- Today’s main news: Walmart getting closer to a deal with Afffirm. AutoFi raises $10M. Zopa reports diminishing losses, rising revenues for 2016. Landbay closes 2.4M GBP round on Seedrs. USAmeriBank goes live on Finastra.
- Today’s main analysis: After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize.
- Today’s thought-provoking articles: A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending. What’s behind the fintech boom in China? Klarna co-founder is thinking about giving money away. Reserve Bank of India looking to tweak regulation of non-bank financial companies.
- Walmart, Affirm getting closer to closing the deal. AT: “The news broke yesterday that Walmart is discussing the possibility of using Affirm to offer financing on point-of-sale purchases. If this happens, and it looks like it will, the floodgates will open to POS financing.”
- You can now buy $400 pants with a subprime loan. AT: “Not friendly toward alt lenders, but an interesting read nonetheless, and the podcast even more so. This commentator is critical of Affirm and the pending Walmart-Affirm deal.”
- A Walmart-Affirm partnership will strain Synchrony. AT: “Companies change. Practices change. If Synchrony dies, will it really be all that bad? Not for Walmart, and not for Affirm.”
- After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize.
- AutoFi raises $10M to make it easier to get a car loan. AT: And it will likely achieve its purpose in delivering faster loans while facilitating more auto lending.”
- TD Ameritrade tackles security in Facebook Messenger chatbot.
- The future of Simple. AT: “It’s refreshing to see a company admit it has strayed from its original path and is now going to repent.”
- SuperMoney’s auto loan offer engine. AT: “Interesting that interest rate is the least negotiated factor among auto buyers when purchasing a car when it is where they spend the most on their purchase. I see the auto lending sector heating up in the next couple of years thanks to services like SuperMoney.”
- Lending as a Service (LaaS) and why it matters. AT: “LaaS matters because it allows banks to act like technology companies without being technology companies.”
- New report on fintech.
- Douugh rises to challenge with AI-powered banking.
- Douugh seeks to rebundle financial services.
- Filippo Loreti attracts alternative investments for wristwatches.
- Smart solutions for smart cities. AT: “This is the first time I’ve seen the connection made between the Internet of Things and marketplace lending. While JD Supra doesn’t spell it out, there are all sorts of solutions that can facilitate more a connected financial services sector with everyday living. They include apps for connected cars that allow you to apply for a loan from your bank or preferred lender at the push of a button. And you can just as well have one in your home, too–on the wall, on your TV, by voice command.”
- Dos and don’ts for small business crowdfunding.
- Why RealtyShares was the right choice for Acquire Real Estate.
- Wealth management vs. financial advice.
- How to win an argument. AT: “I’m a believer in indirect marketing, but this is really indirect. Show this to your sales teams.”
- Zopa reports diminishing loss, rising revenues for 2016.
- A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending. AT: “I have noticed that a lot of the criticisms of the P2P lending sector seem to be veiled attempts at protecting legacy institutions. Let the marketplace decide who survives.”
- Landbay closes 2.4M crowdfunding round on Seedrs.
- IFAs still most influential source of financial advice.
- Should more banks form partnerships with alternative lenders? AT: “Whether we think they should or shouldn’t, I believe they will.”
- Debunking P2P lending myths.
- P2P lenders not wooing UK customers.
- Reserve Bank of India to harmonize regulations of non-bank financial companies (NBFC).
- Updating regulations on NBFCs.
- United States
- Walmart reportedly closes in on pilot deal to offer Affirm loans (Retail Dive), Rated: AAA
- You can now buy $ 400 pants with a subprime loan (The Outline), Rated: A
- Wal-Mart Stores To Exacerbate Synchrony Financial Woes With Affirm Deal (Baystreet), Rated: A
- After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize (Morningstar), Rated: AAA
- AutoFi Raises $ 10 Million Series A To Make It Easier To Get A Car Loan (Forbes), Rated: AAA
- How TD Ameritrade tackles security in Facebook Messenger chatbot (Financial-Planning), Rated: A
- The Future of Simple (Simple.com), Rated: A
- SuperMoney’s Auto Loan Offer Engine Will Change the Way You Buy A Car (Supermoney), Rated: A
- Lending as a service (LaaS) and why it matters (CIO), Rated: A
- New Report on Fintech from the World Economic Forum (Lend Academy), Rated: A
- Douugh Rises to Challenge with AI-Powered Banking (Paybefore), Rated: A
- Rebundling financial services is aspiration of startup Douugh (American Banker), Rated: A
- Ripple- Just As Good If Not Better (Investing.com), Rated: A
- Smart Solutions for Smart Cities (JD Supra), Rated: B
- SCORE: Dos and don’ts for crowdfunding small businesses (PostBulletin), Rated: B
- “When We Decided to Sell the Company, it Became Apparent that RealtyShares Was the Right Choice” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B
- Wealth Management vs. Financial Advice: They’re Not the Same (Kiplinger), Rated: B
- How to Win an Argument (Mental Floss), Rated: B
- United Kingdom
- Zopa Reports Diminishing Loss as Revenues Rise for 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA
- A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA
- Landbay Closes £2.4M Crowdfunding Round on Seedrs (Finsmes), Rated: AAA
- IFAs still most influential source of financial advice (P2P Finance News), Rated: A
- Should more banks form partnerships with alternative lenders? (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A
- Debunking the peer-to-peer lending myths (City A.M.), Rated: A
- P2P Lending Sites Not Quite Wooing UK Customers (PYMNTS), Rated: A
- Fintech in China: What’s Behind the Boom? (Brink News), Rated: AAA
- A global block chain summit was spot inspected, caused shock on ICO market (Xing Ping She), Rated: A
- European Union
- Klarna co-founder seeks to spur European tech giving (Financial Times), Rated: AAA
- Rabobank constructs physical model to understand IT architecture (Finextra), Rated: A
- USAmeriBank live on Finastra hosted payments hub (Finextra), Rated: AAA
- AI Is the New UI – Exclusive Interview With Jake Tyler, CEO of Finn.AI (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A
- RBI to harmonise NBFC regulations (India Times), Rated: AAA
- Guernsey consultation to update regs governing ‘non-regulated’ financial businesses (International Investment), Rated: A
- The future of banking in Southeast Asia is in Cryptocurrency (Hero Email), Rated: B
Walmart reportedly closes in on pilot deal to offer Affirm loans (Retail Dive), Rated: AAA
Walmart reportedly is closing in on an agreement with loan services startup Affirm for a pilot program under which Affirm would offer the retailer’s customers installment loans for purchases, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.The pilot could start as early as this fall.
Why are retailers so enamored with Affirm? Giving customers the option to take out an installment loan to finance a purchase gives customers more choices, making it more likely that they actually will make the purchase. Millenials and other younger demographioc consumers are often loathe to carry mountains of personal debt that way previous generations have.
However, it also has to do with the inflexible and sometimes excessive terms of store credit cards, which generally charge higher interest rates than the lowest portion of Affirm’s rate range. Still interest revenue and late fees from store cred cards contribute a significant amount of money to retailers’ bottom lines, making it difficult for them to commit to giving their customers more financing choices.
Overall though, retailers, banks and credit card companies are all starting to understand that at a time of massive change in how and where people shop, they need to make it easier for shoppers to close the deal. Mastercard may recognize this as well as Walmart does. The card network aligned with Verifone late last year to begin offering instant installment financing at the point of sale.
You can now buy $ 400 pants with a subprime loan (The Outline), Rated: A
Affirm may be a relatively new company, but the service it offers isn’t particularly innovative: It’s taking the concept of layaway, a type of no-interest payment plan that became popular during the Great Depression that lets you pay for things in fixed installments and take them home once you’ve paid for it in full, and twisting it for millennials. Unlike layaway, Affirm delivers your purchases instantly — but the cost of instant gratification is interest rates as high as 30 percent. The service is basically a cross between credit cards and layaway, combining the worst aspects of both.
Once your Affirm loan is approved, you can choose to pay it off in 3, 6, or 12 months, and interest rates range from 10 to 30 percent. The average customer takes out a $750 loan with a 21-percent interest rate and pays it back in nine months. Compared to credit cards, which have an average APR of 17 percent, and personal loans that typically have interest rates ranging from 5 to 36 percent, Affirm isn’t a particularly good deal.
Wal-Mart Stores To Exacerbate Synchrony Financial Woes With Affirm Deal (Baystreet), Rated: A
Affirm and Walmart have been in discussion about the possibility of teaming up since last year. Talks appear to have picked pace this year as the retailer continues to explore ways of giving customers access to a wide range of financing options to boost sales and shrug off competition posed by e-commerce platforms.
However, the move would also spell trouble for Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) which is the retailer’s exclusive U.S card issuer.
The fact that Affirm offers loans could significantly reduce the number of people who apply for Synchrony credit cards.
After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize (Morningstar), Rated: AAA
Credit spreads in the corporate bond market stabilized last week after a brief sell-off the prior week pushed spreads higher. The average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) tightened 2 basis points to +113, and the average credit spread of the BankAmerica Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 2 basis points to +398.
Earlier this month, British American Tobacco (BBB, stable) decided to issue $17.25 billion worth of bonds to fund its acquisition of Reynolds Tobacco. This transaction is the second-largest corporate bond deal Page 3 of 22 Morningstar Corporate Credit Research Highlights | 21 August 2017 | See Important Disclosures at the end of this report. Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 issued this year, surpassed only by AT&T’s (BBB/UR-) $22.5 billion transaction, which itself was the third-largest corporate bond deal in history. The proceeds from the AT&T transaction will be used as the final installment for the permanent financing of its pending acquisition of Time Warner (rating: BBB+/UR-). In addition, McCormick & Co. (A+/UR-) had issued $2.5 billion of new bonds two weeks ago to finance its acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser’s food division.
Through the week ended Wednesday, Aug. 16, investors pulled $2.3 billion of assets out of the highyield market. Among the open-end funds, investors withdrew $1.0 billion of funds, and across the highyield exchange-traded funds, there was $1.3 billion of net units redeemed.
AutoFi Raises $ 10 Million Series A To Make It Easier To Get A Car Loan (Forbes), Rated: AAA
AutoFi has raised $10 million in its quest to make it easier to take out a car loan.
The San Francisco-based financial technology company said on Thursday it has completed a Series A funding round, with investors including Crosslink Capital, Ford Motor Credit Company and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.
AutoFi makes a white-label technology platform that allows car dealers to offer faster, online financing to customers. It recently partnered with Ford Motor Credit and is in the midst of launching at select Ford and Lincoln dealerships.
How TD Ameritrade tackles security in Facebook Messenger chatbot (Financial-Planning), Rated: A
A common refrain in financial services these days is that companies need to go where customers are, not wait for people to come to a banking app or brokerage website.
TD Ameritrade is following that advice with a Facebook Messenger chatbot that will give customers instant updates on their portfolios and trades. The bot, unveiled Tuesday, will require the unit of Toronto-Dominion Bank to work through the privacy and security issues financial firms face whenever they communicate with customers via third-party platforms such as Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa.
The Future of Simple (Simple.com), Rated: A
Over the last few years, we have been focused on rebuilding Simple’s technology on our new partner bank, Compass. Our focus on infrastructure and supporting customer growth means we haven’t been fully invested in building new technology that helps people feel confident that they’re doing money right. We have not made good on our promise to change an industry that is failing them.
We have been focused on growth instead of innovation. We have been acting like a bank instead of a technology company. And that changes today.
Today, we are recommitting to being a technology company that is completely focused on product. We are re-designing our team so that everything we do is in support of this focus. We will be ruthlessly dedicated to identifying customer problems and building products that solve them.
SuperMoney’s Auto Loan Offer Engine Will Change the Way You Buy A Car (Supermoney), Rated: A
After debuting its personal loan offer engine at Finovate in April 2017, SuperMoney today unveiled an automotive focused loan offer engine where its lending partners compete in real-time with customized auto loan offers.
The new auto loan offer engine allows borrowers to submit a single, easy, online application and receive multiple auto loan offers back. The tool makes apples to apples comparisons easy when shopping for the best auto financing rates, fees, and terms.
Only 31.6% of car buyers negotiate the interest rate on their loan
A recent survey by the Federal Reserve reported that 76.1% of car buyers negotiated the purchase price with the seller, but only 31.6% negotiated the interest rate on their loan. It gets worse. 27.1% of car buyers considered the monthly payment on their auto loan as the most important factor, but only 6.1% considered the interest rate on the loan as the most important factor (source).
Lending as a service (LaaS) and why it matters (CIO), Rated: A
Banks today are turning away more loan applicants than in recent memory thanks to stricter regulations and lingering memories of the recent financial crisis. Younger entrepreneurs who have little or no credit history often find themselves rejected from these financing options.
Even when they are accepted, the loan process can be arduous and needlessly complicated, taking longer than business owners can afford. Applications take several visits to the bank, credit checks, records requests and weeks’ worth of back-and-forth communications just to reach the underwriting phase.
The major catalyst for this new lending paradigm has been the rapid pace of online technology innovation over the last decade. Improvements in cloud infrastructure and artificial intelligence systems enable fintech companies to create reliable evaluation and matching systems for loans. Companies can now examine a potential borrower’s financial records in minutes instead of weeks. Thanks to this compressed timeline, approval can now happen in as little as one day.
Instead of multiple meetings with bank lenders over the course of many weeks to compare options, users can often be approved in under a day by a reputable LaaS company.
LaaS platforms such as Ezbob promise to approve a business loan for companies and deliver funds in under thirty minutes. The company’s algorithm examines more than credit scores, evaluating company financials and records to quickly distribute capital to those that require it most.
New Report on Fintech from the World Economic Forum (Lend Academy), Rated: A
Today, the World Economic Forum released a report titled, Beyond Fintech: A Pragmatic Assessment Of Disruptive Potential In Financial Services, that was the result of those and many other discussions they had with leaders from around the world. The report aims to answer the question about whether fintech companies will really change the financial landscape.
Below are some of the key findings from the report:
- Fintech start-ups have so far fallen short of their ambitions to upend the competitive landscape in finance, driving innovation but struggling to capture market share in mature markets.
- What fintechs have done is define the direction and speed of innovation across most areas of financial services; they have also set new and higher bars for user experience.
- Large technology firms like Amazon and Google may represent the largest competitive threat to financial institutions, as their AI and cloud computing services become more central to the sector, and customer data rises in importance.
- Models of financial services innovation around the world are diverging, benefitting local firms and making it harder to co-ordinate a regulatory response.
Douugh Rises to Challenge with AI-Powered Banking (Paybefore), Rated: A
Banking challenger Douugh has unveiled its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered financial platform, guided by “Sophie”—a 24/7 personal assistant for finances, reports Paybefore sister publication Banking Technology.
Douugh plans to use Sophie to help consumers make better financial decisions by:
- Connecting a user’s existing bank accounts and credit cards, Sophie will collate, organize and inform on spending habits all in one place;
- Using Sophie as their own personal banker to perform transactional tasks—such as paying and splitting bills, requesting money, saving, tracking and management of spending and savings goals;
- Integrating with Alexa and Siri for voice activation.
Rebundling financial services is aspiration of startup Douugh (American Banker), Rated: A
“You are 0% of the way to your retirement goal! You have plenty of time, keep up the good work.”
This message I recently received from the Wela app reminded me to kick my retirement saving efforts into gear. It’s an example of the kind of personalized financial advice many banks and fintechs are trying to provide right now, often with artificial intelligence engines analyzing customers’ account data, predicting future trends and making recommendations.
Based in San Francisco, Douugh strives to use artificial intelligence to help the 25-to-35-year-old set reduce their credit card and student loan debt and make better spending and saving decisions.
Ripple- Just As Good If Not Better (Investing.com), Rated: A
If you could buy a wristwatch that is the same quality as a Rolex or a Cartier for $350, would you wear it?
A company called Filippo Loreti aims to deliver just that. The level of support that the young company is receiving from alternative investors is truly inspiring.
Thanks to the power of the Internet this watchmaker has already raised $6 million in two rounds of funding making it one of the most successful crowdfunding projects in history.
Smart Solutions for Smart Cities (JD Supra), Rated: B
Property “consumers” will be able to compare real-time information on a wide range of variables affecting property assets – for example, energy efficiency, connectivity and traffic noise. Banks will no longer be the only source of funds, with fast availability of internet peer-to-peer lending speeding up the time taken to put a deal together.
Blockchain or distributed ledger technology raises a number of opportunities in this field, from mortgage valuations, to rental and service charge payment systems. Smart contracts will replace the traditional approach to conveyancing – the main incentives being that the technology will expedite the process, reduce fraud and offer total transparency.
SCORE: Dos and don’ts for crowdfunding small businesses (PostBulletin), Rated: B
To help make a rewards-based crowdfunding effort successful, Dargie offers these dos and don’ts:
- Understand the differences between rewards-based crowdfunding, equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.
- Pick the right platform for your rewards-based campaign.
- Follow through on your promises. Watchdog groups and state and federal consumer protection bureaus have begun to shift their attention to deceptive crowdfunding campaigns.
- Fail to manage the expectations of your campaign’s backers.
- Launch a campaign without the liability protection of a properly formed business entity.
- Forget about taxes.
“When We Decided to Sell the Company, it Became Apparent that RealtyShares Was the Right Choice” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B
Now, less than 30-days later, Director of Business Development at RealtyShares and former CEO of Acquire, Josh Klimkiewicz, is sharing more details about the acquisition.
“The mission doesn’t end here. I will join the RealtyShares team as the director of commercial business development to lead that channel as RealtyShares continues to scale. In my new role, I will concentrate on building long-term relationships between RealtyShares and real estate owners across the country.”
Wealth Management vs. Financial Advice: They’re Not the Same (Kiplinger), Rated: B
Wealth management is one of the terms that is most overused, and it’s often misunderstood. But it’s actually pretty straightforward. Wealth management takes things up a notch, with an adviser or advisory team providing a full range of services for the client in three distinct ways.
- Investment consulting
- Advanced planning
- Wealth enhancement: This is the use of strategies to deal with cash-flow issues and liquidity concerns, mitigate taxes and maximize growth.
- Wealth transfer: Advisers look for the most efficient ways to pass your wealth on to your heirs in a way that lets your beneficiaries keep most or all of the money.
- Wealth protection: For those who are subject to a lot of liabilities, there are strategies that can help protect hard-earned savings and avoid any blind spots.
- Charitable giving: With proper planning, donating to a charity or charities can be a win-win, maximizing support for a favorite cause while making the most of certain tax advantages.
- Relationship management
How to Win an Argument (Mental Floss), Rated: B
Zopa Reports Diminishing Loss as Revenues Rise for 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA
Top line revenue improved by 61% jumping to £33.2 million for 2016. The operating loss stood at £5.9 million for the year, an improvement over the £8.9 million from year prior.
A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA
Between RateSetter’s wholesale lending saga and subsequent withdrawal from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, Zopa’s heightened loss expectations, and Funding Circlesignalling an end to manual investment, industry detractors are hardly short of fuel for their fires.
And yet we continue to endure spurious headlines that seem to be born of a broad desire to bash P2P, on the basis of seemingly anything.
Anyway. The latest episode of this kind comes courtesy of The Financial Times, which reported on Monday that peer-to-peer lending websites are “struggling to attract UK customers who want to borrow money”.
Landbay Closes £2.4M Crowdfunding Round on Seedrs (Finsmes), Rated: AAA
Landbay, a London, UK-based buy-to-let mortgage lender, has closed a £2.4m crowdfunding round.
The funds were raised via Seedrs.
The company, which has raised approx. £7m to date via the crowdfunding platform, intends to use the funds to continue to expand operations and launch new products.
IFAs still most influential source of financial advice (P2P Finance News), Rated: A
INDEPENDENT financial advisers (IFAs) are the most trusted source of external investment advice, but investors are still more likely to trust their own judgement, new research claims.
A survey by property finance firm Minerva Lending found that almost three quarters (72 per cent) of active investors prefer to take the advice of an IFA. However, the vast majority of active investors (77 per cent) said that they would rather trust their own judgement. Three in five (60 per cent) said that they would be more likely to trust word of mouth.
The survey also found that investors still prefer traditional investment advice over newer fintech solutions. Only 12 per cent of the investors surveyed said that they would trust a robo-adviser to offer financial guidance, and just 22 per cent would trust a standalone piece of software.
Should more banks form partnerships with alternative lenders? (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A
In the bank referral scheme, the UK’s biggest banks pass on the details of SMEs that have been turned down for loans to three SME finance platforms, which then share their details with alternative finance providers.
Almost £4m of funding was accessed by 230 SMEs under the matchmaking scheme.
Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, felt there were clear benefits to the collaboration between banks and alternative lenders, but also urged for transparency.
Debunking the peer-to-peer lending myths (City A.M.), Rated: A
So let’s look at some of the common arguments raised and try to filter out the fact from the fiction.
P2P will suffer in an economic downturn
Yet the oldest UK platform Zopa – which launched in 2005 – managed to survive during the financial collapse of 2008.
Admittedly the default rates jumped to 4.2 per cent from 0.4 per cent the year before, but figures from Zopa show that investors were still able to earn a four per cent annual return during the financial crash, compared to six per cent in 2007.
P2P platform Landbay commissioned an independent report in 2015 to find out how it would perform in poor economic conditions.
While the loss rate on Landbay’s loans is 0.03 per cent in normal economic conditions, the loss rate was estimated to hit 0.48 per cent if times got tough – that is, if GDP was down 3.5 per cent, unemployment rose to nine per cent, and UK house prices fell by 20 per cent. So even if the economy shrinks, investors would not have lost money.
An interest rate rise will kill the P2P industry
But Lucy Bott, head of customer operations at RateSetter, points out that interest rates on P2P platforms are not set by the banks, but by the supply of and demand for money.
P2P is for young people
He points to a report from Nesta, which found that more than half of P2P lending investors are aged 55 and over, while a third of lenders are aged 35 to 54, and just 12 per cent of investors are under 35.
P2P Lending Sites Not Quite Wooing UK Customers (PYMNTS), Rated: A
Among 1,100 British consumers polled by consultancy firm EY, only 7 percent indicated they had used such a service to borrow money this year. A separate poll of 1,050 Brits by Blumberg Capital revealed just 4 percent of them had utilized alternative lending platforms over the previous year, according to the Financial Times.
Where FinTech firms worldwide attracted $20 billion in investments over the first half of 2016, that number dropped to just $12 billion during the first six months of 2017.
The lower funding amounts could be attributed to banks having joined the peer-to-peer lending landscape, creating their own technologies or joining forces with startups to stay current, thus broadening the competitive field.
Fintech in China: What’s Behind the Boom? (Brink News), Rated: AAA
The country makes some of the world’s largest investments in the sector, and it has adopted fintech technologies faster than anywhere else. Companies such as Alipay, Lufax and ZhongAn Insurance have made their names across the globe by using fintech to develop some of the most disruptive business models. These players have enjoyed the fruits of fintech’s unprecedented growth by filling the gaps in China’s structurally imbalanced financial system in an open regulatory environment.
We believe the development of fintech in China has reached an inflection point. From this point, technology will be the key driver of value-chain disruption in an increasingly data-driven industry.
For example, it took four years for peer-to-peer transaction volume to exceed $5 billion in the U.S., while it took only two years in China. Lufax, a Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform founded in 2011, reached an annual loan origination amount of 9 billion yuan in just two years, compared to five years for Lending Club, the biggest peer-to-peer lending company in the U.S.
A global block chain summit was spot inspected, caused shock on ICO market (Xing Ping She), Rated: A
Recently, the Market Supervision Bureau of Shanghai Pudong New District has raided a global block chain summit that is suspected of false propaganda. According to the investigation, 35 companies set up booth to promote technology and financial products on the spot, and nearly 2,000 people attended the summit. The organizer is a Shanghai-based software technology company. The company referred to “bitcoin” technology and has developed a digital cryptocurrency ETP (entropy) on its own, which was traded on its platform.
On the spot, Law enforcement officials ordered the meeting to be halted immediately and interviewed with the parties involved. And in the same day, this news triggered a nearly 200% shock in the value of related tokens on some trading platforms, reflecting the growing risk of the ICO market. Now the company is still under investigation for alleged violations.
Klarna co-founder seeks to spur European tech giving (Financial Times), Rated: AAA
In the US, technology magnates from Microsoft’s Bill Gates to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have started a long line of high-profile, high-minded initiatives often aimed at combating disease and helping the poor.
But in Europe, where many of the unicorns — start-ups valued at more than $1bn — are of a more recent vintage, many founders are still thinking of how to make money rather than spend it.
Two years ago, Mr Adalberth had become bored with what he describes as “the constant chasing of the next goal or achievement” at Klarna. So he stepped aside from the group and its relentless attempt to conquer the digital payment world by becoming a bank and attracting Visa in as an investor.
Instead, Mr Adalberth became one of the first of the recent crop of European tech founders to think about giving away money. The result is Norrsken Foundation, which has a triple-pronged approach aimed at encouraging social entrepreneurship. His venture is risky but is likely to be closely watched by the growing ranks of multi-millionaire European founders to see if it can provide some kind of blueprint. “There is a trend in the US to give something back. This trend has come to Sweden and maybe Europe as well,” he says.
Rabobank constructs physical model to understand IT architecture (Finextra), Rated: A
Rabobank has built a 3D model of its own organisation and supporting IT systems to help visualise improvements that can be made as it embarks on its digital transformation programme.
As a banking co-operative operating at both local and regional levels, the Dutch bank runs a complex network of independent IT platforms often performing the same functions depending on local practices.
USAmeriBank live on Finastra hosted payments hub (Finextra), Rated: AAA
USAmeriBank selected Finastra’s hosted solution in order to have the flexibility to quickly add new payments rails and services, future-proofing its technology investment, while improving customer service and increasing straight-through processing.
In addition to quick time-to-market and ease of implementation, another benefit of using a hosted solution is a reduction of maintenance effort and total cost of ownership, as the technology and business services are maintained by Finastra.
In the coming months, the bank plans to add US ACH, and eventually real-time payments components, completing the bank’s journey to a fully-outsourced payment processing model.
AI Is the New UI – Exclusive Interview With Jake Tyler, CEO of Finn.AI (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A
LTP: Give us a high-level paragraph pitch for your company.
JT: The Finn Virtual Banking Assistant is a personal banking and financial management assistant, powered by artificial intelligence.
Finn delivers a personal banker within a customer’s favorite channels, including Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SMS, iOS and Android apps, and web chat. We believe that AI is the new UI.
LTP: In a sentence or two, what specific problems are you solving today?
JT: We help banks connect with customers where they already are (in major instant messaging and voice platforms), adapt to a new paradigm of consumer expectations set by Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook where deep personalization and simple conversational interfaces are the norm, and reduce costs by augmenting human customer care agents with AI.
LTP: What are the biggest challenges you face when building with AI and ML, being nascent technologies? How have you overcome, or are you overcoming, those challenges?
JT: The biggest challenge is data, both quantity and quality. We address this by going deep in one core vertical – banking. We have a large, pre-existing data model in this domain that grows daily as consumers use our assistant. As new banks adopt Finn they are able to leverage this data model to deploy a high-quality assistant with proven features much faster than they would otherwise be able to do.
RBI to harmonise NBFC regulations (India Times), Rated: AAA
There is scope for harmonisation of regulations covering non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and the Reserve Bank is moving in that direction, Deputy Governor N S Vishwanathan said today.
He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.
Guernsey consultation to update regs governing ‘non-regulated’ financial businesses (International Investment), Rated: A
The 103-page Lending, Credit & Finance Consultation Paper is aimed jointly at enabling Guernsey to accommodate the growing number of “innovative, often digitally-enabled, financial services which don’t neatly fit into the boxes marked banking, insurance, investment or fiduciary covered by current laws”, as well as to better protect Guernsey consumers and investors, “particularly those who are less financially able, from unscrupulous lending practises”, the GFSC says, in a summary of the LC&FCP‘s contents.
The proposed legislation would replace this existing NRFSB Law.
To read and download the consultation paper, click here.
He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.
The future of banking in Southeast Asia is in Cryptocurrency (Hero Email), Rated: B
There are an estimated two (2) billion people in the world who remain unbanked and underbanked. That’s roughly a quarter of the entire planet’s population who have little to no direct access to financial services most commonly found in banks and formal lending institutions.
In Southeast Asia, approximately only twenty-seven (27%) of the entire region are financially included, leaving the rest with little to no defense in times of economic crises.
Hero will build a blockchain-based credit algorithm and lending platform. Hero will be launching its own cryptocurrency coin called Hero Token through an upcoming token sale.
The majority of populations who suffer from financial exclusion live in emerging countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and their neighbors in Southeast Asia. A notable fact about this region [SEA] is that it is the fastest growing Internet region in the world and is also the fourth largest.
Backed by an award winning group of experts, the organization started operating in the Philippines in 2015 as PawnHero, offering collateralized loans using an online platform, and since then has been helping thousands of Filipinos obtain access to affordable credit.
There will also be a ‘pre-sale’ wherein people can buy tokens prior to the actual token sale and get bonuses. During the pre-sale, Hero will offer 80% of all tokens to be created for purchase by the public in the Hero Initial Coin Offering under the ticker symbol Hero. The remaining 20% of all Hero tokens will be distributed to early believers, advisors and founders.
To participate in the Hero token sale people can send the following currencies – Ethereum (ETH), ETH Classic, BitCoin (BTC), Ripple, LiteCoin, and Waves from a wallet they directly control to the Hero wallet. Aside from these, extra tokens will be offered to those who commit early. Bounties are provided when the crowdsale ends. All payments received for Hero tokens in connection with this token sale will be held in escrow in a multi-signature address, with a multi-key structure.
For more information go to https://www.herotoken.io.