Daily News Digest Featured News

Tuesday November 14 2017, Daily News Digest

Fed rates
Source: Bloomberg

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International

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News Summary

United States

Prosper reports $ 26M loss despite spike in lending (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace recorded a big jump in loan originations during the third quarter, but the San Francisco-based online lender still racked up $26.9 million in losses.

The privately held firm has lost $210 million since the start of 2016, in spite of various cost-cutting measures. In July, Prosper announced plans to discontinue a personal finance app that it acquired in 2015.

Prosper Reports Third Quarter Growth; Closes $ 1.5 Billion of Securitizations in 2017 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending platform for consumer loans, today reported growth in both transaction revenue and loan originations for the third quarter of 2017. Continued demand for Prosper’s personal loan product resulted in $822 million in loan originations through its platform, up 6% quarter-over-quarter and 164% year-over-year. The company also grew transaction fee revenue 5% quarter-over-quarter and 164% year-over-year.

The following table summarizes the financial highlights from the quarter:

Key Operating and Financial Metrics (Unaudited)
(in thousands)
Three Months Ended September 30,
2017 2016
Loan Originations $ 821,841 $ 311,776
Transaction Fees, Net 37,250 14,086
Servicing Fees, Net 6,976 7,079
Net Loss (26,940) (17,417)
Adjusted EBITDA(1) 7,271 (8,804)
Net Cash Provided by (Used in) Operating Activities 9,881 (4,237)

Summary of Key Financial Highlights:

  • Prosper facilitated $822 million in loan originations through its platform, up 6% quarter-over-quarter and 164% year-over-year, driven by strong demand for its personal loan product.
  • Transaction fee revenue rose to $37.2 million, up 5% quarter-over-quarter and 164% year-over-year.
  • The company reported a Net Loss of $26.9 million in the third quarter of 2017, which included $28.1 million in non-cash charges related to warrants to purchase preferred stock that were issued to a consortium of investors and a third party in connection with a settlement agreement.
  • Prosper generated $9.9 million of Net Cash from Operating Activities and Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $7.3 million in the third quarter of 2017.

The U.S. Yield Curve Is Flattening and Here’s Why It Matters (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

To put it simply, the Treasury yield curve measures the spread between short- and long-term debt issued by the U.S. government. It’s the extra compensation that investors demand to lock away their money for an extended period.

To get a sense of just how dramatic this trend has been, here’s a look at a handful of curve measures now versus the start of 2017. In trading Monday, they were all close to the flattest levels in a decade.

  • From two years to 10 years: 72 basis points, down from 125
  • From two years to 30 years: 119 basis points, down from 187
  • From five years to 10 years: 33 basis points, down from 52
  • From five years to 30 years: 80 basis points, down from 114

The two-year Treasury yield is at the highest level since 2008 as investors prepare for a rate hike in December, and begin to build up expectations for further increases next year.

Fed rates
Source: Bloomberg

Asset-liability managers like insurance companies and pension funds are always seeking duration, and 30-year Treasuries are among the best ways to get it. Combine that appetite with increased demand from passive mutual fund giantslike Vanguard and BlackRock, and you’ve got a recipe for a sustained bid on the long end of the Treasury curve.

debt supply
Source: Bloomberg

If one does take history at face value though, the $14.3 trillion Treasuries market is sending a warning about the economic outlook. Yield curves are the flattest in a decade, and it’s no coincidence that about 10 years ago marked the start of an 18-month recession.

Treasury note yield curve
Source: Bloomberg

While banks’ lending margins have increased slightly from their 2015 lows, they remain below the average of the past 30 years, according to the Fed.

Real estate tech company Compass raises $ 100 million, plans massive expansion (Housingwire), Rated: AAA

That capital raise placed the company’s valuation at more than $1 billion.

Now, one year later, the company’s valuation is nearly double that, thanks to another significant capital raise.

Compass announced this week that it raised $100 million in its Series E investment round, which placed the company’s valuation at $1.8 billion.

All total, the company has now raised $325 million.

PeerStreet Continues to Expand Resources and Technology Services to Lenders (BusinessWire), Rated: A

PeerStreet, an award-winning platform for investing in real estate backed loans, is excited to announce that it is aggressively expanding available resources and tools for private real estate lenders on its platform.

PeerStreet lenders can now access detailed Property Valuation Reports which allow lenders to analyze property data and adjust property details to generate highly accurate valuations that reflect current or future market conditions. The data that makes this possible is licensed by PeerStreet from HouseCanary, a leading provider of real estate valuation data and analytics. PeerStreet is providing this service to our lenders free of charge through our Lender Platform.

“Currently, our platform is a robust secondary marketplace for lenders. We’ve purchased over half a billion in loans from local lenders, but we see great value in developing practical tools to grow lenders’ businesses beyond providing capital to them,” said Brew Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO of PeerStreet.

Hornets, LendingTree Announce New Multi-Year Founding Level Partnership Highlighted (NBA), Rated: A

The Charlotte Hornets and LendingTree today announced a multi-year partnership in which the Charlotte-based online loan marketplace’s logo will appear on the team’s jerseys, effective immediately.  LendingTree also becomes a Founding Level Partner of the organization and the Official Loan Shopping Partner of the Charlotte Hornets.  The Hornets will wear the LendingTree logo on their jerseys for the first time on Wednesday, November 15, when the team debuts its new Classic Edition uniform in an 8 p.m. contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers that will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Along with placement on all team uniforms, LendingTree will have fixed signage on the Spectrum Center concourse and on the venue’s mobile entry scanners, as well as digital signage on the scorer’s table, basket stanchion, center-hung scoreboard and 360 LED boards.  LendingTree also receives entitlement of the new Hornets app, the team roster page on hornets.com and score updates on the team’s social media outlets.  Additional advertising elements include banner ads and pre-roll video ads on hornets.com and spots on Hornets television broadcasts on FOX Sports Southeast and radio broadcasts on WFNZ.

Miles Reidy of QED Investors on Regtech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Miles varied background in finance and how he landed at QED Investors.
  • His areas of focus at QED.
  • How Miles defines regtech.
  • Why regtech has its origins in the changes brought on by the financial crisis.
  • The comparison of regtech to the changes that happened in consumer credit in the 1980s and ’90s.
  • How automation is making a difference today in KYC.
  • Why consumers should be in control of who has access to their personal information.
  • The most profound change that regtech is going to bring to financial services.
  • The single hardest job at a large bank today.
  • Why integration is the key for any successful regtech project at a large bank.
  • Why the real regulatory innovation will be driven by the UK.
  • Why QED decided to create their own regtech conference in Washington DC.
  • What they will be covering at this event.
  • What Miles thinks are the most interesting areas of regtech today.

Two Startup Acquisitions Within 30 Hours For Plug and Play FinTech (Business Insider), Rated: A

Within 30 hours, two of Plug and Play FinTech’s batch startups were acquired: Vault by Acorns and Qumram by Dynatrace.

The Guarantors Raises €10.07M in Series A Funding (FINSMES), Rated: A

The Guarantors, a NYC-based insurtech startup focused on the real estate industry, raised €10.07M (approx. $11.7M) in Series A funding.

The round was led by White Star Capital and Alven Capital with participation from SilverTech Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Rocket Internet Capital Partners, Partech Ventures, and other investors.

The company will use the funds to continue to develop the product and launch beyond NY in 2018.

The internet name many banks are afraid to use (American Banker), Rated: A

After Farmers & Merchants State Bank in Archbold, Ohio, switched its internet domain from dot-com to dot-bank, it got a handful of calls from customers wondering where its website had gone.

The $1 billion-asset bank also noted some assumed when a sentence ended “.bank.” in its promotional materials, the last period was part of the web address, instead of perfect punctuation.

Farmers & Merchants is one of only a few hundred institutions that have made the switch to the generic top-level domain that became widely available in mid-2015. While the extension is supposed to signal a bank is, in fact, a bank, the domain is still not available to most bank customers.

SEC Says Companies Can Expect New Guidelines on Reporting Cybersecurity Breaches (WSJ), Rated: A

A senior Securities and Exchange Commission regulator said Thursday that public companies will soon face new guidelines for how they report cybersecurity breaches to investors.

The agency will probably update directions that it gave to companies over six years ago, before the spate of high-profile breaches, including at the SEC itself and Equifax , EFX 0.05% Inc., the credit-reporting firm with access to sensitive financial details for millions of consumers.

How to Become an Investor: Startup Capital (Investor Ideas), Rated: A

While it is not encouraged to apply for loans from major financial institutions like big banks (owing to interest rates of 15% – 23%), there are other options such as Lending Club that offer interest rates at just 5.32% for preferred clients. With interest rates that low, it is viable to consider nonconventional options to get your investments up and running. Lending Club is one example of a highly reputable service comprising a community of lenders that can help investors achieve their objectives.

Survey Shows Payday Borrowers Have No Regrets (Credit Union Times), Rated: A

According to the CFPB, payday loan companies collectively raked in roughly $3.6 billion in fee revenue in 2015. The CFPB also estimated that there are 15,766 payday loan stores throughout the U.S., slightly more than the country’s 14,350 McDonalds.

This lending product is commonly targeted at low-income consumers who use payday loans as plugs gaps in expenses in order to keep them afloat. Some credit unions see this an opportunity to help the underserved/underbanked market.

The Hoboken, N.J.-based LendEDU polled 1,000 consumers who have used a payday loan in the last year with some surprising results:

  • The average payday loan borrower used a payday loan 3.80 times in the last year.
  • Eighty-two percent said they looked at the interest rate and fees before borrowing.
  • The average amount borrowed was $442.16.
  • Fifty-one percent said they did not regret using a payday loan.
  • Two-thirds of respondents said they explored other borrowing options (ex. installment loans, credit cards) before using a payday loan.

However, some 75% of respondents indicated they were well informed throughout the application process; and when asked “Did payday loans make your financial situation better or worse off?” more borrowers stated that payday loans made their situations better, (44.2%) than worse, (30.3%).

FinTech Fast Tracks Mortgages (The MReport), Rated: B

According to a report by Sarah Strochak of the Urban Institute, the outpouring of financial technology (fintech) in the mortgage space has brought with it all sorts of innovation, including new ways to capture data, reaching more people and expanding access to credit. The Urban institute also states that in having the ability to reach more people, fintech firms also have the potential to disrupt the inequality status quo in the economy.

For example, the Urban Institute draws on the case of Down Payment Resource, a company that has created a database that matches customers with down payment assistance programs.

United Kingdom

Weekend press review: “…of a return to normality in markets that are still climbing a wall of worry about valuations…” (IFA Magazine), Rated: AAA

The Telegraph asks a question which will evoke a sigh from many readers. Have we seen the end of the peer-to-peer lending boom? Last year’s record £3.2 billion lending total – of which two thirds went to Zopa, Funding Circle or RateSetter – has been impacted by a succession of unrelated bad news stories.

First there’s been the falling rate of returns, which run at barely 3.7% for Zopa Core 4.5% at Zopa Plus – down by a good 1.5% since the good times. Not to mention a deteriorating risk situation: nowadays, the Telegraph says, fully 20% of applicants get Zopa approval compared with barely 0.5% in the old days. That puts Zopa’s approval rate on a par with the mainstream banks.

P2P sector urges chancellor to set bold housing agenda in Autumn Budget (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE PEER-TO-PEER lending sector has called on the chancellor to introduce a more ambitious housing programme in this month’s Budget.

There have been several rumours about the content of Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Budget, set for 22 November 2017, including the scrapping of stamp duty for first-time buyers.

Supporters of the policy claim it could help to bridge the UK’s generational divide, but P2P lenders think a more transformative housing policy is required.

Fintech startup Flux partners with Barclays for itemised receipts (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Flux, the London fintech startup founded by former early employees at Revolut, has announced a partnership with Barclays in the U.K. that will see it trial its itemised receipt technology with 10,000 of the bank’s customers.

The young company has built a software platform that bridges the gap between the itemised receipt data captured by a merchant’s point-of-sale (POS) system and what little information typically shows up on your bank statement or mobile banking app.

ThinCats Appoints Alison Whistance to Cover South-West Region (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Alison Whistance, described as a finance expert, joins ThinCats as Origination Manager, South-West, as the peer to peer lender gears up for its next period of growth. Recently, ThinCats announced a £200 million funding program in conjunction with its parent company ESF Capital.

FinTech firms, banks and insurers give evidence to Committee (Parliament.uk), Rated: B

The EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee continues its inquiry on financial regulation and supervision by taking evidence from banks, insurers and FinTech specialists.

Witnesses

Wednesday 15 November 2017 in Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster.

At 10.15am

  • Sally Dewar, International Head of Regulatory Affairs, JP Morgan
  • Julian Adams, Group Regulatory & Government Relations Director, Prudential

At 11.15am

  • Flora Coleman, Head of Government Relations, Transferwise
  • Charlotte Crosswell, Chief Executive Officer, Innovate Finance
China

LexinFintech files for $ 500m IPO in US (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings, a Chinese online consumer lending company, has filed for a $500m initial public offering in the US and in the process revealed that funding costs have spiked this year – just as Beijing has signalled its intent to crack down on the sector in a drive to rein in financial risk.

LexinFintech said in a Securities Exchange Commission filing that it was seeking to raise as much as $500m from its listing on the Nasdaq equities exchange under the ticker symbol “LX”.

The company said total operating revenue for the nine months to the end of September rose 35.3 per cent year on year to Rmb3.99bn ($600.6m), while operating costs rose 19.9 per cent to Rmb3.1bn, shaking out to a net profit of Rmb5.8m for the period, compared to a loss of Rmb193.7m a year prior.

‘Proptech’ follows fintech’s footsteps (China Daily), Rated: A

In the past few years, technology has revolutionized the financial sector, and as fintech continues to swell into more sectors, the real estate industry will welcome its own version, known as proptech, according to a senior executive from international real estate consultancy company Jones Lang LaSalle.

Perhaps the most prominent example of fintech on life in China is the ubiquity of mobile payment. The Better Than Cash Alliance reported earlier this year that Alipay and WeChat Pay enabled $2.9 trillion in Chinese digital payments in 2016, a 20-fold increase in the past four years.

A recent HSBC study finds that 70 percent of Chinese millennials have their own property, with 91 percent planning to buy a house in the next five years, a greater percentage than their counterparts in countries including Canada, France, the US and the UK.

European Union

Orange Bank goes live with Backbase banking platform (Banking Technology), Rated: A

France’s latest mobile-only bank, Orange Bank, has gone live on Backbase’sOmnichannel Banking Platform.

Backbase says Orange is the only French bank to offer for free a service that provides real-time balances, mobile payments and a virtual adviser that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

European Commission to Assess Potential of EU-Wide Blockchain Infrastructure (Coindesk), Rated: B

The European Commission (EC), the economic bloc’s legislative body, is launching a study aimed to assess the feasibility and potential of an EU-wide blockchain infrastructure.

The study, which is set to cost €250,000, will focus on whether blockchain can assist the EC’s objective of creating the conditions for a reliable, transparent and EU law compliant “data and transactional environment.”

International

FINASTRA SOLUTIONS NAMED BEST-IN-CLASS (Finastra), Rated: AAA

Aite Group has awarded Finastra “Best-in-Class” status for its commercial loan origination solutions, including Total Lending powered by LaserPro and FusionBanking Credit Management Enterprise (CME). The standing reinforces Finastra’s position as the industry leader in end-to-end commercial lending.

Aite Group’s bi-annual report, Commercial Loan Origination: Scoping the Market and Comparing the Vendors, is a comprehensive review and ranking of the 10 leading global commercial loan origination vendors. It uses a highly governed and quantitative vendor evaluation methodology known as the Aite Impact Matrix (AIM), which provides an in-depth market assessment of financial technology vendors.

Total Lending, powered by LaserPro (the installed base of which was evaluated based on the long-standing D+H commercial loan origination capabilities that comprise this new “good-better-best” tiered offering) was recognized by Aite Group as having the highest client strength score.

FusionBanking Credit Management Enterprise obtained the highest score for product features, delivering on the largest number of required commercial loan origination functionalities with the least amount of required configuration or custom code.

Finastra also received the “All Things to Everyone” award for its breadth of offerings from a single vendor.

SBL Network Ltd launches peer-to-peer securities lending platform (FTSE Global Markets), Rated: AAA

SBL Network Ltd, the new financial technology company created to provide transaction and information services to the global capital markets industry, is to launch the industry’s first peer-to-peer securities lending platform.

Aquila Network provides the first market place allowing major institutional owners of equities such as Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and Sovereign Wealth Funds, to negotiate and lend directly to Hedge Funds.

SBL has raised approximately £1m this year via two EIS-qualifying funding rounds and now announces the launch of its Aquila Network, the first peer-to-peer securities lending platform, established in response to what the firm says is growing demand for greater transparency in the securities lending marketplace.

What to Expect When Participating in a Token Launch (Consensys), Rated: AAA

When you initially learn about a token launch you’d like to participate in, gather all the information you can. Not every token launch is structured in the same way.

Make sure you do a few things before the token launch begins:

  • Research, research, research
  • Understand the value proposition of the project
  • Know the prerequisites you need in order to be a valid investor
  • Find out how you will pay for the token, and how tokens will be distributed

Watch out for Red Flags

The Ethereum space is exciting and full of opportunities, but there are scammers and phishers of all sorts looking to take advantage of people’s trust.

  • Never share your private key
  • Always do a deep read of the whitepaper, check out the source code
  • Listen to the community

KPMG: In Q3 Global Fintech Investment Hit $ 8.2 Billion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Overall, global Fintech investment remains solid with$8.2 billion invested across 274 deals.

Some of the larger investments  during the quarter include:

  • Intacct – $850 million
  • Concardis – $806 million
  • CardConnect – $ 750 million
  • Xactly – $564 million
  • Merchants’ Choice Payments solutions – $470 million
  • Access Point Financial $350 million
  • Service Finance Company – $304 million
  • Prodigy Finance – $204 million
  • TIO Networks – $238.9 million
  • Dianrong – $220 million

Insurtech is on course for a record breaking year with VC investments standing at $1.53 billion by the end of Q3 for 179 deals. For the entire year of 2016, Insurtech saw $1.79 billion invested in 203 deals.

Regionally, Fintech deals break down as follows:

  • Americas – $5.35 billion for 158 deals
    • the US claimed $5 billion and 142 deals
  • Europe – $1.66 billion for 73 deals
    • The UK dominated
  • Asia – $1.2 billion fro 41 deals
    • China continued to dominate but deals in Hong Kong, India and Korea were in the top 10
India

How to take a bank loan while working for a blacklisted employer (Financial Express), Rated: A

What happens when a company gets blacklisted? Will the employees have access to credit or will they get declined despite having good credit scores and salaries?

If one lands in such a situation, the logical thing to do is to change the employer. More because it would not only have an impact on one’s credit life, but more importantly, continued employment with a blacklisted employer can lead to financial disruptions sooner or later.

If the need for funding arises while being employed with a such company, one could take the following steps:

# The first lending institution to be contacted has to be the bank with your salary account.

# Each lending institution has its own methodology of categorizing companies and the current employer may not be part of the list with all lenders. So, “there may be some lenders willing to give loans unless one is employed with prominent companies that go bankrupt (as we have seen over past few years). However, one has to be very careful and in the endeavor to procure credit one must not apply with various lenders at the same time since this can have adverse impact on the credit profile. A better option would be to connect with a credit advisor with established repute and seek assistance,” informs Ramamurthy.

# Peer to peer lending is another new age option that can be explored by such individuals.

Asia

Kazakh fintech start-up holds its first global ICO (Astana Times), Rated: A

LendEx financial-tech (fintech) start-up plans to initiate an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) using the Ethereum platform based on block chain technology. The investments will be used to launch the LendEx P2P (peer to peer) lending platform, which will focus on online lending to clients in Central and Southeast Asia.

“The LendEx online platform, built with the help of block chain technologies, will provide crypto investors with access to the platform and will allow issuing microcredits for borrowers checked in national currencies,” said fintech entrepreneur and start-up author Alexey Sidorov.

The LendEx release will be held in two stages: the actual ICO and pre-ICO, which will begin Dec. 1.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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Allen Taylor

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