Daily News Digest Featured News

Thursday October 19 2017, Daily News Digest

China p2p lenders
Source: Bloomberg

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India

Asia

MENA

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News Summary

United States

Affirm Wants To Move Beyond Simple Lending to Provide Financial Advice (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Online financial services company Affirm Inc. wants to move beyond simple lending to provide financial advice to customers, its founder and chief executive said Wednesday.

Additional services Affirm wants to provide would include helping some consumers “get over this hump” of too much debt.

SoFi Announces Entrepreneur Program 2.0 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lending platform SoFi recently announced the launch of its Entrepreneur Program 2.0. The company reported that original program was launched four years ago and since then has helped four classes of 70 companies founded by the lender’s members to get off the ground with its coaching and resources.

SoFi then revealed some improvements, which would benefit the future classes.

  • More Eligibility: The program is now open to all members working as a founder or co-founder either full or part-time on an innovative and scalable tech-enabled business.
  • SoFi Offers Investment: The lender will give equity capital to each of the members of the Class. For this coming Class, this amount will be $25,000 per company.
  • New Curriculum.
  • Alumni engagement:
  • Community engagement: SoFi will engage our 380,000-plus members in the accelerator process and share the incredible companies their fellow members are working on.
  • Dedicated resources:

Prosper tightens guidance on consumer loan ABS (IFRE.com), Rated: AAA

Online lender Prosper Marketplace pulled in guidance on its US$501.05m consumer loan ABS on Wednesday, with all three of the deal’s tranches heard to be at least twice covered.

Guidance was announced at 85bp area over EDSF on the largest 0.85-year A-/A tranche (Fitch/Kroll) and 165bp-175bp over iSwaps for the US$77m 2.14-year BBB-/BBB tranche.

Guidance on the 2.89-year Class C, unrated by Fitch and rated B+ by Kroll, is 340bp area over iSwaps.

Those levels were tightened from whispers circulated at 85bp-95bp over EDSF, 180bp-190bp over iSwaps and mid-300bp over iSwaps, respectively.

US banks abandon crisis-era taboo of growth (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

“I’m happy to say our focus has shifted beyond the implementation of regulations . . . to growth,” said Mr Chavez.

No other big US bank put it that bluntly, but the sentiment seemed to be shared. With the notable exception of Wells Fargo, still trying to shake off the damage of its fake-account scandal, executives were making encouraging noises about new businesses and top-line expansion as they presented third-quarter results.

At Citigroup, for example, which shed about $500bn of assets in the years after the crisis, CFO John Gerspach talked about growth in credit cards in Mexico and wealth management in Asia. At Bank of America, which added about $90bn of assets over the year, CFO Paul D’Onofrio said he welcomed any “refinement” to rules that “allows us more access and control over our capital [and] liquidity in support of responsible growth”.

US bank earnings
Source: Financial Times

At Morgan Stanley, James Gorman said the bank “won’t be shy” about doing deals such as last month’s acquisition of Mesa West Capital, a commercial real estate platform — prompting one analyst to remark on the chief executive’s “more aggressive” tone.

“We’re not looking for any grand splash here, but we’re open for business opportunistically,” said Mr Gorman.

bank profitability
Source: Financial Times

Now the mood has changed in Washington. Few laws have been ripped up, as yet, despite Donald Trump’s early pledge to “do a number” on Dodd-Frank. But new figures in agencies such as Randy Quarles, appointed this month to the most powerful bank regulatory job in the country, should make a real difference. Trade groups say they are expecting him to take a looser grip on the banks than Daniel Tarullo, the previous supervisor-in-chief at the Federal Reserve.

Banks Need Next-Generation KYC to Confront Today’s Digital Identity Crisis (Dealbreaker), Rated: AAA

Cybercrime has evolved to exploit gaps in enterprise data security and disrupted identity theft in the process. It has spawned a parallel black market on the Dark Web, where criminals transact in bitcoin to anonymously trade stolen data, minting hundreds of billions in annual and often untraceable proceeds for sellers[1].

Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2017 Identity Fraud Study said ID theft hit a record high in 2016, victimizing 15.4 million people, or roughly two-million more victims than the previous year[2]. ID theft is generally a precursor to credit card fraud, which attributed to worldwide losses of $21.84 billion in 2016[3].

Card issuers incurred 72%, of those losses last year, with card fraud expected to syphon a grand total of $88.87 billion out of the global financial system over the next four years.

Understanding the vast supply-and-demand mechanism of the Dark Web economy is integral to KYC strategy for banks. The Center for Strategic and International Studies pegs the worldwide cost of cybercrime at $445 billion a year[5]. According to the 2016 Cost of Cybercrime Study, data breaches, cyber-fraud and related disruptions impact U.S. organizations the hardest, with the average cyberattack generating $17.36 million in costs. Of the 4149 data breaches and 4.2 billion records exposed in 2016[6], as reported by cybersecurity firm RiskBased Security, the U.S. comprised 47.5% and 68.2% of those numbers, respectively.

Feedzai closes $ 50M Series C to help banks and merchants identify fraud with AI (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Feedzai is announcing a $50 million Series C this morning led by an unnamed VC with additional capital from Sapphire Ventures. The six year old startup builds machine learning tools to help banks and merchants spot payment fraud.

With 60 clients including major financial institutions like Capital One and Citi, Feedzai remains optimistic that allowing savvy customers to build on top of its service is the key to longevity.

Affirm CEO: Credit Security Is Centuries Behind (WSJ), Rated: A

Women who own businesses find bank loans harder to get (Fox Business), Rated: A

A survey of businesses conducted this summer and released Wednesday found that 30 percent of companies owned by women were able to get bank loans during the previous three months, compared to half of all the owners surveyed.

Only 21 percent of the women surveyed said they expected it will be easy to raise debt financing — essentially loans — in the next six months, compared to 44 percent of all companies. Fewer of those owners said they were likely to pursue a bank loan, at 67 percent compared to 75 percent of all owners.

The number of U.S. businesses owned by women grew nearly 27 percent from 2007 to 2012, rising to nearly 10 million from 7.8 million, according to the most recent Census Bureau figures. The total number of businesses grew less than 2 percent.

Bank of America found this year that 11 percent of owners who are women applied for loans the past two years versus 13 percent of owners who are men. Some banks have realized they need to be more aggressive in lending to businesses owned by women; Wells Fargo set a goal of $55 billion in loans by 2020, but surpassed that number in 2013, spokesman Jim Seitz says.

iCapital and CAIA Partner On Alternative Investment Education Initiative (FIN Alternatives), Rated: A

Financial technology platform iCapital Network has partnered with the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association on a sweeping education initiative aimed at increasing knowledge about alternative investing.

As part of the new initiative, iCapital will offer CAIA’s Fundamentals of Alternative Investments program to its member network of more than 1,900 registered investment advisors, broker-dealers, private banks and family offices.

Harvard Partners LLC Announces Investment Interests in Commercial Finance (Lessors), Rated: A

Harvard Partners CEO Bill Verhelle announced his firm is seeking to invest in, or purchase, small innovative U.S.-based commercial finance firms. Interest is not limited to companies already in the equipment leasing and finance industry, though he will be at that industry’s annual convention next week.

Harvard Partners is specifically interested in companies with demonstrated experience and capable management teams employing new business models. Harvard Partners’ first equity investment this year, along with another private equity investor, involved a West Coast business lending and equipment finance firm with advanced financial technology (fintech) capabilities.

Top of the Morning (Axios), Rated: B

Another sovereign wealth fund is opening shop in Silicon Valley. This time it’s Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment Co., which also is launching a $400 million direct VC fund (in partnership with SoftBank) and a $200 million VC fund-of-funds.

  • “It’s more than just setting up an office — it’s a real committed and genuine intent to be an active member of this community,” Mubadala’s Ibrahim Ajami tells Axios’ Kia Kokalitcheva, who scooped the news.
  • He adds that the direct fund shouldn’t compete with SoftBank Vision Fund, into which Mubadala has pumped $15 billion, given that it will be looking at earlier-stage deals. Get the full story.

REALTYSHARES REVIEW: AN EASY WAY TO START INVESTING IN REAL ESTATE (The College Investor), Rated: B

Real estate crowdfunding is one of the fastest growing trends in the investment community. They provide obvious value to investors who would otherwise be priced out of commercial and private equity deals. RealtyShares is one of these crowdfunding platforms, but they have a unique niche.

They work with both institutional investors and “the crowd” of smaller investors to find a wide range of projects.

To invest in RealtyShares, you need to be an accredited investor.

What Types Of Investments Does RealtyShares Offer?

  • First position liens
  • Preferred Equity
  • Mezzanine Debt (aka Bridge Loan)
  • JV (Joint Venture) Equity

Your minimum investment is $5000, and you’ll pay a 1% investment fee on equity investments, and up to a 2% interest rate spread on debt.

Private Lending Association Partners With Deal-Flow Company (Broadway World), Rated: B

American Association of Private Lenders (AAPL) has partnered with Private Money Lending Guide (PMLG). The partnership brings together an association that provides education, ethics and networking opportunities for private money lenders and a tool for deal-flow that enables borrowers and lenders to find the appropriate counterpart for their deals.

Ken Rees, CEO of Elevate, to Speak at Money 20/20 Conference (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Ken Rees, Chief Executive Officer at Elevate, a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, will speak on a panel at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas on October 24, 2017. The panel will focus on the future of alternative lending, including fintech’s potential to partner with banks to create better outcomes for both parties. The panel will also tackle the challenges that alternative lenders face now, and how to use innovation and creative solutions to address them.

SESSION: Reinventing Consumer Lending: More Access, New Models & Overcoming Big Challenges

WHEN: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 3:10-4:00pm PT

WHERE: San Polo, The Venetian Level 3 – The Venetian Las Vegas, 3355 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

United Kingdom

RateSetter plans to launch IFISA this tax year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has said it plans to apply to HMRC for ISA manager status and launch its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) before the end of the current tax year.

RateSetter said on Wednesday that it will keep lenders updated via its website but also gave people the option to sign up to its IFISA mailing list.

FCA identifies low P2P usage but fewer signs of consumer vulnerability (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

JUST 1.4 per cent of the adult population are using peer-to-peer lending or crowdfunding but the product has among the proportionally lowest levels of financially vulnerable customers, figures from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) suggest.

The data is revealed in the City watchdog’s financial lives survey, a poll of almost 13,000 consumers about the products they hold and their experiences of them.

The research shows just 180 out of 12,865 adults, or 1.4 per cent, surveyed said they have used a crowdfunding or P2P product, which the FCA says works out as 700,000 adults when weighted against the UK population.

Of those who are using P2P, 74 per cent of respondents identified themselves as male and 25 per cent said they were female.

Wellesley & Co: Get ready for proptech 3.0 with “elite survivors” (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

WELLESLEY & Co has cited predictions that there will be consolidation in the proptech sector, as firms drop by the wayside leaving “a crop of elite survivors”.

The alternative property lender said it expects the rest of 2017 and early 2018 to be “exciting for the progression of property technology” with lots of M&A activity.

LendingCrowd launches Refer a Friend promotion (AltFi), Rated: A

LendingCrowd, the peer-to-peer (P2P) lender, has launched a £50 “refer a friend” promotion as it continues to experience strong demand from borrowers across the UK.

Following a record quarter for new loans and the rising popularity of its tax-free* Innovative ISA (IFISA) accounts, investors on the P2P lending platform will be given a £50 bonus when each friend they refer invests at least £2,000. Each friend will also receive a £50 referral reward.

China

China’s Qudian IPO seen priced above range (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Online micro-credit provider Qudian Inc’s (QD.N) initial public offering could be priced above the expected range of $19-$22 per American depositary share, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The offering could give the company, backed by Alibaba’s (BABA.N) banking unit Ant Financial, a market capitalization of more than $7 billion and raise over $825 million.

Party On, Chinese Consumers (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Qudian Inc., operator of a loan platform for consumers and small businesses, jumped 22 percent on its New York trading debut Wednesday. The Beijing-based company raised $900 million in an initial public offering on the eve of China’s 19th party congress, pricing its shares above the high end of its indicative range. It’s the largest U.S. listing by a Chinese company since the $1.4 billion sale by logistics company ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc. in September 2016.

Qudian’s experience stands in sharp contrast to that of China Rapid Finance Ltd., a peer-to-peer consumer lender. In April, China Rapid Finance managed to raise only $60 million, having priced at the bottom end of its range. Since then, though, the shares have soared more than 90 percent, with most of the gain coming this month. Similarly, the October rally has brought the advance for Beijing-based consumer finance company Yirendai Ltd. to 150 percent this year.

China p2p lenders
Source: Bloomberg

Looking at Qudian’s financials, one can’t help the bullish feeling that China’s consumer credit market is only in its early stages. Qudian’s rate of loan delinquencies, defined as those over 30 days past due, is only 0.5 percent or less this year, according to the company, which relies on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Ant Financial affiliate for new borrowers and credit rating services.

China household debt
Source: Bloomberg

The Young and the Leveraged (BreakingViews), Rated: A

Betting on China’s next generation of borrowers just got easier. Qudian, an online microlender backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba’s financial unit, priced its U.S. listing above its expected range on Tuesday, says Reuters. It offers fast growth, low default rates and, unlike many tech startups, is already profitable. At $24 per share, the final price represents a 2018 PE of 13.8, compared to 13.0 for smaller U.S.-listed online lender Yirendai.

China’s household debt relative to income is still low, and consumer credit is underpenetrated at 7 percent of gross domestic product, versus 20 percent in the United States, says Goldman Sachs. The investment bank expects outstanding consumer credit excluding mortgages to more than double to $1.9 trillion by 2020.

Qudian focuses on the younger segment of this market, providing small, short-term loans for ordinary purchases.

Qudian
Source: BreakingViews

The truth about Ant Financial … (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

A key theme in the new book is financial inclusion and, to those ends, I made a visit to Hangzhou, China, to meet the executive team of Ant Financial.

As Americans struggle with the pains of Chip & PIN and Europeans embrace contactless payments, China has leap-frogged us all. In 2016, Chinese consumers spent $5.5 trillion through their mobile apps. That’s more than any other economy and many predict that China will be first major economy to be completely cashless. The chosen mobile payment system for most Chinese citizens is Alipay, and the company has recently started to expand its footprint globally.

Many of you may have heard of Alipay, but it is not the Chinese version of PayPal, as many think. In fact, it bears no relationship or resemblance to anything we see in Europe or America. It is distinctly Chinese and, having been born out of a need to trade, is now moving towards global dominance.

How far things have changed, in that today’s Alipay monitors every transaction from its 450 million users, in real-time with artificial intelligence monitors constantly searching for potentially fraudulent transactions. That is a far cry from where they started, but then the company has refreshed its systems architecture four times in the last twelve years and has just embarked in another refresh. They moved from basic escrow services to real-time payments to cloud to microservices, and are now working on their new machine learning and super intelligent structure. A structure that can process 250,000 transactions per second today, and is architecting systems that will scale to over 100 billion transactions per day. To put that in perspective, Visa and MasterCard handle just over 60 billion transactions per year combined, and average near 2,000 transactions per second.

world banks
Source: The Finanser

China: The frontier of networked money (SupChina), Rated: A

In the last two years, China has gone from a country without credit cards to a cashless society where even beggars use mobile phones to accept payments.

The number of P2P companies has been reduced through attrition and government regulation, and a few strong players are emerging:

  • Caixin reports (paywall) that P2P platform PPDAI Group has announced plans “to raise up to $350 million through a New York initial public offering (IPO).
  • In September, online-only insurer ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance raised $1.5 billion in an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
  • The South China Morning Post reports that shares of Qudian, a leading online consumer credit provider, “surged nearly 46 percent to US$35 on its debut trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning.” Aside from fierce competition in the sector, the SCMP says that “Qudian has one other worry — potential competition with its principal shareholder Ant Financial,” which is, like the SCMP itself, an Alibaba affiliate.
International

IBM and eight banks unleash we.trade platform for blockchain-powered commerce (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

Since January 2017, a group of seven banks (Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Societe Generale and UniCredit), together with IBM, have been developing the Digital Trade Chain platform.

Now with the recent addition of Banco Santander as a founding partner, the group have decided to rebrand the Digital Trade Chain platform to we.trade.

Banks Start Broad Use of Blockchain, as JP Morgan, IBM Lead Way (DarkReading), Rated: A

Two major players announced cross-border payment networks built on blockchain technologies Monday, and more financial services will follow soon, despite opinions about Bitcoin.

The distributed ledger technology that underpins cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is rapidly going mainstream. Blockchain is building a tremendous amount of buzz as technology and financial industry heavyweights and startups race to apply the technology in innovative new applications for the banking sector. Their efforts are starting to bear fruit in the area of cross-border payments, as three separate announcements from IBM, J.P. Morgan, and Bank of Canada highlighted this week.

The ultimate goal is to provide a secure, speedy and transparent financial platform between global markets that may have found it difficult to do business with one another due to the bureaucratic pitfalls of legacy international payment networks.

The developments this week underline that banking executives are increasingly seeing the upside of combining distributed ledgers with solid cryptographic applications for new means of facilitating payments, trades, contracts, and transactions of all stripes.

Six courses that will get you clued up on fintech (CNBC), Rated: B

New York University’s Stern School of Business has a number of courses on fintech that consider innovations in the sector, regulatory challenges and opportunities for growth.

Students have the option to learn about digital currencies, blockchain, robo advisors, personal finance and payments.

The U.K.’s Oxford University, ranked by Times Higher Education as the number one institution in the world, made its fintech debut this month.

Oxford’s Saïd Business School launched the Oxford Fintech Programme in collaboration with GetSmarter, which is owned by education tech giant 2U Inc.

Students on the course study a range of subjects within the fintech sector, including digital payments, regulatory technology, blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Imperial College London is another British university to have its own course dedicated to all things fintech.

Imperial’s ‘Fintech — Innovative Banking’ course focuses on three key areas of the industry: blockchain, digital identity and digital money and payments.

India

P2P lending platforms can put downward pressure on interest rates (livemint), Rated: AAA

Mint Money spoke to Rajat Gandhi, founder and chief executive officer of Faircent, a P2P marketplace which has been in operations since 2014, on his vision for the nascent industry in India.

Now that the RBI has given NBFC status to P2P platforms and has also come out with guidelines for the sector, what is the way ahead?

Most of the guidelines also are in line with the industry expectations, just that there are a few grey areas where we would need some more clarifications. The way I see it, the RBI document is a framework, rather than hard guidelines.

In the short term, we all have to file our applications and get certifications in place.

The P2P lending process was legitimate; the RBI framework has just validated it further. An important development is that the framework has created a redressal system— both for the borrower and the lender. While a lot of obligations will be on the platforms, there is also a lot of clarity now on our roles and responsibilities.

How do the RBI guidelines help a consumer, borrower or lender? 

The guidelines basically tell the lender particularly what they are getting into, including the fact that the principal is not protected. We as companies should also keep telling them. Because the moment an investor hears interest rate, the immediate thought is assured returns.

Secondly, the guidelines have unlocked the supply side. Borrowing till now was restricted to banks and NBFCs, which have stringent guidelines. Whereas out here, this is an exchange model and the P2P platforms cannot lend from their own balance sheet, so the platform’s returns become interest rate agnostic. Their role is only to rate and price the borrowers, and as a platform, we do not directly benefit from this rating and pricing.

If a P2P platform is interest rate agnostic, what is your business model and how does your business make money?

Basically, we charge 1% from the lender and 2-4% from the borrower, of the loan disbursed.

The guidelines also talk about P2P platforms giving services to lenders for recovery of loans. How does that work?

We have a panel of lawyers who will take up the matter on behalf of the lenders. This is charged as this is a separate service.

What is the size of P2P lending industry in India at present? 

The size right now will be roughly around (RS) 50-60 crores on an annualised basis.

Fresh funding to enable LenDenClub meet capital requirement set by RBI (India.com), Rated: A

After a successful growth stint in the past six months, LenDenClub, a P2P lending platform is looking to meet the capital requirement set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulations, banking on the newly secured capital which is being used to enhance the product platform and improve tech automation.

Earlier this month, the firm closed a USD 500,000 pre-series A round from a fund based out of Mumbai.

Kotak Bank ties up with Samsung Pay (India Times), Rated: B

Private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank today said its credit and debit card holders will be able to tap and pay using smartphones at merchant establishments.

The city-based lender has tied up with Samsung, under which its cardholders will be able to tap and pay using smartphones of the Korean electronics major having the Samsung Pay acceptance machines, a bank statement said.

PayPal bets big on India’s FinTech boom (Ogilvy), Rated: B

Financial transaction company PayPal has long been a supporter of innovation in India, having set up an incubator programme there to support local start-ups. And now, the company is evolving its partnerships with the start-ups that join the incubator, taking equity in participating firms.

Asia

Fintech startup Finja breaks new ground in Pakistan with $ 1.5m series A funding (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

The catalyst for ecommerce and other internet businesses to flourish in China, India, and Southeast Asia is digital payments. This in turn has a multiplier effect on economic growth.

That’s why today’s announcement of US$1.5 million series A funding for Pakistani fintech startup Finja is notable. More so, because Swedish investment company Vostok led the round – the Pakistan startup ecosystem rarely hits headlines for attracting international investment. Dubai-headquartered Gray Mackenzie Engineering Services also participated in the round.

Finja is giving a push to digital payments in Pakistan with its SimSim wallet.

Finja claims SimSim has been doubling its mobile wallets every month to notch up 80,000 accounts since it went live a few months ago. It has clocked transactions worth a total of US$14 million so far.

Danadidik, the platform that helps Indonesian students fund their study, raises seed funding (e27), Rated: A

Indonesian student loan platform Danadidik announced on Wednesday that it has raised an undisclosed seed funding round from Singapore-based impact investment fund Garden Impact Investments.

Danadidik Co-Founder and CEO Dipo Satria said that the new funding will be focussed on hiring, product development, and marketing.

He also stated that for the year 2018, the South Jakarta-based startup plans to launch its mobile app and is targeting to fund 2,000 students.

MENA

Abu Dhabi Inks FinTech Development Pact with Mastercard (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

Abu Dhabi’s international financial center has entered a collaboration with payments giant Mastercard to develop and accelerate FinTech solutions in the region.

The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international financial center established by a UAE Federal Decree to develop and strengthen financial services in Dubai as a global center for business and finance, is partnering Mastercard to develop FinTech activities in UAE’s capital and the wider MENA (The Middle East North Africa) region.

Latin America

Amid Brazil’s persistent economic crisis, fintech startup GuiaBolso raises $ 39 million (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Despite a continuing economic crisis, Brazil’s technology startups are continuing to attract cash and financing, with the mobile personal financial service GuiaBolso raising $39 million in fresh funding.

The new round was led by Vostok Emerging Finance, a publicly traded Swedish fund with its roots in big Russian private equity. Additional investors include Ribbit Capital, the International Finance Corp. and QED Investors, while impact investment firms Endeavor Catalyst and the Omidyar Network also participated.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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