Daily News Digest Featured News

Wednesday September 13 2017, Daily News Digest

New Orchard deals platform
Source: Lend Academy

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European Union

India

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News Summary

United States

Orchard Unveils Global Network Connecting Institutional Buyers and Loan Originators with New Opportunities in Private Credit (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Orchard Platform has rolled out Deals as a part of its new platform launch. With the addition of Deals to their suite of technology solutions for loan originators and institutional investors, Orchard Platform takes the next step in their evolution. Deals is a global network where loan originators searching for new sources of financing, and institutional investors with capital to deploy, can connect, evaluate opportunities, and move forward with multiple types of transactions.

Deals is operated by Orchard Platform Markets, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary, SEC-registered broker-dealer, and member of FINRA and SIPC. With Deals, qualified investors gain access to a broad range of new investment opportunities, including pools of seasoned loans, forward flow agreements, and credit facilities—along with all underlying deal data and an enterprise suite of credit analytics solutions to evaluate each prospective transaction. Originators with pools of loans to sell can list deals and seamlessly share data within this global network, while working with investors who express interest in a deal to conduct due diligence and analysis, and finalize the transaction’s structure and terms.

Orchard Platform’s new features include:

  • Deals: Global network where pre-qualified loan originators and investors can browse a broad listing of investment opportunities and corresponding data, and utilize Orchard’s enterprise technology to seamlessly exchange information, assess potential transactions, and take the next steps more efficiently.
  • Capital Management: Allocation optimization, facility monitoring, and automated borrowing-base reporting offerings to help originators better monitor utilization across multiple capital sources—and manage them with greater precision and insight.
  • News & Insights: The most recent industry news, economic data, and Orchard research and commentary to keep originators and investors up-to-date on the latest industry trends and thinking. Although Deals information is only available to pre-qualified institutional investors, Orchard also provides free access to anonymized, aggregated industry data to parties seeking to learn more about the industry, including journalists, researchers, and investors.
  • Advanced Analytics: Originators can benchmark origination and performance data against an aggregated and anonymized peer group, and quickly analyze any data set under multiple scenarios, to gain deeper insights into their loan books and funding channels. Investors can also take advantage of scenario testing, data visualization, and benchmarking tools to gain actionable portfolio and market intelligence.
  • High-Quality Data Services: Data integrations with Orchard help originators improve the quality of their data, and streamline the process for client reporting.

Orchard Launches New “Deals” Platform Connecting Institutional Investors and Originators (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The key piece that I was interested in was the new Orchard Deals platform. The old Orchard Platform provided technology solutions for both originators and institutional investors but Deals is the piece that finally connects the dots. The platform connects institutional investors with origination platforms that have listed specific investment opportunities. Orchard has 55 institutional investors registered on their platform and 25 originators (with several more in the queue). Originators cover the gamut of consumer, small business and real estate lending.

At launch time they had an initial $500 million in active deals from 10 originators listed on the platform. These are both primary and secondary deals.

To be clear, Orchard’s new platform is far more than just a secondary market. It has several new features:

  1. Deals – Pre-qualified investors can browse listings of a range of different investment opportunities offered by originators.
  2. Capital Management – For originators to help monitor and optimize capital utilization across multiple funding sources.
  3. Advanced Analytics – Benchmarking of performance data against an anonymized peer group.
  4. Data Services – Helping originators improve the quality of their data and client reporting.
  5. News & Insights – Industry news and economic data as well as Orchard’s own research and commentary.

New Orchard deals platform                                   Source: Lend Academy

CEO’s Fall Clouds Prospects for Fintech Firm SoFi (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Mike Cagney’s decision to resign as CEO of online lender Social Finance Inc. casts uncertainty over the financial-technology upstart’s business prospects, its attempt to open a bank in Utah and plans for an eventual public offering.

The company has been valued at more than $4 billion by shareholders including private-equity firm Silver Lake and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp.

In recent weeks, however, Mr. Cagney was spending less time on business issues and more on personnel and legal matters.

When the SoFi board met by telephone on Saturday, those issues occupied much of the conversation, according to people familiar with the matter. When the board meeting reconvened on Sunday, Mr. Cagney raised the idea of moving aside, arguing that his presence risked being a burden on the company’s progress. The executive told directors it would be better for SoFi if he resigned, the people said.

How Mr. Cagney’s departure will affect SoFi’s growth plans is unclear. Its management team was thinned following the departure of Chief Financial Officer Nino Fanlo, Chief Revenue Officer Michael Tannenbaum and co-founder Dan Macklin over the past few months.

Regulators require firms that are requesting banking licenses to maintain consistency in their management teams, which will likely delay SoFi’s application, according to a person familiar with the matter.  The company has also been looking to hire a new finance chief to replace Mr. Fanlo who could guide it to an initial public offering. That search is now on hold until Mr. Cagney’s successor is named.

SoFi CEO to step down after claims of managers’ sexual harassment (USA Today), Rated: A

Cagney, who’s also co-founder, plans to remain in the role until the board names his successor, likely by the end of the year. He was replaced immediately as board chairman by venture capitalist Tom Hutton, who has been a board member since 2012.

SoFi, based in San Francisco, is one of the hottest startups in the personal finance sector, with revenue rising 67% year-over-year to $134 million in the second quarter. It also funded $3.1 billion in loans during the quarter.

SoFi Co-Founder and CEO Mike Cagney to Step Down by Year End (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Back in August there was the news of a sexual harassment lawsuit from a former employee. Before that there had been several senior executive departures, we have had a class action lawsuit and one of Silicon Valley’s most valuable and revered fintech companies was starting to lose some of its luster.

The New York Times is also reporting that “Mr. Cagney may have been overaggressive in expanding SoFi’s business, skirting risk and compliance controls.” That is the first I have heard about any compliance issues and if it is true then this could be a much bigger issue for SoFi.

Regardless of the what the real story this is not good for the industry whatsoever. Just when it felt like we had some momentum and the industry was starting to thrive again this is definitely a setback. The press is going to bring up the issues with Lending Club last year and we will have to deal with more negative sentiment.

Personal finance app MoneyLion is experimenting with augmented reality (Tearsheet), Rated: A

MoneyLion is timing its launch of an AR tool to coincide with Apple’s iOS 11 release, which is rumored to be this week. MoneyLion’s feature, called Grow Your Stack, will let customers get a visual representation of their account balance as stacks of cash projected over the customer’s view of the real world. It will use iOS 11’s ARKit technology.

MoneyLion joins a league of banks experimenting with VR and AR technology, advancements that have the potential to transform branch banking. As Tearsheet reported in June, BNP Paribas recently introduced a VR-based app for retail banking that allows users to virtually access their account activity and transaction records. Citi and Wells Fargo are also dabbling in VR technology, while in the PFM space, Intuit has experimented with visualizing one’s financial health as a forest.

Upstart, The Brainchild Of Google Execs, Is Using Fintech To Make Smarter Loans (Benzinga), Rated: A

About 40 to 50 percent of Americans have access to prime credit, yet 83 percent of people who have taken out a loan have never defaulted, said Girouard, the CEO of the San Franciscolending firm Upstart.

The groups who are often denied by traditional credit models — but aren’t necessarily risky — include millennials with a “thin” credit file, recent immigrants and self-employed people, Girouard said.

The average size of a loan from Upstart is between $11,000 and $12,000, and the average age of the company’s borrowers is 28, the CEO said.

Loans range between $1,000 and $50,000, with APRs from 7.39 percent to 29.99 percent and three- and five-year terms.

Upstart borrowers must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and have a FICO score above 620.

Amped advice for the new retired class (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

The financial advice industry exhorts retirement preparedness but provides scant guidance for retirees after they reach that milestone, according to Matt Fellowes, well-known fintech entrepreneur who is launching a new digital advice platform.

Fellowes founded HelloWallet, a software company that Morningstar acquired in 2014 for $52.5 million. After a stint as chief innovation office at Morningstar, Fellowes left to launch United Income, which aims to serve a generation of retirees dealing with very complicated lives after work.

Fellowes finds fault in how the industry approaches its deaccumulation models, claiming its methods and assumptions are outdated. Key considerations for retirees managing their finances, he says — when will they die and how much will they spend before passing — are “two of the least studied questions in asset management today.”

FULL SERVICE
The platform offers different tiers of service, from a digital-only option with a $10,000 account minimum and a 50 basis point annual fee, to advisor-assisted service, with either a maximum 60 basis point fee for a $100,000 account minimum, or a maximum 80 basis points for a minimum $300,000 account, which is advertised as “full service.”

United Income had a goal of reaching $38 million in assets by the end of the year. It has already passed $210 million, Fellowes says.

Scotch Plains Woman Charged With Attempting to Steal $ 241,000 from Online Lender (Tapinto.net), Rated: A

A Scotch Plains woman indicted last year as a leader in an auto-theft trafficking network has been charged in a separate scheme to steal $241,000 from an online lending company.

Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) announced that Tyisha Brantley, 37, was charged with computer criminal activity, attempted theft by deception and falsifying records for allegedly used her work computer at Pfizer Inc. to create and send phony bank statements to iLoan Residential Mortgage lending in an attempt to obtain a $241,000 mortgage to purchase a home in Newark.

Brantley allegedly used computer software to alter two statements from her boyfriend’s bank account; adding her name as an account holder and changing the account balance from $-525.05 to $15,933.  She then allegedly used the computer to email, from her work account, the fraudulent statements to the lending company, which ultimately did not approve the loan.

Fintech: The Fastest Growing Industry in the U.S. (Them Report), Rated: A

Fintech, or financial technology, had close to $13 billion invested in it in 2016 from U.S. based companies alone.

Fintech allows digital lenders to offer competitive rates due to automation and lack of physical offices. Turner and S&P Global Market Intelligence’s estimates show that 13 of the largest digital lenders in the U.S. originated $28.39 billion in loans last year and a cumulative $68.75 billion since their respective inceptions.

S.F. fintech Plaid moves to larger HQ amid explosive growth (Biz Journals), Rated: B

San Francisco-based Plaid, which connects some of the hottest fintech apps to their users’ bank accounts, has moved to a new headquarters that’s more than double the startup’s previous home base.

Kabbage, Indeed, Microsoft Join A-List Speaker Lineup at the National B2SMB Summit (Benzinga), Rated: B

The national event takes place Oct. 3-4 and is spread over two locations in Chicago’s dynamic West Loop district: 1871 at the Merchandise Mart on Day 1, and the Revel Fulton Market on Day 2.

Other recent additions to the speaker roster include:

  • Pete Steger, Head of Business Development, Kabbage
United Kingdom

Funding Circle lends £91m to UK businesses in August (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle has revealed that it lent a total of £91m to UK businesses during August.

The peer-to-peer platform provided finance to 1,309 UK businesses during the month and reported that investors are set for a current estimated return of 6.7% per year.

Funding Circle reported that of its total lending, 24.7% was provided to businesses based in the South East.

Britain’s RateSetter recovering after ‘asteroid strike’ bad loan discovery (Daily Mail), Rated: AAA

Britain’s peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter has managed to retain most of its customers despite leaving the industry’s trade body last month after breaching its transparency rules, its Chief Executive Rhydian Lewis told Reuters in an interview.

Peer-to-peer platforms, which bring together individual borrowers and lenders without a bank being involved, have grown rapidly in Britain since 2015 but are starting to come under regulatory scrutiny.

Lewis said that while the platform has lost some business, it has retained 95 percent of its customers despite offering them the chance to sell out at no cost between July 18 and Aug. 31.

Orca Co-Founder & CEO Iain Niblock Shares UK P2P Lending Market Update (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Orca, an independent data, research, and analysis provider in the UK P2P lending market, recently shared an exclusive update via email: the UK P2P lending market outlook is bright.

“We are still seeing very strong growth across the UK peer to peer lending market with cumulative lending surpassing £10 billion at the very start of Q3 2017. In particular business lending has grown by 84.19% when comparing to the same period of 2016,” observed Orca Co-Founder & CEO Iain Niblock.

Goldman Sachs plans consumer lending UK push (Business Insider), Rated: A

The first phase of this expansion will see Goldman Sachs launch online deposit accounts, and the second will see the bank roll out a consumer lending offering.

Besides Goldman Sachs’ obvious clout, there are two reasons UK alt lenders should be worried:

  • The bank has already proven itself adept at dramatic pivots. Goldman Sachs originally operated as a wealth management and investment bank, and only began serving the mass market in 2016, when it started offering high-interest savings accounts with a $1 minimum deposit requirement.
  • Its consumer lending platform in the US is already seeing massive success. Goldman Sachs launched its digital consumer lending platform, Marcus, in October 2016. Just eight months later, it had achieved $1 billion in originations, and is apparently aiming to rack up another $1 billion in originations in the US by the end of 2017.

online fintech vc investments

A year in numbers! How P2P firms can help consumers beat inflation (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Consumer price inflation when we started in September 2016 was at one per cent. Since then, it has almost tripled to 2.9 per cent today.

The household savings rate – the percentage of disposable income being saved – was at 5.3 per cent at the end of September 2016, but hit record lows of 1.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, the lowest level since records began in the first quarter of 1963.

Savings rates have actually increased slightly. The best buy easy access rate this time last year was one per cent from RCI Bank. The same provider now offers 1.2 per cent.

Starling Bank’s New Platform MarketPlace Integrates with Fintech Flux (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

U.K.’s Starling Bank is embracing the PSD2 changes in finance with the launch of its Marketplace platform.

Rewards and receipt provider Flux will be the first company to be integrated onto this platform.

How to tell the difference between robo-advisers (City A.M.), Rated: A

Recent research from international banking group ING highlights how cautious consumers feel about using robo-advisers.

The report found that 29 per cent of consumers want more than just a simple online investment service – they want financial advice to guide their investment journey.

Interestingly, the study also found that, rather than having a computer manage their money, most consumers would prefer to personally manage their investments, even if it resulted in lower expected returns.

This 35-year-old banker left Goldman Sachs to start a fintech inspired by his mother (Business Insider), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs has invested £100 million in a fintech startup founded by two of its former bankers that lets people borrow money and repay through their salaries.

Neyber, founded in 2014 and launched in 2015, partners with employers to let their staff borrow money at attractive rates.

Repayments are then deducted from future salaries, lowering the risk for the lender and hopefully helping staff manage money better.

The startup was founded by three former investment bankers, including two Goldman alums. CEO Martin Ijaha, 35, left Goldman in 2012 and came up with the idea for the business when thinking about the experience of his family as a child.

From ISAs to authorisations: the big stories of the past year (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

Nick Harding, chief executive of Lending Works, argued that the arrival of the Innovative Finance ISA  (IFISA) was “far and away the most significant event” for the sector over the past year.

John Goodall, chief executive and co-founder of Landbay, suggested that the number of Financial Conduct Authority approvals seen in the last year marked a “significant milestone” for the sector.

Britain’s leading fintechs are banding together to work out a Brexit strategy (Business Insider), Rated: B

Entrepreneurs from TransferWise, Funding Circle, Onfido, Monzo, FreeAgent, MarketInvoice, and Starling Bank have all joined the Fintech Delivery Panel (FDP), a new industry group that aims to “produce an ambitious post-Brexit vision for the UK’s fintech sector.”

The panel also includes representatives from big banks such as Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Santander.

China

China’s ICO ban makes more sense in light of its history with fintech (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Many in the US have chided the PBOC for its apparent overreaction. AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant called the policy a “huge gift to Silicon Valley and its resident financiers.” VC Fred Wilson penned a thoughtful post comparing China’s approach to that of the SEC in the US, opining that “We needed a cooling off period and if China’s actions are that cooling off period, then I welcome them. However, a blanket ban on ICOs seems like bad policy to me.”

From the perspective of US and European financial markets, this reaction seems like a drastic one-size-fits-all policy for a nuanced ecosystem, calling to mind the idiom “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” However, China’s context provides four specific insights that somewhat reframe this policy:

An ever-evolving financial regulatory regime

In a country with a stock market less than 30 years old, it’s little wonder that investor protections may not yet have evolved to be comprehensive enough for the complicated ecosystem of alternative finance. Imagine China having to replicate the regulatory framework that took decades to develop in the US following the 1929 stock market crash – all in less than 30 years!

A sketchy recent past for financial technology in the Middle Kingdom

In the peer to peer lending space (in which I used to work) China is conversationally referred to as the ‘wild west’ of fintech. Thousands of platforms sprung up almost overnight in China, promising to transform mom-and-pop savings into productive debt investments. These exchanges had raised a staggering $59 billion from unsophisticated investors by early 2016.

One in three of the country’s 3,600 platforms failed and shut down, including marketplaces like Ezubao, which defrauded over 900,000 investors out of $7.6 billion. It’s almost impossible to imagine American or European regulators allowing unaccredited investors to be exposed to comparable schemes at such a magnitude of scale.

In the peer to peer space, the PBOC had a very similar reaction to its recent ICO ban, imposing strict limits on the online lending industry to curb the risks of “shadow banking.” The only difference was that the online lending restrictions came too late, in the wake of massive investor losses.

Ping An Technology is the Sole Chinese Firm to Rank Among the Top 50 Firms (PR Newswire), Rated: B

International Data Corporation (IDC), a leading global provider of market intelligence, released the 2017 IDC Fintech Rankings Top 100 list on September 12. Ping An Technology, the top-ranked Chinese firm within the list, came in at number 38, as a result of its cutting-edge innovation and strong technology competence. The rankings serve as further confirmation of the attention and recognition that Ping An Technology is getting from IDC, on the heels of the Chinese firm’s 4th place position on the 2017 IDC China FinTech Pioneer Top 25 list.

European Union

LendIt Europe Announces Keynote Speakers for 2017 Event (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The conference’s extensive speaker line-up includes:

  • Antony Jenkins, Founder and Executive Chair at 10x Future Technologies
  • Anne Boden, CEO and Founder of Starling Bank
  • Jaidev Janadarna, CEO of Zopa
  • Karen Mills, Senior Fellow at the Harvard Business School
  • Renaud Laplanche, Co-Founder & CEO of Upgrade

EstateGuru’s loan volume surpassed €30 million! (EstateGuru Email), Rated: A

In August, the platform’s loan volume was nearly €4 million which was a remarkable 13% from EstateGuru’s historic loan volume. In September the platform celebrates surpassing €30 million loan volume in which already 7900 investors from 39 countries have invested in. An interesting comparison can be drawn with the Baltic’s Nasdaq statistics – the largest amount of transactions were made with Siaulia Bankas (€8.4 million) and Tallink Group (€5.7 million). EstateGuru’s loan volume in August would comprise of roughly 11.5% of the entire Nasdaq Baltic transaction volume.

The growth of the firm is not only illustrated by the loan volumes but also by their strong track record.Due to the short-term nature of the loans, 70 loans worth €12 million have already been repaid to the investors, resulting in an impressive 12.4% historic interest rate. Meanwhile, loss of capital on the platform has remained €0 as the firm has not undergone any loan defaults!

Very soon, our clients will receive financial advice from a chatbot (Business-Review), Rated: A

Since the beginning of the year, BRD – Groupe Societe Generale has been developing a chatbot based on Personetics technology, which will operate via Facebook.

During Business Review’s Country Focus Community Forum in mid-June, BRD – Groupe Societe Generale CEO Francois Bloch announced the lender’s five-year plan to invest tens of millions of euros in digitalization and automation of processes. Soon, BRD clients will be the first among those of the French banking giant to benefit from financial guidance via a text conversation with an AI.

India

Peer-to-peer lending final norms to be out soon: RBI (Moneycontrol), Rated: AAA

The much-delayed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending guidelines have been finalised and will soon be released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) once it is notified by the government.

Jaipur-based Finova raises Series A funding from Sequoia Capital (VC Circle), Rated: A

Jaipur-based non-banking financial company Finova Capital Pvt. Ltd has raised an undisclosed amount in a Series A round from Sequoia Capital India Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

Wait for P2P lending to evolve before investing (livemint), Rated: A

Before we go any further on the subject, the most important aspect on P2P lending in India as of now is that it does not have specific regulations. At the same time, it is not illegal either. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken cognisance of the existence of P2P lending and came out with a consultation paper in April 2016. This is expected to be followed by formal guidelines for the sector, which the companies in the segment are expecting soon.

Since P2P lending is unsecured lending, it carries higher risk than other investments. The biggest risk is the borrower defaulting on repayments. These platforms claim to minimise this risk by using a strict filtering of borrowers at the time of registration itself. For instance, Faircent rejects close to 90% of applicants.

This means that there are many more borrowers than lenders. Financial planners advise planning properly before taking a loan. “Look at what is your cost of borrowing elsewhere. People need to understand that lending costs have come down across channels. If you benchmark P2P lending cost against credit card debt, it would look very attractive, but that should not be a benchmark,” said Dhawan.

If a borrower with a good credit score takes a personal loan from a bank, the landing cost of the loan could be 16-17%. The person can get the same loan at around 14% from P2P lending.

Asia

Juvo Partners With Tune Talk To Drive Financial Inclusion In Malaysia (Realwire), Rated: AAA

Juvo, the pioneer in mobile Identity Scoring, today announced its partnership with Tune Talk, the fastest growing Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) in Malaysia. The deployment, Juvo’s first in Malaysia, will drive financial inclusion across a population that has rapidly adopted smartphones in a highly saturated market.

‘Pay Later’, created by Juvo and fueled by Juvo’s Identity Scoring, is a digitized service that provides prepaid users with access to progressive levels of financial services, starting with airtime loans. By using Juvo’s proprietary data science and game mechanics technology, subscribers graduate to higher levels of credit based on top-up and repayment history, account information, and every day interaction. Pay Later enables prepaid subscribers to unlock access to advanced financial services. And, for Tune Talk, Juvo’s solution will drive higher levels of engagement, increase retention and develop an identity-based relationship between Tune Talk and its customers.

Smartphone users in Malaysia are estimated to reach 17.8 million this year, and grow to 21.3 million by 2021.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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