Daily News Digest Featured News

Wednesday October 4 2017, Daily News Digest

ICO funding by month
Source: Bloomberg

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Caribbean

News Summary

United States

Elevate Customers Save More Than $ 2 Billion Thanks to Advanced Tech-Enabled Underwriting (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate” or “the company”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced their customers have saved more than $2 billion, versus what they would have paid for payday loans. $613 million of these cumulative savings were incurred in the first half of 2017 alone.

Joe Chen’s Sneaky SoFi Share Snatch (Forbes), Rated: AAA

But in Silicon Valley Renren’s founder and CEO, Joseph “Joe” Chen, is no outcast. He is a well-connected guru and mentor who sits on the boards of companies in which Renren has invested, like LendingHome, Fundrise, and Motif Investing. Chen also sits on the board of Social Finance, known as SoFi, which has been under fire due to a mounting sexual harassment scandal that recently saw Mike Cagney resign as SoFi’s CEO and chairman.

Chen is cooking up a deal that will allow shareholders of Renren who are “qualified purchasers” and “accredited investors,” to exchange their shares in the company for ownership in a spinoff entity consisting of its investment portfolio, including Renren’s stake in SoFi. Other shareholders who do not qualify would instead get a cash payment reviewed by a special committee of Renren’s board.

Under the spinout plan, Chen, who owns 31% of Renren’s stock, SoftBank, which owns 39% of Renren, and DCM, which owns 8.6%, will likely increase their SoFi holdings. Most of the shareholders owning the remaining 20% of Renren would lose their exposure to SoFi given that they appear to largely be individual retail investors, Securities & Exchange Commission filings show. This would leave them with a yet-to-be determined dividend, and a holding in a declining, money-losing Chinese internet company.

Renren still has its stake in SoFi, which together with some other Renren investments is worth more than Renren’s market capitalization of $630 million.

Overstock.com launches SEC-compliant ICO alternative (Bankless Times), Rated: AAA

Online retail giant Overstock.com is currently not only offering custom jewelry or discount mattresses but has been delving into cryptocurrency through Overstock.com, its subsidiary focused on Blockchain ventures.

In their Overstock.com, they are now in a joint venture together with RenGen and Argon Group to launch an Automated Trading System (ATS) for trading tokens issued via ICOs.

According to reports, $2 billion has been raised in token sales this year alone.

Hedge Funds Flip ICOs, Leaving Other Investors Holding the Bag (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Hedge funds are proving to be first among equals when it comes to digital token sales by technology startups, receiving preferential discounts and terms and then often cashing out. While legal, the maneuver is drawing comparisons to some of the eyebrow-raising practices that took place during the IPO heyday of the 1990s, when many preferred investors would quickly resell shares for big profits.

“It’s not healthy for the ecosystem, and it’s pretty abusive,” said Kyle Samani, a managing partner at Austin, Texas-based Multicoin Capital, which invests in ICOs. “They are getting a discount because they are a big name, and they think it’s going to draw the retail investor. It’s the greater fools theory –- I’ll buy it if there’s someone who’s more of a fool than me.”

ICO funding by month
Source: Bloomberg

Startups often announce, with much fanfare, that such-and-such funds and big-name investors have participated in the presale. What isn’t as well publicized is that the early investors — and, possibly, even the startup’s founders — can often cash out right after the ICO.

ICO by project type
Source: Bloomberg

More than 80 percent of ICOs are doing presales, according to Lex Sokolin, global director of fintech strategy at Autonomous NEXT.

PeerStreet Surpasses Over Half a Billion In Loans Funded (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is excited to announce that they have surpassed over half a billion in loans funded with zero losses to investors since its official launch less than two years ago. This announcement comes after many other milestones, including monthly origination volume now surpassing $50 million.

For context, the company launched to the public less than two years ago and this time last year had funded approximately 300 loans, representing about $100 million. To date, the company has funded well over 1,200 loans and growth has been fueled by an increasing investor appetite for this asset class.

Kabbage is Raising $ 161 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online SME lender Kabbage is raising $161 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Fintech firm filed the Form D last week indicating it had already received $80,573,040 with the same amount remaining to be raised.

Atlanta fintech ‘unicorn’ Kabbage raising $ 161 million (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Kabbage, which is mulling an IPO, has raised about $80 million on the planned raise, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing. The fintech, valued at more than $1 billion, announced a $250 million investment from SoftBank last year.

Kabbage’s Petralia Talks Big Tech, Fintech and Lending (deBanked), Rated: A

It’s only been a few weeks since the blockbuster announcement that SoftBank is investing $250 million into Kabbage, which thrust the small business lender into the spotlight for a few reasons, not the least of which was the more than $1 billion valuation that has been speculated for Kabbage.

This valuation, of course, is in stark contrast to that of OnDeck, which also lends to small businesses.

“All of our bank partnerships are technology integrations where our technology sits in their systems. They use our technology to deliver the customer experience. And I think what SoftBank saw in us was that potential. Whatever the valuation was I can assure you it was a result of a lot of due diligence on the part of SoftBank,” she said.

Rethinking Credit Scores in the Age of Fintech (Huffington Post), Rated: AAA

What value do the three big ratings bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, provide today in our emerging digital economy?

Increasingly in a world where payments may involve a peer to peer exchange, a global transfer, and more and more often a mobile phone transaction, the definition of good credit is going to change and widen.

Today, Experian maintains credit information on 215 million American consumers [Experian]. That’s over two-thirds of the total U.S. population [U.S. Census]. Roughly half of the population in the US has a FICO credit score that is less than 650, meaning that nearly half of people in the US cannot get credit from banks today.

The Equifax debacle turned up the volume on the call for change. We’re about to see more innovative ways of looking at credit, most of them built by mobile-first fintech companies.

Companies like PayPalKabbageSmartBizSquare, and others have stepped in to look at new ways to determine creditworthiness. Rather than depend solely on a single score like FICO, they are looking at a more holistic picture of a credit applicant.

SoFi, another lending startup, is using AI to analyze data from sources other than credit card information. And ShoCard, a blockchain-identity management system (IMS), teamed up with Creditinfo to let a customer claim their identity and manage who it gets shared with.

Chad Swenson of Lantern Credit believes your credit should be under your control. “Companies,” he says, “now have the ability to work with multiple alternative data streams outside of the traditional data delivered from the bureaus.”

Evan Singer, CEO of SmartBiz, a company devoted to helping small businesses secure loans, says that other metrics like your bank rating (how you use your bank rather than your credit) is another important piece of the puzzle often ignored.

CrowdStreet Debuts First Direct Commercial Real Estate Investing Platform for Financial Advisors (CrowdStreet), Rated: A

CrowdStreet, provider of the leading commercial real estate investment platform for investor acquisition and relationship management, today announced several enhancements to its flagship Sponsor Direct white-label software platform designed to address the needs of modern investment firms. With these new features, Sponsor Direct is now the only software offering that combines support for financial advisor accounts with a suite of tools specifically developed to help them engage, communicate with and service their investors. Hines Securities Inc. is the first firm to leverage these new capabilities, relying on Sponsor Direct to provide easy-to-use online real estate capital fundraising functionality to financial advisors.

CrowdStreet’s proven software solutions currently support more than 53,000 investors, managing more than 1,000 offerings and $3.7 billion in invested capital. Since its launch, the CrowdStreet software platform has been used to raise more than $260 million and distribute more than $684 million to investors.

New Yorkers pay the second highest ATM fees in the country (NY Daily News), Rated: A

ATM fees have reached an 11-year record high, and New Yorkers are paying the second highest rates, says Bankrate’s annual Checking Account Survey for 2017.

The national average ATM fee is $4.69, equaling the average ATM surcharge of $2.97 plus the average out-of-network fee your main bank charges of $1.72.

Cities whose fees top over $5 include Pittsburgh ($5.19), New York ($5.14), Washington, D.C. ($5.11), Cleveland ($5.11) and Atlanta ($5.05).

Even the lowest fees still don’t drop below $4 with Milwaukee at $4.19 and Dallas at $4.07.

Overall, ATM withdrawal fees have risen by 55% over the last ten years and there is little to curb this growth.

1031 Crowdfunding Moves Up Rankings to #4 Among Top Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites (PR Newswire), Rated: A

1031 Crowdfunding, LLC announced today that the Company moved up in the rankings for the 2017-2018 Top 100+ Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites to #4 overall and maintained its position as #1 ranked Real Estate Crowdfunding site for 1031 Exchanges.

The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review conducted in-depth research of over 100 real estate crowdfunding sites to form the reviews and rankings provided in the Top 100+ Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites. Site features most highly-valued included: pre-funding, low investor fees, low investors minimums, bankruptcy protection, velocity, positive investor feedback, co-investment by the company, and venture capital funding in the company.

Top 100+ Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites (The Real Estate Crowdfunding Review), Rated: A

13 sites in the former top 25 have fallen completely out of the rankings due to abandoning their business model or challenges. 5 sites have improved tremendously with substantially increased volume, and a few of these that were lower ranked have leaped up the charts as well.

Tier 1: Best of the Best

These sites have it all: High transparency, co-investment,  pre-funding, high-volume, average to low fees, excellent bankruptcy protection, strong administration and customer service, and strong financial backing.

None. No site has all these features yet, but we hope that will change by the time of our next review.

Tier 2: All-Stars

These sites are all extremely strong in the majority of the fundamentals that are most important to investors.

Tier 4: Up-And-Coming + On-probation

There are 2 types of sites in this category. The 1st are up-and-coming sites that may not be as polished as competitors but have some sort of promise or potential for the future. The 2nd are sites that did well in last year’s rankings, but since then have had substantial investor complaints, decreasing volume or other challenges.

Justice Department gives big banks green light on real-time payments (American Banker), Rated: A

Following an antitrust review that lasted almost a year, the Department of Justice has greenlighted a real-time payments network being developed jointly by the nation’s largest banks.

The government’s approval may boost the prospects of a system that is being built by The Clearing House, the payments firm co-owned by JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and a host of other banks.

Fintech players assess post-disruption environment (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Has the state of consumer credit changed post-crisis? Lending Club Chief Executive Scott Sanborn said he believes that the “new normal” in consumer lending is riskier.

Wages are stagnant, Sanborn said, and a greater portion of many consumers’ income now goes toward repayment of debt. Credit cards, student loans, and auto loans are among the major drains on the consumer wallet today, he noted.

A common use of marketplace lenders’ credit is debt consolidation loans, undertaken by consumers to bring down their overall borrowing rates.

Lending Club is not alone among nonbank digital lenders in going beyond traditional credit criteria. A co-panelist with Sanborn, Sarah Friar, chief financial officer at Square, said that her company—which recently applied for an industrial bank charter in Utah—doesn’t use FICO ratings at all. Friar said Square—which began as a payments mechanism and has expanded into small business credit—looks at financial accounts, number of employees, and status versus other players, among other factors.

Spending Within Their Means: Some Cities Do It Better Than Others (Business Insider), Rated: A

LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, has released the findings of its study on how well residents in the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas are spending within their means – or aren’t.

Among the 50 ranked metro areas, residents are, on average, using 30 percent of their revolving credit lines — such as credit cards and home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs. They also have mortgage balances averaging 79 percent of their annual income and non-housing debt balances averaging 44 percent of annual income, and have had five credit inquiries in the last two years.

Greenville, SC takes the top score, despite having the second-lowest average income among the 50 cities ranked at $65,503 per household.

Source: LendingTree

Rank

Metro

Spending Within Their Means Score

Inquiries (last 2 years)

Revolving Credit Utilization

Non-Housing Debt % of Income

Mortgage Debt % of Income

1

Greenville, SC

71

4.0

27.6%

47.3%

61.6%

2

Greensboro, NC

65

3.8

28.9%

48.5%

63.9%

3

Kansas City, MO

64

5.9

28.4%

42.8%

65.0%

4

Buffalo, NY

64

4.0

29.0%

50.5%

55.2%

5

Charlotte, NC

64

3.8

28.2%

43.2%

84.9%

6

Milwaukee, WI

64

7.1

28.4%

39.7%

65.8%

7

San Francisco, CA

63

3.9

28.9%

28.4%

109.1%

8

Boston, MA

62

4.6

29.0%

35.7%

86.9%

9

New York, NY

62

4.4

30.5%

34.7%

77.6%

10

Raleigh, NC

61

3.8

27.6%

45.2%

85.6%

11

Pittsburgh, PA

60

5.1

28.0%

51.2%

49.3%

12

Nashville, TN

59

4.4

27.8%

43.9%

80.4%

13

Hartford, CT

58

5.5

30.0%

38.1%

76.8%

14

Oklahoma City, OK

58

6.0

28.3%

47.8%

60.7%

15

Portland

56

3.5

30.0%

40.2%

90.8%

16

Grand Rapids, MI

56

6.8

29.4%

43.3%

59.8%

17

Detroit, MI

56

5.9

30.1%

41.0%

65.0%

18

Louisville, KY

56

6.8

28.3%

43.0%

68.4%

19

Washington, DC

55

4.0

30.1%

37.1%

102.8%

20

Richmond, VA

55

4.0

29.8%

41.2%

87.5%

21

Denver, CO

55

3.1

29.2%

39.9%

108.0%

22

St. Louis, MO

53

7.7

29.0%

42.8%

67.0%

23

Philadelphia, PA

53

5.6

28.9%

43.0%

79.4%

24

Minneapolis, MN

53

4.3

30.5%

39.5%

83.6%

25

Birmingham, AL

53

5.6

29.2%

47.3%

62.5%

26

Cincinnati, OH

53

5.7

29.1%

44.9%

68.0%

27

Cleveland, OH

52

6.6

28.9%

49.4%

58.9%

28

Austin, TX

52

4.9

30.0%

42.5%

78.2%

29

Dallas – Fort Worth, TX

52

5.1

29.5%

44.3%

69.9%

30

Indianapolis, IN

51

6.6

28.4%

46.1%

68.3%

31

Atlanta, GA

51

4.3

29.2%

45.0%

81.2%

32

Columbus, OH

49

6.2

30.6%

45.9%

57.4%

33

Salt Lake City, UT

48

4.2

30.2%

39.7%

98.2%

34

Chicago, IL

46

7.2

30.1%

39.5%

80.1%

35

Seattle, WA

46

4.6

30.6%

37.6%

98.7%

36

Memphis, TN

45

5.1

29.7%

51.2%

64.9%

37

New Orleans, LA

43

4.2

30.8%

50.8%

66.9%

38

Miami, FL

43

4.1

29.0%

48.7%

89.5%

39

Harrisburg, PA

42

6.2

29.1%

47.8%

70.1%

40

Sacramento, CA

42

4.4

32.0%

38.5%

103.2%

41

San Diego, CA

41

4.3

32.8%

37.2%

118.2%

42

Los Angeles, CA

39

4.6

32.0%

38.6%

108.3%

43

Houston, TX

39

5.3

31.4%

46.8%

70.3%

44

Tampa, FL

38

4.2

29.9%

51.6%

80.7%

45

Virginia Beach, VA

36

3.8

33.2%

46.8%

95.4%

46

Orlando, FL

31

4.3

30.7%

51.0%

82.1%

47

Jacksonville, FL

25

4.1

32.3%

51.8%

87.9%

48

Phoenix, AZ

25

5.1

30.4%

48.1%

102.7%

49

Las Vegas, NV

20

5.1

31.8%

50.6%

96.6%

50

San Antonio, TX

19

7.3

32.1%

54.7%

72.2%

Goldman Sachs Explores a New World: Trading Bitcoin (WSJ), Rated: B

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS 0.40% is weighing a new trading operation dedicated to bitcoin and other digital currencies, the first blue-chip Wall Street firm preparing to deal directly in this burgeoning yet controversial market, according to people familiar with the matter.

Goldman’s effort is in its early stages and may not proceed, the people said.

United Kingdom

RateSetter streamlines secondary market fees (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has announced that it is simplifying the way investors can access their money, with one single “transfer fee” when selling loans on the secondary market.

Lenders are currently charged two fees when selling out existing RateSetter loans, but from 2 November this is being streamlined into a single charge. The fee will be a percentage of the capital being withdrawn, and will be fixed for each market.

RateSetter
P2P Finance News

LendInvest urges government to back SME builders (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: AAA

Property finance platform LendInvest has called on government to do more to support small builders after discussing the subject with a group of influential MPs.

The event follows the publication of a report by LendInvest earlier this year on the challenges faced by property SMEs. These include constrained access to finance and distorted policy around regulation, taxation and access to land.

At the time of the report LendInvest said only 12.5% of new homes built today are constructed by small builders, down from 37.5% before 1990.

A canary in the P2P coal mine? (Financial Times), Rated: A

How are British “peer-to-peer” lenders doing?

uk p2p lenders

Employee lenders are one of the fastest-growing areas of UK fintech (Financial Times), Rated: A

Online lenders that are repaid from people’s salaries have raised more than £175m in recent months, marking out the nascent sector as one of the hottest areas of the UK financial technology market.

Legal & General, the insurer, will on Wednesday announce that it is leading the latest £40m investment in SalaryFinance, which provides loans to employees of 50 groups in the UK and plans to expand in the US.

Founded by three former executives from Google, PA Consulting and Royal Bank of Scotland, SalaryFinance combines with companies to offer their employees loans at lower rates than credit cards or payday lenders.

The company has an unusually low default rate of 0.5 per cent because of the security of deducting repayments directly from a borrower’s salary, and the extra information it gains about its customers by tapping into their employer’s payroll systems.

Fintech awareness is surprisingly low in the UK (Business Insider), Rated: A

Despite the high number of UK consumers who use financial products and the extent of financial services penetration in the country — 91% of people across the UK have a current account, and 67% use contactless payments at least once a month — awareness of fintech services in the UK remains low, according to a new survey conducted by The Telegraph.

fintech uk
Source: Business Insider

Luton is still the best place for buy-to-let investors (What Mortgage), Rated: B

According to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from online mortgage lender LendInvest, Luton has managed to hold on to the top spot as the best place for buy-to-let investment.

Luton has seen a 4.51% increase in rental price growth and an average yield of 4.51%.

China

Chinese Lender Qudian Leads 2 IPO Launches Totaling $ 869M (Law360), Rated: AAA

Chinese online lender Qudian Inc. launched an estimated $769 million initial public offering on Tuesday, adding to a growing IPO pipeline along with private equity-backed medical device company OptiNose Inc., which set terms on a projected $100 million offering.

Beijing-based Qudian plans to offer 37.5 million Class A shares priced between $19 and $22, raising $768.8 million if shares price at midrange. Qudian, represented by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, is directly offering 35.6 million shares in the IPO while various existing shareholders are selling 1.9….

European Union

Robo.cash Founder Sergey Sedov Comments on Recent Milestone (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Robo.cash, an automated P2P lending platform that includes a buyback guarantee, recently celebrated its own steady growth during 2017 Q2, noting that its total amount of investments now exceeds €1.8 million. In addition, nearly €400,000 in loans were added in August alone, while the  average invested amount per investor gained 2.2% to the previous month at €3,270 in August. More than 900 investors have joined the platform in the first six months of operation.

The Ultimate List of LendIt Europe 2017 Speakers to Follow on Twitter (LendIt), Rated: B

If you follow them, we guarantee that your news feed will be filled with industry news, trends, thoughts, opinions and more!

LendIt Europe
Source: LendIt

 

International

International P2P Lending Volumes September 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

This month I added Raize, a marketplace in Portugal.

p2p lending volume
Source: P2P-banking

GoldMint Partnership Signals Strategic Advancement (NASDAQ), Rated: A

GoldMint, a blockchain-based startup that helps gold owners profit from digital assets backed 100 percent by physical gold, recently announced an innovative collaboration with the mineral production company Eurasia Mining .

Through this agreement, GoldMint is establishing a method for applying blockchain-based technology to the development of resource industry projects.

India

GET YOUR FINANCES RIGHT (Daily Pioneer), Rated: A

Last year, State Bank of India (SBI) announced that the ceiling limit for its foreign educational loans would be raised from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore.

According to statistics, about45 per cent of international students in US alone comprise of Chinese or Indian students.

Here’s a quick look at the financial loan options other than SBI:

  • The Indian Government has installed the portal ‘Vidya Lakshmi’ that allows students to check out various loan options and fund providers. Loans are provided in four slabs — Below Rs 4 lakhs, between Rs 4 lakhs and Rs 7.5 lakhs; and above Rs 7.5 lakhs with differing interest rates for each slab.
  • Credila, an HDFC Ltd. Company, India’s first dedicated educational loan company, offers loan approvals before you secure admission. You can get loans up to Rs 2.5 crores.
  • Prodigy Finance offers competitive loans which does not need a co-signer or collateral. Students can start repaying six months after graduation, and there are no penalties for early repayment. You can also avail of their $10,000 scholarships, which is being given away this year to mark their decade of business.
  • GyanDhan, India’s first educational loans marketplace, offers 100 per cent financing for top B-Schools and engineering schools. They offer loans with collateral starting as low as 9.1 per cent.
  • Avanse Educational Loan covers 100 per cent of study abroad expenses on a floating interest of 12 per cent to 17 per cent.
  • Nationalised banks are offering a comparatively lower rate of interest between 9 per cent to 13 per cent on an average.
Asia

Seasoned Japanese startup puts fintech on the map with $ 500m IPO (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

Money Forward, a well-established financial tech startup, has launched its IPO, marking a watershed moment for Japan’s burgeoning fintech scene.

The firm, started in 2012, is now worth US$505 million after listing on the Mothers Index Futures section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which is designed for high-growth and emerging stocks.

The IPO raised approximately US$25 million.

MENA

Payday Loan Ranger Is Helping People Cover Gaps In Between Their Paychecks (MENAFN.com), Rated: A

Payday Loan Ranger is a loan service that specializes in providing loans from $50 to $1000.

Payday Loan Ranger’s popularity rises from the fact that it completely simplifies the process and never makes it as hectic and difficult as similar services. Their entire service is reduced down to three simple steps, applying online, searching for the best lenders, and then receiving the cash as early in the first 24 hours.

With over 2,000,000 applications already processed, it has become one of the most popular services used for such transactions and continues to rise in usage as it seems people are truly in need of such a novel service.

Caribbean

Why Bitcoin Will Not Solve the Caribbean’s Financial Inclusion Woes (CircleID), Rated: AAA

The issue of financial exclusion can be summarized into two categories: unbanked and underbanked. Unbanked individuals do not have an account at a regulated financial institution, while underbanked individuals have accounts, but frequently use alternative or unregulated financial services.

Unbanked individuals are faced with a heavy economic burden when conducting even the most basic financial transactions. For example, cashing a cheque can cost the average person with full-time employment as much as USD$20,000 over his/her lifetime. Western Union, as an example, charges as much as USD$42 to send a USD$500 remittance to Barbados. ‘Underground’ alternative financial service providers levy as much as USD$10 on every USD$100 transferred.

Another reason for unbanked individuals is attitudinal and behavioral; they really do not trust banks. This sentiment may not be all that unfounded, as a number of the banks across the Caribbean region have been reducing the teller services that unbanked individuals are familiar with and prefer, forcing more (non-technical) customers to online channels, regularly increasing service fees, and even worse, looking to divest their retail operations in favor of corporate banking and wealth management business units.

To obtain Bitcoin, you must already be “economically included” — both in terms of Internet and financial access.

Predatory businesses are convenient where the unbanked live. Rural areas like Trelawny, Jamaica or Mayaro, Trinidad are home to large swathes of unbanked households. Traditional banks don’t see a viable business cases for locating a branch or satellite office in such districts. This means that check cashing and money changing businesses that charge exorbitant rates are the only real means of conducting transactions. Kenya’s M-PESA succeeded because it leveraged an existing network of agents and vendors.

Globally, mobile banking is overtaking branch-centered activity more and more — for example, in Norway, 91% of the population use online banking channels. The explosion of fintech companies that are ‘unbundling’ traditional banking functions, added to the maturity of the first generation of Internet banking solutions, are hastening this trend. Consequently, the amalgamation of omni-channel banking, fintech platforms, and open APIs are obscuring the lines between traditional and alternative finance.

Moreover, besides remittances, financial inclusion also includes micro-credit, micro-insurance, cooperatives, peer-to-peer lending, rural/agricultural credit, mobile money, mobile vouchers, and a number of other alternative financial services. Financial inclusion is multi-faceted, and Bitcoin has yet to distinguish itself in any of the aforementioned categories.

The Caribbean region has serious online trust issues. In 2016, OAS and IDB published a report titled, ‘Cybersecurity: Are We Ready in Latin America and the Caribbean?’ Researchers conducted assessments of 13 Caribbean nations, including Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago. The methodological framework covered ‘Culture & Society’, and one of the key findings was the extremely low levels of online trust in the region. Caribbean people do not trust that their online activities aren’t being monitored, they do not trust their service providers, they do not trust social networks, they do not trust their search engine provider, they do not trust companies to keep their personal data safe and secure, and most relevant — they do not trust online and mobile banking platforms.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

About the author

Allen Taylor

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"I've been following your newsletter for some time now and have been very impressed with the content." Charlie,Co-Founder | Bolstr

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"Hey George, I must say I really enjoy your site. It has inspired me to do some changes at our platform and we are the biggest consumer lender in Sweden." , Ludwig, CEO @ Savelend Sweden AB

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"Your daily email is very useful. It gives quick update on what's going in the market. Thank you very much for all that info." Yann Murciano, Head of Base Metals Trading at Morgan Stanley

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