Monday December 4 2017, Daily News Digest

mortgage delinquencies by credit score band

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club closes first-of-kind MPL transaction. Zopa the first P2P lender to lend 100M GBP in one month. Marcus’s personal loan hits the mark. China issues new rules for cash loan market. Lexinfintech delays IPO. China Rapid Finance posts quarterly earnings. Today’s main analysis: Mortgage delinquency case study. International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China […]

mortgage delinquencies by credit score band

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Closes First-of-Its-Kind Transaction in Marketplace Lending (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE: LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, today announced that it has closed a first-of-its-kind transaction in marketplace lending — a whole loan transaction structured as a tradeable, pass-through security called a CLUB Certificate*. This first milestone transaction totaled $25 million with an institutional investor seeking a liquid vehicle with which to access the consumer credit asset class.

The CLUB Certificate transaction consisted of whole loans structured as a pass-through security. The instrument trades in the over-the-counter market with a CUSIP and is efficiently cleared through the Depository Trust and Clearing Company (DTCC).

Lending Club diversifies with pass through deal (Global Capital), Rated: A

The $25m transaction was purchased by an institutional investor seeking “a liquid vehicle with which to access the consumer credit asset class”, chief capital officer Patrick Dunne told GlobalCapital, though he declined to reveal pricing information or the buyer’s identity.

The inaugural CLUB certificate consists of whole loans structured as a pass-through security, and trades in the over-the-counter market with a CUSIP number, and cleared through the Depository Trust and Clearing Company (DTCC).

Unlike a securitization, the certificate only pools three year and five year loans of a particular grade that the investor is looking for.

Goldman Sachs’ Marcus Personal Loan Hits the Mark as Other Lenders Struggle (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

When Goldman Sachs launched Marcus, a personal loans product, a little over a year ago, it set an aggressive goal: lend $2 billion by the end of 2017. And while competing online lenders have reported a series of losses since then, Goldman announced this month that Marcus has hit that milestone.

Marcus offers loans from $3,500 to $30,000 on an unsecured basis, meaning they don’t require collateral such as a car or house. Borrowers must make monthly fixed payments, and interest rates range from 6.99 percent to 23.99 percent. On the Marcus website, a sample loan of $15,000 at 13 percent APR is estimated to cost a borrower $19,312 at the end of a 48-month term.

While Marcus has been soaring, other online lenders have been struggling. Lending Club, Prosper, and OnDeck all reported losses over the past 18 months.

Donuts at the CFPB, LC’s Pass-Through Security, Mortgage Delinquency Case Study (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

On Friday, Lending Club completed a first-of-its-kind transaction in marketplace lending by selling a whole loan pass through security. The transaction size was for $25 Mn and was sold to a single institutional investor. LendingClub held 5% to comply with risk retention rules. The transaction is notable for the following reasons:

  • Expands the market. The pass-through security reflects the same risk and return characteristics of a whole loan pool.
  • Lower Financing Costs. Additionally, as market liquidity grows, the CUSIPs may enjoy lower-cost repo financing as an alternative to higher-cost credit facilities.
  • Secondary Markets. The product addresses certain investors’ demand for secondary market liquidity.
  • Valuation. The price discovery generated from markets in CUSIPs will enable valuation agents such as PeerIQ and Duff & Phelps to calibrate pricing to observed trades in the market.

Mortgage Delinquencies and the 2008 Crisis

Following the integration of TransUnion’s deep datasets on the PeerIQ platform, we examine the historical delinquencies for mortgages over the last 15 years. As seen below, we find that Mortgage delinquencies increased meaningfully, across all credit scores, one-year before the financial crisis.

Source: PeerIQ, TransUnion

We also show that the rise in delinquency levels above corresponds to the rise in Debt-to-Income levels (and other underwriting statistics – not shown) leading up to the crisis.

Source: PeerIQ, TransUnion

There’s a gift for student lenders in the education bill (American Banker), Rated: A

After the 2016 elections, there were high hopes that student lenders (and servicers) would benefit from a more favorable environment regulatory environment and expanded lending opportunities.

Until recently, however, there was not much to show in either respect. While the industry cheered the Department of Education’s decision in August to stop sharing servicing data with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, higher education did not appear to be a high priority for the Trump administration.

Ethan Senturia of Dealstruck (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our latest guest is Ethan Senturia. He was the CEO and Co-Founder of Dealstruck, an online small business lender that was founded in 2013 and shut down in late 2016. Ethan talks about his journey as the CEO of Dealstruck and what led to its demise. He does not sugar coat anything and he takes a great deal of personal responsibility for everything that happened.

His has written a book about this journey called Unwound: Real-time Reflections from a Stumbling Entrepreneur and it is being released on Amazon today.

Beware Those Sketchy Loans Advertised on Instagram (Lifehacker), Rated: A

We’ve warned readers before about new, slick credit companies like Affirm, which want to replace credit cards with on-the-spot loans integrated right into online purchase pages. For all their talk of helping consumers, these companies aren’t much more than friendly loan sharks, re-branded to offer a “premium experience,” but still dangerous and even predatory.

But as Cagle points out, Affirm’s median interest rate of 19 percent is above the median credit card rate, and retailers use the company to build, and then aggressively advertise, the model of buying expensive products on credit. For all of Affirm’s talk of responsibility and helping consumers make better choices, their third most-popular buying category is fashion.

Affirm seems to be making the problem worse. As Cagle puts it: “Affirm is not just meeting a demand, but creating one, encouraging shoppers to buy and spend more. Affirm claims an average 75 percent boost in order values across all its merchant partners.”

MiaDonna Lifts AOV 36%, Repeat Purchases 17% With Financing Option (Retail TouchPoints), Rated: A

With a young, tech-savvy consumer base, MiaDonna, an online jewelry retailer specializing in ethically sourced lab-grown diamonds, wanted to be up-to-the-minute with its payment options as well. The retailer selected financing company Affirm, enabling shoppers to pay in three-, six- and 12-month increments.

MiaDonna, which now makes approximately 20% of its sales through Affirm, noted that shoppers using the service are both spending more and coming back. Affirm users make 17% more repeat purchases, with average order values (AOV) that are 36% higher compared to non-users.

The company’s target consumer is females aged 18 to 34 who are in a relationship and are close to getting engaged or married (within six to 12 months).

Marketplace Lenders Should Remember Experience Can Be Replicated, Experts Say (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

“The borrower experience at a marketplace lender is better than [the experience] at a bank, and that’s why it’s here to stay,” Don Davis, portfolio manager for Prime Meridian Capital Management, said today. during a panel discussion at the 3rd Annual Investors conference for Marketplace Lending, pointing to the ease of the online lending experience for borrowers.

Coinsource Adds 18 Bitcoin ATMs in Atlanta, Among Ten Most Unbanked US Cities (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

The Texas-based bitcoin ATM network, Coinsource has deployed 20 new machines in the state of Georgia, marking its single largest installation to date. 18 bitcoin ATMs have been installed in the city of Atlanta, and 2 machines in the nearby college town of Athens.

survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) found that 7% of households (9 million) in the US are unbanked and an additional 19.9% of households (24.5 million) are underbanked.

“Atlanta, Georgia is in the top ten of most unbanked cities in the country, and more than one in ten households have no involvement with traditional banks. Around 30% of residents are underbanked, meaning they might have to check accounts, but have to rely on other kinds of services like pawn shops, check-cashing and payday loan companies to get cash and credit,” Clark said.

To maximize exposure to potential clients, the ATMs were set up near high traffic areas, as well as close to the Georgia State University and Emory University in Atlanta, and the University of Georgia in Athens. 16 of the new machines are for buying bitcoin only, while 4 have both buy and sell functionality.

The state of Georgia now has a total of 101 bitcoin ATM kiosks, making it the third largest US market for bitcoin ATMs behind the cities of Chicago and New York.

Data Science is Becoming the Most Important Skill in Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The world generates some 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.

Chris Skinner penned this interesting piece last week claiming the critical importance of data in banking:

Data is the new air, and the banks that breathe the best will win. In other words, banks that really get data analytics, and can apply machine learning to gain deep customer insights are the ones that will survive.

Data scientists are going to be needed in many areas of fintech businesses such as customer acquisition, cybersecurity, customer service – even compliance. For online lending businesses the other two critical areas are underwriting and collections.

Glassdoor releases an annual 50 Best Jobs in America report and for the second year in a row Data Scientist had the top spot.

Elevate Credit, Inc. to Present at KeyBanc Capital Markets Consumer Conference and Jefferies Consumer Finance Summit (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE:ELVT), today announced that it’s CEO Ken Rees and CFO Chris Lutes will present at the following upcoming conferences:

CU urges lawmakers to oppose repeal of CFPB’s payday loan protections for consumers (ConsumersUnion), Rated: A

Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports, today urged Congress to not repeal a rule adopted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in October that would protect consumers who take out high-cost payday, installment and auto title loans. Under a Congressional Review Act resolution introduced today in the House of Representatives, the CFPB’s new rule could be repealed by lawmakers before it goes into effect in mid-2019.

New House bill would kill consumer watchdog payday loan rule (CNBC), Rated: B

A congressional resolution introduced Friday in the House would kill the CFPB’s new rule aimed at making sure borrowers of so-called payday loans can afford to repay their debt.

Consulting for regulatory approvals to open a peer to peer lending platform in USA (Upwork), Rated: B

I need an expert who can help with regulatory approvals to open a peer to peer lending platform in USA. You can be a lawyer or financial consultant who have experience in the domain and knows what’s involved. You must have experience related to lending industry.

United Kingdom

Zopa zooms ahead to become the first peer-to-peer group to lend out £100m in a month (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

The financial services firm lent £100m to low-risk borrowers in the UK last month, a 48 per cent increase on November 2016.

Zopa said it has lent more than £900m in 2017 to the end of November, with the increase in lending volumes being driven in part by its integration with price comparison websites.

It expects to have lent out £3bn in total by January 2018.

P2P platforms rush to launch innovative finance Isas (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lenders including Funding Circle and RateSetter have set dates for the launch of their innovative finance Isas, but high demand and a clampdown from providers on the highest risk borrowers will slow the process for new investors.

This week, Funding Circle became the latest to launch an IF Isa.

Yet the platform, which facilitates lending to small businesses, will not be rolling out its IF Isa to new investors immediately to make sure it can match new loans to borrowers. Instead, it is opening access to its 74,000 existing lenders in batches. Those who have used the platform for the longest and who lend most frequently will be offered first chance to apply.

RateSetter also confirmed this week that it had set a February launch date for its IF Isa after receiving authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in October. The platform, which facilitates loans to businesses and consumers, says it expects to raise £500m in the first full tax year after opening, but would only offer the IF Isa to existing investors in the short term. The platform said it had made that choice to reward loyal customers.

No Christmas cheer for P2P sector as Brexit pushes FCA review into 2018 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lending platforms will need to wait until at least the new year for the outcome of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) post-implementation review as Brexit and other market issues have taken priority at the City watchdog, Peer2Peer Finance News has learned.

However, it can also be revealed that a snippet of the industry data compiled by the Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) for use in the FCA report will be unveiled before Christmas.

Crowd For Angels Launches £50 Million Bond Investment Opportunity (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Thursday, peer-to-peer lending platform Crowd For Angels reportedly announced the launch of its £50 million bond investment opportunity. This news comes less than a year after Crowd for Angels launched its first crowd bonds, which are described as specially created secured, high-interest products act are eligible for the platform’s IFISA.

According to P2P Finance Newsthe online lending portal is looking to raise the funds for a Liquid Crypto Bond, which will pay investors 3% over five years. The investors will then receive cryptocurrency tokens through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) that may be traded on external exchanges or used for project investments on the Crowd For Angels peer-to-peer lending platform.

Brits to spend £1bn worth of work hours planning for Christmas (London Loves Business), Rated: A

With less than a month to go for Christmas, a new research from online lender Sunny has found that the number of hours Brits spend planning for Christmas and buying gifts online while at work are worth £1bn, with over 15m Brits admitting to planning for Christmas during work hours.

Whether at work or at home, Sunny’s research demonstrates a clear gender divide, with women most likely to take on the task of planning for Christmas. Almost a third (31%) of men admit they don’t spend any time planning meals and a quarter (24%) say they don’t do any cooking or preparing of meals, compared to only one in seven (15%) women. Men also don’t make time for Christmas cards, with a fifth (20%) not giving any time to writing them versus fewer than one in ten (9%) women.

Money saver Men who have tried this Women who have tried this
Shopped around online for gifts to make sure I’m getting the best deal 35% 51%
Started next year’s shopping in the January sales 12% 22%
Re-gifted presents 9% 26%
Used coupons/vouchers to buy food and drink for the Christmas period 24% 36%
Participated in secret Santa rather than gifting everyone 7% 16%


P2P platform appoints ex-Barclays manager
(Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

RateSetter Business Finance has appointed Richard Steele as its regional manager for the Midlands.
The peer-to-peer lending platform said Richard brought experience to its team having previously served at Barclays as a relationship manager and BCRS Business Loans as a business development manager.

Revealed – the 25 people doing the most to spread the PropTech word (EstateAgentToday), Rated: B

This year the list was compiled in association with the UK PropTech Association, the trade body set up in February; in addition to property investment platform LendInvest, two UKPA figures – chairman Eddie Holmes and Estate Agent Today contributor and PropTech consultant James Dearsley – were on the judging panel.

Dan Hughes, director of data and information product management for RICS, has been named the top PropTech Influencer of the Year.

Professor Andrew Baum of Oxford University took second place, after authoring PropTech 3.0, a much-discussed document in the field of PropTech.

Third was digital strategist Antony Slumbers, while fourth was Gary Chimwa, the organiser behind Future:PropTech events.

You can see the full list of 25 here and the top 10 International Influencers here.

RICS director tops proptech influencer list (Development Finance Today), Rated: B

Dan Hughes of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (pictured above, right) has topped LendInvest’s PropTech Influencer List for 2017.
In fourth place was Gary Chima, the organiser behind Future:PropTech events, and in fifth was Dominic Wilson, managing partner of proptech start-up incubator Pi Labs.
China

China issues new rules to clean up runaway cash loan market (SCMP), Rated: AAA

China on Friday issued new rules to clean up its controversial cash loan and online micro lending market, including prohibiting lending to people without an income and putting a curb on the total charges on runaway credit, according to an official notice seen by the South China Morning Post.

It ordered therefore, that with immediate effect, all organisations and individuals must obtain a licence to conduct lending business. All lending institutions must also state clearly a comprehensive charge, which includes interest rates and various fees charged for different categories of offerings for the loan.

The tightened controls attempt to curb a common practice where online lending platforms bypass the maximum legal interest rate charge of 36 per cent with additional add-on fees.

Lenders are also banned from rolling over the credit more than twice and must put a cap on the cost of each loan.

Funds from online micro loans are also banned from being used to speculate in stocks and pay for property down payment. In addition, asset management products offered by financial institutions and banks are disallowed to invest in products securitised by cash loans, campus loans – loans granted to students with no regular incomes – or property down payment loans.

Online micro lenders expanded by 23 per cent in two years to 452.4 billion yuan (US$68.4 billion) by the end of 2016.

China’s debt crackdown hits cash loan providers (Reuters), Rated: A

On Friday, China’s financial regulators introduced new measures aimed at restricting the industry, which is estimated to be worth 1 trillion yuan ($151.5 billion).

The number of repeat borrowers is rising, which could signal financial stress on borrowers, analysts say. The companies, however, say the repeat lending is just a sign of the attractiveness of their platforms.

Online consumer lending in China, of which cash loans are a significant portion, dwarfs similar activity in the rest of the world combined, accounting for over 85 percent of all such activity globally last year, according to a recent report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

The boom in micro-lending comes as lenders seek to cash in on rising incomes in a country where credit card penetration remains at about one-third of the population, according to data from the central bank, which says about half a billion consumers don’t have a credit score.

And the online cash loan sector is projected to reach 2.3 trillion yuan by 2020, according to the research firm iResearch.

Outstanding household debt in China equalled 45.5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the first quarter, according to the Bank of International Settlements, compared to 27.9 percent five years ago.

Lexinfintech delays U.S. IPO pricing as China reins in micro-loan sector (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Chinese consumer lending firm Lexinfintech will delay the pricing of its planned Nasdaq IPO to conduct more due diligence, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said – a move that comes after Beijing issued new rules to tighten control of the micro-loan sector.

The source, who was not authorized to speak to the media and declined to be identified, did not say how long the IPO was likely to be delayed.

China Continues Its Quest For A Credit Ranking System (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

China is on the hunt for a homegrown alternative to the U.S.-based FICO score credit ranking system as it attempts to keep up with the rapid expansion in consumer loans being offered through mobile.

Lacking such a single system, online lenders instead use a patchwork of methods to assess consumer credit worthiness, including things like online questionnaires and analysis of consumer data such as individuals’ eCommerce purchases.

The National Internet Finance Association of China — a two-year-old agency closely aligned with China’s central bank — is tasked with the job, but has offered little in the way of specific detail about how the three-year-old search for a system is progressing — past noting in a brief report late Monday that “this would complete an important rung in procedural order.”

China’s “Social Credit System” Will Rate How Valuable You Are as a Human (Futurism), Rated: AAA

In a contentious world first, China plans to implement a social credit system  (officially referred to as a Social Credit Score or SCS) by 2020.

Every citizen in China, which now has numbers swelling to well over 1.3 billion, would be given a score that, as a matter of public record, is available for all to see. This citizen score comes from monitoring an individual’s social behavior — from their spending habits and how regularly they pay bills, to their social interactions — and it’ll become the basis of that person’s trustworthiness, which would also be publicly ranked.

The companies that are implementing SCS include China Rapid Finance, which is a partner of social network giant Tencent, and Sesame Credit, a subsidiary of Alibaba affiliate company Ant Financial Services Group (AFSG). Both Rapid Finance and Sesame Credit have access to intimidating quantities of data, the former through its WeChat messaging app (at present with 850 million active users) and the latter through its AliPay payment service.

According to local media, Tencent’s SCS comes with its QQ chat app, where an individual’s score comes in a range between 300 and 850 and is broken down into five sub-categories: social connections, consumption behavior, security, wealth, and compliance.

THE CHINA RAPID FINANCE LTD – (XRF) POSTS QUARTERLY EARNINGS RESULTS (Bangalore Weekly), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Ltd – (NYSE:XRF) announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday. The company reported ($1.01) EPS for the quarter. The company had revenue of $10.46 million during the quarter.

Alibaba launches $ 7bn bond issue (Capital.com), Rated: A

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has launched a bond issue aimed at raising $7bn just three years after selling $8bn of debt.

The bonds are being offered in five tranches – 5.5-year, 10-year, 20-year, 30-year and 40-year.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to invest in long-term growth.

Private equity funds found to be investing in banned digital currencies offerings (SCMP), Rated: A

Beijing’s municipal financial regulator has warned private equity (PE) funds not to continue investing in initial coin offerings (ICOs), a practice banned by the mainland’s central bank three months ago.

Huo Xuewen, chief of the Beijing Bureau of Financial Work, said in a report published on Sunday that some of the funds had been found taking part in ICOs – fund-railings by the issuers of digital currencies such as bitcoin – outside the regulatory framework and he pointed out it was a wrongdoing that the regulator would seek to weed them out.

He added the authorities now plan to set up a strict monitoring system to track operations and investments by PE funds.

P2P Lender Hexindai: A Discussion with CFO Johnson Zhang Regarding the Recent IPO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Hexindai (NASDAQ:HX), a China based peer to peer lender, became the most recent Chinese online lender to trade on a US exchange early last month. The company will report fiscal year results this coming Tuesday before markets open. Last month, Hexidai become another Chinese online lender to list their shares on the US markets in a successful IPO that raised approximately $50 million with each ADS priced at $10/each. The market cap of Hexindai stands at over $550 million today with shares in the company having traded between $10.90 and $17 since the IPO.

We asked Zhang why his company decided to list on the NASDAQ.  Zhang explained that in comparison to Hong Kong the US capital markets is wider and has more comparitive companies. Zhang noted that Yirendai and other online lenders now trade on US exchanges.  NASDAQ was selected because Hexindai is more tech focused. 

Zhang said a key component of their competitive advantage is their sophisticated risk management. Their application pass through rate is equal to just 25% of submitted applications and their default rates are very low.

Their second competitive advantage is their extended off line channels. For example, if a customer goes to a travel agency and wants to book a trip, the agency may say they have a financing solution and will provide the application to Hexindai and then they will determine whether or not they should provide a loan to the borrower.

“For our last fiscal year there were 200,000 borrowers and 110,000 active investors. An average loan size is 80,000 RMB. The typical use of the loans are for personal use like overseas traveling, continuing education or housing renovation. We believe loan proceeds are for self investment. Their life. For their job to become better. We help the emerging middle class.”

International

International P2P Lending Volumes November 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle reaches the milestone of 3 billion GBP loans originated since launch.

I removed Comunitae, because of the stop due the fraud case.

Source: P2P-Banking

The Market Maker’s Guide to Decentralized Exchange (Airswap), Rated: AAA

Market making is generally an ongoing process that includes ingesting data, generating a price, and placing an order on an exchange.

Source: Airswap

Decentralized exchange promises two major benefits:

  • Security and control
  • Global marketplace

Unlocking the ability to transact globally, through a decentralized exchange, will affect society in profound ways. Global information transfer birthed the term “globalization”. Global asset transfer will birth some new term that we all haven’t yet thought of, and in the end the borders that blockchain break down will be greater than the borders we saw the internet break down.

Decentralized exchanges will succeed, likewise, when there is liquidity and usability, both of which do not exist yet on any solution.

Source: Airswap

Micro-finance: do good and turn a profit (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

The ultimate example of this is the “micro-finance” movement. The idea is that you lend money to a micro-finance institution that in turn lends the money to ordinary folk (frequently women) in the developing world for practical projects that generate returns for investors. Investors hope to get back all of their money plus a return – net returns of around 2% a year aren’t uncommon.

The only trouble is that while micro-finance does score highly in terms of “impact”, it is often not so much crowd-based as “command-and-control” in style. In other words, it’s usually a credit institution making the actual lending decisions and you invest via their pool of funds.

Now, however, we have the crowd revolution and the rise of alternative finance and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. In the Netherlands, this has given rise to companies such as Lendahand, which provide a marketplace for investing in individual projects for a defined return, usually via some form of bond. Over here in the UK, Ethex provides a similar marketplace for investors to back individual projects with real impact.

So, why not marry micro-finance, the crowd, and renewable energy into one product? That’s the idea behind a relatively new website called Lendahand, a joint venture between the Dutch platform and Ethex. The platform is working with local providers such as SolarNow in Uganda as part of its Energise Africa initiative to provide finance for solar panels. This is done via unsecured bonds that pay out 5%-6% a year for a period of between one and three years, with interest usually paid every six months (along with some of the debt, which is amortised as it is repaid).

Top 100 fintech companies revealed (Banks.am), Rated: A

First, second and third place, on this year’s Fintech100, are occupied by Chinese fintech firms: Ant Financial, which owns Alipay payments platform; ZhongAn, which uses big data to automate online property insurance; Qudian, an online electronics retailer offering monthly instalment re-payments.

The fourth and fifth places are occupied by Oscar, which seeks to radically transform health insurance through technology and Avant, the fastest-growing marketplace lending platform for short-term consumer credit.

The sectorial breakup of the Fintech100 is as follows: 32 lending companies, 21 payments companies, 15 transaction and capital markets, 12 insurance companies, 7 wealth companies, 6 regtech (regulatory technology-Banks.am) & cyber security companies, 4 blockchain and digital currencies companies, and 3 data and analytics companies.

Fintech100 includes a broad range of fintech companies from 29 different countries.

SelfKey Will Greatly Aid the Expansion of the FinTech Sector (Cryptocoins News), Rated: B

One blockchain based startup, SelfKey, is creating a blockchain-driven decentralized digital identity system that gives users full control over their personal information. The platform allows individuals to create their own secure personal identity wallet that stores important identity documents. This wallet also stores KEY tokens, which can be used to purchase services on the SelfKey marketplace. These services, which range from passport applications to opening bank accounts, don’t control users’ data–users do.

Users have the key, so to speak, that releases their own data.

Australia/New Zealand

CollinStar Holdings to Acquire BiWang Group in a 100 Million US Dollars Buyout (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

On December 2, 2017, CollinStar Holdings paid $ 100 million US dollars to acquire the entire BiWang Group, including BW.COM.

AUSTRALIAN FINTECH LAUNCHES ALTERNATIVE FUND (Money Management), Rated: A

Australian fintech and fully licensed marketplace lender, Zagga has launched its Alternative Growth Fund aimed at wholesale investors, including self-managed super funds (SMSFs), which will target net returns of 6.5 per cent per annum.

The fund, which would have the minimum investment for wholesale investors of $50,000, was designed to add scale to the Zagga business model which uses a bespoke algorithm to match wholesale investors with borrowers, the firm said.

Banking gap widens as tech-savvy consumers look to new products (News.com.au), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has examined big bank profit margins and found that while they are paying record low rates on deposits their lending rates for personal loans and credit cards continue to climb.

“You can drive a bus through the spread between bank deposits and consumer lending rates,” said RateSetter CEO Dan Foggo.

“Publicity stunts such as dropping fees on ATMs are little more than a smokescreen for the poor value,” he said.

  • Online savings account rates have dropped from 6.55 per cent to 1.6 per cent;
  • Bonus saver account interest rates have fallen from 4.8 per cent to 1.85 per cent, but;
  • Credit card interest rates have climbed from 18.6 per cent to 19.75 per cent, and;
  • Unsecured personal loan rates rose from 13.8 per cent to 14.5 per cent.

FMA statistics show the fledgling NZ P2P lending sector is serving banks and fund managers well (Interest), Rated: A

But the Financial Markets Authority’s first statistical report on P2P lending, issued this week, highlights just how little actual P2P lending there has been in NZ to date.

The useful and informative FMA report details that there are 20,744 investors registered with licensed P2P services. At 207,230, there are about 10 times as many borrowers registered with P2P services. The volume of investors, or savers, versus borrowers sounds unbalanced and it is. But the bulk of money being lent through P2P platforms is coming from banks and institutional, or wholesale, investors.

Far and away the biggest NZ P2P lender is Harmoney. According to the FMA report, as of June 30 the total value of Harmoney loans outstanding was just under $239 million. The five other active P2P lenders had a shade under $50 million worth of outstanding loans between them.

India

Customers without credit scores can take the digital journey to get loans (livemint), Rated: AAA

Mumbai-based CreditVidya, a fintech start-up, uses alternative data sources to assess fraud and risk. It has recently raised $5 million Matrix Partners and had previously raised $2 million from Kalaari Capital. The money is being used for product development and hiring manpower. A lot of the investments are going into research and development and setting up the team right, which will include data scientists from the US. The plan is to have a total of 146 employees by end of 2018, said the founders of the company.

Currently you work with over 20 banks and non-banking financial (NBFCs) who are looking to assess customers of small unsecured credit. What is the quality of these banks and NBFCs?

Rajiv Raj: We have a mix of small and big banks and NBFCs. We have big banks such as State Bank of India, ICICI Bank Ltd and Axis Bank Ltd. There are many micro services that these companies use.

Abhishek Agarwal: We are also in talks with an MNC (multinational corporation) banks. Right now, 10 relationships are with large banks and NBFCs, out of the 27, and remaining are in mid- and small-sized banks. Every bank is focused on retail loans and in that pie on unsecured lendings. Personal loans, consumer durables and two-wheeler loans are the segment where there has been a tremendous rise.

Recently, P2P regulations came out. These companies will have to start reporting to credit bureaus. Has any P2P platform approached you to use alternate data?

Agarwal: We are currently working with three P2P lenders. Here again, it is for risk assessment of first-time borrowers. People who are digital savvy and want to access this facility, are first-time borrowers and under 35 years. Cibil’s (a credit bureau in India) penetration in the 25-35 age group is poor. Hence, 75-80% of the cases will have a no Cibil score.

Raj: These are thin-file customers who don’t qualify for loans.

Why are the traditional credit bureaus not using alternative or digital data to assess customers?

Raj: One, there is a regulatory issue. Two, they have never done this before.

Agarwal: Experian (a credit bureau) in the US has been around for the last 40 years. Digital lending in the US exists for the last 12 years. Experian never used alternative data in the US. It is not in their DNA. All the traditional bureaus in India are heavily influenced by their parent companies in the US. There is no product that the bureaus have launched in India that is only for the Indian market. They haven’t done anything that is new and specific to India.

While analysing customers, what parameters do you use to evaluate credit worthiness?

Agarwal: You look at five types of fingerprints—social finger print (anything you put on social media), device fingerprint (such as SMS), browser fingerprint (anything that identifies your device), click stream fingerprint (how fast you type) and biometric fingerprint (the physical fingerprint).

Fintech Trends to Watch Out for in 2018 (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

With a continuation to the credit line onboarding the digital trend, the next year will see more and more people borrowing using data, believes Vikram Sud, former APAC operations and technology head of Citibank and also ex-group COO of Kotak Mahindra Group.

Algorithm-based investments will see a hike, interactive brokers too will grow in numbers, while the cost of availing them will keep dropping.

While the majority of fintech users today rely on wallets and prepaid investments for transactions, many in the industry believe that that is set to change.

Citing a 360 degree financial inclusion and a future of uniform payments globally, Himaghna Dey Sarkar, Chief Expansion Officer, ToneTag spoke about how they are enabling sound-based payments. The app listens to the frequency of tones in the existing EVC machines, and enables transactions directly to the merchant’s bank account.

Sud believes that we are moving closer to a stage where the cards business is at a risk. With more and more retail lending options like buy now and pay later, Sud said that the line of credit will become more prominent.

A little bit of data can go a long way! (ETCIO), Rated: A

Imagine there being minimal record of your existence – your credit history and identification papers being almost non-existent. Unfortunately, this is not a movie plot but a reality that millions across the world have to grapple with. Both developing and under-developed economies have their fair share of people who have no formal credit footprint. These are people who have never borrowed from or interacted with formal banking channels in their lives. This lack of interaction with banking channels is one of the primary reasons that these people do not possess sufficient format documentation, a primary requirement of banks. The repercussion of this is that there is minimum information available about their credit history and when they do approach a lender for capital; more often than not they are deemed ineligible and are turned away.

Over the last few years, digital lending platforms have emerged as viable sources of credit for such borrowers.

By 2022, over 70% of India’s population is expected to own a smart phone. With a current smart phone user base of 300 million, smart phone penetration in rural India is growing at a much faster pace as compared to the urban India. This means that each one of us is generating reams of digital data giving online lenders a glimpse into our habits and preferences.

Asia

Integrated finance services in e-commerce (TelecomAsia.net), Rated: A

Again there is speculation in the US over whether companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple or Wal-Mart could acquire a banking license.

If you go to buy items online, you might need finance for your purchase. The easiest solution nowadays is probably to use a credit card to make the payment. Then, depending on your card, you have more time and flexibility to make the payment. The problem is the actual annual interest rate of the card is easily 30% to 40%. You could get a loan with much lower interest rates, but it is complex to get a loan quickly when you are buying something.

Now we see a situation FinTech that integrated finance solutions are easily available for all kinds of retail services and they offer also a smooth customer experience. This is part of a much bigger development in the finance industry. Finance services are no longer their own isolated islands, but they can be components in any service.

Fintech competitiveness depends on AI technology (The Korea Times), Rated: A

Limiting individual investment in peer-to-peer (P2P) financing at 10 million won ($9,220) is a typical one. The ban on non face-to-face contracts on discretionary investments in the asset management field also limits the domain of fintech startups online. It is necessary to change perspectives in modifying regulations to something that will help new fintech companies.

Fintech can be classified into three areas: well-known money transfer and payment; P2P finance represented by cloud funding; and asset management represented by robo-advisors. The common technology necessary for all three is artificial intelligence (AI).

In P2P lending, supervised learning can be used in P2P for credit scoring and anticipation of expected returns. For asset management firms, reinforcement learning can be used for automated portfolio building.

Canada

National Bank of Canada capped off a better fiscal year with strong fourth-quarter profit as the Montreal-based lender enters a new phase of an aggressive plan to redefine itself.

And chief executive officer Louis Vachon said the bank is now shifting from a phase of heavy cost-cutting and job losses to one that reduces costs by using technology to automate more of its processes.

The bank is spending a total of $750-million a year on technology, about $350-million of which goes to new projects.

Profit from the core personal and commercial banking segment was $239-million in the fourth quarter, compared with $191-million a year earlier, as loans and deposits grew and deposit margins improved. The wealth-management arm also posted a 29-per-cent increase in profit to $110-million.

Provisions for credit losses – the money set aside to cover bad loans – rose to $70-million in the fourth quarter, from $59-million a year ago. But the increase effectively belonged to Credigy Ltd., a U.S. subsidiary that specializes on buying distressed loans at discounted prices.

The bank expects Credigy will continue to grow, but is tapering its appetite for unsecured consumer debt as it winds down an agreement that saw the firm buy $1.3-billion in prime loans from Lending Club, a U.S.-based online lending firm. Credigy will instead look at doing more deals for secured loans with lower spreads but also lower losses.

Africa

Kenyan, Nigerian startups make global Fintech 100 (Disrupt Africa), Rated: AAA

They include two Nigerian startups, namely payments company Flutterwave and financial management app Riby. Kenyan insurtech startup GrassRoots Bima also makes the list.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday November 16 2017, Daily News Digest

securitization

News Comments Today’s main news: Marcus surpasses 2017 goal. LendInvest gets into buy-to-let. Top 3 spots on KPMG Fintech 100 list are all Chinese. Lendix launches SME bridge loans in France, Spain, and Italy. Mauritia issues draft P2P lending rules. Marlette closes fourth securitization in a year. Today’s main analysis: Rising challenges unlikely to deter U.S. securitizations. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

securitization

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

Canada

Russia

News Summary

United States

Marcus from Goldman Sachs Surpasses 2017 Goal (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

Martin Chavez, chief financial officer for Goldman Sachs, showed in a slideshow at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch event yesterday that Marcus had already surpassed $1.96 billion in originations as of Nov. 9.

What that means is that from Nov. 9 to Nov. 14, over a span of five days, Marcus originated more than $40 million in loans.

Rising challenges unlikely to deter U.S. securitization in 2018 (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

As a result, Fitch’s outlook for U.S. structured finance ratings is predominately stable for 2018. That said, given where we are in the credit cycle, Fitch is keeping a close watch on select asset types that could run into some issues over the next 12 months.

Entering 2018, Fitch has either Positive or Stable Outlook on over 90% of its rated securitized bonds.

Perhaps the most notable change that has manifested from risk retention is the shrinking universe of originators bringing new securitizations to market. This is particularly notable in the universe of CMBS originators, which has shrunk from a high of roughly 40 to now less than 20 due to a combination of risk retention and Reg A/B.

Competitive pressures, long in place for subprime autos, are escalating in a marketplace ABS environment that is struggling to find its footing by testing recent underwriting models, asset quality and, in some cases, business models. Delinquencies and chargeoffs of existing assets continue to increase as marginal borrowers increase their leverage. Not likely to help is the drive for growth among large marketplace lenders coupled with rising market pressure from competing banks like Goldman Sachs (Marcus), Discover, and Suntrust. And unless originators tighten their credit policies with discipline, the strain will intensify.

Source: Asset Securitization Report

Online lenders should heed criticism of their effect on borrowers (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The consumer lending industry is abuzz about the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s recent report on debt consolidation and online lending. This excellent piece of research concludes that, on average, online installment loan borrowers fall into more debt after taking out a loan, experience hits to their credit score and history as a result, and take out online loans despite having access to traditional banking and credit channels.

The first two conclusions are damning, especially as these loans are often marketed as a way to help consumers consolidate credit card debt and improve their finances. At the end of the day, a lender’s duty is not merely to avoid losses. Any loan must be suitable for the customer — which means it should be made only if the lender believes it is improving the customer’s financial health. A lender not guided by that principle should be prepared for severe criticism as well as elevated losses down the road.

But it would be nonsensical to discredit or ignore the study because it includes online lenders beyond well-known fintech names.

The Best of Both Worlds with Prosper for Borrowers and Lenders (DoughRoller), Rated: AAA

Founded in 2005, and generally recognized as the first peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform in the US, Prosper has funded more than $10 billion in loans since.

While borrowers can get personal loans ranging in size between $2,000 and $35,000, investors can put as little as $25 toward funding those loans.

There is one exception, however. You cannot use loan proceeds for post-secondary educational expenses. That’s because some of the rules in federal law aren’t compatible with P2P lending. More specifically, with education loans, the borrower must have at least 30 days to accept or reject a loan offer.

Medical procedures available for financing under the PHL program include:

  • Cosmetic dentistry
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Cosmetic and plastic surgery
  • Fertility and reproductive procedures

All Prosper loans have a term of either three or five years.

The minimum requirements are:

  • A minimum FICO score of 640, based on a TransUnion FICO 08 score
  • Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio below 50%
  • Stated income greater than $0 (you must have an income)
  • No bankruptcies filed within the previous 12 months
  • Fewer than seven credit bureau inquiries within the last six months
  • A minimum of three open trades reported on your credit report

Interest rates are between a minimum of 3.00% for the best AA rated borrowers to a maximum of 36.00% for the lowest rated HR borrower grades.

Source: DoughRoller

Prosper for Investors

Prosper advertises that the average rate of return by investors on the platform is 7.41% per year.

Loans rated HR have a much higher average return, at 11.73%.

You can open either a General Investment Account or an IRA. Available IRAs include traditional, Roth, SIMPLE, SEP and rollover IRAs (IRA accounts are held with Millennium Trust Company). At this time, Prosper has made only individual accounts available. You cannot hold an account jointly with someone else.

For regular investment accounts, the minimum is $25. For IRA accounts, the minimum is $5,000.

Similar to other P2P platforms, when you invest with Prosper, you don’t actually invest in whole loans. Instead, you invest in small slivers of those loans, referred to as “notes.” The notes are in denominations of $25. This means that you can spread an investment of $1,000 across as many as 40 different loans.

The servicing fee is 1% of the outstanding balance of a loan. That means that if the loan pays 8%, your net return will be 7%.

Source: DoughRoller

Marlette Funding Closes Fourth Personal Loan Securitization Within Past Year (LendEDU), Rated: A

Last week, marketplace lender Marlette Funding announced the closing of its fourth proprietary securitization. The transaction was worth an estimated $312 million, and it is the fourth securitization announcement since August of 2016 from Marlette Funding.

eOriginal Named as One of Fastest Growing Companies in North America on Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500 (eOriginal), Rated: A

eOriginal, Inc., today announced it has been named to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list as one of North America’s fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy companies. eOriginal earned the rank of 294 by more than doubling revenues during the evaluation period of FY 2013 through FY 2016.

Betterment, the investing startup with $ 11 billion in assets, is rolling out a new service to make charitable giving easier (Business Insider), Rated: A

Betterment, the New York-based roboadviser, announced Wednesday a charitable giving feature that’ll let users donate shares of their account to partnered charities.

The firm, which manages $11 billion for over 300,000 customers, partnered with 11 charities for Betterment Charitable Giving, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, UNICEF, and World Wildlife Fund, according to a news release. The new feature is set to go live November 28.

Subprime car loans souring faster at nonbank lenders (American Banker), Rated: A

Despite signs of trouble in subprime auto lending, U.S. banks and credit unions are well positioned to ride out any market turbulence, a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggests.

More than $435 billion in auto loans to borrowers with credit scores below 660 were outstanding during the third quarter of this year, the report found. That total has been climbing steadily since bottoming out at $249 billion in early 2011. Delinquency rates have also been rising as it has become easier to qualify for an auto loan.

Fidelity latest financial firm to facilitate data sharing with fintechs (American Banker), Rated: A

Fidelity Investments is joining the ranks of financial firms sharing customer account data with others through an application programming interface.

The new service, called Fidelity Access, will give third parties access to Fidelity customers’ account data for use in apps and services like tax preparation, budgeting, financial planning, spending analysis and portfolio advice — provided the Fidelity customers give their OK. Customer data to be shared includes Fidelity account balances, securities holdings, and transactions.

These are the most valuable fintech companies in America (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Stripe Inc., whose software is used by businesses to accept and track digital payments, leads the way as the most valuable fintech startup in the U.S., with a $9.2 billion valuation.

And just to be clear, fintech startups are nowhere near close to catching up to the big banks. Wells Fargo & Co. has a market cap of more than $266 billion, and Bank of America Corp. has a market cap of more than $273 billion.

RealtyProfits Offers Accredited Investors an Innovative Platform to Invest in the Real Estate Sector (Digital Journal), Rated: A

RealtyProfits (www.RealtyProfits.com) announces today an exciting and innovative investment opportunity, RealtyProfits IV, with a Preferred Return of 12 percent per annum, available exclusively to accredited high net-worth individuals and institutional investors. The private preferred equity securities, available for purchase at www.RealtyProfits.com, are being offered through WealthForge Securities, LLC, a registered broker/dealer and member of FINRA/SIPC.

The geographically diversified portfolio includes properties in 700 cities coast to coast, with a current estimated value of $1.73 billion and more than $700 million of equity in more than 5,900 portfolio properties. The properties include primarily single-family homes and condominiums ranging in value from $100,000 to more than $2,500,000.

Accredited investors can start investing with as little as $20,000. RealtyProfits IV offers monthly cash distributions. Preferred equity investors receive all distributions made by RealtyProfits IV until fully repaid. The Preferred Return is 12 percent per annum, with initial monthly Base Preferred Return payments at 6 percent per annum anticipated depending on cash flow during each of the first 24 months.

Reality Shares Teams up with Nasdaq to Launch Blockchain Tech Index (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Reality Shares and Nasdaq announce the creation of the Reality Shares Nasdaq Blockchain Economy Index, a smart-beta index that tracks the growth and development of leading global companies creating and implementing blockchain solutions.

An ETF that will track the Index is already in the works, with Reality Shares filing for it on November 2, 2017.

Reality Shares and Nasdaq compiled the index by utilizing internal and external research and their proprietary Blockchain ScoreTM ranking system. The Index is comprised of global companies that seek to capitalize upon transformational blockchain technology that may potentially disrupt the markets in which they operate.

How to Choose Between a Peer-To-Peer Lending or Traditional Loan (Experian), Rated: A

Shopping for a loan at a P2P provider is a two-step process. First, based on a credit score (or credit scores) and your answers to a few basic questions—your full name, address, date of birth and annual income—the lender determines which loan offer(s) to extend to you. (It’s possible at this juncture that the lender will decide not to extend any loan offers; if they do, they’ll explain why.)

Once you choose the loan you want, the lender does a more detailed credit check and may ask you to verify your income and to provide additional background information.  Each P2P site has its own lending criteria, including minimum credit scores, and additional information requirements vary accordingly. Some P2P lenders want information on your educational background; others want work history or details about your financial assets. In most cases, you can submit the necessary documents electronically.

The first step in the P2P loan-approval process gets one or more of your credit scores by a method known as a soft inquiry—the same process you use when you check your own credit scores. Soft inquiries have no impact on your credit scores. However, the hard inquiries traditional lenders make when you apply for a credit cards or bank loans are reported to the national credit bureaus. They appear on your credit reports, and typically cause temporary credit-score drops of several points.

In the second step of P2P loan approval, the lender performs a hard inquiry to confirm your credit score and, likely, to review your full credit report.

Before you apply for a P2P loan

  • Take a look at the fine print on the bottom of each provider’s homepage, to get an overview of the loan amounts they offer and the rates and fees they charge.
  • Make sure the lender operates in your state.
  • Check your FICO Score and review your credit reports for any major negative entries. Accounts in collection, liens and civil judgments are among the items that could torpedo your loan application, even if you meet the credit-score requirements.
  • Determine the amount of money you need and watch out for tempting upsells.
  • Consider using the Experian loan-referral tool to explore offers from multiple P2P lenders (and possibly traditional lenders as well).

Resignation of CFPB head gives Trump opportunity to erase Elizabeth Warren’s legacy (Legal Insurrection), Rated: A

Richard Cordray, an Obama appointee and head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced to staff in an email Wednesday his plans to resign. While he’s yet to confirm his plans, there’s speculation Cordray will return home to run for Ohio’s governorship.

Seven Signs That the Bond Bull Market is Over (INTL FCStone), Rated: A

  • The bond bear market is already here: short and medium-term treasuries have lost value in the past 5 years
  • Buybacks have fallen to a five-year low, and big repurchasers have underperformed
  • Oil prices are at a 30-month high, and the futures curve is in backwardation
  • The long and the short ends of the yield curve are moving together again
  • The Chinese trade surplus has shrunk from 10% of GDP to almost zero in the past ten years
  • The U.S. deficit is growing again, an unprecedented phenomenon in times of expansion and peace
  • Small bubbles are popping out: Auckland houses, Ethereum crypto coins, and collectible cars
Source: Global Macro Report, INTL FCStone

Read the full report here.

Spring Framework Creator Launches Atomist for Development Automation With $ 22 Million in Series A Funding (Marketwired), Rated: A

Today on stage at Structure 2017, Atomist is formally launching and unveiling its Development Automation Platform with an Open Source client and API. As part of today’s launch, Atomist is announcing $22 million in Series A funding from Accel and Matrix Partners.

Bestow Gives Texas Residents First Access to On-Demand Life Insurance (PRWeb), Rated: A

Bestow Inc., the company behind a revolutionary new approach to life insurance, today announced the early access roll out of its comprehensive, full-stack, digital life insurance solution in Texas. For the first time Bestow’s solution is available to the public, giving Texas residents primary access to apply for the only on-demand life insurance solution, instantly and without a medical exam.

Leveraging applied intelligence and algorithmic underwriting, Bestow redefines the way consumers research, buy and manage life insurance. Using data to calculate risk, Bestow removes the need for a medical exam and streamlines the entire process into a matter of minutes. The Texas launch gives consumers access to choice term life insurance plans, including a unique two year term policy never before available for life insurance. Additionally, customers can choose between ten or twenty year term life insurance.

The Zebra Raises $ 40 Million, Taps New CEO To Expand Beyond Car Insurance (Forbes), Rated: A

The Zebra, which has always described itself as the Kayak of car insurance, has hired a longtime Kayak executive as its new CEO.

The Austin-based company, which allows drivers to compare prices for car insurance online, said on Tuesday that it has tapped Kayak’s former president Keith Melnick to run the company.

The Zebra also said it has raised $40 million in a Series B funding round, led by Accel Partners. That brings its total funding to $61.5 million.

MarketScout in Dallas Creates $ 25M Insurtech Venture Fund (Insurance Journal), Rated: B

Dallas-based insurance exchange and MGA MarketScout announced it has launched MarketScout InsurTech (MIT), which will make investments in tech-enabled insurance distribution. The initial funding of $25 million will come exclusively from MarketScout Corp., parent of MIT, according to the firm.

House Financial Services Committee Approves Legislation to Help Keep Lending Partnerships Between Banks and Online Lenders (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The House Financial Services Committee has approved HR 3299 or the “Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017.” The bill “restores consistency” in lending laws across state boundaries. HR 3299 impacts the case of Midland Funding, LLC v. Madden – an ongoing law suit that has the potential to undermine online lenders. Sponsored by Congressman Patrick McHenry, includes an important statement that clarifies allowable interest rates on loans potentially ending the issue associated with the law suit.

How Do You Beat a Robo-Advisor? Trust (Think Advisor), Rated: A

“Technology by itself cannot create trust,” Robert C. Merton, a Nobel laureate in economics now teaching at MIT, recently told ThinkAdvisor. “The successful advisor must have the trust of their clients.”

Given the importance of trust in the advisor-client relationship, Merton recommends financial advisors (the breathing kind) should:

  • Check what they are doing to retain and enhance trust with their clients.
  • Make sure the business model being used supports the creation of trust.
  • Take advantage of technology to improve/enhance what the advisor does.
  • Do not view technology as a “competitor or substitute” for the advisor.
  • Understand and assess the financial technology they employ to certify trusting its use in client solutions.

HFLA launches initiative to help underserved reach financial stability (Cleveland Jewish News), Rated: A

The Hebrew Free Loan Association has launched its Looking to the Future Initiative with support from the St. Luke’s Foundation and the PNC Foundation. The initiative accounts for $73,000.

The initiative enables HFLA to increase its lending of interest-free loans to Cleveland’s underserved neighborhoods and grows the organization by expanding its reach, according to a news release. HFLA received a $63,000 grant from the St. Luke’s Foundation and a $10,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to launch the effort.

Fundation Purchases Select Assets from Able Lending to Enhance Partnership Strategy (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Fundation Group LLC, a digitally-enabled lender and credit solutions provider, today announced that it has acquired a variety of assets from online small business lender, Able Lending of Austin, Texas.

Former Capital One Executive Troy Jamison Joins Victory Park Capital as Chief Risk Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Victory Park Capital (VPC), an investment firm focused on middle-market debt and equity investments, announced today that Troy Jamison joins as chief risk officer for the firm’s nonbank financial services portfolio. Jamison is based in Chicago and reports directly to CEO and Co-Founder Richard Levy.

CFPB updates website to officially address end of arbitration rule (Housingwire), Rated: B

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finally updated its website to acknowledge President Donald Trump revoking the controversial arbitration rule.

blog post from Ballard Spahr previously stressed the importance of the CFPB updating its website to note the rule’s override since the rule was killed nearly two weeks ago.

The webpage for “Arbitration agreements” now has an update on the top that states:

On Nov. 1, 2017, the President signed a joint resolution passed by Congress disapproving the Arbitration Agreements Rule under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Pursuant to the joint resolution, the Arbitration Agreements Rule has no force or effect. The materials relating to the Arbitration Agreements Rule on the Bureau’s website are for reference only.

HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE PASSES SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT ACT (Coalition for Small Business Growth Email), Rated: B

The 

United Kingdom

LendInvest launches into buy-to-let (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: AAA

LendInvest is launching a range of buy-to-let loans aimed at professional landlords and investors.

Rates start at 3.69 per cent for a two-year fix at 60 per cent LTV.

The firm will offer loans of between £50,000 and £5m, up to a maximum LTV of 80 per cent.

Citigroup joins the AI bandwagon (Business Insider), Rated: A

Citigroup 

Source: Business Insider

SyndicateRoom Alum Squirrel Launches Crowdcube Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, has launched an equity crowdfunding round on Crowdcube. This initiative debut comes less than one year after the company completed its SyndicateRoom funding round with £585,000 in funds. Squrriel is now seeking £400,000.

Government unveils financial package to support tech (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE GOVERNMENT has given a £21m boost to a technology programme that has supported firms such as Zopa and Funding Circle as part of a range of measures to boost the tech sector.

The funding will make Tech City UK and Tech North one national organisation called Tech Nation and help grow government-backed startup support programmes such as Founders Network, Northern Stars, Future Fifty and Upscale.

Cash Converters International Ltd reports security breach and ransom demand (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Payday lending and pawnbroking business Cash Converters International Ltd (ASX:CCV) announced a cybersecurity breach in its UK operations last night.

Sadly, computer system integrity is becoming an increasingly relevant – and often overlooked – concern for investors, with a vast majority of companies relying in one way or another on computer systems.

Valorem Foundation Launches All-New Cryptocurrency Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Valorem Foundation, a Blockchain startup specializing in stabilized value-based exchange and transactions, has announced the launch of its new cryptocurrency platform. The company has developed a multi-layered platform to disrupt and expand the following services globally: microloans, car loans, student loans, rent payment, P2P networks, buying and selling of goods & services, business investing, real estate crowdfunding, and insurance.

Empowering the world: How you can make money through improving lives (City A.M.), Rated: A

This sea change should explain why investment firm Ethex has managed to scoop up so much support in its short history – raising more than £50m since 2013.

Its business model has a peer-to-peer lending feel – that is, it uses a digital platform to allow retail investors to lend to individuals and entrepreneurs.

But it comes with a twist, because Ethex is a not-for-profit organisation which lets you invest in companies that have a positive impact – socially and environmentally.

If you want to get involved, the platform has a minimum investment of £50, which arguably makes it more accessible to younger generations.

Trussle hires VP engineering from Funding Circle (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: B

Trussle has appointed Matthew Gretton as vice president of engineering from peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle.

China

Alibaba affiliates sweep top 3 spots in global fintech ranking (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Financial technology companies linked to China’s Alibaba Group Holding took over the podium in KPMG’s latest Fintech 100 list, announced on Wednesday.

Ant Financial, which runs Alibaba’s massive Alipay e-payments network, took the No. 1 spot on the list, which was compiled with fintech accelerator H2 Ventures. Online property insurer ZhongAn Insurance and microloan provider Qudian placed second and third; both have received investments from Ant.

See the full list here.

One of China’s hottest companies rebuffs criticism about transparency (CNBC), Rated: A

Despite public criticism about a lack of transparency in some practices, Ant Financial is doing things the right way, a senior executive at the company said Wednesday.

“The demand for these securities is very healthy and continuing to expand,” Douglas Feagin, senior vice president and head of global business at Ant Financial, told CNBC’s “Street Signs.” “That, at the end of the day, is the ultimate barometer of whether you’re giving enough information to investors to invest.”

Ant Financial will use local partners in Southeast Asia: executive from CNBC.

Earnings at Some U.S.-Listed Chinese Microlenders Taper (Caixin), Rated: A

In the three months ending Sept. 30, Yirendai’s net income was down 12% to 303 million yuan ($45.7 million) from 344.3 million yuan a year ago, the company said Wednesday. Another Chinese microlender, China Rapid Finance Ltd., earlier reported a wider net loss of $4.4 million in the third quarter. Although Qudian Inc., a larger player that listed in New York last month, recently posted a four-fold increase in its third-quarter net profit from a year ago, citing better operational efficiency and its growing borrower base.

Cinda International Leads Massive Round In Chinese Fintech Company 9f Group (China Money Network), Rated: A

Beijing-based fintech company 9f Group has raised a massive new funding round from Cinda International Holding Ltd, a subsidiary of state-owned China Cinda Asset Management Co., Ltd., Focus Media Information Technology’s Chairman Jiang Nanchun, video game developer Youzu Interactive’s chairman Lin Qi and an unnamed Chinese industry fund.

The company did not disclose financial details except to say that it raised “hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars” in the latest financing deal, according to a company announcement. It is also unclear how the company is valued in the round, but 9f Group is listed on China Money Network’s China Unicorn List with a US$1 billion valuation when it last raised a US$110 million series B round in 2015.

European Union

For Spain’s banks, survival means digital (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Santander’s Openbank has changed a great deal since it was founded as Spain’s first telephone banking service in 1995. Now a fully digital operation, its mobile app allows users to temporarily disarm a lost credit card, as well as to check whether fellow Openbank customers are buying or selling a given stock at any moment. Currently, it has some 1.2m customers in Spain and more than €8bn ($9.3bn) in assets under management.

In recent years, Spain’s two biggest banks — Santander and BBVA — have increased their financial and managerial investment in fintech, digital banking and big data. Like their peers, they are convinced that the days of branch-based lending are drawing to a close.

Spanish banks average about €15m assets under management per employee, says Daragh Quinn, banks analyst at investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. At a digital operator like Openbank, that number is close to €60m.

The digital push is on two fronts: first, a mobile app that allows customers to access almost all of the bank’s products without going into a branch. Second, a venture capital approach whereby banks invest in or partner with fintech start-ups to add products.

Online Lender Lendix Launches Flexible SME Bridge Loans in France, Spain & Italy (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Lendix, online lender for SMEs in continental Europe, has announced the launch of a new financing product: the Flexible Bridge Loan. This product is designed to will allow a greater number of French, Spanish and Italian SMEs to benefit from the speed of execution of Lendix’s lending platform while leaving them the possibility of setting up an overall refinancing solution with other financial institutions.

The Lendix Flexible Bridge Loan is a 5-year amortizable loan with a standard commitment for the first 9 months and the possibility of early repayment at no cost for the remainder of the loan term, even in the event of refinancing by other financial institutions.

Swedish $ 370 Billion Home-Loan Market Gets New Mortgage Fund (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

As investors wonder whether Sweden’s housing market is headed for a correction, the country’s first mortgage fund is about to enter the $370 billion Swedish home-loan industry.

Stabelo plans to pool capital from Swedish institutional investors in exchange for fixed-income securities. That money will then be lent to home buyers. The fund starts offering its products this week and will work with Avanza Bank AB, Sweden’s largest online lender. Avanza, which owns just below 20 percent of Stabelo, will handle distribution and marketing.

International

Has P2P marketplace lending become B2P? (Cuffelinks), Rated: AAA

Due to this issue, the original incarnation of peer-to-peer lending has not lasted. As the CEO of Zopa, a UK-based P2P lender said,

“As bad debts soared, the approach was abandoned and Zopa was moulded into a ‘big sausage machine’. Its technology now links lenders with a pool of borrowers without any direct contact or the need for investors to make credit decisions.”

Australia’s major peer-to-peer lender is SocietyOne. It currently has $350 million borrowed through its platform, and is growing rapidly. In fact, loan volumes in the first three quarters of this year have totalled $141 million so far, surpassing the $139 million in loans facilitated over the entire course of 2016, as shown below.

Source: Cuffelinks
Australia/New Zealand

Exemption for personalised digital (robo) advice (Scoop), Rated: A

Following the FMA’s release of its second consultation paper on personalised robo-advice (now called digital advice), the leading law firm has published its tips for providers looking to develop digital advice platforms.

Head of Russell McVeagh’s Corporate Advisory group, Dan Jones, says the exemption is a necessary first step in putting the New Zealand financial advice regime on equal footing with overseas regimes, and may provide particular assistance to New Zealanders in KiwiSaver.

India

How P2P lending can be a route to creating financial inclusion (Daily News & Analysis), Rated: A

For years, banks have had a monopoly in lending money to businesses and individuals. However, the 2007-08 financial crisis created a havoc, rapidly-expanding the funding gap. This led to the advent of a niche fintech vertical, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

The geographical reach of a P2P lending platform is far superior, with the major differentiator being its online interface. Such digital financial services play an important role in supporting the objective of financial inclusion. Anybody, from the remotest areas, having access to internet, can be eligible to get/give a loan.

In the age of digitisation where almost everyone has access to internet, such platforms have the potential to change the financial graph of a country.

Are P2P platforms safe for lending and borrowing? (India Times), Rated: B

While banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFC) are the readily available sources for loans, who does the P2P platform cater to? “Unfortunately, banks in India follow mediocre credit assessment policies which are suited only for borrowers who can offer collateral or have an impeccable credit history. In practice, majority of the borrowers lie in between these extremes. Therefore, majority of Indians can borrow on P2P platforms,” says Raghavendra Pratap Singh, co-founder, i2ifunding, an online P2P lending marketplace.

RBI has put a cap on the amount that can be borrowed and lent. The aggregate exposure of a lender or the maximum that one may borrow at any point of time, across all P2Ps, shall be capped at Rs 10 lakh. Even the exposure of a single lender to the same borrower, across all P2Ps, shall not exceed Rs 50,000 and the maturity of the loans shall not exceed 36 months. “More clarity from RBI is expected on how the regulator intends to monitor the compliance of this aspect and how it will fix the responsibility,” says Singh.

Risks for a lender
Since this is an unsecured loan where there is no face-to-face interaction, a P2P lender needs to be aware of the risks involved. Bubna says, “All investments involve risk. However, in comparison to equity or commodity market investments or real estate, P2P lending has lower risk as it is addressed by on-boarding high quality borrowers. Further, lenders are suggested to create a diversified portfolio of loans.”

Asia

Introducing ACE, Crowdo’s New Artificial Intelligence Due Diligence System (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowdo, a South East Asian online marketplace for P2P lending and crowdfunding unveiled today its proprietary Artificial Intelligence driven due diligence system, Crowdo ACE, aimed at benefiting both their borrowers and investors. Crowdo ACE takes into account a few thousand unconventional and alternative attributes and represents a new way to perform due diligence versus traditional means used by conventional financial institutions. It has already been applied to process more than 3,000 loans.

In a largely-unbanked Indonesia, Amartha uplifts women micro-entrepreneurs (YourStory), Rated: A

Twenty-six people, four nationalities, 10 days. Travelling across Southeast Asia as a Startup AsiaBerlin Roadshow delegate to explore startup ecosystems was an experience unto itself.

Amartha has so far disbursed over $13 million to 60,000 women micro-entrepreneurs and aims to improve their income, and ultimately quality of life.

Aria: Amartha is an Indonesian financial technology startup that focuses on providing affordable financial access, and mentorship to the unbanked population living below the poverty line. Amartha operates much like a peer-to-peer lending platform, and so far, has disbursed more than $13 million to 60,000 borrowers. The borrowers are mostly women micro-entrepreneurs and Amartha aims to improve their income, and ultimately alleviate their status through financial inclusion.

Aria: When we started operations in April 2016, we disbursed $40,000 a month. By the end of 2016, we were disbursing $800,000. Today, on average, we disburse $2.5 million per month. So far, we have disbursed more than $13 million, across more than 60,000 borrowers. The average ticket size of a loan now is around $300.

We charge a fee based on the profit sharing principle. Of the 22-30 percent annual interest rate paid by borrowers, we collect 11-13 percent for our revenue.

Africa

The Mauritian Financial Services Commission Issues Draft Peer-To-Peer lending Rules (Mondaq), Rated: AAA

Following the announcement of the Government on peer-to-peer lending and funding in the 2017-2018 Budget, the Mauritian Financial Services Commission (“Commission”) has issued draft rules on 10 November 2017 to regulate the peer-to-peer lending sector – as sector which has grown rapidly in other countries.

In the region, Kenya and Africa are leading in the peer-to-peer business lending market. According to a study conducted by the University of Cambridge, within Africa, South Africa had the largest number online alternative finance platforms, with $15 million raised in 2015 (The Africa and Middle East Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report, February, 2017).

Borrower and lender – a borrower must be a resident in Mauritius; however, there is no residency requirement for the lender.

Restrictions on amounts  Hence, a lender, who is a legal person, cannot lend more than MUR 500,000 (approx. GBP 11,000) in any 12 months’ period. A lender, who is a natural person, cannot lend an amount in excess of 10 per cent of his income or a maximum of MUR 300,000 (approx. GBP 6,600), whichever is lower, in any 12 months’ period.

Obligations of a P2P operator – the Peer-to-Peer operator must publish the following information on its website:

  • details of how the P2P lending will operate
  • measures to prevent money laundering and combatting terrorist financing
  • security measures to ensure data protection
  • dispute resolution mechanism.
Canada

Borrowell wins Deloitte Fast50 award (Borrowell Email), Rated: A

Borrowell has won a Companies to Watch award as part of the Deloitte Fast50 program. We are one of only eleven companies across Canada to win that award this year, and the only company from Toronto. Fast50 winners in the category for established companies include well-known names like Shopify, SkipTheDishes, Wave and Influitive. The list was announced an hour ago. 

Russia

Moscow Is On Its Way To Becoming A Smart City And Fintech Powerhouse (Forbes), Rated: A

Its citizens and businesses are also quick to adopt the latest disruptive technologies such as fintech and cryptocurrencies. Moscow has a 35 percent fintech adoption rate, higher than New York’s 33.1 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday October 11 2017, Daily News Digest

alternative lending and payday lenders

News Comments Today’s main news: College Ave completes $161M securitization of private student loans.Marlette Funding prepares new deal.SoFi’s latest student loan securitization sees strong demand.Zopa closing in on completing the opening of new bank.Mintos exceeds 35K investors.JD Finance launches bank deposit product with yield rate up to 5%.SocietyOne hits $350M in total loan originations.Crisil withdraws […]

alternative lending and payday lenders

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

College Ave Secures Securitization at $ 161 million in Private Student Loans (The Student Loan Report), Rated: AAA

Only three years after its inception, a major student loan marketplace lender, College Ave Student Loans, announced the completion of its first securitization of private student loans. The $161 million transaction got an ”A” rating from DBRS and a ”BBB” rating from S&P according to College Ave. The sole underwriter of the deal completed earlier in the summer was Barclays.

Marlette Funding preps deal as industry heads for “critical quarter” (Global Capital), Rated: AAA

Online lender Marlette Funding is marketing a securitization this week, as the wider marketplace lending industry gears up for an important fourth quarter.

Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Citi are joint lead managers on the $312m deal, according to a source briefed on the matter. The deal is backed by unsecured consumer loans, which the company originates through Cross River Bank (CRB), and then repurchases before selling to third party loan ….

SoFi’s latest student loan securitization met with strong demand (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Credit rating agencies aren’t overly concerned about recent management changes at Social Finance, and it appears that investors feel the same way. The company’s latest student loan securitization attracted strong interest, and priced at levels similar to or better to its previous transaction, completed in July.

Why the Next Phase for Fintech Is Collaboration, Not Just Competition (Wharton), Rated: AAA

Fintech is growing up: Financial institutions are increasingly viewing these disruptors as partners while startups are learning that they need the scale and regulatory expertise of the incumbents. Both sides have a lot to learn, and benefit, from each other, according to speakers at the recent “Fintech: The Impact on Consumers, Banking, and Regulatory Policy” conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

“We are actively seeking startups for our members to partner with,” said Robert Nichols, president of the nearly 6,000-member American Banking Association (ABA).

Capital One has integrated its services with Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant and its video-enabled device, Echo Show. Consumers can ask Alexa for their account balance, request that it track their spending or even make a payment. Bank of America is set to debut its chatbot Erica on the bank’s mobile app to help customers with personal finance decisions. Also, more than 30 banks are using Zelle, a service that lets people send money to each other in minutes. It started in 2011 as a collaboration among Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase.

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco launched a fintech portal in May to help companies navigate the regulatory system and show them where to go for further assistance, said Tracy Basinger, its director of financial institution supervision and credit.

One example of alternative data used by online lender the LendingClub is the internet footprint of a customer. It doesn’t use social media information due to privacy concerns. Rather, the company uses things like a geocode IP address for fraud detection.

Overstock’s Regulated Token Exchange Will Launch with Own ICO (Coindesk), Rated: A

Retail giant Overstock.com is to launch its new regulated token exchange with its own initial coin offering (ICO), according to a news report.

The token sale will be the inaugural event for the new exchange, which is set to be the first marketplace specifically for trading tokens classed as securities in the U.S. The service is being launched under the umbrella of Overstock’s capital markets arm, tØ.

The company expects to raise $200 million to $500 million “easily” via the ICO, Byrne said.

Celsius Puts Heat On Credit Card Providers With Blockchain-Based P2P Lending Service (Forbes), Rated: A

This system created a culture of ‘buy now, pay later’, something that came to a grinding halt with the financial crash of 2008. Suddenly, credit was not so easy to come by and the world stopped turning.

Of all disruptions often mentioned in the tech world, the financial crisis was the greatest of them all.

Cash is dying out, digital money and remittances have been completely disrupted and even credit card providers are losing business.

So, step forward, Celsius, an ethereum-member based lending platform that wants to disrupt the consumer credit industry by enabling quick and easy peer-to-peer loans.

These loans will pay higher interest to lenders and charge lower interest to borrowers by splitting the bank profits between the members of the community.

In the US, an astonishing $ 1 trillion, more than 50% of all the consumer credit issued worldwide,is currently controlled by six of the largest US banks. Centralized financial institutions like to offer credit to many of their richest clients – those who have well-established and pristine credit histories, but ignore ‘riskier’ millennials.

Celsius Is Creating A Peer-to-Peer Lending Service That Will Give Millennials Broader Access to Consumer Credit (Coinspeaker), Rated: A

In the U.S., $1.1 trillion, one-half of all the consumer credit issued, is currently controlled by six of the largest banks.

Celsius, an ethereum-based lending platform, announces today its plans to disrupt the consumer credit industry by enabling quick and easy peer-to-peer loans, swapping out big banks and their exorbitant fees for colleagues, friends or other Ethereum token holders. Celsius will focus its efforts on supporting millennials, the generation that often suffers the most at the hands of credit lending  services—a phenomenon we’ve seen recently with the rise of the student and consumer debt in the U.S. Celsius is building the future of consumer credit by migrating credit scores and legacy data to the blockchain and incentivizing millennials to build a new digital identity and credit score that includes their social and digital footprint. This process encourages the creation of a community of lenders and borrowers with lower loss factors and higher on-time payments, enabling greater credit limits at lower interest rates.

Celsius will hold an ICO for its Degree token in January, but the company just initiated its presale of $30 million from accredited investors. Celsius has added many notable names to its advisory, partner and investor groups including serial entrepreneur Jeff Pulver, co-founder of Vonage and VoIP Pioneer; Chris Dannen, founder and partner of Iterative Capital Management; Ismail Malik, founder of BlockchainLabs; Lou Kerner, top blogger on Medium; and Miko Matsumura, founder of Evercoin.

Celsius offers its users a variety of features, including:

  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • Digital credit score: Celsius will issue each user a credit score based on their digital identity and any other user uploaded data including FICO credit scores and past transaction history on websites such as Amazon and eBay.
  • Global Network
  • Insuring the credit: Celsius provides insurance so that if the borrower defaults, Celsius covers the portion of the principal loan amount for the lender and is responsible to recover the money owed to the lenders.

Need Personal Loans? Blockchain Is Here (Cointelegraph), Rated: A

Companies that offer personal loans (even enterprise-level banking institutions) charge exorbitant fees, and often require you to ‘sign in blood’ for the loan. In fact, much of the consumer credit market is held by just a few major banking institutions.

Nowhere is this situation more critical than among millennials.

According to a recent article in Forbes, the answer for this system seems to be coming from Blockchain technology.

Marketplace lenders should seek to be boring (Global Capital), Rated: A

The marketplace lending industry, particularly in the US, has always sat in a transient grey area between banking and tech firm, providing lending services while also preaching ‘disruption’, as Silicon Valley firms are fond of doing.

While the industry’s image as the ethical and trendy alternative to banking was a great route to publicity in the industry’s infancy, marketplace lending ought to be well enough established for platforms to sell themselves on their core lending business.

Ken Rees, CEO of Elevate, to Keynote at LEND360 Conference (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Ken Rees, Chief Executive Officer at Elevate, a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, will keynote at the LEND360 conference on October 11, sharing his insights on innovation and the needs of non-prime Americans. Rees will highlight Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class, its mission, and the company’s commitment to innovating for their customers. His talk will shed light on the realities of being non-prime in America, and help audience members discover new ways to serve this group. Elevate is an online lender that has originated $4.5 billion in credit to more than 1.7 million non-prime consumers.

From Shopping to Close, LendingTree Study Finds Mortgage Process is Getting Faster (LendingTree), Rated: A

The mortgage process is speeding up. The study revealed that the median time from early rate shopping to closing on a purchase mortgage declined 7 days from 2016 to 2017.

From 2016 to 2017, LendingTree has seen a 19% increase in the number of loans closed within 30 days and a 27% increase in loans closed in 60 days.

LendingTree, Inc. to Report Third Quarter 2017 Earnings on October 26, 2017 (Business Insider), Rated: B

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that it will release its fiscal third quarter 2017 results on Thursday, October 26, 2017, and the company will hold a conference call at 9:00am ET.

Conference call
Toll free #:  877-606-1416
707-287-9313 outside the United States/Canada

To listen to a replay of the call 
Toll free #: 855-859-2056
404-537-3406 outside the United States/Canada
Replay Passcode: 98763739

Closer Look at Credit Enhancements in Subprime Auto ABS Market Show Signs of Vulnerability (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Davis & Gilbert partner Joseph Cioffi, a widely-respected authority on loan and securitization markets, has found that credit enhancements supporting subprime auto asset-backed securities (ABS) do not necessarily provide the same level of protection as credit enhancements supporting pre-financial crisis era subprime residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), leaving them more vulnerable to market shifts and shocks than many realize.

These observations were made on a newly launched blog, the Credit Chronometer, in which Mr. Cioffi and team will be analyzing economic, market and political events that shape the legal landscape, and impact loan and structured credit markets, including those for auto loans, marketplace lending (peer-to-peer), student loans, mortgage loans and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.

Based on the indicators of crisis that foretold the subprime mortgage crisis – within the areas of lending practices, ABS practices and the underlying market for autos – the Credit Chronometer presents the “Subprime Auto Loan Crisis Chronometer” to depict the risk of a crisis, which Mr. Cioffi defines as a “battle over loss allocation.” As events impact the subprime auto market, the Subprime Auto Loan Crisis Chronometer’s bright yellow gauges will show the current level of risk. As of today, the Subprime Auto Loan Crisis Chronometer is set at:

  • Lending practices: Moderate-High
  • ABS Practices: Moderate
  • Auto Market: High
  • Risk of Loss Allocation Battles: Moderate

Austin credit union launches fintech-backed loan to up digital game (American Banker), Rated: A

The $125 million-asset Capitol Credit Union became the first financial institution last month to offer customers the product, Kasasa Loans.

Lending company has Rx for doctors with student loans (Cleveland Jewish News), Rated: A

Splash Financial in Cleveland has focused on relieving the burden of student debt since the company was founded in 2013. But according to founder and CEO Steven Muszynski, it wasn’t until recently the company turned its sights to the medical community.

“We’re an online lender that helps doctors refinance their student loans,” he said. “The majority of people financing their student loans graduate with an average of $200,000 in debt. We’re the only company in the country that allows lenders to pay only $1 a month for trainees.”

Congress Should Roll Back New Payday Loan Rule (Competitive Enterprise Institute), Rate: A

The hysteria in Washington around the release of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final short-term, small-dollar loan rule has been immense as of late. With the final rule issued late last week, it largely lived up to the hype.

The content of a federal rulemaking, while devastating for the payday loan industry, wasn’t all that was at stake. The CFPB’s Director Richard Cordray has long been expected to run for Governor of Ohio once the rule was finalized. With reports flowing in that Cordray plans to make the announcement any day now, the speculation is well-founded.

But the crux of the final rule remains the same. It will force lenders to conduct an “ability to repay” assessment of customers to ensure that borrowers can repay the loans and fees within two weeks, it will cap the amount of times a customer can roll over a loan at three, and it will prevent lenders from charging a customer’s checking account after two unsuccessful attempts.

This makes the impact of the rule devastating. The CFPB’s own impact analysis found that the rule would reduce industry revenue by approximately 75 percent. This is in essence a death warrant to at least three-quarters of the 20,000 payday loan shops that service some 12 million Americans annually.

There are multiple surveys confirming that the users of payday loans widely approve of the option.

Republicans should waste no time in using the Congressional Review Act to overturn this devastating regulation.

Payday lending rule may lure in lurking loan sharks (The Hill), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published its final rule addressing so-called payday loans as well as certain other extensions of credit to consumers on Thursday. These loans are usually small, very short-term (often just a few weeks) and carry a very high effective interest rate after all fees are taken into account.

The rule applies to three types of “covered short-term loans:”

  • Short-term loans maturing in 45 days or less
  • Longer-term (more than 45 days) balloon-payment loans; that is, the loan is paid in full when it comes due or the loan agreement requires at least one substantial down payment of the loan.
  • Longer-term loans with a cost of credit exceeding 36 percent that either have a balloon-payment feature or the lender is authorized to obtain repayment by initiating a transfer of funds from the borrower’s bank account.

3 ways the new rules curtailing payday loans will help consumers (WPXI), Rated: A

Of course, everyone is not happy about the changes, which won’t take effect until July 2019.

Here are three ways the new payday lending rules will help consumers

  1. Prevent overborrowing: Once a consumer has borrowed three times in a 30-day period, a mandatory 30-day “cooling off period” kicks in. During this time, the consumer won’t be allowed to borrow unless at least a third of the previous outstanding loan has been satisfied.
  2. Mandate income verification: Believe it or not, many payday lenders don’t check to see what a borrower’s monthly income is — they don’t have an incentive to. If you don’t pay up, your collateral — in many cases, your car — will become theirs. With the new rules, lenders must verify the consumer’s net monthly income and the amount of payments required for the consumer’s debt to be paid.
  3. Control payment withdrawals: Gone will be the days when a lender can continue to hit up your zero-balance account, triggering those insufficient funds charges. The new rules state that lenders must provide a written notice before a first attempt to withdraw payments for a loan from a consumer’s account. When two consecutive withdrawal attempts fail, the lender must get permission again from the borrower to attempt another withdrawal from the same account.

Ohio must reform payday lending (Record-Courier), Rated: B

Lenders avoided the law’s 28 percent interest rate cap by registering as mortgage lenders or credit-service organizations. That has allowed them to charge an average 591 percent annual interest rate on the short-term loans, watchdogs contend.

According to Pew Charitable Trust, Ohioans who borrow $300 from a payday lender are charged, on average, $680 in interest and fees over a five-month period — the typical payoff for what is supposed to be a two-week loan.

A bill awaiting action in the Ohio House would allow lenders to charge interest rates up to 28 percent plus a monthly 5 percent fee on the first $400 loaned — a $20 maximum rate.

OCC Gives Deposit Advance Programs New Life (PYMNTS), Rated: A

By the CFPB’s own estimates, the regulations will reduce the number of short-term loans in the U.S. by more than half.

Industry estimates project a drop in loan volume that will close the doors of more than 80 percent of short-term lenders in the U.S., most of which are smaller “mom and pop” operations.

A Brief History of Small Banks, DAPs, the CFPB and the OCC

Until around 2013, DAPs were offered as a mainstream banking competitor to payday loans. Their main competitive advantage was twofold: They were faster, and one’s bank could instantly verify those direct deposits. But in 2013, the CFPB released a whitepaper that said DAP loans were so similar to their payday cousins as to have all of the flaws normally associated with such lending products.

The CFPB Has a Change of Heart about DAP

A funny thing happened to the CFPB on its way to publishing those draft regulations on short-term lending: It seems to have had a change of heart about bank-based, short-term lending. In fact, when announcing the short-term lending rules, CFPB executive director Richard Cordray called out a special carve-out for community banks and credit unions, provided they make fewer than 2,500 short-term loans each year and collectively account for less than 10 percent of total lending revenue.

Follow the bouncing regs. The new CFPB rules, released last week, have a carve-out for small banks to pick up some of the short-term lending needs of consumers.

Atty Eyed For Payday Loan Fraud Says Tribe Strategy Is Legit (Law360), Rated: A

An attorney defending himself against charges he helped operate a $2 billion criminal payday-loan empire told a Manhattan federal jury Tuesday that he viewed tribal involvement in the enterprise as a legitimate legal shield and asserted that he had “panicked” when he faked a signature on a legal document.

5 Rules Digital Marketers at J&J, SoFi, J.P. Morgan, and IBM Swear By (Fortune), Rated: A

In May, when an Australian real estate mogul suggested posited the somewhat insulting theory that millennials aren’t able to buy homes because they’re spending too much on discretionary items like avocado toast, SoFi COO Joanne Bradford tapped into that controversy as a way to connect with the company’s millennial customer base: the online lender offered a month of free avocado toast to everyone who got a mortgage through the company. More than a hundred a media outlets jumped on the story and SoFi had three of its greatest months ever.

RealtyShares Wins LendingTree Fintech Innovation Challenge, $ 10K At Benzinga Fintech Summit (Benzinga), Rated: B

RealtyShares, the real estate marketplace that’s funded more than $500 million in developments, took home the Fintech Innovation Challenge presented by Lendingtree Inc TREE 0.04% at the Benzinga Fintech Summit.

CleanCapital Expands Team with Former Managing Director of Global Environmental Fund (Fox 8 Live), Rated: B

CleanCapital announced that Matt Eastwick has joined the company to structure and execute capital markets transactions. As Head of Capital Markets, Eastwick will bring an innovative approach to securing the optimal structures and investors for CleanCapital’s various and growing capital needs. Eastwick’s hire comes after a successful Series A equity raise this past summer, as CleanCapital continues to scale operations, while expanding opportunities for clean energy investing.

Chicago Mayor Cuts Ribbon at New Headquarters of Rising FinTech Firm OppLoans (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel cut the ribbon at the new OppLoansheadquarters in downtown Chicago this week. OppLoans, the nation’s leading socially responsible online lender, has more than tripled its employee-count in the past two years and expanded their operations in One Prudential Plaza. In 2017, the firm was named the 14th fastest-growing company in Illinois and the 219th nationally.

Real Estate Provides Opportunities for Retirees Looking to Protect and Grow Their Nest Egg (Equities.com), Rated: B

A growing number of investors are starting to take a closer look at the real estate market as a practical way to help fund their retirement. These retirees are getting into real estate investing through real estate crowdfunding platforms that allow them to pool their money for real-life real estate investments.

Last year, real estate crowdfunding sites topped the $3 billion mark and crowdfunding overall is expected to grow into a $300 billion industry in less than a decade. Fewer than 10% of Americans are accredited investors yet make up 70% of the wealthiest individuals in the U.S. Many retirees qualify as accredited, and we can expect many more crowdfunding sites to embrace the average individual investor by lowering the barrier to entry.

United Kingdom

Zopa is ‘pretty close to finishing’ building its new bank (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lender Zopa is close to finishing building the tech it needs to launch a full bank, according to its CEO.

Janardana said he couldn’t comment on Zopa’s progress in getting fully regulated as a bank but said the shortest time it has taken a new bank to be regulated is around two years, suggesting Zopa is still a way off from launch.

‘We’re in close communication with Monzo, Starling, Tandem’

Janardana, who was speaking to BI at LendIt Europe conference in London, said Zopa is working closely with other startup banks in Britain.

During his presentation at LendIt Europe, Janardana said Zopa’s new bank initially plans to launch savings and credit cards. He said the bank will take a customer-focused approach, shunning 0% balance transfers on credit cards in favour of consistent low rates and rejecting teaser rates on savings accounts.

Open banking is an “exciting opportunity” for alternative lenders (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ZOPA’S chief product officer Andrew Lawson has heralded the move towards open banking as “a really exciting opportunity” that could potentially broaden the peer-to-peer lender’s product offering.

Late last year, Zopa unveiled plans to launch a digital bank that would sit alongside its P2P operations. Lawson re-affirmed that this would enable Zopa to service a wider set of customers with a wider set of products. Revolving credit, credit cards and longer mortgages would not be possible with P2P, he argued.

Zopa CEO: banking must no longer be a “zero-sum game” (AltFi), Rated: A

Speaking at the LendIt Europe conference this morning, Zopa CEO Jaidev Janardana (pictured) issued a stinging critique of the traditional banking model, which he says is set up to “take advantage of customer inertia”. He went further, describing old school banking as a zero-sum game, in which wins for the bank will always be to the detriment of customers, and vice versa.

Mintos marketplace exceeds 35 000 investors (LendIt), Rated: AAA

Mintos marketplace for loans has reached a new milestone – 35 000 registered investors from 64 countries.

About 2 000 new investors join Mintos each month. This has allowed for loans worth more than EUR 325 million to be funded through Mintos in two years since its establishment. More than EUR 200 million has been funded in 2017 alone, making Mints a clear market leader in continental Europe with a 40% market share, according to AltFi Data.

As of September 2017, about EUR 1 million is invested in loans through Mintos daily, which is three times more than just a year ago.

On the supply side of the marketplace, there are 27 loan originators from 13 countries.

Oakam Accelerates Financial Inclusion in the UK with Alternative Data (LendIt), Rated: A

Digital micro-lender, Oakam has provided over 420,000 loans totalling over £320 million to consumers overlooked by mainstream financial institutions since 2006. Alternative data is enabling Oakam to employ new methods in underwriting and risk management to expand credit access for financially excluded consumers in the U.K., while maintaining robust lending standards.

Data from FICO shows that 60-75% of traditionally un-scorable consumers could be assigned a more meaningful credit score using alternative data. For Oakam, supplementing traditional methods of underwriting, such as the analysis of credit bureau data with alternative approaches has enabled Oakam to evaluate a high volume of applications since inception.

Oakam’s use of alternative data has also yielded positive repayment behaviour among customers. 70% of new customers made on-time repayments, despite previous challenges accessing credit due to their income levels; court judgements on prior loan defaults; status as a new resident of the UK; the absence of credit history or low credit scores; or some combination thereof. This is according to a study of 15,000 first-time Oakam customers between January 2015 and July 2016.

Oakam uses the following alternative sources for its underwriting:

  • Network associations: Similar to the use of relationship mapping on LinkedIn, Oakam assesses the connections between borrowers and applicants, based on social network data, geographic proximity, and referrals to study patterns that detect fraud or surface certain risk attributes. Data from Oakam showed that customers who were referred by other customers were 20% less likely to default than customers outside of any network.
  • Reaction data from nudges: In addition to predicting risk, Oakam uses gamification to influence it. Through its gamified mobile app, customers are financially incentivised to repay their loans. Oakam has seen a 25% improvement in on-time repayment since April 2017 as a result. Gamification also provides access to behavioural data to strengthen Oakam’s future underwriting decisions.
  • Unstructured data from online conversations: Oakam uses natural language processing and machine learning to analyse the conversations between potential customers and Oakam Digital Agents via its website, and to detect default risk or fraudulent intent.

Is RBS’s online lender a “massive corporate fudge”? (AltFi), Rated: A

Funding Circle boss takes shot at RBS’s online lending pilot Esme.

Esme, RBS’s online lending pilot for small businesses, went live in February of this year. 30-year RBS veteran Richard Kerton leads the project. This morning, he told the LendIt audience that Esme could approve and fund business loans in as little as 25 minutes, with broader risk parameters than its parent bank.

Desai dismissed the idea that P2P lenders are overly-reliant on brokers as a “myth”, pointing out that 75 per cent of Funding Circle’s borrowers come directly to the platform, and highlighting the simplicity of the platform as a big part of the reason.

You can soon buy and store bitcoin directly with this British “neobank” (Quartz), Rated: A

A British “neobank” called Revolut is working on letting its customers convert and hold bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies directly in their accounts.

The firm will let users buy, sell, and hold three cryptocurrencies: bitcoin, litecoin, and ethereum. Users will also be able to transfer cryptocurrencies to other Revolut account holders. The big thing here is Revolut’s promise to allow “instant” conversion of fiat money to cryptocurrencies within its app, potentially removing the currently troublesome process of signing up on crypto exchanges, or peer-to-peer platforms, or going to a bitcoin ATM, to acquire or dispose of funds.

China

JD Finance Launched Bank Deposit Product, with Yield Rate up to 5% (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

JD Finance, a third-party finance platform in China, recently launched several BaoShang Bank deposit products. The one-year yield of the product is as high as 5%, rising by as much as 230% compared with the benchmark interest rate for Banks.

The product description shows that the maturity of this series including 1 year, 6 months and 3 months, correspond the savings deposit rate of 5 %, 3.5% and 3.3%, and the minimum deposit amount of 50000, 100 and 100 RMB. In terms of security, as deposits, the product series guaranteed income. As for liquidity, it can be taken at any time. In procedures, it can be purchased directly without evaluation.

A number of bank retails said that the deposits on individuals always have been conducted through their own channels, and they have never take deposits through a third party platform. It also reflects that the competition of bank deposit market becomes more and more fierce.

However, JD Finance explained that they just play the role of information display platform for the bank deposit product, rather than commission sale. Both product and service are supplied by the bank itself.

Zhongan Insurance Shares Ride the Roller Coaster (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Zhongan Insurance (06060.HK) has been known as The First Stock in Fintech. After three days of rising in a row, its stock price hit a new high of HK $97.8 and closed at HK $90.8 on October 9th. So far, the market value of Zhongan Insurance reached to HK $130.7 billion.

WIND data shows that the stock has risen 52.09% in six trading days since listed, with a turnover rate of 59. 62%, and the interval volume is 2.62 billion shares, the transaction amount reached to 20 billion RMB.

“Now there is no other pure insurance technology company in Hong Kong stock market. The listing of Zhongan Insurance brings the opportunity for investors to participate in the field of insurance technology. In addition to foreign investment in the stock, mainland funds are also very fond of the unit”, a Hong Kong investment analyst said.

CreditEase Hosted FinTech Themed 2017 Silicon Valley – Beijing Dialogue Conference in San Francisco (Business Insider), Rated: A

CreditEase, a Beijing-based financial technology conglomerate with a robust online platform and a broad offline network, announced it recently hosted a FinTech conference, “2017 Silicon Valley – Beijing Dialogue” themed “The Power of Innovation: Driving Forces behind the FinTech Age 3.0″, in San Francisco.

Hong Kong needs to unlock the potential of the sharing economy, or risk falling behind (SCMP), Rated: B

The city’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index has fallen in the last two years. And this slide has been accompanied by another trend: the rise of China in the table.

With more than 600 million people in China participating in the sharing economy, it’s expected that it will account for 10 per cent of China’s gross domestic product by 2020, according to their State Information Centre.

European Union

CREDITSHELF ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF NEW SME-STUDY AT LENDIT EUROPE 2017 CONFERENCE (LendIt), Rated: A

today at the Lendit Europe gathering of over 1,000 fintech and lending executives in London, creditshelf announced that, according to the study “Industrial SMEs and Financing 4.0”, nine out of ten medium-sized industrial enterprises in Germany would provide lenders with real-time production data to either convince them of the value of making an investment, or to enable them – during the credit term – to check on the performance of a facility already arranged.

European marketplace lenders tap private ABS market (Global Capital), Rated: A

Panellists at LendIt Europe on Monday said that there may be more to Europe’s marketplace loan ABS market than meets the eye, with a number of platforms issuing deals under the radar.

Citi’s Sebastian Walf said that the two public ABS deals, which were sold last year from Funding Circle and Zopa, were just the “tip of the iceberg”, with a number of other online lending platforms issuing private securitizations to meet their funding needs.

Trustly partners with Emric, part of Tieto (Trustly), Rated: B

Trustly, the European payments company, and Nordic software provider Emric, part of Tieto, are delighted to announce a new strategic partnership which will provide Emric’s business customers access to Trustly’s online banking payments technology across Europe.

International

Crowdvouching service Suretly, raised .8 mln in August, is launching beta version in 6 weeks (LendIt), Rated: A

During the ICO last month, Suretly secured its minimum funding requirements in just a few hours. It raised $2.8m. Before the ICO, the first version of the Suretly app was successfully tested. A beta version of it will be released on the market within several weeks from the ICO. Upon release of the app, the system will already be populated with borrowers.

Suretly is an international project. The company has legally set up in the following initial countries: Russia, Kazakhstan, and the USA.

CFTE Launches Online Fintech Foundation Course in Collaboration with 20 CEOs and Senior Leaders (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CFTE is pleased to announce the worldwide release of Around Fintech in 8 Hours. The Fintech foundation course has been designed to give professionals working in the finance industry a solid understanding of how technology is redefining the provision of financial services.

4 senior lecturers and 16 industry experts who are Fintech CEOs, investors and heads of innovation will provide participants with a 360 perspective on Fintech disruption.

16 guest experts such as Rob Frohwein, CEO of Kabbage and Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank, will support the lecturers by providing first hand insights into how the structure of the FS industry is being transformed by technology and what this means for professionals.

The Centre for Finance, Technology & Entrepreneurship Preps Online Fintech Course (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE) is launching their first online Fintech course which will open to the public soon. If you are interested, you may enroll here. The course is described as “Around Fintech in Eight Hours.”

The CFTE has partnered with several accelerators including the Supercharger Fintech Accelerator and LATTIC80. Both are based in Asia (Hong Kong & Singapore) with the CFTE operating out of London.

India sets sights on UAE’s technology sector (AMEinfo), Rated: A

A statement released by ESC says that it is participating at GITEX 2017 to provide Indian IT companies opportunities to exploit the burgeoning Middle East ICT market.  It is the largest participation by India, under the Council’s banner.

Meanwhile ESC Chairman Prasad Garapathi said that Indian IT exporters will continue to look into the whole Middle East and MENA region through this important gateway of Dubai.

Export of software and related services to the Middle East has reached $2bn in 2016-17 while India’s total export of electronics hardware during 2016-17 is estimated at $5.685bn.

The Middle East nation is keen to elevate disruptive Indian fintech startups by providing them an international platform and financial support.

The two sides also signed 14 agreements whereby the UAE vowed it would invest $75 billion in India.

The two countries also set a target of 60 percent increase in bilateral trade in the next five years.

Australia/New Zealand

SocietyOne Achieves $ 350 Million in Total Loan Originations (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Australia-based online lender SocietyOne announced on Tuesday it has secured $350 million in total originations. This news comes less than two months after the lending platform celebrated its fifth birthday. According to SocietyOne, the company topping $350 million as the current loan book also reached $200 million for the first time in the lender’s history.

10 Fast Growing Fintechs in Australia and New Zealand (Fintech News), Rated: A

Pay Later, better known as Afterpay, is an easy-to-use payment process allows shoppers to buy their product today and pay it off in 4 equal fortnightly instalments.

Airwallex was founded in 2015 by a team of entrepreneurs who developed a technology that uses machine learning to determine the most cost-effective way of settling every payment that comes through the platform.

CoinJar provides simple tools to manage digital currencies.

Data Republic was founded to empower the liquidity of data by delivering technology which offers best-practice security, privacy compliance and governance controls for organizations looking to safely exchange data.

Harmoney is NZ’s leading peer-to-peer money marketplace – where everyday people borrow money from (and lend money to) other everyday people. Hence the term ‘peer’ to ‘peer.’

HashChing is Australia’s first online marketplace allowing consumers to access great home loan deals without having to shop around.

identitii allows banks to move away from customer level information to detailed information about each and every transaction.

Prospa is Australia’s online small business lender committed to helping small businesses access the funds they need to grow.

SocietyOne is radically changing the landscape of financial services in Australia. Since our foundation almost five years ago, we have gone from a standing start to providing more than $300 million in loans to customers.

Xero is one of the fastest growing software as a service companies globally.

BOQ still worst for home loan disputes (The Australian), Rated: A

Bank of Queensland has topped the list as Australia’s worst ­offender for disputes with home loan customers, according to the financial ombudsman.

It is the fourth year in a row the bank has headed the list, with the number of disputes per 100,000 customers barely improving in the past two years, although the numbers have trended downward since 2014.

For every 100,000 home loan customers, BoQ was involved in 79 disputes during the year. Of those, 40 per cent were resolved by agreement, with 29 per cent in BoQ’s favour, according to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Home loans accounted for 10 per cent of all disputes FOS accepted in the year, while credit cards accounted for 14 per cent and personal loans 8 per cent.

India

Crisil withdraws proposal to enter peer-to-peer lending business (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

Ratings agency has withdrawn proposal to enter into peer-to-peer lending platform business while the has approved Rs 85.45 crore foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals in September from four companies, the Ministry said on Tuesday.

Crisil’s majority shareholder is international ratings agency Standard and Poor’s, an American corporation.

P2P players seek RBI clarification on permissibility of institutional lenders (Financial Express), Rated: A

After the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released guidelines for entities engaged in peer-to-peer (P2P) lending last week, an association of such entities is planning to ask the central bank to clarify whether institutions will be allowed to lend through P2P platforms.

A top executive with one of the five P2P lending platforms told FE that the industry is unsure of whether ‘participant’ covers only individuals or institutions as well.

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

BankBazaar is the world’s first neutral online marketplace that helps people compare and choose financial products such as loans, insurance, credit cards, fixed deposits, saving accounts, mutual funds etc., – over a highly secure, user friendly, and intuitive platform.

Capital Float is an online platform that provides working capital finance to SMEs in India.

FreeCharge is India’s No.1 payments app.

Lendingkart Technologies Private Limited is a fin-tech startup in the working capital space.

MobiKwik is India’s largest independent mobile payments network connecting 55 million users with more than 1,500,000 retailers.

Mswipe is India’s largest independent mobile POS merchant acquirer & network provider.

Paytm is India’s largest mobile payments and commerce platform.

Policybazaar is an Indian online life insurance and general insurance comparison portal.

Razorpay aims to revolutionize online payments by providing clean, developer-friendly APIs and hassle-free integration.

Rubique (Rubik + Unique) aims to mine every possibilty to offer a unique solution to our customers’ complex financing problems through advanced technologies and data science.

India Money Mart launches P2P lending platform (India Times), Rated: B

India Money Mart (IMM), a digital lending marketplace, has launched its app to allow lenders and borrowers to carry out Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending a week after the RBI released detailed guidelines for this platform.

The app is useful for people seeking alternative sources of funding to meet emergency requirements, not serviced by banks and other traditional lenders, it said.

Asia

Mongolia’s Untapped Lending Market Has Earned This Japanese-Backed Fintech Startup A $ 30M Valuation (Forbes), Rated: AAA

In Mongolia, where the average monthly income is $390, informal loans between friends or family members are commonplace as credit and small bank loans are hard to get. On the other hand, small informal loans are almost expected to not be paid back.

“There is no leverage system for people to repay, so in the worst case they lose their friends,” says Anar Chinbaatar, 35, CEO of fintech startup AND Global.

His startup, which launched the mobile app LendMN, introduced mobile-based microlending to the North Asian country where borrowers are blacklisted from significant financial services such as mortgages if they default on a small loan from the bank.

After raising $1 million in seed funding in April 2016, the company received another $4 million with a $30.8 million valuation in August from influential backers in Mongolia and Japan including former Japanese parliament member Takami Yuichi, investor Satoshi Matsumoto and his wife Yasuyo Matsumoto. It is also advised by Oko Davaasuren, an influential Mongolian investor from TechStars.

The company, which has issued over $1.9 million in loans as of this month, plans to use the new investment to fuel expansion into the Philippines and Japan and develop new technology such as a blockchain project while preparing for an initial coin offering in December.

Crowdfunding Creates New Opportunities In Malaysia (TMF Group), Rated: A

Malaysia was the first country to regulate the growing industry to support new ideas by providing a funding mechanism. Its Securities Commission (SC) has approved a total of 12 crowdfunding platforms – six equity-based and six peer-to-peer (P2P) lending – and, though there are strict guidelines for operation, the market is creating new avenues for entrepreneurs.

Growing regulation of the crowdfunding industry is not putting off investors; Malaysia as a whole is one of the least complex jurisdictions in Asia, according to TMF Group’s inaugural Financial Complexity Index.

The ranking of 94 jurisdictions across the world resulted in three top-10 spots for Asia Pacific: Vietnam ranked 5th most complex for compliance, followed by China at 7 and India at 10.

But there was a large chunk of southeast Asia which ranked on the less complex side of the table, including Malaysia (59), the first country in Asia to regulate crowdfunding.

Africa

Inspeer Announces Crowd Sale for Its ‘Inspiration Through Peer to Peer’ Lending Service (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

Inspeer, one of the few players to recognize the need for revolutionary technology in the financial services industry has opted to introduce additional utilities backed by cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchain technology. The platform, designed to use cryptocurrency alongside fiat currency for the purpose of peer to peer lending has announced the launch of its upcoming crowdsale campaign.

With their primary operations located in Russia under the LightFin.ru brand, more than 200,000 loans applications were processed within the first year of platform deployment.

Inspeer’s platform uses loan pipelines and scoring algorithms which consist of the InsCore system and OLAF algorithms. Together, these two components help to effectively execute an assessment of the borrower’s likelihood of repayment as based on more than 20,000 predictors.

ICO will start on Nov. 6 and continue for Dec 6.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday October 2 2017, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending uk

News Comments Today’s main news: CEO-less SoFi will have to wait to get a bank. Zopa partners with Saffron Building Society. Zopa updates credit risk model. Assetz Capital lowers commercial mortgage interest rate to 6.9%. RateSetter reports 56% of investors switch from cash. Beehive raises $5M. African billionaire invests in digital bank. Today’s main analysis: UK marketplace lenders struggle to find […]

marketplace lending uk

News Comments

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United Kingdom

China

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International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

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News Summary

United States

SoFi’s CEO Hiatus Stalls Its Big-Time Banking Ambitions (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

One of the most valuable private financial technology startups in the United States, SoFi’s $4.3 billion valuation was based on expectations it could develop into a major lender but Cagney’s departure this month and the circumstances around his exit complicate efforts to create a new-generation bank that could compete against JPMorgan or Bank of America.

The company has hired headhunters over the past few days to help find his replacement, but an appointment is not expected to take place until the end of the year, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The gap at the top is likely to stall SoFi’s application for a banking license, according to the source, because regulators assess whether a company has a capable CEO before allowing it to accept deposits.

A banking license was a key part of Cagney’s push to grow SoFi beyond its core business of student loans and unsecured personal loans.

But without Cagney at the helm, the emphasis is expected to shift.

The company will be more disciplined about testing new products before selling them widely, a source close to the company said.

Square Wants To Be A Bank, And Real Banks Are Pissed (BuzzFeed), Rated: AAA

Small businesses love Square because it charges them less than the bigger, bank-owned payment processors, and the little white card-swipes that plug into a smartphone are easier and more convenient than handheld credit card terminals. Square also — through a partnership with a tiny bank in Utah — makes loans to small companies and entrepreneurs banks would turn away.

As much as small merchants love Square, smaller banks distrust it, particularly now that the company, which is based in San Francisco, has applied to become an industrial loan company (ILC), a controversial type of banking license offered in Utah and a few other states.

And while Square insists it only wants to make small loans to the merchants it serves, banks see this as a backdoor way into their bread-and-butter business of taking deposits and making loans, both to businesses and consumers.

And Square, with its at least 2 million merchant customers, may look to today’s bankers a lot like Walmart did a decade ago. The company has been aggressively soliciting the merchants who use it as a payment processor, offering them small-dollar loans by email.

Take Courtney Foster, who runs a one-chair salon in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan and has used Square to accept payments for years. One day she got an email from Square Capital with an offer of a loan of $1,000 to $1,500, which would be paid back directly out of her payments processed through Square.

She has since borrowed about $3,000 in total from Square using the money (supplied by Celtic Bank) to start her own line of hair products.

The average loan approved by Square is about $6,000, and the company has either advanced or loaned almost $2 billion since 2014. The amount due back is typically 10% to 16% more than the amount loaned out — which is on the low end for similar types of small business finance  with payments coming out of a fixed percentage of the merchant’s receipts received through Square. The whole balance is due after 18 months, though Square customers can repay early.

Utah has 16 industrial banks, and most fall into the latter category, while some are retailers that issue their own loans, like BMW. Other companies that operate Utah industrial banks include American Express, USAA, UBS, and Sallie Mae.

Acting OCC Head Noreika Comments on FinTech Charter and Online Lending (PeerIQ), Rated: A

Also, in a major shift from prior OCC Head Tom Curry, Noreika affirmed that the proposed FinTech charter could be granted to commercial firms. Former Chair of the FDIC, William Isaac, was also constructive on the concept of enabling commercial firms to engage in banking to drive greater competition, customer choice, and expand access to credit to the 60% of Americans that cannot access a loan from a US bank. Historically, the separation of banking and commerce under the Bank Holding Company Act has prevented commercial firms (outside the ILC charter) from offering banking services. Our interpretation of the above is that, under the FinTech charter, commercial firms such as Walmart, Amazon, Google, and Facebook would have a path to offering banking services.

Cross River Bank CRO Adam Goller moderated a panel including PeerIQ (Ram Ahluwalia), Affirm (Alex Karram), Marlette Funding (Jeff Meiler), and former Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks, David Cotney. PeerIQ cited data and research from Columbia and Harvard Law concluding that the lack of regulatory clarity stemming from Madden-Midland has reduced the availability of credit in District 2.

On Timing for Issuing Charters:
“Interest also remains in the possibility of the OCC offering special purpose national bank charters to nondepository fintech companies engaged in the business of banking. … We have not, however, decided whether we will exercise that specific authority to issue special purpose national bank charters to nondepository fintech companies. We will keep you posted.”

PeerIQ Context: The Conference of State Bank Supervisors and NYS Dept of Financial Services have challenged the OCC’s authority to issue charters. Also, the OCC may be waiting for the nominee of Head of OCC Joseph Otting to be confirmed by the US Senate before introducing the FinTech Charter. Otting was approved by the Senate Banking Committee in early September.

Will They or Won’t They: The OCC’s Fintech Charter (Payments Journal), Rated: A

“The Fintech Charter Decision is an unlawful assertion of power that usurps New York consumer protection laws and would preempt plaintiff’s ability to regulate any number of the over 600 non- depository institutions she currently regulates,” wrote Matthew Levine, the executive deputy superintendent for enforcement at the department.”

“Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim, representing the defendants, argued that DFS lacks standing in the complaint because the OCC’s regulations addressing the special-purpose national bank charter have resulted in no injury-in-fact, because the office has not reached a final decision on whether it will offer the specific type of national bank charter that does not take deposits and conducts activities other than fiduciary activities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also argues that the complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim.”

Scott Robinson of Plug and Play Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

One of the leading accelerator programs today is Plug and Play, they claim to be the world’s largest startup accelerator. Lending Club and many other big names have gone through their program. In 2014 they started a dedicated fintech accelerator program, founded by Scott Robinson, who is our latest guest on the Lend Academy Podcast.

The Massive Hedge Fund Betting on AI (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Man Group, which has about $96 billion under management, typically takes its most promising ideas from testing to trading real money within weeks.

What spooked him was an experiment at his firm, Man Group Plc.Engineers at the company’s technology-centric AHL unit had been dabbling with artificial intelligence—a buzzy, albeit not widely used, technology at the time. The system they built evolved autonomously, finding moneymaking strategies humans had missed. The results were startlingly good, and now Ellis and fellow executives needed to figure out their next move.

The program stayed in quarantine until 2014, when a senior portfolio manager with a Ph.D. in mathematical logic named Nick Granger decided it was time to take it out of testing. He gave the AI system a small amount of money from a portfolio he was managing—then more, then more again. At each step, the program was profitable.

Source: Bloomberg

Matic Insurance Services and LendingQB Team Up to Eliminate Stress, Mortgage Delays Related to Homeowner’s Insurance (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Matic Insurance Services (Matic), a digital insurance agency that enables borrowers to purchase homeowner’s insurance during the home-buying transaction, today announced a new partnership with LendingQB, a provider of “lean lending” loan origination technology. Matic announced the news as part of a live demonstration at San Francisco’s Digital Mortgage conference.

Matic’s integration with LendingQB’s flagship loan origination software (LOS) makes it easy for borrowers to upload or secure a homeowner’s insurance policy during the mortgage application process. The result is a less stressful experience for borrowers and the elimination of costly insurance-related delays for LendingQB’s lender clients.

Is Yahoo a fintech company now? (Quartz), Rated: B

Fintech generally refers to companies like SoFi, TransferWise, and Revolut, whose ambition is to use technology to challenge traditional banks. What Yahoo Finance is doing is a little different—its app will add online brokers like Fidelity and E-Trade to its platform, but it won’t make any money from the brokerage charges. Instead, Yahoo Finance (now part of Oath, a Verizon-owned company), which has about 41 million mobile users, is trying to boost usage of its app.

The platform is targeted at devoted investors and provides more financial data for free than you can get outside of a Bloomberg terminal, according to Michael La Guardia, Yahoo Finance’s head of product.

Alipay almost accidentally started the world’s biggest money market fund (paywall) when it gave users a way to park their money from mobile payments. Amazon, meanwhile, offers credit to its merchants and has made more than $3 billion of loans, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Facebook has ambitions for its app to do just about everything, including financial activities. Tencent’s WeChat in many ways already does.

United Kingdom

Zopa searches for new borrowers through Saffron Building Society loan partnership (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

Zopa is partnering with a building society to offer its loans as it seeks to add more borrowers to the platform.

The online peer-to-peer lender will provide loans at 11 bricks-and-mortar branches of Saffron Building Society across Hertfordshire, Essex and Suffolk, as well as online.

Zopa Announces Credit Risk Model Update (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Friday, online lending platform Zopa announced the latest update of its credit risk model. This news comes just a few weeks after the lender announced updated on improving loan sale time progress, rebate period, and ISA transfer-in. Chief Product Officer at Zopa, Andrew Lawson, revealed he and his team are continuing to monitor leading macroeconomic indicators carefully alongside how Zopa’s loans are performing compared to expectation:

Marketplace lenders struggle to find borrowers (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the world’s first peer-to-peer lending company, hoped the partnership whereby drivers for the ride-hailing app were directed to its website for loans would mark its entry into a multibillion-pound market for secured loans in the UK.

But barely six months after the deal was struck it collapsed, with the partnership failing to attract as many drivers as expected.

Zopa’s experiment with Uber underlines the enormous difficulty faced by marketplace lenders attempting to find new borrowers. These borrowers are crucial for the platforms to grow at a time when there is strong interest from institutional investors to provide crowdfunded loans.

Source: Financial Times

According to Mr Zhang, institutional investors such as hedge funds, asset managers, pension funds and family offices now account for between 30 and 40 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer and business lending, compared with less than 5 per cent before 2014. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, made its first significant retail investment in peer-to-peer loans last year when it bought a stake in Funding Circle’s investment trust.

So far, however, they have struggled to attract borrowers to match this demand. Competition is increasing from traditional banks — Goldman Sachs has its own online lending platform — especially for prime and super-prime debt that is less likely to default.

Source: Financial Times

Assetz Capital Lowers Commercial Mortgage Interest Rate From 7.9% to 6.9% (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Assetz Capital, one of the UK’s fastest growing peer-to-peer finance platforms and the largest property backed peer-to-peer lender, announced on Friday it has lowered its entry interest rate for commercial mortgages from 7.9% to 6.9% in an unprecedented move to give access to even lower rates for lower-risk borrowers looking for commercial mortgages. This is one of the lowest rates available from any alternative finance providers.

Three million small businesses still don’t accept cards, despite move away from cash (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

Around three million of Britain’s small businesses do not accept card payments, despite the UK rapidly becoming a nation of card-only shoppers.

One in six British shoppers now uses cards only to pay. A further 38pc would typically try to pay with a card first before they have to pay with cash, according to a study by Square, the payment company belonging to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

Small companies could be missing out on millions of pounds’ worth of business by not offering card payment facilities, Square warned.

Card payments overtook cash payments as the main method of purchases in the UK for the first time in July this year, according to the British Retail Consortium. The average Brit has just £32.54 in cash in their purse or wallet right now – not enough to cover more than one of the average transaction size of £18.42.

Wonga on course for profit this year after major changes (Express), Rated: A

The company, which has been overhauled under new management after being accused of targeting the vulnerable and being forced to compensate nearly 200,000 borrowers who overpaid owing to “system errors”, cut its annual pre-tax loss from £80.2million to £64.9million.

Revenue grew by 18 per cent to £76.7million as more products boosted customer numbers by 6 per cent.

Wonga confirms £64.9m loss in year it ended Newcastle United sponsorship (ChronicleLive), Rated: A

Britain’s biggest payday lender Wonga has revealed it remained deep in the red last year with losses of £64.9m, but confirmed plans to return to profit in 2017.

Nutmeg loss widens to £9.3m as it develops advice offer (Citywire), Rated: A

Nutmeg’s 2016 losses have widened £9.3 million as it continued to invest heavily, as it presses ahead with developing the ‘most approporate’ advice proposition for its customers.

The loss, revealed in its accounts published on Companies House, follows the £8.9 million loss it posted in 2015. Its operating expenses rose from £10.8 million to £11.9 million over the year.

At the end of the year Nutmeg managed around £600 million in assets under management on behalf of 25,000 clients.

Turnover rose by almost 50% from £1.72 million to £2.56 million.

Wealthtech is coming to the High Street (Banking Technology), Rated: A

One area of fintech that is of interest is wealthtech. This sub-sector is likely to become more visible over the next few months. Wealthtech has become defined as utilising technology to enhance wealth management and the retail investment process.

The most visible players in the UK are the robo-advisors with Nutmeg the best known (and RiskSave following behind!) but other concepts are also deserving of attention, such as Munnypot.

These developments will soon be more visible at branch level.

An offering of automated financial advice from the retail banks could go a long way towards alleviating this. Santander and HSBC have already launched product offerings in this space, RBS is trialling a service through its Coutts’ sub-brand and Lloyds (with a quarter of the UK market) are sitting on the sidelines awaiting the results of the regulator’s Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR).

Fintech start-up Curve adds cloud-based accounting software to its app to simplify expenses (CNBC), Rated: A

Fintech start-up Curve will now let users claim business expenses across multiple bank cards through its app.

The London-based firm’s app allows its users to link all of their bank cards to one contactless MasterCard. Curve said it hopes to automate the tedious process and remove any friction associated with business expenses. It is predominantly targeted at small business owners and the self-employed.

Curve said Monday it would add online accounting software developer Xero to the app, meaning users will now be able to claim business spending across all their accounts.

The hottest startups in London (Wired), Rated: A

As London’s startup community awaits the result of Brexit negotiations – and its impact on single-market access – one might think tech would have ground to a halt. But growth continues: the last 18 months have seen billion-dollar valuations for TransferWise, Funding Circle and Improbable, and a near-unicorn valuation for Deliveroo.

Monzo

Monzo wants to make banking smarter. Founded in 2015 by Tom Blomfield, Jonas Huckestein, Jason Bates, Paul Rippon and Gary Dolman, it offers pre-paid cards connected to an app that tracks spending and lets its customers analyse their financial activity.

Nested

One of a growing number of UK property – or proptech – startups, Nested guarantees that it will sell your house within 90 days, or buy it themselves.

Habito

Habito scours more than 15,000 mortgage products to suggest the best option, and takes a commission from the eventual lender. In January 2017, the startup raised £5.5 million in a Series A round led by Ribbit Capital.

Ravelin

Founded in 2014, Ravelin analyses online behaviour in real time to reduce payment-related fraud. According to its clients – including Deliveroo, Karhoo, and Easy Taxi, its technology reduces fraud incidence by more than 50 per cent. The company has raised £4.3 million to date from backers including Passion Capital and Errol Damelin.

P2P needs the FSCS stamp of approval (Citywire), Rated: B

Some commentators estimated nearly half a million new investors would try their hand at P2P lending when the Innovative Finance ISA brought eligible platforms into the ISA fold.

This is unsurprising given that, according to government statistics, British consumers have around £500 billion either saved or invested in ISAs.

However, the stampede has not arrived yet.

Plenty of people think the FSCS offers an insurance policy against poor investment performance. It does not. If a share portfolio tanks, for example, the scheme will not be there to save you. That is the risk you run by choosing to invest in the equity markets.

The FSCS is, however, on hand to compensate investors if a provider has been shown to mismanage its product, and has subsequently gone bust. Only then does it offer up to £50,000 (2017/18 tax year), not the larger amount doled out to savers.

Hull has fast become a profitable city for buy-to-let landlords (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: B

LendInvest’s buy-to-let index ranked the city as the fifth best buy-to-let postcode for landlords in the third quarter of 2017, up from 33rd in the second quarter.

“Cities such as Hull and Nottingham making significant gains in the Index (up #33 to #5 and #35 to #12 respectively) is encouraging, and points to competitive market conditions in those areas and higher than average levels of activity.

The top 10 areas for investors in order of ranking are Luton (#1), Colchester (#2), Manchester (#3), Rochester (#4), Hull (#5), Stevenage (#6), Romford (#7), Southend-on-Sea (#8), Ipswich (#9) and Ilford (#10).

China

Wealth-Management Industry at Turning Point (Caixin), Rated: AAA

China’s wealth-management industry is undergoing profound changes, shifting away from short-term, fixed-income products to longer-term, equity-based investment, said Tang Ning, chief executive of Beijing-based fintech conglomerate CreditEase.

Last year, the Forbes listed a record 400 billionaires from the Chinese mainland, compared to 335 a year ago. The listed members held a total of $947 billion assets, a 14% rise from the previous year. Meanwhile, China’s per-capita GDP exceeded $8,123 in 2016, up from $8,069 a year earlier, according to the World Bank.

Unlike investors in the U.S. and other developed market, Chinese investors have long favored most the fix-income products like bonds and bank bills, betting on governments’ implicit payment guarantee. But as China’s economy slows and its financial market liberalizes, the government has become increasingly hesitant to offer such sweeping guarantees.

A number of wealth management companies including CreditEase have launched private equity FOF over the past few years. In early September, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approved the first batch of six firms including China Asset Management, China Southern Fund Management and Manulife Teda Fund Management to set up publicly offered FOF products.

Tang estimated that there are 200 million active investors in China who do not have access to human advisers and asset managers because of their hefty fees.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma places bet on China’s online insurance market (Asian Review), Rated: A

When the heads of three of China’s most prominent companies join hands to launch a start-up, investors notice.

Jack Ma Yun of Alibaba Group HoldingTencent Holdings‘ Pony Ma Huateng, and Peter Ma Mingzhe of Ping An Insurance Group — collectively known as the “three Ma’s” — did just that. Looking to turn Ping An into a full-blown financial technology company within ten years, Peter also enabled the growth of Lufax, which started as a peer-to-peer lending platform in 2011 and became one of the most valuable e-finance company worldwide as of September.

Four years ago they founded China’s first online-only insurer. It was a company with an untested business model and making no money, but it sparked an investor frenzy.

Source: Asian Review

HSBC: Mobile banking in China begins with your face (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: A

Mobile banking continues to soar in China. According to China Internet Watch, total transactions of China mobile banking clients totaled 55.63 trillion yuan (US$44 trillion), up 5.1% quarter on quarter. China Construction Bank (26.1%) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (21%) have a combined market share of close to half of mobile banking in Q2 2017.

European Union

French Real Estate Crowdfunding Grows Steadily and Delivers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The French real estate crowdfunding market grew by 50% in 2016 and keeps growing at the same linear growth pace in 2017. While new platforms continue to join, first entrants strongly dominate the nascent market. With €160 million worth of real estate projects funded, the French platforms have a positive record of delivering expected returns.

It has since grown at a fast, but more linear pace of +53% to reach €68 million in 2016, and is expected to grow by 50% again in 2017.

French real estate crowdfunding attracts new platforms. In 2016, their number grew from 26 to 42, with 19 new entrants and 3 withdrawals. Indeed, more than 90% of real estate crowdfunds are raised by the top 10 platforms and 75% by the top 5. Between them, the two leaders, WiSeed and Anaxago, account for more than 50% of the market.

Top 10 French real estate crowdfunding platforms
Platform

Regulatory Status

Regulated Real estate since

Projects

Value

Repaid

Wiseed

PSI

2014

123

€53,197,600

33 %

Anaxago

CIP

2014

83

€38,908,333

18 %

Lendix

IFP

2014

14

€15,875,000

7 %

Clubfunding

CIP

2015

30

€10,075,500

27 %

Lymo.fr

CIP

2015

29

€8,196,500

45 %

Fundimmo

CIP

2015

23

€7,734,900

26 %

Homunity

CIP

2016

22

€6,732,200

18 %

Koregraf

CIP

2015

17

€4,935,500

47 %

Proximea

CIP

2015

5

€3,490,000

20 %

Immovesting

CIP

2016

7

€2,932,000

Source : , September 2017

 

Source: Crowdfund Insider

WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR INVESTOR ALLSTARS EVENT (BusinessCloud), Rated: A

The winners of the 15th annual Investor Allstars awards were announced this week, with Funding Circle co-founder and CEO Samir Desai being crowned Entrepreneur of the Year and CoderDojo winning the Tech4Good award.

The Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Samir Desai of Funding Circle and online property lending and investment platform LendInvest was announced as Europe’s Allstar Company.

The full list of award winners is:

  • Exit of the Year: Skyscanner (Scottish Equity Partners)
  • Growth and Buyout Fund of the Year: Livingbridge
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Samir Desai (Funding Circle)
  • VC Fund of the Year: Idinvest Partners
  • Europe’s Allstar Company: LendInvest
  • Corporate Development Team of the Year: Sage Group
  • Investor of the Year: Benoist Grossmann (Idinvest Partners)
  • VCT of the Year: Octopus Ventures Specialist
  • Debt Provider of the Year: Kreos Capital
  • Seed Fund of the Year: LocalGlobe
  • Service Provider of the Year: Orrick
  • Tech4Good Award: CoderDojo Foundation (part of Raspberry Pi Foundation)
  • Digital Innovation in Art: Articheck

That viral ‘mermaid dog’ video was too good to be true (The Daily Dot), Rated: B

It seemed too good to be real. A hairy creature, which some people guessed was an afghan hound, effortlessly floats underwater and moves its arms with the grace of a ballet dancer. It’s pure euphoria, captured in a video that lasts only a few seconds.

When Klarna, a tech bank with a focus on online shopping, posted the video to its Instagram account on Sept. 17 with the caption, “When you’re swimming into the weekend like… #noworries,” many people assumed it was a video of a real animal swimming in a pool. Or maybe they just wanted to believe.

It’s an animation that is part of an ad campaign for Klarna, which is trying sell people on the company’s “smooth” payment system.

International

Regtech Startups On Pace For Record Deals, Against Backdrop Of Shifting Regulatory Landscape (CCB Insights), Rated: AAA

Deals to regtech startups have increased steadily (if at times slowly) over the past few years, from 83 deals in 2013 to 147 last year. At the current run rate, deals in 2017 are on track to hit a new high, while funding is on pace to grow 14% to nearly match record funding levels set in 2015.

In 2017 YTD, regtech startups have seen 103 deals worth $894M in disclosed equity funding. At the current run rate, deals in 2017 are on track to reach a new high of 148 (up slightly from 147 in 2016). Funding is also on pace to grow, potentially bringing total disclosed equity investment over the last 5 years to more than $5B.

Source: CB Insights

Last quarter saw 34 deals, dipping 13% from Q1’17 to hit a 6-quarter low. Though deals were down, funding was up 14% from the previous quarter — and grew 64% year-over-year — to reach $326M.

H1’17 has seen 73 investments, up 3 deals from H1’16, while funding is up approximately 54% over the same period.

Source: CB Insights
Australia/New Zealand

Yield-hungry investors switch their cash to peer-to-peer lenders (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender, RateSetter, says 56 per cent of money invested with it is from savers withdrawing their money from their bank savings accounts.

Yield-hungry investors are understandably frustrated with earning next-to-nothing on their cash held at their banks, with interest rates at historic lows and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

With the the advent of peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, online platforms that match investors and borrowers, investors can get up to  three times the interest paid by term deposits.

NZ named Asia Pacific’s fintech champ (NZ Adviser), Rated: A

New Zealand has the highest per capita fintech lending volumes of any country in the Asia Pacific, and has embraced fintech faster than any other neighbouring Asia Pacific countries.

According to the research, peer-to-peer consumer lending forms the bulk of market activity in here. The second largest was donation-based crowdfunding, for which US$16.8 million was raised in 2016 – an increase of around 100% over the previous year. Equity-based crowdfunding was the third largest model in New Zealand with US$13.85 million across 2016 – up from US$11.86 million in 2015.

Appetise’s ASX listing; Study Loans & RateSetter close funding (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

UK startup Appetise looks to list on the ASX, Study Loans has secured seed funding and P2P lender RateSetter Australia has closed additional funding from a private equity (PE) fund.

Melbourne-based fintech Study Loans, which offers a credit engine targeted at the student loans sector, has raised A$2 million ($1.56 million) in seed funding from investors that include the Simonds family and RMY Corp, as well as A$5 million ($3.9 million) in debt equity.

RateSetter Australia, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, has secured A$8.5 million ($6.65 million) from private equity fund Five V Capital. The deal values the company in excess of A$100 million. Existing equity investors in RateSetter are RateSetter UK, Carsales and Strattons.

India

Chqbook – Gurgaon Based Fintech Startup Raised Funds (Bizztor), Rated: B

Chqbook – a fintech startup that allows customers to explore, compare, book and get personal finance products like home loans, personal loans and credit cards, raises undisclosed funds from Youwecan backed Startup Buddy, Apurva Chamaria, global head of corporate marketing, HCL, Sachin Arora, ex-CTO Myntra, Bharat Gupta, Founder of Net Asset Consulting LLP, Amit Manocha, Private equity professional based out of Singapore, and others.

APAC

Indonesian P2P lending platforms recorded 496.5 per cent year-to-date growth of funding allocation (e27), Rated: AAA

Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK) revealed that peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in Indonesia in total has channeled up to IDR1.4 trillion (US$106 million) in funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country. The number is a 496.5 per cent year-to-date (YTD) growth from December 2016’s number of IDR242.48 billion (US$17.9 million).

Funding Societies Dubbed First Southeast Asian Company to Win Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations’ ITU Telecom (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Singapore’s and Southeast Asia’s SME crowdfunding platform Funding Societies announced on Friday it was named the first southeast Asia company to win the Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations’ ITU Telecom, which was held this year in Busan, South Korea. 

PLDT unit disrupts businesses (Manila Standard), Rated: A

Vea, 67, now heads Voyager Innovations Inc., the digital arm of PLDT and the one behind digital platforms such as Smart Padala (mobile remittances), PayMaya Philippines Inc. (formerly Smart e-Money), Freenet (free sponsored data platform), VYGR (digital performance-based marketing), Tackthis! (electronic commerce platform), Hatch, (marketing technology and innovations platform), Lendr (digital consumer loan platform), FINTQ (financial technology unit) and Voyager DX (digital transformation).  Voyager, which has 600 employees, introduces solutions that allow customers to participate in the digital economy such as by using digital money.

Marzan presented data showing that 60 million or 58 percent of the Philippines’ 103 million people are Internet users.  Active social medial users are 60 million as well.

“In the Asia-Pacific region with 4.2 billion population, 46 percent are already Internet users and active social media users are 1.5 billion or 36 percent.  Mobile connection is 3.99 billion and active mobile social users are 1.44 billion. This is exponentially growing and we have to prepare for it,” Marzan said.

How FinTech uses technology to help the ‘unserved’ (Manila Bulletin), Rated: B

TrueMoney, a new financial technology player, seeks to have one TrueMoney center in each of the country’s more than 42,000 barangays to serve those who need a remittance network but have no bank accounts.

To meet that goal, TrueMoney teams up with cooperatives and groups in different regions. Its latest partnership is with Cebu People’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CPMPC), a community-based savings and credit cooperative with over 55,000 members to-date.

At this point, TrueMoney has over 5,000 centers in the Philippines.

MENA

Fintech Peer to Peer Lending Platform, Beehive, Raises $ 5m Investment (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Beehive, MENA’s leading peer to peer lending (P2P) platform, has secured $5m investment as part of a Series A round led by Riyad TAQNIA Fund and supported by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund (MBRF), the financial arm of Dubai SME, as well as several other regional investors. This latest fundraise brings the total raised by Beehive to $10.5m since its launch.

To date, Beehive has successfully facilitated finance over $35 million (AED 130 million) to more than 200 business funding requests and registered more than 5000 international investors.

South Africa

African Billionaire Patrice Motsepe Invests In Digital Bank (Forbes), Rated: AAA

South Africa’s first black billionaire Patrice Motsepe has reportedly invested in TymeDigital, an online lender that has recently been awarded an operating license by the South African Reserve Bank.

African Rainbow Capital (ARC), an investment firm founded by Patrice Motsepe, recently acquired a 10% stake in TymeDigital, which is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, one of the world’s largest banks.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 29 2017, Daily News Digest

C-PACE financing

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub completes 2nd self-sponsored loan securitization with $323M deal. Funding Circle restates IPO ambitions. Robo.cash tops 2M Euro, 1000th investor. AutoGravity surpasses $1B USD in finance amount requested. Singapore banks closing cryptocurrency, payments accounts. Today’s main analysis: Risk evaluation of commercial PACE securitizations differs from residential deals. Goldman Sachs’ aggressive push into consumer banking. Today’s […]

C-PACE financing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Completes 2nd Self Sponsored Loan Securitization with $ 323 Million Deal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE: LC) has sponsored and contributed to its second securitization deal following the the last successful self sponsored deal this past June. The “Consumer Loan Underlying Bond” (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P1 (CLUB 2017-P1) issued $323.1 million in prime notes backed by consumer loan assets originated via the LendingClub platform. This is the sixth securitization supported or sponsored by LendingClub, and the fourth rated securitization of LendingClub facilitated loans overall. LendingClub described the deal as further expanding investor access.

LendingClub reported the transaction was backed by approximately $350 million of collateral and includes $217.3 million of Class A notes rated “A-(sf)”, $51.0 million of Class B notes rated “BBB (sf)” and $54.7 million of Class C notes rated “BB (sf)”.

Orchard’s Online Lending Ecosystem Update: “Lendscape” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orchard Platform, the nexus of loan originators and institutional investing, has updated their ongoing graphical view of the online lending  world or “Lendscape”.  As the online lending universe has moved from peer to peer lending, to marketplace lending to all forms of online lending, the Lendscape has changed and grown. New lending platforms have been launched, new verticals targeted, and a growing number of ancillary services have joined the space.  Orchard points to the addition of lenders like LendingPointLiberty LendingLendmartAllegro CreditUpLiftArtMoneyAscendOppLoans, and Lendistry.

Perhaps the most important shift in online lending is the growing participation by traditional finance firms.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Risk Evaluation of Commercial PACE Securitizations Differs From Residential Deals (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC believes the next iteration of property assessed clean energy securitizations will be in the commercial sector. While securitization of residential PACE assessments tops $3 billion, there have been no public transactions consisting primarily of commercial liens.

Evaluating Property Income Generated to Pay Debts In analyzing the credit risk of transactions backed by commercial assessments, Morningstar considers the debt service coverage ratio, because PACE lending is tied to the property rather than the owner’s creditworthiness.

Evaluating Property Income Generated to Pay Debts

Morningstar evaluates a property’s net operating income in relation to its annual debt-service payments. Among securitized commercial mortgages, the average DSCR is approximately 2.14x, according to Morningstar. C-PACE lenders and aggregators typically require a minimum total DSCR in the 1.00x to 1.15x range. Although, in some cases, the DSCR has dipped below 1.00x, especially if total debtto-value is low when operating expenses are higher than revenue. Factors possibly mitigating a lower DSCR, which include county support, property ownership affiliations within a network, liquidity account and equity position require case-by-case analysis. In addition, DSCR of the lien is more important than the DSCR of the overall debt.

Evaluating Divergent Leverage Metrics

The lien-to-value ratio is another leverage metric that Morningstar analyzes. Although a PACE assessment raises a property’s lien-to-value ratio, the increased risk to the underlying mortgage is likely minimal, as the obligation is usually small in comparison to the mortgage.

It can be more challenging to calculate the lien-to-value ratio for C-PACE levies, because the properties can run the gamut from hotels, farmlands, nursing homes, and gas stations to nonprofit buildings such as churches. Across residential PACE deals, we have seen lien-to-value ratios around 6.7% and combined PACE-lien-plus-mortgage-tovalue ratios at around 62.7%. In C-PACE, lien-to-value ratios hover around 25.0%, not including mortgage debt.

While we scrutinize total debt-to-value, the distribution of leverage offers insight into the financial health of the property. For example, we view a property with a 90% debt-to-value ratio that is composed of an 89% mortgage loan and a 1% PACE assessment more favorably than a property whose debt is composed of an 89% PACE obligation and a 1% mortgage because of higher subordination levels.

Growing Market Size

C-PACE financing has grown to about $482 million as of Sept. 1, encompassing 1,097 commercial projects, according to PACENation. More than 2,500 municipalities have C-PACE programs.

Compared with residential programs, C-PACE is in its infancy, as R-PACE financing totaled about $3.67 billion and R-PACE securitizations totaled around $3.40 billion. A sliver of
commercial assets was included in one of those securitizations, GoodGreen 2016-1, with commercial PACE levies representing approximately 4.8% of the pool’s assets.

Source: Morningstar

Get the full report here.

The Top Sources Of Small Business Financing Based On Approval Rates (Forbes), Rated: AAA

According to the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, the monthly analysis of more than 1,000 small business loan applications on Biz2Credit.com. Loan approval percentages of institutional investors have continuously reached new heights this year in terms of approval rates. In August Institutional lenders’ loan approval rates in August reached 63.9%.

Alternative lenders’ approval percentages continue to decline; in August the rate dipped to 57.1%. Approval percentages have dropped every month for more than a year.

Approval percentages at small banks rose one-tenth of a percent in August to 49.0% from July’s 48.9% figure. It is conceivable that the number may cross the 50% benchmark.

Big banks improved one-tenth of a percent to 24.6% in August, setting a new high for the Biz2Credit Index, which has tracked loan approvals since January 2011. The number is creeping up to one-in-four. It’s a good time for bank lending.

Loan approval rates at credit unions dipped to 40.3% in August, falling to a new low for this category of lenders on Biz2Credit’s index.

AutoGravity Surpasses $ 1 Billion USD In Finance Amount Requested, Launches Real-Time Dealership Inventory Nationwide (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer on a mission to transform car shopping and financing, today announced that it has reached $1 billion USD in finance amount requested on the AutoGravity platform. Additionally, AutoGravity has announced the launch of real-time inventory for new and used cars from partner dealership groups across the nation. Car shoppers can browse real vehicle inventory on dealership lots, find the specific car that’s right for them and secure up to four finance offers in minutes on the AutoGravity smartphone app.

More over 750,000 car shoppers have downloaded AutoGravity, collectively requesting over $1 billion USD in financing. These users can now search inventory by car brand and model year – as well as characteristics such as body type, drivetrain and color. Car shoppers can find their desired car waiting for them on the showroom lot for the payment they want. With car selected and offers in hand, users can pick up their car and drive off the lot with the confidence of knowing they have secured a fair deal.

AutoGravity partnered closely with the largest dealer groups in the country to design a seamless process by which dealers can easily load inventory feeds, including vehicle details and pictures, to AutoGravity’s secure platform. Inventory is updated and shown to users in real time.

ID-verification firms seize on Equifax moment (American Banker), Rated: A

The Equifax hack, combined with the rise of online lending, may have turned 2017 into a golden age for companies with new ideas for ID.

The software company Mitek plans to roll out a product in the coming year called Mobile Verify for Lending, which offers lenders a five-step process to quickly verify customer identities. Borrowers first share their online bank account information with lenders. They then submit four pictures taken from their smartphones: the front and back of their driver’s licenses, a selfie and a pay stub.

Other players are offering digital lending solutions to make it easier for banks to keep pace with speedy fintech competitors. Upstart, for example, is marketing software, called Powered by Upstart, to banks wanting to get into digital lending.

DFS to Court: OCC Fintech Charter ‘Undermines’ Its Authority (New York Law Journal), Rated: A

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s plan to offer a special-purpose bank charter for financial technology companies “undermines” the Department of Financial Services’ regulatory authority in New York, the state agency argued in court documents.

“The Fintech Charter Decision is an unlawful assertion of power that usurps New York consumer protection laws and would preempt plaintiff’s ability to regulate any number of the over 600 nondepository institutions she currently regulates,” wrote Matthew Levine, the executive deputy superintendent for enforcement at the department.

Stockpile Raises $ 30 Million to Make Stock Investing Easy for Everyone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Stockpile, a brokerage popular with millennials that is pioneering fractional share stock investing, announced today that it has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Fidelity backed Eight Roads Ventures, with participation by Mayfield, Arbor Ventures, Hanna Ventures, Wang Ventures, and others.

This latest investment brings the total raised by Stockpile to more than $45 million.  Mayfield led Stockpile’s $15 millionSeries A in October 2015, with participation by Arbor Ventures, Stanford University, and actor Ashton Kutcher.  Stockpile will use the new funds to bring stock investing to more millennial customers and expand its unique features, Lele said.

Chime raises $ 18 million for mobile banking without the fees (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Chime is raising $18 million in Series B financing for its mobile-first approach to banking. Cathay Innovation led the round with participation from Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Forerunner Ventures, Homebrew and others.

It’s a bank account and debit card built for the digital age.

Without monthly fees or overdraft charges, Chime tries to appeal to the millennial generation, touting its affordability and easy-to-use app. Since launching in 2014, Chime has signed up 500,000 customers, who are typically in their late 20s and making between $50,000 and $70,000 per year.

Shinola’s new pitch: the installment plan (Crain’s Detroit Business), Rated: A

Shinola/Detroit LLC is targeting millennials by adding an option to pay for its watches and other luxury goods in an old-fashioned way: the installment plan.

The average order value for Affirm customers is 70 percent higher than the sitewide average, Kopitz said. And about half of those using the service with Shinola are 18-34 years old, the release said.

Around 1,000 retailers now accept payment through Affirm.

Is marketplace lending maturing? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

As new as fintech and marketplace lending—once known as “peer to peer lending”—may still seem, Noreika suggested that the online lending fraternity may be moving toward maturity.

Noreika said the sweat that went into those ideas has hit $40 billion in consumer and small business credit, with volumes doubling every year since 2010. He noted that some project that at that rate, marketplace lending will hit $1 trillion by 2025—versus the $3.7 trillion in unsecured consumer lending as of yearend 2016.

Noreika pointed out that marketplace lenders have been seeing cracks in their credit since the fourth quarter of 2015.

‘Fintechs tend to march to their own rules’: former SEC chair Levitt (American Banker), Rated: A

“Hardly a day goes by where there isn’t a recording of some scandal or another,” Levitt said. “I think that’s generally true of emerging cultures and emerging standards and cultures. That makes the odds of winning much less than in well established companies with better established cultures.”

His fellow fintech panelists, Sarah Friar, chief financial officer at Square, and Scott Sanborn, CEO of Lending Club, both pointed out that established companies have had their own share of scandals.

Levitt said it’s difficult for startups to attract the kind of quality board members that larger, more mature companies are able to attract.

“Regulators are always playing catch up,” he said. “Regulation today trails the fintech world and often presents impediments and costs that are unnecessary. Regulators are constantly protecting their space so they don’t get caught up in a scandal they’re held accountable for, so there’s a tendency to over-regulate.”

McHenry and Booker Introduce Fintech Bill to Automate Income Verification (House.gov), Rated: B

Today, Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R, NC-10), the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the IRS Data Verification Modernization Act of 2017. This bipartisan bill will require the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to automate the Income Verification Express Services process by creating an Application Programming Interface (API) allowing small businesses and consumers to access accurate credit assessments more efficiently. Joining McHenry as an original cosponsor of H.R. 3860 is Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03), a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Plug and Play Selects Their Winter 2017 Batches (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Plug and Play formally announces the startups accepted into their Winter 2017 batches. Plug and Play will run five programs this quarter focused on Health & Wellness, Insurtech, Internet of Things, Mobility, and Travel & Hospitality.

Wunder Brings on Rich Mauro as Director of Capital Markets (Wunder Capital), Rated: B

We’re incredibly excited to welcome the newest member of Wunder Capital’s team, Rich Mauro. As Director of Capital Markets, Rich will lead Wunder’s institutional fundraising activities, bolstering our capital stack and helping us scale Wunder’s platform to the next level.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle hits £50 million in revenue as CEO restates IPO ambitions (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Accounts for 2016 filed with Companies House this week show:

  • Revenue rose 59% to £50.9 million;
  • Operating expenses rose by 43% to £103.1 million;
  • Losses dipped by 3% to £35.7 million thanks partly to a foreign exchange boost;
  • £1 billion lent last year;
  • Loans outstanding rose by 61% to £1.37 billion;

‘It goes without saying that international is really hard’

While Desai is bullish on international expansion, the accounts show Funding Circle stopped operations in Spain at the start of the year, a market it entered through the acquisition of Zencap in 2015.

International revenues grew slower than UK revenues last year and Funding Circle parted ways with the head of its continental Europe operations in the middle of last year.

In the UK, economic growth is slowing and consumer debt is ballooning, leading to fears of a possible economic slowdown that could hit lenders.

Funding Circle remains a loss-making business (accumulated losses stand at £116.6 million to date) but Desai says it is on a long-term path to profitability.

Funding Circle is onto a winning strategy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, however, has remained a firm market leader, and its annual results for 2016 show it continues to do well.

Its losses narrowed 3% from £37 million ($50 million) in 2015 to £36 million ($48 million) in 2016, as revenue grew 59% year-over-year (YoY) from £32 million ($43 million) to £51 million ($68 million), and originations saw a 61% boost from £846 million ($1.1 billion) to £1.4 billion ($1.9 billion).

Source: Business Insider

Funding Circle posts 59% revenue rise (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Post year-end highlights:

Ranger Direct Lending fund expecting substantial dividend cut (AltFi), Rated: A

The £220m Ranger Direct Lending fund could see its dividend pay-out for the second half of 2017 fall to nearly half of that in the first six months of the year, according to a statement by Ranger.

It is expecting NAV returns in H2 2017 to average 0.4 per cent-0.5 per cent per month (c.5-6 per cent pa), and then recover to 0.6 per cent-0.7 per cent per month (c.7 per cent-9 per cent pa) in 2018, assuming the resolution of Princeton this year.

As a result aggregate dividends of c.25p are expected for H2 2017, compared to 46p in H1.

Source: AltFi

‘Oscars of the start-up world’ has an exciting new winner looking to disrupt property finance (CNBC), Rated: A

LendInvest, an online marketplace platform for property lending and investing, was named the most valuable tech company at the prestigious Investor Allstars event in London on Wednesday evening.

These 20-something Oxford grads just raised $ 30 million for their fintech startup (Business Insider), Rated: A

A “RegTech” — regulation technology — company founded by three Oxford grads all under 30 has raised $30 million (£22.4 million) from investors including Microsoft’s venture capital arm.

Onfido, an identity verification startup, has raised the “Series C” fundraising from Crane Venture Partners, Microsoft Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures, as well as existing investors. It takes the total raised by the London startup to over $60 million.

Onfido’s latest $30 million funding injection follows a $25 million investment last April. Kassai says the latest funding will go towards technology investment and global expansion.

Payday lender Wonga records £65m loss amid overhaul (BBC), Rated: A

Wonga – Britain’s biggest payday lender – posted pre-tax losses of nearly £65m in 2016, but claims its business has been “transformed”.

The lender, which operates in the UK, South Africa, Poland and Spain, saw its losses shrink from £80m in 2015 to £65m in 2016.

How Fintech Is Disrupting Traditional Banking Models (Minute Hack), Rated: A

One of the biggest changes in the financial sector in the UK has been the introduction of challenger banks.

Crucially, these banks have not been mired by the many recent scandals and still rely on customer deposits to build their balance sheets. That’s why fledgling banks such as Metro Bank, Aldermore, Tesco Bank and United Bank UK and currently dominating the best buy tables.

Retail banking is the area that has seen the biggest change as a result of the FinTech sector, but that’s not to say there hasn’t also been a significant impact in the commercial banking sector.

A perfect example is Barclay’s mobile payments service Pingit, designed to compete with Apple Pay, while other banks have launched new mobile banking businesses away from their legacy businesses in an attempt to compete in a digital age.

Bringing financial services to small businesses

One example is peer-to-peer lending, a sector that has sprung up from nothing ten years ago to lend a total of £2.9bn in 2016. This is now filling the capital void for many growing businesses and lending at lower rates than many firms would be able to access elsewhere.

New trustees join Finance Innovation Lab’s board (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

SIX new trustees have been appointed to the board of the Finance Innovation Lab.

The new trustees include Caroline Ellis, a social and organisational change consultant who is taking on the role of chair of the board, and Kate Ormiston Smith, director of finance and operations at The B Team, who is taking up the post of treasurer.

The other new members of the board are: Hanna McCloskey, founder and chief executive officer of Fearless Futures; Toyin Ogundana – investment manager at CAF Venturesome; Paul Riseborough – chief commercial officer at Metro Bank and Julian Thompson, social innovation and fundraising strategist.

How and where to get Crowdlending to fund your Business (TechBullion), Rated: B

When considering your initial application for funding, crowdlending platforms will review your business plan, financial information and other details about your company. In other words, the platforms will review your company’s financial information as well as your personal information in much the same way as banks will do before offering you a loan. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that your business plan is engaging, comprehensive and well thought out.

Investors will usually seek to get more information about you and your business from social networks like FacebookTwitterand LinkedIn. It will serve you well to ensure that you have an online presence before you seek for funds through crowdlending.

Going by the FundingKnightresearch, most UK investors have a love for the community and would want to give back to some UK SME to ensure its prosperity.

China

More Chinese fintech firms to eye Hong Kong IPOs, says JP Morgan (SCMP), Rated: AAA

More Chinese fintech firms vying to go public could choose Hong Kong as their listing venue, after the city’s first fintech IPO received a hot response from investors, and that Hong Kong has unique advantages compared with other global financial hubs, said JP Morgan’s head of global investment banking in China.

Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, closed nine per cent up from its IPO price on Thursday in its Hong Kong debut. With an oversubscription of nearly 400 times from retail investors, the company had priced its IPO at the top end of the expected range, raising US$1.5 billion in the city’s biggest ever fintech offering.

“The next Zhong An could show up in online payment, P2P lending, [financial] product distribution, or online insurance.”

In particular, revenue from online payment is estimated to increase to 202 billion yuan by 2020. Revenue from online distribution of financial products could grow to 52 billion yuan by then, while that for online lending and online insurance may reach 142 billion yuan and 60 billion yuan respectively.

ZhongAn Insurance Starts Trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn’s IPO will likely make the company the 4th most valuable fintech company in the world with a market cap of about US$10.4 billion, following the top three fintechs, which are Paypal ($78bn), Ant Financial ($68bn) and Lufax ($18bn).

Peter Renton interviewed the CEO of ZhongAn Insurance, Jeffrey Chen, on the Lend Academy Podcast over the summer. Jeffrey said in the interview that ZhongAn has 492 million insurance customers as of December 31, 2016. That is more than four times that of insurance giant AXA’s customer base (107 million, as of December 31, 2016). By this measure, ZhongAn truly is the world’s largest insurance company. And this is just a four-year old company!

Why ZhongAn is So Succesful

For the technology part, ZhongAn has been using artificial intelligence and big data analytics in each step of the insurance value chain, from marketing, underwriting, pricing to claims processing.

Another example is that ZhongAn has partnered with a Chinese automaker to develop internet of things (IoTs) and telematics solutions. Telematics devices can capture drivers’ behavioral data, which can be fed to algorithms using big data techniques to tailor product pricing to observed risk levels.

In ZhongAn’s early days, the revenue generated by shipping return policies accounted for almost 90% of the total revenue. This product would not have been such a success were it not for its partnership with Alibaba. Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba, is also the single biggest shareholder (16.04%) of ZhongAn.

Source: :Lend Academy

KKR Invests in Shenzhen Suishou Technology (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Shenzhen Suishou Technology Co. (“Suishou” or the “Company”), a leading personal finance management platform in China, and global investment firm KKR today announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which KKR will invest in Suishou’s Series C funding round to support the Company’s expansion across China.

European Union

Robo.Cash Tops €2 million with 1000th Investor (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Emerging peer to peer lender Robo.Cashhas topped €2 million in loans with the advent of the 1000th investor.  According to Robo.Cash, investors are spread across most of Europe with lenders now coming from 28 different countries. The short term loans are coming from Spain and Kazakhstan.

The total sum of earned interests has amounted to more than €50,000 since the start of the platform’s work.

The End of Fintech Is Nigh (FiNews), Rated: AAA

Switzerland is one of the major global fintech centers and the industry is booming: Swisscom counted fewer than a hundred fintech startups in 2015, today there are 208 companies active in wealth management, comparative consulting, crypto finance, data management, payment services and lending (see illustration below).

Blurred Dividing Line

And this may also spell the end of fintech as we know it, in Switzerland, and abroad. That’s at least what Armands Broks (pictured below) believes. The founder and CEO of Twino, a peer-to-peer lending platform, thinks that the fine line between finance industry and fintech is about to be blurred and that fintech eventually will disappear.

The only way forward for fintech is through cooperation agreements and in doing so, «the fintech industry is signing its own death sentence,» Broks said.

PWC consultants said that about 60 percent of Swiss banks have links to fintechs. Four out of five banks are eyeing partnerships in the near future or are planning to expand existing ones.

International

Goldman Sachs’ foray into consumer banking is getting aggressive (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The same year it launched GS Bank, it began building a digital-only consumer loan product, Marcus, that was fully developed and on the market 12 months later. Without having the legacy infrastructure under previously existing consumer products and services, the overhaul other major banks have been experiencing don’t exist for Goldman.

“[The] platform approach has not been an obvious approach on Wall Street. Our competitors are generally structured in deep vertical silos and we have a different architecture: these shallower silos built on top of many layers of software, tech infrastructure, cybersecurity, enterprise platforms and increasingly, client platforms,” Marty Chavez, an engineer and Goldman Sachs CIO-turned-CFO this year, said in a keynote at Harvard University earlier this year.

46 percent of Goldman jobs are in technology 
CB Insights analyzed more than 2,000 open Goldman Sachs job listings by division and business unit to confirm it’s focused on building its technology and digital finance units.

Many of the jobs are in digital finance. Earlier this month it reportedly poached 20 employees from New York-based online lending startup Bond Street — engineers, product developers, and risk and marketing specialists — presumably to build out a lending product.

According to the research, published Tuesday, 46 percent of all of the firm’s jobs as of Sept. 14 are in technology, with the highest amount for core platform roles, followed by operations engineering and then equities technology.

Source: Tearsheet

Marcus is expanding in the U.K.

Marcus, the online lending startup built inside the investment bank, has been growing tremendously in the eight months since it launched in October 2016. It has one product: a customizable personal loan for Prime borrowers, with at least a 660 credit score, of up to $30,000. It promises no fees and straightforward repayment terms. It recently passed $1 billion in loan originations with expectations to originate $2 billion by the end of this year. By comparison: SoFi, which launched in 2011, reached its first billion after 14 months; Avant, founded in 2012, took 28 months; 10-year-old Lending Club took 65 months; and Prosper, launched in 2006, passed $1 billion in 98 months.

Goldmoney Inc. Adds Bitcoin and Ethereum to the Goldmoney Holding (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

Goldmoney Inc. (TSX:XAU) (“Goldmoney”) (the “Company”), a precious metal financial service and technology company, today unveiled the addition of vaulted Bitcoin and Ethereum as secure and fully-reserved offline investable assets within the Goldmoney® Holding, a major enhancement that allows qualified clients to buy, sell, and exchange cryptocurrencies with nine global currencies as well as gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion. With today’s launch, Goldmoney becomes the world’s first publicly traded and regulated financial service to offer insurable, auditable, and Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) compliant exposure to cryptocurrencies.

  • Buying and selling of digital assets that are safely secured in vaulted cold storage. Cryptocurrency offerings currently include Bitcoin and Ethereum; additional leading digital assets will be added over time.
  • Funding of Goldmoney Holdings with 50 types of cryptocurrency, enabling wallet holders to sell a variety of cryptocurrencies and fund their Goldmoney Holding with fiat currency to access precious metals and other Goldmoney service offerings.
  • Will seek the establishment of peer-to-peer (“P2P”) lending capabilities on digital assets in partnership with Lend and Borrow Trust, allowing owners of Bitcoin and other assets to safely borrow against their positions.

HNWs Would Use Amazon for Wealth Management (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The majority of high net investors would turn to GoogleAppleFacebook and Amazon for wealth management, Bloomberg writes.

If one of the four tech giants were to enter the advice space, 56.2% of wealthy individuals would entrust them with their money, according to a Capgemini survey of 2,500 individuals with a net worth of $1 million or more in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific cited by the news service. And among people under 40, more than 81% would use one of the four tech firms, according to the survey.

Australia

New fintech “Study Loans” aims to help cash-strapped students (Mozo), Rated: AAA

It’s called Study Loans and is said to be the first online platform dedicated to providing loans to students for both vocational and higher education.

Working closely with education providers, the fintech will track student performance and provide funds as you study through ‘tranches’ – which are based on the number of units you do and when they are completed.

Think of tranches as a ‘pay as you go’ kind of deal. So whether you pass one unit or four, Study Loans will release the funds according to your course progression.

Study Loans has raised $5 million debt equity so far, which is ready to be distributed as the first tranche to Aussie students who have already applied through the platform.

Financing options for students: 

  • Student loans – Student personal loans are designed to help fund your education. They often have a more lenient application criteria and have lower interest rates than standard personal loans. But you are expected to make monthly repayments – so you’ll need to make sure your budget can handle the amount.
  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • HECS-HELP – This is a Government funded scheme for students enrolled in Commonwealth supported institutions with no real interest charged on the loan. You won’t have to pay your student fees upfront, however, you are expected to make repayments once you start earning a salary of $54,869.

MONEFLY LAUNCHES FREE FINTECH PLATFORM WITH ENVESTNET | YODLEE FINANCIAL DATA (Yodlee), Rated: A

Monefly is an innovative new Fintech platform in Australia, focused on providing tools and resources that empower its members to grow income, reduce expenses, build assets, eliminate debt and protect themselves from risk. Some of these exciting tools include free property valuations, automated budgeting, credit scores, bank account consolidation and much more.

Monefly has partnered with Envestnet | Yodlee to help its members access comprehensive financial data available across banking and wealth management from over 15,500 data sources globally.

The data being integrated into Monefly includes superannuation, cash, credit cards, personal debts, mortgages, assets, shares, real estate, credit scores and other investment data.

India

MyAdvo Ties Up with Online Loan Advisor Square Capital for Loan Services (newKerala), Rated: AAA

MyAdvo, India’s leading Legal Tech Startup has entered into an agreement with Square Capital, the digital lending arm of India’s largest real estate transaction platform Square Yards to enable loan facilitation for lawyers on its panel.

Square Capital currently facilitates USD 30- 40Mn(INR 200cr – INR 260cr) of loan disbursals every month, contributed majorly by secured mortgages spread across 50+ banking partners for their different products in home loan, loan against property and business loan.

This exclusive tie-up will benefit MyAdvo registered lawyers in receiving immediate loan solutions without any hassle.

Indians are warming up to robo-advisers (livemint), Rated: A

Robo-advisers, or automated services based on computer algorithms, are catching on in the Indian market due to the relatively lower penetration of financial products in India compared to developed markets.

According to a Business Insider Intelligence forecast, robo-advisers (with some element of automation) will manage investment products worth $1 trillion by 2020, which will go up to $4.6 trillion by as early as 2022.

Scepticism notwithstanding, financial institutions in the country are realising the benefits of robo-advisory services by either building the product in-house or partnering with fintech companies to develop robo-advisers. Take the case of FundsIndia.com, which has a robo-advisory service for which it is forging partnerships with financial biggies. “We have a partnership with Axis Securities and one more company. There is a growing acceptance from the industry, and we are trying to enable better product design,” said Srikant Meenakshi, co-founder, FundsIndia.com. According to him, 15% of his company’s overall portfolio comprises robo-advisory services. Similarly, 5nance has an agreement with HDFC Mutual Fund for its robo-advisor.

Robo-advisory start-up ArthaYantra uses a patented methodology called the Personal Financial Lifecycle Management on its online platform, Arthos. Since its launch in 2008, the site claims to have helped 120,000 customers across more 650 cities and 30 countries.

Asia

Singapore Cryptocurrency Firms Facing Bank Account Closures (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Singapore banks have closed accounts of several companies which specialize in providing cryptocurrency and payments services, according to two local bodies which represent financial-technology firms.

Chia Hock Lai, president of the Singapore Fintech Association, which has broader membership than Access, said some of his organization’s members also experienced account closures, though he didn’t provide figures.

Access has 106 members and the Fintech Association has 185, though the two organizations said some companies belong to both groups.

How technology drives a new Taiwanese banking landscape (The Asset), Rated: A

According to Joseph Huang, president of E.Sun Bank, speaking in an interview with The Asset, payments is one area that every bank is looking to explore, although it does not generate huge profits for most banks.

Banks are also more frequently working with technology companies. E.Sun Bank partnered with IBM Taiwan in building its digital branch, which opened in February 2017, making it the first digital branch in Taiwan. Similarly, CTBC partnered with LINE Pay to help merge its banking services with communication apps and social media.

Taishin Bank’s e-banking application, Richart, which attracted over 120,000 subscribers, is targeting young Taiwanese users, while Cathay United Bank is also providing its products to retail customers through its platform My MobiBank.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 29 2017, Daily News Digest

C-PACE financing

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub completes 2nd self-sponsored loan securitization with $323M deal. Funding Circle restates IPO ambitions. Robo.cash tops 2M Euro, 1000th investor. AutoGravity surpasses $1B USD in finance amount requested. Singapore banks closing cryptocurrency, payments accounts. Today’s main analysis: Risk evaluation of commercial PACE securitizations differs from residential deals. Goldman Sachs’ aggressive push into consumer banking. Today’s […]

C-PACE financing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Completes 2nd Self Sponsored Loan Securitization with $ 323 Million Deal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE: LC) has sponsored and contributed to its second securitization deal following the the last successful self sponsored deal this past June. The “Consumer Loan Underlying Bond” (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P1 (CLUB 2017-P1) issued $323.1 million in prime notes backed by consumer loan assets originated via the LendingClub platform. This is the sixth securitization supported or sponsored by LendingClub, and the fourth rated securitization of LendingClub facilitated loans overall. LendingClub described the deal as further expanding investor access.

LendingClub reported the transaction was backed by approximately $350 million of collateral and includes $217.3 million of Class A notes rated “A-(sf)”, $51.0 million of Class B notes rated “BBB (sf)” and $54.7 million of Class C notes rated “BB (sf)”.

Orchard’s Online Lending Ecosystem Update: “Lendscape” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orchard Platform, the nexus of loan originators and institutional investing, has updated their ongoing graphical view of the online lending  world or “Lendscape”.  As the online lending universe has moved from peer to peer lending, to marketplace lending to all forms of online lending, the Lendscape has changed and grown. New lending platforms have been launched, new verticals targeted, and a growing number of ancillary services have joined the space.  Orchard points to the addition of lenders like LendingPointLiberty LendingLendmartAllegro CreditUpLiftArtMoneyAscendOppLoans, and Lendistry.

Perhaps the most important shift in online lending is the growing participation by traditional finance firms.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Risk Evaluation of Commercial PACE Securitizations Differs From Residential Deals (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC believes the next iteration of property assessed clean energy securitizations will be in the commercial sector. While securitization of residential PACE assessments tops $3 billion, there have been no public transactions consisting primarily of commercial liens.

Evaluating Property Income Generated to Pay Debts In analyzing the credit risk of transactions backed by commercial assessments, Morningstar considers the debt service coverage ratio, because PACE lending is tied to the property rather than the owner’s creditworthiness.

Evaluating Property Income Generated to Pay Debts

Morningstar evaluates a property’s net operating income in relation to its annual debt-service payments. Among securitized commercial mortgages, the average DSCR is approximately 2.14x, according to Morningstar. C-PACE lenders and aggregators typically require a minimum total DSCR in the 1.00x to 1.15x range. Although, in some cases, the DSCR has dipped below 1.00x, especially if total debtto-value is low when operating expenses are higher than revenue. Factors possibly mitigating a lower DSCR, which include county support, property ownership affiliations within a network, liquidity account and equity position require case-by-case analysis. In addition, DSCR of the lien is more important than the DSCR of the overall debt.

Evaluating Divergent Leverage Metrics

The lien-to-value ratio is another leverage metric that Morningstar analyzes. Although a PACE assessment raises a property’s lien-to-value ratio, the increased risk to the underlying mortgage is likely minimal, as the obligation is usually small in comparison to the mortgage.

It can be more challenging to calculate the lien-to-value ratio for C-PACE levies, because the properties can run the gamut from hotels, farmlands, nursing homes, and gas stations to nonprofit buildings such as churches. Across residential PACE deals, we have seen lien-to-value ratios around 6.7% and combined PACE-lien-plus-mortgage-tovalue ratios at around 62.7%. In C-PACE, lien-to-value ratios hover around 25.0%, not including mortgage debt.

While we scrutinize total debt-to-value, the distribution of leverage offers insight into the financial health of the property. For example, we view a property with a 90% debt-to-value ratio that is composed of an 89% mortgage loan and a 1% PACE assessment more favorably than a property whose debt is composed of an 89% PACE obligation and a 1% mortgage because of higher subordination levels.

Growing Market Size

C-PACE financing has grown to about $482 million as of Sept. 1, encompassing 1,097 commercial projects, according to PACENation. More than 2,500 municipalities have C-PACE programs.

Compared with residential programs, C-PACE is in its infancy, as R-PACE financing totaled about $3.67 billion and R-PACE securitizations totaled around $3.40 billion. A sliver of
commercial assets was included in one of those securitizations, GoodGreen 2016-1, with commercial PACE levies representing approximately 4.8% of the pool’s assets.

Source: Morningstar

Get the full report here.

The Top Sources Of Small Business Financing Based On Approval Rates (Forbes), Rated: AAA

According to the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, the monthly analysis of more than 1,000 small business loan applications on Biz2Credit.com. Loan approval percentages of institutional investors have continuously reached new heights this year in terms of approval rates. In August Institutional lenders’ loan approval rates in August reached 63.9%.

Alternative lenders’ approval percentages continue to decline; in August the rate dipped to 57.1%. Approval percentages have dropped every month for more than a year.

Approval percentages at small banks rose one-tenth of a percent in August to 49.0% from July’s 48.9% figure. It is conceivable that the number may cross the 50% benchmark.

Big banks improved one-tenth of a percent to 24.6% in August, setting a new high for the Biz2Credit Index, which has tracked loan approvals since January 2011. The number is creeping up to one-in-four. It’s a good time for bank lending.

Loan approval rates at credit unions dipped to 40.3% in August, falling to a new low for this category of lenders on Biz2Credit’s index.

AutoGravity Surpasses $ 1 Billion USD In Finance Amount Requested, Launches Real-Time Dealership Inventory Nationwide (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer on a mission to transform car shopping and financing, today announced that it has reached $1 billion USD in finance amount requested on the AutoGravity platform. Additionally, AutoGravity has announced the launch of real-time inventory for new and used cars from partner dealership groups across the nation. Car shoppers can browse real vehicle inventory on dealership lots, find the specific car that’s right for them and secure up to four finance offers in minutes on the AutoGravity smartphone app.

More over 750,000 car shoppers have downloaded AutoGravity, collectively requesting over $1 billion USD in financing. These users can now search inventory by car brand and model year – as well as characteristics such as body type, drivetrain and color. Car shoppers can find their desired car waiting for them on the showroom lot for the payment they want. With car selected and offers in hand, users can pick up their car and drive off the lot with the confidence of knowing they have secured a fair deal.

AutoGravity partnered closely with the largest dealer groups in the country to design a seamless process by which dealers can easily load inventory feeds, including vehicle details and pictures, to AutoGravity’s secure platform. Inventory is updated and shown to users in real time.

ID-verification firms seize on Equifax moment (American Banker), Rated: A

The Equifax hack, combined with the rise of online lending, may have turned 2017 into a golden age for companies with new ideas for ID.

The software company Mitek plans to roll out a product in the coming year called Mobile Verify for Lending, which offers lenders a five-step process to quickly verify customer identities. Borrowers first share their online bank account information with lenders. They then submit four pictures taken from their smartphones: the front and back of their driver’s licenses, a selfie and a pay stub.

Other players are offering digital lending solutions to make it easier for banks to keep pace with speedy fintech competitors. Upstart, for example, is marketing software, called Powered by Upstart, to banks wanting to get into digital lending.

DFS to Court: OCC Fintech Charter ‘Undermines’ Its Authority (New York Law Journal), Rated: A

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s plan to offer a special-purpose bank charter for financial technology companies “undermines” the Department of Financial Services’ regulatory authority in New York, the state agency argued in court documents.

“The Fintech Charter Decision is an unlawful assertion of power that usurps New York consumer protection laws and would preempt plaintiff’s ability to regulate any number of the over 600 nondepository institutions she currently regulates,” wrote Matthew Levine, the executive deputy superintendent for enforcement at the department.

Stockpile Raises $ 30 Million to Make Stock Investing Easy for Everyone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Stockpile, a brokerage popular with millennials that is pioneering fractional share stock investing, announced today that it has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Fidelity backed Eight Roads Ventures, with participation by Mayfield, Arbor Ventures, Hanna Ventures, Wang Ventures, and others.

This latest investment brings the total raised by Stockpile to more than $45 million.  Mayfield led Stockpile’s $15 millionSeries A in October 2015, with participation by Arbor Ventures, Stanford University, and actor Ashton Kutcher.  Stockpile will use the new funds to bring stock investing to more millennial customers and expand its unique features, Lele said.

Chime raises $ 18 million for mobile banking without the fees (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Chime is raising $18 million in Series B financing for its mobile-first approach to banking. Cathay Innovation led the round with participation from Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Forerunner Ventures, Homebrew and others.

It’s a bank account and debit card built for the digital age.

Without monthly fees or overdraft charges, Chime tries to appeal to the millennial generation, touting its affordability and easy-to-use app. Since launching in 2014, Chime has signed up 500,000 customers, who are typically in their late 20s and making between $50,000 and $70,000 per year.

Shinola’s new pitch: the installment plan (Crain’s Detroit Business), Rated: A

Shinola/Detroit LLC is targeting millennials by adding an option to pay for its watches and other luxury goods in an old-fashioned way: the installment plan.

The average order value for Affirm customers is 70 percent higher than the sitewide average, Kopitz said. And about half of those using the service with Shinola are 18-34 years old, the release said.

Around 1,000 retailers now accept payment through Affirm.

Is marketplace lending maturing? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

As new as fintech and marketplace lending—once known as “peer to peer lending”—may still seem, Noreika suggested that the online lending fraternity may be moving toward maturity.

Noreika said the sweat that went into those ideas has hit $40 billion in consumer and small business credit, with volumes doubling every year since 2010. He noted that some project that at that rate, marketplace lending will hit $1 trillion by 2025—versus the $3.7 trillion in unsecured consumer lending as of yearend 2016.

Noreika pointed out that marketplace lenders have been seeing cracks in their credit since the fourth quarter of 2015.

‘Fintechs tend to march to their own rules’: former SEC chair Levitt (American Banker), Rated: A

“Hardly a day goes by where there isn’t a recording of some scandal or another,” Levitt said. “I think that’s generally true of emerging cultures and emerging standards and cultures. That makes the odds of winning much less than in well established companies with better established cultures.”

His fellow fintech panelists, Sarah Friar, chief financial officer at Square, and Scott Sanborn, CEO of Lending Club, both pointed out that established companies have had their own share of scandals.

Levitt said it’s difficult for startups to attract the kind of quality board members that larger, more mature companies are able to attract.

“Regulators are always playing catch up,” he said. “Regulation today trails the fintech world and often presents impediments and costs that are unnecessary. Regulators are constantly protecting their space so they don’t get caught up in a scandal they’re held accountable for, so there’s a tendency to over-regulate.”

McHenry and Booker Introduce Fintech Bill to Automate Income Verification (House.gov), Rated: B

Today, Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R, NC-10), the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the IRS Data Verification Modernization Act of 2017. This bipartisan bill will require the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to automate the Income Verification Express Services process by creating an Application Programming Interface (API) allowing small businesses and consumers to access accurate credit assessments more efficiently. Joining McHenry as an original cosponsor of H.R. 3860 is Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03), a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Plug and Play Selects Their Winter 2017 Batches (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Plug and Play formally announces the startups accepted into their Winter 2017 batches. Plug and Play will run five programs this quarter focused on Health & Wellness, Insurtech, Internet of Things, Mobility, and Travel & Hospitality.

Wunder Brings on Rich Mauro as Director of Capital Markets (Wunder Capital), Rated: B

We’re incredibly excited to welcome the newest member of Wunder Capital’s team, Rich Mauro. As Director of Capital Markets, Rich will lead Wunder’s institutional fundraising activities, bolstering our capital stack and helping us scale Wunder’s platform to the next level.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle hits £50 million in revenue as CEO restates IPO ambitions (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Accounts for 2016 filed with Companies House this week show:

  • Revenue rose 59% to £50.9 million;
  • Operating expenses rose by 43% to £103.1 million;
  • Losses dipped by 3% to £35.7 million thanks partly to a foreign exchange boost;
  • £1 billion lent last year;
  • Loans outstanding rose by 61% to £1.37 billion;

‘It goes without saying that international is really hard’

While Desai is bullish on international expansion, the accounts show Funding Circle stopped operations in Spain at the start of the year, a market it entered through the acquisition of Zencap in 2015.

International revenues grew slower than UK revenues last year and Funding Circle parted ways with the head of its continental Europe operations in the middle of last year.

In the UK, economic growth is slowing and consumer debt is ballooning, leading to fears of a possible economic slowdown that could hit lenders.

Funding Circle remains a loss-making business (accumulated losses stand at £116.6 million to date) but Desai says it is on a long-term path to profitability.

Funding Circle is onto a winning strategy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, however, has remained a firm market leader, and its annual results for 2016 show it continues to do well.

Its losses narrowed 3% from £37 million ($50 million) in 2015 to £36 million ($48 million) in 2016, as revenue grew 59% year-over-year (YoY) from £32 million ($43 million) to £51 million ($68 million), and originations saw a 61% boost from £846 million ($1.1 billion) to £1.4 billion ($1.9 billion).

Source: Business Insider

Funding Circle posts 59% revenue rise (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Post year-end highlights:

Ranger Direct Lending fund expecting substantial dividend cut (AltFi), Rated: A

The £220m Ranger Direct Lending fund could see its dividend pay-out for the second half of 2017 fall to nearly half of that in the first six months of the year, according to a statement by Ranger.

It is expecting NAV returns in H2 2017 to average 0.4 per cent-0.5 per cent per month (c.5-6 per cent pa), and then recover to 0.6 per cent-0.7 per cent per month (c.7 per cent-9 per cent pa) in 2018, assuming the resolution of Princeton this year.

As a result aggregate dividends of c.25p are expected for H2 2017, compared to 46p in H1.

Source: AltFi

‘Oscars of the start-up world’ has an exciting new winner looking to disrupt property finance (CNBC), Rated: A

LendInvest, an online marketplace platform for property lending and investing, was named the most valuable tech company at the prestigious Investor Allstars event in London on Wednesday evening.

These 20-something Oxford grads just raised $ 30 million for their fintech startup (Business Insider), Rated: A

A “RegTech” — regulation technology — company founded by three Oxford grads all under 30 has raised $30 million (£22.4 million) from investors including Microsoft’s venture capital arm.

Onfido, an identity verification startup, has raised the “Series C” fundraising from Crane Venture Partners, Microsoft Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures, as well as existing investors. It takes the total raised by the London startup to over $60 million.

Onfido’s latest $30 million funding injection follows a $25 million investment last April. Kassai says the latest funding will go towards technology investment and global expansion.

Payday lender Wonga records £65m loss amid overhaul (BBC), Rated: A

Wonga – Britain’s biggest payday lender – posted pre-tax losses of nearly £65m in 2016, but claims its business has been “transformed”.

The lender, which operates in the UK, South Africa, Poland and Spain, saw its losses shrink from £80m in 2015 to £65m in 2016.

How Fintech Is Disrupting Traditional Banking Models (Minute Hack), Rated: A

One of the biggest changes in the financial sector in the UK has been the introduction of challenger banks.

Crucially, these banks have not been mired by the many recent scandals and still rely on customer deposits to build their balance sheets. That’s why fledgling banks such as Metro Bank, Aldermore, Tesco Bank and United Bank UK and currently dominating the best buy tables.

Retail banking is the area that has seen the biggest change as a result of the FinTech sector, but that’s not to say there hasn’t also been a significant impact in the commercial banking sector.

A perfect example is Barclay’s mobile payments service Pingit, designed to compete with Apple Pay, while other banks have launched new mobile banking businesses away from their legacy businesses in an attempt to compete in a digital age.

Bringing financial services to small businesses

One example is peer-to-peer lending, a sector that has sprung up from nothing ten years ago to lend a total of £2.9bn in 2016. This is now filling the capital void for many growing businesses and lending at lower rates than many firms would be able to access elsewhere.

New trustees join Finance Innovation Lab’s board (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

SIX new trustees have been appointed to the board of the Finance Innovation Lab.

The new trustees include Caroline Ellis, a social and organisational change consultant who is taking on the role of chair of the board, and Kate Ormiston Smith, director of finance and operations at The B Team, who is taking up the post of treasurer.

The other new members of the board are: Hanna McCloskey, founder and chief executive officer of Fearless Futures; Toyin Ogundana – investment manager at CAF Venturesome; Paul Riseborough – chief commercial officer at Metro Bank and Julian Thompson, social innovation and fundraising strategist.

How and where to get Crowdlending to fund your Business (TechBullion), Rated: B

When considering your initial application for funding, crowdlending platforms will review your business plan, financial information and other details about your company. In other words, the platforms will review your company’s financial information as well as your personal information in much the same way as banks will do before offering you a loan. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that your business plan is engaging, comprehensive and well thought out.

Investors will usually seek to get more information about you and your business from social networks like FacebookTwitterand LinkedIn. It will serve you well to ensure that you have an online presence before you seek for funds through crowdlending.

Going by the FundingKnightresearch, most UK investors have a love for the community and would want to give back to some UK SME to ensure its prosperity.

China

More Chinese fintech firms to eye Hong Kong IPOs, says JP Morgan (SCMP), Rated: AAA

More Chinese fintech firms vying to go public could choose Hong Kong as their listing venue, after the city’s first fintech IPO received a hot response from investors, and that Hong Kong has unique advantages compared with other global financial hubs, said JP Morgan’s head of global investment banking in China.

Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, closed nine per cent up from its IPO price on Thursday in its Hong Kong debut. With an oversubscription of nearly 400 times from retail investors, the company had priced its IPO at the top end of the expected range, raising US$1.5 billion in the city’s biggest ever fintech offering.

“The next Zhong An could show up in online payment, P2P lending, [financial] product distribution, or online insurance.”

In particular, revenue from online payment is estimated to increase to 202 billion yuan by 2020. Revenue from online distribution of financial products could grow to 52 billion yuan by then, while that for online lending and online insurance may reach 142 billion yuan and 60 billion yuan respectively.

ZhongAn Insurance Starts Trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn’s IPO will likely make the company the 4th most valuable fintech company in the world with a market cap of about US$10.4 billion, following the top three fintechs, which are Paypal ($78bn), Ant Financial ($68bn) and Lufax ($18bn).

Peter Renton interviewed the CEO of ZhongAn Insurance, Jeffrey Chen, on the Lend Academy Podcast over the summer. Jeffrey said in the interview that ZhongAn has 492 million insurance customers as of December 31, 2016. That is more than four times that of insurance giant AXA’s customer base (107 million, as of December 31, 2016). By this measure, ZhongAn truly is the world’s largest insurance company. And this is just a four-year old company!

Why ZhongAn is So Succesful

For the technology part, ZhongAn has been using artificial intelligence and big data analytics in each step of the insurance value chain, from marketing, underwriting, pricing to claims processing.

Another example is that ZhongAn has partnered with a Chinese automaker to develop internet of things (IoTs) and telematics solutions. Telematics devices can capture drivers’ behavioral data, which can be fed to algorithms using big data techniques to tailor product pricing to observed risk levels.

In ZhongAn’s early days, the revenue generated by shipping return policies accounted for almost 90% of the total revenue. This product would not have been such a success were it not for its partnership with Alibaba. Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba, is also the single biggest shareholder (16.04%) of ZhongAn.

Source: :Lend Academy

KKR Invests in Shenzhen Suishou Technology (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Shenzhen Suishou Technology Co. (“Suishou” or the “Company”), a leading personal finance management platform in China, and global investment firm KKR today announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which KKR will invest in Suishou’s Series C funding round to support the Company’s expansion across China.

European Union

Robo.Cash Tops €2 million with 1000th Investor (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Emerging peer to peer lender Robo.Cashhas topped €2 million in loans with the advent of the 1000th investor.  According to Robo.Cash, investors are spread across most of Europe with lenders now coming from 28 different countries. The short term loans are coming from Spain and Kazakhstan.

The total sum of earned interests has amounted to more than €50,000 since the start of the platform’s work.

The End of Fintech Is Nigh (FiNews), Rated: AAA

Switzerland is one of the major global fintech centers and the industry is booming: Swisscom counted fewer than a hundred fintech startups in 2015, today there are 208 companies active in wealth management, comparative consulting, crypto finance, data management, payment services and lending (see illustration below).

Blurred Dividing Line

And this may also spell the end of fintech as we know it, in Switzerland, and abroad. That’s at least what Armands Broks (pictured below) believes. The founder and CEO of Twino, a peer-to-peer lending platform, thinks that the fine line between finance industry and fintech is about to be blurred and that fintech eventually will disappear.

The only way forward for fintech is through cooperation agreements and in doing so, «the fintech industry is signing its own death sentence,» Broks said.

PWC consultants said that about 60 percent of Swiss banks have links to fintechs. Four out of five banks are eyeing partnerships in the near future or are planning to expand existing ones.

International

Goldman Sachs’ foray into consumer banking is getting aggressive (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The same year it launched GS Bank, it began building a digital-only consumer loan product, Marcus, that was fully developed and on the market 12 months later. Without having the legacy infrastructure under previously existing consumer products and services, the overhaul other major banks have been experiencing don’t exist for Goldman.

“[The] platform approach has not been an obvious approach on Wall Street. Our competitors are generally structured in deep vertical silos and we have a different architecture: these shallower silos built on top of many layers of software, tech infrastructure, cybersecurity, enterprise platforms and increasingly, client platforms,” Marty Chavez, an engineer and Goldman Sachs CIO-turned-CFO this year, said in a keynote at Harvard University earlier this year.

46 percent of Goldman jobs are in technology 
CB Insights analyzed more than 2,000 open Goldman Sachs job listings by division and business unit to confirm it’s focused on building its technology and digital finance units.

Many of the jobs are in digital finance. Earlier this month it reportedly poached 20 employees from New York-based online lending startup Bond Street — engineers, product developers, and risk and marketing specialists — presumably to build out a lending product.

According to the research, published Tuesday, 46 percent of all of the firm’s jobs as of Sept. 14 are in technology, with the highest amount for core platform roles, followed by operations engineering and then equities technology.

Source: Tearsheet

Marcus is expanding in the U.K.

Marcus, the online lending startup built inside the investment bank, has been growing tremendously in the eight months since it launched in October 2016. It has one product: a customizable personal loan for Prime borrowers, with at least a 660 credit score, of up to $30,000. It promises no fees and straightforward repayment terms. It recently passed $1 billion in loan originations with expectations to originate $2 billion by the end of this year. By comparison: SoFi, which launched in 2011, reached its first billion after 14 months; Avant, founded in 2012, took 28 months; 10-year-old Lending Club took 65 months; and Prosper, launched in 2006, passed $1 billion in 98 months.

Goldmoney Inc. Adds Bitcoin and Ethereum to the Goldmoney Holding (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

Goldmoney Inc. (TSX:XAU) (“Goldmoney”) (the “Company”), a precious metal financial service and technology company, today unveiled the addition of vaulted Bitcoin and Ethereum as secure and fully-reserved offline investable assets within the Goldmoney® Holding, a major enhancement that allows qualified clients to buy, sell, and exchange cryptocurrencies with nine global currencies as well as gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion. With today’s launch, Goldmoney becomes the world’s first publicly traded and regulated financial service to offer insurable, auditable, and Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) compliant exposure to cryptocurrencies.

  • Buying and selling of digital assets that are safely secured in vaulted cold storage. Cryptocurrency offerings currently include Bitcoin and Ethereum; additional leading digital assets will be added over time.
  • Funding of Goldmoney Holdings with 50 types of cryptocurrency, enabling wallet holders to sell a variety of cryptocurrencies and fund their Goldmoney Holding with fiat currency to access precious metals and other Goldmoney service offerings.
  • Will seek the establishment of peer-to-peer (“P2P”) lending capabilities on digital assets in partnership with Lend and Borrow Trust, allowing owners of Bitcoin and other assets to safely borrow against their positions.

HNWs Would Use Amazon for Wealth Management (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The majority of high net investors would turn to GoogleAppleFacebook and Amazon for wealth management, Bloomberg writes.

If one of the four tech giants were to enter the advice space, 56.2% of wealthy individuals would entrust them with their money, according to a Capgemini survey of 2,500 individuals with a net worth of $1 million or more in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific cited by the news service. And among people under 40, more than 81% would use one of the four tech firms, according to the survey.

Australia

New fintech “Study Loans” aims to help cash-strapped students (Mozo), Rated: AAA

It’s called Study Loans and is said to be the first online platform dedicated to providing loans to students for both vocational and higher education.

Working closely with education providers, the fintech will track student performance and provide funds as you study through ‘tranches’ – which are based on the number of units you do and when they are completed.

Think of tranches as a ‘pay as you go’ kind of deal. So whether you pass one unit or four, Study Loans will release the funds according to your course progression.

Study Loans has raised $5 million debt equity so far, which is ready to be distributed as the first tranche to Aussie students who have already applied through the platform.

Financing options for students: 

  • Student loans – Student personal loans are designed to help fund your education. They often have a more lenient application criteria and have lower interest rates than standard personal loans. But you are expected to make monthly repayments – so you’ll need to make sure your budget can handle the amount.
  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • HECS-HELP – This is a Government funded scheme for students enrolled in Commonwealth supported institutions with no real interest charged on the loan. You won’t have to pay your student fees upfront, however, you are expected to make repayments once you start earning a salary of $54,869.

MONEFLY LAUNCHES FREE FINTECH PLATFORM WITH ENVESTNET | YODLEE FINANCIAL DATA (Yodlee), Rated: A

Monefly is an innovative new Fintech platform in Australia, focused on providing tools and resources that empower its members to grow income, reduce expenses, build assets, eliminate debt and protect themselves from risk. Some of these exciting tools include free property valuations, automated budgeting, credit scores, bank account consolidation and much more.

Monefly has partnered with Envestnet | Yodlee to help its members access comprehensive financial data available across banking and wealth management from over 15,500 data sources globally.

The data being integrated into Monefly includes superannuation, cash, credit cards, personal debts, mortgages, assets, shares, real estate, credit scores and other investment data.

India

MyAdvo Ties Up with Online Loan Advisor Square Capital for Loan Services (newKerala), Rated: AAA

MyAdvo, India’s leading Legal Tech Startup has entered into an agreement with Square Capital, the digital lending arm of India’s largest real estate transaction platform Square Yards to enable loan facilitation for lawyers on its panel.

Square Capital currently facilitates USD 30- 40Mn(INR 200cr – INR 260cr) of loan disbursals every month, contributed majorly by secured mortgages spread across 50+ banking partners for their different products in home loan, loan against property and business loan.

This exclusive tie-up will benefit MyAdvo registered lawyers in receiving immediate loan solutions without any hassle.

Indians are warming up to robo-advisers (livemint), Rated: A

Robo-advisers, or automated services based on computer algorithms, are catching on in the Indian market due to the relatively lower penetration of financial products in India compared to developed markets.

According to a Business Insider Intelligence forecast, robo-advisers (with some element of automation) will manage investment products worth $1 trillion by 2020, which will go up to $4.6 trillion by as early as 2022.

Scepticism notwithstanding, financial institutions in the country are realising the benefits of robo-advisory services by either building the product in-house or partnering with fintech companies to develop robo-advisers. Take the case of FundsIndia.com, which has a robo-advisory service for which it is forging partnerships with financial biggies. “We have a partnership with Axis Securities and one more company. There is a growing acceptance from the industry, and we are trying to enable better product design,” said Srikant Meenakshi, co-founder, FundsIndia.com. According to him, 15% of his company’s overall portfolio comprises robo-advisory services. Similarly, 5nance has an agreement with HDFC Mutual Fund for its robo-advisor.

Robo-advisory start-up ArthaYantra uses a patented methodology called the Personal Financial Lifecycle Management on its online platform, Arthos. Since its launch in 2008, the site claims to have helped 120,000 customers across more 650 cities and 30 countries.

Asia

Singapore Cryptocurrency Firms Facing Bank Account Closures (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Singapore banks have closed accounts of several companies which specialize in providing cryptocurrency and payments services, according to two local bodies which represent financial-technology firms.

Chia Hock Lai, president of the Singapore Fintech Association, which has broader membership than Access, said some of his organization’s members also experienced account closures, though he didn’t provide figures.

Access has 106 members and the Fintech Association has 185, though the two organizations said some companies belong to both groups.

How technology drives a new Taiwanese banking landscape (The Asset), Rated: A

According to Joseph Huang, president of E.Sun Bank, speaking in an interview with The Asset, payments is one area that every bank is looking to explore, although it does not generate huge profits for most banks.

Banks are also more frequently working with technology companies. E.Sun Bank partnered with IBM Taiwan in building its digital branch, which opened in February 2017, making it the first digital branch in Taiwan. Similarly, CTBC partnered with LINE Pay to help merge its banking services with communication apps and social media.

Taishin Bank’s e-banking application, Richart, which attracted over 120,000 subscribers, is targeting young Taiwanese users, while Cathay United Bank is also providing its products to retail customers through its platform My MobiBank.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday September 28 2017, Daily News Digest

Chinese billionaires

News Comments Today’s main news: PayPal likely to buy big target like Square or Klarna soon. LendingTree acquires non-lending assets of SnapCap. Funding Circle boost revenues, narrows losses. ZhongAn raises $1.5B in Hong Kong IPO. Funding Societies intros first crowdfunding chatbot in Southeast Asia. Today’s main analysis: Hong Kong private wealth sees double-digit growth. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The next […]

Chinese billionaires

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Middle East

Canada

News Summary

United States

PayPal A Buyer, Not Seller, And May Seek A Big Target (Investors.com), Rated: AAA

Cash-rich PayPal Holdings (PYPL) is likely to pull the trigger on a big acquisition soon, and may be eyeing Europe or a big target like Square (SQ), says a Wall Street analyst.

Ellis says PayPal has $6 billion in cash on its balance sheet and could raise $4 billion or more by selling off its consumer credit business.

“While there are a number of potential candidates, we see the acquisition of a European payments asset as the most likely,” added Ellis in the report. “We believe the top candidates are Adyen, Klarna, Square and Stripe.”

Both Square and Stripe, however, would be costly acquisitions. Square’s market valuation tops $10 billion, while privately-held Stripe’s latest funding round in December gave it a whopping $9.2 billion valuation.

LendingTree Acquires Non-Lending Assets of SnapCap (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE) announced today that it has acquired certain assets of Snap Capital LLC, a tech-enabled online platform connecting business owners with lenders offering small business loans, lines of credit and merchant cash advance products through a concierge-based sales approach.

The acquisition purchase has a possible total consideration of $21 million, which consists of $12 million in cash at closing, and contingent consideration payments of up to $9 million.

The Next Billion-Dollar Startups 2017 (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Every year for the past three, Forbes has gone looking for 25 young U.S. companies with a strong shot at reaching a valuation of $1 billion or more. This year, with the help of TrueBridge Capital Partners, we asked venture firms which companies they thought most likely to hit the billion-dollar mark soon. Then we cut that list down to a final 25, evaluating strategies, funding and competitive challenges as well as estimating current revenues.

Blend

Founders: Erin Collard, Nima Ghamsari (CEO), Eugene Marinelli; Equity raised: $160 million; Estimated 2017 revenue: $27 million; Lead investors: 8VC, Founders Fund, Greylock Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners

What it does: Makes cloud-based software that lenders use to originate mortgages online. Today, Blend works with about 30 mortgage originators, including Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp and Mason-McDuffie Mortgage. It also plans expansions into student and auto loans.

Fundbox

Founders: Yuval Ariav, Tomer Michaeli, Eyal Shinar (CEO); Equity raised: $108 million; Estimated 2017 revenue: $55 million; Lead investors: General Catalyst, Khosla Ventures, Spark Capital

What it does: Provides short-term financing to small businesses. Fundbox intends to reduce the cash-flow headaches of small companies, both those waiting for payment and those that need short-term credit to pay what they owe. Fundbox started as an invoice-financing company, lending money to small businesses against their accounts receivables at rates lower than those for cash advances and without prepayment penalties. Its new model, expected to launch in 2018, is meant to work like a credit card for business-to-business transactions. A company that owes money has Fundbox pay the invoice. The company that is owed gets its cash immediately (minus a small interchange fee). Meanwhile, the first company has 60 days to repay Fundbox before being charged interest. With U.S. businesses doing some $41 trillion in business-to-business transactions a year, the potential market is enormous, but setting up such a network is hard.

Plaid

Founders: William Hockey, Zach Perret (CEO); Equity raised: $60 million; Estimated 2017 revenue: $40 million; Lead investors: Goldman Sachs, New Enterprise Associates, Spark Capital

What it does: Makes software that helps technology startups and banks work together. Plaid’s products provide authentication of accounts and routing numbers, income validation and real-time balance checks. Among its customers: Venmo, Robinhood, Coinbase and Clarity Money.

Shinola Finds Kindred Partner in Affirm (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Affirm, Inc., the company started by Max Levchin to provide fair and honest consumer financing, today announced that Detroit-based design brand, Shinola, is using Affirm’s point of sale service to put customers first in an era when a merchant’s values often outstrip price for shoppers’ making a buying decision — especially among millennials.

Known for its dedication to thoughtful manufacturing by creating jobs and making watches, bicycles, leather goods, journals, jewelry, and audio equipment of the highest quality, Shinola is obsessive about customer experience to ensure a high-touch shopping experience that accurately matches the finely crafted watches, bicycles, jewelry, bags, accessories and gifts for sale on its website.

Since Shinola began offering Affirm’s financing to its shoppers, the company’s average order value (AOV) has increased by 52 percent. Also, 50 percent of the Affirm users on Shinola’s site are now between the ages of 18 and 34, a market Shinola has been working to grow.

Nearly 90 percent of marketers said customer experience would be their primary differentiator this year, according to a recent study by research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc. And, the majority of respondents — 55 percent — in a recent survey conducted by Affirm and Qualtrics of more than 1,000 22 to 44-year-olds in the U.S. said they prioritize a company with high values and ethical business practices, over minimizing their out-of-pocket costs.

How CRE Fundraising Is Changing and Why (Commercial Property Executive), Rated: A

Jason Burian: The number of closed-end private real estate funds in the market raising capital over the past three years:

  • January 2015 – 478
  • January 2016 – 492
  • January 2017 – 525 (record high)

Closed-end private real estate dry powder over the past three years:

  • December 2015 – $229 billion
  • December 2016 – $237 billion
  • July 2017 – $255 billion (record high)

CPE: Is the real estate crowdfunding industry a solution? What are the risks?

Burian: I see real estate crowdfunding as an alternative to traditional private equity real estate and an alternative source of investors and not as a solution to any problem. As we know, it is just an avenue for every day individual investors seeking exposure in their portfolios to real estate without acquiring shares of REIT’s.

Government regulation is always a risk for this relatively new industry sector. There are questions about the amount of government regulation and whether there is enough to make it a safe playing field. Until crowdfunding matures, with the proper level of regulation, there is always a risk that someone is taking advantage of that gap that currently may exist.

A new survey has concluded that then it comes to researching mortgages, Millennials prefer the D.I.Y. aspect of the online world, while Baby Boomers prefer to communicate with people.

According to the survey, “The Digital Mortgage Experience: A Study of Shifting Borrower Expectations,” from Los Angeles-based Velocify, more than one-third of all borrowers prefer self-service websites, especially during the research stage of getting a mortgage. But as the process evolves, demographic shifts occur. The survey found Millennials were 45 percent more likely to find their lender online than Baby Boomers, who were 87 percent more likely to use their current bank or lender for their home loans.

Boost Insurance Raises $ 3M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Boost Insurance USA, a NY-based technology-enabled insurtech development platform provider, raised $3m in funding.

The round was led by Norwest Venture Partners with participation from IA Capital Group, Greycroft Partners, and re/insurance industry leaders State National Companies (NASDAQ: SNC) and Nephila.

3 Stocks That Could Double Your Money (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Company Recent Stock Price
Lending Club (NYSE:LC) $5.97
Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) $6.52
Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) $17.01

DATA SOURCE: TD AMERITRADE. PRICES AS OF SEPT. 26, 2017.

Finally starting to grow again

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Club has lost roughly three-fourths of its market value since its first trading day in 2014, thanks to several quarters of stagnant growth and a scandal that worried investors.

However, the company’s most recent earnings report shows that things may finally be starting to pick up, with 10% growth in loan originations, higher profit margins, and impressive revenue growth. In addition, the company said it could be on the verge of profitability by the start of 2018, and it expects double-digit sequential revenue growth in the third quarter of this year.

Lending Club’s current loan portfolio represents roughly 0.4% of the U.S. consumer lending market, and if the company could even manage to boost its market share to one or two percent, it could mean a big payday for the company’s investors.

Sumero Leads $ 45M Growth Equity Round in Treasury Fintech Kyriba (Xconomy), Rated: B

After raising $23 million in a Series D funding round last September, Kyriba says today it has raised $45 million in a growth equity round led by Sumeru Equity Partners, a tech-focused private equity firm that specializes in mid-market deals. Previous investors Bpifrance, Iris Capital, Daher Capital (all growth equity funds) joined the deal, along with HSBC.

The venture rounds are over for Kyriba, a cloud-based provider of corporate treasury and financial management software that is based in New York and San Diego.

Amazon effect’ makes advising smaller clients less profitable (Financial Times), Rated: B

Daniel Ketchum prides himself on his low fees and independence, but after 27 years as a financial adviser he is finding it harder to make a living working with smaller clients.

Increased government regulations and savers becoming more knowledgeable about investing have created what he calls the “Amazon effect” for US financial advisers.

But the US Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which came out this year, is making it harder for him to make a profit from advising small plans, he says.

The regulation requires advisers servicing retirement accounts to work in the best interest of the client and has disrupted the wealth management industry.

“I am trying to see if there’s an area where we can do this online and don’t need to leave the office,” he says. “If every plan had the economics of the smaller guys, it would be tough to pay staff, office rent and marketing.”

PayPal’s Cofounder Says Amazon Is “Not Yet” A Monopoly (BuzzFeed), Rated: B

Max Levchin, a cofounder of PayPal and former chairman of Yelp who is now CEO of the online lending startup Affirm, told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that Amazon has “not yet” become a monopoly because of competition from major retailers like Walmart as well as from smaller brands, which are investing in ways to attract and keep customers in the real world as well as online.

Walmart is still much larger than Amazon in terms of net sales. During 2017 fiscal year, Walmart reported$485.9 billion in revenue and $481.3 billion in net sales. Amazon, on the other hand, reported about $136 billion in net sales in 2016.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle boosts revenues, narrows losses in 2016 results (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The UK’s largest marketplace lending platform marginally narrowed its losses in 2016. Funding Circle, a business loans marketplace, lost £35.7m in 2016, slightly down from £36.9m in the previous year. Meanwhile the platform boosted revenues by 59 per cent to £50.9m, and saw its total loans outstanding climb 61 per cent to £1.37bn, according to a Companies House filing.

Funding Circle has also flagged that its group operating results for the first half of 2017 demonstrate that revenue growth has accelerated further, approximately doubling year-on-year.

The UK Punches Above its Weight in Alternative Finance & Crowdfunding Can Provide a More Robust Funding Ecosystem (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Crowdfund Insider recently spoke with Raghavendra Rau to better understand his perspective on the crowdfunding market. Rau is the Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Professor of Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School. He is also a founder and Director at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative  Finance (CCAF). At the most recent CCAF annual conference in Cambridge, Rau shared some insightful research he had recently completed on the global crowdfunding market.

First, to clarify, in the UK crowdfunding encompasses both debt and equity so peer to peer lending (IE Marketplace Lending) is included in aggregate terms. It is more about many people (and perhaps some institutions) funding a single project. Rau, in his research, emphasizes that in the UK the debt crowdfunding market is far larger than the equity side. This makes sense and mirrors the public markets. Yet access to capital at a very early stage may require equity capital. But globally, over 90% of the crowdfunding market is debt, not equity. It is a debt financed world, at least for SMEs, said Rau.

“Yes, there is definitely potential here. Usually you have two types of firms. Most small enterprises do not require equity. They require debt. Debt means you have to have approximately stable cash flows. Equity means you have to convince the investors that you have an amazing idea that is going to pay off in several years and I am going to let you (the investor) share in this. This is more risky for the investor and so all SMEs are not suitable candidates to raise equity.”

Rau said there are two different paths. Banks or crowdfunding. With crowdfunding there is less paperwork. It is easier to process and in some instances less risk averse. Banks are pulling back from lending across the spectrum. SMEs, the engine of economic growth, are not getting the necessary capital via the traditional route.

So has the UK crowdfunding system been effective?

In the broader scope of things, China is the largest alternative finance market in the world. The US comes in a distant second. The UK is a strong third. But given the relative size of the UK economy, Rau calls the UK performance “extremely impressive.”

The UK is recognized as the top Fintech hub in the world but this required policymakers to be more creative and to take some chances. So far, it has paid off.

How FAs Engage Third-Party Services is Changing (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Wealth Mosaic aims to build “a resource covering all of the main business needs of wealth managers” in about a dozen verticals, says its co-founder Stephen Wall, who has worked as a wealth management consultant with Boston-based Aite Group and Scorpio Partnership in London. At first, though, he says the service will focus where it’s needed most: on technology and data resources as well as consulting and research options.

Though Wall sees a role for Wealth Mosaic with all “different types of wealth managers,” he sees particular growth opportunities helping “smaller independent” firms that lack in-house consulting arms to help them match their needs to third-party providers, whether the services in question are critical to the firm’s core mission or add value around the edges.

Advisers warned of robo-advice ‘cliff edge’ (FT Adviser), Rated: A

A panel of experts at the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment’s financial planning conference in Newport today (26 September) said robo-advice did not necessarily pose a risk to financial advice as long as advisers adapted.

George Rooke, head of UK portfolio management at Wealthsimple, said there were advisers who would “struggle” because of their refusal to engage with robo-advice.

Michelle Pearce, co-founder of robo-adviser Wealthify, said advisers did not necessarily have to worry about being replaced by companies such as hers.

British Business Bank reaffirms support for fintech in new report (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE BRITISH Business Bank (BBB) has published a new report underlining the importance of diverse sources of funding for smaller businesses, including peer-to-peer lending.

The report, titled The Benefits of Diverse Finance Markets for Smaller Businesses, explains why and how the state-backed lender works to increase the number of providers and finance options available to small firms in the UK.

“To date £135m is committed to five fintech alternative lending partners. These partners cover a wide range of products including P2P term loans, invoice finance and merchant cash advances.”

Spotcap Announces UK Fintech Fellowship Winner (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Spotcap, an online lender for SMEs, has announced Mohammed Hussan as the winner of its Fintech Fellowship 2017. The Fellowship awards one aspiring masters or MBA student with a £8,000 stipend towards their studies.

China

Online Insurer ZhongAn Raises $ 1.5 Billion in Hong Kong IPO (Caixin), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn, the online insurance seller with ties to China’s two largest internet companies, raised $1.5 billion from its Hong Kong IPO as investor flocked to the biggest listing to date by a new generation of Chinese financial technology (fintech) companies.

Shares of ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co. Ltd. were priced at HK$59.70 ($7.64) apiece, representing the top of their previously indicated range, according to a company announcement on Wednesday to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The offering raised HK$11.5 billion after being nearly 400 times oversubscribed.

ZhongAn Surges in HK Debut, Boding Well for Future Tech Listings (The New York Times), Rated: A

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co jumped 18 percent on debut on Thursday after the biggest ever IPO by a financial technology firm in Asia, boosting Hong Kong’s hopes of luring future Chinese technology startups away from New York.

It also bodes well for expected listings from other fintech giants in Hong Kong, including Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial and peer-to-peer lending and wealth management platform Lufax.

Both Ant Financial and Lufax are considering IPOs in the city, sources previously told Reuters, although the timing for the deals is uncertain.

Private wealth in Hong Kong sees double-digit growth in 2017 (The Asset), Rated: AAA

THIS July, Hong Kong’s private wealth management industry recorded a 14% increase in assets under management (AUM) compared to a year ago. Hong Kong’s wealth management professionals believe that the growth is primarily driven by mainland China’s growing wealth, according to a recent report.

The estimated total private wealth in terms of AUM in Hong Kong is over US$800 billion as of July 2017, according to a survey by Private Wealth Management Association (PWMA) and PwC. This is an increase of 14% from US$700 billion in July 2016. PWMA’s annual members survey was produced with PwC in July 2017, with 33 out of 45 PWMA member firms participated.

In the survey, 100% of respondents cited mainland China as the main driver of growth in Hong Kong’s private wealth AUM. This may be unsurprising, as China has become home to the highest number of billionaires in the world. According to Hurun Report in 2016, China now has 568 billionaires, surpassing the 535 billionaires in the US, and now ranks first globally.

China’s Ant brings in CK Hutchison as Hong Kong payments partner (Reuters), Rated: A

Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said it will create a joint venture this year with CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd to operate its payment app in Hong Kong, ending Ant’s solo management of the service.

The new venture will allow Ant Financial’s Alipay to offer services via companies under CK Hutchison, which operates ports, retail, infrastructure and telecommunications businesses across 50 countries.

Ant Financial currently operates its payment app under the Alipay brand in Hong Kong, which offers transaction services at around 4,000 outlets in the city. The new joint venture will take over operation of the app, though it will still be branded Alipay, it said on Tuesday.

European Union

Fintech Group signs Kommunalkredit (Finextra), Rated: A

Kommunalkredit is a specialist bank for infrastructure financing based in Vienna, with a branch office in Frankfurt am Main. Its new online offering KOMMUNALKREDIT INVEST targets retail investors, who want to deposit their savings at attractive conditions. Their funds will be used to support key infrastructure investments made by Kommunalkredit such as schools, hospitals, care homes, wind farms, solar energy installations, waste-to-energy facilities, and transport projects.

FinTech Group provides a broad range of fully digital solutions and interfaces for KOMMUNALKREDIT INVEST: they include frontend processes such as online account openings, e-banking, and identification solutions such as video identification, e-signature and mTAN. On the backend side, FinTech Group will also run a data warehouse and carry out compliance monitoring as well as regulatory reporting.

Milan opens ‘Fintech District’ (Finextra), Rated: B

Thirty firms – ranging from start-ups to established corporates – have already selected the Fintech District as their home; they include businesses working in crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, blockchain and cryptocurrency-based technologies, and robo-advisory.

International

FinTech Has Yet To Make Impact On Trade Finance Gap (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Trade finance revenue is slipping at the world’s largest banks, especially as companies struggle in a global trade environment operating with a $1.5 trillion gap in trade finance availability.

According to the ADB’s latest survey findings, though, outlined in its Trade Finance Gaps, Growth and Jobs report, FinTech players have yet to make a meaningful impact on the trade finance industry.

The survey polled more than 515 banks and 1,336 companies across 103 countries, finding that FinTech innovators can, indeed, help address the $1.5 trillion trade finance gap which disproportionately impacts small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Approximately one-fifth of the companies surveyed said they had used some type of digital finance, alternative lending or FinTech platform to access trade finance, according to the ADB results.

Leveraging Alternative Data to Energize Your Lending Portfolio (LendIt), Rated: A

Banks aren’t just dealing with customers who want lending and credit information faster. Government regulations are also requiring them to do so, such as Australian banks requiring affordability checks as part of new consumer loans.

Venkat Srinivasan, Head of Lending at Monzo, said that as a new digital bank, they began to question why it was often a month or two months before consumers could see the transaction come through on their banking or credit card. Venkat noted that while technology is improving and customers are evolving, data availability is evolving at the same time.

Roger Vincent, Head of Banking and Innovation at Equifax, discussed how they’re finding new ways to store data, facilitate data movement, and turn data into insights in the form of scores and characteristics.

Phil Grady, CEO of Castlight Financial, discussed how they created a business that has taken traditional credit data from consumers and integrated it with transactional data. This involves categorizing income and expenditures, and then determining essential expenditures versus non-essentials. This enables Castlight to determine consumers’ real disposable income, which in turn helps lenders make better lending decisions. This type of granular level data has allowed Castlight to create the first real-time Financial Capability Formula.

Only three per cent of advisers offer robo-advice (AltFi), Rated: A

Only three per cent of 162 advisers surveyed said they offered fully automated wealth management services, the research found.

The study, which was conducted by research firm Platforum on behalf of JP Morgan, also found that only 14 per cent plant to implement it in the next two years.

Australia

Alternative Finance: Australia Becoming Regional Leader (Canstar), Rated: AAA

Australia’s alternative finance market has grown by 53% over 12 months according to a report released by KPMG, becoming the second largest in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report revealed Australia’s alternative finance market increased from US$27 million in 2015 to US$610 million in 2016 as Aussies turn to peer-to-peer lending (P2P), balance sheet business lending and crowdfunding.

In the US$245.28 billion Asia-Pacific alternative finance market, China was found to be the leader, accounting for 99.2% and representing 85% of the total global market.

P2P consumer lending was Australia’s second most popular alternative finance model behind balance sheet business lending, increasing from US$43 million in 2015 to over US$158 million in 2016.

India

Funding Societies introduces Miyu, the friendly Chatbot (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Societies, Singapore’sand Southeast Asia’s leading crowdfunding platform, has announced the launch of its chatbot Miyu. This is the first such chatbot created by a crowdfunding company in Southeast Asia. Miyu works round the clock to answer queries that a business owner or an investor may ask about the products and services offered by Funding Societies.

“We created Miyu via self-learning with guidance from our seniors. She is different from most other chatbots in the financial services space. Personally, I like that Miyu can escalate to human support whenever required, giving our users a seamless experience,” said Sherman Lim, who is a Singaporean and majors in Economics and Strategic Management at Singapore Management University (SMU).

The future plans for Miyu include acting as a Virtual Relationship Manager who can assist SMEs in loan application, and help investors navigate through the platform, initiate video chats with real customer experience managers as well as perform account opening and management activities such as investments, deposits, withdrawals, etc. without human intervention at any time of the day.

Fintech firms look to disburse loans, offer digital expertise under Mudra (livemint), Rated: A

Financial Technology (Fintech) firms are in early discussions with the government and Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Ltd (MUDRA), exploring opportunities under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), said three people close to the development.

So far, PMMY loans have been extended by all public sector banks, regional rural banks (RRBs), cooperative banks, private sector banks, foreign banks, micro finance institutions and non-banking finance companies. Fintech companies have not been involved yet.

Under Shishu, refinancing is provided for loans up to Rs50,000. Kishor offers refinancing for loans above Rs50,000 up to Rs5 lakh whereas, Tarun provides refinancing for loans above Rs5 lakh up to Rs10 lakh. Mudra also offers services like credit guarantee for micro units and securitization of loan assets against micro enterprise portfolios.

Middle East

Dubai Economy signs new deal to develop emCash (Tahawul Tech), Rated: A

Emcredit, a subsidiary of Dubai Economy, and the UK-based Object Tech Group have signed a partnership deal to facilitate financial transactions through contactless payment.

Emcredit and Object Tech will develop a competitive, accountable and legally compliant emCash ecosystem together. Several associated products to protect emCash wallet and digital documents, enable direct real-time settlement and peer-to-peer lending, and provide credit rating based on the distributor ledger of emCash will also be developed.

emCash is based on blockchain technology and will be the digital currency in emPay wallet. The payment method, according to Dubai Economy, will allow the UAE residents to make varied payments through the near field communication (NFC) option on their phones. With emCash, emPay users will have the option of a secure digital currency, and merchants can receive such payments in real time without going through intermediaries.

Canada

The Digital Banking Underdog: Toronto Emerges as Global FinTech Leader (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

It’s estimated that in 2017 alone, nearly $60 billion worth of payments will be made on mobile platforms. Comparing these figures to just two years ago, only $8.71 billion worth of transactions were made digitally in 2015.

In line with other frontrunners in the industry, such as London, Silicon Valley and New York City, Toronto, Canada, my hometown, stands apart as an emerging FinTech ecosystem, and it’s become a well-recognized leader amongst the largest and most stable financial centers in the world.

Ontario has been a global leader in digital payments for more than a decade, with Toronto leading in a high concentration of cryptocurrencies,blockchain, alternative lending and e-commerce growth verticals.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 22 2017, Daily News Digest

APAC alternative finance

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi hit with a new lawsuit. Former SoFi loan reviewer says company created a hostile work environment. LendingClub launches Android app for investors. ZhongAn prices Hong Kong IPO at HK$59.70, raises $1.5B. Australia passes Japan to become second largest alternative finance market in APAC. Today’s main analysis: APAC alternative finance report. Today’s thought-provoking […]

APAC alternative finance

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

APAC

South America

News Summary

United States

SoFi Condoned ‘Rampant Sexual Activity,’ Lawsuit Alleges (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

A former loan reviewer at Social Finance Inc. claims in a lawsuit she was repeatedly sexually harassed while working there, ratcheting up pressure on the embattled fintech startup.

Sonoma County Superior Court court clerk confirmed by phone that the complaint was filed Thursday.

Top management indulged in the inappropriate behavior, which then trickled down through the ranks, according to the complaint. Cagney dated subordinates at SoFi’s San Francisco office — where his wife works as chief technology officer and vice president of engineering — and attended parties with SoFi’s Healdsburg staff while intoxicated, Zamora alleges.

SoFi Faces New Sexual Harassment Claim Days After CEO’s Departure (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Yulia Zamora, who worked as a loan reviewer at SoFi’s Healdsburg, Calif., office from October 2015 until October 2016, said in a complaint against the company that a manager had propositioned her for sex and retaliated against her when she refused.

She added that SoFi exhibited a “hostile work environment where sexually inappropriate behavior became widely accepted and laudable by upper management.”

In her complaint, Ms. Zamora said that a SoFi director of operations who had authority over promotions approached her during and after an office Christmas party in December 2015. The manager, Adam Cobb, told her that he was “intimidated by [her] beauty” and that he “want[ed] to do sexy things” to her, according to the complaint. She denied his advances, the complaint added.

In the weeks following those comments, Mr. Cobb refused to promote Ms. Zamora and refused to write her a letter of recommendation after she resigned from the company, according to the complaint. She raised the issue with supervisors just after the party, but said that they found the story “entertaining rather than upsetting.”

Why Startup Founders Should Be Required to Sign a ‘No Go, Bro’ Clause (Fortune), Rated: AAA

Startup CEOs like Cagney, Travis Kalanick at Uber, and Taylor Freeman at UploadVR—accused in a recent lawsuit of bragging with his co-founder Will Mason about how many girls they were going to have sex with at company parties, and designating a room at the office as a “kink room”—can destroy as well as create billions of dollars in value for their companies, all while creating toxic work environments.

Whether they resign like Cagney and Kalanick or remain with the company like Freeman and Mason, startup executives typically own a large percentage of company stock. That often leads investors and boards to treat them gently when it comes to sexual harassment allegations and other forms of misconduct—but it should not.

Before making a big investment in a startup, investors should use their power to require CEOs to sign a clause under which they forfeit a large proportion, or potentially all, of their stock, if fired for misconduct, including reasons such as sexual harassment and misrepresentations to investors.

 

 

 

LendingClub, a peer-to-peer loans platform, just launched its Android app for investors (Android Police), Rated: AAA

With the LendingClub Invest app, you can log in via your fingerprint, view information like your current value and return, as well as transfer money.

Keep in mind that this is for investors, not borrowers. It’s for those using the service who want to manage their accounts and view the details of their current investments. Borrowers using LendingClub don’t have an app just yet.

The full log for this initial release is below:

WHAT’S NEW

Access your LendingClub investor account through a convenient experience optimized for your mobile device.
In this initial version you can:
– Log in to your account with a touch of the finger (for Android 6.0 or above)
– View and manage your account
– See your Net Annualized Return (NAR)
– Invest in Notes
– Use your saved filters to find the Notes you want
– Set up and update automated investing
– Transfer money between your LendingClub account and your bank

Hackers Entered Equifax Systems in March (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Hackers roamed undetected in Equifax Inc.’s EFX +2.76% computer network for more than four months before its security team uncovered the massive data breach, the security firm FireEye Inc.FEYE +0.24% said this week in a confidential note Equifax sent to some of its customers.

FireEye’s Mandiant group, which has been hired by Equifax to investigate the breach, said the first evidence of hackers’ “interaction” with the company occurred on March 10, according to the Mandiant report, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Equifax has said it didn’t discover the breach until July 29. Days later it called in Mandiant. Equifax didn’t disclose the breach until Sept. 7.

In a progress report that accompanied that announcement last Friday, Equifax said hackers accessed consumers’ data from May 13 through July 30. It didn’t mention in that report that the attack had begun at an earlier date.

Mandiant’s report this week noted the hackers accessed one of Equifax’s servers by taking advantage of a flaw in software called Apache Struts, used by many companies to build interactive websites.

Two days before the access occurred, on March 8, security researchers at Cisco Systems Inc. warned of the flaw in Struts and a patch was issued by the Apache Software Foundation. Equifax in its report last week said its security staff “took efforts” to fix the system, saying it understood the intense focus outside the company on patching efforts and that its review was ongoing.

After interacting with Equifax’s server in early March, the hackers then entered the computer command “Whoami,” Mandiant wrote. This command would have given the attackers the username of the computer account to which they had just gained access, an early step in a hacking attempt.

The Ultimate Anti-Competitive Mergers (Prospect), Rated: A

When you need a new mortgage in the future, will your only options be AmazonWellsFargo or AppleChase? The prospect of a mash-up of banking and commerce keeps people like George Washington University law professor Arthur Wilmarth up at night. “This would mean an end to healthy innovation and startups and competition,” said Wilmarth. “I think it is that dire.”

In principle, these maneuvers could inject competition into a banking industry controlled mostly by four Wall Street giants, making financial services more accessible and flexible to modern needs. But special charters also let fintech evade critical regulatory scrutiny. And the tentative steps by SoFi and Square seem like a dry run for the day Silicon Valley’s giants decide to get in the game, building sprawling businesses the government has aimed to prevent for decades.

Banks get all sorts of privileges from the government—and if banks can also function as ordinary commercial enterprises, they have unfair advantages against other businesses (who are also their clients).

Non-Prime Gen-Xers Lack Financial Stability According to New Research by Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Members of Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) now sit at the age where they anchor the country’s economic and social structure. Yet, new research from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class shows that Gen-Xers face a slew of economic challenges that perpetually keep them off balance. Worse still, that lack of balance means they can’t plan for the future or get back on track.

Non-prime Gen-Xers, in particular, lack stability – in their employment as well as their income. They have difficulty predicting their monthly income, and consequently act like cash accountants in managing their day-to-day finances. Non-prime Gen-Xers are thus the least likely generational cohort to be able to save money—an important aspect of financial planning. Compared to their prime counterparts, non-prime Gen-Xers are:

  • 4x as likely to be living paycheck to paycheck
  • 4.5x as likely to worry about meeting monthly expenses
  • 2x as likely to have been laid off in the past year, and almost 3x as likely to be laid off in the last 5 years
  • 5x as likely to feel “significant stress” over finances
  • 5x more likely to say that in the prior 12 months they were never able to plan for a major expense

The planning gap between prime and non-prime Gen-Xers is wider than any other generation, and 1 in 5 reports running out of money every month. When it comes time to pay for unplanned or unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or car repairs, only 13 percent feel confident they could come up with $1,200. This lack of confidence may be due to lack of reliable options. Though 80 percent of prime Gen-Xers have a solid option – savings, credit or turning to family/friends – only 44 percent of their non-prime counterparts have a solution for coming up with the funds.

3 Stocks With eBay-like Return Potential (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Club is finally starting to show signs of growth after several quarters of stagnant loan originations. With the stock down 74% since its first trading day in 2014, there’s certainly potential for a big investment win if things continue to go well.

For the second quarter of 2017, Lending Club’s loan originations grew by 10% year over year as well as sequentially, which came as a pleasant surprise to investors. Revenue grew by an impressive 35% from last year, and profit margins improved tremendously. What’s more, Lending Club’s CEO said that the company could approach GAAP profitability as we head into 2018, which would be a major improvement from the first half of the year.

Lending Club’s loan portfolio is currently about $11.1 billion in size, which may sound like a lot, but consider that the U.S. nonrevolving (loan) consumer lending market has more than $2.7 trillion in outstanding balances, not including mortgages, according to the Federal Reserve.

US auto-loan fintechs help incumbent lenders stay up to speed (Business Insider), Rated: A

Hyundai Capital America, the car maker’s US lending division, has partnered AutoGravity, a US-based digital car shopping and financing platform, to extend its loans more easily to consumers looking to buy a Hyundai, Kia, or Genesis vehicle.

Hyundai Capital will be one of several auto lenders that consumers can borrow from via the platform.

JPMorgan Chase partnered online car marketplace TrueCar in August 2016 to launch an end-to-end digital platform, Chase Auto Direct, for finding and financing a vehicle. Additionally, Ford Motor Credit Co., the car giant’s lending arm, started leveraging US marketplace lender AutoFi’s software in January to make it easier for customers to buy and finance a vehicle without going to showrooms.

The Saatva Company Partners with Payment Solutions Company Klarna (PR Newswire), Rated: A

The Saatva Company, the largest online luxury mattress retailer, has formed a strategic partnership to offer financing plans to its customers with Klarna, a global payment solutions company that works with other top U.S. brands like Microsoft and Taylormade.

Through this partnership, Saatva customers now have the option to “Slice Up Your Payment” through Klarna and spread the cost of purchases over time with convenient, stress-free low APR financing offers. It is available immediately under all three Saatva Company brands – Saatvamattress.com, Loomandleaf.com and Zenhaven.com.

After selecting the perfect mattress, customers can apply for Klarna financing at checkout through a simple three-step instant credit approval process. Customers are approved for an open line of credit that may also be used at any other merchant where Klarna is accepted.

Digital Lending Dramatically Cuts Down Closing Times (The M Report), Rated: A

In a recent sampling of 10,000 purchase loans from LendingTree, a leading online loan marketplace, the closing times on mortgages saw a sharp decrease thanks to more digital lending; approximately 74 percent on average from May 2016 to May 2017. According to the report, the average closing still takes roughly 72 days, but this rate is influenced by several other buying factors as well as digital integrations.

The study shows the average amount of days to close in Boston (79.5) strongly differs from the time spent in a city like Denver, (56.2); a 23.3 day difference.  New York closely followed Boston at 79.2 days and Cleveland at 71.5. Phoenix and Dallas barely ranked above Denver at 57.5 and 57.6 days respectively. The time to close also varies largely by state, with Montana measuring at 52.7 days until closing and New York at 91 days.

Activehours raises $ 39 million for its new take on cash advances (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Nine months after raising $22 million for its unique take on the cash-advance business, Activehours has gone back to the venture capital well and pulled out another $39 million in financing.

Led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from the company’s early-stage investors Matrix Partners, Ribbit Capital, and March Capital Partners, Activehours has managed to now raise nearly $65 million since its launch in 2013.

The Palo Alto-based company skirts regulation as a payday lender because it doesn’t charge interest on the cash that it fronts to customers. Instead, the company asks that users pay a small voluntary fee for access to their money ahead of their payday.

Tribal Lender Claims Immunity From Challenge To Immunity (Law360), Rated: A

An online lender accused of striking “rent-a-tribe” deals with a Native American tribe in order to benefit from tribal immunity urged a Virginia federal judge Tuesday to dismiss a proposed class action over its lending practices, saying it is, in fact, a sovereign arm of the Chippewa Cree tribe and therefore immune from the litigation alleging false immunity.

The Government Shouldn’t Collect Private Financial Information from America’s Poor (National Review), Rated: A

The CFPB, which was created under Dodd-Frank supposedly to protect consumers and prevent the next big financial crisis, is now being used to try to discourage payday lending, vehicle title, and certain high-cost installment loans.  The rule will require customers applying for a small-dollar loan – the average of which is $350 — to submit extensive personal financial information in support of their applications. In addition to determining a customer’s ability to repay the loan, the lenders will be required to share this information with each credit reporting agency (CRA) registered with the Bureau.

With this data all in one place, it will be vulnerable to a potential hack.

And just this week the SEC reported a hack.  Now government will have a new pool of data for hackers to try to infiltrate.

Embracing Blockchain Is in the ‘National Interest’ (Coindesk), Rated: B

Giancarlo continued:

“Everything we do has been digitized. The one thing that has not yet been digitized is regulation. We’re still very much an analog regulator of digital markets.”

And most importantly, Giancarlo stressed that it is imperative that U.S. regulatory structures catch up with the fast-moving digital economy.

eOriginal Announces Coluzzi as New Chief Financial Officer (Benzinga), Rated: B

eOriginal, Inc., today named Michael Coluzzi as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), another valuable addition to the executive team of the rapidly growing financial services technology firm.

Coluzzi is the third key addition to eOriginal’s leadership following a growth capital investment by LLR Partners. In addition to the new CFO, Brian Madocks joined as Chief Executive Officer in April 2017 followed by Timothy Wall as Chief Revenue Officer earlier this month. These hires and the existing eOriginal management team together will drive the business towards achieving full potential.

Veteran CFO Bruce Felt Joins Personal Capital’s Board of Directors (Business Insider), Rated: B

Personal Capital, the leading digital and professional advisor based wealth management firm, today announced that Bruce Felt, the Chief Financial Officer of DOMO, has joined Personal Capital’s Board of Directors and will chair the Audit Committee.

Felt is the CFO of DOMO, one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the country. Previously, he was the CFO of SuccessFactors, where he guided the company through six acquisitions, a public offering and the sale of the business to SAP. Felt has spent 25 years managing financial operations for high-tech companies and serving on multiple boards of directors.

Form 8-K Elevate Credit, Inc. For: Sep 15 (StreetInsider.com), Rated: B

The Registered Office of the corporation in the State of Delaware is changed to 251 Little Falls Drive, in the City of Wilmington, DE, County of New Castle, Zip Code 19808. The name of the Registered Agent at such address upon whom process against this Corporation may be served is Corporation Service Company.

United Kingdom

Ex-Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins raised £34 million for his fintech startup (Business Insider), Rated: A

Former Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins has raised £34 million ($46 million) for his fintech startup 10X Future Technologies.

The Series A funding round was led by Chinese firm Ping An Insurance and consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

London-based 10X, which went public last October, will help banks and financial institutions modernize their back office technology.

Older people are underserved by financial services, says the City watchdog (City A.M.), Rated: A

In its Ageing Population Project, the FCA found that older people’s needs are not being fully met which may result in exclusion, poor customer outcomes and possibly even harm.

It has called on retail banks, advisors and the savings industry to think about the vulnerabilities which older people – defined as those who are aged 55-plus – may face.

Cautious investors blind to risks of alternative favourites (FT Adviser), Rated: A

The aftermath of the financial crisis has seen investors pour capital into income generating alternative assets perceived to be low risk but market watchers have warned the dangers won’t be evident until interest rates rise.

The AIC said 70 per cent of the investment trust launches over the past five years have been in the alternative income sector.

Jonathan Davis, who runs Jonathon Davis Wealth Management in Hertford, said he has been preparing his clients portfolios for higher inflation, and higher interest rates, and generally avoiding UK equities.

LendInvest hires Aldermore’s Boden (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: B

Aldermore head of commercial mortgages Ian Boden has joined specialist lender LendInvest.

Boden joins the group as sale director, after five years at Aldermore Bank.

He has previously worked at Lloyds Bank and HSBC and has an advanced diploma in financial planning from the CII.

In his new role, Boden will help grow the business development team at LendInvest. He will help the group expand to new markets.

Deadline nears for pub purchase (County Echo), Rated: B

THE 30 September deadline to secure the necessary funds to purchase the threatened Tafarn Sinc pub in Rosebush is fast approaching.

“The aim now is to see a sum of £200,000 in shares achieved by 1 October and also the committee has endorsed a special Peer to Peer (P2P) lending scheme where a four per cent gross interest rate is offered to individuals who can lend a £5,000 sum to the co-operative to secure the total funds.

“As a target for the P2P we have 20 lots of £5,000 loans we are seeking and then this will bring in the needed final sum to purchase the pub and ensure it is owned by local people.”

China

China online insurer ZhongAn prices HK IPO at top end, raises $ 1.5 bln (Kitco), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co priced its IPO at the top of an indicated range, raising $1.5 billion in Hong Kong’s biggest ever financial technology stock offering, IFR reported on Friday.

China’s first internet-only insurer priced 199.3 million new shares at HK$59.70 ($7.65) each, the top of a HK$53.70-HK$59.70 range said IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. It cited people close to the deal.

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co priced its IPO at the top of an indicated range, raising $1.5 billion in Hong Kong’s biggest ever financial technology stock offering, IFR reported on Friday.

China’s first internet-only insurer priced 199.3 million new shares at HK$59.70 ($7.65) each, the top of a HK$53.70-HK$59.70 range said IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. It cited people close to the deal.

China’s first Internet Insurance Company is set to list in Hong Kong on 28th Sep (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Zhongan Insurance, which was co-founded by Jack Ma of Alibaba, Ma Mingzhe of PING AN and Pony Ma of Tencent, is the first internet insurance company in China. Because of its strong background, every move of Zhongan Insurance is closely concerned. On September 17, Zhongan Insurance revealed it would be listing in the main board of Hong Kong stock exchange. More details, the price range will be set at HK$53.7- 59.7, and the company plans to raise HK$10,948 million in total, it is scheduled to begin trading on the main board of the Hong Kong stock exchange on September 28. If the plan is implemented, Zhongan will become the first publicly listed fintech unit of China.

Chinese online stockbroker Tiger Brokers gets investment from US firm Interactive Brokers (SCMP), Rated: A

Tiger Brokers, a Chinese online securities brokerage start-up backed by Wall Street billionaire investor Jim Rogers, said on Thursday it has landed an investment from Interactive Brokers Group, one of the largest electronic brokers in the United States.

The Beijing-based Tiger Brokers, which offers an app to allow Chinese investors to trade on US stock markets and the Hong Kong exchanges and in Chinese A shares, did not disclose the size of the investment by Interactive Brokers.

The Top 10 Most Valuable Unicorns (Benzinga), Rated: B

The United States is home to the most unicorn companies in the world, with over 100 such companies, according to a new report by HowMuch.

8. Lu.com ($18.5 billion): China

Lu.com is an online finance marketplace which started as a peer-to-peer lending platform. Since 2011 it has service over $2.5 billion peer-to-peer loans.

 

European Union

EU’s new data privacy law creates headaches for U.S. banks (American Banker), Rated: AAA

What happens when a cookie of a Brit in London lands in the server of a community bank in the U.S. if, on an off-chance, the Brit browses the bank’s website?

It’s unclear, experts say, but U.S. banks — especially small and midsize banks — need to go find out because the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could affect them, unlike the EU privacy regulations before it.

The countdown is ticking on GDPR’s website. The law, approved by the European Parliament in April 2016, will take effect in late May 2018. It will apply to “all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location,” the website said.

International

SoftBank’s Banker Stash (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Their presence begs a question of the Vision Fund, whose backersinclude Apple Inc. and Saudi Arabia. Is its long-term goal to get into everything from ride-hailing apps to indoor farming, or is it more about getting juicy returns?

One Fund to Rule Them All
SoftBank’s $93.2 billion Vision Fund is the world’s largest private equity fund.
Anshu Jain, Deutsche Bank’s former co-chief executive officer and key architect of its rapid growth in markets prior to the credit crunch, was an adviser at SoftBank-backed U.S. based online lender Social Finance Inc. until recently.

While SoftBank put in equity to the tune of $28 billion, its partners, including the government funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, hold part of their stakes via preferred instruments, also known as mezzanine capital. It means they’re owed yearly payouts, similar to a dividend.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, for instance, is injecting $45 billion, but only $18 billion of that is straight equity, the Wall Street Journal reported in May. The preferred units will earn about 7 percent interest annually over the life of the fund, expected to be 12 years.

Source: Bloomberg

Which banks are leading digital (and who are the laggards)? (The Finanser), Rated: A

Banks typically spend 80% of their IT budgets on legacy technology maintenance and a tier one bank could easily spend up to $300m a year on existing software which constantly needs expensive updates in order to meet regulatory requirements.

Why so much? Because most of those systems are written in programming languages that no one knows anymore. Anna Irrera writes on Reuters that 43 percent of US banks’ core systems are written in COBOL.

$3 trillion in daily commerce flows through COBOL systems. The language underpins deposit accounts, check-clearing services, card networks, ATMs, mortgage servicing, loan ledgers and other services.

In another report, Autonomous Research said the banks with the most potential to do better than analysts’ profit expectations because of digitisation were: JPMorgan Chase and SunTrust in the US, Spain’s CaixaBank, Lloyds Banking Group in the UK and KBC in Belgium.

Autonomous ranked the banks based on two criteria: their current level of digitisation and their transformation outlook. It assessed 18 attributes from customer ratings of mobile banking apps to IT expertise on the board of directors. Banks viewed as being behind on digitalisation included HSBC, BNP, Credit Suisse, Intesa Sanpaolo and Standard Chartered; the three biggest Japanese banks: MUFG, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group; and the four big Canadian banks: TD Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal and Bank of Nova Scotia.

Bitcoin’s connection to the real economy (Business Live), Rated: A

Among those leaving the building is Wayniloans (‘an online peer to peer lending platform based on bitcoin technology. Wayniloans INC was founded in 2015 and is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina’).

According to Juan Salviolo, Wayniloans co-founder:

On Wayniloans part of our business is achieved thanks to bitcoin, and in May we agreed to a sentence to reach consensus for the good of the ecosystem. This sentence was later changed to a longer agreement without our notice, and it was known as the New York Agreement (NYA). At the time we didn’t know that existing developers wouldn’t support it, or that most Latin American bitcoin users, our customers, would view it as a contentious proposal.

Which brings us back to Fickling’s point. The connection between Bitcoin and the real economy is sentiment and therefore, ipso facto, prima facie, mutatis mutandis, sentiment is the sole driver of value.

Australia

Australia ranked as the second largest alternative finance market in the Asia Pacific (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Findings from a joint study by KPMG, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and the Australian Centre for Financial Studies, released today, reveals that Australia’s alternative finance market size grew by 53 per cent from 2015 to 2016 and has now reached US $609.6 million.

According to the Second Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Industry Report, Australia has leap-frogged Japan to become the second largest alternative lending market (behind China) across the Asia-Pacific.

Outside of China, Australia now contributes 30.42% of the total market in Asia Pacific and stands well ahead of Japan (US $398.45 million) and South Korea (US $376.31 million) in terms of market size.

CCAF Asia-Pacific Report Shows Dramatic Rise for Alternative Finance in Australia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

China is the biggest kid on the block when it comes to the emerging alternative finance market in the Asia Pacific region. In fact, China has the largest alternative finance market in the world driven by a fast growing economy, a highly connected population via mobile devices, and a need for access to capital not serviced by traditional state owned banks. But rapid alternative finance growth is not isolated to just China in the Asia Pacific region. Australia experienced growth of 53% from 2015 to 2016, according to the recent research report published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. Australia’s alternative finance market has now reached US $609.6 million.

MoneyPlace CEO Stuart Stoyan echoes Bertoli’s sentiment regarding online lending;

“We have now moved on from being an ‘early stage’ and ‘cottage’ industry to be a legitimate source of funding for Australian borrowers,” he said.

Daniel Foggo, CEO of RateSetter Australia, explained that while trust and confidence in banks continues to erode, peer-to-peer lenders are building a sustainable, technology-led alternative to the bank model, offering better value to Australian investors and borrowers.

Trademarks and fin-tech (Lexology), Rated: A

Technology is an increasingly important aspect of the financial marketplace. With the rapid introduction of platforms such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and new crypto-currencies, it is important for fin-tech users and providers to protect their intellectual property (IP) from infringement and ensure they are not at risk of infringing the IP of another.

Businesses that provide fin-tech services are at risk of infringing the trademarks of other such providers. For instance, one European peer-to-peer facilitator attempted to register a trademark for their brand, only to be challenged by a similarly branded business. This resulted in an expensive negotiation that lasted for almost a year and a half.

India

RBI move on P2P lending companies may affect small players, say experts (The New Indian Express), Rated: AAA

While the recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notification treating all peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is likely to bring some credibility to the business, experts say it’s a battle half won by the fintech firms.

The RBI proposal, they say, might cripple the operations of small players who won’t be able to comply with some of the new requirements such as keeping net available funds of Rs 2 crore.

APAC

Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Report “Cultivating Growth” Released (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance together with the Australian Centre for Financial Studies at Monash University and Tsinghua University today released their second annual alternative finance report.

Source: Lend Academy

Alternative finance volume totaled $245.28 billion in 2016, up from $103.31 billion in 2015. It’s amazing to see alternative finance continue to grow in the region. Not surprisingly, China is the main driver accounting for 99.2% of the total Asia Pacific market. China represented approximately 85% of the entire global market in 2016.

Other findings from the report include:

  • China continues to see “distinctively low levels” of institutional participation in alternative finance compared to other markets such as the US and UK, with only five per cent of peer-to-peer business lending coming from institutions in 2016.
  • In the Asia Pacific outside of China, about $1.5 billion was raised by businesses through alternative finance channels, up 72 per cent from the previous year, with an estimated 43,000 business entities utilising alternative channels of business finance.
  • In China, 72 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer lending platforms see cyber-attacks as the biggest threat to the industry, while more than 50 per cent across all platforms in China see current and proposed regulatory norms to be adequate.
  • Outside of China, 69 per cent of platforms in Japan see existing regulation as inadequate or too relaxed, while in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia around two thirds of platforms see current regulations as adequate.
Source: Lend Academy
South America

Venezuela Said to Be Late on $ 185 Million Sovereign Bond Payment (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The intermediaries tasked with passing along interest payments for the cash-strapped nation haven’t received the funds for an $185 million coupon that was due Sept. 15, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Investors interviewed by Bloomberg say they haven’t been paid, and brokers say their clients are still waiting on the cash.

The government has a 30-day grace period — now 25 days — to make good on the payment before triggering an event of default on the notes.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 15 2017, Daily News Digest

ZhongAn Chinese fintech

News Comments Today’s main news: CFPB issues first no-action letter to online lender. SoFi defends its mortgage underwriting standards. Was SoFi’s FICO-free zone really FICO-free? RealtyShares raises $28M for commercial real estate investing. Betterment partners with Goldman Sachs, BlackRock. JustUs receives full FCA authorization. Raisin offers term deposits to businesses. Earthport partners with Cross River Bank. Reserve Bank of India waiting for government […]

ZhongAn Chinese fintech

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Canada

News Summary

United States

CFPB Issues First No-Action Letter To Online Lender (Law360), Rated: AAA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday issued its first no-action letter to online lender Upstart Network Inc., allowing the company to continue using alternative credit data to evaluate borrowers in exchange for providing data to the federal consumer finance watchdog.

SoFi defends mortgage standards, denies Fast Company allegations (Housingwire), Rated: AAA

SoFi, also known as Social Finance, adamantly said it doesn’t shy from criticism, stepping up to defend itself amid the recent negative news coverage on the company’s alleged toxic workplace environment.

Included in Fast Company’s coverage of the fintech company is a bold claim that “in the first round of SoFi mortgages, some homes lacked appraisals.”

According to a SoFi spokesperson:

In late 2014, we tested a simplified version of our home mortgage product that used paystubs for income verification and did not require home appraisal. The test did not proceed into a launched product, and we launched our mortgage product with requirements for full income verification and home appraisal, which is still the case today. All of these mortgages met the ability-to-repay standards promulgated by Dodd-Frank and none of these pilot mortgages were ever sold to investors, and we continue to hold those loans on our balance sheet.

SoFi’s “FICO-Free Zone” Loan Process Was Maybe Actually Rather Full Of FICO (Dealbreaker), Rated: AAA

It turns out that when SoFi executives and employees weren’t banging the “collateral” out of each other in parked cars or office bathrooms, they were being less than honest with loan applicants about how their loan applications were being evaluated.

According to conversations with numerous former SoFi employees, the company’s “FICO-Free Zone” loan product actually relied quite heavily on evaluating applicants by their FICO score. After very publicly announcing in early 2016 that SoFi would no longer use FICO scores to evaluate loans, sources tell Dealbreaker that the company saw defaults tick up and made the internal to decision to reintegrate FICO data. No announcement of the shift back was ever made, the “FICO-Free” language disappeared from the website and some evidence of the SoFi’s move away from FICO was even scrubbed from the company’s blog.

Eager to please, did SoFi close early mortgages without appraisals? (Housingwire), Rated: A

I’ve sat on panels that discuss all the benefits the aforementioned Silicon Valley approach brings to housing. Having SoFi around isn’t one of them, if their underwriting standards are as bad as some claim.

If this article at Fast Company proves true, this explosive headline is correct: At SoFi, The Problems Go Way Beyond Its Toxic Workplace.

Ainsley Harris writes: “In the first round of SoFi mortgages, some homes lacked appraisals.”

Why on earth would a lender not get the value of the collateral it was lending to? Did SoFi think in-depth valuations where unnecessary? Do investors know that SoFi doesn’t know how much these homes are worth in the event of an REO?

Let me say this, whatever the reason to potentially forego appraisals, SoFi’s investors will disagree with that decision. The Fast Company revelation is so baffling that SoFi’s plan for an IPO will be delayed, perhaps indefinitely.

Let’s hope so. A company that plays fast and loose with its own people is shameful. A company that plays fast and loose with prudent lending practices is downright dangerous.

Here is SoFi’s Response to NYT Article that Criticized Operations & Culture at Fintech Firm (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

SoFi has published a public letter addressing the allegations leveled by NYT.com earlier this week.

The letter is republished in its entirety below. (Ed. Note: Excerpted by Lending-Times)

Mortgage: The story cites unnamed sources saying there was some period where we were “not doing enough” to validate income for mortgage borrowers. This is an incredibly vague claim, and we have no idea what this means. We underwrite our mortgage loans consistent with market standards, which includes rigorous income verification, and consistent with the ability to repay requirements put in place by Dodd-Frank.

Personal Loans: The story implies that our personal loans business grew in part because of a change in the way loans were approved: that customer service reps were approving loans rather than underwriters. That view reflects a lack of understanding of our business. We underwrite loans using a highly automated platform where all credit decisions are made by a pre-defined algorithm that analyzes each applicant’s credit profile and ability to pay.

A Thriving Business: The story did mention our business performance, and indeed, SoFi is thriving. Since inception, we have funded more than $20 billion in loans, $3.1 billion in the second quarter alone. In Q2, we had $134 million in revenue, up 67% year over year, with adjusted EBITDA of $61.6 million, up 60% year over year. We have more than 350,000 members, and they like what we do – our products run Net Promoter Scores in the 60-80 range, among the highest in financial services.

RealtyShares raises $ 28 million for commercial real estate investing (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

RealtyShares is raising a $28 million Series C round led by Cross Creek Advisors, with participation from existing investors including Union Square Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and Menlo Ventures.

Founder and CEO Nav Athwal says that RealtyShares has over 120,000 users on the platform. The startup says it has deployed over $500 million across more than 1,000 properties since it was founded in 2013.

Credit markets need legislative guidance after Madden decision (American Banker), Rated: AAA

In a recent op-ed in American Banker (derived from a longer blog post), professor Adam Levitin argues that the recent legislative proposals to “fix” the repercussions of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s Madden v. Midland Funding decision are “overly broad and unnecessary and will facilitate predatory lending.” The legislation Levitin opposes would restore the ability of banks to sell loans to nonbanks and have the loans remain valid on their original terms, the type of transaction on which the Madden decision has cast doubt. I disagree, at least with regard to marketplace lending. There are compelling legal and policy arguments to undo the Madden decision that Congress should consider.

Levitin is certainly right that the Nichols case and the similar 19th-century cases reflect a different fact pattern than was presented in Madden. It does not necessarily follow, however, that the principle of valid-when-made should not also apply under the Madden facts.

The issue at question in Madden, the interest charged on the loan, was set by the bank at the loan’s inception. The borrower got the benefit of the federal regulatory regime, which includes the incorporation of the bank’s home state usury law, when the loan was created, and the relevant characteristics did not change. So why is there suddenly a problem?

The impact of Madden on innovative credit is harmful to borrowers

Madden also appears, as would be expected, to be reducing access from marketplace lenders to credit for borrowers with lower credit scores. Contrary to Levitin’s argument, a recent study shows a reduction in credit availability not just for borrowers with FICO scores under 625 (though that is where the reduction is most pronounced). The study indicates that borrowers in New York and Connecticut with FICO scores under 700 saw a reduction in availability relative to comparable borrowers outside the Second Circuit.

For example, it is important to keep in mind that the majority of marketplace loans are used to pay off bank-issued credit cards (which are not subject to borrower state usury laws) or consolidate existing debt. Denying borrowers access to these loans does not leave the borrowers unencumbered by debt; it leaves them in the situation they view as worse than taking out this new loan. This is especially true given that there is evidence that marketplace lenders can help provide expanded access and competition, services in areas that have few banks, and better pricing for some borrowers than they would receive from banks. Cutting off access isn’t protecting borrowers, it is leaving them with fewer, perhaps inferior, tools to protect themselves.

Usury caps can lead to loan arrangements being distorted in ways that make the loans legal but worse for the borrower. We see examples of this in the shift from payday to “payday installment” and subprime auto loans, where lenders bound by interest rate caps change the loan principal amount or repayment schedule to make the loans viable. These loans can actually be more expensive in total because the lower interest rate is applied to a higher principal over a longer time period. Larger loans also can be more expensive for borrowers if they pay them off early or go into default. Borrowers also could be forced into using suboptimal options like pawn shops or illegal loans, or find themselves without credit altogether.

Betterment struck a deal with 2 Wall Street giants to provide its 270,000 users more investment options (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Betterment, the largest roboadviser with $10 billion under management, has enlisted the support of financial juggernauts Goldman Sachs and BlackRock for two new portfolio options.

The portfolio managed by Goldman Sachs is a smart-beta option, providing users with a more aggressive alternative to Betterment’s core portfolio, which allocates money to stocks and bonds, according to Arielle Sobel, a spokeswoman for the firm. It will be more exposed to emerging markets and REITs, according to a press release.

Wealthfront, Betterment’s San Francisco rival, announced an in-house-built smart-beta portfolio in June, according to a company spokeswoman.

The other portfolio option is an income-based portfolio, managed by BlackRock, the largest fund manager in the world with $5.7 trillion under management. It provides investors a more conservative option and delivers target income.

The imperative for self-sovereign identification (get lost Equifax) (TheFinanser.com), Rated: AAA

As we have known for a long time now, it is no longer good enough to use customer’s personal information for account access. After Ashley Madison and so many other incidents (Tesco Bank, Lloyds Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SWIFT, the Federal Reserve, the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security eBay, Yahoo, Google, Adobe, Target, Neiman Marcus, Home Depot …), surely we should be moving away from this antiquated system. Bear in mind it’s been used for almost two decades, it’s no wonder the system is no longer working.

So the banks add second-factor authentication (2FA) with secure entry pads and PINs, but they still rely on personal information for account access when you ring their call centres, and this is just annoying.

Is there a solution?

First is biometrics and TouchID, voice, eyes and more can easily be used for authentication via a smartphone. Why banks aren’t incorporating these into their onboarding and access mechanisms beggars belief …. or maybe not, as banks would need modern systems to use such radical authentication techniques, and that’s a big ask. Far easier to rely on name, address, date of birth and all the information the hackers stole from Equifax.

Source: TheFinanser.com

Emerging technologies (particularly blockchain, although not exclusively) are making the development of “self-sovereign identity” a real possibility.

The basic idea behind self-sovereign identity is that rather than have our information held by third parties (often without us even knowing what that information is) and used to guarantee our identity and make decisions that affect us; we could turn the entire model on its head and give each individual control over their own digital identity.

With self-sovereign identity, you would hold all of the different elements of your online identity in a “box” or “wallet”, and would then be able to choose which of those elements to reveal in any given context.

Anuj Nayar Leaves PayPal For Lending Club (Holmes Report), Rated: A

PayPal’s global head of product communications Anuj Nayar has left to become head of communications at peer-to-peer investment company Lending Club.

In his new role that starts on Monday, Nayar will be in charge of the team running all internal and external communications, as well as social media, for the $2.5 billion publicly-traded fintech company.

A recap of Goldman’s summer siege on fintech lending (AltFi), Rated: A

Last night we learned that Goldman Sachs is poaching roughly 20 employees from online lender Bond Street, which seems to have paused making new loans, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It is indicative of Goldman’s strategy that the bank has forced its way onto the AltFi (“Alternative Finance”) homepage three times this week. Those incursions were tied to its £100m investment in UK employee benefit lender Neyber, its $300m deal with home solar financing firm Mosaic, and the announcement that it plans to launch an online bank in the UK.

So its latest decision, to nab 20 workers from the dormant Bond Street, is not without precedent. But Bond Street is not a consumer lender. It offers term loans of up to $1m to small businesses. Could Goldman, then, be sizing up an expansion into small business lending for Marcus?

Open the door to new loan opportunities without sacrificing security (CUInsight), Rated: A

Year-to-year, community financial institutions have become more conservative about consumer lending. So as to not open themselves up to additional risks, many of these institutions tend to only service consumers with prime and super prime credit. However, consumers with non-prime credit make up a solid portion of the consumer lending market, so this desire to stick with “safer” loans leaves quite a few loan opportunities on the table. And when many community financial institutions are dropping their rates to as low as 0% in order to compete with large national lenders for prime and super prime consumers, missing additional revenue opportunities for your loan portfolio is not a small matter.

Market disruptors like retail lenders (i.e. Costco), mobile lenders (i.e. AutoGravity), and peer-to-peer lenders (i.e. Lending Club) are finding ways to bypass the existing banking system, credit bureaus and financing requirements to lend to this highly sought after demographic.

Got Student Debt? Soon Your Employer Might Help With That (Buzzfeed), Rated: A

Fidelity Investments introduced a program Thursday that will let employers make regular payments to their employees’ student loan accounts, much the way companies already pay into their workers’ 401(k)s or health care savings accounts.

Some smaller financial services companies already facilitate this type of benefit program, such as First Republic Bank and startups like Student Loan Genius and SoFi.

But the entry into the market of Fidelity Investments — one of the country’s biggest mutual fund, money management and financial planning companies — is a sign that student debt relief may soon become a mainstream benefit that employers will have to offer to remain competitive.

This Startup Is an ATM for the Money You Haven’t Been Paid Yet (Inc.), Rated: A

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, on the other hand, even small unexpected expenses can put you in the red. The two weeks between paychecks is an eternity for an hourly worker whose credit card is already maxed out, or who doesn’t have one to begin with. Every parking ticket and hospital co-pay is a potential crisis. By the time payday comes, it’s too late — the next crisis has already arrived.

Financial technology startup DailyPay thinks giving people in this situation more frequent access to wages would go a long way toward solving this problem and putting them on the path to financial security.

DailyPay’s solution works like this:

1) The startup integrates with a company’s established payroll and time-tracking systems. Instead of going directly to an employee’s bank account, paycheck deposits are set up to go through DailyPay first.

2) An employee can withdraw wages he or she has earned but not yet received throughout the two weeks or month before formally getting the paycheck. DailyPay fronts the money for a small fee, and keeps the expense on its balance sheet.

3) Come payday, DailyPay deducts whatever money the employee has already withdrawn, and sends the rest of the paycheck through to the employee’s bank account.

Perhaps Lee likens his service to an ATM because the more obvious comparison — a payday loan provider — is often considered predatory.

One key difference is that DailyPay interfaces directly with employers, positioning itself as an HR benefit. DailyPay’s pitch to other companies is that flexible payroll reduces turnover, which is good for the bottom line, and the service is free to implement. One internal study of 20 DailyPay clients found that turnover shrank by 40 percent on average after they adopted it.

Mosaic Will Sell $ 300 Million Worth of Solar Loans to Goldman Sachs (GreenTechMedia), Rated: A

Solar loan provider Mosaic reached an agreement with Goldman Sachs in which the bank will buy $300 million in loans over time.

This deal will clear up space on Mosaic’s balance sheet to finance more loans, and signals a prestigious bank’s willingness to buy and own solar loans for itself.

Market Overheated? Not These Sub-Sectors (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Since I run an opportunistic portfolio that seeks out high upside “Fat Pitches” (soon to be a subscription service), it may seem as though I, too, would be stumped; however, I continue to find opportunities, albeit in sectors a bit off the beaten path.

While “value” and “high-growth tech,” may seem anathema to each other (wait till you see the next section), the three public fintech companies – Lending Club, Ondeck, and Elevate Credit – all seem undervalued today relative to their potential, and each have posted strong results in the recent quarter.

Ondeck, which lends to small and medium businesses, also recently decided to scale back its growth, raise rates, and cut staff. The company lowered orginations last quarter by 19% sequentially last quarter, but loss provisions as a percentage of revenues also fell from 8.7% to 7.2%. After implementing a $45 million cost reduction program, the company’s losses declined to only $1.5 million, down from $16 million in losses a year ago.

Speaking of acceptance, it may seem on the that the company that serves the subprime market – thought to be the riskiest of all – is the most profitable of the three. Elevate Credit has been doing everything right – though you wouldn’t know it by its languishing stock price. Last quarter, Elevate grew originations 29% and revenues by almost 19% (due to a higher mix of lower rate, but higher-quality loans), expanded its core RISE product to the state of Kansas—its 16th state, and was able to lower its interest rate on its high-cost funding from Victory Park Capital.

How A Bank And A FinTechs Are Jointly Cracking The Code On Financial Inclusion (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The teams at FinTech startup LendUp and Oakland-based Beneficial State Bank think very differently about that relationship. As LendUpCEO Sasha Orloff and Beneficial State Bank Co-CEO Kat Taylor told PYMNTS in a recent interview, banks and FinTechs need each other, and a very large segment of the population living on the margins of financial services in the United States need these two groups to work together as well.

That constituency, Orloff noted, isn’t always easy to serve – or to serve profitably – without relying on a business model that counts on its customers to fail and then charging sky-high fees for those failures. LendUp and Beneficial State Bank have a different approach: They want to invest and make money on their customers who are succeeding financially and are able to participate in the full spectrum of the financial system.

Fifty-six percent of Americans have a sub-prime credit score, meaning mainstream banks likely can’t approve them for their products; more than half of all Americans could not find $400 in the event of an emergency; and two-thirds of millennials have not started building any kind of credit score, in a system in which having no score or a poor score can cost a person $250,000 over their lifetime.

Lending money beyond what people can bear is the hallmark of predatory lending, she emphasized, and that’s not going to help the customer.

That alternative – the L Card, issued by Beneficial State Bank in partnership with LendUp – is a low annual fee card (starting at $0 and capped at $5 per month or $60 per year) that offers consumers a grace period for payments and even caps late fees (at $7). It has a higher interest rate – 19.99 percent to 29.99 percent – for a credit card than the national average, but according to The PEW Charitable Trusts, is a fraction of the payday lending rate, which is around 400%. Credit limits range from $300 to $1,000 based on credit score, and a year of timely payments and responsible behavior allow customers to double the limits.

CommonBond gets new CFO from Deutsche Bank (India Times), Rated: A

Jay Coleman, a Wall Street banker focused on equity raises and initial public offerings, has joined online lender CommonBondas chief financial officer, according to the company’s co-founder David Klein.

While still small, the company had lent about US$1bn to 12,000 borrowers as of May 1, according to Moody‘s Investors Service.

Coleman was poached from Deutsche Bank where he was head of private capital and equity capital markets execution, according to a CommonBond spokesperson. Prior to that he worked at Barclays, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley.

eOriginal Appoints Timothy Wall Chief Revenue Officer (Broadway World), Rated: B

eOriginal, Inc., a rapidly growing financial services technology company, has named Timothy Wall Chief Revenue Officer (CRO).

As CRO at eOriginal, Wall will be responsible for all aspects of the company’s sales organization and revenue development, including direct sales, channel sales, sales engineering and customer success.

Ex-U.S. Representative Nussle: credit unions are the ‘original disrupters’ in financial services (Radio Iowa), Rated: B

Former Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle today said Iowa’s 94 not-for-profit credit unions have filled a void as banks throughout the country and in Iowa continue to consolidate.

More than 1.1 million Iowans are members of a credit union and the state’s credit unions have about $16 billion in assets, according to Nussle.

Nussle indicated the “speed of change” and stress in the industry has been rather dramatic, not only because of the “Great Recession,” but because of incidents like Wells Fargo’s admission that its employees created fake accounts without customers’ permission. The recent growth of on-line “peer to peer” lending presents credit unions with an opportunity rather than a challenge, according to Nussle, because credit unions are member-driven.

GDS Link Welcomes 2017 LEND360 to Dallas (PR Web), Rated: B

GDS Link, a global provider of credit risk management solutions and consulting for multiple verticals within the financial services industry including marketplace lending, retail finance, alternative financial services, credit card, auto, and business leasing, announced its role in bringing the fourth annual LEND360 to Dallas.

“The LEND360 Dallas host committee, co-chaired by Ken Rees, Chief Executive Officer of Elevate Credit, Inc. and Paul Greenwood, President and Co-founder of GDS Link, and supported by other influential members of the fintech community, has been meeting since late 2016 to ensure a valuable attendee experience for the upcoming conference, assist with speaker development and engage innovative industry leaders to take part in the event,” according to a LEND360 press release.

Hear from Both Sides of the Aisle on the Future of Fintech (Business Insider), Rated: B

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI), the leading voice for policy analysis, in-depth research, and education for the online lending industry, today announced its roster of speakers for the Second Annual Summit on Sept. 25 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C. The Online Lending Policy Summit provides an opportunity for industry participants to share insights, propose standards, and have an open dialogue with regulators and policymakers to build consensus viewpoints on the regulation of online lending. Keynote addresses will be delivered by the following four policy leaders:

  • Keith Noreika, Acting Comptroller of the Currency. Mr. Noreika advocates for the need to embrace innovation while ensuring that new products and services do not present undue risk to the financial system. He will discuss how regulators and industry can work together on “responsible innovation” and with principles for governing the rapidly growing financial technology sector.
  • Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY-5), now in his tenth term, serves one of the most diverse constituencies in the nation. Mr. Meeks is known for being an effective, principled, and commonsense leader. Congressman Meeks is a senior member of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, and is the lead Democratic sponsor of important legislation dealing with the Madden v Midland Funding court case.
  • Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN-6) represents Minnesota’s 6thDistrict in the U.S. House of Representatives. He began his congressional career on January 6, 2015 and serves as a key member of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services. Prior to his congressional service, Mr. Emmer practiced law for several years, and followed his entrepreneurial calling and opened his own law firm.  In 2004, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and re-elected by overwhelming majorities in 2006 and 2008.  After a narrow loss in the 2010 gubernatorial race, Tom entered the radio business as a conservative radio host.
United Kingdom

JustUs Receives Full Authorization From the Financial Conduct Authority (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform JustUs announced this week it has received full authorization by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The online lender revealed that the full authorization is a pre-requisite to offer the JustUs Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) and registration forms have been submitted to HMRC with a planned launch of the ISA in October.

A Battle For The Soul of Peer-To-Peer Lending (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Crowd2Fund, a relative newcomer to the alternative finance industry, is accusing Funding Circle, one of the market leaders, of turning its back on the whole ethos of peer-to-peer lending.

The row follows an announcement last month by Funding Circle that it will no longer allow investors on its platform to choose which specific companies they want to lend their money to. Instead, the platform will automatically spread investors’ cash across a group of businesses looking for funds – much as a professional collective fund manager in any other asset class chooses investments on behalf of its investors.

Crowd2Fund said Funding Circle’s move reflected the larger platform’s increasing focus on large institutional investors in peer-to-peer lending, as well as concern about the growing regulatory scrutiny of the sector.

36% of UK adults did not save or invest last quarter (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Over a third of UK adults (36%) have not saved or invested any money in the last three months, according to the second instalment of RateSetter’s quarterly tracker.

On average, people saved or invested £232 each month in the last quarter.

The research also revealed:

  • men saved significantly more than women over the period (£296 a month, compared with £170)
  • 25- to 34-year-olds put away the most over the period (averaging £278 a month), followed by those aged between 35 and 44 (£260 a month)
  • young adults, aged between 18 and 24, put away the least (£154 a month).

ArchOver CEO: SMEs have “wrong attitude” in eschewing finance (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ARCHOVER’S chief executive Angus Dent (pictured) has urged small business owners to be more confident in taking on debt, after new figures showed that 80 per cent of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are refusing to apply for new finance.

The boss of the peer-to-peer business lender said that while their caution was understandable, it is the “wrong attitude” for SMEs that want to scale up.

LendInvest property academy receives public support (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

LendInvest  has received public support from three major industry bodies for its property development academy.

The Centre for Entrepreneurs, Homes for Scotland, and the Home Builders Federation have each praised the academy, which was established in 2016 to help develop the skills of aspiring and new small-scale housing developers.

ASTL conference: FCA praises regulated bridging market’s ‘rosy picture’ (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

Data from the FCA showed regulated bridging customers contrasted strongly with the stereotypical version, with just 3.3% of bridging loans going to credit impaired clients.

The regulator found bridging customers ware typically wealthier, older, more likely to be self-employed and bought bigger houses than standard mortgage customers.

The FCA data revealed:

  • Bridging is much more concentrated in London and the South East – around 40% of loans are in these regions compared to 26% for standard mortgage lending;
  • Significantly less bridging lending takes place in the north of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
  • Median bridging loan value is around £208,000, compared to £143,000 for a standard mortgage;
  • Median property value is significantly higher at around £550,000 compared with a normal mortgaged property value of £230,000;
  • Significantly more bridging loans are on detached houses – 51% compared with 23%;
  • Average bridging customer age is 56, compared to 37 for a normal mortgage;
  • Bridging customer are more likely to be self-employed – 31% vs 11%;
  • Bridging customers are also significantly more likely to be retired at 28% vs 1% standard mortgage customers.

Why Investors are Excited about Birmingham (Landlord News), Rated: A

Birmingham, the site of LendInvest’s latest Property Development Academy, is a perfect example of this. Time and again we heard from attendees of just how exciting the city is for property development currently, and why they are so desperate to get cracking with their own development projects.

It’s notable that in last year’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate report from PwC and the Urban Land Institute, which looked specifically at which European cities present the best opportunities for investors, Birmingham was the best performing UK city. It ranked 22nd, ahead of cities like Manchester, Edinburgh, London, Brussels and Rome.

All of this has led to a thriving rental sector. Our most recent Buy-to-Let Index found that the city currently boasts a rental yield of a very strong 5.03%, with capital gains of 4.97% over the last year.

The latest UK Economic Outlook report from PwC named the West Midlands as one of the housing hotspots, predicted to see house price growth of 4.5% this year, compared to a UK average of 3.7%.

China

Lawmaker urges FSC to curb online lending bad debt (Taipei Times), Rated: AAA

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) yesterday urged the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to curb bad debts stemming from fraud and loan sharking on Internet-based peer-to-peer lending platforms.

Online lending platforms have existed for years in other nations and have caused many problems, Lin said, adding that in China they are blamed for generating an estimated 60 billion yuan (US$9.2 billion) of bad debt.

ZhongAn Plants a Fintech Acorn for China (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Like electric cars, whose era of global dominance has yet to arrive, the app-driven insurance industry is more of a concept than reality. That doesn’t mean investors should dismiss the Hong Kong initial public offering of ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co., despite its hefty price tag.

Bankers are currently sounding out investors for an IPO that could raise as much as $1.5 billion, giving ZhongAn a valuation of $11 billion. That’s well above CLSA’s $8 billion estimate, which already ranks the online insurer as China’s third-most valuable fintech company after Ant Financial, an affiliate of Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., and Lufax, the peer-to-peer lender owned by Ping An Insurance (Group) Co.

ZhongAn is the world’s sixth-most-valuable e-finance company, at about $8 billion.

So here’s the bad news. ZhongAn is tiny. Its net written premiums were a mere 3.4 billion yuan ($520 million) last year, or 0.5 percent of China’s insurance industry, according to Bernstein Research analyst Linda Sun-Mattison.

Source: Bloomberg

It’s also expensive. The $11 billion valuation implies an adjusted price-to-book level of 4.3 times, Smartkarma analyst Ke Yan estimates.

European Union

Wealth Products Marketplace Raisin Takes a Leap Forward with Term Deposits for Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Pan-European marketplace Raisin continues its trailblazing expansion. Having penetrated new geographies with international and localized services in 2016, the Berlin-headquartered startup is now broadening its offering to address a new customer segment: small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Starting September 14, businesses can open term deposit accounts on Raisin’s German site www.weltsparen.de, or more precisely, on www.weltsparen.de/geschaeftskunden.

International

Earthport strengthens US network with Cross River partnership (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Earthport (AIM: EPO), the leading payment network for cross-border transactions, is pleased to announce its partnership with Cross River, a US-based bank, to provide inbound cross-border payment services across the US market, adding to its existing capabilities to process payments in the US.

The partnership will facilitate the execution of inbound ACH payments through Cross River, and further strengthen Earthport’s global payment network, enabling high volumes of low-value payments originating outside the US to be serviced more efficiently.

Fintech to the rescue for the world’s unbanked (City A.M.), Rated: A

Half the world is unbanked. That’s the provocative title of a 2009 research paper published by the Financial Access Initiative (FAI), a consortium of researchers from New York University, Harvard, Yale and Innovators of Poverty Action.

Their study also provided an empirical grounding that, although it is possible to serve low-income communities at scale with financial services, there are still billions left to reach. According to figures from the World Bank, as of 2015 there are still 2bn people who lacked access to any formal financial services.

The advent of mobile technology along with increasing smartphone penetration, especially in developing countries, has opened up a new portal of possibilities.

This newfound access in countries across South East Asia and Africa has provided the perfect ecosystem to initiate financial inclusion.

Top Fintech Innovations To Look Out For in 2018 (Finovate), Rated: A

Nick Ogden – founder and Executive Chairman, ClearBank

The number one thing that’s going to occur in 2018 is fragmentation of the marketplace as we know it today. The days of big banks delivering everything and being specialists in everything are over. Some of them might still not accept that but the reality is that it’s happened.

Karen Kerrigan – Chief Legal Officer, Seedrs

Rather than looking at a specific technology, have a look at a particular sector. There are a lot of challenger banks out there at the moment – Starling Bank, ClearBank, Monzo, Tandem – and they’re all vying for the same space. They’re all doing things slightly differently, but  ultimately are taking on the banks.

Lol a FoHFs ICO, srsly (FT Alphaville), Rated: A

Tokens may not be available to all persons in all jurisdictions as certain offering restrictions may apply. In particular, no tokens will be available in the US, Singapore or the EEA. Offering and trade restrictions, as well as the rights of holders of FundCoin, will be set out in further detail in the offering memorandum.

That little snippet is from the last page of the “whitepaper” for FundCoin, which deserves a spot in the pantheon of initial coin offerings (ICOs) to which regulators should be paying more attention. FundCoin is “the first private equity token ICO” and is the creation of Finles, a 40-year-old Dutch fund of hedge funds manager that has decided to turn to the crypto markets to raise money.

Virtual money shifting global trading trends (BusinessDay), Rated: A

Cryptocurrencies are the most undervalued asset class in the world, says Farzam Ehsani, leader of Rand Merchant Bank’s blockchain initiative.

The combined market capitalisation of all cryptocurrencies was only about $120bn, Ehsani said on Thursday at the Business Day/Financial Mail Investment Summit, held in partnership with Old Mutual Wealth.

By comparison, the market capitalisation of all stock markets is about $68.5-trillion, according to figures from the World Federation of Exchanges.

The price of a single bitcoin has surged from $605 to $3,487 over the past year, leading sceptics to label it a “bubble”.

India

‘RBI AWAITING GOVT NOTIFICATION FOR COMING OUT WITH P2P LENDING NORMS’ (Daily Pioneer), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank is waiting for a gazette notification from the Government on getting the peer-to-peer lenders under its regulatory ambit before coming out with guidelines on the sector, a senior official said on Wednesday. “Following up on the consultation paper we did last year, we are shortly going to come up with guidelines on peer to peer lending,” RBI’s executive director Sudarshan Sen said at an industry event here.

According to the official, the P2P lending interface will come under the purview of RBIs regulation by defining these platforms as NBFCs under the RBI Act by issuing a notification in consultation with the Government.

Investree to develop online transaction system of state securities for retail investors (e27), Rated: AAA

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Investree announced that it has been appointed by the country’s Ministry of Finance to run a pilot project that aims to develop online transaction system of state securities for retail investors.

According to a DailySocial report, through the project, users will be able to purchase state securities through the Investree platform.

Demonetization in India shines a light on the digital future (The Asset), Rated: A

India’s demonetization experiment has been declared a failure by economic pundits. However, it has expanded India’s tax base and fast-tracked the digitization of payments, which is a good thing.

Some nine-million-odd new taxpayers came into the fold thanks to the scheme. Around 20 million new bank accounts were created by Indians panicked by the possibility of having their cash holdings voided.

Second, the scheme accelerated the digitization of payments in India, with a vast swathe of merchants forced to accept digital payments in lieu of cash.

Types of crowdfunding and why it is beneficial for real estate sector (Moneycontrol), Rated: A

The global crowd-funding industry generated about USD 34.4 billion in 2015.

Apart from raising capital, crowdfunding is also a way to create awareness among the masses and support for a project from the people around you.

Crowdfunding has exploded new ways to raise funds for start-ups, social sector, real estate, inventions and so on.

In India, transaction value in the “Crowd-funding” segment amounts to a meagre USD 6 million in 2017.

Transaction value is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 24.8 percent resulting in the total amount of USD 16 million in 2021.

The most used method for real estate crowdfunding is “equity crowdfunding” which helps individual become partial owners in distinct properties, allowing them to participate alongside real-estate companies who acquire, redevelop, or build.

Another type of crowdfunding used for real estate is syndicated debt crowdfunding. This fast growing platform takes some or all of an existing real-estate loan, secured by a deed on the underlying property, and syndicate it out to a network of individual investors at a fixed rate of return.

Canada

IOU Financial Ranked Fourth Fastest-Growing Company in Canada (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”; TSX-V:IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), announces today that Canadian Business and PROFIT ranks IOU Financial as the fourth-fastest growing company on the 29th annual PROFIT 500, the definitive ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. Published in the October issue of Maclean’s magazine and at CanadianBusiness.com, the PROFIT500 ranks Canadian businesses by their five-year revenue growth.

IOU Financial makes the 2017 PROFIT 500 list as the fourth fastest growing company with five-year revenue growth of 8,600%.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 8 2017, Daily News Digest

mobile payments APAC

News Comments Today’s main news: Square makes big move on banking. Folk2Folk CEO to step down. ZhongAn approved for $1B Hong Kong IPO. KBRA  and DBRS  assigns preliminary ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5. Assetz Capital to set up in Belfast. ZhongAn approved for $1B Hong Kong IPO. Citi Singapore launches Facebook Messenger banking chatbot. Today’s main analysis: Using digital assets to […]

mobile payments APAC

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 (“SCLP 2017-5”). This is a $527.12 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5

Source: BusinessWire

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 (DBRS), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 (SCLP 2017-5):

— $287,200,000 Class A-1 Notes at AA (sf)
— $173,800,000 Class A-2 Notes at AA (sf)
— $66,120,000 Class B Notes at A (sf)

RATINGS

Issuer Debt Rated Rating Action Rating Trend Notes Published Issued
SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 LLC Class A-1 Notes Provis.-New AA (sf) Sep 7, 2017 US
SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 LLC Class A-2 Notes Provis.-New AA (sf) Sep 7, 2017 US
SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-5 LLC Class B Notes Provis.-New A (sf) Sep 7, 2017 US
US = USA Issued, NRSRO
CA = Canada Issued, NRSRO
EU = EU Issued, NRSRO
E = EU Endorsed
Unsolicited Participating With Access
Unsolicited Participating Without Access
Unsolicited Non-participating

Square Makes Its Big Move On Banking (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

According to WSJ reports, Square intends to submit an application later today (Sept. 7) to form a wholly owned and operated bank in Utah.

That business unit would be called Square Financial Services Inc. — and it would be designed to offer loans and deposit accounts to small businesses. The bank would be capitalized with around $56 million in cash.

Online lender SoFi made a similar move, as did mobile banking start-up Varo Money Inc. The timing is not quite a surprise — federal regulators have been more open to the idea of new banks recently than they have been at any time since the Great Recession.

Square Wants to Be a Bank, Sort of (Paybefore), Rated: AAA

Mobile point-of-sale pioneer Square Inc. is applying for an Industrial Loan Company (ILC) charter to support the expansion of its lending business, the volume of which grew 123 percent year-over-year in the second quarter to $189 million.

The news was met with immediate rancor by at least one community banking group, which also lodged complaints about blurring the lines between commerce and banking when online lender SoFI applied for the same charter in June.

Before Square made its move, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) wrote in an August blog post that it would fight “tooth and nail” against attempts to remove the “historic separation of banking and commerce in federal law and regulation.” It reiterated that sentiment in news reports about Square’s plans on Sept. 7.

For more than a decade, CFSI has been conducting research and bringing various stakeholders—industry, regulators, consumer advocates—together around using technology to increase access to financial services. Its 2016 research estimates the size of the financially underserved market in the U.S. to be $140.7 billion.

The Dodd-Frank Act had placed a moratorium on such charters that ended in 2013, but the FDIC has been “gun-shy” since Walmart’s failed attempt to secure an ILC charter in 2006, Moeser notes.

Walmart and Affirm: A match Amazon will find hard to beat (RetailDive), Rated: AAA

At the end of August, news flashed across the wire that Walmart and Affirm were close to finalizing a pilot deal with each other. This is a game changer for three critical reasons:

  1. Affirm was started by PayPal wunderkind Max Levchin – Through a simple online application process, Affirm customers can obtain loan financing with interest rates in the range of 10% to 30% for their desired online purchases. Customers can clearly and easily see what they will owe at the time of checkout online, with no hidden costs or surprises.
  2. Walmart is involved – All indications are that Walmart is aggressively going after scan-and-go/checkout-free shopping in their stores. Scan-and-go quite possibly will be the technology that most impacts physical retail in the next 10-15 years.
  3. Affirm and Walmart are a match made in heaven for budget conscious America – Affirm’s digital financing capabilities and Walmart’s scan-and-go capabilities, when combined, will stretch the bank accounts of all Americans — especially Americans who cannot afford Prime membership fees (uh oh Amazon).

A screen pops up, and what used to be a three-pack of Crest for $5.00 is now suddenly the same three-pack but for $0.83/month for six months, or for $0.42/month for 12 months instead.

Lima One Capital Acquires RealtyShares’ Residential Debt Origination Business (Broadway World), Rated: A

Lima One Capital, the premier lender for residential real estate investors, announced today that it has acquired the residential debt origination business of RealtyShares, an online marketplace for real estate investing and financing.

Lima One Capital began partnering with RealtyShares as an institutional investor in early 2017, drawn by the quality of deals listed on the marketplace platform.

New Credit Card Option for Those With Scant Credit Histories (The New York Times), Rated: A

A New York start-up aims to use everyday financial information to qualify people with scant or no credit histories for its credit cards.

The company, called Petal, considers an applicant’s standard credit scores, when available. But it also analyzes their digital financial records, like checking accounts or, in some cases, prepaid debit cards, to rapidly assess their income and spending habits.

The company plans to target consumers who are “new to credit,” like young adults, recent immigrants and lower-income consumers, as well as others who may lack traditional credit scores, Mr. Gross said.

The idea is that by sharing information about their personal cash flow, consumers can get a quick decision on a card application and access to a low-cost card, even if they don’t fit the traditional profile of a top-tier credit customer.

The company’s Petal Visa card isn’t widely available yet, but is being tested privately starting this month. Consumers can sign up online to receive an invitation to apply.

Introducing Petal — a simple, no-fee credit card (Medium), Rated: A

Today, it’s hard to exist without a credit score.

You need one to get a credit card, finance a car, purchase a home, or qualify for a small business loan. And, increasingly, you need credit to do things that seem to have little to do with credit, like sign a lease for an apartment, set up a cell phone plan, or even get a job — nearly 50% of employers today are checking credit reports as part of a job application.¹

That access is important. The cost of a poor credit score can be as much as $250,000 in additional interest and fees over the course of your lifetime.²

The number of American adults that lack access to credit because they are new to credit is staggering:

Over 65 million, and growing as a percentage of the total population.³

The 65 million credit invisible, unscorable and thin-file consumers in the U.S. are not a snapshot of America. They are disproportionately likely to be young, black and Hispanic, first- and second-generation immigrant, and/or low- and moderate-income. The same groups that have been historically underserved by the banking system are routinely denied access and opportunity because of how the credit system works.

Two years later, we’re launching Petal — a simple, no-fee credit card, designed to make life easier for everyone.

Petal makes money from merchants when customers swipe the card, and on interest when customers carry a balance past their due date. And before customers carry a balance, we show them exactly what it will cost — in dollars, not just in interest rates and APRs. It’s our belief that customers should be able to use credit safely and affordably, without falling into costly debt.

SoFi’s Career Incubator, SoFi Accelerate, Going to Chicago (LendEDU), Rated: A

Social Finance, Inc., a fintech and student loan refinancing company, announced this week that SoFi Accelerate, the company’s career incubator, will be visiting Chicago this September.

On Sunday, September 24th, SoFi Accelerate will head to the Windy City to offer professionals a chance to hear from a couple of speakers and to develop their own path for career success.

The career incubator will only last one day and is open to SoFi members and non-members as well. There will be two speakers, Adam Foss and Ryan Holiday, that guests will have the chance to listen to.

The event will be held at the Chicago Botanic Garden at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe, Illinois from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM central time. For SoFi members, the price of admittance will be $75, while non-members will have to pay $125 upon entry. However, the first 50 non-members will receive a special discount so that they only have to pay $100 to attend.

Americans Are Spending Mind-Blowing Money on Lotto Tickets in These Top States (TheStreet), Rated: A

In some states, buying lottery tickets is an extremely popular pastime that borders on obsession. The U.S. generated $66.78 billion from lottery sales with the exception of seven states who have not legalized lotteries — Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming — based on an analysis of data conducted by LendEDU, a Hoboken, N.J.-based student loan marketplace, utilizing 2015 data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Out of the total amount, $42.27 billion was allocated for prizes, $3.18 billion was allocated for administration and $21.35 billion was allocated for proceeds.

For 2016, the Census Bureau projected there were $323 million people living in the U.S. which means the average amount spent on various types of lottery tickets is $206.69 per year, LendEdu said.

Some residents are diehard fans of playing the lottery, and Massachusetts natives spend the most money per capita at $734.85 annually while Rhode Island follows a close second at $513.75 each year. The third highest amount was spent in Delaware at $420.82, New York with $398.77 and West Virginia at $359.78.

The states with the largest amount of people generated the largest revenue – New York’s total was $7.78 billion, followed by California at $5.52 billion, Florida at $5.27 billion, Massachusetts at $5.01 billion and Texas at $4.28 billion.

Leading Carrier and Reinsurer Partner with Insurtech Startup Bestow on its Highly Anticipated, On-Demand Platform (PR Web), Rated: A

Bestow Inc., the company behind a revolutionary new approach to life insurance, today announced a partnership with Munich American Reassurance Company, the U.S. life and disability reinsurance division of Munich Re, and North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®, a top-rated carrier in the United States and member company of Sammons® Financial Group, to develop new life insurance products for Bestow’s anticipated on-demand life insurance platform.

Together, the three brands are actively working on products that will premiere as part of Bestow’s full stack, digital platform later this fall. Upon launch, the platform will give consumers an entirely new way to research, buy, and manage life insurance with product options that are affordable, simple to understand, and seamless to purchase.

Bestow’s partnership with Munich Re and North American follows the company’s recent announcement of closing $2.5 million in seed funding, led by NEA.

How to Leverage Crowdfunding to Invest Like a Millionaire (Inc.com), Rated: A

You probably don’t think of relatively small investments and passive income opportunities when talking about commercial real estate. But the new standards for commercial real estate investing are surprisingly simple and potentially profitable. Here’s what Jilliene Helman shared about the industry-disrupting platform.

Platforms like RealtyMogul let you crowdfund multi-million dollar commercial real estate investments with as little as $1,000 to $5,000. Depending on your cash flow, you can make an investment immediately and continue reinvesting the profits.

Anyone who has ever been a landlord knows that dealing with tenants and all the hands-on work that comes with it is cumbersome. But commercial real estate can be a completely passive opportunity that doesn’t require you to do anything. Jilliene agrees that you don’t need to be active in all of your investments.

Jilliene shares that in RealtyMogul’s case, they’ve now gone through 12 months at 8% distribution annualized. While some investors might take that distribution and spend it, others will take that 8% and keep reinvesting it to turn it into a compounding investment. In the second month of a payout, investors will be earning on that original 8% in addition to interest earned each subsequent month of distribution.

Affirm: The San Francisco Startup Using Fintech To Simplify Lending (Benzinga), Rated: A

Rob Pfeifer, chief risk officer at the San Francisco fintech startup Affirm, remembers the moment the company began lending: 7:57 p.m. on Aug. 21, 2014.

Since going live, Affirm has made more than 1 million loans totaling more than $1 billion.

The platform originally targeted millennials, but has drawn a wider clientele, said Pfeifer, 35, who’s scheduled to speak at the Benzinga Fintech Summit Sept. 28 in San Francisco.

BitX Funding takes online middleman approach to small-business lending (Westfair Online), Rated: A

“About four to five years ago, I worked for OnDeck Capital in Manhattan,” said Rowe, referring to a non-bank lender to small businesses, where he was a senior business development manager. “Back in 2008, when we had the market correction, banks stopped lending and small-business owners had nowhere to go to get funds. OnDeck, at the time, filled that gap.”

In 2013, Rowe in Southport launched BitX Funding as an online marketplace for small-business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to seek financing for their endeavors.

BitX Funding works with a borrower in fill out data on the company regarding how much money they want to borrow, the time frame they are working in to receive their funds and how long they have been in business. Rowe reviews the information and contacts the applicant to receive more information about the depth and scope of the requested loan. The BitX founder Rowe, who is now working with 20 banks as his company’s financing outlets, determines which applicants have the best chance of moving forward.

To date, Rowe has secured 100 small-business loans for clients. Applicants do not pay him a fee or a commission for the service, he noted, with his revenue coming from the participating lenders.

“I’m actually pre-underwriting the applications. Because of Dodd-Frank and all of the other regulations and paying an underwriter a $100,000 salary for a $50,000 loan, it’s not really in their (lending banks’) wheelhouse.”

Washington DC-based RegTech Startup Securrency Joins Forces With International FinTech Firm Humaniq (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Securrency, a RegTech company with a platform designed to streamline regulatory compliance for token offerings, has just signed an extensive strategic partnership with Humaniq, an Ethereum-based Blockchain ecosystem looking to bring financial inclusion to over 2 billion unbanked people globally.

The partnership included an investment into Securrency by Humaniq as the lead investor of their current investment round. Humaniq will also provide additional technological capabilities which will be used for their collective efforts on a LegalTech platform. This LegalTech platform is designed to efficiently match capital to opportunity in transformational emerging technologies. The platform will provide efficient access to capital for startups, liquidity for frontier markets, and a scalable securitization process for established global industries. By automating certain compliance functions and connecting legacy financial services to the power of the blockchain, the team sees a path to revolutionize technology finance.

Payments firm Baton Systems adds former Citi vice chairman Kaden to advisory board (Finextra), Rated: B

Baton Systems (“Baton”, formerly known as Ubixi), the platform for clearing, settling and managing payments between financial institutions, has appointed former Citigroup Vice Chairman Lewis B. Kaden to its Advisory Board.

He joins Arjun Malhotra, Co-Founder of HCL Technologies and Headstrong, as the newest addition to Baton’s Advisory Board.

Kaden was labeled “The Most Powerful Banker You’ve Never Heard of” by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2009. He joined Citigroup in 2005, where he oversaw the bank’s global functions and advised the CEO on numerous strategic and business matters. Kaden has also served as Chairman of the United States Government Overseas Presence Advisory Panel, as well as Chairman of the Industrial Cooperation Council of the State of New York and Governor Mario Cuomo’s Commission on Competitiveness. He holds degrees from both Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Home Point Financial Names Ross Gloudeman Chief Compliance Officer (Business Insider), Rated: B

Home Point Financial Corporation (“Home Point”), a national, multi-channel mortgage originator and servicer, today announced that Ross Gloudeman has been named Chief Compliance Officer.

Prior to joining the Home Point team, he was a Principal at AIMD Consulting, LLC, providing advisory and contract risk or compliance expertise to financial services clients. Previously, he was Senior Vice President, Executive Risk and Compliance Officer, at Walter Investment Management Corp.

United Kingdom

Industry reacts to 2,000 IFIsas opened (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Data also showed that the average investment into IFIsas during 2016/17 was £8,500, while £17m was invested collectively.

Octopus Choice launched its IFIsa last month, allowing investors to deposit as little as £10 in loans underwritten by Octopus Property.

Folk2Folk launched its IFIsa in July to its existing lenders.

Giles Cross, CMO of Folk2Folk, said: “Since the introduction of our IFIsa in July, we have seen a huge amount of interest from investors looking for an alternative income with tax-free returns.”

Some peer-to-peer platforms have found the HMRC’s figures promising, including Landbay, which launched its IFIsa early in the year.

John Goodall, CEO of Landbay, said the number of accounts that had been opened had exceeded expectations.

Folk2Folk CEO to step down (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Folk2Folk has announced the resignation of its chief executive officer Jane Dumeresque (pictured above), who will step down during September.

During her tenure, Folk2Folk opened new regional offices in Yorkshire, Somerset and the Three Counties, built further representation in Cumbria, Dorset, Cheshire and East Anglia and grew the platform’s cumulative loan book from £30m to over £170m.

Peer-to-peer lenders pledge to set up base in Belfast (Irish News), Rated: AAA

PEER-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital, which to date it has lent more than £300 million to businesses across the UK, is expanding its operations into Northern Ireland.

Get bigger profits from mini bonds (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

But in the past year we’ve seen a steady rise in the quality of these bonds, partly because reputable alternative asset managers have moved in with asset-backed propositions (ie, companies that own physical assets, providing a certain amount of security for lenders). Downing, for instance, has its own “crowd bond” business that provides debt capital to businesses, usually within an Innovative Finance Individual Savings Account wrapper. Currently Downing has two projects that allow instant access (ie, no maturity), paying a 3% yield on an energy-backed business. This is a bit on the low side, but Downing also advertises an imminent bond that involves lending to a pub business for 18 months at 5.5%.

Property lender LendInvest raised £50m when it issued the alternative finance sector’s first retail bond, paying 5.25% a year over five years. The bond issue was oversubscribed, and the bonds now trade at £102 (implying a net yield to maturity of just over 5% a year).

In the news…

• Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has reignited the debate about transparency after it admitted placing loans via rival platforms without telling its customers, reports The Times. It placed around £10m in property development loans on Wellesley, and an unspecified sum via Archover, which lends to small businesses. Both Wellesley and Archover offer investors a higher return than RateSetter. A spokesman for RateSetter said it would not lend via either platform again. RateSetter withdrew from industry body the P2P Finance Association last month after admitting it had “breached the principles of the Association”, but stressed that “no customer has experienced any loss from our actions”.

A third of financial technology startups expect to IPO within five years (City A.M.), Rated: A

The UK’s ambitious fintech startups are eyeing success on the public markets with a third of them planning an IPO in the next five years, new figures reveal.

Transferwise, Revolut and World Remit are among the country’s innovative financial technology companies with long-term ambitions of going public, signalling the burgeoning industry’s confidence.

Of the 250 fintechs surveyed in fresh research from EY and Innovate Finance on behalf of HM Treasury measuring the health of the industry, more than half also said they expect revenue to more than double over the next 12 months. Collectively, they expect to raise more than £2.5bn in their next funding rounds, having already raised £3.5bn to date.

Digital challenger bank Revolut told City A.M. it has an ambition to go public “later down the line”, while co-founder of “unicorn” startup Transferwise Taavet Hinrikus said over the summer it was time to think seriously about becoming a public company “in a few years”.

Using Digital Assets to Secure a Bitcoin Loan (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

Ledgermark Ltd develops, markets and issues distributed ledger technology, specifically; various forms and implementations of distributed ledgers that can be used in combination with technologies like Bitcoin.

The company is launching a new digital asset; Meridian (MDN). Meridian represents a fork in the road as it is different from traditional digital assets. Instead of being positioned as a bitcoin alternative, Meridian is being designed to be used in combination with bitcoin. In short, via their Bitcoin Loans Platform, Ledgermark Ltd will be accepting Meridian tokens as collateral for bitcoin loans of higher value.

Is the P2P lending industry working with Bell Pottinger? (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

The P2P industry – and those linked to it – have a relatively small exposure to Bell Pottinger, with most firms opting for smaller PR agencies.

Basset & Gold, which advises and provides financing to P2P platforms and direct borrowers, is still a client of Bell Pottinger as of 6 September 2017, but is reviewing its relationship.

P2P lender Wellesley & Co previously had a relationship with Bell Pottinger, but is no longer using them.

MangoPay – which provides payment technology for P2P lenders – was still a client of Bell Pottinger as of 2 June 2017.

Darktrace in UK’s top three fastest-growing tech companies (Business Weekly), Rated: B

Norwich-based Know Your Money is the other new entrant – in at 97.

Cambridge company CashFlows surges from 94th last time to 58th in the pantheon with annual sales growth of 72 per cent to £37.3m.

Norwich’s strength in FinTech is further demonstrated by the inclusion of  Epos Now, a payment systems developer, which is placed 53rd (down from 32nd) with growth of 81 per cent to £13.9m.

The companies in the East appear with businesses from around Britain, including designer fashion website Farfetch, peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle and money transfer provider WorldRemit.

China

Chinese online insurer ZhongAn wins HK approval for $ 1 billion IPO (Reuters), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn Online Property and Casualty Insurance Co Ltd, China’s first internet-only insurer, secured Hong Kong stock exchange approval for its planned initial public offering which could raise more than $1 billion, sources with direct knowledge of the deal said on Friday.

The company plans to start gauging investor appetite for the IPO as soon as Monday after receiving the nod from the listing committee of the Hong Kong stock exchange, added the sources. It plans to launch the IPO and take orders from investors on Sept. 18.

The IPO would be the biggest by a financial technology company (fintech) in the city, which wants to lure more new listings of so-called new economy startups. Hong Kong has had $5.73 billion worth of new listings so far in 2017, compared with $21.3 billion in all of 2016, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Sino Fortune buys $ 2.8m equity interest in online lender TouZhiJia (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Chinese fintech solutions firm Sino Fortune Holding Corp has acquired a 4.45 per cent stake in Shenzhen TouZhiJia Financial Information Service Co Ltd (TouZhiJia) for about $2.8 million (RMB19.1 million).

Sino Fortune is making the 4.45 per cent equity interest acquisition through Puhui Equity Investment Co Ltd (Puhui).

Founded in September 2014, TouZhiJia’s main businesses include vertical P2P search engine, private wealth management, and secondary loan exchange services.

TouZhiJia has reportedly accumulated 2.74 million registered users and facilitated 1.98 million transactions with aggregate transaction value of more than $2.30 billion (RMB 15.63 billion). TouZhiJia is an affiliate of Yingcan Group.

European Union

LendIt Europe Agenda Released, Discounted Pricing Ends Soon (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The full agenda is on the LendIt website, but here are a few topics I am most excited about:

  • How to Navigate Open Banking (Imran Gulamhuseinwala, Ernst & Young)
  • Digitization of Finance How Customer Expectations are Changing (Anne Boden, Starling Bank, Rhydian Lewis, Ratesetter Giovanni Daprà, Moneyfarm)
  • Implementing AI in Financial Services: Case Study (Francesco Brenna, IBM, Roberto Mancone, Deutsche Bank)
  • How Big Banks Are Approaching the New Connected World (Gilad Amir, Lloyds Banking Group, Benoit Legrand, ING, Raman Bhatia, HSBC, Gustavo Vinacua, BBVA)
  • Renaud Laplanche of Upgrade talking about Online Lending 2.0 and the state of the US fintech market.

Summer pricing of £1,295 ends at midnight on September 8th. After that, ticket prices will rise to £1,495. As always Lend Academy readers can receive an additional 15% discount by using the code LENDACADEMYVIP at checkout.

What Kinds of Fintech Platforms Help Startups with Fundraising (TechBullion), Rated: A

By the way, the alternative funding market in Europe is not just a developed one, but it is often supported by the state in every way. Moreover, crowdlending currently is a major competitor for the conventional banking area. In the future, it will consolidate its position because, due to introducing new Basel lll requirements to banks, including a reduction of risk assets, the requirements to bank lenders will become ever more stringent.

For instance, in 2015, Austria adopted an act that governs and legalizes the operation of companies involved in non-banking lending. But at the same time, in the biggest fintech country in Eastern Europe – Russia – and in several EU countries, there is yet no such document. Germany has a credit rating of companies that protect the investor.

What kinds of non-banking business lending platforms exist?

According to data of KPMG studies, the last 3 years period demonstrated a 131% growth of the share of mutual business lending, with the share of peer-to-peer consumer lending having increased merely by 54%.

  • Crowdfunding– investments for a remuneration from a company.
  • Crowdlending– this is mutual business lending assuming a return on investments (Funding Circle).
  • Crowdinvesting – an investor receives a share in a company with a view to growth of the value of one’s purchased share and, certainly, receiving dividends from company operations (Crowdcube, Seedmatch).
  • Refinancing receivables or online factoring. A loan is provided on collateral in the form of expected payments or accounts receivable.
  • Invoice discounting – this is in essence factoring, but with a somewhat other funding structure. Within its framework, funding is not split into deliveries but is paid in full on spot. In case of assignment of claims, the lender will bear the obligations of reimbursing the factor the funds underpaid by the borrower.

The Microfinance Centre’s (MFC’s) Alternative Finance Forum; October 5, 2017; Warsaw, Poland (MicroCapital), Rated: B

Event Location: Copernicus Conference Centre; Warsaw, Poland

Summary of Event: This forum aims to “introduce new forms of financial services” while covering topics including equity-based crowdfunding, social impact bonds, online lenders to small businesses and peer-to-peer lending platforms. The event has support from the European Union and its European Investment Bank Institute.

Cost: Participation is free of charge

Event Website: 

International

How digital assets are revolutionizing payments (The Asset), Rated: A

Experian, an information services group, estimates that the average error rate of bank account data is around 12.7%, indicating that there is a lack of understanding of foreign bank codes and account numbers.

A key problem with cross-border payments today is the fact that transactions are at the mercy of correspondent banking relationships.

Ripple, a global digital payment provider, has designed its XRP digital asset solely the cross-border transfer of value between enterprises.

Aside from Ripple, other companies have started to look at the usage of digital assets for transactions. Visa for instance recently filed a patent with United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) on the creation of a digital asset network to eliminate third parties and simply their transaction process.

Fintech Companies Disrupting Finance, Creating Bank of Tomorrow (Cointelegraph), Rated: B

One popular recent development in the Blockchain community is the creation of multi-crypto/fiat debit cards. These cards allow users to interchange between the given set of currencies in a seamless manner.

Luhaaar notes that fintech companies have consistently delivered better results in individual financial system services. He says that Change Bank wants to bring these companies together to create a global fintech bank of tomorrow.

India

Capital Float Digitally Removes Credit Gap (CXO Today), Rated: A

In an exclusive interaction with CXOToday, Rohan Angrish, CTO, Capital Float, takes us through how they have made it possible with the aid of technology which helped reduce wait times for SMEs, and enabled disbursement of funds in just three days. Last month, the company announced an equity raise of $45 Million (Rs. 293 crores) in Series C funding.

CXOToday: Tell us about your expansion plans across India. Any plans to go global in the near future?

Angrish: Over the past year alone, we have disbursed loans of over Rs. 2,100 crores to 12,000 plus customers across 300 cities. We will continue to identify and serve under-served SME segments. We have also ventured into financing micro-entrepreneurs like taxi drivers, travel agents, and Kirana store owners. Although these are small-ticket loans, the sheer size of these segments indicates immense potential. India will keep us busy for the short term. By the end of the financial year, we expect to have our geographic footprint spread across 500 cities from our current number of 300 cities, without increasing headcount.

CXOToday: Who are your customers?

Angrish: These include SMEs who have traditionally been denied finance due to ineligibility based on credit parameters set by formal financiers, lack of collateral and inability to furnish the required documentation.

CXOToday: Please throw light on your corporate partnerships.

Angrish: The company has partnered with ecosystem leaders across various verticals such as e-commerce (Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, PayTM, Shopclues, eBay, Alibaba, etc.), travel and hospitality (VIA and Yatra), retail (Mswipe, Pine Labs, Bijlipay, ICICI Merchant Services) and taxi aggregators (UBER and Ola) etc. Through these partnerships, we are able to effectively expand our reach to SMEs operating on these platforms.

Fintech startup EarlySalary raises Rs 5cr in debt financing from IFMR Capital (YourStory), Rated: A

Fintech startup EarlySalary, which offers instant cash loans and salary advances, has raised debt financing of Rs 5 crore from IFMR Capital. Previously, this past May, the company had raised a Series A round of $4 million (Rs 28 crore) in equity funding from IDG Ventures India and DHFL and plans to leverage its equity multiple times over the next few months.

In an earlier interaction with YourStory, Co-founder and CEO Akshay Mehrotra had said that almost 75 percent of the Rs 28 crore would be utilised for building their lending book. The remaining amount was to go into expanding their team, with a specific focus on machine learning skill sets, and helping grow the customer base.

EarlySalary has already disbursed more than 7,000 loans last month. Currently operating in eight cities including Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad, it is looking at expanding into other cities as well.

Growth deals drive VC investments in August (The Times of India), Rated: B

Online lender Capital Float attracted $45 million, while Treebo Hotels took $34 million. Bioinformatics company MedGenome attracted $30 million from investors led by Sequoia India and fitness chain operator Curefit raised $25 million from existing investors including Accel Partners and IDG Ventures.

With seed funding becoming more challenging, early stage investors are asking questions on whether the business is viable and if it can raise follow on capital, which is an indication of the market maturing, he adds.

APAC

Citi Launches First Facebook Messenger Banking Chatbot in Singapore that Provides Customer Account Information (Fintech News), Rated: AAA

Citi Singapore today announced the launch of Citi Bot – the bank’s new natural language chatbot on Facebook Messenger. Singapore is the first market for the launch of the chatbot which will be introduced progressively in the Asia Pacific region over the next few months.

This landmark initiative furthers Citi’s open architecture approach to digital banking as the bank taps on its global network to form strategic partnerships and to co-create with leading players in digital ecosystems globally and locally.

Citi Bot will first be made available to some 600 Citi customers and employees who will form Citi Singapore’s Beta Testing Community, referred to as the Citi Beta Community.

The second phase of the Citi Bot will introduce more new features such as card activation, ability to lock and unlock credit cards and transaction alerts for cards among others.

India, Indonesia lead growth in mobile payments (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Asia-Pacific now leads the way in the adoption of mobile payments, according to a report by ACI Worldwide (ACI) entitled “Global Consumer Survey and Consumer Trust and Security Perceptions.”

Within the Asia, India and Indonesia saw the biggest growth of mobile wallet use with 56% of Indian and 47% Indonesian participants of saying that they used mobile wallets. This represents a significant increase from 2014 results which saw 47% of Indian and 32% of Indonesian survey participants using mobile wallets.

Source: The Asset

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor