Daily News Digest Featured News

Thursday April 13 2017, Daily News Digest

small business fintech lenders

News Comments

United States

  • All is not well in the world of student loans. GP: “There are many parallels between credit crisis in general: investors wrong feel of safety is, I think, the main one. And in this case student debt can only be releaved in bankruptcy in very exceptional cases, in short, nearly never. So investors feel that student debt is safe. The same way as mortgages perhaps? I think we are far away from a crisis or bubble. However student debt is growing and questions have to be asked of where this is going and why. Brian from BlueElephant told me one day that any market that is being skewed by government intervention from its normal equilibrium should be avoided as the price doesn’t reflect the risk. Is the government skewing the student debt market? Certainly. I have no issue with the risk in the student debt market, I am worried about the price pressure from non-profit participants. ”  AT: “Lenders need to get better at judging risk and cutting down on defaults.”
  • Small biz lending approval rates. GP: “We now see for a few quarters an improvement in small bank’s approval rate for small business loans.”AT: “Small banks and institutional investors are doing better at approving loans than big banks and alt lenders. I wonder what this means. Could be a trust issue.”
  • Small businesses hate fintech lenders more than big banks. GP:”As a small business you have a choice to borrow money below 10% from a bank, a product you will not qualify for, or to borrow moey from MCAs and fintech at rates often above 20%, a product you will nearly always qualify for. Who do you have more? The people who have a great product they don’t want to sell to you or the ones who have an expensive product you have no choice but to buy? To me this is a huge issue for the SME fintech lending sector. This means that as soon as credit from any other institution is anywhere close to being competitive the small businesses will not use a fintech offering. The second question is why are fintechs ranked so low? My personal believe is that it’s due to the onerous terms fintech usually charge small businesses especially in comparison to banks.  “AT: “This is interesting. Significant is the fact that this data comes from successful applicants, not non-borrowers. Driving this data could be the varied nature of borrower profiles. Small banks are likely lending to prime borrowers whereas online lenders are heavily weighted toward sub-prime borrower who likely expect to be treated like prime borrowers and can’t get a loan from a bank. This requires further investigation.”
  • VC funding report Q1 2017. GP:”Unaccredited investors had no scalable legal way to invest in private stocks before. The money inventory for unaccredited investors is fixed or at best stable given the wage stagnation, and the small inflation. And I think crowdfunding also includes more entertainment thant the stock market with the benefit of often also receiving a product. “AT: “I think it’s interesting that fewer people in the U.S. are investing in stocks? Does that mean they are investing in crowdfunding asset classes?”
  • Elevate Credit not trading at elevated price. GP:” I would compare them to Yirendai more. “AT: “The comparison to Square is interesting.”
  • Should fintech startups buy banks? GP:”If you want a bank, there is rent, buy or build. These approaches are standard business questions. The real question is should you work with a bank or not. Why not an insurance company? Why not with another deposit taking structure that is not a bank? ”  AT: “I don’t see why not. The most likely targets would be community banks, if they can get there before the big banks swallow them up.”
  • Diversification 101 in MPL. AT: “Basic investing advice.”
  • Podcast: Economic analysis of real estate, Part 2.
  • Redfin vets raise pre-seed round, launch digital mortgage platform.
  • Opus releases new version of OpusNotes.

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Asia

News Summary

United States

All is Not Well in the World of Student Loans (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

It is clear that burdensome student debt is now holding many people back financially. Student loan debt now stands at a staggering $1.3 trillion (as of the end of 2016) an increase of 170 percent over the preceding 10 years. There are three contributing factors to this increase:

  1. More students are taking out loans.
  2. The loans are for larger amounts.
  3. Borrower repayments have slowed down.

Borrowers are now leaving school with over $30,000 in student loan debt and they are defaulting more. This is particularly true of those borrowers with balances of $100,000 or more. Over 20% of borrowers who left school in 2010 or 2011 owing that amount have already defaulted on this debt (a default means they are at least 270 days past due). That is an astonishingly bad default rate.

Small Biz Lending Approval Rates Improve at Institutional Investors and Small Banks, Stall at Big Banks in March 2017 (Biz2Credit), Rated: AAA

Loan approval rates at institutional investors and small banks improved in March 2017, according to the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending IndexTM, the monthly analysis of more than 1,000 small business loan applications on Biz2Credit.com. Big banks’ ($10 billion-plus in assets) loan approval were stagnant in the last month, but remained at an all-time Index high. Meanwhile, loan approval rates at credit unions and alternative lenders continues to falter.

alternative lenders

Small businesses hate fintech lenders more than big banks (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its 2016 small business credit survey, which gives us an idea of the experiences of over 10,000 firms across the US. As Matt highlighted yesterday, one of the things we learn from the research is that small business expectations doesn’t tell us much about the economy. But we also get some information on how small business owners view various sources of credit. The results for fintech startups, specifically online lenders, are not as great as you might expect:

fintech lenders

So, the hype about streamlining processes and building better customer experiences is not all hype, though they do just slightly worse in terms of transparency.

But there is something going on with the cost of credit provided by online lenders, and the terms they demand. The survey defines ‘online lenders’ as “nonbank alternative and marketplace lenders, including Lending Club, OnDeck, CAN Capital, and PayPal Working Capital”, so there are potentially two things going on here.

One is that online lenders typically have a higher cost of capital than banks, and so they also charge higher interest rates, which is what drives the dissatisfaction. The second is that online lenders are targeting riskier businesses, who wouldn’t be able to borrow from a bank. That would suggest the higher level of dissatisfaction about repayment terms and interest rates arises from the fact they are lending to businesses that generally encounter high borrowing costs, no matter who they are borrowing from.

Venture Capital Funding Report Q1 2017 (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

US VC-backed companies saw $13.9B in total financing across 1,104 deals in Q1’17, up 15% and 2% from Q4’16, respectively.

While Asia saw an increase in unicorn births from Q4’16, North America remained flat with a total of 3 new unicorns. Notably, Europe has not seen a new VC-backed unicorn since the first quarter of 2016.

U.S. stock market investors
Source: Gallup

Elevate Credit: Not Trading At An Elevated Price (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

The fintech has funded more than $4 billion in loans for 1.6 million customers by using machine learning to lower fraud scores while providing quick lending decisions based on data inputs for a high-risk borrowing group.

Revenues grew 34% to $580 million last year while operating income expanded to $48 million, up from $9 million in 2015. The fintech is still losing money; that typically is a large negative in the recent IPO market, though other offerings have rallied despite large losses.

In total, Elevate sold 14.26 million shares at $6.50 including the over allotment amount. The company raised about $81 million after fees.

The company has a fully diluted market cap of only $350 million using a share count of 41 million and nearly 4 million of outstanding stock options.

The reality is that Square had a very subdued IPO similar to Elevate Credit. The initial price range target was $11 to $13 while the actual offer price dipped to only $9, though Square jumped back to that original price range trading around $12 for most of the first month as a public company.

elevate stocks

Should fintech startups buy banks? (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Banks buying startups isn’t anything new. But for financial tech startups, looking for scale at any cost, perhaps the solution would actually be to buy a bank, according to a growing number of observers and experts in the industry.

There are almost 6,000 FDIC-insured banking institutions in the U.S. as of the end of 2016 and 1,541 of them have less than $100 million in assets, including a sliver of failing banks that need saving. With average common equity around $12.5 million for a healthy bank of that size, a well-established startup could pay $25 million and get fully licensed to be deposit taking.

Part of the reason startups haven’t been able to scale, at least in the retail banking world, is that so-called innovations are usually just different ways for people to interface with their banks, while core banking transactions – deposits, loans, mortgages and payments – generally remain the same on the backend. In other words, there hasn’t truly been an Uber for banking, said Pascal Bouvier, a venture partner at Santander Innoventures. Most fintech startups operate at the thin outer layer of banking.

The valuation gap between fintech startups and banks makes it difficult to structure a deal, he said. Banks tend to be valued more through historical earnings and the price of tangible book value, whereas fintech startups, because of their perceived high growth potential, often tend to have higher earnings multiples.

Diversification 101 in Marketplace Lending (LendingClub), Rated: A

While loans are issued in amounts between $1,000 and $40,000, Notes can be purchased for as little as $25.

If you invested $2,500 in only one borrower and that borrower becomes late and the loan eventually charges off, you could potentially lose 100% of your total investment amount. If you invested $25 in 100 different borrowers your potential loss on any single Note would be limited to 1% of your total investment amount.

LendingClub

 

Episode 6 – Economic Analysis of Real Estate, Part 2 (RealCrowd), Rated: A

In this episode listeners will learn about:
– How rising household income impacts multifamily investments
– How property tax factors into decision making
– Where to access data on real estate markets
– What asset class RealSource is pursuing in this current economic climate 

Redfin Veterans Raise Pre-Seed Round and Launch Digital Mortgage Platform “Approved” (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Approved launched its digital mortgage platform today, aimed at radically simplifying the home loan experience for lenders and borrowers nationwide. The company raised $1 Million in pre-seed funding led by Social Capital and Precursor Ventures to support the launch.

Lenders in the pilot saw an average 50% reduction in the time it took to get those documents.

Approved technology includes:

  • DocCast™: Automatically collect original bank statements, W2s, 1099s, 1040s and paystubs.
  • DocVision™ Camera Scanning: Allows borrowers to securely “scan” documents using their mobile devices.
  • White-labeled Dashboards: A delightful and frictionless platform for borrower and lender collaboration.
  • Digital Document Library: Support for all popular loan programs.

Opus releases new version of OpusNotes (Hedgeweek), Rated: B

Opus Fund Services, a provider of hedge fund administration services, has launched new release of the OpusNotes loan accounting platform for marketplace lending vehicles.

United Kingdom

Latest OFF3R Index Data Reveals Significant Increase in Equity Crowdfunding Investments in March 2017 (PR Web), Rated: AAA

This record breaking figure smashed the previous monthly high, set back in July 2015, by over £13 Million. This made March 2017 the most successful month for the total amount raised via equity crowdfunding platforms in the young life of the asset class in the UK.

According to the data from OFF3R, equity crowdfunding had a very strong finish to 2016 but had so far had a slow start to the year.

The data revealed that March 2017 was a strong month for the sector. Just over £300 Million was lent in March via the platforms that form the P2P element of the OFF3R Index, including Zopa, Ratesetter and Funding Circle. This was marginally higher than February’s data but slightly down from January’s year to date high.

Lending Works Announcement: £8.8 Million Has Been Invested In ISA Account Since February 2017 Launch (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Works announced on Wednesday £8.8 million has been invested into the company’s Individual Savings Account (ISA) since its launch on February 8th.

Lending Works reported given that there are no limits on transfers of ISA funds accumulated in previous financial years, the largest individual investment to date within a Lending Works ISA stands at £154,190, while the average amount invested among the 815 ISA investors currently stands at £10,769.
Lending Works ISA

Fintech founder: I would not set up in London today (Financial News), Rated: A

The founder of one of London’s best-known fintech startups has said that he would not choose London as a location to set up his business today, as he has “no idea what Brexit will mean”.

Taavet Hinrikus, the chief executive and co-founder of online FX service TransferWise, urged the UK government to quickly secure access to talent and trade with Europe in a post-Brexit world.

Funding Circle’s Desai: use P2P for monetary stimulus (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

UK POLICYMAKERS should start using peer-to-peer platforms to stimulate the economy, Funding Circle’s chief executive and co-founder Samir Desai said on Wednesday.

The head of the country’s third-largest business lender called on the government and the Bank of England to bypass the banking system and inject monetary stimulus via P2P platforms, capitalising on the direct access they provide to the real economy.

Boost Capital Secures New £15m Credit Line (Boost Capital Email), Rated: A

No end to Boost Capital’s growth spurt as the business funding specialist secures new £15m credit line to meet small business loan demand.

An extra £15m will now be available to UK small businesses, after alternative business lender Boost Capital secured a new credit line from American Investment Firm Atalaya Capital Management.

Ex-Aldermore director joins SME lending platform (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: B

SME lending platform Growth Street has announced the appointment of a new commercial director and general counsel.

Chris Weller will serve as commercial director, having formerly held the role at Aldermore Bank from 2013-14 before becoming sales director for invoice finance until 2015.

Meanwhile, general counsel April Nardulli joins from P2P platform RateSetter, having served as senior regulatory counsel, regulatory lawyer and interim compliance manager since her appointment in 2015.

European Union

Finbee Experiences – My Portfolio Review (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

A year has passed since I last wrote about the portfolio I built on Finbee. Currently I have invested 1,027 Euro in 35 loans. 32 are current (965 Euro), 2 are late (23 Euro) and one is in default (38 Euro), but rates for this loan are paid to me by Finbee’s compensation fund. The average interest rate of my loan parts is 31%.

My self calculated yield (XIRR) is 31.5%. This is the highest I achieved on any p2p lending marketplace over a longer duration of time. Calculating the result again, this time with assuming a full write-off of the defaulted loan gives a yield of 29.4%.

Why banks are reluctant to enter the roller coaster of FinTech (JAXenter), Rated: AAA

Blockchain, NFC, Peer to peer lending are just a few of the options traditional banking could have fully adopted. This would have had a tremendous impact on the way we exchange transactions, do business and live our lives. However, I cannot name a big bank that has jumped on the bandwagon and delivered a fully-fledged product in this area. Just the opposite — the stories I hear are, for example, about two of the top executives of BNP Paribas in Bulgaria leaving the company to start their own Peer to peer lending platform called Klear. Why didn’t they initiate this project inside the organization?

I think there are two factors causing this:

  • Internal factor: Company culture in the traditional banking
  • External factor: The public image of banks is all about security, while innovation relates to risk.

Usually, new banking products need a lot of IT involvement — for each new type of deposit/loan you need someone to implement tens of forms and wizards.

How to enable innovation in banking

We have a good example of consortium of banks coming up with a radical move to start a joint blockchain project. This way none of the big players risks their own reputation.

Another way to announce innovative projects is by strongly focusing on the physical design and digital UX of the innovation because, believe it or not, the mass client judges how reliable something is by the external look of it.

Former HSBC banker Lake joins fintech revolution (Financial News), Rated: B

Spencer Lake, a former HSBC banker who led the group’s global capital financing business, has joined a fintech firm that boasts the UK bank as one of its main clients.

Lake has been named vice-chairman of Fenergo, a Dublin-based firm that makes what it calls client lifecycle management software, according to a statement from the company on April 12.

International

How fintech startups are helping SMEs choose who they do business with (Daily Fintech), Rated: A

According to Xero, 38 percent of small business owners indicate late payments cause them to delay payments to their suppliers, while 15 percent claim this often sees them delaying wage payments to staff, along with other benefits.

62 percent of businesses would not survive more than three months if all invoices went unpaid, while nearly 25 percent wouldn’t last a month.

Xero’s Live Contacts, a partnership with the local arm of credit bureau Equifax (formerly Veda) is one such data driven solution. As part of a paid-up Xero subscription, businesses can now see a credit risk indicator against a contact in their database, helping them to better assess whether to do business or not, or even risk adjust payment terms.

At the other end of the data spectrum, CreditMonk in India allows businesses to add a review of a creditor’s payment behaviour via its platform.

Asia

SINGAPORE-based Marvelstone Capital, which is a data-driven asset management company, is planning to launch its robo advisor platform for family offices in Asia in the third quarter of this year.

According to Cho, the robo advisor platform is being developed with Singaporean fintech startup Smartfolios, which is focused on building next-generation advisory and thematic investment technologies. The robo advisor will be available on desktop and mobile for Marvelstone Capital’s clients.

To give an idea of the market size of family offices in Asia, Cho cites a report that says that overall, the billionaires in the Asian market have about US$400 billion of assets at their disposal, which equates to an average of about US$3.6 billion per individual, which in turn makes all of them potential clients of family office solutions or even owners of single family offices. (Source: https://www.vpbank.sg/data/docs/en_SG/1713/Family-Offices-in-Asia.pdf)

Cho explains that family offices with below US$1 billion assets under management are the underserved family offices.

He adds that second priority countries will be Korea, China, Taiwan and Japan and that the third priority will be emerging markets such as Myanmar and Vietnam.

30 Under 30 Asia 2017: The Top Young Venture Capitalists And Fintech Entrepreneurs (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Val Yap founded PolicyPal — a Singapore-based smartphone app that helps users never miss a premium by tracking all their insurance on one dashboard.

91 credit

MoolahSense Adds Invoice Financing to List of Services (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Singapore-based MoolahSense, a marketplace lending platform, has added invoice financing as a new product line. The new service will allow SMEs to access financing to address short-term capital needs of up to $15,000. For investors, a nominal interest rate of up to 12% may be earned. An invoice backed loan would mature in 15 to 90 days’ time and investors would be able to receive returns in a relatively shorter period of time.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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