Daily News Digest Featured News

Friday August 18 2017, Daily News Digest

Europe private equity real estate
Source: Pensions&Investments

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia

  • Small lenders offer biggest savings on $1M property loans. AT: “There could be any number of reasons for this. One is that large lenders have massive overhead expenses and therefore are forced to charge higher interest rates and fees. Smaller lenders can use technology and agile business practices to cut costs.”

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

iFunding Insolvent, SEC Issues Subpoena as Investor Jazco Looks to Step In (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

iFunding, a real estate crowdfunding platform, is insolvent according to several sources.

In recent days, information has cropped up that investors have been left holding the remains of the company that included properties with an estimated value of $20 million. One individual estimated the number of impacted investors at 400 individuals. These Investors are now looking at options to salvage what they can from the crowdfunding platform.

Crowdfund Insider has been told the SEC did issue a subpoena at some point regarding the operational questions regarding iFunding. Specific details have not been made available but one individual suggested it had to do with the platform operating as a Broker Dealer without having the appropriate license.

DreamFunded Now Offers Real Estate Investments Using Reg CF (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

DreamFunded Real Estate has launched its first real estate investment opportunity under Reg CF. DreamFunded is a FINRA approved crowdfunding platform that may offer securities the newest crowdfunding exemption. This iteration of crowdfunding allows any investor access to these opportunities – not just wealthier, accredited types. DreamFunded is one of only two real estate crowdfunding platforms using Reg CF.

In ILC fight, community banks will not stand down (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Commentators who say we should do away with that historic separation should be aware that the community banking industry will once again fight tooth and nail against such a move. We fiercely and successfully opposed Walmart’s 2006 bid. More than a decade later, the core principle remains the same.

Allowing nonbank corporate conglomerates to own banks not only violates the U.S. policy of maintaining the separation of banking and commerce. It also jeopardizes the impartial allocation of credit, creates egregious conflicts of interest, and results in a dangerous concentration of commercial and economic power. It also extends the federal safety net to commercial interests, which is counter to the principles upon which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was created.

The Independent Community Bankers of America’s main objection to the SoFi application for federal deposit insurance is that the ILC charter would allow the fintech company to avoid the legal prohibitions and restrictions under the Bank Holding Company Act (BHCA).

iPayment, Inc. Introduces New Business Unit: iPayment Capital (PR Newswire), Rated: A

iPayment, Inc., a trusted provider of payment and processing solutions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), introduces iPayment Capital, a new business unit focused exclusively on merchant cash advance services.

iPayment Capital will formally launch this fall with a focus on iPayment’s more than 137,000 SMB customers. Adding merchant cash advance as a direct offering, the Company will significantly streamline the process for its customers, offering a simplified application, expedited reviews and approvals, and a seamless re-payment process.

The Company recently hired Mr. Tomo Matsuo as Senior Vice President to lead this important initiative. Mr. Matsuo spent over six years with Bizfi, a premier fintech company combining aggregation, funding and a participation marketplace on a single platform for small businesses, where he held several senior level positions including Chief Operating Officer.

Morgan Stanley Advisor Charged with Insider Dealing (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Morgan Stanley financial advisor Michael Siva is among seven people charged with making about $5 million trading on illegal leaks made by a former Bank of America employee, Bloomberg writes.

Daniel Rivas, a former employee at Bank of America’s capital-markets technology group, allegedly passed dozens of tips about unannounced deals to two friends, including his girlfriend’s father, James Moodhe, an assistant controller at a brokerage that prosecutors didn’t identify, according to the news service.

Moodhe allegedly passed the tips on to Morgan Stanley’s Siva, whose trades on the leaked deals allegedly made his clients more than $880,000 and $8,000 for himself, Bloomberg writes.

10 bold predictions about the financial advice industry’s future (Investment News), Rated: A

“In 10 years, we’ll be in the midst of the largest wealth transfer in history, as more than $30 trillion is passed to millennials.”

Lowell Putnam, co-founder and CEO, Quovo

“Clients are going to want more technology that they can touch. I think there’s going to be more of a collaborative piece to planning.”

Rose Price, financial planner, VLP Financial Advisors

“The emerging influence and affluence of women — specific to income, education, entrepreneurship and wealth — will further demand comprehensive planning and financial independence.”

Sameer Somal, chief financial officer, Blue Ocean Global Wealth

“As the Gen X and millennial generations become more empowered to take charge of their financial future, they will demand advice in an ‘instant’ … whether through an app, online digitally or virtually with an adviser.”

Julia Carlson, CEO and wealth adviser, Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group

“There will be commoditization of financial planning advice in the same way we’ve seen in investment management in the past, that’s going to offer the opportunity for further specialization.”

Nicholas Crow, president, Motley Fool Wealth Management

Here’s what an uptick in the US IPO market could mean for fintechs (Business Insider), Rated: A

Initial public offerings (IPOs) have been uncommon among tech companies as a whole for the past few years. That’s because, as private companies’ valuations skyrocketed, many to above the $1-billion mark, concerns deepened as to whether they could be matched on the public markets.

So far, 2017 has seen a total of 11 IPOs by tech startups, well ahead of the four completed in each of the last two years, and just short of 2014’s 12.

The biggest fintechs will likely closely monitor these recent IPOs to see how they fare.

fintech unicorns

Crowdfunded real-estate investments: 3 ways to do it (MarketWatch), Rated: A

In fact, investment crowdfunding (excluding community fundraising tools like Kickstarter) could top $300 billion annually by 2025, according to CFX Markets.

A typical crowdfunded real-estate project raises anywhere from $50,000 to $3 million from individual investors; the total project size can range up to $30 million or higher. For a $10,000 investment, return expectations range from $700 to $1,200 for a one-year debt investment to $5,000 to $15,000 for a longer-term (over three to five years) equity investment.

Equity crowdfunding

Pros

• Lower barrier to entry: For as little as $5,000, individuals can invest in large, commercial real-estate projects and enjoy the benefits of real estate: strong returns, a low degree of correlation with public markets and historically lower volatility.

• High yield potential: As equity investors, individuals can share in uncapped gains.

Cons

• Risk remains: These investments do carry risk, and some investors may not know how to evaluate risk factors, such as local economy volatility, or potential for higher-than-expected construction costs.

• Lack of liquidity: Many of these investments entail a hold period of up to five years. No prominent secondary markets have emerged yet.

• It’s early: While many platforms tout positive aggregate return figures, it’s inevitable that some projects won’t go well.

Syndicated debt crowdfunding

Pros

• Less risky than an equity investment: Debt investors are entitled to repayment before equity investors earn a return, so these investments carry less risk.

• Extra diligence: The loans upon which these investments are based were originated by professional real-estate lenders, who often have a physical presence and expertise in the markets where they issue loans.

• Short hold period: Relatively short terms (typically under two years) allow investor to reinvest sooner, and reduces liquidity risk.

Cons

• Less upside than an equity stake: Though debt investments are generally more secure, they carry less upside, as the investor’s yield is limited to the interest rate of the loan.

• A middleman: The experienced real estate lender is an additional layer of diligence, but it’s also another party between the investor and the original loan. This typically means a net annual percentage return of 0.5% to 1% lower than platform-issued debt offerings (see below).

Platform-issued (‘pre-filled’) debt crowdfunding

Pros

• Less risky: Debt investors are the first to be repaid, and the investment is secured by the underlying property.

• Short hold period: The individual typically recoups their money in six months to two years.

• One less middleman: With the platform acting as the lender, one less party takes a fee.

Cons

• Less upside than equity, for the same reason that syndicated debt does.

• Less diligence: Unlike syndication, the only loan underwriting is done by the platform (acting as lender). Some platforms practice conservative underwriting, but the companies themselves may have limited operating histories and minimal experience in all the markets where they issue loans.

KeyBank Partners with Billtrust to Deliver Best-in-Class, Automated Accounts Receivable Solution (PR Newswire), Rated: A

KeyBank (NYSE: KEY) announced today its strategic partnership with and equity investment in Billtrust, a pioneer of payment cycle management solutions. This collaboration, along with the launch of KeyTotal AR™, marks the most recent in a series of partnerships with emerging fintech providers, affirming Key’s commitment to bringing innovative solutions to market. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

The KeyTotal AR™ platform allows KeyBank’s corporate clients to improve operational efficiency during the invoice-to-cash process using electronic invoicing and payments in a flexible, cloud-based solution. Powered by Billtrust’s Quantum Payment Cycle Management solution, the platform accelerates cash flow by automating invoice delivery and payment and cash application. Merging this innovation with KeyBank’s broad range of accounts receivable (AR) capabilities has created one of the highest-level product suites available in the market today.

Top 5 Emerging Fintech Hubs in The U.S. (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Atlanta

Atlanta has enjoyed a position as a hub for financial services, if not necessarily fintech, for quite a while. The city, which is presently playing host to a number of fintech startups, incumbents, and technology accelerators (including the Techstars Atlanta Program) is the place to be for payments companies, to the point where some have nicknamed areas of the hub things like “Transaction Alley.”

For the older guard of digital payments, companies NCR and WorldPay are both currently headquartered here, and of course, it’s the birthplace of the Atlanta Automated ClearingHouse, or ACH.

Startups like First Performance Global are innovating the authorization side of payments, using data analytics, social media, and automation to make sure its businesses stay competitive.

Austin

The city is home to older fintech residents like banking technology provider Kasasa, mobile trendsetter Malauzai, and digital banking solutions provider Q2 Holdings.

Now, Austin is headquarters to newer entrants like Draft, which is using the venture funding it received from Plug and Play and Envestnet Yodlee in order to build insights based on data analytics to help financial advisors avoid poor portfolio performances and to further build trust with clients. Companies like Self Lender are focusing attention on the under-banked, using digital savings plans to help users build up the credit they are missing from lack of access to more traditional financial products. Other startups like Able are focusing on the increasingly competitive small business lending market, aiming to fund SMBs at all stages with help from friends and family.

Miami

Take for example the startup Waleteros, a banking app geared specifically to serve the underbanked U.S. Hispanic customer.

Then there’s ClassWallet, an app geared specifically to help schools. This virtual wallet streamlines the process of payments and reimbursements for teachers and schools alike.

Catering to Miami’s entrepreneur demography is a startup like InvestReady, formerly known as Accredify. This company uses API integration to allow crowdfunding portals to verify investors, thus simplifying the tedious compliance and verification process. The company, which was founded in 2014, has to date raised $120K in funding.

Omaha-Lincoln, Neb.

D3 Technology in Omaha has become a stalwart in the mobile banking scene, helping institutions replace their aging, first-generation mobile apps with data-driven solutions and modern UX’s. Lincoln’s Hip Pocket is a financial wellness tool that allows users to save money with a swipe.

Washington D.C.

Some companies like Wealthminder are using digitized financial planning tools and investment recommendations fueled by data analytics to help its users to achieve longer term financial goals, such as funding college, buying a home, or retirement.

Startups like FS Card are busy re-designing credit, offering new options for small dollar loan customers to move towards more traditional (more affordable) credit products. Others, like StreetShares are enabling “social finance” for small businesses, allowing like-minded investors to fund small businesses through auctions (businesses pitch themselves through a simple mobile application, and investors compete to fund; the lowest bids are consolidated into one single loan with a low interest rate).

Recent FinTech Partnerships Bode Well for GH Capital (KFM BFM), Rated: A

Using aggregators also allow retailers to instantly offer multiple payment methods to the customers leading to a higher conversion rate. That’s why we see digital payment processing companies like Wirecard AG (WRCDF) expanding at a quick rate. The company registered a transaction volume growthof ~34% during the first quarter of 2017.

GH Capital Inc (GHHC), a gateway provider for online banking electronics payments, can also benefitfrom this trend. The company already entered in several partnerships with multiple payment processors. It recently partnered with Allied Wallet and has taken a 23% equity stake in VMoney.

GH Capital is involved in the provision of IPO services for small corporations.

BFS Capital Appoints Michael Marrache as CEO (BusinessWire), Rated: B

BFS Capital Inc., a small business financing company, announced that it has appointed Michael Marrache as Chief Executive Officer to succeed outgoing CEO and co-founder Marc Glazer. Named President in September 2016, Marrache previously served for more than three years as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. He also will join the company’s Board of Directors. Marc Glazer will continue to serve as Chairman of the BFS Capital Board.

Washington Capital Partners Rewrites the Rules of Flip-to-Rent Real Estate Investing (Press Release Rocket), Rated: B

Today, Washington Capital Partners (WCP), a hard money lender operating in the Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland areas, announced their new Flip-to-Rent Hybrid Loan product. This 3-year hard money loan allows fix and flip investors to immediately roll their property into a long-term rental loan.

United Kingdom

Fintech lender MarketInvoice to tap 400,000 strong customer base (AltFi), Rated: AAA

MarketInvoice continues on its mission to extend its services to a broader range of businesses. The invoice finance platform, which recently launched a new longer term funding line (MarketInvoice Pro), has forged a strategic alliance with credit management specialists Veritas Commercial Services.

Veritas is a leading credit management firm with a digital sales ledger platform called VeritasVirtual. Its customers use this platform to monitor the status of outstanding payments. The MarketInvoice platform has now been seamlessly integrated into VeritasVirtual, offering small business users access to MarketInvoice Pro – a funding line which is secured against their outstanding invoices.

China

China Rapid Finance Reports Unaudited Second Quarter 2017 Financial Results (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) today reported its unaudited financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017. The Company will hold a conference call on August 17, 2017 at 8:00 am Eastern Time (8:00 pm Beijing Time) to discuss the financial results for the second quarter of 2017. Dial-in details are provided at the end of this release.

Second Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights

  • Total gross billings on transaction and service fees[1] grew by 59% year over year to $24.5 million, or 46% over the previous quarter.
  • Gross billings from consumption loans exceeded gross billings from lifestyle loans, marking an important milestone. Gross billings from consumption loans increased by 642% year over year to $13.2 million, or 97% over the previous quarter. Gross billings from consumption loans represented 54% of total gross billings as compared with 12% in the prior year period, and 40% in the previous quarter. Gross billings from lifestyle loans were $11.3 million as compared with $13.7 million in the prior year period, or $10 million in the previous quarter. Gross billings from lifestyle loans were 46% of total gross billings, as compared with 88% in the prior year period, and 60% in the previous quarter.
  • Net revenue increased by 9% year over year to $15.2 million (after netting off customer acquisition incentives of $8.1 million) from $13.9 million (after netting off customer acquisition incentives of $0.6 million) in the prior year period, and 45% over the previous quarter from $10.5 million (after netting off customer acquisition incentives of $5.3 million) in the previous quarter.

Second Quarter 2017 Operating Highlights

  • Number of new borrowers added in the second quarter of 2017 was 760 thousand, increasing 39% over the previous quarter. As of June 30, 2017, the Company had 2.7 million unique borrowers.
  • Total number of loans facilitated grew by 354% year over year to 5.1 million, or on average 55 thousand loans facilitated per day. Total number of loans facilitated since inception reached 20 million.
  • Total loan volume facilitated increased by 244% year over year to $720.7 million. Consumption loans facilitated increased by 431% year over year to $637.5 million, with lifestyle loans facilitated totaling $83.2 million, as compared with $89.7 million in the prior year period.
  • Average cumulative loan volume per borrower of the Q4 2015 cohort increased to approximately $1,550 in their 18th month on our marketplace from approximately $1,300 in the 15th month. Average cumulative loan volume per borrower of the Q1 2016 cohort increased to approximately $1,340 in their 15th month on our marketplace from approximately $1,099 in the 12th month.
  • Repeat borrowers on the Company’s marketplace accounted for 72% of the total borrowers as of June 30, 2017.

China Rapid Finance

Sohu’s Fox Fintech Group Approved to Obtain First Internet Micro-credit License Issued by Ningbo City Government (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Recently, the Finance Office of Ningbo City Government approved a subsidiary of Fox Financial Technology Group Limited (“Fox Fintech Group” or “the Company”), an affiliate of Sohu.com Limited (NASDAQ: SOHU), to obtain the city’s first internet micro-credit license. This is a milestone that shows Ningbo City Government’s positive stance towards leading internet companies to set up fintech-related businesses in the city.

European Union

Savings Marketplace Raisin Passes the €4 Billion Mark Faster than Any Wealth Management Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Headquartered in Germany, Pan-European savings marketplace Raisin reports that in less than 4 years its customers have invested more than €4 billion in the platform’s savings products. As a result, Raisin is the leading marketplace for investments in Europe and one of the fastest growing Fintechs in the world.

Founded in 2013 as the first marketplace for investments in Europe, Raisin is now about twice the size of its next largest competitor.

retail deposit interest rates
Source: Crowdfund Insider

European real estate investment up on Brexit (Pensions&Investments), Rated: AAA

The immediate impact of 2016’s Brexit vote on private equity real estate investing in the second half of the year carried over into 2017, with reciprocal effects in mainland Europe. The first half of 2017 saw 201 deals closed, down from 315 and 302 in the first six months of 2016 and 2015, respectively. Continental Europe saw about 500 deals close between January and June 2017, as compared to about 400 halfway through 2016 and about 300 at 2015’s midpoint.

Europe private equity real estate
Source: Pensions&Investments
International

How Swift makes renminbi payment frictionless (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Swifts’s gpi enables banks to make cross-border renminbi payments to Chinese companies. By collaborating with China’s Cross-border Interbank Payment System they aim to make renminbi payments as fast as possible, Michael Moon, head of payments markets for Asia-Pacific at Swift, tells The Asset.

A recent Swift report shows that the renminbi only ranked sixth as a share of total global payments by volume.

Malaysia and Germany are the two countries which have had the highest growth in renminbi utilization for the past three years. For the first six months of 2017, Malaysia and Germany have seen a 551% and 436% growth respectively, compared to the same period in 2014.

SONM Advisory Board Onboards Digital Economist Paolo Tasca (Finance Magnates), Rated: B

Supercomputer Organized by Network Mining (SONM) has made an announcement regarding digital economist Paolo Tasca having joined the company’s board of advisors.

Tasca is the founder of the Centre for Blockchain Technologies at the University College London (UCL) and currently holds the role of Executive Director there. Prior to this position, Tasca acted as Lead Economist for digital currencies and peer-to-peer lending at Deutsche Bundesbank, which is located in Frankfurt, Germany.

Australia

Small lenders offer biggest savings on $ 1m property loans (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

Small lenders are offering the lowest rates on $1 million mortgages, with some products potentially lowering repayments by $500 a month, or $200,000 over a 30-year term.

The loan sizes have crept up as the median price of a property in Sydney hit $1.15m and about $850,000 in Melbourne.

Loans.com.au, an online lender, and Mortgage House Advantage offer the lowest variable, principal and interest rate for an owner-occupier of 3.64 per cent, or monthly repayments of about $4569.  That compares to an average rate of 4.27 per cent, a difference of 53 basis points, $362 a month or $130,000 over a 30-year term.

Australian Unity has a top rate for interest-only, owner occupiers of 3.79 per cent, or $3158 in monthly repayments. There is a $600 application fee. The average basic variable rate in the category is 4.73 per cent, a difference of 94 basis points, $551 a month or more than $198,000 over a 30-year loan.

Loans.com.au offers owner occupier, interest-only loans at 3.89 per cent, or $4711 in monthly repayments. That compares to an average rate of 4.53 per cent, a difference of 64 basis points, or $374 a month, or more than $134,000 over 30 years.

India

Online lending startup KNAB Finance raises funds from InCred, others (VC Circle), Rated: A

KNAB Finance Advisors Pvt. Ltd, a fin-tech firm that provides unsecured working capital loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has raised a little over Rs 2.5 crore in two funding rounds, a top company executive told VCCircle.

Non-banking financial company (NBFC) InCred, and over a dozen individual investors including Mindtree executive chairman Krishnakumar Natarajan and Sharjah Islamic Bank’s senior vice president Ravi Bhardwaj invested in the company.

The startup extends loans with an average ticket size of Rs 6 lakh, and it has disbursed Rs 10 crore worth of loans so far. It also offers short-term loans, allowing customers to close them within a month.

Asia

The potential impact of AI on trade finance (The Asset), Rated: A

HSBC announced that it was working with IBM to create a cognitive intelligence solution aimed at extracting key data from trade documents before entering the bank’s formal system. The bank typically processes over US$500 billion worth of trade documentation for customers and must manually review an estimated 100 million pages of documents annually.

In Singapore, financial technology firm Silent Eight has alternatively proposed using AI solutions to support bank analysts and investigators with their fight against AML violations and terrorism financing.

Africa

8 Zambian startups graduate from BongoHive accelerator (Disrupt Africa), Rated: A

The eight startups taking part in the programme were gaming startups LudoHuband Gamers Entertainment Meet (GEM), food startup InspireMe Trading, development and design startup Orbitrix Programming Solutions, flowers company Unforgettable Moments, real estate crowdfunding startup LCB Moguls, agri-tech startup eMsika, and interior design company Kreate Interiors.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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