The future of Market Place Lending – Madden and beyond

The future of Market Place Lending – Madden and beyond

When ? Monday, August 15, 2016 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM Where ? Pepper Hamilton LLP at The New York Times Building 37th floor, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY Details The supreme court decision not to hear Madden vs Midland: · National Bank Act (NBA) vs · What does this mean for securitization for […]

The future of Market Place Lending – Madden and beyond

When ?

Monday, August 15, 2016
5:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Where ?

Pepper Hamilton LLP at The New York Times Building
37th floor, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY

Details

The supreme court decision not to hear Madden vs Midland:

· National Bank Act (NBA) vs

· What does this mean for securitization for Marketplace Lenders ?

· What does this mean for Marketplace Lenders ?

· What are the next steps expected in Madden vs Midland ?

· How does this affect regions outside of New York, Vermont and Connecticut ?

· Effect on borrowers in New York, Vermont and Connecticut ?

· What about Bethune v. LendingClub, WebBank et al. ? (true lender case and test of the platforms’ mandatory arbitration clauses contained in every consumer loan agreement)

More information

The future of Market Place Lending – Madden and beyond

Monday, Aug 15, 2016, 5:30 PM

Pepper Hamilton LLP at The New York Times Building
37th floor, 620 Eighth Avenue New York, NY

51 Executives Attending

PresentsMarketplace Lending after Madden vs Midland and related problems (true lender, mandatory arbitration,etc. )————–AgendaThe supreme court decision not to hear Madden vs Midland:· National Bank Act (NBA) vs· What does this mean for securitization for Marketplace Lenders ?· What does this mean for Marketplace Lenders ?· What ar…

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Editorial: The state of the debt markets, July 2016

Editorial: The state of the debt markets, July 2016

Dear readers, This past week, despite a lot of people being on vacation, had important news that may affect us for the years to come: 1.  According to the bond market yield curve and a Deutsche Bank model, there is 60% chance of recession. The interesting part is that the equity market, who erased the post […]

Editorial: The state of the debt markets, July 2016

Dear readers,

This past week, despite a lot of people being on vacation, had important news that may affect us for the years to come:

1.  According to the bond market yield curve and a Deutsche Bank model, there is 60% chance of recession. The interesting part is that the equity market, who erased the post BREXIT losses, doesn’t agree.

2. If we do enter a recession the Debt-to-EBITDA multiples for private equity deals with U.S. targets in 2016 has hit a whopping 6.8x. This is probably correlated with the general corporate and SME debt markets.  We all know what happens in an overleveraged environment when the music stops.

3. And on the unsecured personal side Morningstar published a report showing that the Non-housing debt is at around $3.5 trillion from $2 trillion in 2004. The report is titled “Please Sir, can you lend me some more ?”. Bad of you if you lend, bad of you if you don’t. On the bright side, default rates are not inching up yet except in sub-prime auto.

This week we also saw Avant planning to lay off 40% of their workforce. One may think this is a negative signal for the company. On the contrary, in my eyes this allows Avant to be profitable and to be ready for whatever the next 12 months throws at the overall market. In Chess, it pays to build a flexible position with many options of attack and defense vs throwing all your pieces on a single make or break attack. Avant is prepared for the worst and if the market turns around it can react fast in the same way we saw the company build $2bil in origination in only 3 years.

On the fundraising side EarnUp, a new fintech type of loan servicing which was bootstrapped so far and already has traction, raised $3mil in a seed round.

Events: As I am based in New York I will be attending the AltLend conference at the Princeton Club on Wednesday and Thursday, July 13th and 14th.

And last but not least I have put together a Press Kit for Lending Times. If you are interested in supporting Lending Times through advertising with us please ask for our press kit.

Thank you,

George Popescu

July 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Good news: Paul @ Apollo, David and Matt @ Orchard and Kevin@Sharestates were kind enough to give me some good feedback  on Lending Times at the Canaan Fintech Event last evening. They all missed the comment anchor links that take readers to the article I am commenting on. Good news! I have found […]

July 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Good news: Paul @ Apollo, David and Matt @ Orchard and Kevin@Sharestates were kind enough to give me some good feedback  on Lending Times at the Canaan Fintech Event last evening. They all missed the comment anchor links that take readers to the article I am commenting on. Good news! I have found an easy and efficient way to make the news comments link directly to the articles as it used to be. And I can do so without spending the 1 hour it used to take. We are testing today this come-back feature, per reader’s unanimous request.  We hope it will work well.

United States

United Kingdom

Australia

 

 

United States

New Growth Plan for Online Lenders: Layoffs, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

 

 

The first half of the year has been a surprising reality check for the once-highflying lenders touted by some as the future of banking. For years, the companies grew at a breakneck pace, adding staff and customers tired of dealing with banks that had grown more risk averse since the financial crisis.

Avant Inc. last week became the latest company to reduce its workforce in response to a more muted outlook for the sector.  The lender took the unusual step of offering buyouts to all of its 760 employees and in coming weeks will look to lay off staff if necessary to meet its targeted reduction of around 300 positions. Just nine months ago, Avant was poised to expand into auto loans and credit cards as well as into foreign markets such as Australia after securing a $325 million round of venture capital. Now, it is shelving those new initiatives to focus on profitability, which Chief Executive Al Goldstein said should come later this year.

The cutbacks at Avant follow similar moves from its rivals. In May, Prosper said it would cut 171 jobs, around a quarter of its workforce, and last week LendingClub Corp announced that 179 positions, around 12% of its staff, would be eliminated.

Venture investment into lending startups fell by nearly half in the second quarter to around $250 million from the same period of 2015 after falling around 44% in the first quarter, according to preliminary figures from Dow Jones VentureSource.

Much of the pullback in the industry has centered on companies that offer personal consumer loans, with providers of refinanced student loans less hard-hit. CommonBond and Earnest have announced job cuts of around 10% and less than 5%, respectively, over the past two months, according to the companies.

LendingClub said shareholders shouldn’t expect revenue and profit to resume growth until the first half of 2017 as it looks to spend more on employee retention and incentives for investment funds to ramp up their loan purchases.

Avant meanwhile says its path to profits comes partially from its holding many of the loans on its books, rather than selling the majority to investors, as some competitors like LendingClub do. So even if loan volume slows, that doesn’t hit revenue as quickly because Avant still collects interest on older loans.

Online Small-Business Lender Kabbage Backs Away from Consumer Market, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

The Atlanta-based company had launched Karrot, a consumer lending business in 2014, which while relatively small generated tens of millions of dollars in loans over its history.

But “right now, we are not active with Karrot,” said Rob Frohwein, co-founder and chief executive of Kabbage, adding that it has been largely dormant for the past three to four months.

Instead of an in-house effort, Kabbage will be working as soon as next year on consumer lending portals for two foreign banks, Mr. Frohwein said.

Overall, loans originated by Kabbage in the first half of this year rose 60% over the volume in the same period of 2015, said Mr. Frohwein. The pace of growth however has slowed. In 2015, Kabbage originated about $900 million in loans, more than twice the approximately $400 million in 2014. Rival On Deck Capital loaned more than $1.9 billion, by comparison.

Kabbage’s cost of capital has also gone up — by about 1.0 to 1.5 percentage points. In recent months, Kabbage has absorbed those rising costs, without passing them along in price increases to borrowers, Mr. Frohwein said.

Founded in 2008, Kabbage has raised about $240 million from firms like BlueRun Ventures, Lumia Capital, SoftBank Capital, and UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund. It was valued late last year at $1 billion and has raised more than $1 billion in debt capital to date.

Still, the company is continuing to hire, adding 75 people this year for a total of about 350.

The company is beefing up the ranks of people working on its software product that it licenses to banks, where demand is continuing, and is hiring less for its direct lending business. It already has deals with Spain’s Banco Santanader SA and Canada’s Scotiabank.

Kabbage is continuing to spend on marketing through radio, TV, direct mail, digital media and through about 300 distribution relationships, Mr. Frohwein said. As long as the cost to acquire new borrowers is staying flat or declining, the company should continue investing, Mr. Frohwein said.

“In the last two months, we’ve been approached on eight potential acquisitions,” Mr. Frohwein said. He said he doesn’t expect to do such a deal because they cost more than acquiring customers directly.

Why This Lending Club Co-Founder Thinks the Market Is Wrong About Online Lenders, (Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

John Donovan, co-founder and former executive of Lending Club, gives investors a peek behind the curtain of today’s marketplace lenders.

When a person with a credit card balance applies, let’s say they have an interest rate of 17%, which appears to be the average rate, they go and apply on a platform, they instantly get an offer at 15%. Typically it’s got to be 200 basis points lower for somebody to move their balance, but they say, “Hey, you know what, this makes sense.” The product is very different in that it’s an installment loan. They’re going to pay 36 to 60 months, the exact same amount.

It’s going to be automatically pulled from their bank account. These are very consumer-friendly, very responsible methods of credit that help consumers get out of debt.

The person comes in and applies, and basically, the credit bureau data and other data is pulled and they’re approved. In addition, there’s a bunch of third-party data that’s looked at, because it’s monochannel, because basically it’s an online application. It can be done much more efficiently than the banks do it, supporting credit card — because that may come in based on a written application, it may come in online, it may come in through the telephone. Typically if you go to your bank branch and you apply, they’re going to say, “Hey, call this number to go through.” Because it’s monochannel, it tends to be more efficiently managed.

There’s also a lot more data, so when a person’s coming in and applying on their computer, from an antifraud standpoint, marketplace lenders can go in and say, “Okay, hey, John’s applying for a loan. His credit passes, the IP address on his computer says Chicago but we can see on his LinkedIn profile that he works in San Francisco. Hmm, might this be fraud?

If you look at the process, let’s say 85% of applicants are declined automatically, and there is no human intervention. What’s interesting is, from a regulatory standpoint, when these platforms go through audits, the regulators are used to going into the banks and saying, “Hey, let me see your overrides. Let me see where a manager might have said, ‘You know what, I know Phil, he lives down the street from me. I’m going to sign and give him this loan.'” That’s kind of ripe for issues of, who are the types of people that you’re doing overrides for? It raises a lot of other issues. That doesn’t exist in marketplace lending; from that standpoint, the 85% of people who don’t meet credit requirements are declined automatically.

At that point, you end up with, let’s say, 15%, and there you’re going in and saying, “Hey, do we need to do additional income verification? Do we need to do employment verification, do we want to get this person on the phone and make a phone call?” What are the other types of verification that are necessary? It’s interesting, as I read a lot of things, people say, “You should verify 100%.” Guess what: The banks don’t do much income verification at all from the standpoint of credit card applications.

A person comes in, applies, they get approved; there’s a decision whether they’re going to income-verify, employment-verify, whatever that might be. The loan gets listed. At the same time, on the other side of it, these platforms started purely as individuals funding other individuals. You’ve got an investor who comes in, who’s signed up, who’s put money on the platform, and they’re choosing to allocate funds to a given loan. You basically have those two parties where the loan gets funded, and then it gets issued by a bank — so in the instance of Lending Club and Prosper, that’s WebBank — WebBank issues a loan. A couple days later, they sell it to Lending Club or Prosper to service, so that’s effectively how it ends up the model and how it ends up working.

The Fed just put up new revolving credit data. We’re talking about record levels of revolving debt, so they expect that to go over a trillion dollars this quarter. I worked at MasterCard for much of my career: 17 years. When I started there, there were 50 banks that represented less than half of all the credit debt in the United States, the revolving debt. Right now there’s five banks that represent more than half. Effectively it becomes an oligopoly, and this is a new form of competition. I don’t think you’re going to see consumers aren’t borrowing; they are. They’re certainly looking for more responsible ways of paying that back, and whether it’s the solution or something else, there will be something.

From a borrowing standpoint, all the research shows borrowers make decisions based on rate, how quickly they get the money, convenience, and maybe No. 4 is brand. I don’t think this’ll impact borrower demand or borrowers’ willingness to borrow money.

What I thought was really interesting is, I read the press release in the BancAlliance one. They ask the CEO of BancAlliance, was he going to continue the program? He said, “You know it’s on hold for…” Sorry, was he going to do it himself? He said, “Unfortunately, we can’t afford to do it ourselves, because we can’t bring the efficiencies that we need.” What he’s basically saying is: He can either bring a great product to his community and regional bank customers, through a partnership with a marketplace lender, or he can’t do it. It isn’t a choice of him doing it himself, because he just doesn’t have the efficiencies or the capabilities to drive that type of website and functionality.

I think if you look at data that’s been released by others in terms of the last downturn, in general prime consumers — the No. 1 reason why people end up defaulting is loss of job. I think after that is divorce and medical, I’m not sure which order those two are in. By far it’s loss of job. You’ve got a down economic time, people lose their jobs. It tends to happen, believe it or not, by FICOs. When you’ve got your best FICOs that might be carrying a 10-basis-point loss, it might double to 20 basis points. That’s not going to really hurt overall returns. You get down into, I think the average FICO on most of these platforms is about 700. You get into the 700 range, and let’s say it’s 4% and that’s going to go up to 7%. You’ll still have positive returns for investors, it’s certainly not going to be as high as they have in the past. You get into subprime, where losses might now be 12%, and if those double and go up to 24% or even higher, that’s why I think there are more significant issues.

It tends to be, in consumer credit at least, one of, are you talking about prime, near-prime, or subprime? Tough economic times tend to hit subprime first and foremost.

‘Dead People Don’t Pay’: Tech Takes On Marketplace Lending Fraud, (American Banker), Rated: A

“To restore a high degree of confidence from investors in marketplace lending, some kind of independent data repository is essential,” said Cormac Leech, founder and director of Liberum Alternative Finance, the fintech incubator subsidiary of the London and New York-based investment bank Liberum (it’s a Latin word meaning “freedom of expression”).

Without central data repositories and third-party validations, he said, you’re relying on the platforms to do what they’re supposed to be doing.

A Swedish peer-to-peer lending company, ironically called TrustBuddy, declared bankruptcy in October, after management revealed that millions were missing from client accounts.

Marketplace lenders could also subsidize existing investors’ not-so-good returns with new investors’ money, the way Bernie Madoff did in his early days, Leech theorized.

There’s also the practice of “stacking” in which borrowers obtain loans from multiple online lenders at the same time, slipping through their automated systems due to hasty algorithmic underwriting and patchy reporting of the resulting loans to credit bureaus. This can result in marketplace lenders making loans without the full picture of the borrowers’ obligations and deteriorating ability to pay.

And then there’s the potential for fraudulently changing loan information, as Lending Club allegedly did to make its aging loans appear fresh. An internal investigation found that Lending Club falsified the documentation on a package of loans worth $22 million.

Marketplace lenders in limbo, but not fear, (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Comment: Discussion of Madden vs Midland.

“Napster failed, but it changed the way consumers expect to access music and effectively killed off the physical retail music business. When was the last time you walked into Tower Records to buy an album?”

Marketplace lenders have played their part in evolving financial services.

The Supreme Court’s late-June announcement that it would not review the U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit decision in Madden v. Midland Fundingmeans that, for the time being, online lenders will have to manage state-by-state usury caps. But the decision hasn’t torpedoed marketplace lenders.

The CEO of one online lending company, speaking on condition of anonymity, says he is confident after reading the Solicitor General’s opinion that the Second Circuit decision was so horribly decided that it eventually will be overturned—and in the meantime, it’s no big deal.

“The Second Circuit decision applies only to three states and only to cases where the interest rate exceeds the state’s usury cap,” the executive says.

“So what do you do if you’re a lender selling loans to non-banks at this time in those three states?” the executive continued. “One: Don’t make loans above the usury rate. Two: Restructure your arrangement with the originating bank to address the criteria that the decision laid out; Three: Opt to restructure.”

For some online lenders, Madden doesn’t apply because of their customer base.

“The clients we work with are all banks, so it’s irrelevant to us,” says Brian Graham, CEO of Alliance Partners, the umbrella of the BancAlliance consortium.

On Deck Capital Offers Several Free Call Options On Future Returns, (Seeking Alpha) ,Rated: AAA

At a price near book value, the stock gives very little credit for ONDK’s massive runway for growth in its core business.

Moreover, it provides investors free options on value creation in other areas.

These options include its OnDeck as a Service business, expansion in international markets, and new product offerings.

ONDK’s emerging “ODaas” initiative is an outsourced technology offering that enables partners (banks and other large lending institutions) to leverage ONDK’s underwriting capabilities and expertise in technology, data, and analytics. The initiative has the potential to become a large, profitable, and complementary business for ONDK over time.

At a 15X multiple, ODaaS alone would be worth $17.61 per ONDK share, more than triple the current price.

Until recently, ONDK has been seen as a primarily US growth story. The TAM figures most analysts use (and this article itself cites) refer to the market for SMB loans solely in the US. However, there is nothing to say the company’s success should stop domestically. ONDK recently launched operations in Canada and Australia, which should become meaningful growth drivers in the coming few years. ONDK began making loans in Canada in the summer of 2014 and the early growth there has been remarkable. Originations were up 117% YoY in Q1 2016 (according to the quarterly call).

United Kingdom

P2P lender Lending Works receives seven-figure funding to grow loan channels, (B Daily), Rated: AAA

Lending Works, the peer-to-peer lender, has received £2m in growth funding from Newcastle-based NVM Private Equity as it continues on its growth trajectory. The Farringdon-based firm will use the funding to build additional loan distribution channels, grow its team and invest in its platform as it looks to capitalise on the rapidly growing P2P lending market, which is predicted to grow to around £4.3bn this year.

“We’re expecting to launch our new IFISA imminently, which will allow lenders to earn tax-free returns through our platform.”

FCA concerned about retail investors moving into P2P, (FT Adviser), Rated: AAA

The Financial Conduct Authority has expressed concern that the Innovative Finance Isa might be encouraging people who don’t understand crowdfunding to put their money into it.

 The regulator published a call for input as part of its post-implementation review of the rules for the regulation of crowdfunding platforms introduced in 2014.

“There is anecdotal evidence that suggests P2P investors in the past were relatively wealthy or knowledgeable,” it continued.

“The availability of P2P investment through Isas and pensions, or at retirement using money released from pensions, may create a change in the investor base toward retail investors who are less experienced or knowledgeable, who trust the Isa ‘brand’, and who may not fully appreciate the risks involved.”

The current rules for investment-based crowdfunding requires firms to assess whether prospective investors have the knowledge or experience to understand the risks involved, and to check whether investors meet certain criteria before being able to invest money.

The FCA has said it might apply the same approach for loan-based crowdfunding.

“We are aware some P2P platforms are considering moving into residential secured lending,” the paper stated.

“The business models of such operations might have the effect that there is no one responsible for the regulated lending activity, bypassing Mortgage and Home Finance: Conduct of Business Sourcebook affordability requirements and other lending responsibilities.

‘We had a gem here and I think we’ve just smashed it up’: Here are fintech’s biggest fears about Brexit, (Business Insider), Rated: A

Comment: just a rehash of the general view on Brexit, in case you have been under a stone for the last 2 weeks.

PASSPORTING: ‘This banking licence could be valid across 500 million people or 60 million people. We don’t know.’

INVESTMENT: ‘We need to ask is how much new money will be coming in’

TALENT: ‘It’s a slap in the face’

LONDON AS A HUB: ‘We had a gem here and I think we’ve just smashed it up’

Wintermeyer agrees: “We’ve spoken to all the hubs. The reality is that the UK fintech hub on the back of the UK financial infrastructure, that’s taken years to build. It’s pretty difficult to see a European hub popping up that’s going to replace London in a short period of time. I’m sure they’ll try.”

 

Australia

PayPal takes m slice of SME lending pie, (The Australian Business Review), Rated: AAA

It’s only available to customers and has had little fanfare, but PayPal has quietly written $85 million of small business loans in less than two years.  According to figures released by the payments giant, PayPal Working Capital has extended more than $85m to about 3000 small businesses since launching in Australia in late 2014.

In contrast, Prospa — the biggest “fintech” online small business lender — in May revealed it had cracked the $150m mark after four years of operations.

SocietyOne, the biggest “marketplace” lender, which has also been in business for four years, pushed through $100m personal loans in April.

PayPal’s product is also different, with the unsecured loan of up to $97,000 being offered only to merchants that use its payments network, so borrowed funds can be ­instantly distributed following a five-minute application.
There’s a one-off upfront fee and repayments come out of daily sales, typically between 10 per cent and 30 per cent of turnover.

Interest rates are typically in the “teens and 20 per cent” range, differing based on merchants’ repayment choices and risk.

Including the US and Britain, PayPal Working Capital recently surpassed $US2 billion ($2.6bn) in loans. According to accounts filed with the corporate regulator for the year to December 31, PayPal Credit increased profit almost fourfold to $120,143 on $3.7m of revenue. But Mr Esch said profits weren’t the main motivation, citing how providing customers with more capital — typically for inventory — boosted sales and loyalty. The most prolific borrowers from PayPal in Australia include businesses in fashion, automotive parts, electronics, sports equipment, toys and jewellery.

Author:

George Popescu

Marketplace Lending Securitization Tracker Q2 2016

Marketplace Lending Securitization Tracker Q2 2016

Summary Marketplace lending securitization volume topped $1.7 billion this quarter, up 14.8% from Q1, with cumulative issuance reaching $10.3 billion. YTD issuance of the sector stands at $3.2 billion as compared to $1.8 billion from the prior year, a 77% increase. Q2 saw a total of 6 deals: 3 are backed by student loans, 2 […]

Marketplace Lending Securitization Tracker Q2 2016

Summary

Marketplace lending securitization volume topped $1.7 billion this quarter, up 14.8% from Q1, with cumulative issuance reaching $10.3 billion. YTD issuance of the sector stands at $3.2 billion as compared to $1.8 billion from the prior year, a 77% increase. Q2 saw a total of 6 deals: 3 are backed by student loans, 2 by unsecured consumer loans, and 1 by SME loans. SoFi issued its first rated unsecured consumer loan deal and received an industry first ever AAA rating from Moody’s on its recent student loan transaction.

MPL securitizations are moving towards rated and larger transactions. The second quarter was the first to have all deals rated by one or more rating agencies. Further, the growth in average deal size continued, the average deal size grew to $267 million in 2016 as compared to $64 million in 2013.

New issuance and secondary spread tightened by quarter end, a good sign for the industry. Across all segments in MPL, Q2 2016 saw moderate spread compression in senior tranches of newly issued deals and widening in junior tranches as compared to Q1 2016.

Numerous factors, including lending platform rate increases, and spread tightening in both primary and secondary markets, look to improve future deal economics. The increase in rates from platforms increases excess spread and improves the economics of securitization for residual holders.

The demand for a higher standard of due diligence, transparency and analytics will be the norm. With the recent Lending Club headlines, ABS investors are demanding greater transparency and validation to enhance trust.

Introduction

Recent Lending Club news and Brexit shocks notwithstanding, the second quarter saw an overall reduction in credit market volatility. The implied at-the-money volatilities on 3-month CDX IG and HY options have not changed significantly. On-the-run HY CDX traded range bound between 410 to 480 basis points and retracted back to low mid-400’s, similar to levels seen at the end of Q1. With this slightly lower volatility, new issuance spreads in MPL securitizations tightened in the senior debt structure, while junior tranches have widened out in Q2.

Further, the second quarter continued the gradual thaw in MPL securitization we observed in late February and March. Six deals priced, totaling $1.7 billion, representing steady growth of 14.8% from the last quarter. Year to date issuance stands at $3.2 billion, as compared to $1.8 billion for the first half of 2015. This growth now brings the total size of MPL securitization issuance volume to date to $10.3 billion.

The market continued to move towards larger deals with repeated issuers. All of the size deals issued in this quarter were rated by one or more rating agencies.

Definitions and Inclusion Rules

Our Tracker includes all transactions derived from Marketplace Lending platform, which we define as including both:

  • Online and other novel technologies to increase operational efficiency, risk accuracy, and borrower experience, and
  • Non-deposit funding for lending capital.

We appreciate rapid innovation in lending channels and welcome all comments and consideration on inclusion rules going forward.

I. Quarterly Round-up

The second quarter 2016 saw 6 securitization deals, adding $1.7 billion in new issuance. This represents 77% YoY growth in total issuance year-to-date and 14.8% growth from Q1, further evidence of the rebound from January’s freeze. Indeed, MPL securitization remains a bright spot in the ABS world, with its 77% YoY growth contrasting against at 27% YoY slowdown in non-MPL ABS issuance. Source: SIFMA, Bloomberg, PeerIQ Research.

Total securitization issuance to date now stands at $10.3 billion, with 53 deals issued to date (31 Consumer, 14 Student, and 8 SME) since September 2013.

Reviewing by underlying loan segment, we see that Consumer and Student have almost similar volume issuance, with Consumer slightly ahead with $4.6 billion issued to date, as compared to Student at $4.0 billion. OnDeck’s $250 million issuance is the only Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) deal for the quarter. SME is currently the smallest segment with $1.7 billion total issuance.

There were six new deals in Q2 2016: SCLP 2016-1, SOFI 2016-B, ONDK 2016-1, EARN 2016-B, AVNT 2016-B, and CBSLT 2016-A (Exhibit 3). Of note, SoFi issued its first rated unsecured consumer loan deal (SCLP 2016-1), backed by $506 million collateral. The Class A tranche was $380 MM with initial OC of 25% (targeted OC of 31%) and received an A rating by Kroll (Exhibit 4) . The deal was oversubscribed three times with 28 investors indicating interest, and 24 SoFi student loan ABS investors crossing over into the consumer unsecured deal.

While there was no securitization from Citi’s CHAI shelf this quarter, there were several repeat issuers from last quarter. In addition to SoFi, both Earnest and Avant tapped the securitization markets again.

There were also positive ratings activity this quarter. In April, DBRS upgraded SOFI 2014-A A1, SOFI 2014-A A2 and SOFI 2013-A A tranche—all backed by student loans originated by SoFi— from single A to double A. This is a welcome contrast to the 3 downgrade reviews Moody’s placed on several CHAI mezzanine bonds last quarter.

Finally, deals continue to increase in average deal size over time, led again by SoFi’s large placements. The average securitization deal size now stands at $267 million for 2016.

II. MPL Securitization League Table

Citigroup continues to lead the Bookrunner league table with 19% of market share on all deals since inception. Citi has marketed 7 deals for a total of $1.9 billion of new issuance (Exhibit 6). The top 5 book runners captured 75% market share or 34 of 41 deals.

We expect leadership positions to change. Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse have scaled back the size of their warehouse lending and fixed income desks. We also see increased activity from Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs. Although Citi is no longer securitizing Prosper loans, we see Citi co-leading large transactions such as the recent SoFi deal.

III. New Issuance Spreads

New issuance spreads increased only slightly as compared to the prior quarter—though remained significantly wider than those seen in 2015 across the capital stack. Moreover, we saw a continued preference for senior tranches over riskier junior bonds, reflecting lingering concerns in the credit market. As reflected in the Exhibit 7, this overall senior preference leads to a steepening of the overall term structure, with investors demanding higher premiums for riskier tranches—and this remains true across all loan segments.

IV. Commentary on Residual Economics

We often field questions from investors on the economics of residual tranches in securitizations, particularly as impending risk retention rules require sponsors to hold on-going residual risk. Several recent developments suggest an improving climate for residual holders, including the steady increase in loan interest rates, a return to normalcy in primary market spreads, and a tightening in secondary market spreads. We find that such trends can, in aggregate, increase excess spread by 2-4%, which would make the economics of the equity tranche very attractive.

To explain, we return to first principles. Each securitization matches the weighted-average coupon (WAC) of the collateral on the asset side (i.e. the pooled loans) with the WAC of tranched bonds sold to ABS investors, less various fees and costs of securitization.

The residual holders of each securitization sit in the first-loss position with economics that tie directly to uncertain prepay and default expectations. Accordingly, residual investors require significantly higher yield in return for bearing this risk, which comes in the form of excess spread, or the difference between the inbound collateral WAC and the outbond bond WAC, less fees.

Thus, the higher coupons on the senior bonds observed in Q1 and Q2 in consumer deals increased the outbound bond WAC and thereby reduced excess spread. The extremely high bond spreads observed in the maligned CHAI 2016-PM1 transaction last quarter (with a WAC on bonds 300 bps higher than prior deals), put tremendous pressure of Citi’s returns as residual holder. Such an imbalance of return is concerning because without sufficient economics for the first loss position, securitizations will not issue and a major source of MPL funding is at risk of drying up.

Three major trends observed this quarter are correcting this imbalance, which we detail below:

1. Rising Interest Rates Offered by MPL Platforms

One lever to increase excess spread is through higher WAC on the collateral pool, which is what we are seeing across marketplace lenders. As an example, Lending Club has increased rates four times since December 2015. The December increase was in response to the Fed rate hike, the second in response to concerns about a global slowdown, the third relating to increased delinquencies, and the fourth to satisfy investor demand for increased returns.

We summarize the rate changes across grades in Exhibit 8. The average cumulative rate increase was about 194 basis points across all grades. From loan investor’s perspective, higher rates lead to higher cash-on-cash return for similar quality loans. The rate changes also reduce duration risk in investors’ loan book, as cash flow streams became more front-loaded.

2. Normalization in Primary Market

In the second quarter, we saw a return to normalcy in the primary ABS market. CHAI 2016-PM1 remains an outlier, as can be seen from our comparison to SoFi recent consumer loan transaction in June in Exhibit 9. Here we compare SoFi’s A tranche (with accounts to 75% of the transaction) to CHAI A and B tranches (which aggregate to ~75% of the transaction).

We see that, except for CHAI 2016-PM1, the cost of financing of the top 75% of the deal crowded around the same area. For the tranches in 24% to 26% credit subordination, the WAC of the top 75% of the capital structure is around 2% to 3%, whereas CHAI 2016-PM1 is 5%.

There are several reasons why SCLP 2016-1 was better received than CHAI 2016-PM1, including the better credit quality of the collateral, which we detailed in prior publications and newsletters. But the deal does presage the continued normalization of the markets. Should this trend continue, residual holders of well-executed securitizations will protect their excess spread.

3. Spreads Tightening in Secondary Market

The May 9th Lending Club news and disclosures have led many to ask us how MPL bonds are now trading. While secondary ABS trading volume remains thin, we did see credit spreads on secondaries continued to tighten—in sharp contrast to the volatility observed in the stock price of Lending Club. The tightening is most prevalent for the riskiest CHAI C bonds indicating a reduction in the market’s expectations of cumulative losses. Moreover, the SoFi senior tranches have tightened substantially. The tightening is welcome news and confirms that idiosyncratic headline risk has not reverberated deeply into secondary ABS markets. This is not surprising as securitizations are structured via bankruptcy remote vehicles that remove firm-specific corporate credit risk from the collateral risk. Investors in ABS are also afforded a significant number of additional investor protections, covenants, reps & warrants, as compared to whole loan investors.
To better understand this observance, we looked into other spread products for a broader view of investor appetite for credit risk. For Q2, “On-The-Run” (OTR) CDX Investment Grade Index tightened by 1 basis points, with OTR CDX High Yield tightening by 6 basis points since March. The AAA Commercial Mortgage-backed Securities Index (CMBX) is up 1.2% from the end of Q1.

The lack of movement on major credit spread products is in sharp contrast to the movement in the MPL space. Senior SoFi bonds tightened about 60 basis points, or roughly 30% tighter, from Q1; and CHAI-Prosper Mezz bonds tightened in roughly 252 basis points or roughly 40%. The significant tightening of MPL credit spreads shows that relative value investors keep the MPL ABS spreads in check with other credit spread products such as CDX and CMBS.

Analysis of Residual Holder Returns

In light of the three described trends, there is a reason to suspect more attractive returns for residual holders going forward. To size that opportunity, we study the impact to IRR with respect to reasonable loss assumptions and excess spread typical of the 2015 CHAI securitization. We assume a typical securitization with 10.5% thickness in the equity tranche, a weighted average life of 40 months, and a base case cumulative net loss rate of 10%. We also assume excess spread of 10-11%. Finally, we assume 1% in deal-related execution fees (e.g., structuring and placement, legal, ratings, verification agent, servicing). For our comparative case, we assume a down scenario with 12% cumulative loss (20% higher credit loss than the base case). Results are displayed in Exhibit 11.

Under base case scenario, with the excess spread between 10-11%, residual holders receive 30%-45% annual return. Even under the higher defaults case, the residual holder will still earn returns in the 10-25% range.

As the analysis makes clear, the excess spread is the primary driver of residual holder returns. Going back to CHAI-2016-PM1, where the excess spread was reduced to 8% due to the low bond pricing, we see that equity holders can incur losses, up to 12% in our higher defaults case.

V. Outlook

Despite the troubling headlines, rated securitizations are increasingly the hallmark of MPL funding. Volumes have increased on a linked quarter basis and a year-over-year basis despite increased volatility. And we expect this growth to continue. Unlike credit facilities with roll-risk, securitization offers platforms locked-in, non-recourse financing at prevailing financing rates and enable risk transfer to across the capital markets.

By the end of Q2, the tightening in the secondary market suggests that absent major macro or headline shocks, the market should see deals with tighter new issuance spreads in Q3. We continue to believe that repeat issuers such as SoFi and OnDeck will help MPL ABS gain broader acceptance.

In our Q1 outlook, we stated that marketplace lenders will seek to shape and control their deals driving increased transparency and standardization across securitization programs. The excellent execution of SCLP 2016-1 transaction confirmed our intuition. We expect many platforms to follow suit, including through acquiring balance sheets (in some form) to both exert greater control over the securitization of their paper and to demonstrate skin in the game to the broader investor community. This should lead to increased structural variation across deals as issuers seek the best execution across changing marketing conditions.

Outside of securitization, additional modes of distribution including asset managers offering term capital, CUSIPs and credit linked notes, closed-end funds, and seasoning vehicles will expand the market of eligible investors.

This growth is not without challenges. In particular, platforms recognize that investor confidence is vital for survival and they must invest to maintain that trust. Marketplace lenders are now adjusting to the demand for greater transparency and due diligence, including independent reviews, “hot” back-up servicing arrangements, and heightened data integrity and data validation standards.

Despite the recent headlines, we remain optimistic on the marketplace lending ecosystem. The recent shake-ups enables the industry to reflect, adapt, and mature. The broad secular trends underpinning market growth remain intact. And we are hopeful that our toolkits for loan-level due diligence and analytics can accelerate the process for the entire sector.

Appendix: Marketplace Lending Securitizations to Date

Please click here to download the PDF document with all ABS securitizations to date.

***

Author:  PeerIQ

About the author: PeerIQ offers portfolio monitoring and loan surveillance, structured finance analytics, third-party reporting, pricing and valuation and advisory services across both whole loans and ABS products.

July 7th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 7th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments United States EarnUp raises a $3mil seed round to help 200 million consumers smooth their loan repayment experience. Could EarnUp be a good lead source for lenders ? Or a good alternative data source ? A great table of MPL raises and valuations from CrunchBase, who claims that data hints at future down […]

July 7th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • EarnUp raises a $3mil seed round to help 200 million consumers smooth their loan repayment experience. Could EarnUp be a good lead source for lenders ? Or a good alternative data source ?
  • A great table of MPL raises and valuations from CrunchBase, who claims that data hints at future down rounds for marketplace lenders. However, we have recently seen BizFi, Promise Financial and more raising good rounds at decent terms. Perhaps there is a difference between fund-raising for mature MPLs and fund-raising for challenger Alt Lending 3.0 start-ups.
  • Very interesting 1st hand data from Morningstar about the state of US consumer debt, including trends and statistics. Credit Cards charge-off rate chart, 90 days delinquent data per asset class.
  • 500 Startups shares fintech investment trends chart and data and discussed government policies that could and should enable fintech innovation.
  • Through the survey of France’s P2P and MPL lenders, a great analysis of the lessons learned from Lending Club’s crisis.
  • Securitization trends in Marketplace Lending. A must read.
  • Acquiring borrowers is difficult. Acquiring borrowers at purchase decision time is easier. Focusing on point-of-sale partnerships to generate credit demand is a very interesting direction which is, therefore, popular and gaining ground. A quick article as a reminder of this interesting direction.
  • Royal of Canada dumped 99.5% of their LC stock in Q1 2016. Interesting timing.

Australia

  • Getting SME lender’s loan data is at best difficult. In a space where we talk about transparency, SME originator’s data is a good example of the opposite. RateSetter stands out for publishing their data which lead to a nice summary, mostly figure based, article. I am not sure if this data is from RateSetter Australia only or includes other geographies.

United Kingdom

  • A small article, that is not well researched, not well documented, but asks a question that is worth exploring a lot more “How can p2p lending companies fail, and what happens in that case ?” . The quick and dirty answer is: if they are setup right, where the operations and the loan books are separate with backup servicing, the only effect is that new loans stop being generated. We would love to publish a long article on this matter.

European Union

 

United States

Paying Loans Sucks – FinTech Startup EarnUp Lands Million To Intelligently Automate Payments, (PR Newswire) ,Rated: AAA

 EarnUp, a consumer-first fintech platform that intelligently automates loan payments, announced its launch today with $3 million in seed funding.  Blumberg Capital, Kapor Capital, Camp One Ventures, Fenway Summer Ventures, and other leading angel investors provided seed capital to accelerate the platform’s development and expand user access with a mission to improve consumer financial health. Forbes recently announced EarnUp as a winner of the prestigious Financial Solutions Lab in partnership with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) and the Center for Financial Services Innovation. Though still in private beta, EarnUp already manages hundreds of millions of dollars in consumer loans on its platform. More information is available at www.EarnUp.com.

“Millions of Americans suffer financial stress from income volatility, where their income doesn’t match up with when loan payments are due,” said Matthew Cooper, co-founder of EarnUp. “Our product solves this issue by effectively budgeting for the consumer. We help put money aside as it comes in, giving people peace of mind in knowing the money they need will be there when loan payments need to be made. We give control back to the consumer.”

There are over 200 million Americans with debt and a typical household may have income and expenses hitting their bank accounts over 20 times a month. This financial chaos causes incredible stress for consumers, who may struggle to come up with even the minimum loan payments on time. EarnUp works by automatically putting a few dollars aside for future loan payments whenever consumers can afford it, then sending those payments and making sure they are applied in a way that reduces debt faster.

EarnUp has been bootstrapped to date and the $3 million in seed financing represents the company’s first institutional funding.

Data hints at down rounds, but not wipeout, for marketplace lending, ( TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Comment: This is bad news for entrepreneurs. VCs usually have terms that protect them in a down round.

Private valuations across the lending space, where available, showed marked appreciation in 2014 and 2015. SoFi, for instance, was valued at $3.5 billion as of July, up from about 1.4 billion in early 2015 and $400 million in early 2014.

Those are post-money values, but the appreciation is well in excess of the sums invested. Avant showed a similar rise, with its post-money valuation doubling in less than a year. And Prosper more than doubled in less than a year, hitting a $1.8 billion valuation in April of last year.

Alternative lending currently looks like the reverse of the standard VC model, in which private markets are where one builds a business, and public markets are where one gets a lucrative exit.

That said, while we can expect down rounds near-term, it’s not clear VCs will lose their shirts in marketplace lending forays, particularly those who were mid- or early-stage investors.

High VC ownership levels mean that even a lackluster exit could return all or more of invested capital. Even after LendingClub’s stock plummet, for instance, VC’s post-IPO stakes would be worth more than the $392 in disclosed investments before going public.

You can find the report here if you register.

Nonhousing consumer debt levels are increasing, with student-loan debt leading the charge, according to the Federal Reserve. Student-loan delinquencies more than 90 days past due have risen since late 2011. With the proliferation of postcrisis loans made to students, especially to those attending for-profit colleges with focused specialties, Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC expects to see challenges in the sector.

Credit Card and Mortgage Delinquencies at Lows Since the crisis, credit-card and mortgage delinquencies have

Since the crisis, credit-card and mortgage delinquencies have improved, with the balance more than 90 days delinquent declining, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. After  seaking at 8.9% in the first quarter 2010, mortgage delinquencies have come down considerably from their highs, resting at 2.1% at the end of the first quarter. Credit-card delinquencies have also dropped, with the current level of 7.6% nearly half the 13.7% recorded in the first quarter of 2010. Low interest rates made it easier for consumers to either refinance or stay current on their debt obligations.

Meanwhile, after little change over the past few years, auto- loan delinquencies have edged higher, as competition among underwriters led to an increase in subprime auto loans. While we expect to see an uptick in auto delinquencies given the larger subprime component, overall auto-loan delinquency rates remain at relatively low levels. If unemployment remains in check, those auto-loan delinquency gains should be within reason, while we expect credit-card and mortgage delinquency rates to remain low.

New data that has been released since publishing solidifies the trend of consumer spending improving after a typical slow start of the year, with 1Q16 GDP growth at 1.1%.  In addition, consumer confidence has strengthened.

Eye on the Road: Student and Auto Loans Bear Watching Consumers are adding to their household debt levels, with student-loan debt leading the way behind mortgages. Postcrisis, students enrolled in for-profit colleges in record numbers, with dreams of a future career. For many, those dreams never materialized, and they were left saddled with heavy student-debt obligations that they were unable to meet. This pool of nonpaying indebted students contributed to the student loan delinquency rate rising steadily since the end of 2012. While the pace of student-loan delinquencies has slowed, Morningstar Credit Ratings views the sector as vulnerable to declines in employment as the delinquency rate remains near record levels despite a generally healthy job market.

Fintech Investment is Exploding — 5 Ways Governments & Ecosystem Builders Can Help, (500 Startups), Rated: AAA

Quarterly financing to VC-backed fintech companies has been growing immensely:

But investment is not flowing freely everywhere.  For example, in 1Q2016, Chinese fintech companies received $2.4 billion in funding (albeit primarily from two mega-deals), while the rest of Asia received only $0.2 billion.  Meanwhile in Europe, deal count increased but the amount of capital invested did not.  Even when the investment flows, the performance often does not.

Fintech’s 3 Ecosystem Challenges
1. Regulatory regimes are often ill-suited for fintech. Regulations in the finance sector are often unclear or highly complex, and regulatory processes and agencies may be slow.

2. Traditional financial institutions may hold down fintech startups, intentionally or unintentionally. Not long ago in the U.S., many banks did not even entertain meetings with or extend invitations to fintech startup founders.

3. Customer preferences may not be ready for certain fintech solutions. Customer acquisition is very difficult in fintech. Banks in the US spend over $500 to acquire a single user, and over time many startups will get there as well.

5 Ways Goverments Can Help

1. Create a “regulatory sandbox” that provides startups the opportunity to test new ideas without immediate threat of regulation.
2. Offer fast and transparent regulatory review of potential new fintech products or services.
3. Create a support system or kit to help fintech startups meet regulatory requirements.
4. Roll out consumer awareness initiatives to increase demand.
5. Encourage traditional financial institutions to invest in or partner with fintech startups — preferably non-exclusively.

The Lending Club Predicament & The Lessons Learned, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Lending Club’s problems should make the sector reflect on the governance issues that arise from the mixed business models that some crowdfunding platforms have evolved into.

Banks lend their own money and take risk on their balance sheet; hence, they must meet regulatory requirements such as Basel III. Asset managers manage other people’s money and invest on their behalf; hence, they are regulated as financial advisers. Platforms must clearly choose their business model because it has regulatory consequences. It also has an impact on the market valuation of the company. Marketplaces are currently much more highly valued by investors than banks. Even before the scandal, Lending Club’s stock was valued rather like a bank’s stock. Eventually, mixed business models potentially lead to conflicts of interest of the type observed at Lending Club.

Lending Club lost its way a long time before the scandal and the subsequent dismissal of Renaud Laplanche. By progressively marginalizing retail investors and letting investment funds securitize Lending Club’s loans on their own terms, Lending Club de facto surrendered the control of the platform to the very same established finance that P2P Lending was supposed to present an alternative to. This change of course created a detrimental layer of complexity, and potentially of systemic risk, in what was supposed to be a simple and direct relationship between private lenders and borrowers.

Beyond the image problem, the impact of the incidents has been small. European institutional investors are still very much interested in marketplace lending, as can be seen from two recent announcements: a$100 million loan program through Funding Circle by the European Investment Bank and €70 million multiplatform crowdlending fund by Eiffel Investment and French insurers Aviva and AG2R La Mondiale.

Marketplace Lending Securitization Tracker, (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lending securitization volume topped $1.7 billion this quarter, up 14.8% from Q1, with cumulative issuance reaching $10.3 billion. YTD issuance of the sector stands at $3.2 billion as compared to $1.8 billion from prior year, a 77% increase. Q2 saw a total of 6 deals: 3 are backed by student loans, 2 by unsecured consumer loans, and 1 by SME loans. SoFi issued its first rated unsecured consumer loan deal and received an industry first ever AAA rating from Moody’s on its recent student loan transaction.

MPL securitizations are moving towards rated and larger transactions. The second quarter was the first to have all deals rated by one or more rating agencies. Further, the growth in average deal size continued, the average deal size grew to $267 million in 2016 as compared to $64 million in 2013.

New issuance and secondary spread tightened by quarter end, a good sign for the industry. Across all segments in MPL, Q2 2016 saw moderate spread compression in senior tranches of newly issued deals and widening in junior tranches as compared to Q1 2016.

Numerous factors, including lending platform rate increases, and spread tightening in both primary and secondary markets, look to improve future deal economics. The increase in rates from platforms increases excess spread and improves the economics of securitization for residual holders. The demand for

The demand for higher standard of due diligence, transparency and analytics will be the norm. With the recent Lending Club headlines, ABS investors are demanding greater transparency and validation to enhance trust.

A total of 6 deals were done in Q2 and spanned several marketplace lenders and categories. Here is the breakdown from Q2 2016:

  • 3 student loan securitizations (Earnest, SoFi, CommonBond)
  • 2 unsecured consumer loan securitizations (Avant, SoFi)
  • 1 SME securitization (OnDeck)

Despite Citi stopping the securitization of Prosper loans, they continue to be the leader in marketplace lending securitizations followed closely by Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.

Cited as factors for an improving securitization market are increasing platform rates and spread tightening in both primary and secondary markets. A detailed analysis of specific securitizations are outlined in PeerIQ’s report.

Why mobile point of sale (MPOS) Is Gaining Ground in FinTech, (Tech.co), Rated: AAA

Comment: in our market context I would think that lenders would like to acquire/partner/sign up with Point of Sales solutions to extend credit in physical stores.

One such story goes of Swedish payments giant Klarna that recently announced that they were moving beyond its online services into physical stores, which it will accomplish by partnering up with mobile point of sale (MPOS) and e-commerce company Sitoo.

We are approaching a near future where the value chain for payments as we know it will be forever altered and new constellations will surface. More specifically, we expect to see more payment providers partnering up with POS companies to add value to their services and to diversify their position. There’s also a strong possibility that we’re likely to see some of the more aggressive payment providers outright acquiring POS-companies to accelerate growth and control a larger chunk of the value chain.

Royal Bank Of Canada Sold A Lot More LendingClub Corporation Common (LC) Stock, (Fidaily), Rated: A

Royal Bank Of Canada says it sold 35,334 shares last quarter decreasing its holdings in LendingClub Corporation Common by 99.5%. Its investment stood at $1,000 a decrease of 99.7% as of the end of the quarter.

 

Australia

The average RateSetter business loan, (Finder), Rated: AAA

United Kingdom

If Funding Knight went bust how safe is peer-to-peer lending?, (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

A peer-to-peer website has been rescued after falling into administration, offering a lifeline to 900 savers who faced being unable to get their cash back.

Funding Knight was promising investors returns of up to 12pc for lending cash to small businesses.

Many feared that they would lose their money when the company ran out of cash and went into administration last month.

However, last week  the firm was rescued by GLI Finance, an investment firm, which said savers cash was safe and could be withdrawn at anytime. GLI has also invested a further £1m in the business.

Despite Funding Knight savers being assured that their cash is safe by the new owners, the incident has raised concerns over the safety of peer-to-peer lending.

Any funds they lend through a peer-to- peer website are not covered by the government-backed Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which protects bank savers up to £75,000.

A spokesman for the Peer-to-Peer Association, a trade body of which Funding Knight is not a member, said:

He said: “We have been consistent in calling for, and embracing, regulation of the sector and requires robust adherence to its published operating principles, including the publication of platform loan books in full and clear information on all fees and charges to investors and borrowers.”

“Peer-to-peer lending offers overall a lower risk profile than some other forms of investment with less volatility, but it is not entirely without risk.

“Within the peer-to-peer lending sector, there are a number of different asset classes each with their own risk-return profile.”

 

 

European Union

Why Funding SMEs Within The EU Capital Markets Union Action Plan Is Challenging, (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

European banks are caught in a conundrum because they still have to clear up their bad loan portfolios, which their US counterparts have largely dealt with. This situation, together with stricter capital requirements, and a challenging policy environment with low or negative interest rates, has led to a double whammy affecting both banks and SMEs. Additionally, credit information is still very fragmented in the EU, as shown by our CFA Institute member survey on the Capital Markets Union from May 2015.

Author:

George Popescu

2016 Alternative Lending Summit ( 10% discount with code MEDIA-LT10)

2016 Alternative Lending Summit ( 10% discount with code MEDIA-LT10)

When ? September 28, 2016 Where ? Dana Point, CA Details: Lending Times subscribers receive a 10% discount towards registration by using the code MEDIA-LT10.” This one-day Summit will feature educational topics from the industry frontrunners and will bring together leading asset managers, allocators, platforms and key service providers that shape and influence the Alternative […]

2016 Alternative Lending Summit ( 10% discount with code MEDIA-LT10)

When ?

September 28, 2016

Where ?

Dana Point, CA

Details:

Lending Times subscribers receive a 10% discount towards registration by using the code MEDIA-LT10.”

This one-day Summit will feature educational topics from the industry frontrunners and will bring together leading asset managers, allocators, platforms and key service providers that shape and influence the Alternative Lending landscape.

More information:

For more information please visit our website 908.379.3900

Alternative Credit Bureaus

Alternative Credit Bureaus

FICO has had a huge impact on the everyday lives of millions of Americans. Would you be able to get the mortgage to afford the new house? Will you be approved for that credit card? All of this is directly influenced by the consumer’s FICO score. It is important to understand what does a FICO […]

Alternative Credit Bureaus

FICO has had a huge impact on the everyday lives of millions of Americans. Would you be able to get the mortgage to afford the new house? Will you be approved for that credit card? All of this is directly influenced by the consumer’s FICO score. It is important to understand what does a FICO score entail and how it is scored. The below representation is for an average customer and this may change for customers with different lengths of credit history.

Source:myfico.com

FICO

FICO basically takes into account the credit report supplied by credit bureaus. Experian, Equifax and Transunion are the three largest bureaus in the United States and they utilize credit data like repayment of loans, credit card usage and other relevant statistics to create a summary of consumer’s financial actions. But it has been roundly criticized by many experts for not providing a complete picture and having an adverse impact on minority and low-income borrowers. It is also essential to analyze the phenomenon of “credit invisible”, those who do not have a credit history or have a limited credit history rendering them unscorable. A study by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2015 revealed that 26 million Americans do not have a credit history and 18 million Americans are unscorable because of thin credit files. Almost 20% of American adults are therefore rendered ineligible for credit because of no fault of theirs. Also, minorities and low-income consumers were reported to be more likely to be credit invisible.

Credit Invisibles

The solution for credit invisible is leveraging alternative data to model and predict the behavior of the user. FICO in collaboration with Equifax and LexisNexis Risk Solutions has launched FICO Score XD and TransUnion has launched CreditVision Link to enhance its coverage of the American adult population. “ In testing, FICO XD allowed more than half of credit card applicants who were previously unscorable to receive a score”, said Jim Wehmann, executive vice president for scores at FICO.  TransUnion reported that CreditVision allowed it to score 95% of Americans and resulted in 24% more loan approvals in a pilot with an auto lender.  So what is the new data which has resulted in such a sharp jump in “scorables”.

Alternative Bureaus

Going even further, PRBC.com offers a great alternative to FICO’s XD product. PRBC uses monthly-bills payment history, income data, cash flow data, account receivables, account payables, payroll, and outside investments to provide a complete picture of a financial profile. This allows PRBC to evaluate all Americans that pay regular bills. Unlike FICO, a consumer can self-register on PRBC.com and report their own scores.

Companies like Envestnet-Yodlee and ID Analytics have launched alternative data solutions as well. Envestnet® | Yodlee® Risk Insight claims to incorporate data elements that are not available through the credit bureaus. ID Analytics has Credit Optics®, an FCRA compliant credit score which uses a repository of consumer behavior data sourced from a wide range of industries. The cross analysis of the alternate data with the traditionally available information helps solution providers present unique insights to lenders and others users.

Mortgages, Credit Card utilization, and auto loans represent the traditional data. Telecom, cable and utility bills and payments represent the new paradigm for credit analysis and scoring. Checking and saving accounts can be a particularly rich source of information for credit bureaus. Companies will also start taking into account short term loans, alternate loans and even qualitative factors like how often the consumer changes his physical address. All this information will translate into a complete 360-degree view of a prospective borrower versus the one-sided review from the current FICO score. This approach will also be a blessing for credit Invisibles who are destined to have a good credit if given the chance.

Alternative alternative-data

Start-ups have already jumped on this bandwagon a decade ago when they started utilizing parameters like time of application, use of upper case in the online forms and amount sought as a loan. Lenddo, a fledging start-up in the alternative lending space has gone further by assigning “Lenddo Scores” to its applicants. The company uses no traditional data but instead depends on its invention- a graph variable methodology called “Archano Score”, which is a PageRank-like scoring algorithm, incorporating attributes of each member and their social group. It uses more than 12,000 data points and analyses social profiles, communications and emails of the applicant to base its decision on whether to lend to the applicant. The social underwriting experience has been a success with the company helping lenders increase approval rates by 50% and reducing risk by 12%.

Limitations of alternative data

The new credit rating system might be a boon for some, but not for all. Credit challenged individual dependent on short-term loans or families behind on their utility dues because of peak bills in winters will be heavily penalized. Currently, the utilities only reported the serious delinquents to the credit bureaus, but this move will certainly push down the credit ratings of many Americans. Also, there is fear among consumer advocates that lenders can selectively target this data to exclude traditionally credit challenged minorities. Another lament is on the accuracy of the data provided by third party providers like telecoms which do not have strong consumer protection histories and are often in dispute with their customers due to practices of the surcharge, cramming etc.

The new normal

Alternative data is going to be the new normal is a foregone conclusion. Easier accessibility to large troves of consumer information and our digital imprint are the next frontier in the never ending quest to enhance the world of credit. But it is important to recognize that alternate data is a double-edged sword. A white salaried American with no credit history will be welcomed with open arms but a Hispanic businessman 30 days overdue on rent can be pushed to higher interest rates or even no credit. It will be good for the society if the new data sources are used to include those not covered earlier rather than exclude those arbitrarily deemed to be too risky for credit.

Author: Heena Dhir and

George Popescu

July 6th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 6th 2016, Daily News Digest

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

July 6th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

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

United States

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

United Kingdom

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

Hong Kong

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

France

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

China

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

 

United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hong Kong

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

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

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

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

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

 

France

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

China

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

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

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

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

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

Author:

George Popescu

Renewable finance – funding America’s transition to renewable energy

Renewable finance - funding America's transition to renewable energy

Graham Smith recognized the trend of institutional interest in utility-scale solar in the UK. The recognition that non-residential solar is underserved and under-banked in the United States led him to shift to New York to launch Open Energy Group (OEG). Technology brings down cost of financing by 66% The company has leveraged proprietary technology to bring […]

Renewable finance - funding America's transition to renewable energy

Graham Smith recognized the trend of institutional interest in utility-scale solar in the UK. The recognition that non-residential solar is underserved and under-banked in the United States led him to shift to New York to launch Open Energy Group (OEG).

Technology brings down cost of financing by 66%

The company has leveraged proprietary technology to bring down the cost of financing. If a project’s financing cost used to be 30 cents per watt, the start-up aims to take it down to 10 cents per watt. The lenders on its platform are institutional investors who are looking for assets which have long-term viability. Its first project was with a European developer doing a project in the state of Georgia.

The company had signed a 15-year power supply contract with an AA rated entity, making it a profitable underwriting opportunity for the young platform.  It plans to focus on attracting institutional capital due to the education costs involved in attracting retail investors.   The company aims to securitize solar loans in the same manner as has been done for auto loans, consumer loans, credit cards etc.

How to build a niche financing start-up

Alternative lending has started finding roots in more niche market areas like solar project financing with the emergence of start-ups like OEG. Graham Smith (CEO), Alistair Potts(CTO) and Michael Blomquist (COO) are the founders of the New York-headquartered company. Previously, Graham had founded a renewable energy advisory business, Greenworks Capital which secured $75 mil in financing for one of the first utility-scale solar projects in the UK. OEG was founded in 2013 to provide non-recourse debt financing for solar projects. Its sweet spot is $0.5 mil to $10 mil range and its USP is the ability to close a deal within a month as against the norm of 6 months for traditional lenders. It employs a 100% online and automated application process and is able to save 70% on total transaction costs as compared to brick and mortar financiers.

The company has been able to raise $1.25 mil in seed from GLI Financials. The fund has also provided the start-up with a $10 mil line of credit. It has already lent $5 mil and will close $10 mil within the month. The start-up has 7 members in its team from companies like Morgan Stanley, Google, Citigroup and Lazard. OEG has on-boarded Cortland Investment Servicing as an independent primary loan servicer, Loeb and Loeb as its lawyers for due diligence and securitization and Moody’s for credit rating. The strategy is to create a best-in-class team which would provide a well-packaged platform for institutional investors to lend to commercial solar projects.

Product and underwriting details

OEG has two products currently, a fully amortizing term loan over a period of 10-15 years, with an APR of 6-7.5% and loan-to-value (LTV) up to 60%. The other product is the construction loan for the duration of 6-9 months, at an APR of 8-10% and LTV up to 85%. The start-up has based its underwriting on making the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) the prime element in analysing cash flows. So it prepares its financial models by discounting the cash flows to be generated through the PPA and only considering 80% of the EBITDA as available for loan servicing.

The company also analyses the wattage, insurance costs and land lease to have a margin of safety. Another big advantage to the lender is that it has an additional 30% as tax credits available which can usually be liquidated at 90 cents on the dollar. The founders believe that the scare resource in the solar industry is the sponsor who is willing to risk his equity, find a business/utility partner for a PPA and execute the entire project. They only allow funding to projects which are being executed by bonded constructors as it provides additional insurance to the project.

The renewable finance ecosystem

The company has had no default yet and would have to sell the asset in the secondary market to liquidate its investments. The secondary market is yet to be fully developed due to few defaults occurring in the sector. The start-up hopes to securitize its loan portfolio at a premium, adding a revenue stream to the existing revenue model of borrower origination and servicing fees. This highlights the difference in its approach as compared to its competitor, Mosaic. Though both companies are peer-to-peer platforms for solar projects, Mosaic supports an investment of even $25 whereas OEG is only focused on accredited investors and institutional money. Mosaic also has started catering to residential projects whereas OEG wants to specialize in non-residential exclusively. OEG also offers more products versus the plain vanilla senior secured debt by Mosaic.

Solar-backed securities

The Open Energy Group has been formed by experienced professionals who understand the nuances of both the financial and the technology world.  Peer-to-peer is the need of the hour in the solar industry as banks cannot fund the aggressive expansion due to their depleted balance sheets. Solar debt securities are asset-backed and have strong cash flows which are usually independent of the economic performance and/or financial markets. A commercial project can run for 30 years, making it an ideal asset for insurance companies.  OEG has been able to develop a strong niche for itself by focussing only on commercial projects on the demand side and institutional investors on the supply end. With securitization opportunities in the future, the young start-up has the latitude to tap the capital markets for very large financing volumes.

Author:

George Popescu

July 5th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 5th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments United States According to the bond market yield-curve there is 60% chance of recession. However, the equity market doesn’t agree. Interesting times. A short survey on the different US regulators’ interaction with the marketplace lending space. New Capital Rules likely to be imposed on wall street will likely push bank-dealers to shut down […]

July 5th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • According to the bond market yield-curve there is 60% chance of recession. However, the equity market doesn’t agree. Interesting times.
  • A short survey on the different US regulators’ interaction with the marketplace lending space.
  • New Capital Rules likely to be imposed on wall street will likely push bank-dealers to shut down trading units in debt-securitization due to insufficient return on equity. This change could have a huge impact on marketplace asset backed securitization.
  • Wells Fargo continues to push FastFlex, their own quick SME financing product competing with OnDeck, Kabbage, CAN Capital and all other SME marketplace lenders.
  • Morgan Stanley is pointing out all the positive data coming out of Lending Club: higher origination than predicted in Q2 2016 and much more.
  • Lending Club’s CIO unvailing the future plans for Lending Club : Point-of-Sales, offline and a cloud-base micro-services platform.
  • CFPB’s monthly report points out the most-complained-about companies in consumer loans. It would be interesting to plot company size vs number of complaints.
  • Square analysts believe that more regulation in marketplace lending will favor Square vs its competitors.
  • Last week news, worth a reminder after the long weekend: Avant is downsizing, again.
  • Boston, feeling left behind in fintech, is launching a fintech hub initiative supported by Fidelity, Putnam, Santander Bank, U.S. Bank and Boston Private Financial.

United Kingdom

  • An interesting way to leverage your p2p investments: buying discounted P2P public fund shares at the present 20% discount, and relying on stock buy-backs to bet on up side in yield + equity appreciation.
  • Brexit: in short, fintech firms fear for staff shortages and lost EU customer access.

European Union

  • Insurer Aviva France, in partnership with Eiffel Investment Group and AG2R La Mondiale launching a €100 million fund to invest in “crowdlending SME debt” in France and elsewhere.
  • A list, without any transparency on the inclusion criteria,  of the top 11 p2p lending platforms in Europe, (Pre-Brexit), per Fintechnews.ch. And a very interesting map of relative p2p lending market size in European countries.

Australia

  • Public p2p lender DirectMoney preparing a new share issuance to finance loans as loan demand outstrips funding.”DirectMoney chief Peter Beaumont yesterday defended the fintech company’s stockmarket listing and expressed disappointment over losses worn by shareholders.”
  • OnDeck Australia and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) receiving the Fintech-Bank Collaboration of the Year Award.

India

  • P2P players are moving towards institutional capital for growth. Following in the footsteps of their US cousins, we hope the Indian p2p lenders have learned their lessons from Prosper, Lendnig Club and Avant’s experiences with institutional capital.

China

  • P2P lenders exiting office space in Shanghai have brought office space vacancies supply to a 10-year-high level.

Korea

  • Interesting data and information on one of the 1st Korean p2p lending companies we learn about.

News Summary

Unites States

Bond Markets Have a Message About the Economy That Stock Investors Might Not Want to Hear, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

There’s a big disagreement brewing in global markets.

There’s 60 percent chance of recession, according to a Deutsche Bank model.

While risky assets including equities have surged following the U.K. electorate’s historic vote to leave the European Union, government bonds have also rallied; two things that ought to suggest different outlooks for economic growth. Soaring bond prices have sent yields on the perceived safe havens of government debt plumbing fresh lows, even while expectations of looser monetary policy produce a burst of animal spirits in stock markets.

The flight to safety has prompted some analysts to question the durability of the rally in equities, where the S&P 500 was up 3.5 percent last week and the FTSE 100 has erased its post-referendum dip — at least, in local-currency terms. Still others say that money is pouring into stocks as lower bond yields force investors to search for returns in alternative asset classes.

The spread between the yield on 10-year and two-year U.S. Treasury notes narrowed in the immediate aftermath of the June 23rd referendum, widened briefly, and is now shrinking again as investors continue to flock to the perceived safety of U.S. government debt. A model maintained by Deutsche Bank AG’s Steven Zeng, who adjusts the spread for historically low short-term interest rates, suggests the yield curve is now signaling a 60 percent chance of a U.S. recession in the next 12 months — up from a 55 percent probability as of mid-June, and the highest implied odds since August 2008.

“This relentless flattening of the curve is worrisome,” Deutsche analysts led by Dominic Konstam said in their note on the model. “Given the historical tendency of a very flat or inverted yield curve to precede a U.S. recession, the odds of the next economic downturn are rising.”

The 10-year yield is currently at 1.44 percent, making a recession just about 40 basis points away according to this particular interpretation of the bond market’s moves.

Rundown of Regulator Interest in Marketplace Lending, (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

U.S. Treasury

The Treasury first publicly showed interest in marketplace lending with a request for information(RFI) back in July 2015. Over 100 companies responded to the RFI and the Treasury reported on their findings in May 2016 where they shared their response in the form of a white paper. It did not provide any recommendations for new regulations and was generally quite positive on the industry.

Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

On March 31, the OCC released a white paper titled Supporting Responsible Innovation in the Federal Banking System: An OCC Perspective. More recently, the head of the OCC, Thomas Curry, reaffirmed his commitment to responsible innovation in a speech just last week. He brought up the idea of a “regulatory sandbox” – a place where fintech companies can have a conversation about what the rules of the road are for their new ideas. He also brought up the idea of a limited purpose charter for fintech firms as a possible way forward.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

The FDIC first addressed marketplace lending in a paper titled Supervisory Insights. They are concerned about the impact on banks as well as the general risk to financial services.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Early this year, the CFPB made two announcements impacting marketplace lending. They said that they would begin accepting complaints directly from consumers about marketplace lending companies. Around the same time they issued a new No-Action letter policy that was designed to encourage innovation in financial services.

According to the Wall Street Journal the CFPB is planning to supervise marketplace lenders and will release a proposal some time in the fall. The CFPB has not commented publicly on this news so right now it is just a possibility but it makes sense.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

SEC involvement in marketplace lending goes back to the early days of Lending Club and Prosper. In 2008 the SEC decided that the notes issued by these companies were securities and should be registered as such. The result was Lending Club and Prosper filing a S-1 registration and becoming quasi public companies with quarterly financials being filed with the SEC.

Now that Lending Club is a public company it is has more responsibilities to both equity and debt investors both of which come under the purview of the SEC. The reality is while the SEC keeps a close eye on marketplace lending it is unlikely there will be much in the way of new developments here.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The FTC recently hosted a financial technology forum on marketplace lending. The forum sought to look at consumer protections in marketplace lending and fintech more broadly. According to Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s consumer-protection bureau marketplace lenders haven’t done enough in borrower protection.

United States Congress

In May 2015, the House Small Business Committee held a hearing on Capital Hill.

In January, in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting tragedy, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on terrorism financing that included a discussion of marketplace lending. But no new initiatives have come yet from these hearings.

Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC)

The FSOC most recently included their thoughts on marketplace lending in their annual report. Although the report highlights the lower cost and efficiencies of marketplace lenders they also discuss risks and concerns. One of the main concerns listed are the new and untested underwriting models used by platforms.

Conclusion

This list is only a start of the involvement we are likely to see from regulators as it pertains to marketplace lending. Due to the attention, we’ve seen many industry associations created to ensure a productive dialogue is being undertaken in Washington with all the organizations discussed here. We sincerely hope that any new regulation to come is thoughtful and comes from a well informed view of the industry.

Capital Rules Stifling Securitized-Debt Trading Profit: JPM, (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

New layers of regulatory capital expected to be imposed on Wall Street are likely to further pressure banks to exit trading of securitized-debt, JPMorgan analysts John Sim, Kaustub Samant, Carol Zhang wrote in client note Friday.

NOTE: Reports of dealers paring or shutting down trading units have grown; banks include Barclays, DB, MS, SocGen, Jefferies, RBS, Nomura, CS

  • There’s “no path to profitability” under current and recently released capital rules
  • JPM analysts calculated ROE (return on equity) for hypothetical RMBS portfolio based on impact from Basel’s Fundamental Review of the Trading Book
  • Concluded ROE of ~4%, “clearly not attractive enough to entice dealers to enter the space and make markets”
  • Adjusted model to various hypotheticals, such as reallocation, bid-ask, turnover rates
  • Concluded the “cumulative effect of all of these realistic and unrealistic changes would only increase the return to 7%, which is far short of our 10% to 15% ROE threshold”
  • “Running ROEs for hypothetical ABS and CMBS businesses would not result in markedly different results”
  • Primary market and business of underwriting new-issue securitizations can still be attractive, however, contingent  underwriting volumes
  • Revenue derived from underwriting fees without consuming much capital; when balanced with secondary trading, ROEs for the business can become attractive, depending on volumes
  • Liquidity will continue to be constrained for non-agency RMBS, particularly in legacy space where dealers have no commensurate underwriting
  • CRT deals will also suffer from limited trading activity relative to market size; expect limited liquidity for Jumbo RMBS and SFR deals

How Wells Fargo Aims to Satisfy ‘Need for Speed’ From Millennial Borrowers, (The Street), Rated: AAA

Known as FastFlex, the San Francisco-based bank’s product offers customers with a business checking account a one-year loan of up to $100,000. Wells Fargo is considering expanding the availability of the loan next year, Lisa Stevens, the company’s head of small business, said in an interview.

FastFlex is designed for businesses with under $5 million a year in revenue who have “quick short-term needs to do some type of expansion or cash management,” Stevens said.

Some 67% of millennials are willing to take some financial risks to grow their businesses, compared with just 54% of older owners.

The FastFlex loan is one effort to meet that demand, he said, by providing a digital service with a rapid turnaround, two of the qualities that millennials have said they value most highly in financial services products. “We wanted to design our own product that would compete well in the marketplace-lending environment,” Case said.

Lending Club Corp : Positive Updates from the Annual Meeting, (Morgan Stanley), Rated: AAA

2Q16 originations down ⅓ from 1Q equates to ~$1.8bn in originations or -4.4% YoY,vs. our $1.4bn (-25% YoY) estimate.Assuming volumes for the first five weeks in the quarter (prior to

Assuming volumes for the first five weeks in the quarter (prior to announcement of irregularities and CEO resignation) were consistent with the 1Q run rate, this suggests volumes over the remaining 8 weeks were down ~50% sequentially and 37% YoY.

LC has had dialog with hundreds of investors,and none have outrightly refused to come back as an investor on the platform. Most investors need to go through a due diligence process and LC appears confident in its ability to bring them back to prior levels of investment over the long term.

While investors from every category have returned to the platform, banks and large investors are taking longer with their audits, which is in-line with our expectations.It is unclear if 2Q represents the trough in terms of origination volumes, but management commentary on investor appetiteand conservativeapproach on origination expectations suggests 3Q and

It is unclear if 2Q represents the trough in terms of origination volumes, but management commentary on investor appetiteand conservativeapproach on origination expectations suggests 3Q and
4Q volumes should be similar to 2Q with potential for upward bias.

LC expects to incur $9mn of investor incentives (to be booked as contra-revenues) in 2Q , which are likely to continue in 3Q with a plan to eliminate these by 4Q.

LC expects to “resume revenue and EBITDA growth in 1H17” though it remains unclear to us if this comment suggests sequential or YoY growth.We expect LC to return to origination, revenue,and adjusted EBITDA growth by 2Q17, though we expect 1H17 to remain below 1H16 given tough comps on 1Q17e.

2016 Bay Area CIO of the Year Innovation/Transportation finalist: A conversation with LendingClub’s John MacIlwaine, (Silicon Valley Business Journal), Rated: AAA

How do you predict your company will be different in two years, and how do you see yourself shaping that change?

We’ll also have a wider set of financing products that will be accessible online, offline, and at point of sale, while expanding our partnerships with banks and other non-financial institutions. We’re enabling that change by building our cloud-based micro-services platform, which simplifies integration of our solution for our partners and allow us to quickly and efficiently scale our core business and expand our product set.

What do you feel has been your biggest impact/success at this company? My biggest impact on LendingClub has been building a world-class team of engineers, scaling our technology platform to support the company’s incredible growth (compound annual growth rate of 124 percent Q4 2009 to Q4 2015 and well over $16 billion in loan originations to date), and setting a clear vision for a technology platform that is flexible and adaptable enough to handle future loan origination growth, partnership integration, and regulatory compliance updates.

What are your top three priorities for 2016-2017?

  1. Transform our current technology platform into a suite of cloud-based micro-services;
  2. Move our platform hosting environments to AWS (Amazon Web Services);
  3. Double the size of our world-class technology team.

CFPB June 2016 complaint report highlights consumer loan complaints, complaints from Arkansas consumers, (JDSupra Business Advisor), Rated: AAA

The CFPB has issued its June 2016 complaint report which highlights complaints about consumer loans and complaints from consumers in Arkansas and the Little Rock metro area.

The report does not specifically identify any complaints as involving marketplace lending.  Unlike prior monthly complaint reports, the June 2016 report includes a “Sub Product spotlight” section that highlights auto lending.

  • The most-complained-about issue involved managing the loan, lease or line of credit.  Other complaint issues included problems arising when the consumer was unable to pay, such as issues relating to debt collection, bankruptcy, and default.
Source: CFPB June complaint report.

General findings include the following:

  • Complaints about student loans showed the greatest percentage increase based on a three-month average, increasing about 61 percent from the same time last year (March to May 2015 compared with March to May 2016).  As we noted in our blog posts about the April and May2016 complaint reports, rather than reflecting an increase in the number of borrowers making student loan complaints, the increase most likely reflects that in March 2016, the CFPB began accepting complaints about federal student loans.  Previously, such complaints were directed to the Department of Education.
  • Payday loan complaints showed the greatest percentage decrease based on a three-month average, decreasing about 15 percent from the same time last year (March to May 2015 compared with March to May 2016).  Complaints during those periods decreased from 479 complaints in 2015 to 405 complaints in 2016.  In the March, April, and May 2016 complaint reports, payday loan complaints also showed the greatest percentage decrease based on a three-month average.

Square Inc Better Risk Reflection Leads to Upgrade: Wedbush, (Bidness Etc), Rated: A

Helmed by Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, the Square’s lending business encountered a substantial obstacle in May, in the form of new and strict scrutiny from regulatory authorities. In a comprehensive study, the US Department of Treasury along with several other government agencies put forward recommendations, to safeguard the access and growth to credit through the continued developments of online marketplace lending.

Wedbush analysts believe that regulatory scrutiny is likely to increase the company’s lending business.

For the 2Q, Square projects revenue to fall between $151–156 million. Wedbush expects the company to surpass its own expectations — reporting closer to the sell-side firm’s own $168 million estimates — but foresees considerable downside to the financial services company’s shares, if it reports within its given guidance range.

Interestingly enough, in a research note published yesterday, Morgan Stanley lowered its prices target on Square stock from $12 to $10, following a meeting with the company. The sell-side firm also raised its Stock-Based Comp estimates, in light of the company’s transition from private to a public entity and higher comp to select personnel vs. prior expectations.

Why Online Lender Avant Is Cutting Down Its Workforce Again, (Fortune), Rated: A

After also deciding to pull back in May from new verticals such as auto loans to concentrate on its core personal loans business, Avant is now cutting its lending target for that unit by 50% to about $100 million per month, Bloomberg reported.

Avant’s problem, like much of the so-called peer-to-peer lending market, isn’t a lack of demand from potential borrowers. Instead, the company and other online lenders are having increasing difficulty raising money to lend out as hedge funds and other investors outside the usual banking circles that backed the industry have grown wary.

The company had grown quickly for the past few years, reaching $3.5 billion in total loan volume. But with less access to capital, business has slowed recently, and loan volume declined 27% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter—the first such quarter-to-quarter drop since Avant started in 2012.

LendingClub’s Negative Press Blitz Continues, (Yahoo Finance), Rated: A

An $800 million LendingClub Corp (NYSE: LC) fund that invests in the company’s online consumer loans is expected to report its first monthly loss in the past 64 months in June. According to a letter to investors from LendingClub CEO Scott Sanborn, LendingClub’s Broad Based Consumer Credit (Q) Fund’s June return “is likely to be negative.”

The fund is LendingCub’s largest and has regularly returned around 0.5 percent per month throughout its five-year history. However, default rates on the fund’s loans have begun to rise in recent months and returns have dropped, prompting a number of investor redemption requests

The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Rudegeair reported that as of June 17, LendingClub had received $442 million in redemption requests representing about 58 percent of the value of the fund. In response to the large number of redemption requests, LendingClub announced it was placing restrictions on withdrawals and would be considering winding down the fund entirely.

Group led by State Street, Putnam launches fintech initiative, (Boston Business Journal), Rated: A

The Boston Financial Services Leadership Council and the business consulting group Mass Insight have created Financial Technology Boston, under which they will host networking events and possibly job fairs involving fintech professionals from the corporate, startup, government and higher-education worlds.

In addition to State Street (NYSE: STT), Fidelity and Putnam, the BFSLC includes Santander Bank, U.S. Bank and Boston Private Financial (Nasdaq: BPFH).

Boston is already home to fintech-focused incubators FinTech Sandbox and the DCU Center of Excellence in Financial Services, as well as a monthly meetup for fintech professionals.

United Kingdom

Why investors should scoop up discounted P2P funds before putting cash into platforms, (AltFi News), Rated: AAA

Analysis by AltFi Data shows loan origination has more or less been static across the UK P2P lending industry in 2016. This somewhat contrasts with the rapid growth seen in 2015 and 2014. Any number of explanations are given for this including a broad risk-off attitude from markets as well as the ongoing fiasco at the major US platform Lending Club.

However, for professional and private investors alike who are not dissuaded from the adverse headlines, and attracted by the high yields on offer from investing in the market, there is a clear argument to avoid investing directly on platforms. While this is the normal route for many, buying shares in the investment trusts offering exposure to loans originated from the platforms that are heavily discounted at present arguably makes more sense.

Over time in addition to the 7.4 per cent yield on offer, a narrowing of this discount or perhaps even a move to a premium could significantly bolster returns.

The table below shows what will happen to the share price following a 20 per cent return in net asset value alongside changes in the discount/premium. It clearly shows that buying at a premium massively adds to the total return.

Of course there is always the risk that the discount moves out further. This could be caused by investors going off the trusts even more. Or it could be broader negative sentiment towards equity markets that sees index level selling of the FTSE 250 – in the case of P2P GI – or FTSE All Share selling in the case of VPC Specialty Lending. This would add to weakness in both trusts’ share prices, and potentially widen the discount.

However, as AltFi reported last week P2P GI has started to defend its discount by buying up its shares using spare cash. Last week it bought £2m of its shares at an average price of 827p, says Monica Tepes, analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.

This did temporarily lower P2P GI’s discount to 17.5 per cent although it has since moved back to over 20 per cent.

Brexit: FinTech firms fear for staff shortages and lost EU customers, (Tech Republic), Rated: AAA

London is a major player in the international FinTech market, with startups in the UK capital securing more venture capital funding last year than their European counterparts.

That status won’t necessarily change after Britain leaves the EU but FinTech firms have said it will complicate the picture, particularly when it comes to their ability to sell services to Europe and attract new talent.

Controlling migration was the second most important reason for quitting the EU, according to those who voted Leave in last week’s referendum.

Access to the single market allows goods and finance to be moved between EU countries without tariffs. However, full access also requires free movement of workers between European countries, something many Leave voters oppose.

Nevertheless, for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform MarketInvoice, as for many other London-based FinTech firms, free movement of European labor is essential to meet its demands for skills.

“Here at MarketInvoice we have a super-diverse team from all corners of the globe. Most notably within our software-engineering and data-science teams. Many FinTech founders themselves come from outside the UK,” said Anil Stocker, CEO of MarketInvoice.

European Union

Insurer Aviva France to Lend €50 Million to SMEs Through Crowdlending Platforms, (Crowdfund Insider),Rated: AAA

Aviva France, together with two partners, alternative asset management firm Eiffel Investment Group and insurer AG2R La Mondiale, is launching an investment fund called “Prêtons Ensemble” (Lending together) dedicated to financing loans to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) provided through crowdlending platforms.

Starting with an initial endowment of €50 million from Aviva France and €20 million from AG2R La Mondiale, the fund is expected to quickly grow to €100 million by rallying other institutional investors around the project.

The goal is to invest in the French real economy by financing SME loans granted through regulated crowdfunding platforms. Eiffel Investment Group is a specialist with more than eight years of experience in investing on crowdlending platforms, notably in the more advanced UK and US markets. Eiffel Investment will be in charge of the due diligence on the platforms and their loan portfolios. Currently, they have identified around 100 platforms and have made contact with 50 of them. Eventually, in five years from now, the fund should be invested to 70% in lending to SMEs and minimum to 50% in France. At the onset, we’re starting with a dozen platforms, mostly, but not only from France as the market is still emerging here. The (soon-to-be published) list includes names such as Younited Credit, Finexkap and Lendix.

The fund will be diversified in terms of the platforms’ business model and of the type of credit provided to SMEs. This means that it will include both unsecured and secured loans, short-term invoice financing as well as mid-term loans. On average, the loans are expected to have a maturity of 2.5 years.

Our decision was made long before the Lending Club problems surfaced. Upon hearing about them, we conducted a thorough analysis of their actual causes and impact. We were quite reassured to find out that the scale of the financial issue was small, that it had been fixed, and that a subsequent audit did not uncover any other impropriety.

Europe’s Top 11 Peer-to-Peer Lending Platforms, (Fintech News), Rated: A

Comment: As author chose to label the article Europe’s top 11, and includes UK companies, we chose to do the same.

In Europe today, although the vast majority of the P2P lending activity is concentrated in the UK – which accounts for over 84% of the whole European market –, Germany, France and Nordic countries are experiencing strong growth and development in the P2P lending space with a number of homegrown startups starting to emerge as regional leaders.

Australia

Fintech losses blamed on rerating, (The Australian Business Review), Rated: AAA

DirectMoney, which writes personal loans, slid to 4.5c a share after coming to market last year at 20c via a backdoor listing. On Friday, the company unveiled a $5.7m non-renounceable capital raising at 4.2c a share on a one-new-share-for-every-two-held basis.

The raising, underwritten by Bell Potter, opens on July 11.

It follows a mixed ride for investors, with the stock exchange in February querying its financial position and DirectMoney subsequently unveiling a deal with Macquarie, which bought $5m of the company’s personal loans and took shares in the company in exchange for advisory services.

In May, DirectMoney revealed loan demand was outstripping funding as the company slowly gained traction for its personal loan fund for retail investors. In the interim, the company turned to two “large financial institutions” for funding facilities, signing a non-binding term sheet with one for $20m.

Part of the cash from the $5.7m raising will be used as upfront collateral for the funding facilities. “We’ve proven our ability to originate loans; that is difficult for some organisations and what we are now doing is establishing committed funding programs of sufficient size so we can leverage the assets we’ve built,” Mr Beaumont said.

DirectMoney has written $17.6m of unsecured personal loans up to $35,000 for three to five years. Revenue in the financial year to the end of May was $1.19m, compared to $435,513 in the six months to December 31.

DirectMoney chief Peter Beaumont yesterday defended the fintech company’s stockmarket listing and expressed disappointment over losses worn by shareholders, arguing there were many benefits and the sector globally had suffered a de-rating.

“We’re disappointed there were investors that came in at higher prices and have had capital losses at this point, but marketplace lending globally has experienced a resetting of valuations, whether it’s LendingClub in the US or others, since last year,” he said.

The inaugural Australian Fintech Awards regonised innovation in the finance industry, with OnDeck Australia and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) receiving the Fintech-Bank Collaboration of the Year Award. OnDeck entered the Australian market last year with CBA and online accounting software provider, MYOB, as distribution partners.

India

P2P players bank on institutional lenders for growth, (Economic Times), Rated: AAA

I-lend has stitched a partnership with Hyderabad-based non-banking finance company Star Finserve, becoming the first peer-topeer online lending platform to join hands with an institutional lender while several other players including MicroGraam, Faircent and LenDenClub are in talks for similar pacts.

“The cost of loan origination is going up steadily for NBFCs and banks, the number of successful applications is declining and through these partnerships the institutional lenders can cut down on incurring origination of loan and administration costs,” said VVSB Shankar, founder of i-lend.

Shankar said the decline in the number of applications could be attributed to several factors such as competition among institutional lenders, quality of borrowers or involvement of non-performing assets. The company’s loan book size is about `1.5 crore and lenders on the platform can opt for borrowers who pay 18-21% interest.

Peer-to-peer platforms have reported an increase in the number of high net worth individuals or HNIs they have attracted over the past six months. “HNIs and family offices are showing interest in the peer-to-peer space. Since there is a criterion for lenders to have an income of over `10 lakh, this is bound to happen. Our top lenders have invested more than `40-50 lakh each, with the highest being around Rs 60 lakh,” said Rajat Gandhi, founder of Faircent, which has a loan book size of Rs 6.5 crore.

Smaller players including LenDen-Club said they have also seen increasing interest from HNIs, specifically from Maharashtra and Gujarat, spending about Rs 15 lakh individually. Since retail investors are central to how such platforms function, the companies aim to firm up a select few partnerships with institutional lenders over the next one year.

China

Exit of P2P lenders from Shanghai office market poses a challenge, (South China Morning Post),Rated: A

The recent collapse and exodus of numerous peer-to-peer lending (P2P) companies in China after a government crackdown on fraud has rattled the Shanghai CBD office market and may “pose a challenge for landlords”, experts say.

In the second quarter of the year, supply spiked to a 10-year high, according to real estate firm Colliers International, as overall vacancy rates in the area increased 3.2 per cent quarter on quarter to 7.2 per cent.

Korea

8PERCENT: Men in 30s Major P2P Investors, (The Korea Bizwire), Rated: A

8PERCENT, a P2P (peer-to-peer) lending company, revealed on July 4 that 30-something men who live in metropolitan areas are their primary investors.

As of June 30, top P2P lending company 8PERCENT’s total accrued loans summed up to 26.6 billion won ($23 million), with a total of 8,283 investors investing 3.21 million won ($2800) on average per person.

The average age of the investors was 34.3, and more than 90 percent of the investors were between the ages of 20 and 40. 8PERCENT also revealed that 77 percent of the investors lived in metropolitan areas, and that 67.5 percent were male and 32.5 percent, female.

The largest investment made so far was 453 million won ($395,000) diversified into 1,115 different bonds.

“Until last year, 90 percent of investors were from metropolitan areas, but the portion from non-metropolitan areas increased to 23 percent this year. Investment from women also increased from the low 20s to 30 percent, and we’re seeing growth in the number of investors in their 50s as well,” said Kang Seok-hwan, chief marking officer of 8PERCENT.

Small credit loans of 24.2 billion won ($21 million) comprise more than 90 percent of the total investments. Out of the total amount, 13.4 billion won ($11 million) was loaned to individuals, and 10.8 billion won ($9.4 million) to corporations.

Besides credit loans, borrowers also obtained real estate mortgage loans of 2.4 million won ($2 million).

 

Author:

George Popescu