50 list. Online marketplace lending company Dianrong and credit card and online financial service firm U51.com, or 51Xinyongka, rose to top 50. Among the 100 fintech companies, lending and payments focused companies lead in terms of sectors.

European Union

Online Lender WeShareBonds Raises €12 Million in Mission to Help Finance French SMEs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

WeShareBonds, an AMF-registered crowd lending platform, has raised €12 million to continue financing French SMEs. The new funding includes both the closing of WeShareBonds’ second credit fund (Prêtons aux PME 2018) to finance French SMEs for €10 million and an equity increase of €2 million to finance platform growth.

International

Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending in India: A positive disruption to traditional financing, albeit cautious approach required (CARE Ratings), Rated: AAA

The overall size of the NBFC sector in India has grown significantly during the last few years with increasing share of NBFC total assets to bank total assets (approximately around 15 per cent of the total banking assets).

P2P Lending in UK: In UK, the P2P market has seen active retail investor participation. The outstanding loan book in the UK industry is approximately around £2.9 billion (~Rs.25,000 crore) as on Q3-2017 as compared to £0.75 billion (~Rs.6,500 crore) as on Q4-20142 . Based on the outstanding loan book as on Q3-2017, the key players in the segment are Funding Circle, Zopa, FolktoFolk, Ratesetter and ThinCats capturing majority of the market.

P2P Lending in USA: P2P industry in USA is around $20 billion (~Rs.1.3 trillion) in 2016 up from $18 billion in 20153 . P2P lending in the USA has seen active participation of institutional investors (approximately 70 per cent of the total investor volumes) lending to borrowers through the platforms. In the USA, three dominant players capture majority of the market which include Lending Club, Prosper and Sofi.

P2P Lending in China: Globally, China has the largest market size of P2P lending which started in 2006. As of January 2017, there were total 2388 P2P platforms in China4with trading volume in 2015 touching $67 billion (~Rs.4.4 trillion) which is ten times that of UK and four times bigger than USA. However unlike USA and UK, the China P2P market is dominated by large number of small and medium size firms.

P2P Lending in India: Globally P2P lending has been in existence for more than ten years; however, it has been evolving in India in the last couple of years. Given the recent RBI guidelines, companies will now need to obtain NBFC–P2P license and will come under the purview of the regulator. There are more than 50 P2P online platforms operating in India. I-Lend, LenDenClub, Faircent, Lendbox, i2iFunding, Monexo, India Money Mart, Rupaiya Exchange are some of the leading P2P platforms operating in India. Currently, some of the leading P2P platforms claim to disburse loans amounting to ~Rs.1 to 2 crore a month. Outstanding loans under P2P model is estimated to have reached ~Rs.50-60 crore.

Source: CARE Ratings

Read the full report here.

TAURUS COIN OPENS FOR BUSINESS GLOBALLY (EIN News), Rated: A

United Kingdom’s leading peer to peer cryptocurrency lender Taurus Coin today launched its online lending marketplace with USD 150M lending capital, bringing the world’s fastest growing form of lending to the South-East Asia, Gulf, Africa, Europe, and India investors.

Australia/New Zealand

Sharesies to look at robo-advice once regulator rules on exemptions (The National Business Review), Rated: A

Start-up fund distribution platform Sharesies will develop a plan to provide personalised, automated financial advice, known as robo-advice, once there is more clarity about regulatory exemptions.

Last month the Financial Markets Authority decided to grant an exemption to enable the provision of robo-advice services under the current financial advice regime and said it aims to finalise the exemption and be open for applications in early 2018.

India

ICICI Bank and Paytm partner for short term credit for users (Medianama), Rated: AAA

ICICI Bank and Paytm have partnered to offer short-term credit to users. The credit given to customers will be interest-free for 45 days and the bank says that it will give loans up to Rs 20,000. Initially, this will be allowed for select ICICI Bank customers who are on Paytm and will be extended to other bank customers as well who use Paytm.

Once the credit limit is set up for a customer, a consolidated bill is generated on the first day of the next month, which has to be paid by the 15th day of the same month. Customers can use their Paytm Wallet, debit card or internet banking of any bank for an easy repayment of their dues.

In August, the bank launched product called Instant Credit Card where certain pre-approved customers of the bank will be able to get a virtual credit card much before the physical card is delivered to them. A physical card will be sent to the customer’s address in 5-7 days.

Meanwhile, the bank’s rival, HDFC Bank said that it would start offering a virtual credit card for customers through its PayZapp wallet, as indicated by this Financial Express report. HDFC Bank has the maximum number of credit cards in circulation with 9.03 million. Meanwhile, ICICI Bank has 4.34 million credit cards.

  • Paytm’s rival in the wallet space, MobiKwik has partnered with Bajaj Finance to to bring in credit facilities to a wallet business.
  • In April this year, PayU India will be investing $50 million in its product LazyPay over the next few years. The credit facility could extend for amounts from Rs 3,000 and even up to Rs 10,000, depending upon customer behaviour.
  • For the recently concluded festival season, e-commerce player Flipkart started to offer EMIs on debit cards on high-value purchases.

Narrow banking is an idea whose time has come (livemint), Rated: A

The most heartening takeaway from last week’s public sector bank executive jamboree was the discussion around differentiated lending structures. The ThinkShop (earlier editions were called Gyan Sangams) suggested that large banks focus on corporate lending, while smaller lenders focus on retail loans or specific geographies.

Taking differentiated lending to its logical end, the time has come to consider converting the worst performers among state-owned lenders to narrow banks, which won’t lend at all.

Narrow banks are safe banks. By not lending, and using their deposits to buy government bonds, they carry virtually no credit risk. There is no danger of non-performing loans and frequent injections of equity capital that has to be funded by taxpayers. For the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) too, supervision gets easier. There is no need for deposit insurance.

RBI likely to issue clarifications on P2P lending norms soon (Money Control), Rated: B

The Reserve Bank of India is soon likely to issue clarifications on the guidelines for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms relating to the lending limits, trusteeship and other operational norms.

Asia

Active.Ai raises over million in Series-A round (India Times), Rated: A

Singapore-based fintech platform Active-.Ai has raised $8.25 million in a series-A round, which was led by Vertex Ventures, Creditease Holdings and Dream Incubator. Existing investors Kalaari Capital and IDG Ventures also participated.

Canada

WEALTHSIMPLE, LEAGUE AMONG KPMG’S TOP 50 FINTECH COMPANIES (Betakit), Rated: B

Toronto-based WealthsimpleLeague, and SecureKey were among the company recognized in the top 50 category. In the emerging stars category, Toronto-based BorrowellWave, and Sensibill were recognized.

The list was put together by FinTech investment firm H2 Ventures and KPMG FinTech.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Taking Over Small Business Lending From the Banks

kabbage online smb lending

Five years ago, 95% of Kabbage’s loans went to eBay businesses. Today, 90% of the company’s loans are extended to brick-and-mortar businesses representing a seismic shift in how the direct lender has transformed since its founding in 2009. Co-founder and CEO Rob Frohwein got the idea for Kabbage from his own knowledge of eBay. He […]

kabbage online smb lending

Five years ago, 95% of Kabbage’s loans went to eBay businesses. Today, 90% of the company’s loans are extended to brick-and-mortar businesses representing a seismic shift in how the direct lender has transformed since its founding in 2009. Co-founder and CEO Rob Frohwein got the idea for Kabbage from his own knowledge of eBay. He wanted to give third parties access to business financing and developed a platform for underwriting small business loans to those types of businesses.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Frohwein recruited Kathryn Petralia, who serves as head of operations, and Marc Gorlin, no longer with the company, as co-founders. Despite being a balance sheet lender, Kabbage does have its partners. Victory Park Capital provides most of the funding for its debt while Mohr Davidow, ING, and other investors cover its equity funding.

On August 3rd of this year, Kabbage completed a Series F funding round of $250 million led by the SoftBank Group. That amount brought their total raised through the six rounds to $488,650,000. The company’s A series round in January 2011 raised a modest $6.65 million, with BlueRun serving as the lead investor. Their funding has progressed steadily. Series F almost doubled Series E, which raised $135 million in October 2015. Reverence Capital led that round.

A founding member of the Innovative Lending Platform Association (ILPA), Kabbage is an online lender motivated by unique and interesting data and is one of the largest U.S.-based nonbank lenders to small businesses.

Partnership Highlights

Kabbage has enjoyed a stellar history of partnerships, almost right from the beginning. Its first loans were issued in May 2011 based on debt funding from Victory Park Capital. In February the next year, the company entered an agreement with United Parcel Service allowing small businesses to share their shipping histories with Kabbage. Three years later, in March, they partnered with MasterCard to make Kabbage’s data and technology platform, as well as access to working capital, available to MasterCard’s small business partners. Then, in April 2016, the small business lender began servicing Santander UK’s SME customers. A couple of months later, Kabbage announced a partnership with Scotiabank to enable businesses to borrow up to C$100,000 (US$78,290) online in as little as seven minutes. Most recently, in August 2017, the firm received the previously mentioned $250 million investment from SoftBank Group, capital that Frohwein said will help the company expand in the U.S.; launch analytics tools to provide loans for specific verticals; branch into new markets, like Asia; and explore acquisitions to add new products to its inventory.

Petralia shared how the company might also use the SoftBank investment to expand existing technology, such as the Smart Box Disclosure and Loan Comparison tool. Released in 2016, in partnership with OnDeck and CAN Capital, this tool helps small businesses better assess and compare finance options. There was also industry speculation earlier this year that the SoftBank capital might provide Kabbage with the firepower for a potential takeover of OnDeck Capital, which went public in 2014 but has since struggled with growing losses, rising defaults, and higher funding costs. Both Kabbage and OnDeck have been mum about those rumors.

On October 24, 2017, Kabbage and ING announced a partnership to fund small businesses in France and Italy, an expansion of their 2015 partnership in which they did the same in Spain.

Success and Accolades

As the company has expanded its reach around the world, so has its pedigree. In 2012, they were named to Red Herring’s list of the Top 100 private North American companies. In 2013, they made the Fast Company’s Top Ten Most Innovative Companies in Finance list. Forbes added them to the Top 100 Most Promising Companies list in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, CNBC put them on the Annual Disruptor 50 list of the most forward-thinking and ambitious companies revolutionizing industries and markets worldwide. Then, three years in a row (2015, 2016, and 2017), they were included in the Inc. 500 list of the country’s fastest growing private companies.

Still, partnerships and accolades do not necessarily spell success. When banks pulled out of SME lending in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis, Kabbage was one of the companies that stepped forward to fill the void and meet the need. To date, they’ve lent $3.5 billion to more than 115,000 small businesses. In fact, they’ve funded $3 million a day, on average.

The Future of Kabbage and Small Business Lending

Petralia says the future for Kabbage is more direct lending underscored by a marked increase in platform partnerships. The company is actively evaluating products to engage small businesses and their direct lending needs.

Further, Petralia promises that, along with companies like PayPal and Square, Kabbage is poised to help lead the industry into a future with more focus on customer experience and a greater focus on the relationship with the borrower. Where traditional financial companies worked with brokers, fintech lenders continue to focus on the relationship with borrowers.

Kabbage is also carving its niche in the future by tapping into the ever-growing diversity in the U.S. population. Petralia is pleased to confirm that the company is reaching the plateaus and celebrating the accomplishments it does on the strength of a leadership structure and work force that boasts a greater mix of women. On average, women account for 26% of the work force in fintech companies, but that mix is as high as 35% at Kabbage, which also boasts four women on its leadership team.

Furthering the company’s ties to diversity, Petralia says the company also exceeds the financial services industry by double in terms of women and minorities customers, as women and minorities are more likely to run small businesses. As the company’s customer application is blind, no concrete data exists on this.

Still, it looks as if Kabbage is poised to continue to spearhead the growth of the online lending industry, and whether Mr. Frohwein envisioned his company filling that void left by the banks or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that Kabbage is on the cutting edge of new direction in small business lending, and it’s paving a path for others to follow.

Authors:

Written by Paul Keenan and Allen Taylor

Allen Taylor

Friday October 13 2017, Daily News Digest

China P2P

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber delivers last keynote at Lend360. Kroll assigns preliminary ratings to Marlette Funding Trust 2017-3. Judge says he is likely to certify LendingClub lawsuit as class action. Lemonade rolls out open API. Zopa CEO struggles with perception that P2P lender is struggling. Reserve Bank of India issues KYC guidelines for prepaid payment instruments. State Bank of Mauritius, […]

China P2P

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Africa

South America

 

News Summary

United States

The “Godfather of Fintech’s” Last US Keynote (FintechSauce), Rated: AAA

Ron Suber walked onto the LEND360 main stage to the theme song of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather.

This was Ron’s last keynote in the US (until he makes a Jordan-like comeback, perhaps?), which attracted a standing room only crowd. His talk started off with the theme of consolidation, comparing FinTech to previous life-changing industries such as radio, tv and mobile phones.

Ron also shared his top tips for entrepreneurs and platforms:

  1. He suggested that the platforms know what makes them unique and to be able to pitch your company in two sentences or less.
  2. He also said that there is no “single solution.” There will always be ways to do things.
  3. Also, listen to consumers–they’re the ones that drive innovation.
  4. Focus. The need to focus as an entrepreneur is key to success.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Marlette Funding Trust 2017-3 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by Marlette Funding Trust 2017-3 (MFT 2017-3). This is a $297.8 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on October 26, 2017. This transaction represents the fifth securitization collateralized by unsecured consumer loans originated by Cross River Bank, under the Marlette Best Egg Platform and sold to Marlette Funding, LLC (“Marlette”) or its affiliate.

The transaction has initial credit enhancement levels of 37.70% for the Class A Notes, 24.90% for the Class B Notes, 14.90% for the Class C Notes and 7.00% for the Class D Notes. Credit enhancement consists of overcollateralization, subordination (in the case of the Class A, Class B and Class C Notes) and a reserve account funded at closing.

LendingClub Investors Poised To Win Cert. Over Objections (Law360), Rated: AAA

A California federal judge Thursday said he will likely certify a class of LendingClub Corp. investors who allege the peer-to-peer lending company hid defects in its internal controls before and after its $1 billion initial public offering, over objections from both the company and investors pursuing separate state law claims.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup indicated he was “inclined to certify everything,” but seemed likely to trim the terms, telling LendingClub attorney Victoria Parker of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Sullivan LLP she’d “raised some good points” about….

Online Lending 2.0 by Renaud Laplanche (Field Services on Demand), Rated: AAA

Lemonade platform now “open to the world” with API (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

“We’re opening up the Lemonade platform to the world!” says Shai Wininger, co-founder of Lemonade, a US-based insurtech firm.

The new Lemonade API supports quoting, policy creation and payment for homeowners, condo, and renters insurance policies in the company’s active markets  of New York, California, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island. More regions will be added “in the near future”.

Lending Disrupted? Not Yet, Says Renaud Laplanche (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Renaud Laplanche, co-founder and CEO of Upgrade, and former co-founder and CEO of Lending Club tried to reignite the flame of the consumer lending sector by forecasting not only its continuing success, but further the emergence of major innovations.

The growth of online lending will re-accelerate in the next 15 months.

Credit card debt is currently growing at a 5% rate and represents $1.021 trillion. The total debt balance of US households totals $12.73 trillion.

The US is experiencing one of the longest economic growth run, yet still 20 months shorter than the growth run which preceded the great depression. Observers estimate at less than 30% the risk of recession.

When I asked Renaud Laplanche about his personal vision of the ideal product – the product he would like his company to deliver if there were no technological or other barrier, he said: “one click responsible credit.”

Goldman wants to help flip that house (CNBC), Rated: A

Now Goldman is getting into lending for real estate pros through its acquisition of Genesis Capital.

The deal, for undisclosed terms, gives Goldman a business that makes loans of $100,000 to $10 million at rates of 7 percent to 12 percent. It won’t lend to occupants, so that leaves real estate professionals who are renovating and looking to sell fairly quickly. Genesis made $1 billion of loans last year.

Affirm’s Plan To “AMP” Retailer Margins And Conversions (PYMNTS), Rated: A

You’ve heard the old story: If brick-and-mortar merchants watched 75 percent of their customers walk in their stores and then walk out without having purchased a single thing, sirens would be screaming. But that’s precisely the situation with online commerce – three out of every four consumers who load their cart, don’t buy what’s in that cart.

AMP is integrated with seven of the top email service providers that online merchants use to market to consumers. Thee integrations give online merchants a new way to nudge a consumer into making that purchase by offering the ability to pay in installments, using Affirm. Retailers using any of those email providers are able to drag and drop the Affirm “as low as” pricing offer into any of their email templates, and then use it as a mechanism to convert abandoned carts.

“We want to give retailers a new way to follow up,” Overstreet said. “Instead of just showing their consumer the same $400 loveseat that they decided not to buy a day or a week ago, the consumer gets a prompt letting them know they can buy that $400 loveseat for little as $35 a month.”

Should you add a loan to your shopping cart? (San Francisco Chronicle), Rated: A

Got your eye on a new living room set at Wayfair? Or maybe you’re booking your honeymoon on Expedia. Increasingly, shoppers at these sites and others are encountering payment options from third-party lending companies like Affirm, Bread, Klarna and Acima Credit.

Lyst, an online clothing store carrying brands such as Burberry, Marc Jacobs and J. Crew, offers loans through Klarna. And Walmart is considering checkout loans from Affirm for items above $200, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

While some retailers may offer zero-interest promotional rates, annual percentage rates from Affirm and Bread, for example, can be as high as 30%. A $345 handbag at Rebecca Minkoff will wind up costing you $385 if you pay for it with a 12-month loan from Affirm at an APR of 21% — the average rate for its borrowers, Affirm says.

HOW SHOPPING LOANS WORK

The process is similar to selecting a store credit card at checkout. The loan option might appear next to the purchase price or in your shopping cart. In the online experience, selecting the loan option will direct you to the lender’s website or a smartphone app. You enter a few pieces of personal information — typically your name, date of birth and last four digits of your Social Security Number, or in some cases, just your phone number.

If you’re approved, the lender displays multiple loans with varying interest rates, monthly payment amounts and terms. You pick a loan, sign the agreement and finish checking out. Just like using a store credit card, the whole process takes anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.

From Weeks to Minutes: How Fintech Is Changing the Speed of Lending (Wharton), Rated: A

In this Knowledge@Wharton interview, Spencer Robinson, head of strategy for the company, explains what Kabbage has discovered that allows it to approve loans in minutes, versus what he says can often be a multi-week slog with traditional banks. 

Knowledge@Wharton: Your website notes that you’ve provided $3.5 billion in financing to some 100,000 businesses online, and you’re still not a household word, which, with those kinds of numbers, surprises me.

Spencer Robinson: Capital One really changed the way people looked at consumer credit finance. And that sort of mindset really helps lay the foundation for the types of things that we do.

Knowledge@Wharton: It’s interesting, the difference between you and a traditional lender. I’ve seen stories about Kabbage. One is about a small business owner who wanted to borrow $50,000 and they took their loan request to a bank. It took three weeks and the answer was “no.” And then they went to you and they got their $50,000 in six minutes. Why can’t banks do that? Why is it that you can do that?

Robinson: I would say banks can. A lot of times it’s a matter of getting out of your own way.

Robinson: Our APR average is right at about 39% to 40%.

Knowledge@Wharton: What is the highest amount that you lend?

Robinson: We’re at $150,000 now.

Listen to the podcast interview here.

If the rules are right, digital microlending could play role in subprime market (R Street), Rated: A

Credit unions frequently are the best available choice for those who have difficulty obtaining credit through traditional banks. But for some, digitally coordinated peer-to-peer lending agreements—inspired by microfinance arrangements for economically fragile communities internationally—also are proving to be an emerging option.

Peer-to-peer digital microlending has the potential to fill a portion of the gap by providing this cohort with small, short-term loans that typically range from $100 to $500.

One of the largest such peer-to-peer digital microlending platforms is the “R/ Borrow” section of reddit.com. This subreddit uses the reputational ecosystem within reddit to identify worthy borrowers, banning users who default or violate the terms of use. The subreddit facilitates the microloans and acts as a central database of transactions, coordinating more than $780,000 in loans in 2015.

If it can be properly scaled, peer-to-peer digital microlending could be a worthy option over payday loans for subprime borrowers.

More than 100 financial firms using Ripple blockchain software (American Banker), Rated: A

Ripple’s campaign to beat Swift at cross-border payments just got some new recruits.

The San Francisco startup announced several new customers of its enterprise blockchain software on Tuesday, bringing the total number of financial ….

ValueInsured Closes Financing Led by Global Reinsurer (PR Newswire), Rated: A

ValueInsured, the only provider of down payment protection, today announced the closing of $6.5M of funding led by an affiliate of Everest Re Group Ltd. and also Houston International Insurance Group (HIIG). The latest round of funding from Everest Re and HIIG builds on their existing partnerships with ValueInsured, which began in 2014 with an initial $6M seed round. This additional investment provides ValueInsured with the growth capital to continue its aggressive distribution partnership strategy, expanding channel presence and enhancing the features of the +Plus SM down payment protection program.

An API-Based Cure For Post-Purchase Blues? (PYMNTS), Rated: A

But many consumers could soon find an easier process for obtaining savings on such purchases, thanks to an API-based solution: Earny, an app-based bot born from a Mastercard API. Earny launched last year with the promise of offering consumers a more frictionless price protection process.

According to Vakrat, Earny’s inspiration started with a blazer purchased for $129 by co-founder Dori Yona. A few weeks later, Yona came down with a sudden case of sticker shock after shopping online and finding the same blazer available for roughly half the price.

Vakrat said he and Yona contacted the credit card company to see if Yona could receive a refund on the difference. The credit card company offered price protection, but Vakrat politely described the process of getting reimbursed for the difference as “inefficient.” While ultimately successful, it took two weeks for Yona to complete the process and receive his $65.

To develop a more efficient post-purchase refund process, the two co-founders entered Mastercard’s Masters of Code Hackathon. The result was the Earny app, which taps into Mastercard’s Simplify Commerce API. Earny uses APIs to authenticate users through their Gmail, Yahoo or Microsoft email providers, then scans their inboxes for eCommerce receipts and compares them to prices from approximately three dozen retailers – including Target, Costco and Overstock.com – checking for price drops. The service works by automating the price protection process, automatically refunding consumers for any detected price differences.

According to Mastercard’s research, U.S. consumers walk away from more than $50 billion in price drops every year because they were either unaware of better offers or because the refund process can be lengthy and require tedious paperwork.

Fed’s Bullard warns bank regulators are ‘complacent’ over fintech risks (Kitco), Rated: A

U.S. banking regulators must accelerate efforts to address the risks posed by fintech companies to the banking sector which could be “eviscerated” by these innovative new players, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Thursday.

In the lending sector alone, Goldman Sachs estimates that $11 billion of annual profit is at risk of leaving the banking system, according to research cited by the Fed.

Fintech’s Got 99 Problems And Diversity Is Definitely One (Forbes), Rated: A

Marketplace lending platform P2Binvestor announced today the launch of a first-of-its-kind bank partnership program with New Resource Bank in order to provide crowdsourced lines of credit to growing, mission-aligned businesses with a hunger for innovation.

Alongside transforming the lending structure for fintech companies, P2Binvestor’s attitude towards diversity in the workplace and moving away from traditional, yet stereotypical roles is second to none, headed up by CEO Krista Morgan.

Five Ways To Bounce Back From A Culture Catastrophe (Forbes), Rated: A

Corporate culture is a growing concern for boards and stockholders. One study shows that 92% of executives believe improving corporate culture would increase their firm’s value. That is an overwhelming majority, and yet so many companies with seemingly unlimited resources keep falling into the trap of poor culture.

A recent victim is SoFi, a privately held online lender. SoFi lost its CEO amid a storm of accusations including sexual harassment, verbal harassment and a culture of fear.

The CFPB’s Payday Lending Rule: An Opportunity in Disguise? (JD Supra), Rated: A

Editorial: Payday loan rules make sense (LJWorld), Rated: B

Kansas legislators should take steps to rein in the predatory lending practices some in the payday lending industry employ.

According to the state bank commissioner, payday loans in Kansas totaled more than $300 million in 2016. Interest rates and fees average an astounding 391 percent per year.

Under UCCC rules, payday loans are limited to $500 on loans that last seven to 30 days, and lenders cannot charge more than 15 percent of the amount borrowed. However, they can charge an additional 3 percent per month for loans that go past their maturity date. Lenders cannot make more than two loans to the same person at any one time, and they cannot make more than three loans to the same person within a 30-day period.

Editorial: Payday lending should be restricted (CJOnline), Rated: B

The average federal student loan carries an interest rate of around 5 percent. When you take out a loan for a car, you can expect to pay between 3 percent and 10 percent. The average interest rate for a credit card is a little more than 15 percent. But if you get a payday loan in Kansas, you’ll be slapped with an interest rate of 391 percent.

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, payday borrowers are disproportionately likely to be low-income African Americans with lower average levels of education. Borrowers are 62 percent more likely to earn less than $40,000 per year, 82 percent more likely to have lower than a four-year degree and 105 percent more likely to be African American.

LendingClub Schedules Third Quarter 2017 Earnings Release and Conference Call (Business Insider), Rated: B

LendingClub (NYSE: LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, announced that it will report earnings for the third quarter of 2017 on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, after market hours. LendingClub will host a conference call to discuss the third quarter financial results at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on the same day.

A live webcast of the call will be available at  under the Events & Presentations menu. To access the call please dial +1 (888) 317-6003 or outside the U.S. +1 (412) 317-6061 with conference ID 7584209 ten minutes prior to 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (or 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time).

United Kingdom

Zopa CEO on lender freeze: Popular restaurants don’t ‘put on more tables, they take reservations’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The CEO of peer-to-peer lending business Zopa has rejected claims the business is struggling to attract borrowers, saying the platform is still growing lending volumes by as much as 50%.

CEO Jaidev Janardana told Business Insider: “I do struggle a little bit with this thing that we’re struggling with borrowers. We have been growing [lending] by 45-50%. I don’t think there are other businesses that are growing at 50% year-on-year that would be looked at as struggling.”

Zopa has built up a waiting list of 15,000 people who want to lend over the platform. The company hopes to let some of them onto the platform towards the end of the year.

‘Consumer lending is always a cyclical business’

The Bank of England has been sounding the alarm on rising consumer credit levels and warned lenders in July not to “return to the punch bowl,” saying it is worried that lenders relaxing their lending criteria could lead to repeats of mistakes made during the financial crisis.

Orca’s New P2P Lending Investor Guide Makes a Splash: UK Surpasses £11B Cumulative Lending Mark (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orca’s analytic service recorded a new milestone for the asset class this month – £11bn cumulatively lent, all-time in the UK. With over 200,000 active investors and 30% of market share attributed to institutional investment, UK P2P lending is maintaining its growth trajectory, set for a market value of £15bn by 2020. In 2017 year-to-date, £3.4bn has been invested across P2P lending platforms, which is over £100m more than the 2016 total lent figure, according to the Guide.

Source: Orca

Download the guide here.

Legal 500 2017: The region’s top performers in banking and finance (Manchester Evening News), Rated: A

Law firms across Greater Manchester continue to act for a host of well-known lenders and borrowers on a wide range of leveraged, real estate and corporate and asset finance transactions.

While this year’s tiers one and two remain the same as last time, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has moved up from tier four to tier three and gunnercooke LLP has moved from tier five to tier four.

TIER TWO – DWF has a ‘strong’ borrower practice whose experience spans corporate banking, acquisition finance, public sector finance, and peer-to-peer lending.

LendInvest Teams Up With UKPA to Launch Second Annual PropTech Influence List (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Thursday, UK-based p2p lending platform LendInvest announced it has teamed up with the UK PropTech Association (UKPA) to release the second annual PropTech Influence List.

The deadline to vote is November 3rd. The list will be announced at 

Search is on for PropTech Influencers of the Year (Estate Agent Today), Rated: B

The LendInvest PropTech Influencer List  recognises the 25 people doing the most to develop the understanding, reach and benefit of PropTech in the property market.

Nominations are open to anyone working in or contributing to PropTech in the UK and overseas.

Last year’s winner was Estate Agent Today contributor James Dearsley, who this year becomes one of the judges in the competition.

IT portfolio – debt/alternatives to gilts (Citywire Money Forums), Rated: A

In terms of alternative uncorrelated debt what are the alternatives? I hold Investec local currency EM debt, Carador income and Funding Circle IT.

Can the gilt portion be modified to other sources of debt? I have considered SQN Asset, and P2P global (recent weaknesses) as a top up. Will these forms of debt hold up in a downturn? I’m not so sure against gilts/treasuries which are overvalued but possibly the only real diversifier (I also hold 7% in gold).

SONECT wins LendIt Europe PitchIt startup competition (Bankless Times), Rated: B

SONECT, a platform that can convert anyone or any shop into a virtual ATM, is the PitchIt winner at LendIt Europe.

China

China’s Online Lending  Consolidates As Market Grows (PIIE.com), Rated: AAA

China’s online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry is going through a welcome consolidation. Weak, noncompliant platforms are failing, but long overdue regulatory tightening and still excessive competition is likely to further winnow down the 2,000 platforms online today to a few hundred in the coming years. However, those that survive will compete in a much larger market that has grown quickly despite a minefield of new regulations and frequent failures.

This post expands and updates two earlier installments in this series: an introduction to Chinese P2P in part 1, including its earlier growing pains and the regulatory loopholes they used to grow. Part 2describes regulatory measures taken up to July 2016, especially the difficulties involved with regulation through local officials.

Source: PIIE

P2P loans outstanding in China at the end of September are up 63 percent from a year ago, to RMB 1.15 trillion (around $173 billion).

Source: PIIE
European Union

Linked Finance aims to increase level of peer-to-peer lending (RTE), Rated: AAA

Linked Finance has raised €2 million in equity as part of plans to expand its business.

Since launching in 2013, Linked Finance has lent €34.5m to Irish SMEs, more than a third of which has already been repaid, and agreed its 1,000th loan in September.

Source: RTE

RTÉ’s Business News Weekly Podcast – October 13 (RTE), Rated: A

On this week’s podcast: Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance raises €2m to fund its expansion and why small and medium sized Irish companies stand to benefit from more favourable tax treatment for employee share incentive schemes announced in Tuesday’s budget.

Listen to the podcast here.

Big banks discuss how to adjust to a digital economy (Business Insider), Rated: A

During a panel discussion at 

Source: Business Insider

 

Zinbaustein “Wohnen Im Village 11” Hits €625K Goal, Starts Investor Waitlist (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Private investors may now participate in a new equity crowdfunding real estate round for a mortgage of residential buildings in Darmstadt / Frankfurt area of Germany.  “Wohnen Im Village 11” on zinsbaustein.de features ten semi-detached houses and one detached house.  Private investors can participate in the form of a subordinated loan from 500 euros to 10,000 euros with a maturity of approximately 18 months and receive an interest rate of 5.25 percent per year. There is a repayment option after 12 months, when construction and sales run according to schedule. To date, 625,000 euros have been raised from the crowd for the project; a waitlist has been started.

French fintech startup Manager.one raises €2 million (Tech.eu), Rated: B

Manager.one, a fintech startup based in Paris, has raised €2 million from angel investors for its online banking platform for entrepreneurs.

International

Finastra delivers next-generation payments technology on Microsoft Azure (Realwire), Rated: A

Finastra is bringing its next-generation payments solutions to the cloud via Microsoft Azure, Microsoft’s enterprise-ready trusted cloud platform. Banks will benefit from streamlined onboarding, as well as faster access to new products and upgrades. This alliance is an extension of Finastra’s cloud-based lending oversight solution that was previously launched on Azure in the US and Canadian markets in 2016. Since then, Finastra has broadened its relationship with Microsoft and is migrating its payments capabilities to Azure.

Worldcore: Bringing Banking to the Blockchain (BTCManager), Rated: A

Worldcore is an established online money transfer service, which has recently announced plans to expand its operation to create an online, blockchain-powered peer-to-peer lending platform. To this end, they have announced an ICO, which is currently scheduled to begin on October 14, 2017.

Jeff Woodward Joins Brickblock as CIO (BlockTribune), Rated: B

Brickblock, the investment platform connecting real-world assets and cryptocurrencies, has added experienced property investor and developer Jeff Woodward to its team as Chief Investment Officer (CIO).

In December, Brickblock will complete a world-first by selling an entire apartment building on the blockchain.

India

RBI announces strict KYC guidelines for prepaid payment (Jagran Josh), Rated: AAA

Africa

The SBM Group and SALT Technology Enter Exploratory Partnership to Collateralize Blockchain Assets (BlockchainNews), Rated: AAA

The State Bank of Mauritius, SBM Group and FinTech service provider SALT,  creators of the first Blockchain-backed loan platform, today announced that they have entered into an exploratory relationship to become the first to use Blockchain assets as collateral for lending services.

South America

Ripio Raises $ 31 Million in ICO Pre-sale (BlockTribune), Rated: AAA

Buenos Aires micro-lending startup Ripio has raised $31 million as part of an initial coin offering (ICO) pre-sale ahead of a new credit network launch. The public ICO will begin on October 24.

Investors in the pre-sale included Blacktower Capital, Blockchain Investors Consortium, and FBG Capital. According to the startup, participants were drawn from various parts of the world like Russia, South Korea and Canada.

Two FinTech Startups That Want to Reach Customers ‘Door-to-Door’ (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

This year, the two largest contributions were made to Creditas, which received ~$18.87 million, mostly from IFC (the World Bank’s investment arm), and Avante – with ~$12.14 million received mostly of Fiinlab, innovation laboratory of the Mexican group Gentera, and the Vox Capital impact fund.

Avante, a FinTech startup that provides micro-loans, has already lent more than ~$31.45 million to 44,000 microentrepreneurs.

Creditas, an online lending platform that offers secured consumer loans to individuals with home and automobile as collateral, offers credit at lower rates using technology and data intelligence for efficiency. The startup is the second-largest Brazilian in funding, with a total of ~$28.3 million – only behind Nubank.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday September 26 2017, Daily News Digest

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News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi’s CTO leaving the company. World Business Lenders buys BizFi assets. Zopa improves loan sale processing times. Fintech startups, banks face off on new European payments rules, data access. Klarna wins international ANDY award. Today’s main analysis: How MoneyTap is tackling the unbanked problem in India. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Fundrise, Wealthfront spar over real […]

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News Comments

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United Kingdom

China

European Union

India

APAC

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News Summary

United States

SoFi’s chief technology officer to step down (Daily Mail), Rated: AAA

June Ou, chief technology officer of online lender Social Finance Inc and wife of its former CEO Mike Cagney, plans to leave the company, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The exact date of her departure from SoFi, has yet to be decided, according to the source. Ou did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ou, who joined SoFi in 2012 and is also the company’s vice president of engineering, is the latest senior executive to depart the embattled financial technology firm.

A pair of investing startups are in a public spat about the future of real-estate investing (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

It all started when Andy Rachleff, the CEO of Wealthfront, a California-based roboadviser with nearly $8 billion under management, went after the business model of Fundrise, a Washington DC-based real-estate crowdfunding company. , Rachleff said professionals who run managed real-estate funds fare poorly compared with low-cost index-tracking ETFs, such as Vanguard REIT Index Fund.

Fundrise’s CEO Benjamin Miller says this is a misrepresentation of how Fundrise works. “Amateur investors” on the platform aren’t picking individual projects, but rather strategies managed by the company.

“We operate like a Blackstone, but we democratize it and lower costs,” Miller told Business Insider.

Miller points to the recent initial public offering of Invitation Homes (INVH) to illustrate how expensive the public markets can be. INVH priced 215% higher in the public markets than in the private markets, according to data from Google Finance.

Source: Business Insider

Bizfi Survives, Thanks to World Business Lenders Asset Purchase Deal (deBanked), Rated: AAA

The Bizfi marketplace is slated to live on, according to Stephen Sheinbaum who joined World Business Lenders (WBL) as a managing director in July. On Wednesday, WBL purchased several assets from Bizfi including the brand, the marketplace, the Next Level Funding renewal book, and other related pieces of the company, he says. Sheinbaum founded Bizfi (then Merchant Cash and Capital) in 2005.

WBL, a Jersey City-headquartered small business lender will also be a lender on the platform.

The Tech Revolution Has Arrived For Alternative Lending (Bisnow), Rated: A

The growth of alternative sources of capital has opened a door for online and marketplace lenders, combining the availability and flexibility of capital with speed and transparency.

“Upward of $100B in loans are coming due and there is a gap,” Money360 President Gary Bechtel said. “The banks, life insurance companies, agency lenders, can only provide so much capital, and this is the void that nonbank lenders like Money360 are filling. And many of these firms have a technology component to them.”

Marketplace lending has become a popular alternative for student loans, credit card and small-business debt, but the commercial real estate industry has yet to fully participate. For Bechtel, it is a missed opportunity.

Money360 lifts those constraints. Because it does not have the same balance sheet requirements and regulations as traditional lenders, borrowers seeking financing for any asset class can apply for a loan on the platform. The platform offers loans between $1M and $20M on both bridge and permanent loans, with competitive terms and features similar to traditional lenders. Bridge loans are interest-only, and like banks, permanent loans utilize 25- to 30-year amortization schedules.

Worthy Financial Announces the Closing of Its Seed Financing Round (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Worthy, a digital investment app that redefines how Americans access investment products, diversify their portfolios and save for retirement, announced the successful closing of its seed financing round. The funds will be used for the full-scale roll-out of the Worthy mobile app, and will enable Worthy to expand its growing user base as well as to broaden the array of investment product options it offers retail investors.

Although yield-starved sophisticated investors have been increasingly allocating more and more of their capital to alternative asset classes such as real estate and private company debt, most retail investors are still unaware that modern technology and a new regulatory regime allows them to access these products online in very small aggregates.

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika Addresses Online Lending & Fintech Innovation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Speaking at the Online Lending Policy Summit in Washington, DC, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika discussed the online lending industry and his perspective on responsible innovation. Noreika told the conference participants;

“I see the growth of online lending and marketplace lenders as the natural evolution of banking itself. Your industry demonstrates a certain entrepreneurial spirit to seize economic opportunity that begins with your new idea. The idea may be leveraging the lending power of groups or using new data to assess creditworthiness. Or, the idea may be a way to make decisions faster or to give consumers more control of their financial lives.”

Noting that US marketplace lenders have originated about $40 billion in consumer and small business loans in the past ten years, Noreika said that online lending represents a substantial portion of all consumer unsecured credit in the US.  Some prognosticators expect that online lending will top $1 trillion by 2020.

What’s Hot and What’s Not in U.S. Fintech (Finovate), Rated: A

Here are the rules– we shouted out a list of 20 fintech trends and our cocktail-fueled audience shouted their opinion on whether the trend is hot or not*.

The hottest

  • Regtech
    I was fairly surprised to hear the audience react so strongly to this trend, since the U.S. is lagging in regtech startups and adoption.

What’s hot

  • AI  As we close out 2017, players in the fintech sector seem to be in all out hype mode on the subject.
  • Open Banking  Though the U.S. doesn’t have any pending open banking regulation, folks still seemed quite optimistic about this trend.
  • Mobile account opening  Certainly a necessity for mobile-centric onboarding, mobile account opening has been around for awhile. It seems to have received new life with many enabling technology developments and IoT device launches throughout the years.
  • Challenger banks  With the lack of challenger bank launches in the U.S. (that is, compared to the U.K.), it was surprising to see the group cheer on challenger banks so vociferously. Perhaps a sign that more challenger banks are coming to the U.S.?
  • Insurtech – The audience seemed to heavily favor this trend over others, despite the relative lack of insurtechs in the U.S.

Not hot

  • Chatbots
  • Roboadvisory
  • ICO’s
  • Alternative credit scoring
  • Voice banking
  • Mobile wallets
  • Biometric authentication
  • Alternative lending

Payday lender operators forced to forgive $ 12M in loans (New York Post), Rated: A

New York on Monday announced a settlement with two payday lender operators — barring them from working in the state and forcing them to forgive roughly 20,000 loans worth roughly $12 million.

While payday lending is illegal in New York, state residents can fall prey to the predatory loans through out-of-state lenders trolling online.

Vullo called out E-Finance for making “unlawful misrepresentations” to New Yorkers when requesting payments and negotiating payment agreements.

TAR, headed by Jeremy Schaffer, and E-Finance, headed by Joshua Mitchem, according to court papers, will pay a $45,000 penalty plus as much as $15,000 to cover the cost of sending notices to consumers whose loans were forgiven.

After ending payday lending, group looks for alternatives (Argus Leader), Rated: A

South Dakotans for Responsible Lending will hold a meeting Thursday aimed at creating a nonprofit to help South Dakotans get small-dollar loans without taking on debt.

The effort comes months after South Dakota voters opted to cap interest rates on payday lenders, crippling the industry in the state.

The grant and donation-funded Minneapolis group helps participants pay back loans over a 12-month period with no fees or interest. Since 2015, the group has helped 131 loan participants refinance $90,072 and save $355,042 in interest.

Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer, the group’s executive director, said South Dakota voters have already taken a significant step in reducing payday loan debt by eliminating the industry. In its place, banks and credit unions should look to offer additional loans, she said.

The Great “Sexism in FinTech” Debate (FintekNews), Rated: A

Although I would never diminish it or deny its existence, I just don’t see sexism as an escalating problem in FinTech – or anywhere in the developed world for that matter. In fact, what I see trending is the exact opposite.

Extraordinary women in FinTech are all around us. I read about them every single day – not only in leading industry rags like FintekNews, Bankless Times and Crowdfund Insider, but also in long-established financial periodicals. In fact, FintekNews, which is published by Cindy Taylor, an accomplished FinTech visionary in her own right, devotes an entire section just to 

Breaking Banks: How men can support women in fintech (American Banker), Rated: A

Brett King is back on the show, talking about diversity in fintech with Anouska Streets, head of engineering at Finkit, a unit of digital banking software company Monitise, which was recently bought by Fiserv; and Colleen Wilson, founder and CEO of consulting firm Collaborate Chicago.


Women in Banking: The Most Powerful in 2017 (American Banker), Rated: B

The Most Powerful Women in Banking

1. Cathy Bessant, Bank of America
2. Marianne Lake, JPMorgan Chase
3. Ellen Alemany, CIT Group
4. Nandita Bakhshi, Bank of the West
5. Diane Reyes, HSBC

16. Hannah Grove, State Street

23. Teresa Tanner, Fifth Third Bancorp

The Women to Watch

1. Mary Mack, Wells Fargo
2. Thasunda Duckett, JPMorgan Chase
3. Heather Cox, USAA
4. Yolande Piazza, Citigroup
5. Ellen Patterson, TD Bank

19. Jane Russell, TD Bank

Andy Hinrichs of AutoGravity (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is the CEO and co-founder of AutoGravity, Andy Hinrichs. After spending two decades in auto finance Andy decided he wanted to do something to finally bring the car buying experience into the 21st century. He started AutoGravity less than two years ago but they are already seeing great traction.

First Associates Broadens Service Offerings to Offer Additional Client Support (Benzinga), Rated: B

First Associates Loan Servicing announced a new lineup of loan support and lending solutions today to better serve the expanding needs of their industry–leading clients.

New solutions include:

Primary Loan Servicing

  • Reduced delinquencies & defaults
  • Low-risk, cost-effective
  • Omnichannel communication to maximize reach
  • Top-notch investor, credit bureau & regulatory reporting
  • Secure fund flow & control

Capital Markets Support
Backup servicing, Contract Verification, Borrowing Base Calculation or Validation, Custodial Services & Treasury Services (Collateral & Payment Agent)

Pre-Funding Support
To help ensure loans are properly originated and funded: Applications by Phone, Customer Service Call Support, Borrower Verification Calls & Document Verification

Post-Funding Support
Customer Service Call Support, Multi-channel Collections Support & Borrower Verification Calls

Futurist Jack Uldrich to Speak on the Future of Wealth Management and Banking in Four Cities in Four Days (Life Pulse Health), Rated: B

Starting tomorrow, acclaimed financial futurist and best-selling author Jack Uldrich will begin a series of four separate presentations on the future of finance in four consecutive days. His first presentation will be for leaders with Atlantic Trust in Denver, Colorado, followed by presentations in Chicago, Washington D.C., and ending in Toronto on Sept. 29th.

Uldrich is a prolific speaker on future trends in wealth management, finance, and banking, speaking to dozens of finance groups globally each year, including some of the biggest names in these industries.

United Kingdom

Zopa improves loan sale processing times (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA investors are now able to sell their loans within a few days on the secondary market, after the peer-to-peer lender made improvements to speed up processing times.

Earlier this month, Zopa promised a “large change” to address investor concerns about the time it is taking to sell loans.

UK peer-to-peer lending is about to face its toughest test since the sector was born (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

GLI Finance, a listed investment company that backs fintech businesses, on Monday wrote down the value of its investments in eight peer-to-peer lending platforms by £12.6 million to £28.9 million, citing “concerns over the collectability of some platform loans.”

The disclosure came after concerns were raised above fast-growing peer-to-peer lender Lendy Finance over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Zopa, the UK’s oldest peer-to-peer lender, last month wrote to investors telling them to expect higher-than-forecast losses as a result of deteriorating credit conditions. And peer-to-peer platform Wellesley & Co. last year raised £2.5 million to “absorb impairment losses that would otherwise have been passed on to peer-to-peer investors.”

The backdrop to all these disclosures is a surge in unsecured consumer borrowing and rising inflation in 2017, factors which are combining to fuel fears people may be unable to pay back all they have borrowed. Unsecured consumer borrowing hit £202 billion in July, the highest level since 2008. Meanwhile, inflation is running at 2.9%, well above wage growth.

Can’t afford to buy a property? You can now borrow your deposit (The Sun), Rated: A

Property Pact aims to help those who are struggling to get together a deposit for their first home.

To apply for a loan with Property Pact, you must meet the following:

  • Have a good or excellent credit rating
  • An annual salary of £30,000 or more
  • No County Court Judgements (CCJs) against you
  • Have at at least one year of continuous employment with the same employer
  • Must be employed in a profession or managerial role or a key job leading to a professional qualification or managerial role.

To register your profile on the site, you’ll need to pay £150.

Investors can then browse your profile and decide if they want to lend the money to you.

If an investor then agrees to lend, you’ll pay a 5 per cent arrangement fee – on a loan of £30,000 that would be £1,500.

The loan will be repaid at a rate of 5.5 per cent above base rate – so currently 5.75 per cent.

Britain’s first Small Business Commissioner is needed now more than ever (SME Web), Rated: A

With this in mind, let’s look at the three main challenges that the Small Business Commissioner will need to address in the coming year:

  1. Late payments: Time and time again we are reminded of the late payments crisis damaging small businesses, who are owed a collective £26.3 billion. Research from the FSB shows that poor payment practices are on the rise, causing 50,000 business deaths each year.
  2. Funding: SMEs bring a combined turnover of £1.8 trillion to the UK economy and we must encourage people to follow their dream of running their own business. In addition, some will need educating about using alternative finance methods, such as P2P lending, invoice financing and crowd funding.
  3. Rising costs
China

A Missing Piece in China’s Economy: Consumer Credit Ratings (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The world’s second-largest economy doesn’t have a widely accepted system to gauge creditworthiness among a fast-expanding middle class with growing paychecks, a hunger for consumer products and little or no credit history.

Chinese household debt is growing rapidly, outpacing broad credit growth every year since 2013 and reaching 38 trillion yuan ($5.7 trillion) by the end of the second quarter of this year. But household debt remains relatively low by global standards, at about 44% of gross domestic product, and the absence of a widely used standard of creditworthiness is keeping consumer borrowing from growing even faster, hampering access to credit for some 500 million potential borrowers.

China’s central bank has sought for nearly three years to put in place an answer to the FICO credit-scoring system predominant in the U.S., created in 1989 by data firm Fair Isaac Corp.

Technology giants Ant Financial Services Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd., along with several smaller companies, are developing competing credit-rating systems. Tencent began testing its system in August, two years after Ant, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. , launched its Sesame Credit personal scores.

But none of these projects has emerged as a single standard that’s widely used and trusted by lenders nationwide.

Paving the way?

Regulators in March set up a new clearinghouse, Wanglian, to centralize the processing of online payments.

Meanwhile, Ant’s Sesame Credit has a head start on its competition. Launched in 2015, Sesame derives a person’s credit score—which the individual can view on Ant’s popular Alipay payment platform—by mining data on the consumer’s e-commerce activity and other online behavior. Higher ratings confer perks such as waived deposits at some hotels and faster security screening at Beijing’s airport.

There are small credit bureaus in major cities including Beijing and Shanghai, but they have never gained traction and often lack access to borrowers’ financial data. Such bureaus reach only a third of Chinese borrowers, compared with 90% of borrowers in the U.S. reached by credit bureaus there, according to consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong ‘falling behind’ in race to build up automated financial adviser platforms (South China Morning Post), Rated: A

Operators of automated, algorithm-driven financial planning services, or so-called robo-advisers, in Hong Kong need to significantly step up their game if they are to compete with Chinese and US institutions, according to Freeman Tsang, head of China and Hong Kong for asset management firm Legg Mason.

Only a few securities brokerages have entered Hong Kong’s robo-advisory market, which unlike the one in the US, lacks an open, computer interface that allows access to investors’ portfolios across different companies to develop an overall view of their financial status.

Such a foundation is vital for robo-advisers to be able to offer more customisable financial advice and support transactions across different investment tools and firms.

European Union

Fintech startups and banks face off on new rules over European payments and data access (Tech.eu), Rated: AAA

A large group of over 70 European fintech companies are warning that new EU rules on payments processing could unfairly pit them against large banks and decimate the industry if they are passed into law.

The rules are part of the European Union’s Payment Services Directive (PSD) and would ban the practice of “screen scraping,” a common practice used by fintech companies to “scrape” display data from one application (like an online banking service) and display it on their own.

In their manifesto, the 71 fintech firms argue that the ban on scraping is unreasonable and a backdoor method for traditional banks to claw back control as the Fintech revolution threatens to upend their business models.

Revised payment services directive

The European Union’s Payment Services Directive (PSD), originally passed in 2007, built a single market for cashless payments in Europe, making cross-border payments as easy and efficient for European consumers and businesses as domestic transfers.

Most importantly, the revised PSD (also known as PSD2) mandated that banks loosen their grip over customer account data and allow third parties to be able to access it with customers’ permission.

Klarna “Smoooth” Ad Campaign Wins International ANDY Award from Ad Club of New York (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Klarna, a global payments provider, has been honored with an International ANDY Award by the ADVERTISING Club of New York for its 2016 “Smoooth” campaign that illustrates how ‘smoooth’ payments can be for consumers and online merchants using its platform.

The award was presented at the 14th annual “Stars of Madison Avenue” luncheon.

The AD Club’s International ANDY Awards jury chose this year’s six honorees for making an impact on marketing, commerce, culture and social responsibility through brave and creative advertising and marketing campaigns.

Klarna’s “Smoooth” campaign kicked off with a series of critically acclaimed ad spots. Samples of the campaign are available here and here.

Europe’s top venture capital investors by country (Banking Technology), Rated: A

 

At the top of the list, High-Tech Grunderfonds has made nearly 200 deals to 150+ German companies since 2012, making it the top investor in European tech VC by a long shot. Notable recent deals include a $3.4 million seed round to POSpulse (shopper intelligence platform) and participation in a $2 million seed round to MoBerries (HR and workforce management company). Since 2012, German tech companies have seen more than 1,600 deals worth over $10 billion.

The UK has seen the highest number of deals and total funding deployed to tech companies, at more than 3,200 deals worth nearly $20 billion since 2012, according to CB Insights.

Top investors in European tech by country (as of 30 August 2017), according to CB Insights:

  • Austria – SpeedInvest
  • Belgium – PMV
  • Cyprus – SingulariTeam
  • Czech Republic – Credo Ventures
  • Denmark – SEED Capital
  • Estonia – SmartCap
  • Finland – Lifeline Ventures
  • France – Alven Capital
  • Germany – High-Tech Grunderfonds
  • Greece – PJ Tech Catalyst
  • Iceland – Frumtak Ventures
  • Ireland – AIB Seed Capital Fund
  • Italy – LVenture Group
  • Latvia – Imprimatur Capital
  • Lithuania – Practica Capital
  • Luxembourg – Mangrove Capital Partners
  • Netherlands – Newion Investments
  • Norway – Investinor
  • Poland – SpeedUp Venture Capital Group
  • Portugal – Portugal Ventures
  • Romania – GECAD Group
  • Slovakia – Neulogy Ventures
  • Spain – Caixa Capital Risc
  • Sweden – Almi Invest
  • Switzerland – Swisscom Ventures
  • Turkey – Aslanoba Capital
  • UK – LocalGlobe

 

New10 open for business! (ABN-AMRO), Rated: B

Starting today, SMEs looking for a loan online can go to New10, an initiative of ABN AMRO. New10 lets them know within 15 minutes whether they qualify for a loan and under what terms and conditions. New10 meets the needs of this group of SMEs that want to take out a loan entirely online.

New10 provides loans ranging between EUR 20,000 and EUR 1 million.

India

Consumer Lending Startup MoneyTap Is Shooting For The Stars (Inc42), Rated: AAA

Ensnared by the allure of entrepreneurship, Bala ventured into the promising world of fintech with MoneyTap, a consumer lending startup that was launched last September.

Touted as India’s first app-based credit line, the fintech startup is working to democratise credit in a country where 19% of the total population is still unbanked.

“The reason we started MoneyTap was that we wanted to solve the problem of consumer credit. Clearly, India is very credit starved. Less than 1% of Indian consumers have access to any form of unsecured credit from a bank or any financial institution. Most people, whether it’s from middle class or lower middle class, need credit, but they have to use informal methods,” explains Bala.

Based on his interactions, he concluded that there are four main reasons behind this pervasive inadequacy of consumer credit in the country:

  1. Historical baggage/legacy
  2. Lack of data
  3. High overhead in small-ticket loans
  4. Finally, the emergence of a new class of demanding consumers

Between 2003 and 2007, a number of banks in India were issuing loans without doing any detailed checked. At the time, there was no credit bureaus or Aadhaar. Even PAN was not widely used. When the subprime crisis hit in 2008, all these banks got burned. In the period prior to that, around 24 Mn credit cards were sanctioned in India, of which nearly 10 Mn crashed.

In a country with a population of over 1.31 Bn, only 220 Mn people have PAN cards. Other forms of KYC (know your customer), including voter ID, Aadhaar and ration cards are not considered as the sole identity proof, especially when it comes to financial activities. Credit information companies (CIC) – such as TransUnion Credit Information Bureau Ltd. (CIBIL), Experian India and Equifax India – still do not have records of a large section of the country’s banked populace.

As per Bala Parthasarathy, the cost of evaluating and issuing a credit line/loan/credit card for a bank is extremely high and thus they prefer to give big-ticket loans to few people rather than small ticket loans for a large group of people. The average loan ticket size in this country is between $4,629 – $7,715 (INR 3 Lakh-INR 5 Lakh).

If you think of India as a pyramid in terms of the net worth of people, all these banks focus on only around 12 to 15 Mn customers at the top of the pyramid because they are capable of applying for a loan worth $4,629 to $7,715. The problem, according to him, arises when someone wants a $463 (INR 30,000) loan because the overhead, in this case, is too high for the bank to make any profit.

The consumer lending startup claims to currently cater to customers with monthly income ranging between $308-$1,080 (INR 20,000-INR 70,000).

On the MoneyTap platform, consumers can borrow anywhere between $46-$7,715 (INR 3,000 to INR 5 Lakh) with an option to choose the repayment duration from as little as two months up to three years.

At present, MoneyTap charges a one-time setup and origination fee of $7.7 (INR 499) plus tax.

Source: Inc42
APAC

Fintech experts to discuss the future of finance in Phnom Penh (Southeast Asia Globe), Rated: AAA

Inspire Asean is back on 29 September at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra for an afternoon of presentations, exchanges and networking. One of our larger events, this edition will have six engaging presentations from top Fintech startups, infrastructure providers and international banks to discuss digital wallets, big data, blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and alternative lending models.

The speaker lineup includes:

  • Brad Jones, chief executive officer of Wave Money in Myanmar and previously CEO of Wing in Cambodia.
  • Hong Samarkkeenich, regional sales director at Lenddo, is responsible for bringing the company’s technology to new and underserved market segments in Indochina.
  • Sim Chankiriroth is the founder and CEO of BanhJi, a free and localized online accounting software, built for Asean MSMEs.
  • Vincent Ling, deputy general manager of UnionPay International SEA, is responsible for regional brand and communications as well as the Core Products portfolio.
  • Steve Miller is the founder of CryptoAsia, a growing Bitcoin startup based in Phnom Penh.
  • Tomas Pokorny is the CEO of PiPay, a Cambodia-based fintech company that combines payment and lifestyle (social) application solutions.

Big Data, a Key Factor in Decision-Making (FiNews), Rated: A

A survey conducted by Deloitte showed that the respondents feel that analytics will become more important to their organizations in the next three years and that its greatest benefit is a key factor in making better decisions, and Singaporean companies are picking up on this.

This trend is great news for the local data analytics sector. In Singapore, the industry is expected to contribute at least $1 billion to the economy this year alone according to the Economic Development Board.

However, being in the service industry, these firms often lack significant physical collateral and assets, leaving them unable to turn to banks and similar financial institutions for financing. This results in cash flow issues that could limit the growth of these companies, if not hamstring them completely.

How Can Data Analytics Persevere?

  • P2P Financing
  • Equity Crowdfunding
  • Receivables Financing

10 Fast Growing Fintechs in Philippines (Fintech News), Rated: A

Acudeen

 

Acudeen is an organization opens its business to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) looking to boost cash flows, thereby answering an unsolved business need.

Ayannah

Ayannah is a leading provider of digital financial services to the world’s emerging middle class, most of whom are migrants or unbanked coming from the base of the pyramid.

BloomSolutions

Bloom makes money smarter by combining modern technologies like cryptocurrency with traditional infrastructure such as SWIFT and SMS.

Lendr

Lendr is an end-to-end loans origination and loans management platform that you can access via your desktop or mobile device.

LoanSolutions.ph

Loansolutions provides loans via our network of partner banks and lending companies.

Mynt

Mynt is a leader in mobile financial services focused on accelerating financial inclusion through mobile money, micro-loans, and technology.

PawnHero

PawnHero now lets you pawn online, anytime and anywhere.

PayMaya

PayMaya Philippines, Inc. (formerly Smart eMoney, Inc.) is the pioneer in mobile money and payments, having established brands such as PayMaya, the first prepaid online payment app that enables the financially underserved to pay online without a credit card; PayMaya Business, the company’s system solutions provider that allows businesses to receive online and card payments anytime, anywhere; Smart Money, the world’s first e-wallet linked to a mobile phone; and Smart Padala, the leading remittance network in the Philippines with over 15,000 agents across the country.

Ripple Supports Singapore’s Fintech Hub Aspirations With New Office (Ripple), Rated: B

Singapore has publicly stated ambitions to be the world’s leading fintech and innovation hub. It is also one of the biggest and busiest global trade centers with many large, multinational companies basing their regional treasury offices in the country. For these reasons, and to support our rapidly-growing customer base across Asia-Pacific markets – including Standard Chartered, a Ripple investor, member of the RippleNet Advisory Board, and early adopter of blockchain technology to power payments – we are excited to announce we have opened a new office in Singapore.

Africa

Riby aims to transform the way over 20 million West Africans use co-operatives (Techpoint), Rated: AAA

Mr. Lanre used to be hesitant about loaning his colleagues at work money, having suffered from bad debts. Luckily for him, his organisation launched a co-operative scheme to manage employees’ finance. Among other things, the co-operative allows anyone with an urgent financial need to easily request and get assistance.

It is estimated that 63% of Kenyans derive their livelihoods from co-operatives, while in New Zealand, 22% of the gross domestic product (GDP) is generated by co-operative enterprise. And while 50% of sugar-cane planters are grouped into co-operatives in Mauritius, the co-operative movement in Columbia accounts for as much as 697,006 jobs in the country.

Nonetheless, as CEO of a financial management service platform, Salami Abolore reveals that over a million co-operative bodies exist in Nigeria.

He says this with confidence because his company, Riby, helps co-operatives and their members remotely control both their finance and financial operations.

Riby happens to provide the technology that helps Mr Lanre’s company to manage their (employee) co-operative scheme.

The Riby peer-to-peer lending module allows companies to run internal co-operatives within their fold. A case in point is a savings rotation mechanism that auto-debits employees and credits whoever is due to receive money for the month. For both modules, Riby charges a per-user fee of ₦200 upfront, amounting to ₦2000 per annum and ₦500 on a quarterly basis.

The agent management platform, Riby’s third module, is another exciting proposition that raises an innocent suspicion as to whether Riby is taking the competition to the commercial banks. This is apparent in their overall quest to include everyone in the system.

About 40% of Nigerians are yet to register with any financial institution in the country, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria. Statistics from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) further show that there are only about 40 million registered bank accounts across the country. These accounts are enrolled by just 20.8 million customers, some having more than one account. It is therefore apparent that co-operatives can be used to reach the unbanked.

Fintech startup MaTontine wins Seedstars Senegal (Disrupt-Africa), Rated: A

Fintech startup MaTontine was named winner of the Senegal round of the global Seedstars World competition over the weekend, earning the chance to represent the country at the global final in Switzerland next year to compete for up to US$1 million in equity investment.

MaTontine emerged the overall winner for its solution that provides access to small loans and related financial services like microinsurance by digitising traditional savings circles.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday September 20 2017, Daily News Digest

low credit scores

News Comments Today’s main news: PayPal to fully integrate Swift Financial after closing acquisition.GoCardless raises $22.5M.Qudian poising for U.S. IPO.Varengold Bank AG to give $61M to MarketInvoice.Bondora hits 100M Euro milestone.Reserve Bank of India to treat P2P lenders as non-banking financial companies. Today’s main analysis: Public distrusts regulators as much as Wall Street.(a must-read) Today’s […]

low credit scores

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Latin America

Africa

News Summary

United States

PayPal will fully integrate Swift Financial ‘over the next year’ after loan provider acquisition closes (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

A little over one month after revealing plans to acquire Swift Financial, PayPal has announced that the deal is now complete.

PayPal said that it plans to fully integrate Swift Financial into its payment service “over the course of the next year,” according to Darrell Esch, PayPal’s vice president and commercial officer of global credit, in a blog post.

PayPal has actually offered a working capital program for lending money to small businesses since 2013, and it has loaned more than $3 billion through the program to date. This compares to the $3 billion Amazon has loaned SMEs since the launch of Amazon Lending back in 2011, and the $1.5 billion in loans Square has doled out since launching Square Capital in 2014.

Public Distrusts Wall Street Regulators as Much as Wall Street (Cato.org), Rated: AAA

The new Cato Institute 2017 Financial Regulation national survey of 2,000 U.S. adults released today finds that Americans distrust government financial regulators as much as they distrust Wall Street. Nearly half (48%) have “hardly any confidence” in either.

Americans have a love-hate relationship with regulators. Most believe regulators are ineffective, selfish, and biased:

  • 74% of Americans believe regulations often fail to have their intended effect.
  • 75% believe government financial regulators care more about their own jobs and ambitions than about the well-being of Americans.
  • 80% think regulators allow political biases to impact their judgment.

But most also believe regulation can serve some important functions:

  • 59% believe regulations, at least in the past, have produced positive benefits.
  • 56% say regulations can help make businesses more responsive to people’s needs.

Americans want regulators to focus on preventing banks and financial institutions from committing fraud (65%) and ensuring banks and financial institutions fulfill their obligations to customers (56%).

  • 77% believe bankers would harm consumers if they thought they could make a lot of money doing so and get away with it.
  • 64% think Wall Street bankers “get paid huge amounts of money” for “essentially tricking people.”
  • Nearly half (49%) of Americans worry that corruption in the industry is “widespread” rather than limited to a few institutions.
Source: Cato Institute

Few Americans Want “More” Financial Regulations—They Want the Right Kinds of Regulations, Properly Enforced

Polls routinely find that a plurality or majority of Americans want more oversight of Wall Street banks and financial institutions. This survey is no different. A plurality (41%) of Americans think more oversight of the financial industry is needed. However, only 18% think the problem with federal oversight of the banking industry is that there are “too few” rules on Wall Street. Instead, 63% say the government either fails to “properly enforce existing rules” (40%) or enacts the “wrong kinds” of regulations on big banks (23%).

Despite Distrust of Wall Street, Americans Like Their Own Banks and Financial Institutions

  • 90% are satisfied with their personal bank; 76% believe their bank has given them good information about the rates and risks associated with their account.
  • 87% are satisfied with their credit card issuer; 81% believe their credit card issuer has given them good information about the rates, fees, and risks associated with their card.
  • 83% are satisfied with their mortgage lender.
  • Of those who have used payday or installment lenders in the past year, 63% believe the lender gave them good information about the fees and risks associated with the loan.
Source: Cato Institute

Democrats and Republicans Want a Bipartisan Commission to Run CFPB, Divided on CFPB Independence

  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Americans think the CFPB should be run by a bipartisan commission of Democrats and Republicans, rather than by a single director. Support is post-partisan with 67% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans in favor of a bipartisan commission leading the agency.
  • A majority (54%) of Americans think that Congress should not set the CFPB’s budget and should only have limited oversight of the agency.
  • Few Americans (26%) believe the CFPB has achieved its mission to make the terms and conditions of credit cards and financial products easier to understand. Instead, 71% say that since the CFPB was created in 2011 credit card terms and conditions have not become easier to understand—including 54% who believe they have stayed the same and 17% who think they have become less clear.

Most Support Risk-Based Pricing for Loans, Say Low Credit Scores are Due to Irresponsibility

Nearly three-fourths of Americans (74%) say they’d be “unwilling” to pay more for their home mortgage, car loan, or student loan to help those with low credit scores access these loans.

Source: Cato Institute

PayPal Officially Adds Swift Financial to Fuel More Dreams (PayPal), Rated: A

The acquisition will expand PayPal’s ability to provide access to business financing options to the millions of small business owners who rely on PayPal and our partner platforms to run their businesses. As we’ve said before, increasing access to capital is vital to the success of small businesses and is a strategic offering for PayPal, which drives merchants’ sales growth, increases processing volume, and reduces merchant churn.

A Manifesto to All Men: We Have to Do Better (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Like many of you I was shocked and infuriated by the news out of SoFi last week. I think we all expected better from the company and its leaders. Some of the behavior that has been reported is reprehensible and it points to a much deeper problem that goes way beyond fintech. The problem of sexual harassment in the workplace is bigger than any one company, any one industry or even any one country. It is rampant throughout the globe.

Men: we cannot keep behaving this way.

I have been drinking at the bar late at night at enough conferences to know that many men believe it is still ok to treat women as objects. This kind of attitude has consequences in the workplace. And if the leaders of the company condone this behavior there will be a culture that is at best unwelcoming towards women and at worst so toxic it can endanger the very survival of the company.

Women in Fintech

People often complain to me about the lack of women in fintech. People say that LendIt does not have enough female speakers and there are not enough women in general at our events.

This article is the first step in what I expect will be a long journey towards making fintech a more welcoming place for women. I want to see us do better as an industry. We should do everything we can to make fintech an attractive career choice for young women. We have several initiatives around this that are in the planning stages that we hope to roll out at LendIt USA in San Francisco next year.

Today In Data: SoFi’s Woes (PYMNTS), Rated: A

In addition, there are rumors circulating that improperly funded SoFi loan products were sold to investors.

Here are the numbers:

  • $4 billion | Valuation of SoFi as of Sept. 15
  • $3.1 billion | Value of loans funded by SoFi in Q2 2017
  • $1.9 billion | Total venture capital funding raised by investors like Baseline Ventures, Discovery Capital and SoftBank
  • $134 million | SoFi revenue generated in Q2 2017
  • 350,000 | Number of borrowers who have used SoFi’s lending services, totaling more than $20 billion in loans
  • $75,000 | Settlement SoFi reached with a former executive assistant, as detailed by The New York Times
  • 30 | Number of employees who have leveled accusations against SoFi’s former CEO

Sallie Krawcheck’s Ellevest just landed a big new round of funding (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Ellevest, a nearly three-year-old, New York-based digital investment platform built for women and led by former Wall Street titan Sallie Krawcheck, has raised $34.6 million in fresh funding.

It’s technically a Series A round, according to the company, which says a widely reported $10 million round that closed last year was seed capital.

The round — which was led by Rethink Impact, and includes participation from PSP Growth, Salesforce Ventures, CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, LH Holdings, SK Impact Fund, Morningstar, Khosla Ventures, Mellody Hobson, Ulu Ventures, Contour Venture Partners and Astia Angels — brings the company’s total funding to $44.6 million.

Ant Financial to try again for U.S. approval of MoneyGram deal (Reuters), Rated: A

Chinese payments company Ant Financial is planning to resubmit its application for U.S. review of its deal to buy MoneyGram International Inc (MGI.O) for $1.2 billion, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Ant Financial and MoneyGram have already refiled for clearance from Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) when they were unable to secure it within an assessment period after the first application, Reuters reported in July, citing sources.

Ant Financial’s latest attempt for approval would be its third as the maximum time of 75 days for assessing such applications nears completion.

JPMorgan Seeks to Banish Paper Payments With a Fintech Venture (Bloomberg), Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is partnering with another fast-growing technology firm, this time to help business clients eradicate paper checks.

The bank is working with Bill.com, the largest U.S. business-to-business payments network, to enable customers to send and receive electronic payments and invoices, according to Stephen Markwell, a product strategy head for JPMorgan’s commercial bank. The New York-based lender will pilot the service in early 2018 and plans to offer it to more business and commercial clients later in that year, Markwell said.

While many consumers already are embracing digital tools for sending money, like PayPal Inc.’s Venmo or the banking industry’s Zelle, more than half of business payments are still via check, according to Markwell. Companies write 8 billion checks a year, each costing about $4 to print and handle, he said.

In an ongoing acquisition streak, LendingTree buys another online loan marketplace (Biz Journals), Rated: A

LendingTree Inc. (NASDAQ:TREE) has acquired an online loan platform for businesses called Snap Capital, known as SnapCap, in a potential $21 million deal. SnapCap is LendingTree’s fifth acquisition since June of 2016.

LendingTree says the acquisition has a potential value of $21 million. The online marketplace will pay $12 million in cash upfront and if SnapCap hits certain performance targets over time, it will receive contingent payments of up to $9 million.

Charlotte-based LendingTree has been diversifying its business over the last several years beyond mortgages. And its stock price has been on the rise as a result. LendingTree’s stock was up about 7% Tuesday afternoon after the acquisition announcement. The company’s shares were trading at $251 Tuesday afternoon, up from about $93 per share a year ago.

LendingPoint Closed On $ 500M Credit Facility In August (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Online lender LendingPoint announced Tuesday (Sept. 19) that it had closed an up to $500 million credit facility on Aug. 22.

In a press release, the company said the credit facility was arranged by Guggenheim Securities. LendingPoint noted it drew down $138.5 million of the facility at the closing, and it took an additional $32.7 million on Sept. 15. The proceeds are being earmarked to bankroll the growth of its consumer installment loan portfolio, a business element which has roughly doubled between August 2016 and August 2017.

According to the company, the up to $500 million credit facility is among the largest credit facilities raised in the online consumer lending market in 2017.

Pine River Capital Shutting $ 1 Billion Flagship Hedge Fund (WSJ), Rated: A

Pine River Capital Management is closing its $1 billion flagship hedge fund after clients asked to withdraw more money than the firm was expecting, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The move will further shrink the Minnetonka, Minn.-based firm’s assets under management to $7.5 billion, half the roughly $15 billion it managed in 2015.

Don’t let court squander online lenders’ chance to reach underserved (American Banker), Rated: A

Most of the country has never heard of Madden v. Midland Funding and the common law doctrine of “valid-when-made,” but the impact of the misguided decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on consumers is far-reaching.

Rate exportation has been key to the rise of standardized nationwide financial products, like credit cards, allowing banks to lend to borrowers across state lines without necessarily establishing a physical presence in every state, giving consumers better choices.

Following the Madden decision, it is unclear in the 2nd Circuit whether certain bank loans transferred to a marketplace lending platform would be ruled valid or not. Are loans bound by the bank’s “home” state rate cap, or the borrower’s “host” state rate cap? No one knows for sure. This legal uncertainty has caused nonbank investors in these loans to pull back, which, in turn, has led to a reduction in responsible and affordable online lending. Borrowers who are still trying to build credit have lost better options. According to an August study by professors at the Columbia, Stanford and Fordham law schools, “the decision reduced credit availability for higher-risk borrowers in affected states.”

Reliant Funding and Merchants Capital Access to be known as Reliant Funding (PR Newswire), Rated: A

San Diego-based Reliant Funding and New York-based Merchants Capital Access are now joined as one under the Reliant Funding name.

Four Facts about Reliant Funding

  • Reliant Funding’s business model provides access to capital for businesses that traditional banking typically does not serve. With innovative pricing and cutting-edge risk management, it gives businesses the fuel they need to penetrate their market and grow.
  • Since its founding, Reliant has funded businesses over thirty thousand times, providing over $900 million in working capital to America’s small businesses.
  • Reliant Funding speaks directly with thousands of American small and medium sized businesses each month and services thousands more. The focus is always on the individual client, their business story and meeting their needs.
  • Reliant Funding’s Wholesale Division currently works with hundreds of partners, providing them with funding for their clients as if those clients were directly originated in-house. The key is a commitment to strategic alliances, ensuring the relationship lasts longer than a single transaction. It’s just one aspect of many which sets Reliant Funding apart from the competition.

Randstad Professionals addresses technology’s impact on finance and accounting (Business Insider), Rated: A

Cloud computing, big data and financial technologies have raised the stakes for finance and accounting professionals according to Randstad Professionals‘ new whitepaper, Technology’s Impact on Finance and Accounting.

There are three broad areas in which emerging technologies and digital tools are causing significant disruption to the way things are done:

 

  • Breaking down big data for strategy: Finance and accounting employees can use big data to their advantage by forecasting trends, pinpointing behavioral patterns and suggesting probable outcomes — all of which can tie into a company’s strategy and impact their bottom line.
  • Leaving repetitive work to the cloud: Cloud actions have the ability to handle inventory management, generate invoices and provide accurate financial data. The software also delivers convenience for employees who want to digitally share company finances among coworkers, financial advisors, customers and other key stakeholders at a moment’s notice.
  • Putting the functionality in finance: Finance is making its way into fixed markets that provide mobile phone applications and access on everyday devices. Over the years, we have revolutionized how we pay, view our bank statements and transfer money through start-ups such as Bitcoin and Linden Dollar. Technologies that also integrate peer-to-peer lending or personal loan requests allow for a frictionless experience for customers.

 

Opponents Ready For US Payday Loan Rule (America Now), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is expected in coming days to release a long-anticipated rule curbing payday lending, now that a final review by other regulatory agencies has concluded, three people familiar with the matter said.

The rule pits the country’s consumer financial watchdog against payday lenders who say the new regulation will wipe out much of their established industry, currently overseen by the states, and push poor and rural customers to use illegal loan sharks.

Because the loans can carry interest rates as high as 390 percent, borrowers can become trapped in devastating cycles of taking out new loans to pay outstanding ones, the CFPB said.

When The Payday Lending Rule Drops, Opponents Are Ready To Attack (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Payday and short-term lending is an approximately $6 billion-a-year industry, one that both critics and supporters of payday lending agree will take a major hit if the CFPB’s proposed rules on payday lending go through.

To make that block happen, Republicans in the House of Representatives added a “rider,” or amendment, to a spending bill banning the CFPB from regulating the payday loan industry.

The CFPB rules on payday lending have been in the works for some time and would require lenders to conduct background checks showing borrowers can afford the loans and to limit the number of loans made to a single borrower.

First Associates Loan Servicing Earns Morningstar’s Highest Ranking  (PR Web), Rated: B

First Associates Loan Servicing announced today the release of the Morningstar ranking report certifying their overall excellence in loan servicing. Morningstar awarded First Associates a MOR RV1 ranking of ‘stable’ which is the highest certification possible and deeply assesses risk management, call center performance, quality assurance, technology, security protocols, project management and disaster recovery protocols.

Low-cost loans help hurricane victims rebuild (TheStreet), Rated: B

Since the majority of consumers lacked insurance coverage for flood damage, the costs keep adding up from replacing furniture and appliances to renting another home or apartment until the costly repairs are completed.

The Small Business Administration offers both homeowners and renters disaster loans ranging from 1.75% to 3.5% of up to $40,000 for property damage such as furniture, clothing, cars and appliances and up to $200,000 for repairs to the house.

Using money from your IRA or 401(k) account is likely a better option than asking friends or family or seeking a loan from a payday lender.

RealtyShares Gives Investors Access To Real Estate With Just A Few Clicks (Benzinga), Rated: B

What makes it so diverse? The markets available or the types of real estate?

Amy Kirsch: All of the above. We’ve done deals in 39 states, we offer debt and equity, commercial and residential, and we’ve done basically every asset class.

Do you have a minimum for investment?

The lowest limit we have now is $5,000, but it varies on how large of a fundraise we’re completing.

What’s innovative about RealtyShares? The technology, or what it lets you access?
A combination of both—I’ve invested in real estate in the past, and it’s always come through people I knew, and it was concentrated to where I was living at the time. When you’re looking at middle-market opportunities or don’t have hundreds millions of dollars to invest, the opportunities become a little more rare. So access is definitely a differentiator here.

Prime-Ex Perpetual Launches Pre-ICO for Residential Real Estate Crowdfunding Effort (EIN News), Rated: B

On Monday, Prime-Ex Perpetual‘s real estate crowdfunding effort began in earnest with the launch of their PEX-Token cryptocurrency sale, aimed at generating $25,000,000 in USD equivalent cryptocurrencies. The PEX-Token is a dividend token in which the company will pay 80% of company profits back to the PEX-Token holders. Beginning Monday people purchasing PEX-Tokens will receive 15% bonus PEX-Tokens for purchasing PEX-Tokens early.

United Kingdom

GoCardless, a fintech that makes recurring payments easy for subscription businesses, raises $ 22.5M (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Once again, Accel, Balderton Capital, Notion, and Passion are backing GoCardless, this time to the tune of $22.5 million and on the back of what the startup says is record annual growth in the U.K. and strong, early traction in new markets. Outside of Blighty, the company operates its bank-to-bank payments network in the Eurozone and Sweden.

GoCardless isn’t disclosing revenue. Instead the company says it processes over $4bn worth of transactions across more than 30,000 organisations in the U.K. and Europe, working with small startups and large enterprises across a number of industries. It offers an API and off the shelf integrations with over 100 partners including Xero, Sage and Zuora. Customers include Sage, Thomas Cook, Box and The Guardian.

Artificial intelligence: the legal and regulatory challenges (Lexology), Rated: A

Artificial intelligence (AI) will soon be everywhere. The insurance industry is facing huge changes as AI steps boldly into every aspect of its internal operations and external relationships wearing the bright new clothes of InsurTech.

It has brought new players into the insurance market with some, like Lemonade, the world’s first peer-to-peer insurance carrier powered by AI and behavioural economics, experiencing phenomenal growth over a very short time.

It is estimated that around £1.32 billion was invested globally in the InsurTech arena in 2016, up 32% on the previous year. The lion’s share of this was in the United States but the UK and Europe are increasing their investment (see chart below).

Other innovations, such as fractional insurance where customers buy on a pay-as-you-go basis or peer-to-peer insurance, will have a deeper impact.

For Rutter, one of the key cultural challenges for the insurance industry is going to be its cautious approach to regulation.

he Financial Conduct Authority is the lead regulator in this area and it has been trying to engage the industry, setting up a ‘sandbox’ to encourage insurers to work with it to explore the impact of regulation on technological innovation. In particular, it will be aiming to test the boundaries of legislation such as the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD).

There will be some InsurTech applications that get it wrong, predicts Rutter, potentially selling large numbers of policies to the very people underwriters don’t want on their books: “Insurers need to understand that once automated decisions have been made, you can’t pull back from them by cancelling policies. That is hardly treating customers fairly”.

Source: Lexology

Peer-to-peer lending: should you be worried about falling returns and the poorly-performing Innovative Finance ISA? (love money), Rated: A

Falling returns, big loans going bad and news that new Innovative Finance ISA has failed to attract investors is leaving questions hanging over the future of peer-to-peer lending.

The bad news began last month when RateSetter, one of the biggest peer-to-peer lenders, was forced to cough up nearly £9 million to stop customers losing money after a big loan went wrong.

It’s not just Ratesetter

At the same time, another peer-to-peer lender is coming under fire from its customers. Zopa is being criticised by customers who are seeing falling returns on their investments.

Paltry take up on the Innovative Finance ISA

Finally, interest in the new Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) has been disappointing. New stats from HMRC shows that just 2,000 IFISAs were opened in the 2016/17 tax year.

Abundance boss joins government’s Green Finance Taskforce (AltFi), Rated: B

Bruce Davis, co-founder and MD of green energy-focused P2P platform Abundance, has been appointed to the government’s Green Energy Taskforce. The group has been set up to help accelerate the growth of green finance and the UK’s low carbon economy.

Abundance is the UK’s biggest green energy-centric peer-to-peer site, with roughly £50m in finance facilitated for projects to date, according to AltFi Data. Its investors are able to invest in debentures for projects such as wind turbines and solar farms, and can hold those investments in an Innovative Finance ISA.

China

Online lender Qudian set for New York IPO (China Economic Review), Rated: AAA

Online consumer microlender Qudian said it plans to raise up to $750 million in a New York IPO, in the second of two major fintech deals this month which are expected to kick off a wave of similar listings by year-end. But a source with direct knowledge of the situation told Caixin the final fundraising amount is likely to exceed $1 billion, possibly making it the largest IPO by a Chinese company in the US this year.

European Union

German Bank Hands $ 61 Million to U.K. Online Lender Amid Brexit (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Uncertainty around Brexit may be mounting as political leaders from the U.K. and the European Union clash on the terms of separation, but that isn’t slowing down foreign investors from betting on Britain’s top peer-to-peer lenders.

Varengold Bank AG, a Hamburg-based private banking firm, will provide 45 million pounds ($61 million) in annual funding for loans to small businesses arranged by MarketInvoice Ltd., the British finance company said in an emailed statement.

28,639 investors have already invested EUR 102 million through Bondora and have received EUR 15 million in interest (Bondora), Rated: AAA

2017

Company reaches cash-flow profitability 100 million euro of loans issued.

Source: Bondora

Pan-European P2P Lender Younited Credit Raises €40 million from Historical Investors & the French Public Investment Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Younited Credit, the Paris-headquartered consumer lender announced a capital increase of €40 million subscribed by a panel of the top of the crop growth investors in France. Next to its historical shareholders, EurazeoCrédit Mutuel Arkema, AG2R La Mondiale and Weber Investissements which are already very active in Fintech and alternative finance financing, the startup now takes on board new major investors: Bpifrance, Matmut Innovation, and Zencap Asset Management.

GoldMint, Provider of Gold-Backed Cryptoassets Launches ICO Today (The Merkle), Rated: A

Today, on the 20th of September, GoldMint is launching its ICO.

GoldMint is celebrating the beginning of its ICO by attending 3 major events on the same day the crowdsale kicks off.  One of these events is BlockchainLive in London  – Europe’s leading Blockchain conference bringing together over 75+ global experts in various fields.

Another one is Moscow’s ICO Event which this time mainly focuses on how legislation will impact the cryptocurrency space.

Today GoldMint is also present at the Global Blockchain Summit in Hong Kong gathering iconic speakers from various industries to discuss about the real-world applications of blockchain technology, as well as its potential benefits, risks, and regulatory concerns.

To spread the word about GoldMint in the USA  – GoldMint’s advisor and business developer Evgeniy Volfman has recently completed the official Northern American road trip representing the project in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

Simultaneously, GoldMint is opting to expand its campaign globally, with the Middle East & Singapore regions being the current primary focus.

International

Nominations open to global Women in Fintech Powerlist (Disrupt-Africa), Rated: A

Nominations are open to Innovate Finance’s Women in Fintech Powerlist, which recognises women shaping the future of fintech around the world.

UK-based membership organisation Innovate Finance compiles its Powerlist of Women in Fintech each year, with the aim of closing the fintech gender gap by showcasing the women driving the global fintech space.

SegWit2x, NYA Bitcoin Agreement Loses Another Signatory (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

Bitcoin peer-to-peer lending platform Wayniloans has withdrawn its support for the SegWit2x bitcoin scaling proposal and the New York Agreement (NYA).

Wayniloans joins several other companies in withdrawing support for SegWit2x and the NYA. Banking and payment processor Bitwala announced last month it will only follow the SegWit2x blockchain if it receives support from Bitcoin Core, which does not appear likely.

Australia

FinTech loans and payments (Choice), Rated: A

FinTechs are certainly in competition with other FinTechs, but the real competition is the established financial service industry, epitomised by the big four banks. Consumer banking is where FinTechs aim to cause the most disruption – and many would say it’s an area where disruption is long overdue.

One recent startup, Spriggy, is out to grab its fair share of the kids’ bank accounts market, for instance.

Over the past 10 years, consumers have lost about $5.7 billion to financial advisers and financial services providers who put their own interests first. The scandals have included Opes Prime, Storm Financial, Timbercorp/Great Southern, Bridgecorp, Fincorp, Trio/Astarra, Westpoint and Commonwealth Financial Planning.

The size of the market in Australia has grown substantially year on year. In 2014, $9.45 million changed hands by way of P2P consumer lending platforms, for instance; in 2015, the P2P consumer lending figure stood at $43.15m.

And when it comes to money raised through crowdfunding, the figure jumped from $8.2m to $26m over the same time period.

At the moment, there are at least 86 FinTech tools operating in Australia through which you can borrow money, most of which are P2P lending services.

And there are at least 24 crowdfunding services on offer. It’s no surprise, then, that the biggest external challenge for FinTechs these days is finding customers.

Nine Australian FinTech companies made the 2016 list of the top 100 FinTech innovators around the world, an annual roundup compiled by the FinTech investment firm H2 Ventures and KPMG Fintech.

  • Prospa – Offers small business loans from $5000 to $250,000 with payback terms from three to 12 months, “for any business purpose”
  • Tyro – A payment system technology designed for businesses.
  • Society One – A P2P lender that says it provides “simple, investor funded personal loans with low rates based on your good credit history”.
  • Afterpay – Allows you to pay for goods in instalments direct debited from your credit card or other payment option.
  • Brighte – Offers 0% interest loans to approved homeowners for household energy efficiency improvement, such as solar panels or more efficient windows.
  • Data Republic – A customer data exchange service to help businesses better target their services to customers.
  • Identitii – Allows banks and other financial institutions to get more information about where and when payment transactions occur.
  • HashChing – An online home loan service that connects you with mortgage brokers.
  • Spriggy – Allows parents to manage kids’ bank accounts using digital tools.
India

RBI notifies P2P lending platforms as NBFCs: Agencies (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday notified that peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms would be treated as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), an agency reported. This suggests the lending interface will now come under the purview of RBIs regulation under the RBI Act.

Company Name : Rubique (Business Wire India), Rated: B

Rubique, India’s leading FinTech company, is now taking giant strides in enhancing the level of education and training in the FinTech domain in India. In view of the highly lucrative opportunities that await young professionals in the landscape, it is leveraging its expertise to co-certify courses in FinTech at the prestigious SP Jain School of Global Management.

Latin America

Fintech Startups Attract Capital In Latin America (Forbes), Rated: A

Many Latin Americans are hard pressed to obtain credit for their businesses or family needs, as 49% of adults do not have bank accounts.

The region’s fintech industry secured $186 million in venture capital investments last year, according to the Latin America Venture Capital Association (LAVCA) – with more than one-third going to startups. Deal count increased by 81%, with 38 transactions.

In Brazil, 160 million adults have some type of banking relationship, but only 55 million are borrowers, according to the country’s central bank. This, combined with more than 20 million unbanked people, turns Latin America’s largest economy into a fertile ground for fintechs, says Jose Prado, founder of Conexao Fintech, an online hub for fintech entrepreneurs and enthusiasts.

Creditas raised $19 million in a Series B funding round. The Sao Paulo-based firm provides asset-backed debt focused on auto and mortgage loans.

In Mexico, where 55.9% of adults have no access to any form of savings deposits, fintechs are offering digital, user-friendly alternatives to traditional banking products, according to Jorge Ortiz, founding president and CEO of non-profit organization Fintech Mexico.

Ripio Credit Network Announces ICO Pre-Sale, Crowd Sale Starts on October 17 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Ripio Credit Network, a company that has raised $5 million in funding from VC like Tim Draper, Pantera, DCG, Overstock (Medici Ventures) and others. Has launched their Initial Coin Offering pre-sale as they gear up for the crowd sale scheduled to launch on October 17th. This comes just as Ripio has received a nice recognition, along with a check, from the d10e Pitch competition.

Ripio, a prominent crypto-based company in Latin America, is building a global credit network solution that aims to enhance transparency and reliability in credit and lending. Ripio is designed to enable connections between lenders and borrowers located anywhere in the world, regardless of currency.

Africa

FMO and above & beyond launch Fintech platform for African Banks to accelerate financial inclusion (FMO), Rated: AAA

FMO together with Miami based Fintech and digital transformation strategists above & beyond (a&b),  launched “ FinForward”, a marketplace where Fintech companies, Financial Institutions (FIs) and Mobile Money Providers (MMPs) in Africa are matched.

The objective of the new platform is to accelerate the digitization of the financial industry in Africa by supporting innovation of the core business with digital solutions. The matching and integration tool will make global Fintech companies accessible and top-of-mind to African financial institutions in order to help them to reduce costs, innovate, add services, tap into new revenue streams and work towards open banking platforms. It will also enable them to service difficult to reach segments such as the bottom of the pyramid, women and small entrepreneurs.

The matching and integration tool will make global Fintech companies accessible and top-of-mind to African financial institutions in order to help them to reduce costs, innovate, add services, tap into new revenue streams and work towards open banking platforms. It will also enable them to service difficult to reach segments such as the bottom of the pyramid, women and small entrepreneurs.

How does it work?

  • Outreach  – Banks, Mobile Money Providers and Fintechs are invited to join
  • Fintech Opportunity Scan – Participating banks and mobile money providers define their problems and needs
  • Matching – Pairing of Fintechs based on problem definition
  • Acceleration & Integration – Testing of Fintech solutions in a sandbox and integrating the technology into the bank’s operations
  • Showcase – demonstrate success during showcase days

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday September 18 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: 400K UK consumers may have been affected by Equifax breach. Independent Community Bankers of America letter opposing ILCs. RateSetter launches consumer hire-purchase product. Klarna partners with Wacom. Google enters digital payments in India. Payday type loans come to e-tailers in India. Today’s main analysis: Analysis of SoFi deal SCLP 2017-5 and Lending Club deal CLUB 2017-P1. […]

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Independent Community Bankers of America Letter (ICBA), Rated: AAA

As you may be aware, ICBA recently filed a comment letter with the FDIC objecting to the deposit insurance application of SoFi Bank, an industrial loan corporation to be chartered by the state of Utah. In our letter, we urged FDIC, for safety and soundness reasons and to maintain the separation of banking and commerce, to not only deny SoFi Bank’s application but also impose a moratorium on ILC deposit insurance applications. Furthermore, we said that Congress should close the ILC loophole because it not only threatens the financial system but creates an uneven playing field for community banks.

The news that Square also intends to apply to the FDIC for deposit insurance as an industrial loan corporation has significantly increased our concerns and made it even more urgent that the FDIC immediately impose a moratorium on approving deposit insurance applications for ILCs. As we noted in our SoFi Bank letter, the ILC charter is nothing more than a loophole in the law to circumvent the legal prohibitions and restrictions under the Bank Holding Company Act.

SoFi Bank and Square are applying as ILCs and not as commercial banks because their parent companies and their affiliates do not want to be subject to the legal restrictions and supervision attendant to the BHCA. Square, for instance, already owns a point-of-sale hardware appliance business and a food delivery service and therefore could not own a commercial bank without divesting its commercial activities. For safety and soundness 2 reasons and to maintain the separation of banking and commerce, the FDIC should deny SoFi Bank’s application and impose a moratorium for at least two years on future ILC deposit insurance applications, including any application by Square. 

Read the entire letter here.

Did Lending Just Change for Good? (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Bank lending regulations have rarely been thought of as dynamic or exciting but last night’s ruling by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to allow a lender to begin using alternative data in their underwriting could herald the beginning of a new era in lending and how banks work.

Why is this significant?

US banks have traditionally been guided by three key pieces of legislation, the Truth in Lending Act of 1968, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 and the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977.  These three acts were created before the era of personal computers yet still guide bank lending today.  Since the rise of marketplace lending, which began in 2006, where borrowers go through a platform and investors fund those loans, it is becoming increasingly apparent that many of these regulations are in need of updating.

In an overly simplistic interpretation (and I am not an attorney), the regulator is giving an online consumer lender the right to underwrite loans using ‘alternative data’ which before was not in line with how the Equal Opportunity Act is interpreted by lenders.  It is not clear what data will be allowed but in a CNBC interview, Upstart co-founder Paul Gu suggested that SAT scores, college grades and even college majors are data points which are helpful in predicting loan defaults. 

So assuming the change stands, what is next?

As alternative lenders have more scope to use alternative data, machine learning complex data analysis is opening up an entirely new space for investors.  Gone are the days where banks only competed against each other with marketplace lenders now allowing investors to allocate capital in a similar way to banks, choosing loans to fund based on their own ideas and risk profile.   For now, this is mostly impacting consumer credit, but in the years to come, look for marketplace lending to impact all areas of lending as investors get more comfortable investing in this space regulations start to adapt.

Scandal costs Sofi chance to become a bank, says ex-SEC head (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

SoFi’s application to become a bank has almost no chance of approval in the wake of a sex scandal that forced out its chief executive, says a close adviser and former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But last week’s departure of Mike Cagney, the co-founder, chairman and chief executive, has effectively killed the application, said Arthur Levitt, a former chairman of the SEC, who began advising the company two years ago.

“This departure of Mike makes that a very questionable attainment,” Mr Levitt said, referring to the charter.

He noted that the FDIC had turned down this type of application “many times” before.

Equity podcast: SoFi loses its CEO, big rounds for unicorns, and will this VC buy the iPhone X? (TechCrunch), Rated: A

We turned first to SoFi, a consumer-finance unicorn that has raised more than a billion in equity, and over $2 billion in total. The company is now down a CEO after allegations of misconduct brought censure upon its CEO, Michael Cagney, and the company’s culture.

Listen to the podcast here.

Fat cat frat boys ape the worst of banking and tech (Financial Times), Rated: A

The article also described employee concerns about lending practices and alleged that investors had been misled over a 2012 financing.

SoFi complained in a public blog about “inaccuracies” in the Times report, but focused on defending its lending practices.

If the allegations are true, SoFi and LendingClub have many of banking’s worst attributes with Silicon Valley’s warts layered on top.

Meanwhile, the allegations of doctored loans and conflicts of interest at LendingClub were reminiscent of some of the excesses of the bankers who fed the subprime mortgage market.

Goldman Sachs thinks fintech has as much potential as trading (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs has been pilloried for lackluster results from its trading division (paywall), so this week the bank gave investors a peek into its plans (pdf) for making more money. Surprisingly, the Wall Street powerhouse thinks it can generate as much revenue from online consumer loans—a market targeted by many fintech startups—as from buying and selling securities.

Specifically, Goldman thinks it can make $1 billion in extra revenue from its consumer lending business over the next three years, as much as it expects for its trading operations. Combined with new lending for the wealthy and companies, the bank expects to bring in $2 billion in additional sales from loans. Goldman co-chief operating officer Harvey Schwartz said it’s one of the fastest-growing lending platforms ever launched, even though he says the bank is taking its time with the nascent business. The bank’s digital consumer-lending arm called Marcus is expected to have lent out $2 billion by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, big banks have access to cheaper funds than peer-to-peer lenders like Lending Club or Zopa. With consumer deposits and the billions of dollars they routinely borrow in credit markets, banks can undercut the loan rates offered by smaller companies.

That said, Schwartz acknowledged that consumer lending isn’t immune to economic downturns, and analysts cited by Bloomberg were skeptical about Goldman jumping into a market outside its core expertise.

Source: Quartz

The Bank of Google or Amazon? Don’t count on it (American Banker), Rated: AAA

It might seem like it is only a matter of time before the tech giants knock on banking’s door. In fact, a recent World Economic Forum report posited that big tech companies present a greater challenge to banks than fintech startups. The report notes that regulators will accept a more “oligopolistic distribution of financial services products by tech firms.” Already, the fintech providers Social Finance and Square have applied for FDIC-insured banking charters, just as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency continues work to develop its limited-purpose fintech charter. Are the largest tech firms next in line?

Incumbents still hold the upper hand. The risk of an Amazon or Google or Apple dominating the traditional banking sector is nowhere near a slam dunk.

In every scenario, the tech giants would need to persuade regulators to grant them some kind of charter access in order to effectively compete and level the playing field on funding costs. This would involve easing traditional limits on commercial firms owning banks, and potentially navigating opposition from members of Congress.

But more fundamentally, tech giants have had mixed experiences in rolling out financial services such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay. And despite the reported consumer skepticism of legacy institutions, banks still continue to maintain a high volume of customer relationships.

SoFi CEO Resigns; Goldman & Mosaic Ink Deal; SoFi & Lending Club Deal Analysis (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In the fallout of the Equifax breach, the leading credit bureaus are dealing with an overwhelming volume of credit freeze requests from consumers. While it is still too early to tell, it seems that the genie is out of the bottle. The breach is sparking additional focus on FinTech innovation to protect consumers (e.g., digital identity verification, disposable card numbers, etc.).

Beyond the headlines, SoFi’s growth engine continues. In Q2 2017 alone, SoFi funded $3.1 Bn in loans with $134 Mn in revenue and $61.6 Mn in adjusted EBITDA. Revenue and adjusted EBITDA were up 67% and 60% year over year respectively.  The news of Cagney’s resignation coincided with SoFi marketing its latest personal loan deal which priced this Friday. Interest in SCLP 2017-5 was initially strong, however the bond priced somewhat wider than guidance.

SoFi’s Latest Consumer Lending Deal: SCLP 2017-5

After Mike Cagney’s resignation on Friday, the lead underwriter re-launched SCLP 2017-5. Since guidance was released before the critical NY Times article on Tuesday, we have a close (but imperfect) control to study the consequences of management upheaval on deal execution.

ABS investors reacted negatively to the news; the bonds priced 10 to 15 bps wider than guidance on Monday.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Filings, S&P, Kroll Bond Rating Agency

LendingClub’s Self-Sponsored Prime Consumer Deal: CLUB 2017-P1

This is the second self-sponsored deal from LendingClub, and it follows the success of CLUB 2017-NP1. LendingClub expects to alternate between prime and near-prime securitizations at least once a year going forward. Of the $363 Mn outstanding, approximately $100 Mn came from LendingClub’s balance sheet (a shift from prior management’s business practice); the remaining loans were contributed from investors.

The CLUB 2017-NP1 and CLUB 2017-P1 deals total to approximately $628 Mn in loans, yet LendingClub has facilitated almost $29 Bn in loans on its platform as of Q2 2017 making it a small part of LendingClub by dollars loaned but a meaningful portion of EBITDA.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Filings, Kroll Bond Ratings Agency

The FinTech Investor Podcast Series: Interview With Ron Suber (SoundCloud), Rated: A

DiversyFund Sells Pre-IPO Shares in Accredited Offer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

DiversyFund, a real estate crowdfunding marketplace, is selling pre-IPO shares in a Series A crowdfunding round through a Reg D 506(c) offering.

The Form D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicated that Diversyfund had sold $200,000 of a $6 million funding round as of August 31st. Minimum investments of $100,000 are being accepted from accredited investors only.

Misha Esipov of Nova Credit (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How talking with international students at Stanford led to the idea for Nova Credit.
  • The big problem that Nova Credit is trying to solve.
  • How they began their journey in trying to solve this problem.
  • Details of their Credit Passport product, the international credit report.
  • How they were able to convince international credit bureaus to share their data.
  • Why the big three U.S. credit bureaus have not developed an international credit report.
  • How Nova Credit is able to standardize data from very different countries.
  • Nova Credit’s business model and their similarity to a traditional credit bureau.
  • How they can report back credit data to international bureaus.
  • The other vertical they focus on beyond lending.
  • The kinds of lending platforms they are working with today.
  • The progress they have made since LendIt USA 2017.
  • When they first started making revenue.
  • Who has been backing Nova Credit.
  • What is on their road map for the next 6-12 months.
  • How they view expanding into new markets to help immigrants other countries.

The SoFi Sex Scandal Highlights How Hard It Is For Women In Fintech (Fast Company), Rated: A

Fintech has become a major force over the decade since the financial crisis, with $12.8 billion in venture capital flowing into the sector in 2016 alone. But of the nearly 500 deals that took place in the U.S. last year, less than a dozen went to companies founded by women.

“It’s lonely to be a woman in fintech, especially as a CEO,” says Rachel Mayer, cofounder and CEO of Trigger, an automated tool for investing alerts.

At Anthemis, based in London, 56% of employees are women, a remarkably equitable gender breakdown that is consistent at every level.

Former banking executive Sallie Krawcheck is following a similar playbook with her female-focused investing service, Ellevest. Since founding the company three years ago she has raised over $50 million in venture funding.

A survey of U.K.-based fintech firms published last week revealed that women represented just 3 in 10 employees. Of fintech board directors globally, just 8% are women.

Good news for fintech seen in CFPB’s ‘no-action’ move (American Banker), Rated: A

In an interview Friday, Upstart co-founder and CEO Dave Girouard explained why the fintech applied for the letter and how it works.

Is it fair to think of a no-action letter as a stay-out-of-jail-free card?

DAVE GIROUARD: We’re careful about not trying to interpret it in any way that is different than what the CFPB says it is. The letter makes it clear that they have reviewed what we do and how we do what we do and that they don’t find issue with it.

How do you feel about the agreement?

We’re pleased that the CFPB recognized the consumer advantage of alternative data and machine learning, the fact that it could make affordable credit more broadly available to more people.

So it’s not just about Upstart for sure — it’s the acceptance of these more modern techniques because they can and will benefit consumers broadly over time.

Sharestates Appoints New Chief Operating Officer, Adds SOC 2 Type 2 Certification (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Sharestates, an online real estate crowdfunding marketplace, has announced that Nicole Joseph has joined the executive team as the new Chief Operating Officer.

The new hire is accompanied by the completion of the company’s SOC 2 Type 2 Certification, which affirms that Sharestates now meets the security requirements and parameters for storing information on the cloud as laid out by The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

ReliaMax Announces New Whole Loan Portfolio Placement Service (BusinessWire), Rated: A

ReliaMax®, the complete private student lending solutions provider for banks, credit unions and alternative lenders, today announced at the 23rd Annual ABS East 2017 Conference a new whole loan trading service, ReliaMax Portfolio Placement, as an extension of its existing capital markets and liquidity programs. The ReliaMax Portfolio Placement service will facilitate qualified existing private student whole loan portfolios for sellers and buyers.

The ReliaMax Portfolio Placement service provides unique value to the private student lending marketplace in multiple ways including insurance, default prevention, credit analysis, and servicing. Some benefits include:

  • State-of-the-art servicing through ReliaMax helps buyers maximize the value of their portfolio, providing compliance and regulatory support and staffing to manage student loan-specific servicing requirements.
  • Loan insurance through ReliaMax Surety Company covers 100% principal and interest and mitigates risks, reduces defaults, and provides better cash flow.
  • Portfolio review and credit analysis provides guidance around the price at which the portfolio might transact.

ReliaMax has been involved in many third-party portfolio transactions. For example, in December 2106, MetaBank acquired a $151 million student loan portfolio which ReliaMax Surety Company now insures. The transaction also included the conversion of the portfolio servicing onto the ReliaMax Platform. Over the last three years, ReliaMax has provided insurance and/or servicing on 12 portfolio placement transactions.

The Top Small Business Funders By Revenue (deBanked), Rated: A

Square $1,700,000,000 $1,267,000,000 Went public November 2015
OnDeck $291,300,000 $254,700,000 Went public December 2014
Kabbage $171,800,000 $97,500,000 Received $1.25B+ valuation in Aug 2017

Lendio Partners with Ocrolus to Automate Bank Statement Analysis (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans,today announced a partnership with Ocrolus, the emerging leader in bank statement review automation. The PerfectAudit API, powered by Ocrolus, analyzes uploaded bank statements with 99+% accuracy, replacing manual review with automation. Ocrolus technology allows lenders, for the first time, to review every potential borrower’s bank statement data automatically, regardless of whether or not the borrower provides sensitive bank login credentials.

In April, Lendio became the first lending marketplace to integrate with Ocrolus, whose clients include banks, alternative lenders, accounting firms, law firms, and government entities. The PerfectAudit API gives Lendio the ability to systematically combat bank statement fraud and conduct a hyper-accurate review for every potential borrower.

Outsiders and Insiders Are Behind the Fintech Revolution (JD Supra), Rated: A

From peer-to-peer lending to online banking, the fintech industry is a rapidly growing area for technology investment. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, U.S. venture capital-backed fintech start-ups raised $1.1 billion across 90 deals, according to CBInsights Global Fintech Report. The only region to outdo the U.S. during this same period was Asia, which reported for the same group investment of $2.7 billion across 226 deals.

There exists a wide range of technologies that fall under the definition of fintech, and each is seeing significant growth. One such technology is artificial intelligence, which, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers 2017 Global Fintech Report, 30 percent of large financial institutions are investing in. For example, another factoid from a separate PricewaterhouseCoopers report, projects that, by 2020, AI will automate a considerable amount of underwriting.

Mobile payments are another rapidly growing area of fintech, with TechCrunch reporting that there will be an estimated $60 billion worth of payments made on mobile platforms in 2017. The site also predicts that, by 2020, 90 percent of smartphone users will have made a mobile payment, which serves to underscore just how commonplace this fintech will be within a very short time.

AON: ALTERNATIVE RISK PREMIA VIABLE FOR MANY (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

A new report from Aon discusses the contemporary market for alternative risk premia: where it is, how it got here; where it may be headed.

The authors, Matthew Towsey and Chris Walvoord, begin with some very basic considerations of what ‘risk premia’ are. They are, on the one hand, the payments one receives for taking on a risk that others do not wish to hold (providing insurance), or they are on the other the winnings one pockets on strategies that take advantage of market anomalies.

A Q&A With NerdWallet CEO Tim Chen: ‘We’re Making An Impact’ (Benzinga), Rated: B

How does NerdWallet create its content and recommendations? Do data and algorithms play a role in your platform? I’m curious about the company from a fintech perspective.

It’s actually a mixture of both — algorithms and incredibly smart, financially savvy humans power our recommendations, reviews and expert advice.

The company seems to simplify financial information for everyday consumers. Do you think NerdWallet has helped to democratize the space?

That’s the goal! I truly believe that a person that has spent no time at all thinking about personal finance and can’t afford a financial advisor, should be able to make the same quality of choice as the most financially savvy person in the country

SDIRA TV Offers New Strategies Amidst Massive Equifax Hack (PR Web), Rated: A

Experts deliver new alternative investment advice and resources for individuals being impacted by the giant 2017 Equifax data breach. This includes all new episodes of SDIRA TV with national finance experts and investment advisors, as well as a side by side comparison white paper on retirement investing options.

Deeper concerns have surfaced as it was discovered three Equifax executives sold off substantial amounts of personally held stock before making the breach known.

20 Places You Can Raise Funding for Your Business (TechBullion), Rated: B

  1. Crowdfunding

There are several platforms where you can create your crowdfunding campaign. Examples include KickstarterIndiegogoand Go Get Funding.

  1. Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending involves a group of people coming together to lend money to each other. You can look for an entrepreneur peer who is willing to fund ideas similar to yours.

  1. Online Lending

There are several online lending service providers. Good examples are Kabbageand OnDeck.These online lenders will process your application within hours as opposed to traditional lenders.

 

My Take On Real Estate Crowdfunding (ValueWalk), Rated: B

Many of these platforms seem to market to investors, showcasing high dividend yields in the 8% – 10%/year range.

I read the following two articles in my research:

In general, those are new untested platforms, which may or may not do well for you over time. These investments have not been time tested during a recession. In addition, I do not understand very well how investment assets are segregated in those platforms, and how things would work out if a project you invested in fails miserably.

As Financial Processes Go Digital, Detroit Looks To Siphon Talent From New York, Chicago (Benzinga), Rated: B

He’s talking about fintech, which has leveled the playing field for non-New Yorks to flourish in financial services. Inspired by emerging tech trends, Raznick and Benzinga are taking stakes in Michigan’s future by spearheading the new Detroit Fintech Association.

The nonprofit trade organization will enhance the community’s exposure, connect startups with national leaders and mentors, support talent recruitment and magnify the Detroit voice in U.S. regulatory discussions. The DFA also aims to improve financial literacy in the city through work with Detroit high schools and higher education institutions.

FHA Loan Originations Expected to Generate Servicing Portfolio Growth Leading to Servicers Taking on Greater Non-Performing Loans and REO (Marketwired), Rated: A

Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (“Altisource”) (NASDAQ: ASPS), a provider of real estate, mortgage and technology services, today issued the results of its inaugural Default Servicing Survey, a survey of over 200 mortgage default servicing professionals. According to the study, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of servicing professionals surveyed predicted FHA/VA loan volumes would increase within their organizations in the next 12 to 24 months; 41 percent believed FHA loans will offer their organizations the most portfolio growth over the same time period.

According to the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development, FHA loans accounted for over 17 percent of newly originated mortgages in 20161 and currently constitute 35 percent of all loans delinquent for 30 or more days2. As the issuance of FHA loans grows, so does the potential increase in volume of default assets. Thus, it is not surprising that 93 percent of servicing professionals surveyed stated that foreclosure/trustee and Claims Without Conveyance of Title (CWCOT) capabilities are important factors to consider when evaluating a vendor to manage growing default portfolios.

Servicing Professionals Cite Challenges Stemming from Costs of FHA Conveyance and Managing CWCOT Programs

Servicing professionals (29 percent) cited remitting fees, costs and financial obligations associated with FHA conveyance as the greatest challenge for effective CWCOT programs. For servicing professionals working with third-party vendors to manage CWCOT portfolios, 15 percent said overall vendor management is a challenge associated with managing CWCOT programs while another 15 percent pointed to timeline delays and increased costs due to attorney oversight; 11 percent cited not having enough in-house personnel on staff to effectively manage the program.

Third-Party Expertise and Central Coordination are Critical to Successful CWCOT Program Administration

In order to overcome the financial, regulatory and oversight challenges associated with their vendors’ CWCOT programs, servicers must carefully evaluate their third-party vendor strategy to ensure vendors possess the right expertise and resources to execute the program. Most servicing professionals surveyed (97 percent) said they are exploring options including a single-vendor approach to help achieve their objectives; 91 percent identified FHA asset management experience as an important criterion for vendors. When specifically evaluating single vendors, 72 percent of servicing professionals surveyed said consistency and efficiency in managing REO properties is a very important consideration; 69 percent also pointed to compliance management.

United Kingdom

Equifax says as many as 400,000 UK consumers may be affected by data breach (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Equifax, the US credit-reporting company at the heart of a cyber-security scandal, has admitted that as many as 400,000 UK consumers may have had their personal information stolen.

The company said that while its UK systems were not affected by the massive cyber raid that targeted information for as many as 143m Americans, UK customer data “may potentially have been accessed”, because it was stored on US systems between 2011 and 2016.

If Equifax’s forecast is borne out, the data breach will be the biggest in UK cyber history, bypassing that of payday lender Wonga, which affected more than 250,000 customers.

RateSetter launches consumer hire-purchase product (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has launched a hire-purchase (HP) product for individuals looking to buy vehicles.

Consumers will be able to borrow up to £25,000, but the peer-to-peer lender expects the agreements typically to be around £6,000. The terms range between 12 and 60 months, with APRs going from 19.9 per cent to 49.9 per cent depending on the customer’s creditworthiness.

Assetz Capital Reports “Development Funding Boom” with 175% Increase (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer lender Assetz Capital is reporting it has seen a year-on-year increase of 175% in the number of property development projects funded around the UK. The online lender says this rise comes following sustained growth in the funding pool for property developments, as investors hunt for a piece of the development market.

There are two new types of Isa – should you switch to them? (The Telegraph), Rated: A

But as new types of Isa have emerged and new rules have been introduced, the situation has become more complicated.

And some Isa features – notably “flexibility”, which allows account holders to make withdrawals and then pay the money back in during the same tax year while keeping the tax benefits – have not been introduced by all providers, which has further muddied the waters.

A Help to Buy Isa, a type of cash Isa, is also an option. First-time buyers can deposit £1,200 in the first month and £200 a month thereafter to put towards a home purchase. The Government then tops up savers’ money by 25pc.

However, you can’t pay into a normal cash Isa and Help to Buy Isa in the same year, unless you choose a provider that allows you to split the cash. Nationwide and Aldermore both offer this option; they pay 2pc and 1.75pc respectively.

Lifetime Isas 

The Lifetime Isa is the newest addition to the Isa family.

Consumers between the ages of 18 and 40 can use the accounts to save towards their first home or retirement. Up to £4,000 can be put away each year into either a cash Lisa or a stocks and shares version. Eligible savers can continue to contribute until the age of 50.

Hargreaves Lansdown, Britain’s biggest fund shop, and rivals including AJ Bell, The Share Centre and Nutmeg, an online wealth manager, offer investment Lisas.

Innovative Finance Isas 

These Isas shield peer-to-peer investments, which allow consumers to offer unsecured loans to individuals and businesses through online platforms such as Zopa and Ratesetter, and certain “crowdfunding” investments, from tax.

Lending Works was the first to offer the new Isa, paying the same return as the firm’s existing accounts.

Zopa allows existing customers to sell their loans and buy them back within the Isa. They can also transfer their Isas with other providers to Zopa.

Networks are the new corporations (Inside Bitcoins), Rated: A

There are a lot more people in the world that can collectively lend micro loans on a regular basis than there are corporations that can regularly distribute loans above the value of a thousand dollars.

“A network of independent lenders committed to distributing micro loans could potentially rival long established financial organisations in terms of the combined value of peer to peer loans serviced to borrowers on a world wide scale” says Richard Ochieze, Managing Director at Ledgermark, LTD.

The case for Digital Collateral

The internet makes non repayment of loans a marvellously simple task for borrowers and as such; organisations like the Funding Circle, a peer to peer lending firm, are left wide open to have the profits of their retail investors depleted due to this lingering risk.

Traditional financial institutions have been able to maintain a fortress of checks and balances such as strict collateral requirements for both business and personal loans in order to provide themselves with a means of recourse should a borrower fail to repay his debt.

In this digital age in which peer to peer transactions are becoming the norm, this same form of protection must be made available to the average individual who wishes to loan his money out to borrowers in return for profit.

However, the question must be asked: how can a borrower pledge his house or farm as collateral via an online loans application?

Prior to the invention of the Blockchain such an asset did not exist and now that it does, the door has been opened to allow individuals based anywhere in the world to distribute and/or become the recipient of a secured micro-loan.

Can a robot help you invest for retirement? (AOL), Rated: A

Robo-adviser Wealth Wizards, for example, typically charges £65 for advice on investments of up to £30,000, and 0.30%, or £300, for guidance on what to do with a £100,000 retirement savings pot.

A typical financial adviser, meanwhile, charges about £580 for telling you how to invest a £200-a-month pension contribution, or between £1,000 and £2,000 for at-retirement advice on your £100,000 pot, according to figures from UK adviser network Unbiased.

JustGiving targeted by criminals for money laundering (BBC), Rated: B

Fundraising website JustGiving has said criminals are attempting to use its site to launder money.

The website told the BBC it had shut down nearly 100 of its appeal pages in the past 18 months because it believed they were fraudulent.

When discovered, no payments were processed, he said.

China

China will step up supervision of overseas investment risks – insurance regulator (Reuters), Rated: A

China will strengthen its supervision of overseas investment risks and capital flows from insurance funds, the insurance regulator said on Monday, adding that it will urge companies to improve their risk monitoring systems.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) will step up supervision over the use of insurance funds, with focus on “chaos” such as irrational stock market fundraising and overseas acquisitions, said Guo Jing, vice head of the finance and accounting department of the CIRC.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Shanghai-based BTCC is the largest and first domestic bitcoin exchange in China. On September 14th, BTCC announced that it would immediately stop new user registration and close operation in China on September 30th.

The 2nd China Fintech Conference (2017) will be held on September 17th, 2017 in Beijing.
IDC Financial Insights announced the 2017 Fintech Rankings and Real Results at Finovate Fall New York 2017. This year, 4 Chinese companies won the honor to be named in the 2017 IDC Fintech Rankings. They are Ping An Technology (38), Hundsun Technologies Inc. (54), Pactera Technology International, Ltd. (55) and ECCOM Network System, Ltd. (64).
Last week, China’s financial and educational regulators announced to ban online lenders from offering loans to college students, and encouraged commercial banks to offer micro-credit products for the campus market. As a response to the call, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has launched its own student loan product Rong e Loan this week.
European Union

Order not going to “Pending” with Klarna (Drupal), Rated: A

Project:  SOFORT Banking for Ubercart
Version:  7.x-3.1

Sofort has been bought by Klarna. Although everything should function as normal according to Klarna, since the switch the order is not going into “pending” after checkout — order status is “in checkout”.

commented 

This is a good place trying to get this sorted. My questions are:

  • Is this a new shop or one that runs for a while and worked OK before?
  • From the screenshot it looks like Sofort sends notifications pretty often, is that true?
  • The expectation is that the first of those notifications should switch the status to pending and confirming that to Sofort so that they know you got it and then they wouldn’t notify you again, right?

commented 

That’s exactly why this is failing. The Ubercart payment module wants to write into its table the value Aus sofort-Überweisung wird Klarna into the field method.

You should notify Sofort AG about this problem and I will do the same.

International

Klarna partners with global technology company Wacom (Klarna), Rated: AAA

Today we are proud to announce a new partnership with global technology company Wacom® that further accelerates Klarna’s expansion in the U.S. Wacom is now bringing our simple retail financing solution to the world of creative interface technology and software.

Financing a purchase over time has historically been optimized for brick and mortar stores. But the online equivalent can often be an ordeal, with redirects, lengthy forms and unclear information. Our process only requires a few fields of information, and lets consumers know instantly if they qualify for the financing solution.

How Incumbents Can Take on FinTech Challengers (LendIt), Rated: A

Digital technology has changed financial services. It has facilitated innovation, increased competition and made the mobile customer experience the key differentiator.

This embodies a strategic threat with McKinsey estimating that legacy financial institutions will see profits decline by up to 60% by 2025 if they fail to evolve, a figure which should be motivating incumbents to look outside of traditional practices for growth and sustainability.

Millennials and digital natives have turned away from traditional banks in search of mobile alternatives. They are drawn to the best products and experience, and banks with the right level of service can win over this large market. Mobile-only banks like N26 are leading the way.

SME lending also offers a significant opportunity for growth. The European Commission’s SME Performance Review estimated just under 23 million small and medium enterprises generated €3.9 trillion in value add and employed 90 million people in 2016-2016, and McKinsey has identified a $350 billion untapped lending opportunity within this sector.

One path is acquisition, which banks like BBVA have followed by acquiring companies like Finland’s Holvi and neobank Simple. This is an expensive option complicated by having to find a company with the right fit for the business.

Given the technology available, a cleaner option would be to build a digital banking spinoff which can operate like a FinTech.

Meridian Proposes to Bring Peer to Peer Lending into the Age of the Blockchain (Crypto Insider), Rated: A

The far reaching nature of the internet has allowed the myriad of local economies that exist in the world to become merged into one, global, interwoven marketplace.

Despite this, it is still incredibly difficult for people to get a loan from an international organisation – without offering some form of collateral and/or proving credit worthiness.

The average size of deposit needed to get a mortgage is 62% of annual income, and in London, it’s 131%.

As a result, only 20% of 25-year-olds own their home today compared with 46% 20 years ago – less than half.

If you have a bad (or no) credit history, it is virtually impossible to borrow from a mainstream lender.

Banks and building societies advertise temptingly low rates, but they only need to apply to 51% of successful applicants, so almost half of all borrowers pay a different rate – probably higher.

Director of Ledgermark LTD, Richard Ochieze, explains:

An alternative should be offered to people who are being let down by the traditional banking system. We believe that the Meridian system can do a lot to alleviate some of the problems that exist in today’s online lending market.

The Meridian service offers users the opportunity to procure a loan of up to one Bitcoin at a time.

To qualify for a loan users must pledge a certain amount of Meridian tokens as collateral.

Meridian tokens can be purchased during the ICO on 12 October 2017 and will then become tradable on all alternative currency exchanges.

India

Google gets into digital payments fray in India (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

Google is expected to launch a mobile payments app in India next week, according to several news reports. Google Tez, which means “fast” in Hindi is the anticipated name of the payments service, which Indian news outlet The Ken says is “largely fashioned on the company’s global product – Android Pay“.

As TechCrunch notes, “this is a big deal because Google hasn’t made a big push into payments outside of the US.”

ICICI plans payday-type loans in pact with e-tailers (India Times), Rated: AAA

In a first of its kind for India, ICICI Bank will partner with e-commercefirms to provide automated payday loan-type credit to customers at the bottom of the digital pyramid. Unlike other software-based loans, the digital credit planned by the bank will be available to non-customers and new-to-credit borrowers.

Speaking to TOI, Anup Bagchi, executive director, ICICI Bank, said that the bank would price these loans similar to credit card advances. In the West, payday loans are advances that fund the low-income individuals to make up for cash shortfalls until their salary. The difference in the ICICI Bank loan is that for the first month, the buyer will get free credit for up to 45 days. It is only if they do not pay on the due date that borrowers will be charged interest at close to credit card rates.

The bank will lend to new-to-credit customers based on their track record with the e-commerce provider.

Here’s why RBI wants to regulate online P2P lending (VC Circle), Rated: A

“The RBI is concerned that this can go big and get out of control,” says Harish.

Faircent—which is backed by financial institutions like JM Financial, venture fund Aarin Capital and Mohandas Pai-promoted 3one4 Capital—is seen as the largest online P2P lender in India. Other names include Lendbox, Rupaiya Exchange and LenDen Club.

There are typically three models through which such lenders operate, says Aditya Kumar, founder and chief executive officer at Qbera.com, an online lender that began operations in February this year and claims to have a Rs 10 crore loan book. “While there are at least 30-40 P2P players, who connect lenders to borrowers, 15-20 do marketplace lending (where money is raised from banks and other financial institutions) and then there are loan aggregators who have been around for longer,” says Kumar.

While Kumar says the total P2P lending market size would be around Rs 25 crore, Rajat Gandhi, founder and CEO at Faircent, puts the figure at Rs 50-70 crore on an annualised basis.

Figures available with Peer2Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) suggest that the global P2P lending market saw cumulative lending of £8.5 billion during the first quarter of 2017, against £5.8 billion three quarters before. In the same period, the number of lenders grew by a fifth from 1.5 lakh to just over 1.8 lakh.

How to boost your retirement income with P2P Lending (India Times), Rated: A

The discourse around P2P lending has always been centered around what it means for borrowers and the advantages they can derive. However, what gets missed is that P2P lending has the potential to be a great source of investment for the lenders contributing to their retirement fund.

P2P lending is an investment delivering multiple benefits when building a retirement plan:

1. Add Lending to your Portfolio Mix: The adage that talks of not putting all your eggs in one basket still holds true. An investor should not limit his portfolio to only a few asset class, but focus on investing across investment opportunities so that market fluctuations do not have a huge negative impact on their retirement funds.

2. Steady and high returns not Linked to Stock Markets: P2P lending adds to building such a diversified investment portfolio while delivering returns that are not merely comparable, but often preferable to returns from other investment instruments such as mutual funds, stocks, and SIPs.

Lenders on Faircent.com are earning gross returns to the tune of 18% to 24% per annum on an average by building a diversified loans portfolio.

3. Income Generation & Power of Compounding: Another reason that P2P investment does well is because investors can compound their earnings. Lenders are earning back part of their investment, both principal and return, every month.

Asia

Get Me My Wedding Present: How We Run a Micro-Lending Business in Cambodia (Cointelegraph), Rated: AAA

MicroMoney co-founder and CEO Anton Dzyatkovsky on attracting new customers, recruitment issues and risks in greenfield countries.

Now that we’ve opened new offices in Myanmar, Thailand and Sri-Lanka, our decision to start with Cambodia can be seen as a definitive step which enabled us to embrace the largest community of unbanked people in the region, bringing the advantages of Blockchain as the key technology for global financial inclusion.

Cambodia is all about banks

For us as Europeans, the first surprise was the population’s absolute trust in local banks.

The US dollar is as used in Cambodia as the local currency is, and the exchange rate has remained stable for over 20 years. State regulators do not exercise particular pressure on the financial industry, and by the time we stepped into the game, 50 organizations had been involved in the consumer loan industry, each with an average capital of $1.5 mln and an ARPU of $5,000.

30-day overdue loans in Cambodia account for only 0.9 percent of the total, so the PAR ratio (portfolio at risk) is quite profitable (according to the local Central Bank).

Our Cambodian lessons

  • A growing share of the middle class due to the growth of GDP. For instance, Cambodian GDP grew six percent in 2016.
  • A market capable of generating cheap leads. We discovered all Cambodians belonging to the target audience have at least one active Facebook account, and for them Facebook often equals Internet in general: every national mobile operator provides free access to Facebook.
  • Dormant or non-existent competition. in Cambodia there were no paperless lending services without an escrow of land or real estate property.
  • Eager audience in need of a product. when we were checking out the market, we found only five percent of the population had a credit record. According to McKinsey, the number of ‘unbanked’ people in Asian region overall ranges from 65 to 80 percent of the adult population.
  • Collaboration at the local level. It helped us understand local customers and comply with local regulations (in this case you must be ready to assign 51 percent of your newly established company to a local partner).

Peer lending for small businesses (The Star), Rated: A

Funding Societies, which started in Singapore in 2015, is one of the first peer-to-peer (P2P) financing companies to open its doors here in Malaysia in February this year. It is also present in Indonesia.

Wong, who learned about alternative financing while studying at Harvard Business School, says P2P is well-suited for the Malaysian and South-East Asian markets where there is a big gap in SME financing. He estimates financing needs for small businesses in Malaysia to be at RM80bil.

According to Research and Markets, the global P2P lending market was valued at US$26bil in 2015 and is projected to reach US$460bil by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 51.5% from 2016 to 2022.

Funding Societies has made it to the Fintech 250 list, which is recognised and regulated by Securities Commission Malaysia, to provide financing to SMEs. The company also provides flexible investment opportunities with rigorous risk assessment and returns of up to 14% per year for investors, says Wong.

So far, the company has done more than 800 deals and disbursed more than RM180mil in financing to SMEs in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Default rate in the region is low at about 2%.

Bank approves online accounts in foreign currencies (Taipei Times), Rated: A

Taiwanese could soon be able to open bank accounts denominated in foreign currencies on the Internet after the central bank on Thursday gave its go-ahead to the plan.

Local banks could seek approval for the new accounts by the end of this year, or 60 days after the introduction of the new regulations, the central bank said in a statement.

Taishin, the banking arm of Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) and the nation’s largest online lender by the number of accounts, told reporters that it aims to be the first applicant when the notification period begins.

Africa

Outsurance buys CoreShares stake as it launches robo-adviser (BusinessDay), Rated: AAA

Outsurance is to acquire a 25% stake in passive investment manager CoreShares, as the insurance company’s robo-adviser, Outvest, goes live.

The acquisition complemented Outvest, an online, automated advice business, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

In SA, financial advisers, to more effectively service their clients, are predominantly using these platforms, although there are platforms available to retail investors.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday June 28 2017, Daily News Digest

china big banks

News Comments Yesterday, Lending-Times incorrectly stated that Zopa would charge all borrowers the same rates with its planned bank. In actuality, the plan is to price the book the same between new and existing customers, and not make a difference between new and existing customers as other banks do. Today’s main news: MarketInvoice, Funding Circle, […]

china big banks
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United States

Elevate’s RISE Credit Enters a Sixteenth State, Offering Lines of Credit in Kansas (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, announced today that its RISE product, traditionally offering installment loans, will now offer lines of credit. Kansas will be the sixteenth state where RISE’s products are available and the first state in which RISE’s line of credit is available to non-prime consumers.

RISE is a state-licensed online lender offering unsecured installment loans and lines of credit. RISE is designed to meet the needs of the millions of non-prime Americans with less than prime-credit, who do not have access to traditional sources of credit. RISE is a path toward a brighter financial future with features such as fast approval, flexible loan terms, lower rates than other non-prime lenders, rates that can go down over time, credit bureau reporting, free credit score monitoring and financial literacy courses.

Take These 9 Steps Early To Make The Most Of Your Company’s Regulation A+ IPO (Forbes), Rated: AAA

When online peer to peer lending was new, consumers were the first investors to step in while accredited and institutional investors stayed on the sidelines until later – they now dominate the peer to peer lending business, which has grown to be a huge multi-billion dollar market.

1. If you have an enthusiastic following in your industry:

If you have a large enough network, this group might fund your entire capital raise. Take steps to build a working contact list of them. And make sure to establish a regular habit of emailing them so that when you later send out an email suggesting that they consider investing in your Reg A+ offering, your email will be opened and read.

2. Build a large and enthusiastic customer base.

VidAngel emailed their most active 30k customers andraised $10 mill in 5 days live to investors, setting the record for the fastest rate of onlineinvestor capital raise in Reg A+ to date.

3. Establish a direct sales relationship with your customers.

When your customers find it normal that you send them an email message, they are far more likely to respond favorably when you send them an email offering them the opportunity to become an investor and part owner of your company.

4. Add a consumer appealing product or service;

5. Build a large social media fan base;

A fan base of 100k people is a good start.

6. Combine product and investment marketing;

This combination can save marketing expense and also emphasizes the brand building and product sales synergy that can be levered in a Reg A+ offering.

7. Leverage your existing investors;

As an example, a sizable portion of the recent MYONYSE IPO and the ADOMNASDAQ IPO investments were from existing investors and their friends.

8. Prepare consumer investment rewards:

Line up your reward packages ahead of time to ensure that you have long lead time items ready and on hand in quantity when your Reg A+ goes live.

9. Assemble the proof points that you will need;

Gather and build the market size and total available market evidence you will need to make credible claims that your market is large enough to justify the attention of investors.

Larry Raffone is racing to ‘lock up’ the 401(k) market by combining robo with a semi-national RIA (RIABiz), Rated: A

Financial Engines Inc. CEO Larry Raffone is seeking to give his company a second date with destiny by combining the biggest 401(k) robo-advisor and one of the larger national RIAs — and coming out of it with a true national RIA that can take on the accounts of Fortune 500 companies at the retail as well as the pension-plan level.

Raffone plans to open new Financial Engines offices in more populous areas such as Southern California, where Financial Engines is already on-site at corporations where participants use its managed account 401(k) service.

The pricing model is still TBD, but William Blair equity analyst Robert Napoli said in an April 6 report that he expects Personal Advisor to come in at 80 basis points. He notes that compares to 35 basis points for FE’s managed account 401(k) program.

LendingOne Closes Series A Funding, Investors Include Ron Suber, Richard Vague, Sidney Brown, Michael Heller (Latest Share News), Rated: A

LendingOne, one of the nation’s fastest growing online lenders for real estate investors, announced today it closed a Series A financing round.

Investors include Ron Suber, a prominent fintech investor and President of Prosper Marketplace, Richard Vague, co-founder and former CEO of two credit card companies, First USA and Juniper Financial, Sidney Brown, CEO of NFI Industries and former Chairman of Sun National Bank, Michael Heller, CEO of Cozen O’Conner, a national full-service law firm, along with LendingOne founder and CEO, Bill Green.

College Ave Closes First Securitization, SoFi Finalizes Its Fourth (Lendedu), Rated: A

College Avenue Student Loans, an online student loan refinancing and origination company, has closed its first securitization of private student loans, according to Global Capital.

Getting into the asset-backed securities (ABS) business for the first time, College Ave’s securitization is a $160.89 million offering backed by private student loans. Barclays is the only underwriter on the company’s first ABS transaction.

Credit research and ratings company DBRS has assigned provisional ratings for the various classes of notes issued by College Ave. The Class A-1 notes worth $95,320,000 have been given an A rating, while the Class A-2 notes worth $43,470,000 have also been an A rating. The Class B notes worth $10,760,000 have been given a BBB rating, and, finally, the Class C notes worth $11,340,000 have been given a BB rating, according to DBRS.

Disruption Brings Great Opportunities — and Risks — to the Middle Market (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Most executives of middle-market companies not only expect their business to experience disruption in the near future, but welcome it, according to Disruption in the Middle Market, a report released today by Capital One Commercial Bank. However, this optimistic view does not always translate into action; only a small portion of middle market companies have taken a full range of defensive measures to protect against disruption’s potentially destructive consequences.

Capital One surveyed more than 300 senior executives from companies with annual revenues ranging from $100 million to $3 billion to determine their views on disruption—a significant interruption to an existing business arising from innovative technology, a new business model, or political, economic and environmental forces.

The study revealed that attitudes toward disruption correlated to size.  Smaller middle-market companies are more likely than their larger counterparts to be unprepared for disruption. The report also highlighted a series of steps, such as strengthening financial relationships, that smaller companies can take to catch up.

Disruption in the Middle Market provides a detailed picture of the views of middle-market executives about disruption and the steps they are taking to address it. Eighty-eight percent of respondents reported that their companies have already experienced disruption or expect to experience it during the next three years.  However, only one-sixth of those surveyed believe they are prepared to deal with a disruptive event. Despite this lack of preparation, four-fifths of middle-market executives view disruption as an opportunity, not a threat.  Many of these executives believe that disruption threatens their industry—but not their own company.  Forty-three percent said that their industry is vulnerable to disruption, while just 18 percent reported that their own company is vulnerable.

Size proved the key determinant in a company’s preparedness and attitude toward disruption. Companies with revenue between $2 billion and $3 billion are much more likely to see a disruptive event as an opportunity than companies in the $100 million to $499 million range. In addition, larger companies are more likely to have insulated themselves from the effects of a disruptive event and to be pursuing a disruptive strategy of their own that could lead to a competitive advantage.

Financial Preparation Is Critical

The study revealed that a strong relationship with a stable financial institution could play a critical role in helping a middle-market company respond to disruptive forces. Sixty-eight percent of those with an ongoing banking relationship expect to need additional funding in the face of a disruption. These companies will find it easier to arrange than the 32 percent without a strong banking relationship.  Here again, smaller companies are at a disadvantage.  Many lack the holistic banking relationship needed to confront disruption, and instead are willing to consider alternative sources of capital like peer-to-peer lending and even crowdfunding.

Attitude toward disruption varies considerably by industry
Middle market executives in some industries have adopted a much more proactive approach to disruption than those in others.

  • Financial services and insurance companies are archetypical disruptors. Forty-seven percent are quite or extremely prepared for disruption, and 83 percent are pursuing a disruptive strategy. The overall middle-market averages for the survey are 16 percent and 60 percent, respectively.
  • Energy, resources, and chemicals companies tend to be classic delayers. Eighty-three percent are slightly or not at all prepared for a disruptive event (compared to 53 percent for the full survey), and only 37 percent are pursuing a disruptive strategy (compared to 60 percent overall).

Plaid puts out a ‘request for startups’ in nine underserved fintech sectors (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Plaid wants to make it easier for financial services companies to serve consumers and businesses, but it also sees significant holes in the fintech ecosystem. As a result, the company has issued a Y Combinator-like “request for startups” to tackle particular issues where it believes significant innovation is lacking.

Like Yodlee before it, Plaid enables startups and other tech companies to more easily connect with banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions, both to authenticate consumer accounts and access their financial data.

  1. Better bills.
  2. Consumer-centric loan servicing.
  3. Hardware + software for branches.
  4. Tax preparation.
  5. Mobile bank account opening.
  6. Abstractions from the core.
  7. Brokerage-as-a-Service.
  8. “Exotic” insurance.
  9. Compliance-as-a-Service.

Easiest Path to Riches on the Web? An Initial Coin Offering (The New York Times), Rated: A

A new crop of technology entrepreneurs is forgoing the usual routes to raising money. The entrepreneurs are not pitching venture capitalists, selling stock in an initial public offering or using crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.

Instead, before they even have a working product, they are creating their own digital currencies and selling so-called coins on the web, sometimes raising tens of millions of dollars in a matter of minutes.

Since the beginning of the year, 65 projects have raised $522 million in these offerings, according to Smith & Crown, a research firm focused on the new industry.

Last month, a small team of computer engineers in Lithuania raised $14 million in 45 minutes by selling a coin, known as Mysterium, that is intended to give access to an encrypted online data service that is still being built.

The next day, a group of coders in the Bay Area pulled in $35 million in under 30 seconds of online fund-raising. The coders were offering Basic Attention Tokens, which will one day work on a new kind of ad-free web browser.

Then this week, a team in Switzerland raised around $100 million for a coin that will be used on an online chat program that has not yet been released, known as Status.

Last year, the first blockbuster coin offering, the Decentralized Autonomous Organization, quickly raised more than $150 million. But the project blew up after a hacker manipulated the code and stole more than $50 million worth of digital currency.

Private SLABS upgrades anticipated (Structured Credit Investor), Rated: A

Moody’s has placed on review for possible upgrade the ratings of 41 private student loan ABS bonds – totalling approximately US$2.56bn worth of securities across 19 securitisations – issued by three marketplace lending platforms. At the same time, Fitch has released an exposure draft of criteria for rating US private student loan ABS that could result in multiple-category upgrades for …

Insurance Tech Rising: 135+ Insurance Startups Across P2P, Life, Commercial & More in One Chart (CB Insights), Rated: A

The map focuses on 11 categories, as follows.

  • Life/annuity: Private startups providing distribution of life insurance products including term life and annuities including Abaris and PolicyGenius
  • Auto insurance (split into distribution, usage-based insurance/telematics, and claims): Startups ranging from aggregators including CoverHound and Goji to white label auto claims apps (Snapsheet) to per-mile managing general agents like Metromile.
  • P2P insurance: Private peer-to-peer insurance and mutual-based startups include Lemonade, Guevara, Friendsurance, and others.
  • Small business insurance: Private tech companies serving as commercial insurance brokers and managing general agents to SMBs  include Insureon, Embroker, and Next Insurance.
  • Insurance industry software/analytics/IaaS: Insurance-specific software across the value chain providers range from BI and data-warehousing startup Quantemplate to insurance fraud detection firm Shift Technology to re-insurance SaaS analytics startup Analyze Re to claims inspection startup Spex.
  • Mobile insurance management: Startups focusing on allowing consumers to manage and purchase insurance policies via their mobile device including Knip and GetSafe.
  • Product insurance: Companies insuring or tracking products — i.e. smartphones, laptops — for insurance applications.
  • Renters/homeowners: Startups providing distribution of renter’s insurance and homeowner’s insurance as well as lease default insurance programs.
  • Sharing economy: Startups working on new insurance products in coverage areas including short-term rental marketplaces and for sharing economy 1099 workers.
  • Health insurance: Across new carriers like Oscar as well as healthcare insurance startups targeted at individuals (Stride Health) and employers (Zenefits).
  • Pet insurance: Startups include Embrace Pet Insurance and Figo Pet Insurance.
Source: CB Insights

 

The Fiduciary Rule And Investment Advisers: Why It Matters (AlphaFlow), Rated: A

One of the most hotly contested aspects of the Fiduciary Rule is around the standard of suitability as a determinant for an investment choice made by a registered representative. Today, a registered representative must only ensure that an investment is ‘suitable’ for a client. This suitability is determined by factors including investment risk tolerance, time frame, and goals. However, there is no determination made as to whether the investment is in the client’s best interests.

To illustrate, let’s say the registered representative (RR) has a choice of offering two different mutual funds to a client. Both invest in similar stocks and have relatively similar returns (before fees), but one charges higher fees and also pays the RR’s firm based on the total dollar investments made into that particular fund.  The RR only offers the client the one for which they get compensated, even though the other mutual fund option may be a better option for the client (because it charges lower fees).  The reason the RR can do this is that both mutual funds are considered “suitable”: meaning as long as the recommendation meets the client’s risk profile and investment goals, then they can offer that product to their client.

In contrast, an investment adviser representative (IAR) must act as a fiduciary.  In the same situation, if the IAR wanted to offer the same mutual fund that the RR did, they would need to disclose to the client that they are getting compensated for sales of that fund and that the lower cost option makes more sense for the client.  So, instead of simply offering a suitable choice for the client, the IAR must: 1) disclose conflicts of interest and, 2) act in the best interest of the client rather than in their own best interest.

What The Fiduciary Rule Would Change

Staying with the scenario above, the Fiduciary Rule would require an RR to act like the IAR in when selling any products related to, or be advising on anything related to retirement.

The rule would also apply to anyone dually-registered (meaning they are registered both as an RR and an IAR).  Currently, the dually-registered representative can decide what ‘hat’ they wear (RR or IAR) when suggesting investments for retirement.

A new way to estimate your home equity (Chicago Tribune), Rated: B

LendingTree, the popular mortgage site, which debuted its own valuation model earlier this month, can tell you why: Because none of the other value estimators calculate your home equity or suggest how and when you might want to tap into it.

If you’re not quite ready to move ahead but instead prefer to track your equity, credit and mortgage situation on a regular basis, you can sign up for a more comprehensive “My LendingTree” service, for which there is no charge. It provides you with monthly updates plus periodic alerts on your home equity movement. You get an alert when there’s “an actionable opportunity” for you to tap into your equity on favorable terms, based on “real-time market data,” changes in your credit files and equity levels, according to the website. There’s no requirement that you take any action.

OppLoans Welcomes Daniel Fell as VP of Business Development and Partnerships (Digital Journal), Rated: B

OppLoans, the nation’s leading socially responsible online lender serving non-prime consumers, has announced the appointment of Daniel Fell to the role of Vice President of Business Development. Fell will oversee all strategic business development and partnership objectives at the high-growth, profitable firm.

6 things that will help cut the cost of your business debt (TD Daily), Rated: B

1. Choosing the right product

Debt works really well when you choose the right type of debt for your business. You can reduce what you pay for business debt by making a well-informed choice. For example, peer-to-peer lending may be an option if you’re unable to get a loan or finance from a traditional bank and can be cheaper too.

2. Nurturing your cashflow/credit score

If your business doesn’t have great creditworthiness, or is too new to have any credit history, then a lender will look at the credit score of someone able to guarantee the business’ debts.

3. Shopping around for the best deal

If you need finance consider all the options – the high street bank, the online lender, the peer-to-peer lender and the government-backed lender.

4. Staying on top of the repayments

5. Consolidating debts

6. Pay your debts off more quickly

United Kingdom

MarketInvoice, Funding Circle, Zopa, LendInvest make Fintech 250 (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

MARKETINVOICE, Funding Circle, Zopa and LendInvest have made CB Insights’ Fintech 250 list for 2017, which awards the companies worldwide that are leading the transformation in financial services.

The list of 250 emerging private companies from 23 countries, which was chosen out of a longlist of more than 2,000 entrants, was revealed by the research firm’s chief executive and co-founder Anand Sanwal during The Future of Fintech conference in New York on Tuesday.

The Fintech 250 companies (in alphabetical order):

51Xinyongka

Axoni

Canopy Tax

55 Capital

Behalf

Capital Float

Acorns

Beijing LaKala Billing Services

Captable.io

Activehours

Better Mortgage

Chain

Addepar

Betterment

Circle Internet Financial

Adyen 

Billtrust

CircleUp

Affirm

BIMA

Clarity Money

Airwallex

bitFlyer

ClearTax

Algomi

BitPesa

Cloud9 Technologies

AlphaSense

Blend

Clover Health

AngelList

Blockstack Labs

Coinbase

Ant Financial Services Group

Blockstream

Coins.ph

Artivest Holdings

BlueVine

ComplyAdvantage

Assembly Payments

bonify

Credit Benchmark

Atom Bank

Branch International

Credit Karma

AutoGravity

Brave Software

Creditas

Auxmoney

Bright Health

CreditEase Insurance Agency

Avalara

C2FO

CreditMantri

AvidXchange

Cadre

Cross River Bank

Crowdcube

IEX Group

Nongfenqi

CurrencyCloud

Indiegogo

Nubank

CurrencyFair

Indifi Technologies

Numerai

Cyence

iyzico

Nutmeg

Dadao Financial

iZettle

One97 Communications  

Deposit Solutions

JD Finance

Onfido

DianRong

Juvo

OpenFin

Digit

Juzhen Financials

OpenGamma

Digital Asset Holdings

Kabbage

Oportun

Digital Reasoning Systems

Kakao Pay

Orchard Platform

Droit Fintech

Kasisto

Oscar Health Insurance Co.

Earnest

Kensho Technologies

Paga

Easynvest

Kickstarter

Parasut

Ebury

Klarna

Paymax

Ellevest

Kreditech

PayNearMe

Embroker

Kyriba

Payoneer

eShares

Ladder

Paystack

Even Respsonsible Finance

Lemonade

Paytm Payment Bank

EverCompliant

LendingHome

PeerIQ

Ezetap Mobile Solutions

Lendingkart

PeerStreet

Factom

LendInvest

Perfios

Fenergo

LendUp

Personal Capital

Fenqile

LevelUp

Ping++

figo

Lu.com

Plaid Technologies

FinanceIt

M-DAQ

Point Digital Finance

FinancialForce.com

Magento Commerce

Polychain Capital

Finrise

MarketInvoice

Ppdai

Flywire

Marqeta

Propel

Folio

Merlon Intelligence

Property Partner

freee

MetroMile

Prospa

Fundbox

MobiKwik

Qapital Insight

Funding Circle

MoMo

QFPay

Funding Societies

MoneyFarm

Qingsongchou

Futu5

Moneytree

Quantopian

GoCardless

Monzo

Qudian

GoFundMe

Mynt

Quovo

GreenSky

N26

Raisin

GuiaBolso

Namely

RealtyShares

Guideline

Nav

Red Dot Payment

Gusto

Neighborly

Reorg Research

Habito

NerdWallet

Revolut

hibob

New York Shipping Exchange  

Ripple Labs

IceKredit

Next Insurance

Riskalyze

Robinhood

THEO

Weidai

Rong360

Tiger Brokers

WeLab

Roofstock

Tink

WorldCover

Roostify

Token

WorldRemit

Seedrs

Tradeshift

Xapo

Shenzhen Kingdee

Trading Ticket

Xiaoyusan Insurance

Suishou Technology

TransferWise 

Xignite

Signifyd

TravelBank

Xishan Information Technology

Silverfin

Trov

YapStone

simplesurance

TrueAccord

Yoco

SirionLabs

Trulioo

YongQianBao

Smava

Trumid

Yuanbaopu

SocietyOne

Tyro Payments

Zeitgold

Socure

Upgrade

ZestFinance

SoFi

VATBox

ZestMoney

solarisBank

Veem

Zhong An Insurance

Stash Invest

Verato

Zoona

Street Contxt

Viva Republica

Zooz

Stripe

Wave Accounting

Zopa

Symphony Communication

Wealthfront

Zuora

Services Holdings

WealthNavi

Tala

Wealthsimple

Tally Technologies

WeCash

Fifty years of the ATM: How long can cash survive in a digital world? (International Business Times), Rated: AAA

Fifty years of using the hole in the wall

  • As of 2015 there were 70,270 cash points in the UK, more than 52,000 of which were free to use.
  • 48 million of us use cash machines and 89% use them at least once a month.
  • In 2015 the amount of average withdrawal was £69.
  • On average each cash machine dispensed £7,576 per day in 2015 – and that figure is on an upward trend.
  • The daily record for cash withdrawals was £730m, which was set on 23 December 2016.
  • 46% of cash machines are in supermarkets, shops and shopping centres, 27% are in banks and 4% in Post Offices.
  • HSBC has the UK’s busiest cash machine by Cambridge Circus in central London.
  • The original cash machine was designed by Scottish inventor John Adrian Shepherd-Barron who came up with the idea of a machine dispensing cash, rather than chocolate bars, while in his bath.
  • ATMs in temples in India let you make religious donations.
  • Vatican City has the only ATM that gives instructions in Latin.

TransferWise CEO talks about Brexit worries for fintech companies (CNBC), Rated: A

 

The Profitability Challenge for Fintech Startups (Finextra), Rated: A

The evidence from a sample of 20 fintech startups in the UK is that there are substantial profitability challenges that still need to be overcome. As of June 2017, the total equity investment in the sample companies I have looked at has been £852m. The total valuation of the sample at the last valuation round for each company was £2.6bn, but none are profitable and cumulative losses have been £211m.

Only one company in the whole sample has reported a single year of profitability, but this has since fallen back into loss.

However, the median losses are: £0.3m in year 1, £1.3m in year 2 and £2.0m in year 3. One company, Atom Bank, is already losing £22.5m in the third year of operation, substantially more than any of the others.

RateSetter exec sees opportunity in Brexit (Bankless Times), Rated: A

While the head of one of the United Kingdom’s largest P2P sites understands why small business owners are hesitant to make big decisions in Brexit’s wake, he cautions them to not miss the opportunities either.

“The door is open for business leaders to redefine Brexit so that it is seen as an opportunity, rather than a threat.”

Increasing options on low-yielding properties (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

Property investors have had to deal with a host of government and regulatory changes over the last couple of years.

These new rules have resulted in many buy-to-let lenders requiring much more significant interest rental coverage, often looking for as high as 145%.

For example, in the last LendInvest Buy-to-Let Index we found that Southampton offered an average yield of 4.08% – significantly lower than landlords can enjoy in other areas of the UK. Yet it has seen solid capital price growth at 5.47%,  its excellent transport links into the capital regularly see it named as a future house price hotspot, while the presence of two large universities boosts its appeal to landlords.

FT PARTNERS CONTINUES EXPANSION WITH ESTABLISHMENT OF EMEA PRESENCE IN LONDON (LendIt.com), Rated: B

Financial Technology Partners (FT Partners), the only global investment banking firm focused exclusively on FinTech, is pleased to formally announce its planned expansion into the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) markets. This announcement is a direct response to the global demand the Firm is seeing for its highly specialized and deep domain focused advisory capabilities from EMEA clients and further highlights the Firm’s strong activity in cross-border FinTech deals globally. FT Partners’ global team of FinTech focused investment bankers will continue to serve its clients and its EMEA operations will be based out of London in the United Kingdom. The Firm is also announcing the continued expansion of its senior team with the addition of Timm Schipporeit, former FinTech investment banker at Morgan Stanley and FinTech investor at Index Ventures, who joins as Managing Director in our London office

Women In Fintech 2017 Powerlist: Innovate Finance Opens Nominations (Forbes), Rated: B

UK organisation and global fintech representative Innovate Finance has announced today the opening for submissions to its 2017 Women in Fintech Powerlist.

Innovate Finance is calling on both men and women to submit names of female colleagues (CxOs, managers, lawyers and journalists) to be included in the 2017 Powerlist.

China

Fintech No Threat for China’s Big Banks (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Concerns that bad-loan levels are worse than lenders are confessing to, combined with fears the country’s fintech giants, including Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. affiliate Ant Financial, are disrupting operations, have weighed on stocks.

For one, bad-debt figures, if you believe them in the first place, are coming down. And even if you do think nonperforming loans have been understated, what’s undeniable is that the country’s big banks have been shifting into mortgage lending, which has a lower default rate than the state-firm lending that’s long been their bread and butter. The nonperforming loan ratio of a mortgage in China is 0.37 percent, one sixth of a corporate advance, according to CIMB Securities Ltd. analyst Michael Chang.

Of course, fintech companies getting into the lending business is cause for concern. Alipay’s consumer credit site Ant Check Later will lend up to a certain amount without needing to see bank records, while e-commerce outfits like JD.com Inc. allow monthly payment installments that blur the line between bank and retailer.

However, it’s worth noting that lending is a business with thin margins, and figuring out default risk is crucial, especially considering many fintech startups cater to those people the big banks won’t touch.

FinTech Wave Revolutionizes Financial World (SCMP), Rated: A

According to Morgan Stanley, online loan volume in the US market is expected to reach US$120 billion in 2020, up from US$20 billion in 2015.

Among others, one important promise of FinTech is that there will be greater reliance on algorithmically-determined financial decisions in areas such as loan, insurance and stock picking. The advancement of artificial intelligence methods has been the propeller facilitating the transition in such a direction.

The overall implication here is that a machine can replace a human in processing large amounts of text in a much more efficient way. This information extraction procedure also helps us understand more about the interplay between investors and various types of information. Interestingly, we find that investors react more strongly to negative than to positive text, and that analyst report text is more useful when it places more emphasis on non-financial topics, is written more assertively and concisely, and when the perceived validity of other information signals in the same report is low.

One common feature of the above two research studies is that computer algorithms are used to extract and quantify some otherwise fuzzy concepts: analyst sentiment in the first study, and analyst information discovery and interpretation effort in the second one. The computer achieves it by aggregating a huge amount of data which is surely beyond any human’s ability to process. Even though humans can understand intuition through very limited observations, it is hard for them to transfer the intuition or knowledge to other people. The computational limitation and the qualitative nature of the human knowledge are the underlying reasons why computers will eventually outperform humans in more and more settings.

FinTech does not come as a free lunch, however. Algorithm-based decisions are not immune to anomalies and manipulations. On 6 May, 2010, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 998.5 points (about 9%), mostly within minutes. This sudden market crash was later attributed to the algorithm trading systems being manipulated by a trader.

European Union

Visa takes a strategic stake in Klarna, the finance startup out of Sweden (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Klarna, the $2 billion+ startup out of Sweden that works with some 70,000 e-commerce sites to enable payments and provide flexible financing to make purchases, is adding one more key investor to help take its next steps into a wider range of services. Today it announced that credit card giant Visa is making an equity investment in the company, and as part of it, the two are forging a strategic partnership to roll out new products.

Visa and Klarna are not disclosing the size of the stake — following the same pattern Visa took when it invested some years ago in two other fast-growing financial startups, Square and Stripe — and Klarna is not specifying what form the strategic partnership will take.

Brexit upheaval prompts French entrepreneurs to dream of home (Financial Times), Rated: A

In 2014, I moved to London to launch an asset management firm investing in loans originated by marketplace lending platforms.

Starting the business in London made sense. The UK boasted a business environment in which risk-taking was encouraged and entrepreneurial success valued and rewarded. Simple rules such as entrepreneurs’ relief, which reduces capital gains tax on the sale of a business, are very attractive for budding entrepreneurs.

However, the vote in last year’s referendum for Britain to leave the EU has caused me to reconsider my decision to live in and operate my business from London.

Gaël de Boissard joins the winner of last year’s Money20/20 Europe Startup Competition (deBanked), Rated: A

Exactly one year after winning Money20/20 Europe Startup Competition, James (a FinTech in Credit Risk, formerly known as CrowdProcess) returns to Copenhagen after closing an oversubscribed investment round led by Ex-Credit Suisse Board Member Gaël de Boissard. This round also included ex-Deutsche Bank COO, Henry Ritchotte, and BiG Start Ventures, a VC focused on FinTech and InsurTech. As a result of this deal, Mr. de Boissard has now joined James’s Board of Directors, after having previously been at the board of Credit Suisse.

Blockchain technology is moving into the financial mainstream with IBM and seven European banks (CNBC), Rated: B

IBM is building blockchain technology that will be used by seven of Europe’s largest banks, including HSBC and Rabobank, to facilitate international trade for small and medium-size enterprises, the company said on Tuesday.

International

Kiva.org Reaches $ 1 Billion Milestone in Crowd-Funding Loans Disbursed Globally (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Today Kiva.org, the world’s first and largest crowdfunding platform for social good, announced that it surpassed $1 billion USD in loans supporting borrowers around the world. More than 2.4 million entrepreneurs, farmers and students globally have been able to launch and expand viable businesses or pursue an education thanks to loan support from 1.6 million people, lending just $25 dollars at a time.

Recently on World Refugee Day (celebrated globally on June 20), Kiva launched a new World Refugee Fund, a $250K matching fund to be followed by a rotating fund of up to $9M in loan capital to provide support to refugees and host communities in countries including Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.

The World Refugee Fund seeks to fill this lending gap and is being developed by Kiva and the Alight Fund, along with founding partners the Tent Foundation and USA for UNHCR. To date, Kiva has crowdfunded $4.3 million in loans to 4,544 refugee borrowers globally.

Can Cash be Crushed? Multi-Country FinTech Survey Finds Many Adults Still Rely on Paper Money (IT News Online), Rated: AAA

According to KPMG’s 2016 global Pulse of Financial Technology (FinTech) Report (source), Venture Capital (VC) investment in the FinTech sector reached an all time high with a total of $13.6 billion across 840 financings in 2016. While FinTech investment proved to be “hot” in 2016, has this massive investment translated into consumer adoption? Today, at Money 20/20 Europe, early-stage venture capital firm Blumberg Capital released the results of its recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll in France, Germany, Israel, United Kingdom (U.K.), and the United States (U.S.), which found that FinTech appears to be gaining traction with Israel emerging as a leader in early-adoption. Despite investment and adoption progress, cash still remains king for most of these countries such as Germany, where 75 percent of adults still use paper currency and coins to make purchases at least once a week. Can cash ever be crushed? To see the full findings, please visit globalfintech.blumbergcapital.com.

Israel Embraces FinTech Early but Cash is Still König in Germany
The findings indicate Israel as a leader in early FinTech adoption as this country is more likely than other countries surveyed to use mobile banking apps and mobile wallets to make a purchase at least once per month. Additionally, nearly one in 10 Israeli adults say they have used alternative financing/lending services within the last 12 months. While many may believe cash to be an antiquated form of payment, the survey revealed paper money is still regularly in use.

  • Israeli adults are most likely to use a mobile banking app at least once a month (e.g., to check account balances, transfer funds, make a mobile deposit) (50 percent vs. 38 percent in U.S., 37 percent in U.K., 35 percent in France, 28 percent in Germany).
  • Israeli adults are more likely than French, British, and American adults to use mobile wallet apps to purchase goods/services at least once a month (27 percent of Israeli adults vs. 21 percent of French adults, 18 percent of American adults, and 17 percent of British adults).
  • Seven percent of Israeli adults have used alternative financing/lending services (e.g., peer-to-peer lending, online lender, lease-to-own) within the last 12 months.
  • German adults are most likely to use cash to make purchases at least once a week (75 percent vs. 64 percent of British adults, 58 percent of American adults, 48 percent of French adults, 47 percent of Israeli adults).

What is Fraud Anyway?
As cybersecurity continues to dominate the headlines, there was a surprisingly low level of concern among most countries surveyed given the current risk landscape. In Blumberg Capital’s 2017 State of Cybersecurity Report, findings revealed a gross overconfidence in cybersecurity knowledge and safety despite $15 billion being stolen from 13.1 million American consumers in 2015 in the U.S. alone (source). This disregard for fraud risk could indicate that consumers generally have confidence in the products and services they choose, suggesting that FinTech companies have the opportunity to educate new users on the security measures they have in place and why they are important.

  • British, American and Israeli adults are more likely than French and German adults to worry about being defrauded (e.g., getting scammed, having identity stolen, having accounts hacked) when they make financial transactions online (43 percent, 39 percent, and 38 percent vs. 31 percent and 23 percent, respectively).

Nationalism vs. Globalization: Are transactions crossing borders?
The survey also looked at how often people make online cross border purchases at least once a month. Again, Israeli adults lead the charge in cross-border transactions which could reflect on the narrower range of product choice available locally in Israel compared to other countries or Israel’s acceptance and wider adoption of FinTech and international eCommerce. Additionally, people were polled regarding the costs related to cross-border transactions, which revealed a budding anticipation of increased costs for these types of purchases in the future, especially in  the U.K. This belief in the U.K could be related to Brexit.  Findings include:

  • Israeli adults are most likely to make online purchases outside of the country they live in at least once a month (44 percent vs. 17 percent of French adults, 14 percent of German adults, 13 percent of British adults, and 9 percent of American adults).
  • 21 percent of British adults believe making online purchases outside of the country they reside will become more expensive (i.e., goods/ services will cost more and/or there will be additional fees) in the future. (Vs. 16 percent of American adults, 14 percent of German adults, 11 percent of French adults, 9 percent of Israeli adults).

Methodology
This survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Blumberg Capital from May 16-22, 2017 among 2,166 American adults ages 18+, 1,046 German adults ages 18+, 1,048 French adults ages 18+, 1,050 British adults ages 18+, and 550 Israeli adults ages 18+. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For additional information about the survey results and methodology please contact: blumberg@sparkpr.com

What’s Next For Fintech After 50 Years Of The Cash Machine (Forbes), Rated: A

For the 50th anniversary of the first ATM, YouGov has conducted a global poll of 8000 consumers on behalf of ACI Worldwide to survey the usage of automated teller machines.

The survey found that only 42% of British consumers use ATMs just as much as they always have, while 48% in Germany, 47% in Spain and 40% in France believe the same, perhaps because of the widespread availability of alternative digital payments. 29% of UK consumers, 31% of French, 38% of Spanish and 43% of Italian would prefer this as well as a more secure way of payment authentication.

Zurawski does not see an ATM retirement any time soon as many still prefer using hard cash because it is a deliberate way of controlling spending.

The survey presented that customers want mini-statements, alerts for upcoming payments or overdraft fees plus the ability to dispense a new credit or debit card.

G20 watchdog says fintech doesn’t pose threat to financial stability (Reuters), Rated: A

The rise of fintech does not pose any compelling risks to financial stability, according to a review by global regulators, but this may change as the sector grows.

While financial technology is changing how financial services and information are being delivered, there is no evidence that services like crowdfunding, “robo” advice and cloud computing will fundamentally change underlying activities such as lending, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) said in a report published on Tuesday.

Australia

While money transfers and payments services still lead the fintech charge with an adoption rate of 50 per cent in 2017, insurance has come in a surprise second with a 24 per cent global adoption rate.

The adoption level for insurance fintech services in Australia stands at four per cent higher than the global average (29 per cent), linked to the upswing of personalised wearables with in-built abilities which allow for prediction of claim probability and lifestyle trends by insurance firms.

India

i2iFunding emerges as first P2P lending player (Outlook India), Rated: AAA

While many players try to attract investors by offering high-interest rates and leave them in the lurch in the case of default, i2iFunding has walked the talk by making the first payment from the Principal Protection Fund, and reiterated its commitment to shore up investors’ confidence.

Deteriorating asset quality has become an inevitable problem of the banking sector these days. Bad loans skyrocketed 135 percent over the last two years, and now, they constitute close to 11 percent of the advances of Public Sector Banks (PSBs).

The P2P lending industry is no immune to this trend.

i2iFunding has become the first P2P lending platform in India to compensate investors for the loss of outstanding principal amount incurred on the defaulted accounts.

Principal Protection programme will also be strengthened further, and many new features will be included. As of now, the level of principal protection depends on the category of the loan. Default in the category “A” qualifies for 100% protection of outstanding principal. This falls by 10% for the every next category and default in the “F” category offers you 50% protection. The functioning of the Principal Protection Fund will be further rationalised and smoothened. i2ifunding will primarily provide 50% and 100% principal protection options in each category from ‘A’ to ‘F’. There will also be the third option of ‘zero’ protection. Depending on the option selected by the investor, he/she will have to settle in for lower EMIS. The fee for offering principal protection service would be deducted through EMIs, but won’t be collected upfront. It’s noteworthy that, this may proportionately reduce the returns earned on lending projects but would make lending at i2iFunding safer and more secure.

Rubique breaks the language barrier; goes local to create earning opportunities for all (Outlook India), Rated: A

Always ahead of the innovation curve, Rubique has yet again demonstrated its focus on making financial solutions accessible to as many users as possible. The one-stop online marketplace providing technology enabled end-to-end solutions to financing needs of individuals and SMEs has just localised its Rubique Associate app.

The interactive app now live in Hindi, Marathi and Bengali language will now enable more number of potential Business Associates to register with Rubique and earn a commission for every reference search for loans or credit cards.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday May 11 2017, Daily News Digest

ondeck loan origination

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to apply for ILC. FC exposes 6K US SSNs. Alipay launches in US. CFA finance exams to gauge knowledge of AI, big data, robo-advice. LendInvest shutting out retail investors. PayU invests 110M Euro in Kreditech. Today’s main analysis: OnDeck’s recovery plan is paying off. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 92% of finance pros not confident advising on […]

ondeck loan origination

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

News Summary

United States

SoFi plans to apply for a bank charter in the next month (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

With an eye on providing banking services later this year, online lending startup SoFi is planning to apply for an industrial bank charter in the next month, according to CEO Mike Cagney. If approved, it would become the first company to receive a new industrial loan company (ILC) charter in a decade.

Industrial bank charters, or ILCs, provide a way for companies that aren’t banks to provide banking-like services to customers. And while ILCs have been around for more than 100 years, they’ve fallen out of vogue in the last decade due to increased regulation against them.

According to Cagney, that’s because companies like John Deere and Harley-Davidson used ILCs as a way to take advantage of FDIC-insured deposits to fund the financing arms of their businesses.

By combining a banking option with its lending products, Cagney said SoFi could offer discounted rates to members who set up auto-pay between their accounts. And with a SoFi-issued credit card, he said the company could potentially use its reward program as a way to help users pay down student loans.

As a result, the company is working on other ways that it could begin offering a SoFi-branded banking product later this year. Even if the company is not able to get approval for an industrial bank charter, it would still be able to offer checking, deposit and credit card services through a regional banking partner.

Funding Circle Error Exposes 6,000 SSNs Of American Clients (Forbes), Rated: AAA

An upcoming London-based business loans provider, Funding Circle, left a database containing 6,000 social security numbers of American clients exposed to anyone on the internet, it emerged Wednesday.

The company, which has helped companies bypass banks to borrow more than $3.5 billion from its peer-to-peer investor network since its founding in 2010, also admitted a misconfigured Amazon Web Services database exposed more than 13 million marketing email addresses for individuals, businesses and government organizations in the U.S., as well as more than 45,000 notes summarizing conversations with customers and partners.

According to the firm that uncovered the unsecured database, Kromtech Security, credit scores and business loan histories of clients were also available to anyone who knew the eight IP addresses of Funding Circle’s American branch.

Additionally, private data sets Funding Circle had purchased from third parties and credit agencies including Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Powerlytics were left open.

OnDeck’s recovery plan is paying off (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

US online lender OnDeck had a tough

Alipay Launches in US (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Alipay, part of internet conglomerate Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), has launched its payments platform in the US thus challenging other established players in the space such as Apple Pay. Alipay is partnering with First Data (NYSE:FDC) on the US expansion.

Alipay is currently used by more than 450 million people globally and 200 financial institution partners. . Well established in Asia, Alipay is now crossing the Atlantic following the recent announcement by competitor WeChat Pay, owned by Tencent, that is expanding into the US as well.

OnDeck Capital’s Chairman survives challenge from activist shareholder (American Banker), Rated: A

Fending off a challenge from dissatisfied hedge fund investors, OnDeck Capital Chairman and CEO Noah Breslow was re-elected to the company’s board Tuesday by an 84% to 16% margin.

SoFi looks to deepen buyer base with S&P stamp on latest ABS (Global Capital), Rated: A

A $530m consumer loan offering from online lender SoFi is expected to garner interest from a bigger group of investors, with S&P Global Ratings tapped to rate an offering from the issuer’s consumer loan shelf for the first time.

More Than a Quarter of Upstart’s Loans Are Now Fully Automated (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Upstart — a five-year-old online lender — bets you can (and you must).

In fact, more than 25% of Upstart’s current loans are fully automated, Bank Innovation has learned.

The lender utilizes AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze consumer data points, including education history, employment history, social media, and even web behavior (during the online application process), in order to make underwriting decisions. The company has originated almost $700 million to date, from about 60,000 loans.

How Credit Karma CEO Kenneth Lin Built A Billion-Dollar Brand (Fast Company), Rated: A

Lin founded the company in 2007, with the goal of creating a customer-friendly alternative to trickster credit score services. He has since raised $386 million, vaulting Credit Karma into the ranks of Silicon Valley’s startup unicorns, and figured out how to turn a profit while helping nearly 70 million Americans discover financial services products that meet their needs.

Create a Credit Karma account, and you can monitor your credit score for free. Based on your credit history, the company then generates targeted offers for financial services including credit cards, student loans, and auto loans. If you opt in to one of those offers, Credit Karma gets paid by a referral fee by the bank or lender—a new credit card customer, for example, could be worth as much as $700. In 2015, the company made around $350 million.

Now Lin is embarking on mortgage refinancing recommendations, Credit Karma’s second major launch in less than six months (a free tax service launched in January, in time for April 15 filing).

The company is operating the service in 26 states, with plans to expand nationwide in the coming months. By Lin’s reckoning, 20% of U.S. mortgage debt is represented on the Credit Karma platform, and roughly one-third of homeowners would benefit from refinancing—a major opportunity.

The bank of the future: A (digital) financial mall (American Banker), Rated: A

Assume for a moment that most of the services legacy financial companies provide today could get competed away as innovators extend reach and scale across the landscape of financial products. If so, big financial institutions will look to re-establish a foothold. Their only sure competitive advantage seems to be the regulatory compliance (i.e. anti-money-laundering and know-your-customer capabilities) that the government has forced them to develop.

Bain & Co. estimates “governance, risk and compliance (GRC) costs account for 15% to 20% of the total ‘run the bank’ cost base of most major banks.” That, combined with the long and difficult process to establish and validate credibility with regulators, makes the challenge to potential competitors even more imposing.

That’s right, instead of making money from lending out deposits, or investment banking or capital markets … people will pay banks to simply hold their money and validate their identities and sources of funds.

Application programming interfaces will put a twist on this tried-and-true model. Banks will look to compete. When they do, as always, winning will come down to pricing and service. To do so, they’ll set up “financial malls.”

Conversely, in the financial mall ecosystem, fintech partners (providers with requisite core competency and scale) will open up shop and link with the banks via robust APIs. How this relationship manifests will vary as established players ponder the decision to build, buy or partner. Regardless, front-facing service providers — the fintechs — will operate in the most efficient manner and will lead the charge.

Earnest Operations LLC (SEC), Rated: A

For purposes of our procedures and at your instruction:
·
with respect to our comparison of Characteristics 9. and 13., for any first payment date or original maturity date falling on the 29th, 30th or 31st day of the month (as set forth on or derived from the Servicing System), we were instructed to assume the first payment date or original maturity date, as applicable, as the 1st day of the succeeding month;
·
with respect to our comparison of Characteristic 11., differences of $1.00 or less are deemed to be “in agreement;” and
·
with respect to our comparison of Characteristic 19., for those Sample Loans with a “borrower income” amount, derived from the Transactions Summary, (i) less than $80,000 (as determined above), differences of 10.0% or less of the “borrower income” indicated on the Statistical Loan File are deemed to be “in agreement” or (ii) greater than or equal to $80,000 (as determine above), differences of 20.0% or less of the “borrower income” indicated on the Statistical Loan File are deemed to be “in agreement.”  Further, for those Sample Loans with a “borrower income” amount, derived from Income Verification Documentation, differences of 2.5% or less of the “borrower income” indicated on the Statistical Loan File are deemed to be “in agreement.”

From the company’s filed EX-99.1 Charter, which can be read at Edgar.

Kathryn Petralia – Kabbage (Cheddar), Rated: A

Kathryn joins Cheddar to speak about Kabbage and how they’re assisting small businesses.

Watch the interview here.

Ripple vs Stellar (The Merkle), Rated: A

Stellar uses a consensus mechanism known as Stellar Consensus Protocol. This particular feature is outlined in the project whitepaper, for those who want to know more technical aspects about the mechanism.

Furthermore, Stellar’s native currency is known as Lumens – which we discussed here – whereas Ripple uses XRP. Stellar is mainly designed to target individuals and focuses strongly on technology, rather than making a name for themselves among financial institutions.

Ripple is a project designed to target financial institutions and provide a distributed ledger-based solution to facilitate cross-border payments.

It is also worth noting Ripple has a deflationary currency model. The number of XRP tokens in circulation will gradually decrease as it is used more often to facilitate cross-border currency transactions. Additionally, Ripple has formed several partnerships with banks and other financial institutions all over the world.

Online lending startup EarlySalary raises $ 4 mn from IDG, Dewan Housing (VC Circle), Rated: A

Social Worth Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs online lending platform EarlySalary, has raised $4 million (Rs 26 crore) in its Series A funding from IDG Ventures India and mortgage lender Dewan Housing Finance Corp.

The startup, which offers salary advances and loans to young working professionals, will use the capital to build products and increase its lending book, it said in a statement.

It will also use the money to expand team, specifically in skill sets of machine learning, as well as to grow customer base and provide 200,000 loans in this financial year.

Fintech company launches monopolisation lawsuit (Global Competition Review), Rated: B

TrueEX sued its rival and interest rate swap trading provider MarkitSERV on Monday, accusing it of using its monopoly in the trade processing services industry to crush the financial technology company by refusing to provide a critical service.

United Kingdom

CFA finance exams to grill hopefuls on AI, big data and robo-advice (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The CFA Institute, the organisation that hands out the coveted designation of “Chartered Financial Analyst” to people who make it through three rounds of exams, more than 300 hours of study and four years of work experience, is to revamp its tests to include questions on artificial intelligence, big data and robo-advice.

The new curriculum will appear in exam papers from 2019, as the global association of investment professionals tries to reshape its course to meet demand from employers for practical fintech skills.

But big data analysis, machine learning, robo-advice and blockchain have shaken up the investment industry in recent years, as investors compete against low-cost passive fund trackers to deliver market-beating returns after fees.

Exam entrants will need to know how to back-test investment algorithms, work out the limits of big data analysis and appreciate the impact of wider trends on the industry, such as how blockchain technology affects trading and how robo-advisers may shape the way financial advice is given.

92% of financial professionals not confident advising on P2P products (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) finance is in the ascendancy, yet many brokers still appear to be in the dark about the range of products on offer from this new wave of lenders.

Last month, members of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association exceeded £8bn of cumulative lending following a strong first quarter of 2017.

However, a recent poll conducted by Bridging & Commercial found that 92% of financial professional respondents do not feel confident advising their clients on P2P products at the time of writing.

“I don’t know why it is, but in all my years, I’ve only had one approach from a P2P lender,” explained Stephen Burns of specialist finance brokerage Adapt.

This sentiment was echoed by Liam Brooke, co-founder of P2P platform Lendy, which has recently invested heavily in boosting marketing and communications efforts to improve the understanding of the sector.

“It is the P2P companies themselves that need to take responsibility for improving the public’s understanding of their products.

“This can be achieved in a number of ways, including building more one-to-one relationships with brokers and reaching them through different media.”

LendInvest shifts focus to sophisticated investors, nears £1bn in lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

LendInvest, the UK’s largest property-focused online lender, is refocusing and restructuring its investment platform. The firm is shutting out retail investors with the introduction of a qualification test, which investors will have to pass in order to lend through the platform.

The average balance for individual investors on the LendInvest platform is roughly £30k.

LendInvest is right on the cusp of crossing the £1 billion mark in cumulative loan originations – a feat that has been accomplished by just four UK-based marketplace/online lenders to date.

Peer-to-peer savings warning: easy access accounts at risk (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Investors in “peer-to-peer” loans are in danger of sleepwalking into accounts that are sold as “easy access” but have no guarantee money will be returned quickly.

A report from 4thWay, an analyst of the sector, warned “easy access” accounts offered by providers could not guarantee the quick return of cash.

Landbay, a property specialist, calls this its “tracker fund”, Assetz Capital has a “quick access” account while Ratesetter offers a “rolling market” option as part of its “everyday account”.

It added in some cases, perversely, it was less risky for investors to tie their money up for longer in a fixed-term deal offering higher interest rates.

The average interest rate offered by early access accounts is 3.2pc, compared to an average of 4.9pc on other types of accounts, according to 4thWay.

Commenting on the firm’s “rolling market” account, a spokesman for Ratesetter, one of the largest peer-to-peer providers, said: “When we launched our account in 2016 40pc of our investors had cited access to their money as a key priority when making investment decisions, and since then, it has become one of our most popular products.”

He added that of the 15,000 requests for customers to withdraw their money Ratesetter has received so far, 99.6pc completed within one working day.

Innovate Finance Publishes Industry Fintech Sandbox Consultation Report (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Innovate Finance has published a report today on industry sandboxes in the Fintech startup community.

According to the authorKey findings of the report include:

  • Addressing Cost and Inefficiency in Validating Innovative Solutions: Responses indicated that there is significant friction, both in terms of resources required and length of process, for startups and institutions in developing multiple Proof’s of Concept or “POCs” bilaterally.
  • Addressing Cost and Inefficiency in Developing Collaborations: Industry feedback has been that an Industry Sandbox could be helpful in bringing participants together in the resolution of shared challenges.
  • Supporting Efficiency in Compliance and Regulatory Engagement: The process revealed that within the startup community, understanding of the need for authorisation and compliance requirements in local and foreign markets could benefit from being accelerated.

 

Fintech: The second wave of challenger banks (Euromoney), Rated: A

In the third quarter of this year, if all goes to plan, ClearBank will go into business as the first new UK clearing bank to open its doors to customers for 250 years.

What distinguishes ClearBank from the mass of fintech newcomers and challenger banks is that its customers won’t be small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that the big banks refuse to lend to at other than punitive rates; they won’t be looking for working capital finance advanced against invoices to be paid by bigger corporations, neither will they be retail investors looking for a better return on their cash than zero-rate bank savings accounts, or wealthier individuals looking for a low-fee allocation to a mainstream asset class.

LendInvest makes largest development loan (PropertyWeek.com), Rated: A

LendInvest has completed its largest-ever development finance package, worth £21m.

41% of SMEs expected to vote Conservative (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

Some 41% of small businesses surveyed said they would vote Conservative in the general election, followed by Labour with 13%, Liberal Democrats on 9% and UKIP on 3%.

The survey found that 40% of small businesses believed that tax was the most important policy area, followed by Brexit (26%).

Funding Circle’s research also found that most small businesses are optimistic about their future turnover prospects despite the current uncertainty, with nearly 70% saying they expected it to increase within the next 12 months.

China

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

SAC Recommended Fintech as one of the research direction of next year
On May 8th, Securities Association of China (SAC) issued the notice about next year’s research project application, and announced the research theme “Opportunities and Challenges of stable development of Securities Industry”. Fintech is among one of the 8 topics specified by the Notice.

Sharing economy is sweeping China! Public charge pal company Raised 300M RMB within 10 Days.
JUMEI invested 300M RMB in charge pal sharing
On May 4th, JUMEI announced an investment of 300m RMB in a Mobile power leasing company——Shenzhen Street Electrical technology co., LTD(Anker Box). After the financing, JUMEI will hold 60% shares of Anker Box. The money will be used for the upgrade of production lines of charge pal sharing and cabinet etc., as well as the R&D of new series of product. It was also revealed that Leo Chen, the CEO of JUMEI, would become the chairman of Anker Box after this round of strategic investment, and JUMEI would continue to increase its investment amount.

Attitudes on Charge Pal: “National Husband” vs “Headstrong CEO” 
Charge Pal sharing becomes the second popular sharing product after Bicycle-sharing. Sicong Wang, the son of Wanda Group’s chairman Wang Jianlin(China’s Richest man), and Leo Chen, the CEO of JUMEI, holding different views on it.
Sicong Wang takes a negative attitude on the future of charge pal sharing, while Leo Chen think small probability is the feature of venture investment, the sharing project of Street Electricity could be a public welfare even it failed. He also showed his appreciation for Sicong Wang but warned him that personal preference should not be the factor of decision making.

European Union

PayU Invests EUR 110M Into Kreditech (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: AAA

Kreditech, the leading technology group for digital consumer credit using machine-learning based underwriting, has closed EUR 110 million in investment from global online payment service provider PayU.

The landmark investment is the largest ever equity investment in a German FinTech company and builds on a successful 12-month pilot program in Poland.

The announcement follows a successful pilot program managed by Kreditech and PayU, offering Polish consumers improved access to credit in a real-time online process. The pilot program issued more than EUR 10 million in credit.

Through this major growth financing, PayU has acquired a significant minority stake in Kreditech, joining existing prominent FinTech investors including JC Flowers, Varde, Blumberg Capital, HPE, Peter Thiel, Rakuten and the World Bank’s IFC.

Alexandra Strömberg |Female Leader of the Future (Life at Klarna), Rated: A

This week we saw one of our own, Alexandra Strömberg, recognized as one of Sweden’s top 75 future female leaders (28th actually!).

Can you give me a little timeline on your life at Klarna?

I started at Klarna 4 years ago building up a new function and team named Customer Relations. Today we have an average customer satisfaction of 88% – that is better than best practice!

In recent years I’ve also been part of other Klarna projects. For instance I’m part of the Klarna Executive X network.

It’s been 4 years since you joined Klarna, a lot has changed. Where do you see yourself and Klarna in a further 4 years?

In 4 years I think Klarna will be a global player that not only fosters more and more talents, but also makes life a little bit easier for consumers and merchants by offering an even better and more innovative service. We will continue to disrupt and change. If I am at Klarna in 4 years, it’s because I still bring value to the company and that Klarna does the same for me I enjoy going to work knowing that I am part of this journey.

International

7 Things to Consider Before Launching a Fintech Startup (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

1. Regulations

However, fintech has ushered in new ways of viewing and handling money and has become a gray area for regulation. This is something that has been drawing the attention of lawmakers, especially in fintech companies’ charter applications to be “special purpose national banks.” This isn’t as straightforward as it seems since some fintech services such as peer-to-peer lending operate using new models.

In addition, these regulations may vary per market depending on the state, country or region in which you seek to operate. In Europe, there’s the impending implementation of the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2).

2. Competition from institutions

While banks have acknowledged the disruption fintech has created, this doesn’t mean that they will just accept defeat and step aside for the new guys. It isn’t exactly banks as institutions that are under threat as much as it’s the way we do banking.

3. Customer trust

Data breaches and cyberattacks are still rampant. With the nature of the information fintech companies handle, they are becoming an optimal target for cybercriminals.

4. The need for a strong team

This might seem obvious, but fintech isn’t exactly an area where there are turnkey tools and free scripts one can use to come up with an app or service. This isn’t like some other tech ventures where barriers to entry are relatively low. Financial, technological and business expertise are all required to develop fintech.

5. Unique and valuable service

The fintech industry is starting to get crowded now that many pioneers have done enough for new ventures to follow. Still, a key entrepreneurial question to ask is if your venture will be able to offer something unique and high value.

6. Technology choices

As a startup, you may have to bet on technologies that would power the service. On the plus side, technologies such as machine learning and analytics engines are now being offered as a service by cloud platform providers like Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, which lowers the barrier for development. However, these technologies have yet to fully mature. You should be prepared for growing pains and hiccups when using them.

7. Funding

Global venture capital investment was $17.4 billion in 2016. However, this excitement only means that competition for funding is also increasing. VCs are getting more selective, seeking out companies with truly game changing offerings, thus making your value proposition all the more important.

WorldFirst launches international payment platform (AltFi), Rated: A

The fintech firm yesterday announced the launch of its World Account – an international payments platform for small businesses and online sellers. The firm says that the new account delivers “international banking functionality”, stripping administrative burden and cost out of operating cross-border.

The opportunity for WorldFirst could be significant. Its own research shows that over 1.5 million UK SMEs are trading £76bn globally every month (see infographic below).

Australia/New Zealand

Financial “robo advice” to be cleared for first time in New Zealand (Voxy), Rated: AAA

The way will be cleared for robo advice to be given on financial investments and services in NZ for the first time, when the reforms of the Financial Advisers Act (2008) are complete. MBIE’s consultation on a draft bill paving the way for robo advice closed on 31 March.

‘Under the current timeline, the law won’t be changed until at least 2019. While MBIE and NZ’s Financial Markets Authority will be scratching their heads for ways to expedite the reforms, the FinTech industry is fast moving and there is a real risk that New Zealand firms looking to operate in the robo-advice area will be left behind by their overseas competitors if the reforms don’t happen sooner,’ he says.

Mr Ward-Marshall says that once robo advice is fully implemented in law and regulation in NZ, it is likely existing financial advisers will team up with clever technology companies to provide it.

India

MobiKwik Reaches for Unicorn Status, Set to Raise Funding from BlackRock (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

MobiKwik is set to raise funds from investors including BlackRock Inc. which will value the innovative Indian Fintech company at about $1 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The company with over 55 million users has been in talks these last months to raise funding that would give the startup this $1 billion valuation, and has forged new ties with banks and offering new financial services on its growing platform, Currently MobiKwik  investors include Sequoia Capital, Taiwan’s MediaTek, Japan’s GMO Venture Partners and hedge fund Tree Line Asia.

Country’s First Loan Marketplace for Used Automobiles Launched by Droom (Legman News), Rated: A

Droom—an online marketplace for used vehicles has launched India’s only loan marketplace for used vehicles, named as Droom Credit. The company has partnered with many non-banking financial companies and finance firms. It has also tied up with various lenders such as HDFC Bank, Kotak Prime, Faircent, and Tata Capital.

The creditworthiness of the applicants will be analyzed by Droom Technology Pvt. Ltd. through its credit risk engine. The loan approval procedure will be processed within 30 seconds based on the credit score validation, Aadhar details, PAN verification, and other credit evaluation platforms.

Aggarwal also revealed about its revenue generation models, which will be bifurcated in multiple ways.

First
The applicant will have to select the take rates that will be dependent on the lenders, borrower profile, and commission structures.

Second
The company will charge Rs 999 from borrowers that include Rs 299 as Cibil score checking fees and rest of the amount will be charged if the borrower makes his or her move toward next step with his loan approval.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday April 5 2017, Daily News Digest

Wednesday April 5 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Colorado targets Marlette, Avant on ‘True Lender’ grounds. CRB sues Colorado. SoFi raises variable student loan refi rates. Kabbage extends $3B in funding to over 100K small biz customers. RateSetter adds expected losses committee. P2P Global Investments considers change of loan fund manager. Dango RECF platform celebrates 1M investors. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending statistics. […]

Wednesday April 5 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

China

Asia

News Summary

United States

Colorado Attorney General Pursues ‘True Lender’ and ‘Madden’ Actions Against Major Non-Bank Online Lenders (JD Supra), Rated: AAA

On February 15, the Colorado Attorney General filed substantially similar, separate amended complaints in the U.S. District Court of Colorado against Marlette Funding LLC and Avant of Colorado LLC, alleging violations of Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code based on “true lender” and loan assignment cases. Both actions were originally filed in state court on January 27, 2017, and both were subsequently removed to federal court — on March 3, 2017 and March 9, 2017, respectively. In each instance, the complaint cites CashCall, Inc. v. Morrisey, 2014 W. Va LEXIS (W. Va. May 30, 2014), and Madden v. Midland Funding, LLC, 786 F.3d 246 (2d Cir. 2015), as legal authority for claims alleging usury and other violations of Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code.

The amended complaint filed in Mead v. Marlette Funding LLC d/b/a Best Egg asserts that Marlette paid all costs, including legal, marketing and other expenses, incurred by Cross River Bank in originating Best Egg loans. In addition, the complaint asserts that Cross River “bears no risk that it will lose its principal in the event consumers default on the Best Egg Loans that it sells to Marlette or to Marlette’s non-bank designees” because: (i) Marlette maintains a bank account in favor of Cross River in the amount of Marlette’s anticipated purchases; (ii) Best Egg loans originated by Cross River are sold to Marlette within two business days; (iii) the parties’ contract specifies that Cross River has no liability to Marlette for sold loans, and (iv) Marlette is obligated to indemnify Cross River “against any claim that any aspect of the Best Egg lending program violates the law.”

The amended complaint filed in Mead v. Avant of Colorado LLC, in turn, similarly asserts that Avant and not WebBank, which originated the subject loans, bears all cost and expenses, including the costs of evaluating loan applications and credit reports and the costs associated with dispersals of loan proceeds.

Cross River Bank Sues State of Colorado (Over the Transom), Rated: AAA

News Summary:

  • On April 3rd, Cross River Bank filed a Declaratory Judgment Action (Federal District Court) against the State of Colorado to protect its federal statutory and contractual rights to freely extend credit and to freely sell those loans on a nationwide basis
  • Previously (in January 2017), the Colorado Attorney General sued Marlette Funding in an attempt to prohibit Marlette from enforcing loans validly made by Cross River and validly sold by Cross River to Marlette
  • Cross River filed the declaratory judgment action in support of Marlette Funding (an MPL partner), and the broader bank-platform model
  • According to Cross River General Counsel, Arlen Gelbard, “the Colorado Attorney General is attempting to undermine the concept of federal preemption, and with it 150-years of established banking law.”
  • More specifically, Colorado’s action violates Federal Deposit Insurance Act (Section 27) and National Bank Act, as well as the “valid when made” doctrine
  • “It is clear to us that Colorado’s lawsuit against Marlette intentionally did not name Cross River as a party because Colorado knows that Cross River’s actions are protected by its status as a state-chartered, federally regulated Bank, which affords complete preemption over state law”

The Issue – Federal preemption/uncertainty:

  • The federal preemption provisions which allow small banks like Cross River to compete with larger entities, have come under attack by several states and in some recent court cases such as Madden v. Midland Funding and other so-called “True Lender” cases.
  • While we believe these cases were wrongly decided as a legal matter, the broader impact has been to encourage states and other plaintiffs to disregard or undermine key legal doctrines of federal preemption and loans as being “valid when made”, leading to market uncertainty.
  • The characteristics of the Cross River model are very different from many others in the marketplace, where the named lender has little to no involvement in the origination process and retains no “skin in the game”
  • This lack of certainty about what loan terms apply to subsequent purchasers has broad, adverse ramifications for US banking and financial markets. Specifically, certain investors have moved away from this asset class, which has reduced liquidity in the market.
  • “Although the action taken by the Colorado Attorney General is being positioned as one to protect the consumer, the actual result will likely have a negative impact on consumers and small businesses, as their access to this important source of credit is significantly reduced.”

SOFI RAISES THE VARIABLE STUDENT LOAN REFINANCING RATES (lendedu), Rated: AAA

The Federal Reserve’s interest rate increase last month is starting to show up in some loan products including student loan refinancing. Fixed rate borrowers are safe for now, but those with variable interest can expect to pay more.

As of April 1st the interest rate on a variable student loan at SoFi increased both on the low and high ends of the range. Borrowers will now pay anywhere from 2.565 percent to 6.490 percent interest on a variable refinance loan. That compares with 2.365 percent to 6.29 percent interest just a month ago. The interest rate on SoFi’s fixed rate products held steady at 3.375 percent to 6.74 percent from March to April.

Kabbage Extends $ 3 Billion in Funding to over 100,000 Small Business Customers (IT Business Net), Rated: AAA

Kabbage®, a pioneering financial services, technology and data platform, announced it has extended more than $3 billion to small businesses across all 50 U.S. states, covering every industry. The company has also now served over 100,000 small businesses through its platform, representing the largest customer base of any online small business lender.

ApplePie Capital CEO & Co-Founder Denise Thomas Makes Marketplace Lending Success Look Easy (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

“We have gained a foothold within the industry by partnering with 42 brands to date. Moving forward we will continue to innovate…”

Erin: You recently signed new investors plus funding capital, thus standing out in a challenging market. Please share details about your MO. How long did it take to raise the money?

Denise: It took five months. The two main sources of funding we closed were new strategic partners and existing investors. Our strategy was to continue to tell our story and educate investors about franchise debt as an asset.

Erin: Please share your experience about dealing with a prominent Bay Area VC saying, “You don’t look like Fintech.”

Denise: Statistically, there are far more men running fintech companies, clearly there are some biases out there around that. A study released by Peterson Institute for International Economics in 2016 found that “An increase in the share [on executive teams and boards] of women would be associated with a 15% rise in profitability.” At the end of the day, you want people in your board room who are supportive.

Erin: You have spoken quite positively about your relationship with Fifth Third. How and why does ApplePie’s relationship with this bank differ from others?

Denise: As opposed to our other loan purchasers, Fifth Third has made a strategic investment in our company and holds a stake in the growth of our business. They co-led our B round with QED Investors, with whom they have now also partnered to make strategic investments in VC-backed fintech companies. They have a long term vision for our industry and provide their expertise to create better financial solutions and a superior experience for our borrowers.

Erin: ApplePie Capital’s loans are backed by personal guarantee and unsecured. Personal assets are not required to back loans. Tell me more…

Denise: In franchising, there is a blueprint for the business owners to follow, in terms of cost analysis and every other aspect. This is measurable and people have a path to multi-unit ownership. We look at each brand and evaluate the sustainability of the business model, which has proven itself over the last 25 years through historical SBA data.

5W Public Relations Named Agency of Record for Sharestates (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

5W Public Relations, one of the 15 largest independently owned PR firms in the US, has been named PR Agency of Record by Sharestates, an online real estate investment marketplace that is an industry leader in crowdfunding for individual and institutional investors.

Could Real Estate Crowdfunding Help Millennials Retire Sooner? (Realty Biz), Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding has proven a popular choice for one of the most fickle investing groups in the marketplace: Millennials.

On the surface, it seems improbable. Millennials investing in real estate? This is a group that has been loathe to purchase homes, with less than a third of Millennials becoming homeowners compared to 64 percent of the general population. After a little analysis, however, there are powerful reasons why real estate crowdfunding appeals to Millennials—enough that more are certain to join the crowd of investors in the coming years.

The stereotype, of course, is that Millennials are all underpaid with limited skills and few opportunities. That’s not reality, but even if it were, real estate crowdfunding has very low barriers to entry. Some of the best and most successful crowdfunding portals allow for investment minimums as low as $5,000. That lets Millennials get into the real estate investment game much earlier than previous generations.

Second, real estate crowdfunding is an investment option that allows Millennials to bypass banks. Having come of age during the Great Recession, many Millennials don’t trust financial institutions or Wall Street firms. They do, however, see the need to protect their money from the kind of financial breakdowns that hurt their parents’ retirement plans nine years ago by investing in hard assets. Real estate crowdfunding offers the chance to do just that.

PayPal Directors Hit With Class Action Suit from Shareholders Over Venmo (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On March 24, 2017, shareholders of PayPal Holdings Inc., the parent company of mobile-payment provider Venmo, filed a derivative suit against its directors in the District Court of Delaware. A derivative suit is a form of class action in which shareholders can sue company officers or directors on behalf of the company.

The plaintiff shareholders claim in the suit that the directors of PayPal willfully or recklessly caused PayPal to make false or misleading statements which led to direct damages against PayPal. The false and misleading statements are alleged to have been made in PayPal’s quarterly reports, annual reports, and proxy statements which failed to disclose any of the alleged unfair and deceptive business practice or the fact that those practices would lead to increased regulatory scrutiny.

View the filing here.

Over 250,000 Shoppers And 1,400 Dealers Turn To AutoGravity (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AutoGravity, the FinTech pioneer transforming car shopping and finance with advanced mobile technology, today revealed that over a quarter million users – more than half of whom are millennials – have downloaded AutoGravity iOS and Android apps for car shopping and financing. AutoGravity also confirmed that its network of partner car dealerships has grown to more than 1,400 franchise dealers.

Since launching in 2016, AutoGravity has achieved significant growth across the United States, securing partnerships with the nation’s top automotive lenders, as well as four of the top five national dealer groups, representing all new and used car brands available in the country.

  • New cars remain popular with boomers. AutoGravity data shows two-thirds of car shoppers ages 50+ who pursue financing do so for new vehicles. In contrast, only half of AutoGravity car shoppers ages 18 to 25 who pursue financing do so for new vehicles
  • Japanese brands perform in California. Japanese economy and luxury car brands are more searched relative to American brands in California (as compared to the US overall)
  • Economy cars continue to be a popular choice. Economy brands rank in the top four most searched for vehicles across the US – luxury car brands round out the top seven
  • Millennials more cost sensitive than Gen X. Among car shoppers seeking financing on AutoGravity, millennials look to borrow ~15% less (finance amount requested) and seek to contribute ~25% less (cash down payment) relative to car shoppers ages 36+

Why FutureAdvisor orphaned its B2C book of business and other learnings at CFA Society’s robo-panel in San Francisco (RIABiz), Rated: A

The bad news: Selling robo financial advice to millennials — at least until they grow up and start acting like boomers — is a fool’s game.

Cianciolo provided the fullest update yet on FutureAdvisor since the firm’s eye-popping sale to BlackRock in 2015. See: Why BlackRock’s purchase of FutureAdvisor for $152 million could be a deal of destiny.

The robo — once the No. 3 retail player behind only Wealthfront and Betterment — no longer takes assets to millennials.

Standing up for retail and millennials was Zhang, a millennial herself, who questioned whether Roy and Ciancolo were being unduly pessimistic in capitulating to established players.

Jemstep had a brief period where it went for retail business but veered quickly to the B-to-B market.  “Can somebody [create a viable B-to-C robo advisor]?” Cianciolo asked. “Sure but you’re taking double and triple risks.”

Jamie Dimon Pushes for Simpler, More Coordinated Bank Regulations (WSJ), Rated: A

J.P. Morgan Chase JPM 0.33% & Co. Chief James Dimon laid out his wishlist of regulatory changes in his annual shareholder letter Tuesday, calling for simpler and better coordinated rules that could help to spur more lending and in turn economic growth.

Any changes are likely to help the bank. Mr. Dimon wrote that the “anticipated reversal of many negatives and the expectation of a more business-friendly environment” in addition to the bank’s results are among the reasons its stock price jumped about 30% in 2016.

Mr.. Dimon has previously said that rules should be coordinated among agencies, simplified and consistent, but in Tuesday’s letter spelled out what that meant for the first time.

He said banks have too much capital and that could be used instead to safely finance the economy.

Mr. Dimon reiterated that the so-called “gold plating” of international standards by U.S. regulators should be eliminated. Making U.S. rules stronger than international rules was in some cases a priority of Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo, who was the central bank’s regulatory point person but is stepping down this week.

Mr. Dimon also suggested reforms to the mortgage market since the housing sector has been “unusually slow to recover.”

Bond Street Partners With NerdWallet (Bond Street), Rated: A

Today, we are thrilled to announce that we’re partnering with NerdWallet to help more small business owners access fair and affordable financing. According to the Federal Reserve Bank, only 1 in 5 businesses that apply for a loan from a big bank are approved.

Together, we’ll create resources, guides and webinars to support the growth of businesses. In addition, entrepreneurs will now be able to access financing from Bond Street via NerdWallet’s Small Business Loan Tool.

Prominent Fintech Marketing Firm Leverage PR Sold to Caliber Corporate Advisors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Leverage PR, a prominent marketing firm engaged in the crowdfunding and Fintech sector, has been sold to Caliber Corporate Advisors.  Founded by Joy Schoffler, a well-known and highly visible participant in the emerging industry of financial innovation, shared the news with Crowdfund Insider, explaining she expects to remain engaged with the firm but in a different role.

Leverage PR was founded in 2010 and was the first marketing firm to recognize the potential of alternative finance.

United Kingdom

RateSetter continues to boost transparency with new expected losses committee (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has set up a new committee on expected losses as part of a review of the way it monitors and reports on credit risk.

The panel, which will come into effect later this month, comprises the peer-to-peer lender’s chief executive Rhydian Lewis, its chief finance officer Harry Russell and various heads of consumer and commercial credit risk.

Boosting expected losses data is the latest of a batch of strategic changes RateSetter has put in place to price risk more accurately following higher-than-expected losses on its 2014 and 2015 loans.

Peer-to-peer loan fund considers change of manager (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The UK’s first peer-to-peer loan fund is to review its investment manager as a swath of funds struggle to generate returns from the emerging asset class.

The listed fund, P2P Global Investments, buys loans from websites matching interest-paying borrowers with lenders in the UK, US, Europe and Australia, as well as holding stakes in the platforms.

It is currently managed by MW Eaglewood Europe, an asset manager majority-owned by UK hedge fund Marshall Wace. In a short announcement to the stock market on Tuesday, the board said it would review the arrangement following discussions with Eaglewood and “significant shareholders” and would update the market in due course.

Oakam Brings Gamification and Rewards to Consumer Finance with New Mobile App Feature (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Oakam has enhanced its mobile app with the launch of Oakam Grow, a new feature that uses gamification to make consumer finance more engaging, rewarding and inclusive. Oakam Grow builds on the UK-based consumer lender’s application of behavioural science to encourage the development of positive credit habits, and supports its strategy to bring digital disruption to the largely analogue micro-credit industry.

Oakam Grow gamifies the experience for Oakam’s mobile app users through the application of social currency theory, which enables customers to share in the financial upside of their responsible credit behaviour. Customers earn points when making repayments via the app or referring friends, redeemable for loan repayments, cash-back, store vouchers, lower rates on future loans, or to socially vouch for friends in the loan application process. Oakam’s award-winning mobile app first launched in 2015, and today more than 55 per cent of its customers are regular users. The addition of Oakam Grow will further drive app downloads and engagement.

Oakam has seized on the opportunity to disrupt the £1.8 tn global micro-lending industry through the use of AI, machine learning and cognitive science. The century-old industry has seen little innovation since its founding and today relies on the same analogue processes that keep cost-to-income ratios above 50 per cent, and prices high for consumers. The industry’s network of around 200,000 doorstep loan agents globally also leaves consumers with poor or no credit history, vulnerable to misleading offers and predatory practices.

Oakam’s omni-channel model, comprising its digital properties and UK retail network, confronts both the issues of inefficiency and consumer protection.

RateSetter Business Finance Adds Relationship Manager Amanda Sharp (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RateSetter has appointed Amanda Sharp as Regional Relationship Manager for London and the South East. Sharp previously spent 35 years with RBS Group.

How to navigate the P2P maze (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Against a backdrop of rising inflation and continued low interest rates, it is no surprise that a growing number of the UK’s financial advisers are looking for ways to make their client’s money work harder.

And there is one solution in particular that has caught the attention of eagle-eyed advisers: peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

Assuming current Bank of England inflation at 2.3 per cent, according to latest figures, and interest rate forecasts, money deposited in the average high street savings account today will shrink in real terms after both one and two years.

In fact, some high street bank cash savings accounts are offering just 0.01 per cent in savings – less even than the current Bank Base Rate of 0.25 per cent.

Even in its slowest year yet, 2015, the sector grew by over 80 per cent according to one report (Nesta, Pushing Boundaries: the 2015 UK alternative finance industry report).

P2P lending is likely to grow even faster as more and more P2P lenders receive their full FCA authorisation – heralding the arrival of the ‘Innovative Finance ISA’ (IFISA), which will almost certainly add to the momentum the sector is experiencing.

European Union

Why Stockholm is creating more unicorns than London per capita (elite business magazine), Rated: AAA

The result of the Swedish government’s tech drive of the 1990s is that while Silicon Valley may be the undisputed champion of the world when it comes to producing unicorns, Stockholm comes a close second. According to SparkLabs, the seed-stage fund, the Californian city has produced 10.7 unicorns per million inhabitants, the Nordic city produced three and Tel Aviv, which came third, birthed 1.2. So it’s no wonder the European Digital City Index ranked the metropolis as Europe’s second best city after London when it comes to supporting its digital entrepreneurs. “In Stockholm, we’re really freaking good,” says Stark.

But even though access to a solid infrastructure has proven vital in fostering this thriving entrepreneurial community, it isn’t the only factor. Equally important for the success of Sweden’s startups is the fact that that the nation has a population of just under ten million, which means new enterprises have to be thinking about international expansion from the get-go.

‘Shadow banks’ step into the spotlight (Financial Times), Rated: A

The growing influence of alternative capital is most evident in the US — in April 2015, nonbank lenders accounted for more than half of new government-backed mortgages. Banks are still the biggest lenders in Europe, but rivals are emerging. Many of the new players are linked to the securitisation industry, where loans are packaged up and sold on as bonds to capital markets investors.

Private equity-funded upstarts have quietly taken a more active role in the UK’s securitisation market, which used to be dominated by big banks.

Today one of the largest users of securitisation in the UK is not a bank. The Northview Group, which writes mortgages under the Kensington brand and is funded through securitisation, describes itself as a nonbank challenger lender.

A wave of nonbank lenders, including companies such as Munt and Dynamic Credit, have appeared in the past few years. These players now account for close to a fifth of new Dutch mortgages, according to IG&H, a consultancy. This is up from almost nothing just a few years ago. The companies take capital from institutions and lend to homeowners.

Technology companies that facilitate lending between investors and businesses make up another area of growth in shadow banking, and they are becoming more adventurous in the services they offer.

Funding Circle is one of Europe’s best known peer-to-peer lending platforms, where retail users can invest in loans made online. It lends £100m a month in the UK and is expanding in Europe.

As with other forms of shadow banking, European P2P lending lags far behind the US market. Investors who use Funding Circle, which is also active in North America, said they were disappointed last summer with the performance of US loans written by the company. The concerns followed losses that investors made on P2P loans securitised by OnDeck, a nonbank lender.

International

Statistic of International P2P Lending Services March 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 532 million Euro.

Milestones reached this month are:

  • Mintos crossed 150 million EUR in originations since launch
  • Moneything reached 50 million GBP since inception

Australia

Agri-lending helped drive SocietyOne to a new loan record (Finder), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lender SocietyOne has announced a new lending record, passing the $250 million lending mark in March of this year. Part of the lender’s success is due to increased demand for its two agri-lending products, which, combined with a surge in personal loans over the post-Christmas and New Year period, saw an additional $45 million lent to customers.

China

China P2P industry lending nears Rmb1tn despite crackdown, new regulations (Financial Time), Rated: AAA

Growth in China’s peer-to-peer lending sector has proven resilient in the face of new regulations and a year-long crackdown by authorities on online financing, with total P2P loans blowing past the Rmb900bn ($130.7bn) mark last month.

Outstanding P2P loans came to Rmb920bn at the end of March, according to new figures released today by lending platform Wangdaizhijia.

Month-on-month growth in outstanding loans slowed compared to before the new regulations were introduced in August, from 5.7 per cent in July 2016 to 4 per cent last month.But when viewed in renminbi terms, growth has ratcheted up, with the industry tacking on an average Rmb35.6bn a month in the seven months since regulations were introduced, compared to an average rise of Rmb29.1bn in the seven months ended August.

China curbs ‘Wild West’ P2P loan sector (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending in China is at an inflection point as state regulators aim to transform it from a “Wild West” industry rife with fraudsters into a respectable market in which legitimate lenders can offer funds to willing borrowers.

With their offer of attractive fixed returns over short periods, P2P investments appear similar to saving products that reputable commercial banks offer as an alternative to low rates available for deposits. P2P yields are typically higher than those available from banks, making them an easy sell to investors.

Since 2011, 3,556 platforms have collapsed, according to Online Lending House, a website that tracks the sector. In a third of the cases, law enforcement agencies closed the platforms or their owners or managers simply disappeared.

Asia

Dangoestate.com Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform Celebrates 1,000,000 Investors (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

Dango estate, the now five months old Singapore based investment platform is growing by leaps and bounds. The mood at their three offices around the world was very high yesterday as they celebrated the 1,000,000’th investor on the platform.

Dango estate has achieved great success in the crowdfunding industry in the shortest time, the platform has already funded more than $500,000,000 in loans worldwide and delivered over $350,000,000 in principal and interest to investors, with yields as high as 10%.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor