Tuesday October 2 2018, Daily News Digest

delinquencies by vintage

News Comments Today’s main news: Renaud Laplache banned from securities industry for 3 years. Varo Money pulls bank charter application. Funding Circle completes IPO. Marcus enters the UK. OnDeck Australia expands equipment finance. Today’s main analysis: Delinquency/Loss Trends, yield curve. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans prefer humans over robo-advisors. Global P2P lending market expected to reach $898B by 2024. AltFin’s path to […]

delinquencies by vintage

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United States

United Kingdom

China

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News Summary

United States

Lending Club founder settles; banks fear weak third quarter (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Renaud Laplanche, the co-founder and former CEO of online lender LendingClub, agreed to pay $200,000 and be banned from the securities industry for three years to settle Securities and Exchange Commission fraud charges. In addition, LendingClub Asset Management (LCAM), an investment management unit of LendingClub, will pay a $4 million fine while Carrie Dolan, the company’s former chief financial officer, will pay $65,000.

LendingClub Responds to DOJ and SEC Settlements (PR Newswire), Rated: A

“We are pleased to have resolution and closure,” said LendingClub Chairman Hans Morris. “Following an internal review in 2016, LendingClub’s Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Renaud Laplanche as Chairman and CEO of the Company. The Board’s decision was not made lightly but the violation of the Company’s business practices, along with a lack of full disclosure by Mr. Laplanche during the review, was unacceptable. The allegations made by the DOJ and the findings of the SEC further support the Board’s decision to take swift and decisive action. We have full confidence in our new management team and we are a better company today.”

Why this fintech pulled its FDIC charter application (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Varo Money is inching closer to having a bank — the next step will require a major leap.

The fintech, which aims to offer consumer banking services with no fees, applied for a national bank charter over a year ago. While it recently received preliminary and conditional approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Varo has been unable to secure the blessing of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Delinquency/Loss Trends; Yield Curve One Hike from Inversion (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The range of Fed Funds Rate is now between 2% – 2.25%. A super-majority of committee members indicated that they would like to hike rates by another 25 bps in DecemberUS GDP growth of 4.2% in the 2nd quarter was the fastest since 2014 Q2, and US consumer confidence reached an 18-year high in September.

 

Source: Federal Reserve, Bloomberg, PeerIQ
Source: PeerIQ, Bloomberg

Delinquencies by Vintage

Source: PeerIQ

Bank of America is luring top talent from Apple and Disney to fuel its billion digital ambition (Business Insider), Rated: A

Like its competitors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is spending a colossal amount of money to stay competitive in the financial tech race: Its $10 billion annual tech budget sits just behind JPMorgan’s $10.8 billion and ahead ofCitigroup’s $8 billion.

A large chunk of that spending goes to the firm’s profit-driving consumer-banking operation, which accounts for $34.5 billion in revenue and $8.2 billion in net income, which is 38% of the firm’s total.

SoftBank Invests $ 400M in Home-Selling Startup Opendoor (Coverager), Rated: A

Online real estate marketplace Opendoor  has announced a $400M investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund, bringing its total funding to date to over $1b. The company also announced it has secured access to more than $2b in debt financing from top banks.

Governor Brown Signs Bill That Expands Access to Capital for the Underbanked (BusinessWire), Rated: A

INSIKT, a CDFI-certified fintech company disrupting the predatory lending industry, today celebrated a major step forward for working families and small businesses in California with the signing of Assembly Bill 237 (AB237), following unanimous approval by the CA Legislature. Sponsored by Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), this new law significantly expands access to lower cost loans for Californians who are part of the 66 million underbanked in America ensnared in endless cycles of predatory debt.

AB237 builds on the success of California’s Pilot Program, established in California in 2010 to provide affordable credit for loans below $2,500. The Pilot Program has many consumer protections, including rate caps, mandated underwriting, credit education and reporting of payback information to credit bureaus so that consumers can build their credit score.

The Pilot Program has been working, with the volume of payday lending declining in California by almost 7% from last year, the third consecutive annual decline. AB237 extends all of the Pilot Program’s consumer protections to larger loans of up to $7,500. It also adds new protections, including a 36% maximum debt-to-income ratio, minimum loan terms of one year, and mandatory rate reductions on second and third loans for borrowers in good standing.

Compass Raises $ 400M in Series F Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Compass, a NYC-based real estate technology company, raised $400m in Series F financing round.

The round – which will bring the total capital raised to nearly $1.2 billion – was led by the Softbank Vision Fund and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), with participation from Wellington, IVP and Fidelity.

Americans Prefer Humans over Robos for Financial Advice (Wealth Management), Rated: AAA

Americans are relatively comfortable with automating financial advice but the majority still want a human to consult, according to Charles Schwab’s latest Consumer Digital Demands report.

The report, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults this summer, including 391 current robo advisor users, showed Americans are more open to technology performing some tasks than others. For example, 75 percent of respondents said they’re comfortable with more human assistance than automation when it came to performing surgery. They also are overwhelmingly more comfortable with humans over technology when it comes to driving a car (74 percent), diagnosing a major health issue (73 percent) and flying an airplane (66 percent).

Source: Charles Schwab

Read the full report here.

46 percent of millennials think it takes $ 1,000 to start investing—here’s how much you actually need (CNBC), Rated: A

recent survey from financial services app Twine found that 46 percent of millennials believe they need at least $1,000 to start investing. Another 17 percent believe they need at least $10,000 before they’re able to invest.

Overall, 56 percent assume they don’t have enough money to become investors themselves.

It’s simply not true. There are plenty of ways to get into the market with as little as $1, including contributing to an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, opening a Roth IRA or using a robo-advisor such as Betterment, Wealthsimple or Ellevest, which offer $0 account minimums.

CREDIT WITH A CONSCIENCE (Petal Email), Rated: B

We’re thrilled to announce today that the Petal credit card is now publicly
available on our website at www.petalcard.com.

Meet Klarna (Missy Farren & Associates, Ltd. Email), Rated: B

We’re excited to let you know we are now working with 

Real Estate Mogul And Owner of Flipnerd.com, Mike Hambright, Has Been Published In Forbes (MENAFN), Rated: B

Flipnerd.com continues to grow and make its mark in the real estate world due to the versatility and expertise of its owner, Mike Hambright. In recognition of his expertise, business acumen and dedication to succeeding in his carved niche, the founder of this real estate company has been published on one of the greatest platforms in the world, Forbes.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Goes Public on the London Stock Exchange (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

It was a landmark day for fintech in London as Funding Circle became the first UK marketplace lender to complete an IPO.  The company raised £300 million at a valuation of around £1.5 billion. They began trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: FCH) this morning with an initial price of 440 pence (at the lower end of the forecasted price range of 420p to 530p). While rising early in the day to 460p it closed the exactly flat at 440p.

Funding Circle valuation ‘reflects brand and growth opportunity’ (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer business lender, which listed on the London Stock Exchangeon Friday, was originally targeting a market value of £1.8bn. But after narrowing its IPO price range, it subsequently priced at 440p, implying a market capitalisation of £1.5bn.

Some market commentators argue the company is overvalued as it is still loss-making, although revenues surged from £51m in 2016 to £94.5m last year.

Goldman Sachs Enters U.K. Savings Market, Continuing Consumer Push (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. entered Britain’s £700 billion ($922 billion) cash savings account market Thursday with the U.K. launch of its consumer bank Marcus, adding a fresh source of funding for the U.S. investment bank.

Online-only Marcus offers savings accounts paying interest of 1.5%, the highest rate for instant-access savings products, according to price-comparison websites.

Zopa customers vote Bond’s Aston Martin as most iconic screen car (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE ASTON Martin DB10 driven by Daniel Craig in the James Bond films has been voted the most iconic car in film and television.

The car won 35 per cent of votes in a poll conducted by peer-to-peer platform Zopa.

Inspector Morse’s maroon MK II Jaguar followed in second place with 14 per cent, while Dominic Toretto’s Dodge Charger from The Fast and The Furious came third.

Relendex increases max loan size to £5m (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

Relendex has announced that it has increased its maximum loan size from £3m to £5m.

Loans will also be available on commercial and industrial assets, where circumstances allow, as Relendex plans to reach a lending target of £100m in 2019.

UK in debt: how it looks in figures (London Loves Business), Rated: A

The research briefings provided by the UK Parliament itself show that student debt stands at £105 billion by the end of March 2018.

The Guardian reports that only 5% of the graduates remain unemployed six months after graduating. In addition to that, 74% of professionals who enter the workforce are full-time first degree graduates. In terms of the pay that they get, males more than females tend to benefit from getting a degree. The men’s average pay rise to £24000.

The Guardian reports that by the end of July 2017, unsecured credit had risen to a level not seen since September 2010. Specifically, unsecured debt has reached £201.5 billion.

70% believe low credit scores or zero hour contracts would prevent borrowing (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

Just 31.6% of the 2,400 respondents recognised that none of the reasons listed automatically prevent someone from getting a mortgage.

A massive 47.5% believed a low credit score could stop someone getting a mortgage, 33.4% thought a zero hour contract would be a barrier and 15.6% said a payday loan would stop an application from being accepted.

Fintech iwoca responds to £775m RBS competition package briefing (iwoca Email), Rated: B

The CEO of one of Europe’s fastest growing business lenders has a cautiously optimistic outlook for the £775 million RBS Alternative Remedies Package following a briefing by Banking Competition Remedies this morning.

“Funds from Pools C and D of the package’s Capability and Innovation Fund, would enable iwoca to bring innovative new technology to the market, making it easier for small businesses to secure finance on their terms, whenever and wherever they need it. What’s more, we would be that much closer to achieving our target of funding 100,000 small and micro businesses in the next five years.”

China

China Rapid Finance Announces Submission of Regulatory Report and Board Change (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (the “Company” or “XRF”) (NYSE: XRF), operator of one of China’s largest consumer lending marketplaces, today announced that it submitted its P2P Compliance Self-Inspection Report (the “Report”) to its local P2P regulatory office. The Report is the first of three steps mandated in the inspection process, a key element in demonstrating compliance with industry reforms being promulgated by the National P2P Rectification Office.

Golden Bull Reports 75% Revenue Rise for First Half; Up 6% on Wall Street (Capital Watch), Rated: A

The stock of Golden Bull Ltd. (Nasdaq: DNJR) rose more than 6 percent by Monday afternoon after the Chinese P2P lending company posted a 75 percent increase in revenue for the first half of 2018.

Revenue jumped to $4.9 million compared with $2.8 million during the first six months of 2017, the Shanghai-based company said, thanks to an increase in borrowers. According to its statement, Golden Bull has facilitated 3,000 loans with total volume of $77.8 million during the first half compared with 2,200 loans in the amount of $53.7 million processed a year ago.

Chinese Household-Debt Levels Reach Record High (The Epoch Times), Rated: A

While its overall household wealth has increased, China’s household debt-to-GDP ratio reached a record high of 49.1 percent in 2017, according to a new report on global wealth by German insurance giant Allianz. Since the beginning of 2008 to the end of last year, Chinese household debt jumped an average of 27 percent annually, according to separate but corroborating data from the Bank of International Settlements.

Samoyed Holding Files For $ 80 Million U.S. IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Samoyed Holding (SMY) intends to raise gross proceeds of $80 million from a U.S. IPO, according to an F-1 registration statement.

The firm provides technology-driven credit services to credit-proven millennials in China.

SMY is growing revenues and weighted-average APR but is also seeing sharply increased charge-off rates for its credit card balance transfer marketplace.

European Union

Younited Credit expands to Portugal (AltFi), Rated: A

The Paris-based consumer lending platform Younited Credit has increased its potential customer base by launching in Portugal, its sixth European market. Already distributing loans in Germany and Austria, it has 35 per cent of its loans in Italy and Spain.

Telia Sweden overhauls organisational structure, brings in Klarna customer service head on 01 January (Telecompaper), Rated: B

Johan Andersson will lead the strategy division, Fredrik Sidmar will be in charge of professional services, Piero Trivellato will be responsible for digital and analytics, and Sandra Alenius will lead customer service delivery. Alenius will join Telia from Swedish payments specialist Klarna.

International

Global peer-to-peer lending market set to reach $ 898bn by 2024 (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

THE GLOBAL peer-to-peer lending market will grow to $898bn (£688bn) by 2024, according to new research.

The report predicted that this will allow the P2P market to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 48.2 per cent over the next eight years.

AltFin’s Inconsistent Path To SMB Adoption (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

In the U.K., $248.9 million was lent to SMBs via alternative lending platforms in Q2, according to the U.K. Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA). The P2PFA highlighted that the statistic means net lending to SMBs, via member alternative lending players, surpassed that of high-street banks, which lent about $169.4 million to SMBs during the year’s second quarter. New lending to small firms, among member marketplace lending portals, increased by nearly $130.3 million, the association noted.

In the U.K., 30 percent of small firms need external financing simply to survive, according to new Liberis data.

In the U.S., 63 percent of SMBs sought a loan for working capital needs last year, including payroll, inventory and supplies, according to new data from S&B Global Market Intelligence.

In Mexico, 44 percent of small businesses that have been in operation for five years haven’t seen their incomes rise, according to Moody‘s Senior Credit Officer Felipe Carvallo in an interview with Euromoney. According to Moody’s data, small businesses accounted for just 9.1 percent of all loans in Mexico as of last March — equivalent to only 2 percent of total GDP, reports said.

Skynet Controversy: Similarly Named Tezos dApp Promises Enhanced Peer-to-Peer Lending (BTC Manager), Rated: A

Skynet Open Network seems to promise all things to all people – fastest blockchain implementation, AI on Blockchain, Healthcare on Blockchain and more. Some of the 17,000 people on the SkynetOpen telegram channel were understandably furious about the similarities in the name when Skynet World announced their project on September 26, 2018.

According to the Skynet World whitepaper, they are the first DAPP on the Tezosblockchain.

Skynet World aims to disrupt the bank lending space by offering peer to peer lending through their app. According to Skynet World:

“Banks are the major source of debt finance for both households and businesses, accounting for about three-quarters and two-thirds respectively of all debt finance provided to those sectors… Banks charge most of the interest up front, a practice known as amortization. Through amortization, 70% of the total interest is paid by the halfway point of the mortgage period.”

Australia

SME lender expands equipment finance (AustralianBroker), Rated: AAA

An online lender has expanded its offering of equipment finance, saying it is providing a solution for the “underserved” market of small business owners.

OnDeck Capital Australia said it had received feedback from small businesses and brokers about the length of the loans.

India

MODI OPERANDI (All About Alpha), Rated: A

What’s your liquidity M.O.? If you are less than certain, it is time to look east toward the country of India and the land of Modi. After all, when 1.3 billion people cough there is a decent chance the rest of the world just might get sick, or maybe just sick of being gated, PIK-ed, or having their holdings marked down 10% or more in a single trading session.

In September an unlisted India company that relied on debt funding for various infrastructure projects defaulted and the spillover into the listed equity markets was contagious and quick. The poster child this time around was Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Their commercial paper, which was issued to fund their longer term capital needs, ticked up 50 basis points when a mutual fund went to liquidate some of that holding, and the stock ended up dropping by more than half in a single trading session. Despite management claims of good health and solid liquidity, many investors could not process or hear it as they ran from the fire. Some other names in this sector suffered similar fates, and the damages (or buying opportunities) are still being sorted out. In India, the publicly traded mutual funds are estimated to own 60% of the commercial paper issued by these non-bank finance companies.

Uttam Prakash Agarwal joins PaisaDukan as independent director (Business Standard), Rated: B

Former Uttam Prakash Agarwal has joined NBFC-lending major as 

APAC

Belt Road Capital invests $ 3m in Vietnamese P2P lending startup Tima (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Mekong-focused venture capital firm Belt Road Capital Management (BRCM) has injected $3 million in a Series B funding round of Tima, a Vietnamese P2P lending platform incepted in 2015.

The latest investment values the company at $20 million. Tima raised a series A round in 2016 from Dunearn Singapore Fund and G Capital.

First Circle, a Philippine-based Fintech, Preps to Launch New SME Targeted Credit Facility with Support of Government (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

First Circle, a Philippine Fintech, is expected to announce a new credit facility for SMEs nationwide. This new facility has gained the support of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

First Circle is an online lender that provides supply chain financing to SMEs.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 19 2017, Daily News Digest

Moody's wage growth

News Comments Today’s main news: Clarity Services integrates with Experian. Octopus Choice passes 100M GBP AUM. Funding Circle hits 100M Euro in German lending. Younited Credit tops 100K loans. Square Peg invests $8M in Airwallex. Silver Bullion hits $50M in loans. Today’s main analysis: The deteriorating auto loan quality. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China’s startup investors are a bunch of “cashed-up […]

Moody's wage growth

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Integration of Clarity Services by Experian (Clarity Services Email), Rated: AAA

As a supplier to Clarity Services Inc, we are writing to formally notify you that as of October 6, 2017, Clarity Services Inc has been purchased by Experian Holdings, Inc.

Effective January 1, 2018, purchases and invoice payments will be processed by Experian’s centralized Procurement and Accounting departments.

Source: Clarity Services

PayPal Co-Founder Max Levchin Gave a Remarkably Honest Response to Accusations About His New Startup (Inc.), Rated: AAA

To its critics, though, Affirm, which recently raised $200 million in a growth round, is engaged in something sinister, luring people into a financial trap by enticing them to buy things they can’t afford. CEO Max Levchindoesn’t agree with that interpretation at all, but he does accept some of the blame for not creating a more accurate perception.

Here’s how Affirm works: You can borrow money to make a purchase at any store that integrates with Affirm (or any store at all if you use the mobile “virtual card”). If Affirm’s proprietary credit model judges that you’ll be able to pay back the sum, then you’re offered a loan. During the next several months — up to a year — you’re expected to make monthly payments, which include interest. The APRs range from 10 to 30 percent.

The key things that differentiate Affirm from other credit options are that you get all of the information up front, stated plainly, and the interest charged by the startup is simple rather than compounding. When you make the initial purchasing decision, you know exactly how much extra you will end up paying to buy the product right now, instead of saving up over several months. There are no additional fees.

Moodys Warns Of Deteriorating Auto Loan Quality (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

The economy is expected to expand in 2018, with projections for stock market performance clocking in at 8% basis Goldman Sachs. But not all is well –  a Moody’s report notes that specific asset sectors are struggling, particularly when it comes to  car loan quality worsening.

ValueWalk

Moody’s anticipates that US GDP growth will strengthen slightly to 2.3% in 2018 from 2.2% in 2017, with unemployment also continuing to move lower to 4.0% from 4.4%.

Auto loan quality is worst, but pockets of “challenged” loans exist across the board

Auto loan ABS issuers will likely securitize pools with attributes broadly similar overall to those in the pools backing their 2017 securitizations, even as a further decline in US auto sales pressures lenders to loosen underwriting to support volumes. We project sales will slip another 0.6% after an estimated 3.6% drop in 2017, following eight consecutive years of annual increases.

Auto loans appear to be on the front-lines of credit issues. Household debt, for instance, has increased to $13 trillion, with a significant part of that increase in auto loans. Sub-prime auto loans, in particular, are showing signs of weakness.

When looking at investment in asset-backed securities, the originator makes a difference. ABS backed by loans from online lenders such as SoFi, Lending Club Corporation, Prosper Marketplace Inc. and Marlette Funding have correlated with “prime credit quality.” But that is not the case across the board.

Source: ValueWalk

Square to small banks: Don’t lump us in with Amazon and Facebook (American Banker), Rated: A

Square, the Silicon Valley payment processor that is at the center of the fight over the tech industry’s ambitions in banking, is firing back at its small-bank critics, while also taking steps to placate community activists.

Advocacy groups that once expressed concern about the adequacy of Square’s plan to satisfy its obligations to low- and middle-income customers are now sounding more supportive of the fintech’s bid to open a bank.

Levi King of Nav (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Levi’s background that led to the founding of Nav.
  • The products that Nav offers today.
  • How their business model works.
  • How they get small business owners interested in finance.
  • How Nav saves their customers money.
  • Why Levi thinks that small business owners may not need to be educated on finances in the future.
  • Their approach to producing content on their site.
  • The marketing channels they use to attract small business owners.
  • Levi’s thoughts on the entry on Amazon, PayPal and Square into small business lending.
  • Why proprietary data sets are going to be so important going forward.
  • The story behind the Nav brand and why they rebranded a couple of years ago.
  • The big name equity investors they have and how they closed their funding rounds.
  • What the future holds for Nav.

Traditional FAs Shouldn’t Fear AI (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Traditional wealth managers are convinced the advent of robo-advisors and artificial intelligence threatens the jobs of financial services professionals, Wendy Spires writes on WealthBriefing. But the reality is that the high-touch business of financial advice stands to benefit from AI, as do its traditional practitioners, she writes.

For example, while 71% of wealth managers believe financial advice clients are prepared to accept advice from robo-advisors, the reality is different, she writes. Self-directed investing, for example, dropped from 45% in 2010 to 38% in 2016 — during a time when the number of robos and the services they offer expanded significantly, according to Spires.

 

Working in America’s gig economy (Multibriefs), Rated: A

“The gig economy … is now estimated to be about 34 percent of the workforce and is expected to be 43 percent by the year 2020,” notes Intuit CEO Brad Smith. “We think this points to a lot of growth as we look ahead.”

Based on the most recent demographic data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it appears the gig workforce is fairly evenly distributed across the age spectrum, but the highest percentages are seen at opposite ends of the scale. Individuals 65 years and older had the highest level of self-employment at 24.1 percent, while those under 35 (the so-called millennial generation) made up 18 percent.

BLS data reveals a few more interesting statistics concerning the gig workforce:

  • Men are almost twice as likely as women to be self-employed.
  • More than 30 percent of gig workers possess professional or advanced degrees.
  • Whites and Asians are marginally more engaged in gig work than are other racial or ethic groups.

In fact, data crunched by online lender Earnest and reported by Priceonomics indicates that about 85 percent of gig workers make less than $500 per month.

Consumer board seeks $ 287 million in restitution over CashCall case (Northern California Record), Rated: A

A Nov. 20 hearing featured the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau calling CashCall a purveyor of “financial snake oil” and arguing the online lender should pay as much as $287 million because they deceived customers.

How To Build The Best B2B Customer Experience (Forbes), Rated: A

In order to build the best B2B customer experience, companies should focus their effort on four principles:

  1. Invest in digital systems. Financial technology start-up Kabbage leverages new technology to approve small business loans in just seven minutes—a huge improvement over the 20 days it takes a typical bank. By simplifying the loan application process for web and mobile, Kabbage allows customers to apply for loans within minutes from anywhere in the world, which relieves a huge pain point for small businesses.
  2. Leverage data.
  3. Customize the experience.
  4. Use omnichannel to see the big picture. In fact, the average B2B customer uses six different channels as they make a decision. Customer experience happens in many places, which means companies need to create a consistent omnichannel experience.

Interesting Investments: Peer-to-Peer Lending (Equities.com), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, also known as peer lending, crowdlending, or social lending, is essentially what it says on the tin: lending money to another in an unsecured loan.

Prosper, one of the bigger companies managing P2P lending, has seen a fairly consistent return of about 9 percent through 2014, with a dip to 6.6 percent in 2012. Lending Club has seen a rise from 4.9 percent in 2009 to about 8 percent in 2014. All told, not bad ROIs.

First, you must be at least 18 years old, with a Social Security number, and live in an eligible state to even consider investing. Then, some states require that you have a minimum $70,000 gross income ($85,000 for California), and a minimum net worth of $70,000. You may not be able to invest more than 10 percent of your net worth. However, if your net worth is at least $250,000, there is no minimum income requirement.

Prosper, for example, has an annual default rate 3 to 4 percent higher across all grades. Lending Club has a 6 to 7 percent default rate.

Boston Fintech Company Cayan Is Getting Acquired for $ 1.05B (Bostinno), Rated: B

Cayan, a payment processing company that has been around the Boston fintech scene for the last 19 years, is in the process of getting acquired by Total System Services in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.05 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

United Kingdom

Octopus Choice passes £100m AUM (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Octopus Choice has passed £100m of assets under management, following on from the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA in the summer.

Assetz Capital Makes Changes to the Great British Business & Green Energy Accounts (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, online lending platform Assetz Capital announced it is doing away with the Great British Business Account (GBBA) and the Green Energy Account (GEA).

Ranger Direct Lending makes further $ 9.1m provision for Argon Credit (AltFi), Rated: A

The £232m Ranger Direct Lending fund has made a further $9.1m provision against its indirect investment in the collapsed Argon Credit lending platform.

ThinCats Reveals New Branding, Launches Updated Website (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

SME peer to peer lender ThinCats has launched a new website and branding designed to position itself for its next phase of growth in 2018.

Goji – Empowering Direct Lending (LinkedIn), Rated: B

Paul McMahon, former group marketing director of Aegon and UK CEO of FNZ, and Vincent Bordes, Founding Partner of Vestigo, the credit risk consultancy, will comprise the advisory board. Elizabeth McCallum joins as Goji’s Head of Marketing,  David Beacham as our Head of Distribution, and Rehan Islam as Head of Investments.

China

China’s Wild Bunch: Startup Investors Are Cashed-Up Cowboys (WSJ), Rated: AAA

In the first 11 months of this year, 3,418 new venture-capital and private-equity funds in China raised 1.6 trillion yuan ($241.76 billion), more than double the amount of 2015 and more than 10 times that of 2006, according to consultancy Zero2IPO Group. It estimates about 12,000 investment firms manage 8.5 trillion yuan in capital, an increase from 8,000 firms managing 5 trillion yuan in 2015.

Out of 221 unicorns in the world, 59 are in China, according to CB Insights. While that may lag behind the 127 from the U.S., it’s ahead of the U.K.’s 12 and India’s nine. Many Chinese investors want to invest in Silicon Valley because they think the valuations there are more reasonable.

Government agencies and local governments have announced 1,040 venture funds since 2015 aiming to raise about 8 trillion yuan, according to Zero2IPO. Much of the money is used to lure businesses to set up local offices, to help boost employment and tax revenues. The Hubei Province’s 200 billion yuan fund is believed to the largest of its kind.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Borrowing From Multiple Online Lenders Remains Prevalent (Caixin), Rated: AAA

In China, online lenders or peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms that only facilitate lending do not have full access to borrowers’ credit information as there is no such centralized platform that shares the data.

Some borrowers take advantage of this information asymmetry to apply for loans from multiple lenders so they can roll over previous debts elsewhere, or to take out cheaper loans to repay the ones that charge higher interest rates and profit from the difference, or even become lenders on other P2P platforms themselves, according to a study by the Beijing Internet Finance Industry Association.

The association’s recent report found that among the 61 online lenders surveyed, 44% of their customers on average had borrowed from multiple sources.

The survey found that nearly 500,000 borrowers tried to profit from arbitrage by taking advantage of the different interest rates charged by different online lenders. On average, each of them borrowed from 2.36 online lenders, the survey said.

China’s war on risk hands US$ 121b loan market to big firms (The Malay Mail Online), Rated: AAA

China’s whac-a-mole approach to risk — hit it everywhere it pops up — is set to hand control of the surging US$121 billion technology-driven lending market to a small group of leaders such as Lufax Holding and the finance affiliate of Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Macquarie estimates credit extended by China’s fintech firms will jump more than seven-fold by 2022 to 6.2 trillion yuan (RM3.8 trillion) to pay for things like luxury and household goods or training and education. About half that market is micro-lending — typically small, short-term loans with high interest rates, Macquarie says.

China’s 10 biggest fintech companies account for 36 percent of all loans, said Dexter Hsu, a Taipeh-based Macquarie analyst. Tighter regulation could erode China’s more than 2,000 online micro-lenders and so-called P2P platforms, which directly match borrowers with investors, to less than 200, he said.

Chinese FinTech IPOs Don’t Dazzle Wall Street (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Newly listed Chinese FinTech companies in the U.S. are struggling on Wall Street, leaving investors with unexpected losses and posing as a setback to other Chinese firms hoping to go public.

“The quality of the businesses were either too early [to go public], untested or just poor,” said Anh Lu, an equities portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price in Hong Kong. “And they were asking for very high valuations on top of that.”

European Union

Funding Circle hits €100m lending milestone in Germany (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has hit the €100m (£88.2m) loans milestone in Germany just two years after launch in the country.

The business lending platform says 3,000 investors have backed 1,100 German businesses and created more than 2,000 jobs since 2015.

The platform entered the European market following its acquisition of German platform Zencap in 2015. It now has operations in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands.

Earlier this month it said it had passed £3bn of lending in the UK and $5bn globally across all its platforms.

C’est Génial! Younited CREDIT Tops 100,000 Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Younited Credit has just surpassed 100,000 in loans since platform inception. The Paris based online lender (formerly named Pret d’Union) reported an accelerating rate of loan originations as the number has doubled since September 2016 when total loans stood at 50,000. The platform provides loans from €1000 to € 40,000. To date, Younited Credit has originated over € 650 million in loans.

BorsadelCredito.it Raises €1.6M in Funding (FinsSMEs), Rated: A

BorsadelCredito.it, a Milan, Italy-based fintech startup, raised €1.6m in funding.

The round was led by P101 Ventures, with participation from Azimut Enterprises Holding, GC Holding, Banca Popolare di Fondi and private investors.

DreamQuark wins the 2017 Fintech of the Year (Digital Journal), Rated: B

A startup company called DreamQuark, which produces Artificial Intelligence applications for financial services, has been awarded the Finance Innovation ‘Fintech of the Year’ prize.

National Personal Credit Platform Appoints Chairman (Caixin), Rated: B

The chairman of a wholly-owned central bank subsidiary, Zhu Huanqi, has been appointed chairman of a planned national personal credit-information platform, Caixin has learned from sources familiar with the matter.

International

Online Banking and Payments: Innovative Solutions on the Horizon (FinsSMEs), Rated: AAA

In the near future, online banking and payments will go through some fascinating changes beyond what has already happened over the past several years.

Advanced Mobile Payments

Today, there is increasing demand for biometric authentication apps. To ensure that consumers get what they want, MasterCard is going a step further by developing facial identification, voice recognition, and even cardiac rhythm programs. These innovative solutions will enhance the mobile payment experience for customers and retailers alike.

Growing Opportunities for Mobile Wallets

Back in 2014, Apple was the only real contender for mobile wallets. Within just one year, others followed their lead, including Samsung and Google. Then, in just a short amount of time, more big-name players joined in, such as Chase, Amazon, and Walmart. However, that was not the end. Even social media platforms started offering online payment options. With sites like Facebook that have mobile wallet solutions, people can send money and make payments.

Another prediction is that by 2025, 75 percent of all transactions will be made using mobile wallets rather than actual cash.

Greater Demand for Digital Remittances

For instance, a San Francisco-based company founded in 2001 called Xoom has experienced amazing growth because of digital remittances. In fact, it passed up MoneyGram, which speaks volumes.

Growth Potential with Peer-to-Peer Lending

For instance, having originated loans over $20 million since being founded, Lending Club ranks as one of the fiercest competitors in this arena.

How Banks Are Leveraging Chatbots for Customer Service (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Bank of America: Erica

In October of 2016, Bank of America unveiled Erica, their new AI chatbot. Available in the bank’s mobile app, Erica can work with voice and text commands.

Erica uses machine learning and specially-designed algorithms to provide Bank of America services that were typically reserved for the bank’s top-tier customers. As an example, it could recommend a way to pay down more on your credit card debt to save on interest payments. Or if your checking account is close to being overdrawn, it could contact you to recommend a transfer from your savings account.

Swedbank: Nina

Customers can access Nina from the bank’s website, and it can understand a wide range of text requests using specially designed Natural Language Understanding technology.

In the first three months after Nina’s release, the software was handling an average of 30,000 customer interactions per month.  Of those early interactions, Nina was able to provide a resolution rate of 78%.

Capital One: Eno

Eno from Capital One is a chatbot program that works through SMS messaging.

You can use this AI chatbot to check the balance on your accounts, see your available credit, track recent transactions, pay bills, and more.

Wells Fargo

The Wells Fargo virtual assistant is a chatbot that the bank recently released for use with Facebook Messenger. Once a customer enrolls their account, they can then use Messenger to contact the virtual assistant for basic tasks like tracking recent transactions, balance inquiries, and finding the nearest ATM.

Digital investments: Modern ways to invest in the digital age (Bankless Times), Rated: A

The internet has brought about all kinds of new ways to invest one’s money.

  • Bitcoin
  • Peer-to-peer lending – You’re best off using a well-established site such as Ratesetter.
  • Micro-investment apps – Some apps round up all of your expenses to the nearest dollar and then put the leftover change into an account (for example, if a cup of coffee costs $3.14, this will be rounded up to $4 and the $0.86 extra change will be put into the account).
  • Social media shares
Australia/New Zealand

Australian Fintech Airwallex Secures $ 8 Million Investment From Square Peg (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Less than one year after securing $13 million during its Series A funding round, Aussie fintech startup Airwallex announced it has received an $8 million investment from Paul Bassat’s Square Peg.

Testing a chatbot’s home loan advice gives a range of outcomes (Stuff), Rated: A

A mortgage broking firm is offering an AI chatbot to help first-home buyers understand some of the basics – but an experiment shows you shouldn’t put too much faith in any online calculators’ estimates of how much you might be able to borrow.

Squirrel has launched Alan, an online tool that answers questions like “how much deposit do I need”, “what’s an auction” and “how much can I borrow?”

Regulatory Pathway for Challenger Banks Just OK, Could be Improved (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FinTech Australia has provided a comment onthe consultation paper published in August regarding authorising new entrants into the banking industry. The creation of digital challenger banks in Australia is a welcomed move but, according to FinTech Australia, needs some improvement.

India

5 Consumer Lending Trends To Look Forward To In 2018 (Inc42), Rated: AAA

This amendment to the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005 is a step towards standardisation and providing a visible digital identity, thereby promoting transparency in financial transactions. Another factor that is pushing financial transparency is the rise of Fintech and the subsequent new-age companies that are offering digital avenues for finance such as payment platforms, blockchain companies, alternative financers like P2P lenders and so on.

Consumer Lending Trends To Look Forward To In 2018

Alternative Lending Boom

New service providers will serve the underserved and unserved, meeting the unmet demand. We will continue to see the rise of direct lending as well as P2P lending, marketplaces, crowdfunding platforms etc.

Ease Of Access To Credit

Credit will continue to grow, thanks to the alternative lending boom. One such burgeoning space is the Line of Credit. It has gained momentum in 2017 with the metros being early adopters and is expected to expand into tier 2 & tier 3 cities in 2018.

The Rise Of InsurTech

Investment In Emerging Technologies

Blockchain will expand in putting together smart contracts, and digital identification. Already, FinTech investments in Asia increased to $5.4 billion in 2016, up 12.5% from $4.8 billion in 2015, driven mainly by China and India.

Government And Regulatory Push For Fintech

Asia

Unique Secured P2P Lender Silver Bullion Reaches $ 50 Million in Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Silver Bullion, a peer to peer lending platform based in Singapore, has reached $50 million in loan originations. The unique platform that provides secured lending based off of bullion saw more than double the lending volume in 2017 versus year prior.

Amartha Powers Micro Peer to Peer Lending in Indonesia, Focuses on Women Entrepreneurs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Amartha Founder & CEO, Garuda Typhoon Andi Putra recently commented;

“Since its establishment, Amartha has been committed to connecting the unbanked micro entrepreneurs, and investors who want to add this asset investment in a sector that is more profitable and socially valuable. The uniqueness lies in the micro-entrepreneurs or Amartha Partners, all of which are women. Today, more than 72,000 women micro entrepreneurs throughout Indonesia have enjoyed our services, with a total fund distributed more than 200 billion rupiah (US $ 15 million). “

Affin Islamic Bank lists latest sponsored venture on IAP (New Straits Times), Rated: A

KUALA LUMPUR: Affin Bank Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary, Affin Islamic Bank Bhd, has today listed its latest sponsored venture with Segi Seri Sdn Bhd on Investment Account Platform (IAP), a shariah-compliant platform similar to crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms.

Affin Islamic said the venture plans to raise RM3.3 million on IAP to part-finance contract awarded to them recently, which is related to preparation and serving of dietetic food to an established government hospital in Malaysia for a duration of three years.

 

Canada

Another challenge is the new technology. Instant Financial Inc., a Vancouver-based startup, released an app this year that lets workers paid by the hour get their day’s earnings after a shift. It’s free for employees. Employers pay a fee. The focus so far is the hospitality industry, and includes companies such as McDonald’s and Outback Steakhouse in the United States. Instant has about 175,000 people on the service in the United States and about 5,000 in Canada. Wal-Mart has a similar product, which it sourced from another company.

Africa

A mobile banking service is transforming how the poor transfer money — here’s how it works (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

In 11 countries around the world, some 30 million people use a mobile money service that is transforming how people handle their finances.

It’s called M-Pesa, and it has lifted hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty in Kenya.

Krispo, 40, is enrolled in GiveDirectly’s experiment in basic income, a system of wealth distribution in which people receive a standard salary just for being alive.

The money comes with no strings attached. Krispo and the other villagers have received $22 a month since October 2016, and they’ll continue getting it until October 2028.

Scattered around town are M-Pesa stands, outfitted with live agents who can dispense money — essentially an ATM with a human teller.

There is a small fee for each transaction. For the amount given to GiveDirectly recipients, this fee is 30 shillings. (GiveDirectly actually wires 2,280 shillings each month — 30 shillings above the 2,250 recipients can spend — to cover the cost.)

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday November 20 2017, Daily News Digest

weather unsecured consumer loans Orchard

News Comments Today’s main news: PayPal to sell $6B in consumer loans. Cleveland Fed retracts study on P2P lending. China Citic, Baidu launch direct bank. Flender to expand into eastern Europe, Spain. Douugh partners with Choice Financial. Today’s main analysis: Orchard Platform says how hurricanes affect unsecured consumer loans. Is LendingClub shifting to higher quality borrowers permanently? Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

weather unsecured consumer loans Orchard

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

PayPal to sell $ 6 billion in consumer loans to Synchrony Financial (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

PayPal announced today it has agreed to sell $5.8 billion in consumer credit receivables to Synchrony Financial, in an expanded relationship between the companies. The deal also includes Synchrony’s acquisition of $1 billion in participation interests in PayPal receivables held by certain investors and a chartered financial institution, the company said.

As a result of today’s deal, the two companies will expand their partnership by making Synchrony Bank the exclusive issuer of the PayPal Credit online consumer financing program available to PayPal customers in the U.S. for the next 10 years, replacing Comenity.

Orchard Platform Initiates Analysis: Severe Weather’s Effect on U.S. Unsecured Consumer Lending Industry (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

In a recent blog, Orchard Platform posted initial research how much Hurricanes Harvey and Irma affected the U.S. unsecured consumer lending industry. According to Orchard Platform, approximately 91% outstanding loans in Florida were in designated FEMA disaster areas including metropolitan areas Tampa, Orlando, Miami and Jacksonville.

“The population of loans in the areas affected by Harvey experienced a 3x increase from July 2017 to September 2017,” according to Orchard Platform Credit Analytics Manager Nicholas Del Zingaro. “All consumer unsecured loans in Texas experienced a 170 bps increase in Current to 30 Roll Rate over the same period. Irma made landfall on September 10th, but the Florida and Irma designated areas within Florida and Southern Georgia already show signs of distress, with the Current to 30 Rate increasing from 1.5% to 2.5%. The total population had an uptick of 30 bps from August to September.”

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Why Cleveland Fed should retract its online lending study (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The Marketplace Lending Association is calling upon the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland to temporarily retract and revise its report on online lending due to what we see as serious flaws in the authors’ reliance on certain underlying data.

In our view, this paper — “The Taste of Peer-to-Peer Loans” — and its accompanying materials show that a lack of precision and understanding of subject matter can result in significant inaccuracies. The report’s authors presented findings that seemed to reflect issues with the P-to-P industry, but they actually relied on data from a much broader category of loans. The result was a misleading and brutally critical report about the P-to-P industry that was actually based in part on data from more traditional loans.

Cleveland Federal Reserve Pulls Document Critical of Peer to Peer Lending as Critics Question Research Methodology (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Earlier this month Crowdfund Insider posted a research report published by the Cleveland Federal Reserve that was highly critical of the peer to peer lending industry (marketplace lending) in the US. The report, authored by Yuliya Demyanyk at the Cleveland Federal Reserve, Elena Loutskina at the University of Virginia, and Daniel Kolliner at the University of Maryland, has since disappeared from the Federal Reserve site.

GS Marcus Deep-Dive (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Marcus, was launched in October 2016 amidst mixed perceptions from market participants. One-year later, however, Marcus has achieved its $2 Bn origination objective – making it the fastest growing lending platform that PeerIQ tracks.

GS Marcus expects to originate $13 Bn over three years – the exact amount that Wells Fargo consumer balances have shrunk over the last twelve months as detailed in the PeerIQ Lending Earnings Insights reportGS expects to grow revenue from the Marcus platform to over $1Bn by capturing roughly 6% of the $250Bn unsecured consumer loan market:

Source: PeerIQ

GS CFO Marty Chavez notes that Marcus has an aggressive ~3.5% ROA objective. By comparison, Discover’s ROA is currently ~2.4% and has only achieved a quarterly 3.5% ROA once in the last ten years.

Source: PeerIQ

Although the statistics look similar, each lender is measuring loss-rates somewhat differently:

  • Lending Club and Prosper cumulative loss rates on 36-month prime term loans are ~12% – as estimated by ratings agencies during a base case (not thru cycle) scenario.
  • GS projects thru-the-cycle annual credit losses of 4.0%. Therefore, GS is betting that it will outperform on losses thru-the-cycle.
  • Discover’s 3.2% loss-rate is a realized statistic from the most recent 10-Q.
    • Discover management notes that loss rates are re-normalizing to higher levels. Indeed, Discover’s loss rate was 2.1% two year ago in 3Q 2015 and management expects losses will continue to re-normalizing going forward.
    • We believe a comparable thru the cycle loss-rate for Discover would meet or exceed 4%. By way of comparison, the Discover loan portfolio experienced a peak charge-off rate during the financial crisis of ~7%. (and continued to deliver a positive ROA).
* GS estimate of 4%, Lending Club and Prosper based on 3-year ratings agencies cum. Loss estimate of 12%. Discover based on 3Q-10Q realized
Source: PeerIQ, GS Investor Presentation, Public Filings, Bloomberg.

Is LendingClub Making a Permanent Shift to Higher Quality Borrowers? (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

recent post on the Lend Academy Forum spurred a discussion about the potential future of LendingClub, particularly as it relates to the types of borrowers they serve. While we don’t have insight into what LendingClub’s plans are, there are several things that have happened over the last two years that help us hypothesize that LendingClub’s strategy may be shifting.

LendingClub recently sent an email titled “How LendingClub Notes May Help You Generate Long-Term Wealth”. In it, they tout returns in the 4-6% range, a far cry from the returns some investors saw in LendingClub’s early days. The 4-6% range they present is footnoted, clarifying that this includes only grades A-C.

After I began writing this article LendingClub coincidentally announced in their recent earnings call that loan grades F and G would no longer be available to investors  These loans have an average interest rate of 24.16% on LendingClub’s platform. Moving forward, the loans will be brought in house as part of a test portfolio for LendingClub.

You can clearly see the expansion of C grade loans, which has increased to 36.09% of total originations in 2017, the most ever.

Source: Lend Academy

C grade loans currently make up just shy of 50% of 60 month loans.

Source: Lend Academy

Are Banks and Credit Unions Prepared for a New Mobile Era? (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

After years of strong mobile growth being driven by younger demographic segments, the majority of recent, more modest growth can be attributed to the 55 and older generation. In fact, consumers in the 55+age group have a three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 8% compared to only 2% for the 18 to 34 segment, according to a study from Deloitte.

As in 2016, close to 90% of consumers viewed their phone within an hour of waking up, with roughly 80% doing the same within an hour of going to sleep.

Interestingly, the Deloitte research found that over 70% of younger demographic groups believe they are using their phones too much and are looking for ways to limit dependence. Alternatively, only 13% of consumers over 55 had the same concerns.

Source: The Financial Brand

When consumers were asked about the way they communicated on mobile phones, all options increased in 2017, including text messaging (91%), voice calls (86%), email (81%), social messaging (72%) and video calls (30%). The increase in voice calls reversed a four-year decline.

The survey found a significant growth in use of mPayments in 2017, albeit against a rather low base number. According to Deloitte, consumers who said they made an in-store mobile payment with a smartphone or other device in 2017 reached 29%, which is a 50% increase over 2016. Those who used mPayments weekly also increased by 50% in 2017, (from 8% to 12%).

This $ 700 Billion Industry Has Been Untouched By Tech, Until PeerStreet Changed Everything (Forbes), Rated: A

The PeerStreet platform lets accredited private investors access the huge market of real estate loans, backed by big data and advanced underwriting to identify loans that can give consistent returns.

Brett Crosby, Co-Founder and COO of PeerStreet, has extensive experience in analytics from his time working at Googleas Director of Product Marketing.

What did you do before this?

I was the co-founder of a company called Urchin, which was early in the web analytics space. We were acquired by Google in 2005, and turned Urchin into Google Analytics. I stayed at Google for 10 years, building and launching Google Analytics, launching mobile ads, local ads, the go-to market on social initiatives at Google, and Google Drive. After that, I was running global growth on Chrome, Gmail Docs and Drive.

Mulvaney as CFPB head? Five things to know (American Banker), Rated: A

If President Trump taps Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as is widely expected, he will be a sea change from outgoing head Richard Cordray.

Mulvaney, a former congressman from South Carolina, was a fierce critic of the bureau when in Congress and he sat on the Financial Services Committee.

CFPB final payday/auto title/high-rate installment loan rule published in Federal Register (The National Law Review), Rated: A

The CFPB’s final payday loan rule was published in today’s Federal Register.  Lenders covered by the rule include nonbank entities as well as banks and credit unions.  In addition to payday loans, the rule covers auto title loans, deposit advance products, and certain high-rate installment and open-end loans.  For a summary of the rule, see our legal alert.

The controversy around Mark Warner’s payday lending bill, explained (The Week), Rated: A

At issue is the different ways that states try to handle payday lenders. Some states try to crack down on them with caps on interest rates. But other states are more lenient. And the situation is further complicated by big national banks, which operate under federal law and only have to comply with interest rate caps in the state they’re chartered in.

That loophole enables national banks to engage in “rent-a-charter” schemes. Since these banks aren’t subject to an interest rate cap (or are subject to a more lenient one), they can issue a predatory loan, then immediately sell that loan to a smaller payday lender barred by state law from issuing it on its own.

Pavaso Inc. has announced that it has selected eOriginal to support lenders in the digital mortgage process. Specifically, Pavaso will utilize eOriginal’s electronic promissory note (eNote) and electronic vaulting (eVault) services.

Elevate Credit (ELVT) and Its Peers Head to Head Comparison (Dispatch Tribunal), Rated: A

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Elevate Credit 0.13% 1.40% 0.14%
Elevate Credit Competitors -27.28% -16.64% -8.05%

51.8% of Elevate Credit shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 40.9% of shares of all “Professional Information Services – NEC” companies are held by institutional investors.

Gross Revenue NetIncome Price/Earnings Ratio
Elevate Credit $580.44 million -$22.37 million 357.00
Elevate Credit Competitors $242.33 million -$13.85 million 84.22

How Blockchain Technology Can Serve the Have-nots (Wharton), Rated: A

Some 2.7 billion people worldwide today have zero access to capital. Despite lacking any credit history or verifiable economic identity, these so-called unbanked or under-banked individuals can now access global capital markets with a $10 Android phone, thanks to blockchain-based economic identity platforms like BanQu or Humaniq that create a unique hash of verifiable authenticity — similar to a social security number — from a simple retina scan or selfie. The total market opportunity this group represents is a staggering $380 billion, according to a recent report.

Coinbase is going after big hedge fund money with its new cryptocurrency security platform (Business Insider), Rated: A

On Thursday, Coinbase, the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange, announced a new platform that might quell the anxieties of big money investors looking to invest in crypto. The platform, called Coinbase Custody, was built specifically to meet the needs of such investors, including hedge funds and family offices, according to a Medium post by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.

Just last week, an unidentified user accidentally deleted the code library required to use recently created digital wallets within Parity, a popular digital-wallet provider, and cryptocurrencies have long been associated with the chasms of the deep, dark web.

The service will charge users a $100,000 startup fee. Armstrong said there will also be a monthly fee based on assets.

Because index funds pose little competitive threat, expense ratios for the leading alternative funds are far higher than elsewhere in the industry. These days, the vast majority of conventional fund sales go into funds that have expense ratios of less than 0.60%–usually much less. With alternatives, on the other hand, a 1% expense ratio is considered low-cost. Most of the larger funds have expense ratios approaching 1.5%, which would doom them were they not alternatives.

Given all these differences, it’s not surprising that, for alternatives, industry leadership is upside down. The giants are absent. Among them, Vanguard, BlackRock, Fidelity, Capital Research, and T. Rowe Price run a grand total of $7 billion in alternative mutual funds. In contrast, the management firm AQR controls $29 billion.

Source: Morningstar Direct

RealEstateInvestingProfits.com Explain Why Bitcoin and Real Estate Investing are Joining Forces (PRUnderground), Rated: A

RealEstateInvestingProfits.com, a strategic consulting and real estate investing educational platform that is responsible for a combined 1,000 closings and nearly a 100m in total sales volume focused on wholesale/flips with their partners and affiliates, are making a compelling argument, suggesting that real estate and Bitcoin should be natural partners and doing their best to open eyes to possibilities in this area.

With the Real Estate Market Size growing from $7.1 trillion in 2015 to $7.4 trillion in 2016, currency movements effectively reduced the size of the global real estate investing market by approximately 2.3% in the dollar (USD) terms according to MSCI Research, the question many are asking – Can Bitcoin be a positive disruptor to save on third-party fees and high transactions exchanges from lending?

How does Affirm make money? (Vator.tv), Rated: B

Affirm makes it easy to repay the loan, send out email and SMS text messages to remind the customer of upcoming payments. Users can pay theur Affirm bills online, by debit card or ACH transfer, and sign up for autopayment.

The company makes money the same way that a credit card does: by charging interest of between 10 percent and 30 percent.

United Kingdom

In lending its all about the recovery (AltFi), Rated: A

There’s a problem with shadow banking and alternative finance. It’s called what to do when bad stuff happens.

Whereas most consumer lenders will struggle to provide 5%, platforms such as Funding Circle, Assetz and ThinCats can easily provide a net yield in excess of 5%, even after allowing for losses.

This deeper understanding of the lending process and defaults is all for the good but I think it raises a much more critical issue, especially relevant for SME lending – how do lenders cope with problem borrowers?

But Funding Circle also has a sweet spot in lending tens and hundreds of thousands of pounds which means they tend to avoid lending large sums in the £500k to £50m bracket (in fact nothing towards to the top end).

Financial advisers found publishing false credentials online (Which?), Rated: A

Which? Money analysed 43 advice firms which are listed on on Unbiased.co.uk – a comparison service that allows you to find a financial adviser – which stated they employed certified financial planners. These are advisers who hold a specific certification from the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI).

Some 63% of them (27 firms), however, did not actually employ any such advisers.

Seven out of 24 firms (29%) were also falsely claiming to be accredited by the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA), and 14 out of 72 firms (19%) claimed to have advisers with chartered financial planner status, despite not employing anyone who was, in fact, chartered.

UK FinTech to Launch a Bitcoin Visa Debit Card with Support for Altcoins (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

A London-based fintech startup is planning on launching a prepaid Visa debit card, giving users the option to spend a range of cryptocurrencies across the U.K.

On Tuesday, the London Block Exchange (LBX) launched, headed by an 18-year Credit Suisse veteran.

The cryptocurrencies include bitcoin, ethereum, ripple, litecoin and monero.

Fintech startup Glint de-cloaks to offer a multi-currency account and card that supports spending gold (TechCrunch), Rated: B

London-based Glint has been pretty stealthy about what it planned to offer, despite several funding rounds and a vague description that it wanted to a create new “global currency” based on gold. Well, today the fintech startup is finally de-cloaking with a staggered launch of its multi-currency account, app and card that does indeed let you store your money in gold and convert it back to fiat currency at the point of payment.

Komodo (KMD) bringing first dICO to Market with Monaize (Oracle Times), Rated: B

Komodo (KMD) has a much smaller market cap at $233 million. Komodo promises to be a block chain interoperable network to allow transactions across coins to help financial institutions bring banking to freelancers, small business owners, and other underserved customers accept and send payments.

Monaize is now teaming up with Komodo for the first dICO to facilitate financial transactions using cryptocurrency.

China

China Citic, Baidu launch direct bank in fintech push (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China Citic Bank Corp (601998.SS) and search engine giant Baidu Inc (BIDU.O) launched on Saturday a direct banking joint venture, dubbed AiBank, to capitalize on China’s rapidly growing fintech sector.

Young, Carefree and Unsecured (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Consumer lending is booming in China, thanks to a less thrifty younger generation who have cast off the save-at-all-costs mentality of their parents.

China’s unsecured consumer loans amounted to just 9 percent of gross domestic product in the first nine months of this year, compared with 15 percent in the U.S., according to consultants Oliver Wyman. The educated 18- to 36-year-old borrowers LexinFintech targets tend to be ignored by banks, even though their job prospects mean that they’re unlikely to default.

Auto financing, meanwhile, has exploded to account for more than a third of car purchases last year from 8 percent in 2011, according to CLSA Ltd. data.

Peer-to-peer lender PPDAI Group Inc., which listed in New York last week, also said that its rates exceeded 36 percent once fees are included. The company’s shares are trading below their offer price.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank, has made plans to launch a united platform by the end of 2017 for collecting personal credit information and assessing people’s credit ratings.

The new platform is expected to cover data from non-traditional market participants, especially Fintech industry (e.g. peer to peer lending), which will complement the existing credit data mechanism, increase supervision over non-traditional financial sectors and effectively reduce systematic risks.

Third-party credit service agencies may also become shareholders in the new platform with a ratio of 8% respectively.

On November 16th, Jianpu Technology Inc. announced it would be listed on the NYSE. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan are the bookrunners for the deal.

On November 16th, Xiamen Financial Affairs Office released the first P2P lending firms fillings in China. However, what drew the media’s attention more in the fillings is a firm called Jing Dong Xu Hang Online Lending Information & Intermediary Service Ltd. This company is a wholly owned secondary subsidiary of JD Finance. 

European Union

Flender looking at expansion into eastern Europe and Spain (The Business Post), Rated: AAA

Flender, a peer-to-peer lending start-up backed by Ding founder and Esat Digifone co-founder Mark Roden, is eyeing up an expansion to eastern Europe and Spain after it launches in Britain next year.

Charles Egly of Younited Credit (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Younited Credit is the largest online consumer lender in Continental Europe having crossed €500 million in total loans issued earlier this year.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What the banking environment is like in France.
  • The long road they took to get a banking license.
  • The typical borrowers coming to Younited Credit today.
  • The terms of the loans they are offering today in France.
  • The kinds of investors on their platform today.
  • How they structure their investor offerings.
  • The three different ways they make money.
  • How their insurance product works.
  • The yield to investors of their different offerings.
  • Who Charles sees as their competitors.
  • How they are expanding their business to Italy and Spain.
  • Some of the large investors they are working with today.
  • Their approach to technology and underwriting.
  • Some of the alternative data they are using to feed into their algorithms.
  • How Brexit has impacted their business.
  • How they are using the €40 million they raised recently.
  • Where they are at with regards to profitability.

And more.

Allied Irish Banks invests €30m in payments fintech firm Transfermate (City A.M.), Rated: A

Allied Irish Banks (AIB) has invested €30m in (£27m) in business-to-business international payments start-up Transfermate, it will announce today.

The investment could value Transfermate at between €250m to €300m, sources said.

International

Fintech funding round-up (Banking Technology), Rated: A

As reported in May, peer-to-peer lending start-up Flender was seeking to get €1 million in funding and is targeting a UK launch after getting full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority.

Over in Israel, Tipigo Ventures, which offers an artificial intelligence (AI) powered wealth management platform, has raised $1 million in seed funding. The firm says this puts its valuation at $10 million.

Kuants, an algorithmic trading platform, will “co work” and “co live” at IA’s start-up academy during a three-month long acceleration programme.

Staying in India, Sumeru Enterprise Tiger Business Solutions, a Bengaluru-based banking software start-up, has raised $900,000 from unnamed investors in India and the US.

Australia

Fintech start-up Douugh scores partnership with US mutual bank Choice (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

Sydney-based fintech start-up Douugh has scored a partnership with US mutual bank Choice Financial, as it readies to launch its smart banking personal assistant, Sophie.

As part of the open banking partnership, Douugh will launch an integrated bank account and debit card with the bank, giving it the ability to accept deposits. Choice Financial has also invested in Douugh, as part of a $2.5 million seed round.

India

Fintech startups simplify digital money lending (Sunday Guardian Live), Rated: AAA

Amongst those startups who have been simplifying digital lending are Rubique, InCred, ZestMoney, Qbera, Loan Singh etc.

Working as a medium for a customer and financial institutions, data analytics performed on hundreds of data points on Rubique’s platform assess the creditworthiness of the customers (loan origination qualification), bringing predictability by giving them eligible offers to choose from.

Using real-time processing is also part and parcel for Zest Money, based in Bangalore since 2015, whose USP is its simple digital process, fast approval time and flexible products, with the benefit of multiple options to pay EMIs.

Using cutting-edge technology and proprietary credit underwriting algorithms, based on alternative data sources, Loan Singh enables frictionless lending to creditworthy and underserved borrower segments. It mainly provides personal loans (for salaried individuals), Professional Certification Loans (for students pursuing skill development and certification programmes), and Small Ticket Unsecured Personal and Consumer Loans (through third-party associations).

Others like InCred, founded in January 2017 and based out of Mumbai, focus on giving credit to those customers who have traditionally been underserved by large banks and NBFCs.

How fintech startups are assisting MSMEs, the biggest contributors to the Indian economy (YourStory), Rated: A

While contributing eight percent to the nation’s total GDP, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) also provide for 40 percent of the total export. Producing over 10,000 different types of products, these small-scale ventures are also responsible for 45 percent of the entire manufacturing output.

To begin with, last year’s demonetisation drive has propelled the digital onboarding of a number of MSMEs.

However, given a favourable environment and a slew of radical changes, there is still a huge credit deficit that is still unmet for the sector. This is exactly where the number of mushrooming fintech startups step in. To disrupt the status quo and level the playing field, a number of fintech lenders are supporting these small-scale ventures. The fact was made evident by McKinsey, claiming that nearly 75 percent of the emerging fintech lenders are helping MSMEs with lending, payment systems, retail banking, wealth management and more.

In digital drive, Aegon Life looking for fintech partnerships (Zeebiz), Rated: B

Aegon Life Insurance is exploring partnerships with fintech firms to expand customer base through a digital push of selling policies online, a top company official said.

Five fintech platforms which will make all your honeymoon dreams come true (Business-Standard), Rated: B

Here is a list of five fintech platforms, which will make all your honeymoon dreams come true:

  1. Loantap.in
  2. Faircent.com
  3. Rubique
  4. CreditMantri
  5. BankBazaar
Asia

P2P lender Crowd Genie targets raising up to $ 31.6m via ICO (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Singapore-based P2P lending solutions provider Crowd Genie plans to conduct an initial coin offering (ICO) of its CGCOIN currency, aiming to raise up to ETHB100,000 ($31.69 million).

Are crowdfunding and P2P lending good options for business financing? (e27), Rated: A

For the better part of a decade, banks have relaxed their lending conditions, too, so small businesses are finding more success with being approved for a loan.

But banks are not the only ones providing funding to small businesses, as they are actually reluctant to lend money to such enterprises in some jurisdictions. In China, for example, state-owned banks are not too fond of lending to individuals and small businesses. However, here P2P lending is a booming market, with around 2,200 p2p lenders and a market valued at US$100 billion.

Not all small businesses have the capability to launch their own ICOs, nor build their own blockchains over Ethereum, however. For this purpose, a startup called Starbase will empower any business or individual to crowdfund using cryptocurrencies and tokens without building their own network.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

It is based on this point of view that MAS and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority decided to collaborate on a Blockchain-based cross-border trade finance platform. The platform, which is called Global Trade Connectivity Network (GTCN), is an open-sourced Blockchain platform and will be launched at the start of 2019.

OJK Will Fix The Rules Regarding Fintech (Gatra News), Rated: B

The authority noted that as of September this year, 24 P2P lending companies consisting of 16 local companies and 8 foreign companies have been registered and licensed in OJK. Meanwhile 31 P2P lending companies are in the process of registration.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

French Alternative Lending Market: An Overview

European alternative lending

European Overview The alternative lending market in continental Europe is still in its nascent stage but has been demonstrating strong growth. The European online alternative market, including the UK, grew by 92% in 2015 to €5.4 billion while, excluding the UK, the European alternative lending market reached approximately €1 billion in 2015. The average growth […]

European alternative lending

European Overview

The alternative lending market in continental Europe is still in its nascent stage but has been demonstrating strong growth. The European online alternative market, including the UK, grew by 92% in 2015 to €5.4 billion while, excluding the UK, the European alternative lending market reached approximately €1 billion in 2015. The average growth of the online alternative lending market between 2013 and 2015 was 73%.

Although the UK is the pioneer as far as alternative lending is concerned, continental Europe is catching up rapidly. In the first three quarters of 2016 the total market volume of the European alternative lending market stood at €623 million.

France’s Alternative Lending Market

After Brexit, France is battling Germany for the position as the biggest alternative lending market in Europe. The volume of French online lending market grew from a paltry €76 million in 2013 to €319 million in 2015. In 2016, the number of fintech companies in France stood at 55 with Younited Credit being one of the biggest with loan originations amounting to $600 million. In 2015, France Fintech Association was established in order to stimulate the fintech market.

Fintech lenders in France are growing aggressively owing to the measures taken by the French government and the regulatory authorities overseeing the alternative lending market. AMF (Financial Market Authority) and ACPR (Prudential Control Authority and Resolution) are the two regulators that regulate the French alternative lending market. These bodies launched the Fintech Forum, a joint initiative to gain a clear view of regulatory and supervisory challenges faced by fintech companies. After Brexit, they launched “Agility Program” to attract UK fintech companies to France. The program will guide financial firms through the French authorization process and will provide other such services to help UK’s financial firms to set up in France.

Top Alternative Lending Companies in France

The French market is buzzing with new lending startups, but there are some stalwarts who have created a strong position in the French market for themselves. Though the sector has currently seen no listing, there are many potential unicorns.

Younited Credit

Founded in 2009, Younited Credit is one of the biggest fintech lenders in France. It was founded by Thomas Beylot, Charles Egly, and Geoffroy Guigou. The company operates as a peer-to-peer lending platform and is recognized by the French Central Bank. It allows investors to lend money to the borrower directly with the help of a secured bond market place. So far, the company has managed to raise US$122 million in funding and is currently working to expand across Europe. Since its launch, Younited Credit has helped fund almost 60,000 projects for a total origination of more than €433 million.

Lendix

Lendix is a peer-to-peer lending platform founded in 2014 by Olivier Goy. It is an online marketplace for business loans where investors are allowed to lend money directly to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Lendix has raised approximately US$27 million to date. The company also bagged the 32nd position in the global ranking of the 2016 FINTECH 100.

Unilend

Founded in 2013 by Nicolas Lesur, Unilend is the leader in participative financing for SMEs. It is the
first French site which allows anyone to lend money directly to SMEs. The startup has raised more than €10 million in funding. NewAlpha Asset Management led its latest funding round.

FinexKap

FinexKap is a web-based platform founded in 2012 by Cedric Teissier and Arthur de Catheu. The company provides short-term capital solutions to SMEs. SMEs can simply sell their receivables and gain access to short-term funds. FinexKap has raised €7 million in equity since inception. It recently raised €12 million in debt for further expansion.

Lendosphere

Founded in 2014, Lendosphere is a niche platform dedicated to renewables and environment-friendly projects. Currently, the company has 70 projects under its ambit out of which 66 are completed while fundraising is going on for the remaining 4. Total loans originated by the company is more than €19 million.

Conclusion

French banks loaned out €2.169 trillion in 2016. Almost 50% of it went to households, and consumer credit accounted for €161 billion in outstanding loans. Outstanding loans to small businesses stood at almost €400 billion.

French banks accounted for 20% of overall bank credit in the Eurozone. These statistics highlight the tremendous market opportunity for alternative-lending entrepreneurs. It is one of the last developed markets that have not been tapped aggressively by online lenders and where regulators have been supportive of alternative financing. The sector is sure to see upheaval with the category maturing and Brexit creating an opportunity for startups to capture the trillion dollar French market as well as use Paris as a springboard for the entire European credit market.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

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

Tuesday September 19 2017, Daily News Digest

Multifamily REITs

News Comments Today’s main news: Equifax cans two executives. Credit Karma to launch free ID monitoring tool. Funding Circle’s new lending options now in effect. Wealthsimple expands into the UK. HighRadius raises $50M. ID Finance launches Mexico operations. Today’s main analysis: Multifamily REITs reduce leverage, development pipelines. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The next crisis will start in Silicon Valley. RateSetter’s Rhydian Lewis […]

Multifamily REITs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Africa

Latin America

News Summary

United States

Equifax hack claims two executives (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The Equifax data breach has claimed its first two executives. The company late Friday announced the immediate retirement of David Webb, its chief information officer, and Susan Mauldin, its head security officer. They will be replaced, respectively, by Mark Rohrwasser, who joined Equifax last year as head of the company’s International IT operations, and Russ Ayres, most recently vice president of IT.

Credit Karma to launch free ID monitoring following Equifax hack (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Credit Karma Inc is launching a new free service that will alert customers if their identity data has been compromised in hacks, the San Francisco-based fintech company said on Friday in the wake of massive breach at credit monitoring agency Equifax Inc(EFX.N).

The new ID monitoring service is being tested and will be available in October, the company said on Friday.

CreditKarma saw a 50 percent spike in sign-ups to its platform in the weekend after the hack, it said.

Multifamily REITs Reduce Leverage and Development Pipelines as Fundamentals Downshift and Supply Peaks (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Key takeaways:

  • Stronger credit profiles and balance sheets provide the multifamily REITs rated by Morningstar Credit Ratings, with flexibility to withstand substantial market disruptions.
  • New apartment supply is pressuring multifamily fundamentals, and REITs on average are lowering their exposure to new construction.
  • Morningstar expects net operating income among multifamily REITs to moderate after years of solid gains.
  • Since 2016, Net Operating Income (NOI) growth has slowed amid additional supply.
  • Multifamily REITs rated by Morningstar reduced their leverage and their exposure to new construction, positioning themselves for the impending completions and an environment where borrowing rates are expected to rise.
  • Rental growth among multifamily properties should be subdued for the next two years. While fundamentals remain sound, surplus inventory of new units likely will keep rent increases in check.
Source; Morningstar
Source: Morningstar

Read the full report here.

The Next Crisis Will Start in Silicon Valley (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

It has been 10 years since the last financial crisis, and some have already started to predict that the next one is near. But when it comes, it will likely have its roots in Silicon Valley, not Wall Street.

Since 2007, a tremendous wave of innovation has swept across the financial sector, affecting almost every aspect of finance. New robo-adviser startups like Betterment and Wealthfront have begun dispensing financial advice based on algorithmic calculations, with little to no human input. Crowdfunding firms like Kickstarter and Lending Club have created new ways for companies and individuals to raise money from dispersed networks of individuals. New virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have radically changed our understanding of how money can and should work.

But revolutions often end in destruction. And the fintech revolution has created an environment ripe for instability and disruption. It does so in three ways.

First, fintech companies are more vulnerable to rapid, adverse shocks than typical Wall Street banks.

Second, fintech companies are more difficult to monitor than conventional financial firms.

Third, fintech has not developed the set of unwritten norms and expectations that guide more traditional financial institutions.

Enova Announces $ 25 Million Share Repurchase Program (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Enova International (NYSE: ENVA), a financial technology company offering consumer and small business loans and financing, today announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan for up to $25 million of its common stock through December 31, 2019.

Prime Meridian Ranks High on the Prestigious INC5000 List as one of Fastest Growing Companies in America (PRWeb), Rated: A

Inc. magazine ranked Prime Meridian Capital Management 554 on its 2017 annual Inc. 5000, which ranks the fastest growing private US companies in all industries. Amongst asset managers in the finance industry, Prime Meridian ranks near the very top of the list. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment— its independent small and midsized businesses. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000.

The 2017 Inc. 5000, unveiled online at Inc.com is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. The average company on the list achieved a mind-boggling three-year average growth of 481%. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue is $206 billion, and the companies on the list collectively generated 619,500 jobs over the past three years.

60-Second Market Review and Insights (Credit Chronometer), Rated: A

Regulatory uncertainty will continue to be a significant challenge going forward. Practices will be shaped by the standards imposed on fintech and other non-bank entities, which in turn, depends in part on the outcome of the tussle between the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which has begun offering a special purpose national charter, and state regulators who believe they are best suited to protect consumers.  The industry may soon also be impacted by legislation introduced recently in the Senate and the House that would overrule the 2nd Circuit’s Midland v. Madden decision denying purchasers of high-interest loans the benefit of preemption of state usury laws afforded their sellers under federal law.  Despite the ongoing debates, there appears to be momentum for more uniform and streamlined laws in the future that will provide greater certainty and, consequently, cost advantages for marketplace lenders.

dv01 Launches Cashflows for Securitizations (Business Insider), Rated: A

dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that offers institutional investors transparency and insight into lending markets, today announced the launch of a cashflow engine for securitizations, with full waterfall and collateral model support. dv01’s cashflow engine is available for a library of 30 consumer unsecured, student, and small business deals, covering over $10 billion of securitizations from originators including Avant, Lending Club, Marlette, Prosper, SoFi, and Upstart.

dv01’s cashflow engine is powered by deal waterfall models that operate on loan level data sourced directly from originators. All projections are performed at the loan level and tied out to trustee reports, ensuring accuracy across the entire waterfall, down to the residual.

Within the cashflow engine, investors have access to full deal structure models to generate tranche and residual cashflow projections. This includes a wide array of functionality, including cohort-level control over assumptions; price, yield, and spread re-computation directly from the results screen; and price-yield matrix calculations. The output computations include a projected paydown chart and cumulative prepay/loss plots, all of which show both historic actuals and projected values.

The cashflow engine is integrated directly into dv01’s Securitizations solution, which offers investors 24/7 access to a reporting and analytics portal populated with loan level securitization data. When analyzing a securitization, users have access to deal-specific detail, collateral, and performance pages, as well as the ability to download updated loan tapes to track the evolution of a pool over time. Additionally, users can use dv01’s Pool Explorer to construct curves using historical platform data.

Fintechs get another alternative to IPOs (Business Insider), Rated: A

US-based VC firm Social Capital — whose portfolio includes fintechs Wealthfront, CommonBond, Jetty, and Cover — has 

Source: Business Insider

Small Business Crowdlending Fund Offers Startups Loan Opportunities (WYSO), Rated: A

Mom and pop business owners often struggle to find enough capital to get their ideas off the ground and succeed, research shows. Kiva Dayton’s recently launched crowdlending platform aims to help solve this problem.

Now, the Downtown Dayton Partnership is offering to commit the first 20 percent of each Kiva loan to help potential business owners build buzz and raise more funds through the platform.

According to a study by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, inadequate capital is the major obstacle facing small businesses when it comes to growth, expansion and wealth creation.

All Kiva loans are zero percent interest and they’re small, with no loans over $10,000.

Younger Americans More Likely to Invest in Bitcoin (Coindesk), Rated: B

New survey data from online student loan marketplace LendEDU suggests that younger consumers in the United States are more interested in investing in bitcoin.

Of those between the ages of 18 and 24, 35.9% said they plan on investing in bitcoin, versus 43.5% who said no and 20.5% who weren’t sure. For the 25-34 age group, the “yes” figure grew to 40.4%, with 31.7% of respondents in that demographic saying no.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle New Lending Options Go Into Effect (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Less than a month after Funding Circle announced the new versions of its existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools, the online lender revealed the new changes have officially gone into effect.

As previously reported, as part of these changes, Funding Circle will be eliminating the option to manually choose which businesses an investor may lend to and which loan parts to sell will be withdrawn. This is a significant shift in operation of the peer to peer lending platform as it begins to operate more like a fund.

Wealthsimple Brings Simple, Accessible Investment Advice to the UK (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Wealthsimple, a digital wealth manager, continues to make smart investing accessible and low-cost to more people with today’s announcement of the company’s expansion to the United Kingdom. UK residents can now open an account and have access to diversified investment portfolios in less than five minutes on wealthsimple.com or by downloading the iOS or Android app.

At launch, clients are able to open ISAs (Individual Savings Account), JISAs (for children) and personal accounts with a 0.7% management fee.

The London-based team is led by Fintech entrepreneur Toby Triebel, the former CEO and co-founder of the global online lending platform Spotcap. Triebel joined the Wealthsimple team in September 2016, leading the company through regulatory approval and initial beta testing, which saw over five thousand people sign up for early access to Wealthsimple through an online waitlist.

In May, Wealthsimple raised an additional C$50 million from Power Financial group of companies, a strategic partner, bringing Power’s total investment to C$100 million thus far in support of Wealthsimple’s global ambitions.

Rhydian Lewis on ‘dinosaur’ banks and making RateSetter the ‘crowdsourced Libor’ (SpearsWMS.com), Rated: AAA

Since he and co-founder Peter Behrens set up the online exchange from a flat in 2010, it has handled the loans of £2 billion.

‘I’ve come to realise the importance of emotional intelligence to give other forms of intelligence the chance to come out right.’

It makes so much more sense for lending to be funded by investment as opposed to by an instrument called the deposit’ – not least because of the strictures imposed by regulators.

So far, 50,000 people have lent money through RateSetter, with £1.3 billion of loans repaid. Turnover this year should be £30 million; the headcount is 260. ‘Our ambition is that in due course the rates exchanged on RateSetter will be seen as benchmark rates,’ he says. And one day he would like peer-to-peer lending be ‘a crowd-sourced Libor’.

Clever Lending partners with LendInvest (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: A

Clever Lending has been made a strategic partner of bridging specialist LendInvest.

The firm will be able to distribute LendInvest’s specialist bridging and development finance products.

Brokers can now deal directly with Clever Lending to gain access to LendInvest’s range.

Pollen Street completes merger with MW Eaglewood (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

POLLEN Street Capital has completed its acquisition of a controlling stake in MW Eaglewood, creating one of Europe’s biggest alternative finance-focused investment managers.

The deal, first announced in May, sees Honeycomb Investment Trust manager Pollen Street become the majority shareholder of the combined group, which has assets of around £2bn.

Downing-backed report tackles ‘misconceptions’ over debt-based securities (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A REPORT has been published that aims to tackle advisers’ confusion and misunderstanding of debt-based securities (DBS), following their acceptance into the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) in 2016.

The CPD-accredited report, published by Intelligent Partnership, identifies some of the opportunities in the market and the role DBS can play in a diversified portfolio.

The term is used to describe a variety of different models for deploying capital, usually involving a borrower, lender and interest rate over an agreed period. DBS are increasingly arranged through crowdfunding platforms.

The report explains the investment types available, how to evaluate risks in varying market conditions, tax wrapper options, fees and returns, the difference between DBS and peer-to-peer lending, and due diligence issues.

‘Vital advisers understand debt-based securities’ – report (Professional Adviser), Rated: B

Alternative debt-based securities (DBS) will become more popular thanks to regulatory pressure and greater demand for diversification, therefore it is vital advisers understand the products, research provider Intelligent Partnership has said.

Time is running out to save this iconic Welsh pub from closure (Wales Online), Rated: A

A Welsh community has just weeks to raise enough money to save an iconic pub after the current owners set a deadline for when they intend to pull their last pints.

Despite raising £130,400 of an initial target of £300,000 so far – including £50,000 in the first few weeks of the campaign – time is now running out after a deadline was set of Saturday, October 28.

In a fresh attempt to raise more money, a Peer to Peer (P2P) lending scheme is being proposed whereby people can loan £5,000 to the scheme which, the group say, would generate a 4% gross interest return per annum.

China

Too Little, Too Late? China Can’t Seem to Get a Grip on Fintech Regulation (WSJ), Rated: AAA

In recent weeks, Chinese central bank officials, banking and securities regulators have tightened oversight of a range of investing and technology platforms used by individuals to trade virtual currencies, invest in online loans and rapidly shift cash in and out of mutual funds.

A surge of Chinese investment—possibly more than $600 billion in the past two years—has gone into these so-called retail products, according to data from online platforms, financial information aggregators and cryptocurrency research houses.

In August, regulators placed limits on the growth of mutual funds made wildly popular via China’s mobile-payment platforms.

More than 700 online-loan platforms, known as peer-to-peer lenders, closed in the last year ahead of new caps on their operations that take effect this month that dimmed their prospects for profitability.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

HK needs crowdfunding-friendly regulatory regime (EJ Insight), Rated: A

However, despite the fact that Hong Kong is one of the major global financial hubs, so far we still don’t have clear guidelines or any specific regulatory regime for crowdfunding, thereby hindering the development of our tech industry.

As far as equity crowdfunding and P2P lending are concerned, since they involve financial returns and yields, they are usually subject to legal regulation. Yet, in order to ride the global crowdfunding wave, major financial markets such as the US, Britain, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia have all eased restrictions on crowdfunding in recent years.

At present, Hong Kong doesn’t have a single and comprehensive piece of legislation that deals specifically with crowdfunding. Instead, it is regulated separately by different existing laws such as the Securities and Futures Ordinance, the Money Lenders Ordinance as well as the Companies Ordinance.

Nevertheless, according to the same study, Hong Kong is lagging far behind other major financial centers when it comes to crowdfunding volume. In 2015, we raised a mere US$9.3 million (HK$72 million) through crowdfunding compared to US$28.4 billion, US$4.33 billion, US$360 million and US$240 million in the US, Britain, Japan and Australia, respectively.

As such, I suggest that the new regulatory framework for crowdfunding be more flexible. For example, the administration can consider exempting crowdfunding initiatives that involve less than HK$20 million from certain requirements that currently apply to public companies such as the need to submit a prospectus to the Securities and Futures Commission for scrutiny before launching any investment offering for sale to the public.

China hit by financial scam ‘epidemic’ (BBC), Rated: A

Li Wenxing was starting a new life. In May, the young university graduate left his home in rural China on the offer of work with a software company in the city of Tianjin.

But the job was a scam and Mr Li was swept into the web of a gang running a pyramid scheme.

Two months later he was dead.

The tragedy, which is being investigated, sparked national outrage and has illuminated the growing problem of financial fraud and its devastating impact on communities in China.

Pyramid schemes

Pyramid schemes are flourishing in parts of the country where education levels are low.

Peer-to-peer lending and virtual currencies have fuelled the spread of other investing scams, luring victims with little financial knowledge.

Government crackdown

As part of the crackdown, more than 100 arrests were made in southern China last month, targeting individuals over their suspected links to a 360m yuan (£42.3m) pyramid scheme.

Authorities had at least one major bust last year – breaking up a 50bn yuan online finance scam which was suspected of defrauding 900,000 investors.

European Union

Peer-to-peer lending: Information externalities, social networks, and loan substitution (VOXEU.org), Rated: AAA

The evaporation of trust in the banking system following the financial crisis fostered the growth of digital platforms offering peer-to-peer investment opportunities in the US, Europe, and China. In Europe, as the debate about the capital market union progresses (European Commission 2017), policymakers see the possibilities for the digital investment and lending industry to help foster a unified capital market, which has been missing for so long.

Data show instead that over the years, default rates in the platforms have decreased steadily and are much lower than those in the traditional banking system. Lending rates have gone down (though still remaining attractive for investors), and trade volumes have steadily increased.

Brexit Raises Doubts Over Britain’s Fintech Future (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Britain’s impending exit from the European Union has put a “question mark” over the country’s attractiveness to financial technology firms, according to the head of France’s biggest peer-to-peer lender.

The French firm, Younited Credit, has just raised an additional 40 million euros ($48 million) to finance its expansion into another seven European countries, only to postpone its decision on entering the U.K. until the economic consequences of Brexit become clearer.

Maiden PE ICO Light on the Blockchain (Invezz), Rated: A

A new private equity ICO resembles a typical PE fund structure more than it does any blockchain innovation. Ethereum-based FundCoin (FND), which was developed by Dutch fund of hedge fund manager Finles Capital, is scheduled to make its debut as the industry’s maiden private equity token ICO on Sept. 30.

FundCoin, which is targeting EUR 100 million in its ICO, describes itself as bridging the gap between the blockchain and private equity, but there’s one problem. FundCoin doesn’t appear to have attached itself to any blockchain innovation.

Citing a lack of clarity on the designation of digital tokens as securities, U.S., Singaporean and EU investors are excluded from the FundCoin crowdsale, as per the white paper. Finles Capital says the ban will be revisited as regulation takes shape.

Monthly origination summary for August 2017 (Bondora), Rated: B

Loans issued in August 2017 came in at €2,926,457. The figure is well above the running average for the year. August was the third strongest month for originations in 2017 outpaced by only January and March.

As usual Estonia was the leader on loans issued amounts. However, the total share of the country was slightly lower than many previous months. The country represented less than 60% of the total share reaching 59.91%. Meanwhile, Spain came in at 17.57% and Finland represented nearly a quarter of the total with 22.51%.

Source: Bondora

 

International

Alpha Payments Cloud rebrands as Alpha Fintech (Finextra), Rated: B

Alpha Payments Cloud is unveiling its comprehensive rebranding and new corporate identity as Alpha Fintech.

The rebrand aims to crystalize Alpha’s positioning as fintech‘s first end-to-end middleware, connecting the merchant buyer and vendor supplier across the entire payments, risk and commerce spectrum through a single API and UI.

India

HighRadius Raises $ 50 mn (YourStory), Rated: AAA

Hyderabad-based HighRadius, a player in cloud-based integrated receivables software space, announced that it had raised $50 million in growth funding from Susquehanna Growth Equity. Founded in 2006, this is the first external funding round that HighRadius has raised in its journey and the company aims to leverage it to grow its global footprint and also expand the team.

Fastforward to 2017, HighRadius works with hundreds of Global 2000 companies, including brands like Adidas, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Warner Bros. Their integrated receivables platform optimizes cash flow through automation of receivables and payments processes across 6 categories- credit, collections, cash application, deductions, electronic billing and payment processing.

HighRadius currently employs over 500 people across US, India, and Europe. Narahari explained that USA is currently their largest market, with about 90 percent of their business concentrated there and a small percentage in Europe.

Asia

China’s JD.com announces $ 500M e-commerce and fintech joint ventures in Thailand (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Following on from Alibaba’s $1 billion deal with Lazada and a $1.1 billion round in Tokopedia led by Alibaba, rival Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com has announced a $500 million investment that will create e-commerce and fintech businesses in Thailand.

Southeast Asia, a region of 600 million consumers, is forecast to see its internet economy grow to $200 billion by 2025 thanks to rising internet access. That potential has attracted investment dollars from Chinese giants lie Tencent and Alibaba, and now JD.com is upping its own efforts.

Africa

Fintech defines new trends in financial services offerings for farmers (AFGRI), Rated: A

For agriculture, the rise of Fintech means easier access to funds, new competitors in financial services and a global reach. Selling cattle or produce? Fintech and digital markets can now connect farmers directly to buyers on a mobile platform, doing away with the middleman. Important to note is that Fintech not only minimises the dependency on traditional banks as the middlemen, but increases the use of peer-to-peer lending, growing and strengthening the sharing economy model. Good examples are M-Pesa and FarmDrive in Kenya, where FarmDrive connects smallholder farmers to loans and financial management tools through their mobile phones.

In Mozambique, the Institute of Cereals of Mozambique (ICM), which is responsible for regulating and promoting agricultural production and commercialisation under the remit of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, recently joined forces with FinComEco to link agriculture to the latest financial technology.

Latin America

ID Finance grows footprint in Latin America with launch of Mexico operations (ID Finance Email), Rated: AAA

19th September 2017 – 

Mexico readies bill to regulate fast-growing fintech industry (Reuters), Rated: A

Mexico would regulate its fast-growing financial technology sector, including firms that use crypto-currencies like bitcoin, to protect consumers and spur competition, under a proposed bill seen by Reuters.

The proposed legislation, which Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said this month would be unveiled in the Senate before Sept. 20, seeks to ensure financial stability and defend against money laundering and financing of extremists.

Financial services firms envisage massive potential growth in Latin America’s No. 2 economy by reaching the more than 50 percent of Mexico’s roughly 120 million citizens without bank accounts.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Event in Paris: Les clés pour la croissance du marché Français.

Event in Paris: Les clés pour la croissance du marché Français.

When ? January 30 2017 Where? Unilend, 6 Rue du Général Clergerie, 75116 Paris, France Details: Lending Times and Unilend present: Quelles sont les clés pour que la croissance du marché du marketplace lending en France se poursuive ? (i.e. comment pérenniser ce marché dans un environnement économique et réglementaire qui pourrait redevenir plus favorable pour […]

Event in Paris: Les clés pour la croissance du marché Français.

When ?

January 30 2017

Where?

Unilend, 6 Rue du Général Clergerie, 75116 Paris, France

Details:

Lending Times and Unilend present:

Quelles sont les clés pour que la croissance du marché du marketplace lending en France se poursuive ?

(i.e. comment pérenniser ce marché dans un environnement économique et réglementaire qui pourrait redevenir plus favorable pour les banques)”

(English translation: “What is the key to ensure continous growth in the French marketplace lending market ?” , specifially given that the environment may turn out to be become more favorables for the banks once again.)

Participants au debat:

– Nicolas Lesur, fondateur et CEO, Unilend (prêt aux PME)

– Jean Marc Orlando, fondateur et chairman Nexlend (hedge fund concentre sur le marketplace lending)

– Daniel Zenaty, fondateur et CEO, Avire Finance (family office present dans le marketplace lending)

– Charles Egly, fondateur de Younited Credit (prêt entre particuliers)

– Vincent Ricardeau, fondateur de Lendopolis (prêt aux PME comme Unilend) et de kisskissbankbank (crowdfuning)

– Gilles Saint Marc, avocat et président de la commission fintech de Paris Europlace qui s’est beaucoup battu pour faire évoluer le cadre juridique permettant le développement du P2P lending en France

More information

RSVP

July 14th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 14th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Dear Readers, As you are probably aware Lending Times is organizing an event in New York on Monday August 15th titled “The future of Market Place Lending – Madden and beyond”. We would like to welcome our interested readers to participate in the panel. We have 1 seat available at this time. Please […]

July 14th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Dear Readers,
  • As you are probably aware Lending Times is organizing an event in New York on Monday August 15th titled “The future of Market Place Lending – Madden and beyond”. We would like to welcome our interested readers to participate in the panel. We have 1 seat available at this time. Please contact us if you are interested in participating in the panel.
  • Thank you.
  • George Popescu

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

New Zealand

  • Lending Crowd, the 4th licensed p2p lender in NZ,  is seeking up to $5 million from financial services sector investors to help the peer-to-peer (P2P) lender build scale and grow loan volumes.  To date, Croad said Lending Crowd has received $22 million worth of loan applications and written $2.5 million worth of loans with 60% of this total comprising personal and motor vehicle loans, and 40% business loans.

 

United States

Personal loans are cheap, but can I get one?, (Bankrate.com), Rated: AAA

In Bankrate’s national survey of interest rates from banks and thrifts for July 13, 2016, the rate on personal loans remained unchanged for the 4th consecutive week at 10.94%. This week’s average rate is down four-tenths of a percentage point from its 2016 high. A year ago, interest on the average personal loan was 11.12%.

There are 3 types of places where you can look for a personal loan:

  1. Banks
  2. Credit unions
  3. Finance companies (including online lenders)

As recently as a few years ago, banks dominated this space, accounting for 40% of all personal loan originations, according to the credit bureau TransUnion.

“Even though Prosper and Avant and Lending Club to a certain extent have pulled back, there are other lenders that are filling the void,” Tarkan says. “So I don’t know if there’s going to be this massive decline in availability of credit because the marketplace lending sector is contracting.”

John Ulzheimer, a credit expert who formerly worked for FICO and Equifax, says “every mainstream lender” now issues personal loans, and there are many good options, particularly for people with good credit.

To give some examples, Wells Fargo branches throughout the country offer personal loans. In Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest bank offers personal loans for as little as 9.25%, while Houston-based Integrity Bank — with 3 southeast Texas branches — charges 9%, according to the Bankrate survey.

Global M&A, PE and VC activity declines in the first half of 2016 after reaching record highs last year, (Bureau Van Dijk), Rated: AAA

View the full report here.

Both the volume and value of global mergers and acquisitions dropped significantly over the opening half of 2016, according to information collected by Zephyr, the leading global M&A database. Over the first six months this year, only 43,352 deals were announced for a combined $1.94 trillion. This is down nearly 20% in volume and over 40% in value compared to the 53,287 deals worth $3.27 trillion in the last half of 2015, and 52,637 deals worth $2.94 trillion in the first half of 2016.

The one exception was the Middle East and North Africa, where value climbed 23% to $15.7 billion over the six-month span, despite a small dip in volume. All other regions declined over the same time frame, with the steepest drop reserved for Central and Eastern Europe, which slipped 52% from $88.45 billion in H2 2015 to $42.58 billion this year. The top-performing countries by value for H1 2016 were the US, China, the UK, Switzerland, and Canada.

The Zephyr database also showed both the volume and value of global private equity and venture capital investment followed the same pattern as M&A in H1 2016, declining in the preceding six months and year-on-year. In all, there totaled 2,651 deals worth a combined $196 billion during H1 2016, a 20% decline in volume and 47% fall in value from the final six months of 2015.

Congressional Committee Reviews Marketplace Lending, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Comment: a more detailed article on the hearing from July 12th, 2 days ago.

The meeting saw the participation of several industry executives including representatives from Prosper, CAN Capital, the American Bankers Association, the law firm of O’Melveny & Myer and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. The meeting was timely as multiple regulatory agencies are moving towards applying additional regulations on online lenders – an act that may place financial innovation at risk.

The “key takeaway” offered by the Committee was that online lending may deliver access to credit to underserved or underbanked communities. For both consumers and SMEs alike. Of course, advancement by online lenders may put traditional banks under additional pressure – something the ABA representative expressed by saying regulation should be based Rob Nichols ABAon activities – in other words, banks want similar rules to apply to online lenders.

Parris Sanz from CAN Capital struggled to explain away their avoidance of using an APR and what approximately CAN Capital was charging borrowers (Ms. Levi clarified it as 36% to 60%).

A FINRA survey of US consumer financial capability, (FINRA), Rated: AAA

The US household financial picture is improving.

Financial health

  • 18% spend more than they household income, 38% spend all their household income. ( in 2009 20% spent more than their household income)
  • 21% of households have medical debt vs 26% in 2012
  • 50% of households have no rainy-day fund , also a diminishing %
  • 26% of households have used non-bank borrowing vs 28% in 2012
  • 32% of households only pay the minimum payments on their credit cards vs 40$ in 2009
  • 9% are underwater in their home equity vs 14% in 2012

Literacy

Study participants were asked five questions covering aspects of economics and finance encountered in everyday life, such as compound interest, inflation, principles relating to risk and diversification, the relationship between bond prices and interest rates, and the impact that a shorter term can have on total interest payments over the life of a mortgage.

63% of individuals got 3 of fewer basic questions correct in 2015 vs 58% in 2009

Comparison

Most Americans do not compare offers or collect information from more than one company when shopping for credit cards. This practice suggests a gap in applying financial decision-making skills to real life situations.

58% of Americans do NOT compare credit card offers before choosing a credit card to use.

 Lendio Announces Support for SMART Box Initiative Focused on Enhancing Online Lending Disclosures, (Press Release), Rated: A

Lendio (www.lendio.com), a marketplace for small business loans, announced today that it will join industry leaders as an early engagement participant in supporting the model small business lending disclosure called the SMART (Straightforward Metrics Around Rate and Total cost) Box, developed by members of the Innovative Lending Platform Association (ILPA).

The SMART Box is a voluntary initiative to promote transparency through standardized pricing comparison tools and explanations, including both various total dollar cost and annual percentage rate (APR) metrics to further empower a small business to assess and compare financing options.

JPMorgan had a blowout quarter in fixed income, and it’s big news for Wall Street, (Business Insider), Rated: A

JPM had a particularly strong quarter was fixed income, currencies, and commodities, or FICC, trading, which produced revenues of $3.96 billion — up 385% from the same quarter last year. Analysts had forecast FICC revenues of $3.57 billion, according to Bloomberg estimates. Those are the highest quarterly FICC revenues for the firm since Q1 2015 ($4.1 billion). You’d have to go back to Q1 2013 to find significantly better results ($4.8 billion).

Many firms have been cutting FICC headcount, including Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, which cut 25% of the division last year.

“We’re investing in it,” CEO Jamie Dimon said at the bank’s investor day in February. “We’re investing in it more on the technology side.”

Now the question is whether JPMorgan was the sole firm to smash expectations or whether we’ll see comparable results across the Street in the coming days.

Jefferies in June reported trading — and fixed income — revenues that were better than normal but not by much. Goldman Sachs has previously laid out a bull case for fixed income; we’ll have a window into its FICC business when that firm reports earnings on Tuesday.

OnDeck Announces Date Of Second Quarter 2016 Earnings Conference Call, (Yahoo Finance), Rated: B

.0.0.1.2.0.1.0.0.0.0.0.0.$SideTop-0-HeadComponentTitle-Proxy.$SideTop-0-HeadComponentTitle.0">OnDeck Announces Date Of Second Quarter 2016 Earnings Conference Call, (Yahoo Finance), Rated: B

OnDeck will report financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2016, on Monday, August 8, 2016, after the market close.

United Kingdom

How are the alternative finance industry and the .6 trillion wealth management market approaching each other?, (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

If you use an independent financial adviser or wealth manager, they’ve probably never mentioned P2P lending.

This might seem strange: there’s been a lot of talk of how the peer-to-peer industry is “moving mainstream”, and volumes reflect that. In 2015, the online alternative finance industry in the UK grew to £3.2bn – an 84 per cent increase from 2014 – and alternative finance lending accounted for around 14 per cent of new loans to small firms.

And at the same time, institutional money has flowed readily into the sector. In the last six months, according to AltFi Data, it accounted for 40 per cent of involvement in the UK market – from almost nothing prior to 2014. But most of this money comes from specialist funds, and institutional money is notoriously fickle.

Financial advisers, however, still seem reticent. “They have always been very interested, but what’s needed is conversations. When we get them in a room and speak to them – show them our processes and due diligence – they become more positive on the space. That can give them the confidence to promote P2P lending to consumers,” says James Meekings, co-founder of Funding Circle.

Most advisers will say that, while they’re not against P2P in principle – often far from it – they want to see the sector go through a cycle before seriously considering it. As wealth management veteran John Spiers says (see below), while Zopa was around during the crisis, other major players weren’t – and 2007 and 2009 were unusual anyway because the level of bankruptcies was so low, owing to interest rates being slashed so fast.

As Spiers also points out, plenty of IFAs have been burnt in the past. Now, they have to demonstrate that they’ve done a certain amount of due diligence on each product they’re recommending and, as has always been the case, they want a fee for those recommendations. As one industry analyst bluntly puts it: “if the IFA hasn’t got a product to sell, he’s not going to recommend P2P. It comes down to whether something has a metric next to it that he can understand, then he can sell it.”

For advisers “funds are the way forward,” says Meekings. They can buy stocks, shares, and funds and manage money on behalf of clients, and their existing tools mean they can buy a fund today. “It gives them diversification and global exposure – which is important, because diversifying across platforms [which can focus on just one area, like consumer credit], rather than assets, won’t necessarily do that,” he adds.

“The industry is working to create a scoring system for returns. This should be a function of the return and the shape, i.e. volatility, of that return. If advisers can study lending performance, based on meaningful and detailed data, they can begin to perform satisfactory due diligence,” says Rupert Taylor, co-founder of AltFi Data.

The Innovative Finance Isa is already giving retail investors the opportunity to hold P2P investments in the recognizable wrapper. While many investors wait for the largest platforms to get approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (currently, only three smaller platforms have been given the okay), it has enticed big players like Hargreaves Lansdown into the ring. And it’s worth noting that investors can, even without the dedicated vehicle, populate a stocks and shares Isa or a Sipp with P2P investments.

Moreover, alternative investments heavyweight Octopus Investments launched P2P product Octopus Choice in April, enabling customers to target higher interest rates than deposit accounts, but with less risk than stocks and shares.

Head of Octopus Choice Richard Wazz says that the reception from the hundreds of financial advisers introduced to the product has been “incredibly positive. Advisers are proving themselves to be not only comfortable but excited to recommend it to large numbers of their clients – seeing it as a new and welcome way of diversifying their portfolios.”

P2P body chief denies FCA delays damaged industry, (FT Adviser), Rated: A

By the time the new Isa had launched in April, just eight out of 86 peer-to-peer lending platforms had been granted the necessary permissions to offer the savings vehicle, according to the industry body. Kevin Caley, managing director of ThinCats, said he does not expect approval to happen before the end of August, adding he guessed it “may well take quite a bit longer”.

But speaking to FTAdviser, the P2P Finance Association’s chair Christine Farnish said the delays were not such a big deal because investors’ money can be put into the Isa at any point.

“It’s just a question of a small amount of time in the overall scheme of things,” she said, adding Isas are designed to be a long-term savings product.

The delays were partly a result of the FCA being made responsible for 30,000 consumer credit firms in 2014, and Ms. Farnish said the peer-to-peer sector got “put to the back of the queue”.

AngelsDen & Funding Circle’s Alum Verto Homes Launches £1M Funding Raise on Crowdcube, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Founded in 2010 by entrepreneurs, Tom Carr and Richard Pearce, Verto Homes stated it designs, builds, and sells intelligent, sustainable homes that produce and store clean energy from the sun. The company noted that none of their homes burn fossil fuels for lighting or heat and each is featured automation technology and  is controlled by a smartphone app, called Vesta, which was launched on iTunes in 2015.  The homes are available starting at £190,000.

Verto Homes, a London-based builder that creates sustainable homes, launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube to raise £1 million. Within just a few hours, the initiative successfully secured 41% of its targetted goal (£415,000) from 14 investors.

European Union

Leading German Crowdfunding Platform, P2P Lender Auxmoney Powers On, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany’s leading lending marketplace AuxMoney reports continued strong growth. Loan volume increased from €39.3 million in the first half of last year to €79.5 million in the first half of 2016 ‒ an increase of more than 100%.

Founded in 2007, by Raffael Johnen, Philip Kamp, and Philipp Kriependorf, Auxmoney is Germany’s largest crowdfunding platform and Continental Europe’s second largest P2P lender after French Younited Credit – with whom it is now competing neck and neck. According to research institute GfK, Auxmoney is also the most famous FinTech firm in Germany, which does not come as a surprise given its 1.5 million registered members.

In 2015, Auxmoney’s growth was fueled by a spectacular commitment by Dutch insurance company Aegon, as an Institutional Investor, to lend €150 million through the platform. As for its own capital needs, Auxmoney is backed by top venture-capital firms such as Seven Ventures, Index Ventures, Union Square, Foundation Capital and Partech.

Since its beginnings, Auxmoney has originated €268 million worth of loans, out of which nearly two-thirds were originated in the past 18 months alone. Both the number and the size of loans are increasing: the number of loans originated increased by 69% from 6,337 in the first half of 2015 to 10,688 loans in the first half of 2016; at the same time the average loan size increased from €6,196 to €7,439, a 20% increase.

China

264 Peer to Peer Lenders Shut Down in China During First Half of 2016, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

During the first six months of 2016, at least 264 peer to peer lending platforms were shut down in China. This is a direct reaction to the tightening grip of Chinese regulators. The report published in ECNS, states that even tougher oversight is in store for the P2P lending industry as authorities become more vigilant in uncovering fraud and shutting down platforms that do not qualify under Chinese rules.

China published draft rules in 2015 but like many other government initiatives it was not completely clear as to how enforcement would proceed. There have been multiple high-profile P2P platforms that have collapsed. The best known is Ezubao that was described as a Ponzi-scheme months before regulators showed up to shutter the doors. Ezubao apparently fleeced investors of over $7 billion – an incredible amount. Allegedly over 95% of the projects listed in Ezubao were faked.

As of June, there were an estimated 2,349 P2P platforms in operation in China. Chinese is the largest P2P market in the world.

New Zealand

Peer-to-peer lender Lending Crowd seeking capital to help it grow, (Interest), Rated: A

Lending Crowd is seeking up to $5 million from financial services sector investors to help the peer-to-peer (P2P) lender build scale and grow loan volumes. Co-founder Wayne Croad, who majority owns Lending Crowd’s major shareholder Finance Direct, told interest.co.nz the P2P lender has hired Greg Anderson of Northington Partners to raise up to $5 million dollars through a capital raise.

Funds raised will be used to “assist with growing loan volume by extending marketing and product development initiatives.”

Lending Crowd became New Zealand’s fourth licensed P2P lender last year, receiving its license from the Financial Markets Authority. At the time Croad said Lending Crowd would facilitate secured loans of between $2,000 and $200,000 through its website for small and medium sized businesses, vehicles and personal loans for three and five-year terms.

To date, Croad said Lending Crowd has received $22 million worth of loan applications and written $2.5 million worth of loans with 60% of this total comprising personal and motor vehicle loans, and 40% business loans. He said registered non-bank deposit taker Finance Direct has participated in $900,000 of the loans on the Lending Crowd platform on equal terms with retail investors. There are 220 registered retail investors, and 165 active investors. In terms of loan security, Croad said 30% of loans are secured by cars plus a property, 50% are secured by vehicles, and 20% are secured by property only.

“The average weighted return for investors to date has been 12.50% after fees,” Croad said.

Lending Crowd has just released its first financial statements. They show fee and commission income of $18,601 up to March 31, and operating expenses of $39,748, leaving a loss of $17,450.

Author:

George Popescu

July 6th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 6th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments We believe that today we finally fixed the hyperlinks for the pictures in the analysis and events section of the daily newsletter. We apologize it took us so long to fix them. We also believe the hyperlinks to the articles in the “News Summar” section of the newsletter are also working. We have […]

July 6th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • We believe that today we finally fixed the hyperlinks for the pictures in the analysis and events section of the daily newsletter. We apologize it took us so long to fix them.
  • We also believe the hyperlinks to the articles in the “News Summar” section of the newsletter are also working. We have tested on all our devices, OSs and email clients we own but our tests are still limited. We would like to kindly ask our readers to report if you have any particular problems reading Lending Times in your favorite environment and we will continue improving in all ways possible. 

United States

  • Debt-to-EBITDA multiples for private equity deals with U.S. targets in 2016 has hit a whopping 6.8x. Are US companies over-leveraged ?
  • After testing the waters with Lendio,(as seen in our article here), AmEx is jumping both feet in with the poorly named “Working Capital Terms” venture. Why not name it AmEx Small Business Loans? In all cases, the SME lending space is heating up with a gorilla-size new entrant.
  • As our readers build origination platforms or lend on p2p platforms, perhaps a scenario they are not setup to handle yet is how to face low-probability-events. Such an example is “what happens in case of death of a lender”. An article surveying a few answers from different platforms.
  • Avant, while downsizing, does offer a buyout to all employees. Readers may want to understand this offer through the example of Zenefit’s down round at $2bil valuation and implications for Zenefits employees.
  • Blackmoon, helping balance sheet lenders to sell whole loans, is entering the US market with a New York office. Our previous article on the company can be found here.

United Kingdom

  • UK Banks expected to lend £150bn , freed by Bank of England’s capital buffer rules relaxation. Since 2008 we have seen that making cheap capital available to banks has not correlated with higher bank loan origination volumes. Is, this time, different ?
  • Interesting discussion of different choices fund managers can make in the search for yield and the advantages of p2p fund’s yields.

Hong Kong

  • LendIt rebrands  “largest conference series dedicated to connecting the global fintech community” from ” largest online lending conference”.

France

  • A great survey of the French p2p market with company names and differences (“prets participatifs” in French).

China

  • Cai Jincong, the founder of Zhejiang Yinfang Investment, was sentenced to life behind bars for running a fake peer-to-peer lending scheme that conned over 88 million yuan (about 13 million U.S. dollars) from 1,200 investors.

 

United States

Pitchbook reports that debt-to-EBITDA multiples for private equity deals with U.S. targets in 2016 has hit a whopping 6.8x, (Term Sheet), Rated: AAA

S&P LDC reports a global average of 5.36x for Q1 2016,  although the figure did top 6x in the third quarters of both 2015 and 2014. Moreover, S&P LDC data shows that large-market deals typically have higher leverage ratios than do mid-market deals, with the Q1 16 large-market figure hitting 5.6x (and, remember, that’s a mean, not a median).

It has been more than three years since the Federal Reserve and FDIC issued leveraged loan guidance to banks, suggesting that any debt-to-EBITDA ratios in excess of 6x (for most industries) is too high. Or, put another way, both lenders and private equity firms are regularly ignoring the Fed’s guidance — and appear to be easily getting away with it (likely because no individual deal is likely to present a systemic risk, and loan syndication makes the “baskets” more like a sieve).

AmEx Challenges Square, On Deck With Online Loan Marketplace, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

AmEx’s venture, Working Capital Terms, will approve loans in minutes for existing small-business cardholders, who can use the money to pay vendors. Debts may range from $1,000 to $750,000 with fees of 0.5 percent for a 30-day loan to 1.5 percent for a 90-day loan. AmEx will deposit funds directly into vendors’ accounts in as soon as two days.

AmEx has been looking for new streams of revenue to rejuvenate earnings after deciding last year to part ways with its biggest co-brand partner, Costco Wholesale Corp. In addition to its new in-house loan product, the card issuer offers longer-term small-business loans — ranging from $35,000 to $2 million — through its partnership with Lendio, another online marketplace.

“AmEx can do this because they have good credit knowledge,” said Karen Mills, former head of the Small Business Administration, who’s now a paid adviser for Working Capital Terms. “This will challenge the online competitors, whether or not they respond.” Amex declined to disclose their target for Working Capital Terms’ loan volume.

Working Capital Terms represents “a new type of product for American Express that could eliminate the need for the very expensive, unsustainable products from Square and other online lenders,” said Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc.

AmEx isn’t the only big lender pushing into the fray. Wells Fargo & Co., the third-biggest U.S. bank by assets, said in May it was starting a program to offer small businesses online loans in as soon as one day. Larger rival JPMorgan Chase & Co. is collaboratingwith On Deck to speed up the process of providing loans to some of the bank’s 4 million small-business customers.

AmEx shares fell 2.7 percent to $59.08 at 2:46 p.m. in New York. On Deck tumbled 6.9 percent to $4.89, while Square declined 3.6 percent to $8.94. Representatives from On Deck and Square declined to comment.

In the Case of Death, (p2p-banking.com), Rated: AAA

‘What happens when I die’ is a concern occasionaly voiced by investors. Investments in p2p lending will be inherited like any other assets.

Luke O’Mahoney of Ratesetter explained: ‘If an investor dies, we work with the next of kin to establish how they would like the account to be dealt with. Generally they would either use our Sellout function (effectively liquidating their investment) or they would allow the account to run down over time – of course we assist the next of kin or executor with this process’.

Only Assetz Capital mentioned that they have a process to do regular checks on dormant accounts that are in funds to ensure that lenders are aware of those funds.

Personally I wonder, if it would be good practise for marketplaces to contact those investors that have not logged in for a very long period (2 years?) and ask them to update/verifying their data. Failure to do so could then trigger a letter with the same request via postal mail.

Sign of the Times: Avant Offers Buyouts to All Employees, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Avant, an online lender, has offered the option for buyouts to all 760 of the company’s employees. It was not clear how many Avant employees would accept the offer. The news is a painful reminder that online lending is still struggling to regain its footing following indications of a slowing economy and the unexpected departure of former Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche – a now tarnished industry icon.

Russian Lending Marketplace Expands to U.S. in Search of Growth, ( Bloomberg), Rated: A

Blackmoon, a Russian financial technology startup that screens and prices loans issued by others to sell on to investors in a marketplace, is opening a U.S. office to expand in the world’s biggest market for non-bank lending.

Blackmoon is partly counting on an expansion into the U.S. from its new New York base to reach a goal of $1 billion in cumulative loans by the end of next year.

To achieve that, the company will target all kinds of unsecured credit in the largest market for alternative lending: consumer, small-business, student and car loans. Blackmoon currently works with several dozen European online lenders, from Finland to the Czech Republic.

Blackmoon functions as an intermediary between institutional debt investors and lenders — both alternative providers and traditional banks — allowing them to scale their business without additional leverage, while mitigating the risks of default.

Moscow-based Target Asset Management agreed in February to form a $100 millionfund to invest in Blackmoon’s loans.

 

United Kingdom

Carney frees up £150bn in bank lending, (Alt Fi News), Rated: AAA

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, yesterday took steps to reduce capital buffers for UK banks. The Financial Policy Committee (FPC) has reduced the UK countercyclical buffer rate from 0.5% of the banks’ UK exposures to 0%, with immediate effect. The FPC began to supplement regulatory capital buffers with the UK countercyclical buffer in March of this year, and had intended to increase the buffer to 1% in due course. But now the countercyclical buffer is expected to remain at 0% until at least June 2017.

This reduction is expected to free up £5.7bn in bank lending. The banking sector, in aggregate, targets a leverage ratio of 4%. This means that the £5.7bn in spare capital will allow the banks up to an extra £150bn in lending to UK households and businesses.

While the FPC’s actions would appear to be good news for UK borrowers, they may well herald a more competitive stretch for alternative lending platforms.

Peer-to-peer investing website holding cash of 900 savers goes bust, (This is Money), Rated: A

Comment: this is old news, but a good reminder for people who did not read last week’s Lending Times.

Savers were lured into Funding Knight with promises of returns of up to 8 per cent for lending their cash to small businesses. Last week, the peer-to-peer firm was rescued by investment firm GLI Finance, whose bosses said customers’ money was safe and that they could withdraw it whenever they liked.

Will Neil Woodford’s new higher income fund hold P2P to boost its dividends?, (Alt Fi News), Rated: A

Star fund-manager Neil Woodford is mulling the launch of a new equity income fund that will aim to deliver a higher yield than is currently offered by his hugely popular £8.6bn CF Woodford Equity Income fund.  A 4.5 per cent target yield has been widely reported. Higher yielding equity income portfolios offering an ‘enhanced income’ mostly use call options alongside normal income stocks to boost income pay-outs.

Woodford is bullish on P2P/marketplace lending and has invested in the two specialist investment trusts P2P Global Investments and VPC Speciality Lending – which offer attractive yields of 6 per cent and over for his income fund. He also owns an unquoted positon in P2P platform RateSetter.

The manager currently has 0.96 per cent of his fund’s assets in the P2P Global Investments trust and 0.64 per cent in VPC Speciality Lending trust. These are, respectively, his 28th and 39th largest holdings.  In total he has 109 holdings.

His existing fund is currently hitting a yield of 3.7 per cent. P2P GI and VPC Speciality Lending’s yields are currently a whopping 7.4 per cent and 9.7 per cent, respectively. However, that is partly a function of thier near 20 per cent discounts at present.

LendInvest boosts tech offering with VP of Engineering, (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

Comment: I find surprising that a company of the size and volume of Lend Invest did not, apparently, have a person in charge of technology, until now.

LendInvest has recruited its first VP of Engineering as it continues to drive its technology strategy.

Mike Nuttall joins LendInvest with over 15 years’ senior management experience and has led technology development for companies in sectors such as e-commerce, payments and gaming.

At LendInvest, Mike will be responsible for managing the direction, goals and efficiency of the technology team which now represents over 40% of LendInvest’s workforce.

Free tool launched to help low-carbon businesses source funding, (Startups), Rated: B

Business in the low-carbon, clean technology (cleantech), and sustainability sectors looking for finance can take advantage of a new digital tool launched this week.

Created by Shell Springboard, the Access to Finance Navigator is an interactive database where eco-friendly entrepreneurs can search for funding opportunities and filter funding sources by their location, stage of development, financial requirements, and the user’s business sector.

So far, the database features 84 low-carbon funding sources – said to represent a total value of £157m – from government organisations, angel investors and syndicates, crowdfunding platforms and venture capital (VC) funds.

Sources listed include Funding Circle (crowdfunding), Advantage Business Circle (angel), EcoMachines Ventures (VC), Horizon 2020 (government grants), and funding competitions ran by Innovate UK.

 

Hong Kong

LendIt and AMTD Group Co-Host the First Global Fintech Investment Summit in Hong Kong, (Press Release), Rated: B

AMTD Group Company Limited (“AMTD Group”, “the Group”) is a non-bank financial services group based in Hong Kong offering a wide spectrum of capital markets, asset management, insurance brokerage and risk management solutions to clients across Asia.

LendIt is the largest conference series dedicated to connecting the global fintech community.

LendIt China and AMTD Group will co-host the first Global Fintech Investment Summit in Hong Kong (“Global Fintech HK Summit” or the “summit”) on July 13.

More than 80 leading Asian investors and over 35 international fintech companies are expected to attend the ground-breaking summit.

 

France

The Vibrant Marketplace Lending Industry in France, (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The French marketplace lending industry is still in its infancy. Due to a very strict regulatory structure there is only one online consumer lender operating in France, Younited Credit (formerly Pret d’Union) and small business lending platforms have only begun operating in the last 18 months. In late 2014 the French government made it legal to make loans to small businesses without a banking license. This has led to a large number of new platforms, they say the count is around 50, to launch since then.

The French government is also actively involved in the industry through an entity called BPI – setup with similar goals to the British Business Bank. It wants to stimulate lending to small businesses. BPI will take small equity positions in fintech companies, it will invest on platforms and it will make interest free loans to qualifying companies.

Younited is still relatively small compared to the US or UK platforms – they are currently issuing around €17 million in new loans every month in France. With 130 employees they are easily the largest platform in France and one of the largest in Continental Europe.

Earlier this year Younited opened an office in Rome in their first international expansion. One of the great benefits of being part of the European Union is that they can “passport” their banking license to other countries which is what they have done in Italy.

Younited is focused on prime borrowers in both France and Italy offering competitive interest rates to banks. They offer four funds for investors with historical returns ranging from 2.2% for their lowest risk borrowers up to 5.1% for the highest risk fund.

The first online small business lender to launch in France was Unilend – they issued their first loan in November of 2013 a full year before the regulation changed to allow small business lending. The reason is that their loans are setup differently – as a direct contract between the borrower and the investors. They are actually an IOU instead of an actual loan.

Unilend has issued €20 million in loans to date and are currently issuing around €1 million a month. Loan terms range from 3 months to 60 months with interest rates of 4% to 10%. They run a Dutch auction, which allows investors to bid down the rates to a minimum set by Unilend. They have a large investor base of over 10,000 active investors with an average return of 5.25%. They average 700 investors per loan.

BPI has invested in Unilend as an equity holder – they do not own loans. Like every small business platform we met with the loans issued by Unilend are unsecured with no personal guarantees in place. The average loan size is €75,000 with the typical small business doing revenue below €2 million.

One of the curious things about France is that many of these loans are done in partnerships with banks. The small business might be seeking €500,000 in funding but the bank will only issue €400,000. So, they will seek the other €100,000 from a platform like Unilend.

Lendix is a relatively new small business platform, having issued their first loan in April 2015 but they are already one of the leading platforms in France. They currently originate €4 million a month, making them the largest small business lender.

The co-founders of Lendix have all invested their own personal money in the fund which has grown to €29 million in size and is currently yielding 6.5%. They are about to launch a second fund which will be in the €50-70 million range.

As for the loans the average size is €200,000 with a maximum amount of €2 million. The loan terms range from 18 months to 5 years although they have just added short term loan options down to 3 months. They currently have zero defaults although there was one case of fraud where they were able to get the money back.

Finexkap has taken a completely different approach to financing French small businesses. They are providing working capital via receivables financing. But the regulators do not allow invoice financing outside of banks unless it is done in a securitization.

They did €15 million in originations in 2015 and are on track to do €100 million in 2016. Because this is invoice finance the loans are very short in duration. So, even though they have only been issuing loans for a couple of years they have already had 9 turns of their loan book. Of the more than 5,000 transactions they have done they have only had losses on one transaction. So they are developing a solid track record.

The company with the most memorable domain name is Credit.fr. They are part of the new breed of platforms focused on small business loans. They are growing fast and have just crossed €1 million in loans per month issued.

They are open to individual and institutional investors and they have 5,000 registered investors on their platform today. Like Lendix they are also creating a debt fund that they expect to launch in September and that should help them reach scale much faster. The target return for this fund will be around 5% after fees.

Credit.fr has a solid borrower funnel with leads coming from digital, partnerships with companies like Younited and others and also business brokers. The average loan size is €60,000. They feel that their competitive advantage is their risk management where they have an experienced team in place.

Lendopolis is one of the more unique platforms in France. It is actually part of theKissKissBankBank (yes, that is the official name) group of companies that consists of three divisions:

  1. KissKissBankBank – a donation-based crowdfunding site created in a similar vein to Kickstarter focused on primarily cultural and artistic projects. They have financed 15,000 projects since being founded in 2009.
  2. Hellomerci.com – based on the Kiva model of microfinance. These are small loans (less than €10,000) at 0% interest rates loaned out to very small companies.
  3. Lendopolis – launched in 2014 as a more typical p2p small business lender. They have loaned €7 million over 100 loans in their first 18 months.

Like many platforms here Lendosphere also launched soon after the regulations came into effect in late 2014. They are the first platform to be 100% focused on sustainable development projects.

To date they have loaned €6.7 million across 33 projects – either wind turbines or solar panels. The loans are typically 2-5 years at interest rates of 4-8%. They have 3,500 registered investors funding these projects. While it is still a young loan book Lendosphere has had zero defaults and delinquencies.

Most platforms are focused on small business where there has been a lot of entrepreneurial activity in the last 18 months. The French government recognizes that small businesses need more choices when it comes to access to capital so they have helped to create a regulatory environment that enables new approaches to this challenge.

 

China

Lending scheme fraudster jailed for life, (CRI English), Rated: A

A court in east China’s Zhejiang Province has sentenced a man to life behind bars for running a fake peer-to-peer lending scheme that conned over 88 million yuan (about 13 million U.S. dollars) from 1,200 investors.

Cai Jincong illegally raised more than 200 million yuan through Zhejiang Yinfang Investment and Management Co., where Cai fabricated investment products promising over 20 percent in annualized returns, the court said on Tuesday.

Cai, who was under a lot of debt, founded the P2P lending platform in October 2013. It offered returns on investment of up to 50 percent.

The funds were used to service Cai’s own debt and fund the operation of the P2P platform. Cai turned himself to police on January 20, 2015.

Author:

George Popescu