Daily News Digest Featured News

Tuesday October 24 2017, Daily News Digest

fraud transactions
Source: LexisNexis

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United States

OnDeck Collaborates with Ingo Money and Visa to enable real-time Loan Funding to Small Businesses (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the nation’s largest online lender to small business, announced today agreements with Ingo Money and Visa to enable real-timefunding of loans to small businesses via their debit cards, powered by Visa Direct. OnDeck will be the first company in the online lending industry to offer real-time access to capital via a customer’s existing small business debit card.

The move by OnDeck comes in response to small business demand for improved cash flow and faster payment experiences. A recent survey found 70% of small business owners report they have a small business debit card, and of those without debit cards, 87% of them said they would get a new debit card to take advantage of real time transfers. The virtual card grants you a one-time card number, an expiration date, and a three-digit security code, which can then be used to make singular online purchases, while the repayment plan is managed through the app.2OnDeck plans to use Visa Direct through Ingo Money’s technology platform to disburse loan proceeds securely in real time to its line of credit customers via their existing small business debit cards. Visa Direct is Visa’s real-time push payments platform allowing companies to leverage Visa’s global scale to develop faster payments solutions for ubiquitous reach to consumers or small businesses with a debit card.

Ingo Push, the turnkey push payments service from Ingo Money, allows OnDeck customers to receive funds via a vast network of eligible debit or prepaid card accounts, including eligible Visa cards; online and mobile wallets; and a network of more than 40,000 cash-out distribution points.

SoFi priced itself at double its valuation during recent M&A talks (Pitchbook), Rated: AAA

SoFi reportedly mulled a potential sale earlier this year, but the talks evaporated over a hefty asking price. After receiving a non-binding offer of $6 billion from a foreign bank, the online lender pegged its target acquisition price at $8 billion to $10 billion as it negotiated with several US companies, including Charles Schwab, per the Financial Times. That price would have ranked the deal among the most expensive in the fintech space since 2007, per the PitchBook Platform.

Such a designation wouldn’t be entirely undeserved, given SoFi’s current status as the second most valuable VC-backed fintech companyin the US. It’s also one of eight American startups that have raised $500 million+ rounds this year.

But while SoFi could likely fetch a relatively high acquisition price, the $8 billion to $10 billion figure is far more than it appears to be worth. In February, the online lender raised a $500 million round at a valuation of $4.4 billion—and since then, its value has likely dropped amid sexual harassment allegations at the company.

fintech M&A
Source: Pitchbook

Why Charles Schwab Held Talks to Buy Online Lender SoFi (Investopedia), Rated: AAA

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Financial Times (paywall) reported the deal talks with Schwab were prompted by a $6 billion offer from a foreign bank after SoFi raised $500 million in funding led by Silver Lake. With a more than $4 billion valuation after that, the unnamed foreign bank expressed interest in acquiring SoFi. That prompted the online lender to reach out to other potential suitors aiming to fetch $8 billion to $10 billion in a sale.

At first blush, a deal with Charles Schwab may not make sense, given it isn’t in the online lending business. But SoFi does have a wealth management unit that would give the San Francisco discount brokerage access to more customers and thus more assets under management. It’s also a low-cost provider on that front, something very much in Schwab’s wheelhouse. According to SoFi’s website, the company doesn’t charge customers for the first $10,000 invested and charges 0.25% per year. It also has a team of live advisors that give customers advice and ETF portfolios that are curated by the company. SoFi also has a large customer base, particularly of millennials, that would be attractive to Schwab. Earlier this year ex-CEO Cagney predicted SoFi would end the year with 500,000 customers.

Affirm’s new mobile app lets you borrow money for almost any online purchase (The Verge), Rated: AAA

Lending startup Affirm, founded by PayPal and Yelp co-founder Max Levchin, is out to destroy the credit card, or at the very least make a noticeable dent in its utter ubiquity. The company, which began in 2012 by offering simple and transparent loans for web purchases, is today launching a mobile app to the public that acts as a virtual credit card, so it can be used as a line of credit with no strings attached for pretty much any online purchase. The app is available now for iOS and Android.

The virtual card grants you a one-time card number, an expiration date, and a three-digit security code, which can then be used to make singular online purchases, while the repayment plan is managed through the app. To use the service, you need to provide proof of your identity, but credit is extended only for the item you want to buy, with the company determining your likelihood to pay back the loan based on your current credit and the total amount being lended.

You’ll need approval for every purchase you try to make, up to a maximum of $10,000. In total, Chou says Affirm has made more than 1 million loans for a total amount of more than $1 billion since it started roughly five years ago. It also now counts as over 1,000 merchants as partners, including mattress maker Casper, furniture site Wayfair, and Expedia.

Now, Affirm wants to extend its services to anyone and any merchant, by going directly to the consumer with a virtual card.

Although Affirm may offer as low as 10 percent APR, or in some cases zero percent for select partner merchants, you still run the risk of paying more for a purchase using the company’s virtual card than if you had a standard credit card. For those who are simply bad with money and borrowing, it has the same pitfalls as a credit card, though with a few more speed bumps and warning signs built in.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions True Cost of Fraud in Lending (LexisNexis), Rated: AAA

For every dollar of fraud, lending companies incur $2.82 in costs, which includes chargebacks, fees, interest, merchandise replacement and distribution, according to the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Fraud Multiplier. Large digital lenders, with over $50 million in annual revenue, are hit hardest by fraud in this space. These large digital lenders face a higher risk of successful fraud attempts than others within the lending space, but it really is a problem across the digital lending space, even with small and midsized digital lenders.

fraud transactions
Source: LexisNexis

Get the full report here.

The Rise of Robo Advisors and the Death of Traditional Financial Advice (The Epoch Times), Rated: AAA

When BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with USD 5.7 trillion in AUM, decided to layoff talented stock pickers in favor of machines for portfolio management in March, it was a sure sign that times are changing.

The top performer in a group of the five leading robo advisors in the first eight months of 2016 generated returns that were encroaching on double-digit territory, and in some cases outperformed their more expensive mutual fund counterparts.

robo-advice
Source: The Epoch Times

And it’s not just BlackRock that’s demonstrated a willingness to favor machines over stock pickers. Robo advisors as a category, which is comprised of approximately 100 firms, oversee USD 60 billion in AUM as of year-end 2016 across 15 countries, according to Deloitte. That amount is expected to balloon more than fivefold to USD 385 billion in a half decade, according to Cerulli Associates research.

A recent Capital One Investing survey says in times of extreme market volatility, millennials are the least likely generation to turn to a person for financial advisory services at 69%. In fact, millennials are the generation that place the highest value on robo-advisory services, evidenced by 65% of them saying automated financial advice “enhances their financial peace of mind,” according to the poll.

Bloom seems to be the Vanguard of the robo advisory market, undercutting its competitors on fees and charging as little as USD 10 per month to manage a 401(k) or 403(b) account.

Leading the charge is robo-advisory firm Betterment, which boasts 270,000 usersand USD 10 billion in AUM.

FS Card Inc. Closes $ 150 Million Credit Facility to Continue its Build Card Product Expansion (FS Card Inc), Rated: A

FS Card Inc., an emerging financial services leader for underserved consumers, today announced it has raised $150 million in financing to fund future growth.  Through its Build Card product, FS Card will expand access to traditional credit and create an on-ramp into the financial mainstream for small-dollar loan customers.  The new credit facility closing comes as FS Card wraps up a year of rapid growth with Build Card portfolio expansion of nearly 500 percent in 2017.

The funding will be used for sustained portfolio build as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to financial inclusion in a market where a new rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is likely to impact access to alternative credit products.

According to Prosperity Now and The Federal Reserve, more than half of Americans are credit invisible or subprime, while 47 percent do not have $400 to pay for an emergency expense.  FS Card leverages its proprietary machine learning algorithms to actively meet the increasing demand of underserved consumers for fairly priced credit with a prime-like experience.

These 11 startups are re-inventing how money works and they’re worth more than $ 1 billion (Business Insider), Rated: A

Fintech is a multi-billion dollar industry, with startups in the US raising around $18 billion since 2015, according to PitchBook and nearly 1,400 venture capitalist-backed deals. Two of the most valuable startups in the country — Stripe and SoFi — are in the fintech sector. And there are 11 fintech startups valued at more than $1 billion.

10. Kabbage — $1.3 billion

Kabbage is valued at $1.3 billion, according to PitchBook estimates, thanks to a $250 million investment round in August 2017.

9. Robinhood — $1.3 billion

The zero-commission, US-focused stock brokerage is valued at $1.3 billion following a $110 million funding round in April 2017.

In total, Robinhood has raised $176 million, which is quite a lot considering the founders were initially rejected by 75 different venture capitalists.

5. Avant — $2 billion

Avant was valued at $2 billion after a $325 million funding round in September 2015.

Though its valuation makes it the fifth most valuable fintech startup in the US, it’s seen some rocky shores in the years since. In June 2016, the company reportedly laid off staff and lowered its monthly lending by half.

3. Credit Karma — $3.5 billion

Credit Karma scored a $3.5 billion valuation on a $175 million funding round in June 2015 which brought the company’s total funding to $368 million.

2. SoFi — $4.4 billion

SoFi was valued at $4.4 billion during its most recent round of funding in February 2017, which brought the company $500 million from investors. In total, the company has raised over $2 billion, including a $1 billion round led by SoftBank in 2015.

1. Stripe — $9.2 billion

Stripe was valued at $9.2 billion in its most recent $150 million funding round in November 2016. The company has raised a total of $440 million since its founding in 2010.

Groundfloor Launches Loan Origination Network As Investor Demand Surges (PR Newswire), Rated: A

In response to overwhelming investor demand, Groundfloor, the only real estate crowdfunding platform that is open to non-accredited investors, today announced the launch of its Loan Origination Network for mortgage brokers and third-party originators interested in tapping additional real estate loan opportunities. The company has opened up its innovative real estate financing platform to brokers nationwide who now have the opportunity to provide customers with low cost capital for fix and flip projects.

According to a recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions, the estimated total dollar volume of financing for homes flipped in Q2 2017 was $4.4 billion, up from $3.9 billion in the previous quarter and up from $3.4 billion a year ago to the to the highest level since Q3 2017, a nearly 10-year high. Also, more than 35 percent of homes flipped in Q2 2017 were purchased by the flipper with financing, up from 33.2 percent in the previous quarter.

Key benefits for mortgage brokers and third-party originators:

  • Competitive rates from six percent
  • Unique deferred payment option
  • Low documentation
  • Closing in as little as seven days
  • Costs rolled into loan principal
  • Discounted fees for high volume partners
  • Partners assigned dedicated Business Development Manager

Mortgage industry veteran Debora Valentine joins the team as Senior Vice President, Business Development. Valentine brings more than 25 years of experience in sales to Groundfloor’s senior leadership team.

Marqeta Partners with Alipay for US Transactions (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Alipay has partnered with Marqeta on real-time payment processing for millions of Chinese travelers visiting North America.

Yesterday, Alipay announced  it had teamed up with smart terminal provider Poynt to enable its Chinese users to pay with its services through all Poynt devices in North America.

Alipay makes inroads into US with JPMOrgan Chase deal (Finextra), Rated: A

Alipay, the world’s leading third-party payment platform, today announced they are working with JPMorgan Chase, a global financial leader, toward a relationship by which Chinese consumers traveling in North America would be enabled to pay using their Alipay Mobile Wallet at Chase merchant clients.

The proposed relationship between JPMorgan Chase and Alipay would enable its acceptance at many of Chase’s merchants in North America. Through Alipay’s geolocation-based “Discover” function and push notifications within the Alipay app, Chinese travelers can locate merchants nearby, receive promotion information, and make purchase decisions. It also enables local merchants to better target and connect with Chinese consumers.

The Number of Consumers Opening HELOCs May Double During the Next Five Years (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

Approximately 10 million consumers are expected to originate a home equity line of credit (HELOC) between 2018 and 2022. This would more than double the 4.8 million HELOCs originated in the previous five-year period (2012-2016). The projection is part of a new TransUnion (NYSE:TRUstudy that evaluated recent dynamics in the HELOC industry, and was released today during the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Annual Convention & Expo.

TransUnion projects 1.4 million new HELOC borrowers in 2017 and 1.6 million in 2018, about a 30% increase from the previous two-year period of 2015 (1.1 million) and 2016 (1.2 million).

HELOC Originations – 2017-2022 Include Projections
Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019-2022
HELOC Originations (In Millions)  0.7 0.8 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.4 1.6 8.4

The TransUnion HELOC study found that rising home prices and the resulting increase in equity is beginning to fuel interest in HELOCs. The Case-Shiller home price index rose as high as 180 in 2005 and 185 in 2006 before dropping to 134 in 2012. By July 2017 it had risen again to 194, and is expected to rise in the next few years to well over 200.

According to the study, there were 4.9 million HELOC originations in 2005 when home equity stood at $13.3 Trillion.  HELOC originations dropped to a mere 600,000 in 2011 as home equity declined to $6.3 Trillion.  Home equity has once again risen to $13.3 Trillion in 2016, yet HELOC originations continued to be low at 1.2 million.

Who are the HELOC borrowers?

The study explored the primary reasons why consumers open HELOCs and estimated the percentage of HELOCs opened under each motivating reason.

Types of HELOC Borrowers
HELOC Category Defining this Type of HELOC Borrower Percentage of
HELOCs
Debt Consolidation “Consolidate balances from other credit products, usually to a lower interest rate” 30 %
Large Expense “Finance a large credit need (e.g., home renovation project)” 29 %
Refinance “Refinance a HELOC, often to change terms or to get a better rate” 25 %
Piggyback “Concurrent with a mortgage origination, often used as part of a down payment” 9 %
Undrawn “Standby, undrawn line of credit for a ‘rainy day’” 7 %

Online Small Business Lending Provides Benefits to Small Business Owners, Finds New Survey (Electran), Rated: A

Four leading trade associations – Electronic Transactions Association, Innovative Lending Platform Association, the Marketplace Lending Association, and the Small Business Finance Association – commissioned a comprehensive survey of U.S. small business owners from Edelman Intelligence.  The survey conducted by Edelman Intelligence found that a large majority (70%) of small business owners believe there are more credit options today when compared to five years ago, and 97% of those feel that the growing number of financing options is a good thing.

Key findings of the study include:

  • 70 percent of small- and medium-sized business owners say there are more lending options now, and 97 percent of those believe that the increase in options is a positive thing for their businesses.
  • Most small business owners reported using online small business lenders to help them expand their locations, make necessary hiring and equipment purchases, and help manage cash flow.
  • Of the small business owners considering taking out a loan in the next 12 months, close to 40 percent say they will consider borrowing from an online lender.
  • According to the study, 98 percent of small business ownerswho have used online lenders say they are likely to take out another loan with an online lender.
  • For many small business owners, online small business lending platforms are a popular alternativeto asking friends and family for a loan.
small business lending
Source: Electran.org

PeerStreet Launches Affiliate Blogger Program (BusinessWire), Rated: A

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate-backed loans, is excited to announce its affiliate program at FinCon 2017. Backed by Andreessen Horowitz, PeerStreet’s platform provides investments in high-yield, short-term real estate loans. The newly launched program will allow PeerStreet to partner with the personal finance community to better serve both current and future investors.

PeerStreet aims to reach more investors through the affiliate program by working with financial writers and influencers to share thought leadership and market information about this unique space. In addition to high-conversion advertising opportunities, affiliate program partners will also have access to PeerStreet’s dedicated Affiliate Director, who can provide deep insight into PeerStreet’s service and offer tailored support.

Mastercard Takes Blockchain Mainstream with API (Finovate), Rated: A

Mastercard announced it has tested and validated its blockchain and will be opening access to it via a set of three APIs published on the Mastercard Developers website. The APIs include the Blockchain Core API, the Smart Contracts API, and the Fast Pay Network API.

Mastercard will pilot the blockchain for use in the business-to-business space, implementing it to increase speed and transparency in payments and decrease costs for cross-border payments.

Mastercard’s blockchain operates independently of a digital currency.

Fannie Mae Introduces New Tech Solutions to Lower Costs & Shorten Mortgage Processes (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Online lender Fannie Mae announced on Monday the launch of its new single source validation, new API platform, and servicing marketplace for servicing transfers. 

Single Source Validation saves lenders time and money

  • Allows lenders to validate a borrower’s income, assets, and employment with a single report from a single approved vendor that the lender chooses.
  • Uses source data for validation (a borrower’s bank account, including pay stream and direct deposit information).
  • Reduces the number of paper documents borrowers need to provide.
  • Amplifies savings already being realized by lenders who currently use Day 1 Certainty validation services.

New API platform levels the playing field for lenders

  • Provides lenders with all the information they need from Desktop Underwriter to originate a loan.
  • Allows lenders to access information that they can customize to their needs.
  • Uses industry-standard data formats and protocols so lenders can integrate the Fannie Mae API to their systems quickly and easily.

Servicing Marketplace 

  • Provides sellers greater access to servicers when they sell loans to Fannie Mae and creates more efficiencies in managing co-issue transactions with Fannie Mae.
  • Offers transparent pricing, a standardized process, and standardized data requirements when a loan is sold to Fannie Mae.
  • Improves data quality and simplifies the servicing rights transfer process for sellers and servicers.

Envestnet | Yodlee to Integrate Risk Insight Solutions With Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter Validation Service (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Envestnet | Yodlee (NYSE: ENV), a data aggregation and data analytics platform powering dynamic, cloud-based innovation for digital financial services, today announced its integration with Fannie Mae through a pilot program to digitally validate borrowers’ assets. Fannie Mae will leverage Envestnet | Yodlee’s Risk Insight Solutions to fuel the Day 1 Certainty™ validation of assets offering, which gives lenders a faster and simplified borrower experience.

We’re doing fine . . . (CU Insight), Rated: A

Over a four-decade career in financial services I have witnessed, experienced and participated in transformational change.  The conversations around emerging technology like the ATM caused industry debate – consumers would never use a machine to make a withdrawal from their account.  Credit cards not tied to a specific gasoline brand, local merchant or one of the giants of the catalogue sales world – Montgomery Wards, Sears and that upstart JC Penney – would never be accepted.  Consumers would never do their banking over the telephone, and of course never accept online banking – remember the first versions using a floppy disk? And checks would always be the only way, other than cash, to pay for things (bill pay, PayPal, debit cards and other payment methods…all have dispelled that).

We should be concerned about the FinTechs.  They are not a fad nor are they going away.  They are very well capitalized, and they have revolutionized how to leverage big data in ways we can only dream of.  They have challenged credit score lending structures by leveraging their ability to engineer data.  They are mobile optimized, in fact they are mobile prevalent, and they strive for immediate decisions and funding.  Where traditional lenders are still caught up in past practices making it difficult to refinance student debt, underwrite small business loans in minutes, grant signature loans at the point of purchase, or embrace new credit models, the FinTechs are quickly gaining ground in market share because they can do those things today.

And we have not evolved our cornerstone lending program, the signature loan, to compete not only at the POS for autos, but for personal improvements and major retail purchases as SOFI, Lending Club and so many other FinTechs have.

Arizona seeks $ 250K from partners accused of defrauding investors in payday-loan venture (AZ Central), Rated: A

Robin Erickson, an Arizona snowbird, remembers the pitch she got from her life-insurance agent about LoanGo, a startup internet payday-loan company.

The Mount Vernon, Washington, resident said she was told that the investment would generate an 18 percent return, and she “more than likely” would get her money back in a year.

“I loaned him $30,000, and I haven’t heard from him since,” Erickson, a retired elementary-school teacher, told The Arizona Republic in a phone interview.

The Arizona Corporation Commission’s Securities Division alleges that Erickson and four other older investors were defrauded of a combined $250,000 after making investments in 2011 and 2012 with LoanGo.

Administrative Law Judge Scott M. Hesla on Oct. 10 sided with state regulators and ordered the men to pay a total of $250,000 in restitution to the five investors. The judge also ordered the men to pay penalties of up to $15,000 each for “multiple violations” of the state’s anti-fraud provisions.

The judge, in his ruling, noted that Billingsley failed to inform investors that their money would be used to repay business startup loans of $10,000 each to himself and Peterson. The judge also wrote that investors were not told Billingsley received a $15,000 commission for obtaining their investments.

The judge noted that Billingsley was repaid his startup loan the same day one person invested $45,000 in LoanGo, and that Peterson was repaid the same day a different person invested $25,000 in the company.

AIMA’S NEW DUE DILIGENCE TEMPLATE (All About Alpha), Rated: A

It has been 20 years since the Alternative Investment Management Association published its first due diligence questionnaire, a template designed to standardize the diligence process by which investors decide if a particular management is right for them.

Now it has published a new questionnaire/template, covering a broader range of entities/strategies. Specifically, for the first time there are questions specifically covering private credit and private equity strategies. The new document also integrates what were formerly separate questionnaires specific to commodity trading advisers and fund of funds managers.

A CFPB policy everybody seems to like (really) (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks have welcomed the statement of principles because they are non-binding, while fintechs are encouraged by the CFPB’s recognition of key issues in the debate.

Yet the principles could also lay the groundwork for future regulation if banks and fintechs cannot work out some outstanding issues on their own.

Screen scraping

The most controversial aspect of data sharing is screen scraping. Banks loathe data aggregators’ practice of asking a consumer to provide their online banking login credentials, so the firm can scrape their account data. They argue it’s unsafe to hand out banking credentials and that aggregators bombard their servers with these requests, preventing actual customers from accessing their accounts.

The CFPB’s principles seem to discourage screen scraping without banning it.

Knight said the principle may encourage banks to directly provide data to third parties.

Informed consent

The CFPB’s principles around informed consent appeared the most stringent, suggesting that it’s not enough to just disclose what a company is doing, but disclosures must be done in language anyone can understand.

The principle may pose a challenge for banks and fintechs. How many companies send notifications about how they’re using and storing consumers’ data, in easy to understand language?

OCC head discusses the fintech ecosystem (Business Insider), Rated: B

However, while Noreika again defended the OCC’s right to license non-depository companies on Thursday, he also said the agency has not decided whether it will “exercise that specific authority.” This is more ambiguous than the OCC’s previous stance, perhaps suggesting the regulator believes the measure won’t survive such strong opposition.

Noreika said there’s been progress here, as federal regulators are now more willing to engage in dialogue with each other and with fintechs.

us fintech regulators
Source: Business Insider

The Robo Report Announces 2 Year Return Numbers for Robo Advisors In New Q3 Report (Business Insider), Rated: B

The Robo Report, the first and only report on the performance and portfolios of robo advisors, published by BackEndBenchmarking, has been released for the third quarter 2017, the company announced.

The expanded Report now offers a first look two full years of a few robo advisors performance data, along with new sections that include interviews with WiseBanyan, Personal Capital and Betterment; the addition of Sofi, TIAA and WealthSimple; and upside/downside capture ratios for more specific quant on risk tolerance, as well as more detailed asset allocation and style analysis.

The company currently tracks Acorns, Betterment, eTrade, Fidelity Go, Future Advisor, Personal Capital, Schwab, SigFig, Tradeking, Vanguard, WiseBanyan, TD Ameritrade, Ellevest, Hedgeable and Merrill Edge, Sofi, TIAA and WealthSimple.

First Associates to Host Industry Networking Event in New York (PR Web), Rated: B

First Associates Loan Servicing announced today that they will be hosting an industry networking breakfast for Marketplace Lending and Investment Banking professionals the day prior to the American Banker Digital Lending + Investing Conference.

Hosted at Aureole Restaurant in Manhattan, this event will include a panel of marketplace lending superstars, including speakers from Prospect Capital, Macquarie, MoneyLion and more, who will discuss the state of the industry.

If you have interest in attending panel discussion and event, please click here to learn more.

CoinList spins out of AngelList (Axios), Rated: B

CoinList, a provider of financial services for staging and managing initial coin offerings (ICOs), is spinning out of AngelList as a standalone company that will be led by former Sidewire CEO Andy Bromberg, it tells Axios.

United Kingdom

German app-only bank N26 gears up for UK launch as it recruits country manager (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Closely-watched German fintech startup N26 is recruiting a country manager to spearhead its launch into the UK.

A job listing on N26’s website says it is looking for someone to take “charge of the market entry of N26 in the UK.” The successful applicant will be “responsible for the operational setup and development of N26 in the UK market,” and should “build up the branding for N26 within the UK market in order to successfully attract and win new customers.”

P2PFA reports over £700m of new lending in third quarter (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

THE PEER-TO-PEER Finance Association (P2PFA) has reported that new lending among its members equated to more than £700m in the third quarter of 2017, despite losing ‘big three’ platform RateSetter during the period.

The self-regulated trade body said on Monday that cumulative lending by the existing P2PFA platforms came in at more than £7.1bn by the end of September 2017.

Peer to Peer Lending Exhibits Steady Growth in Q3 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has published their quarterly numbers on sector growth for the third quarter of 2017. Covering the period between July and September 2017,  the P2PFA says the numbers confirm continued steady growth in levels of new lending and in the number of borrowers facilitating loans through peer-to-peer lending platforms.

P2PFA Q3 2017 Q4 2016 Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 2017
Cumulative lending £4,888,231,038 £5,708,635,402 £6,391,925,730 £7,168,727,657
o/w lending to businesses £2,922,779,264 £3,487,208,822 £3,924,226,666 £4,440,151,180
o/w lending to individuals £1,965,451,774 £2,221,426,580 £2,467,699,064 £2,728,576,477
Base stock of loans (outstanding loan book) £2,132,049,663 £2,497,408,800 £2,745,490,796 £2,958,326,435
o/w lending to businesses £1,213,693,991 £1,470,605,094 £1,630,765,546 £1,754,510,098
o/w lending to individuals £918,335,672 £1,026,803,706 £1,114,725,250 £1,204,816,337
New Lending £603,011,422 £703,047,838 £666,096,755 £733,270,490
o/w lending to businesses £404,171,535 £447,073,032 £419,818,940 £472,393,077
o/w lending to individuals £198,839,887 £255,974,806 £246,277,815 £260,877,413
Capital repaid £370,158,773 £401,358,998 £411,834,014 £508,891,428
o/w lending to businesses £249,776,784 £253,832,226 £253,477,742 £337,105,103
o/w lending to individuals £120,381,989 £147,526,772 £158,356,272 £171,786,325
Net Lending Flow £237,151,881 £305,679,840 £254,262,739 £228,055,356
o/w lending to businesses £158,793,983 £197,231,806 £166,341,195 £138,964,268
o/w lending to individuals £78,457,898 £108,448,034 £87,921,544 £89,091,088
Number of current lenders 121,476 128,000 140,098 134,658
Number of current borrowers 191,055 214,631 231,189 246,813
o/w are businesses 29,594 34,566 39,043 43,425
o/w are individuals 161,461 180,065 192,146 203,388


Q4 2016 Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 2017
Folk2Folk £139,344,302 £176,419,805
Funding Circle £1,524,427,000 £1,830,397,245 £2,158,457,107 £2,747,357,362
Landbay £42,948,000 £43,142,119 £43,975,419 £59,561,822
Lending Works £33,636,000 £39,368,050 £48,864,686 £71,699,386
MarketInvoice £754,325,000 £837,793,900 £918,450,994 £1,201,857,191
ThinCats £196,907,000 £211,446,000 £226,981,000 £254,955,000
Zopa £1,731,685,000 £1,926,038,724 £2,172,561,894 £2,656,877,091
Total £4,888,231,038 £5,708,635,402 £6,391,925,730 £7,168,727,657

What getting servicing right really means (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: A

Earlier this year LendInvest received the highest possible rating for the quality of our loan servicing from ARC Rating, a regulated European credit agency, for the third straight year. It’s a big achievement for any lender, but particularly an online lender.

Here are some of the things that ARC looks for when rating a lender’s servicing standards:

  • Corporate governance and structure
  • Due diligence
  • Internal controls
  • Industry-standard technology
  • Data backup
  • Financial condition

A guide to Open Banking (Lexology), Rated: A

Open Banking refers to an open source technology that allows anyone to create apps and websites for the financial services sector. Developers use an application programme interface (API) to create software that allows customer data to be shared securely between banks and trusted third parties – with the customer’s consent.

The Open Banking Standard is publically available and can be accessed by developers when creating apps and websites. The final version of the Open Banking Standard is due to be in use by 2019.

Examples of Open Banking apps

  • Yolt is a money management app owned by ING Bank and launched in beta format in June 2017. Yolt allows users to view all their bank accounts, credit cards, bills etc. in one place – even if they are from different providers. Users can compare prices, including energy prices, and set budgets on their phone.
  • HSBC announced in September 2017 that it was testing an Open Banking platform that will allow its customers to view their current accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages and savings from up to 21 different providers.
  • Wave offers a service for businesses to give clients access to all of their finances in one place. It acts as an invoicing service; tracks income and expenses to make accounting easier; allows for streamlined payment of staff and will leverage data from as many sources as possible. It also offers loans to clients by connecting with the online lender OnDeck.
  • DueDil is an app which uses data to make online due diligence passports for its clients so that they can prove their financial credentials.
  • Tandem collects the banking data of its customers from their banks, analyses their spending habits and provides suggestions for how they can save money.

Why buy-to-let investors are focusing on graduates in the London suburbs (The Telegraph), Rated: A

As rents continue their inexorable rise, the appeal of living in inner London boroughs such as Camden – where the average monthly rent is £2,219 – is starting to lose its shine.

According to peer-to-peer lending platform Landbay, the central areas popular among students are being eschewed by graduates, who are looking to make the capital their long-term base.

Faced with spending up to 75 per cent of their take-home pay on rent, graduates looking to work in London are choosing to live in areas where they can remain in commuting distance but pay less. And with average student loan debts of more than £50,000 according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, any savings are welcome.

Top ten outer London boroughs | Average rent and yield

Year ending 31 August 2017

1 Bexley (YoY% 1.98 / Av.£ 1,004)

2 Sutton (YoY% -0.23 / Av.£ 1,056)

3 Havering (YoY% 1.59 / Av.£ 1,072)

4 Croydon (YoY% 0.02 / Av.£ 1,125)

5 Bromley (YoY% 0.47 / Av.£ 1,169)

6 Hillingdon (YoY% 0.38 / Av.£ 1,192)

7 Barking and Dagenham (YoY% 1.49 / Av.£ 1,203)

8 Lewisham (YoY% -0.16 / Av.£ 1,232)

9 Redbridge (YoY% 1.08 / Av.£ 1,249)

10 Enfield (YoY% 0.88 / Av.£ 1,252)

Source: Landbay

Fitbit Pay arrives in UK and Arcadia offers host of new ways to pay (Internet Retailing), Rated: B

Users of Fitbit can start to use their devices to pay contactlessly in stores a la Apple Pay from today.

Starling Bank, a mobile bank which offers money management and payment tracking through its app, is also the first UK bank to launch with Fitbit Pay, Apple Pay and Android Pay.

China

Fincera Reports $ 1 Billion in Loans for Q2 2017 (Crowddfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Fincera Inc. (OTCQB: YUANF), a provider of online financing and e-commerce services for small and medium – sized businesses and individuals in China, has reported financial results for the second quarter ended June 30 , 2017.

According to their numbers, loan transaction volume across both CeraPay and CeraVest platforms for Q2 2017 totaled approximately RMB 6.9 billion (USD $ 1.0 billion ).

CeraVest loan book
Source: Crowdfund Insider

Chinese issuers prepare ‘supercycle’ of technology IPOs (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Chinese companies have raised $38.6bn through IPOs in the year to date, according to Dealogic.

Issuers in financial services — which, like education and leisure is at the confluence of the hot segments of consumer services and tech — include Ppdai, which is raising $350m in New York, Yixin, Lexin and Jianpu Technology.

Yixin illustrates another trend: many of those coming to market are backed by China’s tech royalty including Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com. Auto financier Yixin, backed by the latter trio, is expected to raise about $200m.

Like Qudian, which listed last week, fellow online lender Lexin is heading to the US and is expected to raise around $600m, according to bankers. Jianpu Technology, a financial comparison site akin to Lending Tree in the US or MoneySuperMarket in the UK, filed for its IPO last Friday.

China IPO
Source: Financial Times

Rong360 starts listing process in USA, whose revenue nearly tripled in two years (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, Rong360’s JianPu Technology has filed an IPO prospectus to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Rong360, which started with a diversion business, this time takes the VIE model to list in US. Its business scope covers loans, credit cards and finance, as well as big data risk controls. However, it is noteworthy that Rong360 is still in the red, and its big data risk control business has also led to a compliance controversy.

According to the prospectus, the company plans to go public in the U.S. with a maximum of $200 million deal for it, and the underwriters are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Huaxing Capital. Rong360 was founded in 2011 and has finished four round of equity finance. The listed entity is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rong360, which was registered in the Cayman Islands in June 1st this year.

With the net loss of $7.2 million in the first half of 2017, Rong360 is still in the red. However, the deficit of JianPu Tech has been shrinking. The prospectus shows that the company’s revenue has increased from 168.4 million RMB in 2015 to 182.1 million RMB in 2016. And in the first half of 2017, its revenue has grown to 393.4 RMB, nearly tripled in less than two years.

Criticism, regulatory tightening to weigh on share price (Global Times), Rated: A

Chinese online lender Qudian Inc is under fire in China after what observers said was a less-than-impressive interview by its CEO Luo Min Sunday that was aimed fending off criticism of the company’s business practices. The critics said it could instead exacerbate the company’s domestic image and hurt its share price.

Following its splashy debut in the US, Qudian was the subject of many negative news reports, mostly from popular social media accounts, about its business model, with some questioning its practice of targeting students for loans and others even describing the company as a “loan shark” – lending money at usurious rates.

“Our bad loan ratio is below 0.5 percent, that’s very low. So we can afford it when those people don’t pay up… Losses have been contained at a low level,” Luo said.

But part of the interview drew much attention and even mockery. Luo said, “Loans that weren’t paid on time were considered dead accounts. We never pushed people to pay back. We don’t even call. If you don’t pay back, then never mind, we’ll just give it to you as a gift.”

European Union

ING Partners with Kabbage, Inc. to Expand Automated Small Business Lending into France and Italy (Kabbage Email), Rated: AAA

Kabbage Inc., a global financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses, and ING, a global bank, are expanding their strategic partnership into France and Italy to provide small businesses with real-time access to working capital. Building on ING’s successful launch in Spain with the Kabbage Platform TM , this partnership allows millions of small businesses throughout France and Italy to easily apply, qualify and access ongoing lines of credit up to €100,000 with ING in under 10 minutes.

IRELAND’S FIRST SYNDICATED PROPERTY FINANCE PLATFORM LAUNCHED WITH €1.5 MILLION CROWD-LENDING LOAN (Irish Tech News), Rated: A

Initiative Ireland has today announced the launch of Ireland’s first syndicated property finance platform.

The launch coincides with the company’s pre-approval of a €1.5 million secured loan, which has been approved for funding via the platform. The largest crowd-lending loan approved to date in Ireland, the loan will fund the development of 10 social housing apartments and a ground floor restaurant on the North Strand Road, Dublin.

International

Empowering the Unbanked through Fintech and Microfinance (Huffingtong Post), Rated: AAA

One angle that needs to be discussed more is how the introduction of these new services is also lowering barriers to most financial activities.

For instance, the rise of cashless options has given the unbanked access to financial services especially in regions that banks find unserviceable. So, it is quite refreshing then that some new Fintech efforts are focused on this particular area since financial inclusion is considered as a key aspect to poverty reduction.

I recently spoke with Sharone Perlstein who is currently working on delivering microfinance services to emerging markets.

What attracted you to microfinance?

There are about 2.5 billion people in the world who are unbanked. Microfinance bypasses the banking system and can help unbanked people develop their own personal economy that will enable them to support their families, their communities, and ultimately the economy of their country.

What are the key challenges in microfinancing and how do you think they can be overcome?

Human resources: Until now, a very large workforce was required to provide this service to those who need it. Today, with automation and smarter information systems, we can significantly reduce manpower and streamline processes to make loans more economically viable for borrowers and lenders.

Most microfinance companies operate where they are most needed, namely in rural areas where the technological infrastructure is unadvanced and unstable. These areas are usually far from urban centers and transportation is inconvenient and expensive. As a result, communication between the microfinance service provider and its potential customers is complex and challenging.

Granting loans to people without a bank account may be risky from a business point of view, since it is difficult to know whether potential borrowers are trustworthy or will be able to meet the terms of the loan. It is also difficult to monitor their business and economic activity. In other words, it is very difficult to build a financial profile for a borrower with no banking activity. Here, too, mobile technology changes the picture.

Some argue that microfinance loans, supposedly meant to help poor people succeed financially, often leave them with debts they can’t afford because of the high-interest rates. What is your opinion on this matter? Is this a real problem? What causes it? And how can it be solved?

I think the best solution is to ensure that:

A. Potential borrowers understand the terms of the loan in depth.

B. The Microfinancier knows the potential borrower in depth.

Why do you choose to focus on Indonesia?

I researched the region’s economy a bit and discovered that there were more than 50 million small and medium-sized businesses, representing about 97% of the business sector in Indonesia and responsible for 30%, if not more, of its GDP growth. However, many of these businesses don’t have enough money to realize their full potential, especially in rural areas, and the banks do not provide the right solution. For this reason, the Bank of Indonesia has enacted a law according to which banks will have to devote at least 20% of their loans portfolio to microloans by 2018, thus opening a window of opportunity for businesses and other microfinance companies wishing to enter the local ecosystem.

Will Your Next Loan Be in Bitcoin? (The Street), Rated: A

Bitcoin could have you covered on your next home loan.

In this line, the longstanding contribution of traditional banks in the worldwide economy is undeniable. But due to their credit selectiveness, renowned bureaucracy and transactional costs, the question is: Can this system can be improved to better serve the 2 billion underbankedaround the world? Greater financial inclusion provides benefits far beyond improved economic health for underserved societies; it is also way for governments to reduce corruption and fraud and promote entrepreneurship and growth.

Anecdotally, at the end of 2015, Lending Club had a total loan volume of $15.9 billion. Year-end of 2016 shows a total volume of $24.6 billion so the annual volume for 2016 is the difference or $8.7 billion.

Just last year, Ripio Credit Network, which wrapped up a $31 million Ethereum ICO, entered the credit service market using Bitcoin as the transaction vehicle. A year later, BitPagos launched Ripio as a digital wallet that enables consumers to send, receive, store, and buy or sell Bitcoin in local currency and to make online payments. In January 2017, BitPagos rebranded as Ripio, with around 100,000 users in tow across North and South America.

Mambu: A Truly Global SaaS Banking Platform for Traditional Finance & Fintechs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Mambu is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that has quickly differentiated its product as a leader in the white label global online banking space.

Mambu is operating in 45 different countries indicating its ability to quickly adapt to diverse regulatory regimes.

Co-founded by CEO Eugene Danilkis and COO Frederik Pfisterer, Mambu is Berlin based Fintech, a standout in the emerging German Fintech scene. Danilkis started his career developing NASA-certified software for the International Space Station.

Can you please provide an update on Mambu and global utilization? How many different companies are using your digital banking services? Which countries are you operating in?

Mambu is live on 6 continents, countries of operation include the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, the US, Kenya, Australia, Philippines, China and Argentina, to name a few.

We have more than 180 live operations in over 45 countries, our solution powers over 5000 loan and deposit products which serve over 4 million end customers.

Our clients range from FinTech revolutionaries to traditional banks.

  • Oaknorth
  • N26
  • New10, ABN AMRO’s newly launched SME lending Fintech, went from concept to launch in 10 months and is offering a fast and fully digital loan application process for Dutch businesses.
  • Globe Telecom’s lending business Fuse
  • PayU Colombia

Is online lending, including P2P, marketplace and balance sheet lending, the most demanded service right now?

Eugene Danilkis: Across all lending verticals, consumer, business and marketplace, there is significant demand for digital and customer centric loan products.

That being said, we have experienced a rise in demand from institutions looking to launch new digital banking services, offering both deposit and loan products.

We’ve also seen a growth in institutions looking to explore a different approach and take a marketplace model similar to that of N26.  They want to collaborate with product providers to offer clients a wider range of products and services.

There appears to be more traditional lenders (IE banks) more inclined to go it alone and launch their own platforms. Goldman Sachs launched Marcus which they developed in house. Is this a trend? Or an opportunity for Mambu?

Eugene Danilkis: As mentioned above, this is a trend that is gathering momentum and it is an opportunity for Mambu.

From Bitcoin To Equity: Fintech Terms Explained (International Business Times), Rated: B

Cryptocurrency: A digital currency that uses cryptography, the art of coding messages to keep them secure.

Blockchain technology: A type of software pioneered by the bitcoin community. It is a new way to structure data by spreading it out across the network so no single party can meddle with the records.

Ethereum: A type of open source blockchain network created by a Russian-Canadian programmer named Vitalik Buterin.

Smart contracts: A piece of software that runs on a blockchain platform and is programmed to automatically complete transactions based on specific circumstances.

Mining: The process of verifying transactions on decentralized cryptocurrency networks is called “mining.”

ICO: An initial coin offering is a type of fundraising campaignwhere a high-tech project raises cryptocurrency by selling tokens, usually a new token unique to this project or startup.

P2P: This stands for peer-to-peer, direct transfers between two people. If you send a friend money through the Venmo mobile app, that’s a P2P money transfer.

Altcoin: A generic term for almost any cryptocurrency that isn’t bitcoin, short for alternative coin.

Cryptocurrency wallet: In the crypto space, a wallet is a piece of software that manages your coins and assets.

Utility token: A cryptocurrency that activates a product or service, grants access to a community or network, or otherwise spurs the blockchain-based project’s development.

India

Connect adds State Bank of India to panel (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: B

Mortgage network Connect for Intermediaries has added State Bank of India – the largest bank in India – to its panel.

The bank offers limited company and special purpose vehicle buy-to-let mortgages with rates starting from 2.59% to 60% LTV and 2.89% to 75% LTV.

It also offers buy-to-let mortgages for individuals from 2.09% to 60% LTV, while it accepts applications from first-time landlords if they have a residential mortgage.

Connect now has a panel of more than 100 lenders, with Octane, West One and Funding Circle being added this year.

Africa

Mastercard Foundation Announces Fifth Annual Symposium on Financial Inclusion (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The Mastercard Foundation today announced that its fifth annual and largest Symposium on Financial Inclusion (SoFI) will take place in Accra, Ghana, on November 7 – 9, 2017. The Symposium champions the idea that, to achieve greater financial inclusion, financial service providers in developing countries must do more to meet the needs and expectations of people living in poverty.

Each year since 2013 the Foundation has convened hundreds of industry professionals to focus on barriers to greater financial inclusion around the world.

This year’s event will reflect on progress made over the past five years, explore challenges that still lie ahead, and plan how to expand and deepen financial inclusion for the world’s most underserved people.

Attendees will hear from an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, including:

  • Opening Keynote Address: Juliet Anammah, Chief Executive Officer, Jumia Nigeria
  • Keynote Address II: Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana

The Mastercard Foundation first awarded the Clients at the Centre Prize in 2015 to the Swedish mobile microinsurance firm BIMA. Last year, the Prize was presented to the South African international remittance company, Hello Paisa. Each year draws nearly 100 applicants from companies around the globe. The three 2017 finalists are:

  • Jumo, a large-scale, low-cost financial services marketplace that uses behavioral data from mobile usage to create financial identities for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises;
  • ftCash, one of India’s fastest growing financial technology ventures which aims to empower micro-merchants and small businesses with the power of digital payments and loans; and
  • Destacame, a free online platform that empowers users by giving them control over their data to build their financial capabilities and to access financial products.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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