Daily News Digest Featured News

August 11th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Today’s most interesting article is Prosper’s Transparency Report. Other interesting news : lending milestones broken by companies in Europe. Peer Street receives FCA approval. And a new Australian SME lenders raises $3mil. We practically have daily fund raising news recently. Perhaps the fintech lender investment market has also thawed.

United States

United Kingdom

European Union



United States

Why Did Funds Appear To Have Poor Q1/Q2 Returns?, (MonJa), Rated: AAA

Most likely, it’s due to Fair Market Value adjustments.
While FMV methodologies differ, there are typically two reasons a fund would mark down the loans, independent of any actual losses:

1. Increasing primary origination interest rates: Similar to bonds, a change in discount rates will impact loan pricing. Lending Club has been increasing rates to bring investors onto the platform, making the older loans held by LCA (and everyone else) less attractive; hence the price adjustment to equalize returns.

2. Increase in forward expected losses: Lending Club has been revising the expected losses upwards, which LCA would most likely need to incorporate. Incorporating the newer loss curves will push down the NPV of the cashflow.

We estimate the spread duration of LCA’s blended portfolio is probably somewhere between 1.3 – 1.5, which means even a 50 bps in adjustments of #1 and #2 combined would mean a 75 bps return hit. If you take the adjustment all in one month, that can wipe out that month’s return entirely.

What Can Investors Expect Going Forward? Prosper Shows Case For Optimism

Moving past Q1 performance, certain funds have demonstrated performance improvement through Q2. In Prosper Platform’s June 2016 Performance Update, they highlighted an expected return of June 2016 production being just above the 7.4% on average.

MonJa 1

Source: Prosper profitability report

For more in depth portfolio analysis, here’s the full report. In addition to the return improvements, the vintages have seen in uptick in June 2016.

MonJa 2

Source: Prosper profitability report

Specifically, the Estimated IRR has rose to 7.42% in June, exceeding the Q2 performance 6.82% mark. Prosper’s June performance gives positive signs to investors of  future fund performance.


To an outsider, marketplace lending funds may look terrible. While investors may be hesitant about marketplace lending, it’s imperative to drill down deeper in performance analysis to understand what underlies the caution. In this situation, examining fair market value explains fund performance inconsistencies. What other portfolio metrics can provide similar insights that give investors a more well-rounded perspective? It’s important investors know the full story, especially as they provide regular updates to their clients.

Comment: Very interesting comment from Jason Jones ( LendIt Founder) to this article :

“Jason Jones
I would be interested in seeing the relative weighting of three elements that are the inputs in monthly returns: 1) the monthly adjustment due to changes in interest rates, 2) the monthly adjustment allocated to forward expected losses, and 3) the “core” return that you get when you back out the previous two adjustments.

It is possible to run a simulated monthly return stream using LC’s publicly available data to show the trends in these three inputs?”

Prosper July 2016 Profitability Report, (Prosper), Rated: AAA

Prosper Portfolio Highlights:

• Estimated return on July 2016 production continues to be slightly over 7.4% on average. iii

• The origination data continues the trend towards a more conservative portfolio with a greater coupon (table on right.)

• Early delinquency for 2016Q2 vintages are below 2015Q4 and 2016Q1 levels. Prosper believes the lower delinquency in this vintage is an early, but positive, result of policy conservatism implemented throughout 2016Q1 and 2016Q2.

• All delinquency and loss patterns since 2013 remain well below the loss and delinquency levels experienced in 2012. The lower level of risk is attributed to changes made to Prosper’s credit risk program at the end of 2012. Today, early delinquency continues to be a crucial input as future policy and pricing changes for the portfolio are assessed.

• Cumulative gross charge-offs remain above 2013 trend, which we believe are a result of environmental changes observed in the broad consumer credit market at the end of 2015.

• Pre-payment patterns remain relatively stable with vintages from 2015 and 2016 tracking the early pre-payment patterns of the 2013 vintage more closely than that of the 2014 vintage.

Prosper Says Policy Changes Have Driven Lower Loan Delinquencies, ( Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Back in May, Prosper started a monthly update on performance of loans on their marketplace lending platform. The added transparency is welcomed insight – especially for smaller investors.

Today, Brad Pennington, CRO of Prosper, published the July 2016 performance report. He stated that expected returns in the first and second quarter of 2016 production are just above 7.4% on average. Their numbers also show that early delinquency for 2016 Q2 vintages are below 2015 Q4 and 2016 Q1 levels. Prosper states that policy changes that were first implemented in the third quarter of 2015 are responsible for the lower delinquency for 2016 Q2 vintages.

Other items highlighted by

  • The origination data continues the trend towards a more conservative portfolio with a greater coupon.
  • Cumulative gross charge-offs remain above 2013 trend as a result of environmental changes in the consumer credit market at the end of 2015.
  • Pre-payment patterns remain relatively stable with vintages from 2015 and 2016 tracking the early pre-payment patterns of the 2013 vintage more closely than that of the 2014 vintage.

Lending Club: After Q2, Still Not For The Faint Of Heart, ( Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Comment: article commenting on Lending Club Q2 results.

The losses are rolling in. Q2 operating income was -$85.3 million. [Comment: That is roughly about 10% of cash and equivalents available at the beginning of the period. No surprised.]

Originations declined 29% quarter over quarter, leading to lower transaction revenue. [Comment: I think the interesting story is the comparison with Q2 2015 !]

Cost cutting initiatives are working. [Comment: It is hard to control revenue, it is easier to control expenses. ]

There is no clear roadmap regarding the revival of institutional capital. [Comment: I disagree, Scott Sanborn clearly said that 75% of instit capital is again active on the platform.]

There seems to be no major problem with managed accounts, which have been quite resilient amid the funding downturn. [Comment: This is very interesting. I did not expect it  / realize it ! ]

Instant Analysis: LendingClub CFO Follows CEO Out the Door, (Motley Fool), Rated: A

The company announced that Carrie Dolan resigned from the post of CFO. The reason given was that she wanted to “pursue a new opportunity.” LendingClub did not elaborate.

Does it matter? Dolan’s departure, so close to Laplanche’s exit, doesn’t exactly build confidence in LendingClub’s business. This is compounded by the company’s Q2 results, which unhelpfully were released the same day the CFO transition was announced. [Comment: I am not sure about the timing neither. ]

Over the past week, OnDeck Capital’s share price has improved by 12%.

Reimagining Community Reinvestment Act in the Marketplace Lending Era, ( American Banker), Rated: A

Since 1977, the community responsibilities of banks have been codified in the Community Reinvestment Act, which sought to eliminate “redlining” through requirements for banks’ lending, investment and service activities in their own neighborhoods.

The CRA’s primary unit of analysis is a bank’s geographic “assessment area,” where branches, ATMs and offices are located. The objective of the law, and regulations that implement it, is to ensure banks are focused on the needs of low- and moderate-income communities as well as underserved rural areas.

But in a hyperdigital age, where technology has made the world smaller and financial services offerings are no longer correlated with geographic locations, the question is how the “good neighbor” policy of CRA can continue.

The Treasury Department provided some insight in early May in a much-anticipated white paper. The paper suggested that marketplace lenders could partner with community development financial institutions (CDFIs), which Treasury called “high-touch lenders.”

This mild recommendation was the closest the report came to ensuring or to mandating that new non-territorial lenders make good neighbors in all the areas they serve.

Small-business optimism remains flat: report, (The Hill) ,Rated: A

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said Tuesday that its latest index of small-business optimism ticked up 0.7 of a point in June to 94.5 over the January reading.

The NFIB said that the latest survey reflects a lack of enthusiasm by small businesses for making capital outlays, increasing inventories or expanding.

The index is still below the 42-year average of 98.

Four of the index’s 10 components posted a gain, three declined and three were unchanged.

More than half (56 percent) reported hiring or trying to hire, which was unchanged from earlier this year, but 48 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.

Overall, 29 percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 2 points, the highest reading in this expansion.

LEND360 Announces Line-Up of Keynote Speakers, ( EIN News), Rated: A

The 2016 LEND360 keynote speakers are:

• Ron Suber, President, Prosper
• James Hobson, Chief Operating Officer, OnDeck
• Charlie Cook, Editor and Publisher, Cook Political Report
• William Phelan, President and Co-founder, PayNet

LendingHome Hires Chief Risk Officer to Form Seasoned Mortgage Risk Team, Offers Better Investor Protection, (Press Release), Rated: A

Originates $750 Million in Mortgage Loans; Over 10% Now Funded by Peer-to-Peer Investors.

LendingHome, the largest mortgage marketplace lender, continues to instill investor confidence for investing in its high-quality, high-yield real estate assets. Today the company announced the appointment of expert risk leader Cynthia Chen as its chief risk officer (CRO). Chen also served at Capital One as the director of commercial credit portfolio analytics where she led the team responsible for the allowance of loan and lease losses (ALLL) forecast of the bank’s $50 billion-plus commercial and small business portfolio.

Additionally, Chen brings fintech experience from OnDeck Capital where she led the company’s risk management function, created a risk governance framework, and developed and implemented risk models. This included the development of machine learning models based on alternative data and performing risk analytics using big data techniques.

With the addition of Chen as CRO, LendingHome forms a seasoned team of risk experts including:

Chaomei Chen — As an advisor to LendingHome. She served as CRO and chief credit officer (CCO) for top financial institutions including JPMorgan Chase Card Services/Wamu , FleetBoston Cards, and Providian Financial Services. Most recently she was CRO for  LendingClub from 2011 through 2015, which included the company’s IPO in 2014.

John Slominski — Recently hired as vice president of credit and risk management.  Recently he served as senior vice president of underwriting and default services at Associated Bank, vice president of credit for Radian Guaranty, and held other senior positions at institutions such as Fannie Mae, Bank of America, and Citi.

At a time of investor uncertainty in the marketplace lending space, LendingHome is seeing the strongest, most diverse capital base to date. In particular, less than six months since launch, its investment marketplace for individual investors now funds over 10 percent of all new loans originated by the company and is growing quickly.

Along with a world-class risk team, LendingHome further instills confidence among individual investors with the formation of LendingHome Marketplace LLC. This special purpose bankruptcy remote entity reduces the risk profile associated with LendingHome as a company. The LLC operates under indenture with Delaware Trust to help protect investments in the event that the related LendingHome companies were to cease operations.

Based in San Francisco, California, LendingHome has 200 employees and has raised $109.3 million in funding with leading investment from Renren, Ribbit Capital, Foundation Capital, and First Round Capital.

Money360 Exceeds $ 100 Million Mark in Closed Commercial Real Estate Loans, ( Marketwired), Rated: A

Money360, a commercial real estate marketplace lending platform, announced today that it has surpassed the $100 million mark in closed commercial real estate loans with the completion of $15.25 million in recently closed loans that reflect the escalating growth of the marketplace lender’s portfolio.

Much of the company’s recent growth, according to Money360 founder and CEO Evan Gentry, stems from a contraction of the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market. Money360 has seen more than a 100 percent increase in applications from borrowers turned down by bank and CMBS institutions as a result of increased regulations.

Money360’s recent transactions, totaling $15.25 million, include a bridge loan for the acquisition of a multifamily property in Tucson, Arizona; a bridge loan for the renovation of a full-service boutique hotel in Aurora, Ohio; cash-out permanent financing for a single-tenant retail building in Dayton, Ohio; and a bridge loan for the refinance of an anchored shopping center containing 206,257 square feet of rentable area in Jacksonville, Illinois.

United Kingdom

Peer Funding, a P2P lending platform, obtains license from FCA, (SMN Weekly), Rated: A

Peer Funding Limited, a recently established UK peer-to-peer business lending platform, announced it has obtained full authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and would start its activities in the autumn of 2016.

Currently Peer Funding is offering early bird registration on its website. The pre-launch offer applies to the first 150 qualifying registrants on a first come first served basis.

LendInvest: What landlords can learn from Brexit vote, ( Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

The top 20 list of region with highest real estate capital gains is dominated by districts that voted to remain in the EU, specifically locations in Greater London: places such as the City of London, Waltham Forest, Hackney and Lambeth.

Just two of the top 20 districts for capital gains voted in favour of Brexit – Barking & Dagenham and Spelthorne in Surrey. Looking at the top 50, just 18 of these districts voted for Brexit.

European Union

 More than EUR 50 million in loans financed through peer-to-peer lending marketplace Mintos, (Press Release), Rated: A

Only a year and a half into beginning operations, peer-to-peer lending marketplace Mintos has seen investors funding already more than EUR 50 million in loans to both private individuals, as well as small and medium sized businesses. The Mintos marketplace hosts loans from 14 non-bank lenders, which have joined the marketplace from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.

According to funded loan volume, to date, the most money has flowed into Latvia’s economy – 33%, Lithuania’s – 31% and Estonia’s – 23%.

This July, the investors financed EUR 7 million in loans through Mintos.

Investors have already received more than EUR 1 million in interest over the past year and a half. More than 10,000 investors finance loans on the Mintos marketplace. The average invested amount of each investor on the platform is approximately EUR 4,000.

The Mintos marketplace is used by investors from 49 countries across the globe, including Japan, Australia, Singapore, Sweden, Finland, and others; however, the most active investors are from Germany, Estonia, Latvia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

EstateGuru reaches €10 million in loan volume, (Press Release), Rated: A

EstateGuru is an online peer-to-peer debt funding platform. In two years of operating EstateGuru has funded over 60 Estonian property projects with the aid of Estonian and foreign investors.

Despite low business turnover during the summer months, projects through the EstateGuru platform obtain fast financing. The existing record is €31,000 in 31 minutes! Average loan sizes through the platform are €162,227, with the LTV being 59.32% and historical average returns of 11.77%. To date €3.1 million from the loans provided has already been repaid and investors have received a total of €376,383 in interest. None of the loans have defaulted and all repayments are on schedule.

EstateGuru is an online peer-to-peer debt funding platform enabling physical and legal persons to invest in loans secured against properties, whilst obtaining capital direct from investors without the involvement of banks. EstateGuru’s mission is to become the leading cross border property secured debt funding platform with the aid of over 4300 investors. EstateGuru’s investors are from 27 countries with the majority being Estonian.


Small business lending marketplace secures seed funding, ( Inside Small Business) , Rated: A

Fintech small business lending marketplace Bigstone said it has completed a $3 million seed funding round. Proceeds from the capital raise will be used to fuel expansion, grow the marketing team, extend the reach of Bigstone’s channel partner network and further build out Bigstone’s small business loan market platform.

“The leadership team of Bigstone is what first excited us about this opportunity.”




George Popescu
George Popescu

About the author

George Popescu

Serial entrepreneur.

George sold and exited his most successful company, Boston Technologies (BT) group, in 2014. BT was a technology, market maker, high-frequency trading and inter-broker broker-dealer in the FX Spot, precious metals and CFDs space company. George was the Founder and CEO and he boot-strapped from $0 to a $20+ million in revenue without any equity investment. BT has been #1 fastest growing company in Boston in 2011 according to the Boston Business Journal and the only company being in top 10 fastest in 2012-13 as it was #5 in 2012. BT has been on the Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest growing companies in the US for 4 years in a row ( #143, #373, #897 and #1270). After the company sale in July 2014 until February 2015 George was Head-of-Strategy for Currency Mountain ( www.currencymountain.com ), a USD 100 million+ holding company focused on retail and medium institutional currencies, precious metals, stocks, fixed income and commodities businesses.

• Over the last 10 years, George founded 10 companies in online lending, craft beer brewery, exotic sports car rental space, hedge funds, peer-reviewed scientific journal ( Journal of Cellular and Molecular medicine…) and more. George advised 30+ early stage start-ups in different fields. George was also a mentor at MIT’s Venture Mentoring Services and Techstar Fintech in NY.

• Previously George obtained 3 Master's Degrees: a Master's of Science from MIT working on 3D printing, a Master’s in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Supelec, France and a Master's in Nanosciences from Paris XI University. Previously he worked as a visiting scientist at MIT in Bio-engineering for 2 years. George had 3 undergrad majors: Maths, Physics and Chemistry. His scientific career led to about 10 publications and patents.

• On the business side, Boston Business Journal has named me in the top 40 under 40 in 2012 in recognition of his business achievements.

• George is originally from Romania and grew up in Paris, France.

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