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Wednesday May 31st, Daily News Digest

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Korea

Australia

India

Singapore

News Summary

United States

Victory Park Capital sells Funding Circle US and Upstart loans, (Peer2Peer), Rated: AAA

The London-listed investment trust said that the loans sold represented 3.65 per cent and 1.48 per cent respectively of the company’s net asset value (NAV) as of 31 March. The firm said it will retain its non-performing Funding Circle US and Upstart loans, which represented 0.68 per cent and 0.21 per cent respectively of NAV as of 31 March 2017.

VPC announced in November 2016 that it was winding down its P2P lending portfolio, after losses triggered substantial writedowns.

Taking into account the loan sales, the company’s balance sheet investments accounted for 63 per cent of the NAV as of 31 March 2017, as compared to 17 per cent for the marketplace loans.

“The company expects to re-invest substantially all of the sale proceeds into balance sheet investments, as well as other strategic uses,” it said in a stock exchange announcement on Friday.

Fintech has peaked, claims Morgan Stanley report, (Alt Fi News), Rated:AAA

In a pessimistic new report, researchers from Morgan Stanley have concluded that while fintech companies style themselves as disruptors they will do more to strengthen than undermine incumbents in the long term.

“Only five disruptors have survived as standalone entities out of over 450 fintech firms launched during the dotcom era,” the report said.

Fintech has been most promising in areas lacking infrastructure and where established players have been weakest. This was particularly true of blockchain and robo-advice.

However, these trends are reversing as major financial institutions have started building their own robo-advisors and acquiring blockchain startups.

“Independent start-ups in the robo-advisor space will struggle to be profitable given the high cost of acquisition and intensifying competition.

“We think however that established financial advisors, banks, insurers, etc. will keep automating parts of their value chain…to improve the infrastructure for established incumbents.”

“Marketplace lenders are poised to grow at a… moderate pace leveraging traditional institutions as primary sources of capital; in essence serving as a more efficient customer acquisition and servicing channel for traditional lenders.

“We remain bullish on the potential for marketplace lenders to take share, as they benefit from regulatory arbitrage and changing consumer behavior.”

Behind the Scenes at Orchard Platform, a Struggle to Innovatete, (NY Times), Rated: AAA

“We’re launching a full marketplace from scratch,” Mr. Burton said a few months later, at Orchard’s Flatiron district office, and we “hope everyone shows up.” But they didn’t.

More than a year after Mr. Burton revealed his big plans, Orchard has completed just a scattering of transactions. Over that time, it burned through more than $5 million in legal fees and other expenses.

Next month, hoping to add momentum, Orchard plans to unveil a scaled-back version of the platform, eight months later than first planned.

But regardless of the company’s fate, its struggles thus far reveal just how hard it can be for a new entrant — even one with successful founders, a promising service and big-name investors — to break into a highly regulated industry.

Seeking financial expertise, Orchard recruited a few Wall Street veterans from Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns. In late spring of last year, Mr. Burton had more than a dozen roadshow meetings with executives from the largest loan platforms, including Lending Club, Prosper Marketplace and Social Finance.

He hoped to charge them monthly fees of $2,500 to $5,000 to participate. Orchard also offered them the ability to be its “data partners,” so Orchard could standardize their data for trading purposes — which Mr. Burton called “the big heavy lift.”

Orchard also enlisted the help of Meredith Cross, a lawyer at WilmerHale and the former head of corporate finance at the Securities and Exchange Commission, as it met with Wall Street regulators.

But in July, S.E.C. officials told Orchard that they would consider loans being traded as securities, potentially imposing a tougher level of oversight. That made some lenders nervous about participating. Some lenders were also concerned about exposing investors they had cultivated to loans from competitors.

“We do not have a current need for a trading platform,” said Ryan Rosett, a chief executive of Credibly, which offers small-business loans. “Our capital markets team has the ability to sell our loans directly to a pool of institutional investors.”

Orchard was also fighting a separate headwind. The broader market for online loans was being buffeted by higher consumer loan defaults and investor fears. Some online lenders cut staff members, and others shut down as loan growth dried up.

As Orchard X struggled to get going, he said, legal documents for trades had “ballooned to 150 pages from a 20-page contract,” leaving him exasperated. “I’m a tech guy!” he said.

As it moves forward, Orchard has played down the regulatory issue, proceeding without an explicit formal S.E.C. ruling on whether the loans are securities. It is a potentially risky move, but one the company believes will work in part because it has dropped its goal of legal standardization, cutting the need for lending platforms to agree on regulation issues. The S.E.C. declined to comment.

In January, Orchard X arranged its first sale of about $30 million in loans from an ailing platform, a small-business lender called CAN Capital. The auction took a lengthy four weeks to complete. But Orchard X did receive a fee of 0.5 percent of the sale price.

Looking back, Mr. Burton said on April 4, Orchard should not have tried to persuade lenders to join the trading platform all at once. Having raised $30 million in 2015, Orchard plans to announce next month that it has raised an additional $20 million or more and to formally roll out its revised Orchard X transaction platform.

LendingClub Files Presentation in Advance of Annual Shareholders Meeting, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The file can be found here.

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) has filed a new form with the SEC (DEF 14A) in advance of the annual shareholders meeting which is scheduled to take place on June 6, 2017. The addition to the Annual Meeting Proxy Statement, a standard filing, includes a presentation on the company asking shareholders to support Director nominees, executive compensation and ratification of the auditor.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the filing is the synopsis of the events in 2016 that led to the departure of founding CEO Renaud Laplanche and the ensuing aftershocks that pummeled the online lender.

Law firm-issued collections letters continue to pose high risks, (Pepper Hamilton), Rated: AAA

The CFPB has pursued lawsuits, as well as formal enforcement actions, concerning misrepresentations of attorney involvement in debt collection-related communications.

On April 17, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit in Ohio district court against the Weltman, Weinburg & Reis law firm (WWR), alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) stemming from the firm’s issuance of debt collection demand letters. The CFPB’s allegations against WWR closely resemble the FDCPA allegations that were considered by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Jones v. Dufek, 830 F.3d 523 (D.C. Cir. 2016). Dufek also concerned a debt collection letter that was sent by an attorney acting as a debt collector and not as legal counsel. On March 20, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Dufek plaintiff’s petition for a writ of certiorari to review the Court of Appeals’ decision in favor of the defendant attorney/collector. Notwithstanding Dufek, however, debt collectors and first-party creditors are well-advised to be extremely diligent when using law firms as debt collectors.

In actuality, the CFPB’s complaint alleges that “no attorney had assessed any consumer-specific information . . . [a]nd no attorney had made any individual determination that the consumer owed the debt, that a specific letter should be sent to the consumer, that a consumer should receive a [collections] call, or that the account was a candidate for litigation.” Thus, according to the CFPB, the subject letters contained numerous misrepresentations that violated both the FDCPA and the prohibitions of the Consumer Financial Protection Act against unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices.

The specific deficiencies cited in the CFPB’s complaint against WWR include the fact that subject letters were printed on law firm letterhead, which prominently included the phrase “ATTORNEYS AT LAW” (in bold type and in all caps) and included the law firm’s name in the signature line.

In determining whether the Dufek letter violated the FDCPA as a false, deceptive or misleading representation, the Court of Appeals noted, as a threshold matter, that “if an attorney is acting only as a debt collector and has not formed a legal opinion about the case, he or she cannot send a letter [stating or implying] otherwise” without misleading the recipient/debtor..

Misrepresentations regarding attorney involvement in collections letters and other communications continue to be a “hot button” issue with the CFPB. The collections letters targeted in the CFPB’s lawsuit against WWR are distinguishable from the letter at issue in Dufek in that the Dufek letter included a disclaimer regarding the attorney’s review of the underlying account. Yet, the CFPB’s complaint against WWR can be read as implying that the use of attorney letterhead and the inclusion of the law firm’s name in the signature line were per se improper.

Earnest Prices $ 175 million Securitization of Refinanced Student Loans; Achieves AA (High) Rating by DBRS, (Market Wired), Rated: A

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – May 24, 2017) – Earnest today announced the close of the $175 million Earnest 2017-A transaction backed by refinanced student loans. The offering received an AA (high) rating on the senior notes by DBRS which is now only one notch below the highest attainable rating of AAA. The transaction was three-times oversubscribed and traded at the tight end of market guidance.

Earnest has now completed five securitizations of refinanced student loans since February 2016 for a total value of over $877 million. In 15 months, the company has increased its rating on the senior notes from A to AA (high), a progression that often takes several years. This speaks to the quality of the underlying collateral and the advancement Earnest has made as a programmatic issuer in the capital markets.

“This marks another strong securitization for Earnest, providing us the opportunity to welcome new investors and continue building our capital markets program. We’re thrilled at the appetite and investor confidence in our offerings,” said Louis Beryl, CEO and co-founder of Earnest.

Elastic line of credit surpasses $ 200 million in outstanding loans, (Email), Rated: A

More than $680 million funded and 155,000 customers served since 2013 validates need for expanded access to credit in the U.S.

FORT WORTH, TX – May 31, 2017 – Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the Elastic product has surpassed $200 million in total principal outstandings, with more than 120,000 open accounts.

Elastic, a bank-issued line of credit offered by Republic Bank & Trust Company (“Republic Bank”), has loaned over $680 million dollars to more than 155,000 customers, since its launch in 2013. The $200 million in total principal outstandings includes the 10% of outstandings Republic Bank retains. Elastic passed the $100 million in outstandings mark in May 2016.

About Elevate
Elevate (NYSE: ELVT) has originated $4 billion in non-prime credit to more than 1.6 million consumers to date. Its responsible, tech-enabled online credit solutions provide immediate relief to customers today and help them build a brighter financial future. The company is committed to rewarding borrowers’ good financial behavior with features like interest rates that can go down over time, free financial training and free credit monitoring. Elevate’s suite of groundbreaking credit products includes RISE, Elastic and Sunny. For more information, please visit http://www.elevate.com.

Interest Rates on Connext™ Private Student Loans Decrease as Federal Student Loan Rates are Set to Rise, (Email), Rated: A

ReliaMax®, the complete private student lending solutions provider, today announced that the banks and alternative lenders participating in the Connext® Private Student Loan program will lower the interest rates on those loans. EffectiveJune 1, 2017, the lowest rates for variable- and fixed-interest rate Connext® loans for undergraduate and graduate programs will be reduced to 2.87 percent APR* and 5.40 percent APR*, respectively, and the borrower will not be charged an origination fee.

Federal student loan interest rates on new loans are scheduled to increase on July 1 for the 2017-2018 school year. These interest rates are adjusted each year based on the annual Treasury Department auction plus a set percentage amount added for each type of loan program. According to MarketWatch, the interest rate for the 2017-2018 school year is 4.45 percent for undergraduate federal student loans, 6.00 percent for graduate federal student loans, and the rate increases to 7.00 percent for both Graduate PLUS and Parent PLUS loans. In addition, there are loan origination fees charged to the borrower for both undergraduate and PLUS loans of 1.069 percent** and 4.276 percent**, respectively.

ReliaMax has helped over 450 banks, credit unions, alternative lenders and investors to fund more than $3 billion in loans to students attending over 2,300 non-profit colleges and universities. Through its complete Private Student Loan Platform-as-a-Service solution, which includes originating, servicing, borrower acquisition, portfolio liquidity and insurance provided by ReliaMax Surety Company***, ReliaMax enables lenders to quickly, easily and safely help student borrowers realize their education goals.

Blackrock’s Consumer ABS ETF and Parallels to the High Yield Bond Market, (PeerIQ Email), Rated: AAA

Shares of Lending Club and OnDeck surged last Monday 3.9% and 9.5% respectively, on reporting from the WSJ citing increased investor appetite for bonds backed my marketplace lending loans. The price action in response to the report underscores public markets focus on execution in the ABS markets. The report, citing bond performance information provided by PeerIQ, shows a substantial tightening in new issue pricing and greater investor acceptance.

This week, Blackrock announced a new ETF enabling retail investors to access bonds backed by consumer loans. The ETF is an investor-friendly way for investors to access consumer credit with liquidity, daily pricing, and convenience of access via a brokerage account.

The launch of the ETF reminds us of another ETF launch in a rapidly growing credit asset class – the launch of Blackrock’s iShares High-Yield Bond index (Ticker: HYG). HYG was launched in 2007 as a means of creating transparency and liquidity in the new issue high yield bond market.
The market for new issue high yield started quite small initially. Today, the high-yield market today is a mature market consisting of thousands of issues, broad ratings coverage, and a diverse capital market.
New issue high-yield bonds, popularized by Michael Milken, offer an alternative form of financing for non-investment grade issuers. The bonds create a long-term, fixed coupon alternative to financing. MPL ABS, like the high-yield new issue market, also emerged as alternative source of financing to high-cost equity and tight bank credit.
Continuing the analogy, the high-yield bond market went through its own cycles of investor frenzy and investor confidence issues borne from lack of transparency and data integrity (see WorldCom and Enron).
However, unlike the high-yield bond market which is now mature, the MPL ABS market is in its early growth stages. Growth, as documented in the PeerIQ Securitization Tracker, is robust at 59% YOY growth and cumulative issuance is approaching $20 Bn. Non-bank lenders across myriad asset classes are still in the early innings of accessing the debt capital markets to avail themselves of low-cost, non-recourse, permanent capital.
At the time of the launch of HYG in 2007, the ETF was greeted with skepticism and seen as an experiment. Today, HYG is considered a resounding success. Tens of billions of high yield risk trade via various ETFs linked to high-yield bond collateral.
In a few years time, we may look back and point to these and other events as key milestones that lead to MPL ABS as a core component of a fixed income portfolio.

MPOWER Financing Secures Add-on Investment from 1776 Ventures, (Email), Rated: A

MPOWER Financing (www.mpowerfinancing.com) announced today that 1776 Ventures (www.1776.vc) has doubled-down its investment in the company with an additional $500,000 investment ahead of MPOWER’s planned Series B for this summer. 1776 Ventures is an investment fund focused on seed-stage investments seeking to transform complex industries. In addition to being seed and Series A round investors, their partners have also served as a mentor and close advisor to MPOWER Financing.
MPOWER Financing is an innovative fintech company and provider of educational loans to high-promise international students who do not fit the traditional credit criteria of banks or lenders.

SoFi and JetBlue Help Customers Managing Student Loans Earn Reward Travel, (PR News Wire), Rated: B

Through the partnership, JetBlue’s TrueBlue members who refinance their student loans with SoFi will now earn 1 TrueBlue® point for every $2 they refinance through the lender, up to 50,000 points. With average monthly savings of $288*, refinancing student loans with SoFi frees up extra money that members can use to pursue travel plans, save and invest for the future, or buy a home.

 

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Wellesley & Co. publishes financial results and loan book, CFO resigns, ( Alt Fi), Rated: AAA

Wellesley & Co., the peer-to-peer lender best-known for investing alongside its investors, has announced wide-ranging changes to the business. In addition to publishing financial results for 2016, the firm has also made a first stab at publishing its loan book online.

Wellesley has now published its audited results for the year ended 31 December 2016. Its loan book grew 10 per cent during the period, to £163.6m, versus £148.7m lent in 2015. The firm made a loss for the year of £210,288, down from a loss of £2.2m in the previous year. But it made a pre-tax profit of £1.3m in the second half of the year.

Other notable points include having supported the development of 822 “mid-priced” homes in the UK. The firm also made a number of new hires in 2016, including Stephen Bell as chief risk officer in February, and Peter Scott as non-executive director in March. The firm claims to have delivered an average interest rate across all products of 4.49 per cent to investors.

Wellesley’s full accounts will be available via its website next week.

Chief financial officer Alasdair Lenman, who was appointed last summer, has resigned from the company. Lenman was hired to help the firm publish its late accounts up to December 2015 ahead of its abortive fundraise on equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs, which was pulled at the start of this year.

Further to these developments, Wellesley has temporarily paused its peer-to-peer lending operations, and is launching a new listed bond on the Irish Stock Exchange.

Turnbull said that Wellesley is pausing its P2P product in order to allow time for technical changes to be made. He said that these changes are designed to satisfy both investor demand and regulatory requirement.

Once re-launched, Wellesley & Co. will no longer deliver monthly interest payments to its investors. The monthly interest payment model was at odds with the style of development loans that the firm originates, which are repaid at maturity. Henceforth, the firm’s P2P product will offer a target rate of return, with interest repaid at maturity.

Wellesley has just launched its third bond, offering investors an annual interest rate of 4.75 per cent over 3 years, or 4 per cent over 2 years, paid monthly. The bond can be held within an ISA wrapper.

The first Wellesley bond was a mini-bond which raised a little shy of £50m. The second was listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, as is this third issue. The second bond was launched in response to ISA demand, and could be invested in via a stocks and shares ISA.

Wellesley is famed for skin-in-the-game approach to P2P, which in practical terms means that it takes a stake of every loan in a first loss position. It has previously been suggested that the proceeds of its bond listings – which in some cases may explicitly be used as working capital by the firm – have been used to fund this first-loss piece, as well as to top up its provision fund.

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter raises £13m, Woodford and Artemis lead, (Alt Fi News), Rated: AAA

RateSetter, one of the UK’s “big three” peer-to-peer lenders, has scooped £13m in equity investment from existing backers. Investors in the round included well-known fund managers Woodford Investment Management and Artemis.

The two funds first backed RateSetter with a £20m investment in March 2015, in a round that valued the platform at £150m. This latest round takes the firm’s valuation to over £200m, with £50m in equity capital raised to date.

RateSetter has lent a cumulative total of £1.9bn since launching in 2010, according to AltFi Data, and is widely regarded as one of the UK’s “big three” P2P firms. But while the other two members in that trinity (Zopa and Funding Circle) have recently been fully authorised by the regulator, RateSetter continues to operate under interim permissions. FCA rules dictate that it will need to achieve full authorisation prior to launching its Innovative Finance ISA offering.

RateSetter raises funds as it prepares to list, ( Financial Times), Rated:AAA

The online lender has tapped existing investors for what is set to be its last round of private fundraising as the company prepares to list on the stock market to fuel its growth.
RateSetter, which has raised more than £50m of capital in total, will use the funding to launch its lending product in an Individual Savings Account, enabling investors to lend to borrowers online in a tax-free wrapper.
Funding Circle, which has in the past couple of weeks become the largest peer-to-peer site in the UK, also passed the FCA’s authorisation test last week, paving the way for its Innovative Finance ISA.

UK fintech shrugs off Brexit, trumps Germany, (Alt Fi News), Rated: A

Fintech firms  based in the UK have received more than double the overall capital invested into German fintechs  since the start of 2016. In fact, investments grew 81.7 per cent year on year from $284m in Q1 2016 to $516m in the opening quarter of this year, according to research by FinTech Global, a consultancy,

Investments, however, in both German and UK fintech companies have hit five-quarter high’s in Q1 2017 with $218m and $516m amount invested, respectively.

Both the UK and Germany raised nearly half of their total respective funding for 2016 in the opening quarter of the year. Therefore, fintech investment in both countries is on track to surpass the value invested last year.

UK fintech investments in Q1 was driven by the $101.8m round raised by Atom Bank while Germany’s largest deal went to deposit marketplace start-up Raisin which raised $32m Series C round.

India’s Wadhawan Group takes stake in Zopa, (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ZOPA has raised £40m in a fresh equity fundraising round, led by Indian conglomerate Wadhawan Group.

Seedrs has joined Funding Circle and iwoca in partnering with Natwest, (Business Daily), Rated: B

Equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs has become the latest alternative finance provider to join a major Natwest programme that aims to open doors for UK SMEs to sources of finance.

“As the most active equity investor in UK private companies, Seedrs has already funded over 500 investment rounds for fast-growth SMEs, with more than £210 million invested into campaigns on our platform to date.

China

China Minsheng Investment leads $ 262m pre-IPO in P2P lending firm, (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

China Minsheng Investment Group, one of the country’s largest private investment group, has led a RMB1.8 billion ($262 million) pre-IPO investment round in Chinese peer-to-peer lending company Tuandaiwang. Other investors in this round include Beijing Yisheng Innovation Technology and Beihai Hongtai Investment. This investment brings the company’s value up to RMB10 billion ($1.46 billion), said a report in China Money Network.

Tuandaiwang operates a P2P lending platform, which enables users to lend their saving at a higher investment return rate than traditional saving rates. It claims that individuals and companies have borrowed around RMB78 billion ($11.4 billion) since its launch in 2012 and lenders can make RMB2.3 billion ($335 million) in returns. The company said that it would spend this proceeds on the platform’s development and investment in other tech assets. The investors in its previous rounds with a combined funding of RMB675 million include JD Capital, Dongguan Securities and Giant Investment.

XIAOMI has started a $ 1bn Loan Refinancing, (Xing Ping She), Rated: A 

Chinese smart phone giant XIAOMI has started a three-year loan refinancing for a 2014 loan agreement, with the maximum amount is $1bn. The borrower is XIAOMI(Hong Kong), and the parent company XIAOMI acting as the guarantor. The deadline for underwriter is 23rd June, and the roadshow will be held on 1st June in Hong Kong. Deutsche Bank and Wing Lung Bank jointly served as book runners. The loan has been divided into two parts: Part A for regular loans ( $500 million) , and part B for revolving credit loan ($250 million).

It was revealed that XIAOMI’s $1 billion three-year loan in Oct 2014 was the company’s first show in the loan market. Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley was the initial leading and bookkeeping banks, and other 25 banks were involved in the loan.

P2P Company Tuandai Raised $ 270m in a new round of financing(Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Tuandai Group has closed a new round of financing of $270m. The financing was led by Minsheng Capital with $104 million.

Tuandai was set up in 2011, and transformed its core business to P2P Lending in October 2016, dividing its services into asset sector and the internet sector. In early time this month, Tuandai changed the name of their platform from “Tuandai Network” to “Tuandai Network丨 P2P Lending Investment”, and would be engaged in the intermediary business about network lending information.

European Union

Banco BNI Europa boosts European SMEs with €10M investment in Portuguese peer-to-peer platform RAIZE, ( Email), Rated: AAA

European Bank BNI Europa signs strategic partnership with Portugal’s largest peer-to-peer lender RAIZE

Portugal/Eurozone: Portugal’s economic recovery fuels interest in SME lending through peer-to-peer platforms

Agreement follows a £45M deal with the UK’s largest invoice peer-to-peer platform in May, 2017

RAIZE (www.raize.pt) is Portugal’s largest peer-to- peer lender focusing on SME lending. The online lender operates its own payments institution licensed and regulated by the Bank of Portugal and currently has more than 10,000 investors lending to SMEs. The platform expects to lend more than €15 million in 2017.

Korea

Local start-up Lendit raises 10 billion won, ( Korea JoongAng Daily), Rated: A

Lendit, a leading marketplace lending start-up, said Monday that it has raised 10 billion won ($8.9 million) from a group of investors including Altos Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based investment firm. Local venture capital fund YellowDog and Collaborative Fund, a New York-based firm, also contributed to the Series-B financing.

“We aim to cement Lendit’s position as the top lending startup in consumer financing by using the funds to boost R&D and foster professionals for tech and finance,” said Kim Sung-joon, CEO & founder of Lendit.

Founded in 2015, Lendit is the country’s top marketplace lender in the consumer lending segment with accumulated loans at 47.4 billion won as of May 29.

Australia

‘Green loan’ marketplace receives $ 20m, (Investor Daily), Rated: A

RateSetter’s new marketplace seeks to provide “more affordable finance options” for the purchase of energy efficient products by both businesses and individuals.

The marketplace has been given a ‘kickstart’ with a $20 million cornerstone investment from the government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), RateSetter said in a statement.

It is anticipated that thousands of everyday Australian investors who want to earn attractive returns, while improving the country’s energy footprint, will participate in funding green loans via the marketplace.”

India

RBI guidelines on P2P lending platform likely by June-July, ( Live Mint), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank is expected to come out by June-July with guidelines to regulate the Indian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending market. The RBI had floated a consultation paper in April 2016 on the Indian P2P lending that has been taking roots in India.

At present, the status is that “it has gone from the RBI to the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance has put it out to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and they have to come back (on the subject matter),” Mathews said. Faircent.com, which went live in 2014, has so far facilitated lending to the tune of Rs20 crore from its platform and set a much bigger target for the current fiscal. “So far, we have facilitated around Rs20 crore loans from Faircent platform.

This year we are scaling, we have to do some Rs50 crore of loans this fiscal,” he added. Next week, the company will also enter into loan against property (LAP) domain and match prospecting borrowers and lenders through Faircent.com, Mathews said.

“Constructive Synergy”: Indian P2P Lender Faircent Introduces New Student Loan, ( Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Indian online P2P lending platform Faircent.com announced a new semi-secure student loan product in collaboration with Bangalore-based micro-lending startups.

Under the partnership, college students may fund purchase of items such as laptops, books and smart mobile, by registering their loan requirements on the platform at a “reasonable rate” with a flexible loan period ranging between 6 and 36 months.

Singapore

Singapore’s biggest marketplace lender hits S$ 40 million originations, ( Alt Fi News), Rated: A

Singaporean marketplace lender Capital Match has hit S$40 million in loans funded and has started rolling out infrastructure to onboard European investors.

“The traditional SME lending sector in Singapore is highly inefficient and oligopolistic: at present the largest four banks account for 80 percent of SME Singaporean banking relationships,” Tobias Fischer, Director of Corporate Development, told AltFi.

“[But] banks have been more strict in their lending policies so there has been huge demand on the borrowing side.

“As a result [SME lending] is incredibly profitable, so there are great opportunities for investors to achieve excess returns.”

Authors:

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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