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Wednesday September 7th 2016, Daily News Digest

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United States

United Kingdom


United States

Orchard online lending snapshot, (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

borrower interest rates

Source: Orchard Platform

consumer loan rates vs treasury yields

Source: Orchard Platform

weekly available listing volume

Source: Orchard Platform

A definitive breakdown of the sorry state of Wall Street, (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

From fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) to equities to traditional investment banking, revenues dropped sharply. Let’s take a look:


Source : Business Insider


Source: Business Insider

William Hurley on Honest Dollar’s sale to Goldman Sachs, (Tech Crunch), Rated: AAA

Entrepreneurs  have traditionally shied away from fintech unlike Whurley — born William Hurley — who once exited a TEDx talkon a mind-controlled skateboard powered by an XBox Kinect.

His latest startup, Honest Dollar, bucked the trend in fintech after it “won” South by Southwest this year by announcing its acquisition by Goldman Sachs.

Despite regulatory headwinds and plenty of competition, Honest Dollar carved out a niche in financial services by servicing the nearly 16 million self-employed people in the “gig economy” who lack access to a retirement plan or 401k.

Acquired by Goldman Sachs only one year after its launch, Honest Dollar gained early traction with corporate customers who used the service as both a retention tool and a gap-fill for contractors who wanted access to retirement benefits that are traditionally reserved for full-time employees. Today, Honest Dollar counts Lyft among its clients.

“Added to Goldman Sachs,” Whurley said, “the combination would be unstoppable.”

Why Fintech Firms Are Winning the Battle for Digital Consumers,(The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Despite wanting to improve the digital consumer experience, research finds that the banking industry still can’t fully support key stages of the digital customer journey.

The 75-page Digital Banking Report, ‘State of the Digital Customer Journey,’ shows evidence that banks and credit unions of all sizes and not prepared to combat the increasing encroachment by fintech start-ups that focus on making every stage of the customer journey easy, seamless and contextual. In fact, there are some segments of the industry that are falling significantly behind consumer expectations.

The key takeaways from the report include:

  • The vast majority of financial institutions can’t open a new account entirely online or on a mobile device.
  • Only 16% of financial organizations provide a tablet assist account opening option in a branch.
  • Branch based ID verification and/or signatures/supporting documentation are required at the majority of organizations.
  • Multichannel digital account opening (save and resume) is not supported at most financial institutions.
  • New account opening abandonment rates are high for institutions that offer online or mobile account opening.
  • Only 55% of banks and credit unions have a “structured” onboarding process.
  • Only 22% of financial institutions onboard new customers with the “optimal” amount of communication.
  • Only 30% of banks and credit unions market products within the mobile banking app.
  • Community banks are falling behind both larger banks and credit unions in digitizing the customer journey.

Klarna’s CEO thinks he was a “really bad CEO” last year, but says that’s actually a good thing, (Business Insider), Rated: A

At the fika with Sebastian Siemiatkowski at Stockholm Tech Festival, the 34-year-old CEO co-founder of Klarna was asked how he could cope with staying 12 years at the same company.

“There has been one really major shift for us. When Klarna started we were very very focused on the merchants. Over time we realized that that was wrong. We realized that the user is the customer and we’ve got to build a great product for the customer.”

“Since then the customer satisfaction has skyrocketed, with some really simplistic measures.”

Siemiatkowski stresses that at the end of the day its ‘boring’ things like customer service and the fundamental product that is the basis of success.

“After 12 years the only thing I really care about is building a great product,” he says in retrospect. “We don’t need to reimagine everything all the time.”

Pile On: Yirendai Now Has Eight Lawsuits Against Them, ( Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

At the most recent count, China-based peer to peer lender Yirendai (NYSE:YRD) has at least eight class-action lawsuits filed against the company following the enactment of new regulations directed towards the booming online lending industry in China. The firms that have made public proclamations are as follows:

  • Khang & Khang
  • Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman
  • Lundin Law
  • The Wagner Firm
  • Goldberg Law
  • Law Offices of Howard G. Smith
  • Rosen Law Firm
  • Glancy Prongay & Murray

China News reported that Yirendai “rejected the complaints as without merit and the company intends to defend its interest.” It is hard to decipher how Yirendai can be faulted for the actions of a sovereign government.

United Kingdom

LendInvest looks to hire 100 in expansion plan, (Financial News), Rated: AAA

The threat of Brexit has failed to dent the plans of LendInvest, the UK online property lender that is looking to double in size.

LendInvest posted a profit of £3.12 million and revenue of £15 million for the year to March 2015, according to the firm’s latest accounts. The UK firm includes as its backers venture capital firmAtomico, run by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, and Beijing Kunlun, a Chinese technology company.

The firm has grown from 30 employees in early 2015 to around 115.  LendInvest also recently hired Stephan Wilcke as a senior adviser. Wilcke was the chief of HM Treasury’s Asset Protection Agency up until 2011.


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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"Your daily letter is great!" , Ram , Founder and CEO, PeerIQ

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"Hi George - just want to tell you that you are doing a great work with Lending Times;-) Brgds, Kasper" , Kasper, Partner and Co-founder at Dansk Faktura Børs A/S

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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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