Daily News Digest Featured News

Monday September 25 2017, Daily News Digest

Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
Source: PeerIQ

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United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Prosper Closes on a $ 50 Million Funding Round at a $ 550 Million Valuation (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Earlier this week Prosper closed on a Series G transaction where they raised $50 million from an investment fund co-managed by FinEx Asia and LPG Capital based in Hong Kong. While Prosper would not confirm their new valuation sources said the post money valuation was $550 million. This represents a 70.5% drop in value from their high in 2015. So the rumors from last month are true.

On April 2, 2015 Lending Club was trading at $19.26 a share. Yesterday the shares closed at $6.10 which is a 68% decline in valuation. This is pretty much in line with the decrease in valuation at Prosper.

A spokesperson for Prosper told me that the money will not be used for operations but rather for new projects. Prosper is now cash flow positive with liquid assets of around $42 million as of Q2 2017. There was no dire need to get this funding round done but it will be helpful for them as they look to grow in a sustainable way.

FT Partners Advises Prosper on its $ 50,000,000 Financing Round (FT Partners Email), Rated: AAA

FT Partners is pleased to announce our role as sole strategic and financial advisor to leading marketplace lender Prosper on its $50,000,000 investment from an investment fund co-managed by FinEX Asia. Prosper will use the funds to continue the Company’s rapid growth by enhancing its platform and products. FT Partners also advised Prosper earlier this year on its $5,000,000,000 loan commitment from a strategic consortium of world class investors.
The Prosper transaction underscores FT Partners’ prominence advising leading FinTech companies. FT Partners has previously advised on numerous transactions including:
Prosper
Source: FT Partners

Download and read the full transaction announcement here.

Fed News, Prosper Financing, ABS East Highlights (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

MPL ABS issuances to date
Source: PeerIQ
Personal loan originations
Source: PeerIQ

Fed Reducing Balance Sheet and Not Offering Regulatory SandBox

Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
Source: PeerIQ

On heels of 70% plunge in valuation, Prosper CEO defends latest fundraisings (Biz Journals), Rated: A

After pocketing $50 million in a huge down round and another deal that could give an investor group a 30 percent stake in the marketplace lender, there’s really only one question for the CEO: Are you giving away the store?

SmartBiz Loans Hits $ 500 Million Mark in SBA Loans for Small Businesses (Small Biz Trends), Rated: AAA

Small business lending platform SmartBiz Loans has announced surpassing $500 million in funded Small Business Administration loans.

SmartBiz Loans says it ranked as the leading facilitator of traditional SBA 7(a) loans under $350,000 for the 2016 fiscal year. This means SmartBiz surpassed Wells Fargo and other major banks in relation to SBA lending.

Small Business Loans Are Still An Option For Struggling Business Owners (Inquisitr), Rated: A

Small business loans are helpful for business owners who have no other financial options. SmartBiz Loans has announced that it surpassed $500 million in funded Small Business Administration loans. A fifth bank has joined its software platform.

According to the Buffalo News, M&T Bank leads a federal small business lending program in the Buffalo-Rochester region. The program’s overall totals have decreased from a year ago. The Small Business Administration reported 806 of the SBA 7(a) loans were originated through August. That’s down 21 percent from the previous period a year ago. Its amount of dollars were down 7 percent from last year, down to $132 million.

M&T Bank used to lead the way until August. Its number of loans dropped down to 41 percent. Its total dollars declined 11 percent to $25 million. It’s still well ahead of Wells Fargo. However, Biz2Credit, Fundera, and others have been catching up.

Matic Insurance Services Debuts Integration with Roostify, Advances to Final Round of TechCrunch Startup Battlefield (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Matic Insurance Services (Matic), a digital insurance agency that enables borrowers to purchase homeowner’s insurance during the home-buying transaction, has forged a partnership with automated lending technology provider Roostify. The company announced the news Tuesday afternoon from the stage of TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield, part of the TechCrunch Disrupt SF conference held in San Francisco this week. Matic was one of just six elite startups chosen to advance to the final round of the competition.

YC wants to let people invest in its startups through the blockchain  (TechCrunch), Rated: A

“We are interested in how companies like Y Combinator can use the blockchain to democratize access to investing,” said Sam Altman, who leads the accelerator, onstage at Disrupt yesterday. “We should try to figure that out.”

Our sources tell us YC is actually a little further along than that. Like a growing number of venture groups that are jumping into the digital currency world, the group is actively sussing out how it might use cryptocurrency to expand the investment pool.

Millennials still don’t like robo-advice (AltFi), Rated: B

A survey from online marketplace LendEDU found that 46 per cent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 who are saving for retirement use a financial adviser. In comparison, only 24 per cent of the 500 surveyed have used a robo-advice platform.

Around 75 per cent of respondents said they have never used an automated wealth management service, but 62 per cent of those said it was because they had never heard of robo-advice before.

Even so, millennials do not seem to trust automated wealth platforms. Of those surveyed, 51 per cent think a robo-adviser is more likely to make a mistake while managing money, while only 48 per cent think a traditional adviser is more likely to make an error.

Millennials Still Gravitate Toward Human Advisors over Robos: Survey (Advisor Hub), Rated: B

More than 46% of respondents in a survey of 502 millennial investors saving for retirement said they had sought advice from a human advisor, according to LendEDU, a student loan refinancing company. That is almost double the 24.3% who said they had used a robo-advisor either in addition to a human advisor or exclusively, according to the survey, which was released September 19.

AIC taps KKR’s Gopalan as CEO (PE Hub), Rated: B

Angel Island Capital (“AIC”), a San Francisco-based alternative investment advisor and credit manager, today announced the appointment of Dev Gopalan as Chief Executive Officer. A seasoned financial services executive, Mr. Gopalan joins Angel Island Capital from leading global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (“KKR”), where he served as Head of US Private Credit and was a member of the Global Private Credit Investment Committee and KKR Credit Portfolio Management Committee.

United Kingdom

Concern at scale of peer-to-peer lender’s defaults (Telegraph), Rated: AAA

A rapidly growing peer-to-peer lender has exposed investors to a bankrupt for a second time, while a quarter of its loan book is considered to be in default, raising fresh concerns about regulation in the booming new finance market.

Sources close to Lendy Finance, which earlier this year became the title sponsor to the sailing regatta Cowes Week, spoke to The Sunday Telegraph after becoming concerned that the level of defaults revealed an ongoing weakness in underwriting checks, which is putting investors at risk to losses. The FCA is investigating how peer-to-peer lenders disclose default rates as part of a delayed consultation into the burgeoning industry.

A study of Lendy’s loan book reveals that almost 25pc of loans, worth £47.2m, are outside original terms, meaning repayments can be one day to 434 days overdue.

However, Lendy says that just 14.5pc of its loan book is “currently in default as defined by our agreements with lenders, and in line with the wider bridging and development finance market”.

Labour proposes debt cap that would see credit card companies forced to write off billions of pounds owed by customers (Telegraph), Rated: AAA

Credit card companies would be forced to write off billions of pounds in long-term customer debts if Labour got into power under a policy to be unveiled at the party’s conference.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, will propose capping the amount of money lenders can charge in interest so that no one has to pay back more than double what they borrowed.

But with £14 billion owed by those classed as being in “persistent debt”, the policy raises questions over whether the cost of the policy would end up being passed onto other borrowers.

The average credit card debt owed by those in persistent debt – classed as people who have paid more interest charges and fees than their original borrowing – is £3,464 per person.

The Financial Conduct Authority has estimated that lenders would lose up to £1.3 billion per year as a result.

My Bondmason Result After Exit – Yield was Mediocre (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Last year in September I signed up at UK platform Bondmason in order to test first-hand how an investment of 1,000 GBP would develop.

What was bad, was that it became clear to me, that the interest level in combination with the non-performing loans would make it very unlikely for Bondmason to reach the projected return – at least for my portfolio. Especially with the Invoice Discounting loans there were issues.

In April 2017 Bondmason announced it would require a larger minimum investment amount of 5K (previously 1K) and raise fees for small portfolios to 1.5% (previously 1%). Dang. I was in no way interested to deposit more money. So my portfolio did not even get to celebrate 1st anniversary. In July I gave them notice to liquidate my portfolio/account. Since then I withdrew 1,013.94 GBP – only slightly more than I deposited. My account still exists as there is 20 GBP stuck in two property loans in default and also 1.41 GBP in cash.

Bondmason
Source: P2P-Banking

Starling is looking to raise £40 million in a new funding round (Business Insider), Rated: A

Startup bank Starling is seeking to raise £40 million from investors in a new funding round to drive international expansion.

The bank, which opened to the public earlier this year, has appointed advisory firm Quayle Munro to oversee the fundraising, according to Sky News.

According to the report, Starling plans to use the money to expand into other European markets, with the first of these likely to be Ireland, where it recently gained a passport — which will allow it to access EU markets after Brexit.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell vows to cut interest payments on debt-laden Brits – but it could cost the City £13bn (The Sun), Rated: A

Mr McDonnell will today outline plans for a 100 per cent ceiling for three million owing on average £3,464 in a move that could cost the City £13billion.

The plan, in which someone borrowing £1,000 would pay back no more than £2,000 in total, would bring credit cards into line with current rules on payday loan firms.

It would also apply to in-store credit cards.

What Goldman Sachs Retail Banking Will Look Like (The Market Mogul), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs already has a mass-market offering in the US, after launching its online lender Marcus 18 months ago. Since its inception, Marcus has supervised over $1bn worth of loans to businesses.

Goldman Sachs will start taking deposits in the UK, but in the long run, the bank has plans to lend UK customers money through Marcus like in the US.

NatWest recently announced its plans to launch an online lender Esme Loans, allowing SMEs to quickly take unsecured loans of up to £150,000. Online lending is likely to become more crowded as Santander has also announced plans to incorporate digital banking in its services.

Can an app really change the way we buy houses by dragging lawyers into the tech age? (The is Money), Rated: A

Conveyancing – the legal process of transferring ownership of land and property from one party to another – has changed considerably over the past 10 years.

Technology has so far failed to make inroads to improve the process – and no matter how slick your online lender or mortgage broker tries to be, everyone’s held to ransom by the law.

What is When you Move ?

Simon: Frustrations we’ve seen our clients navigate, in addition to our personal experiences, triggered something of an obsession to develop a tech solution for an industry deep-rooted in some of the most archaic practices still in use  in modern-day business.

When You Move is an app that allows home buyers and sellers to see easily in real time where everyone is up to in the process – be that you, the lawyer, the mortgage broker, the valuer or the lender.

Adopting fintech is saving UK businesses £4.6bn, according to MarketInvoice (City A.M.), Rated: A

The survey found 65 per cent of 3,482 UK businesses have adopted at least one fintech solution, with 19 per cent making use of four services. These fintech products are helping the firms to save on average over £5,500 a year.

MarketInvoice estimates that 65 percent of 1.3m UK businesses are therefore making this average saving, meaning a total of £4.6bn is being saved thanks to fintech.

Ex-Goldman, Barclays and Lloyds MD has just jumped to a fintech firm after 30 years in banking (efinancialcareers.com), Rated: B

Adam Barrett, the head of institutional sales at Lloyd Banking Group has joined the exodus from banking to fintech. After more than 30 years in investment banking, at UBS, Goldman Sachs and Barclays, he’s just gone to peer to peer lending platform Invest & Fund.

Fintech “critically important” for future of UK financial services (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

MAINTAINING the UK’s position as a leading fintech and innovation hub is “critically important”, according to a survey of City firms.

The CBI/PWC financial services survey, released on Monday, questioned 94 companies, including banks, finance houses, securities traders, fund managers and the insurance industry.

Banks in particular saw a need to ensure that the UK remains a leading fintech and innovation hub.

European Union

European Central Bank could ask fintech banks to hold more capital (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The European Central Bank is considering requiring banks involved in financial technology to hold more capital buffers.

Cawley to chair peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance (Irish Times), Rated: A

Former Ryanair deputy chief executive Michael Cawley has been appointed chairman of peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance, which hooks up companies requiring capital with individuals and institutions looking to lend.

As of this month, it says it has 16,000 registered lenders on the site. Businesses to have availed of loans through the platform include Viking Splash Tours, the Irish Fairy Door Company and tech company Big Red Cloud.

Linked Finance has set a target to facilitate lending of up to €250 million in coming years. It says its lending was up by more than 240 per cent in the first half of this year. SMEs can borrow up to €250,000 on its platform.

How CrossLend is changing the game for European investors (LendIt), Rated: B

By November 2016, we were engaged in a strategic pivot, actively shifting our focus from B2C to B2B, so we could offer our single-loan securitisation solution to major players on Europe’s lending stage.

The good news is that investors also stand to benefit from the opportunities inherent in CrossLend’s single-loan backed notes, and here’s how:

  1. Simplified access
  2. Flexibility
  3. Ease of diversification
  4. Transparency
  5. Favourable regulatory treatment
  6. Liquidity
  7. State-of-the-art investment tools
International

ConsenSys And Tapscotts Are Warming Up To Global Ethereum-Based CarbonX Platform (ETHNews), Rated: A

On September 21, 2017, blockchain software company ConsenSys announced the launch of a peer-to-peer (P2P) trading company, CarbonX, which will employ the Ethereum blockchain to tokenize carbon credits.

CarbonX is backed by a co-founding group that includes co-authors of best-selling book Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the WorldDon and Alex Tapscott. The company intends to purchase Certified Emission Reduction Credits, also called carbon credits, to be tokenized with the Ethereum blockchain. CarbonX will also tokenize investments it makes in reduction projects.

Report: There are 214 Unicorns in the World. A Good Number of them are Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

CBInsights has just published an updated report, along with some accompanying slides, tallying the number of Unicorns globally and outside the US.

According to their numbers there are 214 Unicorns in the world. There are 24 countries with Unicorns and the US leads the way with 52% and China follows in second place with 23%.

E-commerce is number one and Internet Software & Services take second place. Fintech Unicorns are in 3rd place.

Fintech names like SoFi, Stripe, Credit Karma, Prosper, Kabbage, Avant, are on the list. Outside the US, Fintech names include Lu.com, ZhongAn, Saxo Bank, One 97 Communications, Klarna, Funding Circle, Transferwise are there.

Australia/New Zealand

Sydney fintech RateSetter just raised $ 10.5 million after blitzing peer-to-peer rivals (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer online lender RateSetter Australia has secured a $10.5 million capital raising round and has doubled its loan levels on 12 months ago.

Peer-to-peer online lender RateSetter Australia has secured a $10.5 million capital raising round and has doubled its loan levels on 12 months ago.

Australian banks drop ATM fees (Financial Times), Rated: A

Australian consumers will no longer face charges when using another bank’s cash point after the country’s four major banks dropped ATM withdrawal fees for domestic users amid greater regulatory scrutiny for the industry.

Wealth management still key for banks (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

Former Commonwealth Bank chief executive David Murray says there remains a strong case for bank involvement in wealth management, despite the recent trend of lenders offloading life insurance and funds management assets.

CBA last week became the latest bank to retreat from “manufacturing” wealth products, selling its life insurance arm for $3.8 billion and saying it may spin off the investment business of Colonial First State in an initial public offering.

PledgeMe founder Anna Guenther hopes to take crowdfunding to Australia (NZ Herald), Rated: B

Anna Guenther is planning to take PledgeMe across the Ditch with the Australian Government set to legalise equity crowdfunding next week.

Two new high-profile digital wallet partnerships and the Australian alternative finance market ranks second in the Asia Pacific (Finder), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank has announced it will be giving its 4.4 million app users access to Android Pay. The bank will also be allowing its customers to make contactless payments with their Garmin smartwatches in early October, with Apple Pay becoming available by the end of the year.

Australian fintech lender Waddle has announced the expansion of its invoice financing and factoring services to New Zealand. The lender is looking to meet the “significant demand” from small businesses in the New Zealand market.

Woolworths customers will be able to use their iPhones to collect and redeem Woolworths Rewards points when shopping at the supermarket or its partners from next month. Find out how much you can collect and redeem here.

India

P2P lending: Direct selling agents may come under RBI regulatory ambit as NBFCs (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India’s recent move to regulate peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) has created a grey area of sorts, spelling trouble for thousands of direct selling agents (DSA) or direct marketing agents (DMAs).

The Finance Industry Development Council (FIDC) says it is “very much possible” that DSAs/DMAs who have been providing loan facilitation (offline) services to retail and corporate borrowers, from banks and NBFCs (with whom they have signed a written contract) for the past many years, may also fall under the ambit of RBI’s P2P regulatory framework as NBFCs.

Start-up funding crawls: 20 months, Rs 70 crore (The Indian Express), Rated: A

Since it was floated in January 2016, the government’s Rs 10,000-crore Fund-of-Funds for start-ups (FFS), launched in line with the Start-up India Action Plan of the Government, has made slow progress with only about Rs 70 crore having been disbursed to start-ups until the beginning of this month.

The 17 funds include Mumbai-based early-stage investor Kae Capital, which raised its second $30-million fund in February last year and is reported to have got a commitment of Rs 45 crore from the FFS. Kae Capital has investments in about 16 start-ups, including Truebil, a used-car marketplace owned by Paix Technology; peer-to-peer business loan marketplace startup Loanzen; second-hand products marketplace ListUp promoted by Gijutsu Solutions and shopping portal Fynd run by Shopsense Retail Technologies.

Asia

FinEX Asia’s Private Equity Fund Manager Announces US$ 50 Million Investment in Prosper Marketplace (ACN Newswire), Rated: AAA

FinEX Asia is pleased to announce that its private equity fund manager closed an investment of US$50 million in Prosper Marketplace, a U.S. online marketplace lending platform for consumer loans.

“FinEX Asia is excited to complete the Series G financing into Prosper, a leader in marketplace lending in the U.S.,” said Maggie Ng, CEO of FinEX Asia. “Our team’s expertise is in fintech and consumer lending. Our investment strategy starts with the U.S. because of our strong network with online marketplace lenders. In parallel we are considering investment opportunities in other verticals globally.”

Founded earlier this year by Maggie Ng, a former Consumer Lending Head and Chief Risk Officer at Citibank, FinEX Asia aims to help Asian investors look for quality investment opportunities, both in fixed income and equity investments, by using its fintech platform and know-how. The investment made into Prosper is a good illustration of how such opportunities are welcomed by Asian investors and that FinEX Asia’s investment strategies are well recognized by the capital it represents.

Singapore’s FinMomenta to lend to low-income employees (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: A

Singapore-based fin-tech start-up FinMomenta, which entered the Indian online P2P (peer to peer) lending market early this year with its product called Tachyloans, will soon be lending to salaried professionals working in small and mid-size firms.

Called Corporate HR loans, FinMomenta aims to make lending easier for the working class. The loan size ranges from ₹50,000 to ₹5 lakh.

Blockchain Fintech Firm, MicroMoney Starts a Private Presale for Early Birds (PR Newswire), Rated: A

MicroMoney, a global fintech blockchain company and lending services provider, announces a private presale for its token-generating event for the early birds among funds and big contributors. This presale started on September 15th, 2017.

MicroMoney is a fast-growing company founded in 2015 with the offices in five Asian countries – ThailandMyanmarIndonesia, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia. The company plans to expand its presence to 5 more countries by 2018. MicroMoney was established as a company focused on micro-financing in the money lending industry, providing customers with online loans without any collateral requirements using machine learning algorithms.

There are still more than 2 billion of the unbanked in the world, especially in the emerging market.

Japanese firm eyes expansion in PH (Sunstar), Rated: A

CROWDCREDIT, a Japanese cross-border marketplace lending company which promises to fill in lending gaps by providing funds for lending and financial institutions including banks, is currently studying the market and possibility of business expansion in the Philippines.

In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, for example, banks receive loan applications more than their existing deposit or more than the loans that they can cater to. The case is opposite with Japan’s banks with more excess deposits than loans. With this, the basic concept of Crowdcredit is to provide this excess fund for loan to other countries that would need them.

Crowdcredit has a vast network of global partners which includes Mfx, Kobranzas, Fellow Finance, Savy, Cream Finance, Ovamba, Bondora, Mogo, Mintos, and Prestiamoci.

New LendingCalc White Paper Examines Opportunities in SE Asian Marketplace Lending (LendingCalc Email), Rated: A

Author Terry Tse Provides Practical Advice About How to Select Best P2P Platforms

LendingCalc, Inc., a direct investment platform providing global access to digital specialty finance for institutional investors, has released a new white paper examining the investment opportunities within the growing marketplace lending sector in Asia. The paper was written by newly appointed strategic adviser, Terry Tse, who served as Chief Risk Officer at the China-based P2P giant, Dianrong, and is currently Senior VP of International Development at the largest B2B payment company in China, Lian Lian Pay.

In the paper, Tse contrasts U.S. and Asian regulations and explains how the regulatory regimes in Asia impact the lending opportunities abroad. He also describes the emerging P2P business environment in Asia, which appears to be extremely well positioned for growth. In addition, Tse explains the key structural incentives Asian P2P lenders have implemented to discourage borrowers from defaulting.

The paper concludes with a number of practical suggestions to help investors navigate the socalled “Wild East” that is marketplace loan investing in Asia.

Click here to read the full paper.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

About the author

Allen Taylor

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