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Tuesday December 5 2017, Daily News Digest

credit-to-cash ratio
Source: Let's Talk Payments

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India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Prosper’s Top Concern in 2018 is Liquidity, CEO Says (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lender Prosper will make liquidity a top priority as the company moves into 2018, company CEO David Kimball said during a lending conference that took place last week.

“Our main concern… it’s always liquidity, and I think most people in this room understand that the best way to get to liquidity is to have a lot of different options,” Kimball said to attendees of the Investors Conference in Marketplace Lending on Friday, December 1st. “And so I think you’ll see our toolkit expand [in 2018] versus where it is now.”

Is Lending Club Misleading New Investors About Past Performance? (deBanked), Rated: AAA

New retail investors interested in the Lending Club platform are greeted with a friendly statistic, that “99% of portfolios with 100+ Notes have seen positive returns.” That’s a slippery statement, which is probably why they footnoted it.

Affirm Is Said to Be Raising Funding at $ 1.5 Billion Valuation (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Affirm Inc., an online lender run by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, is in advanced talks for a financing round that would earn it a place in the unicorn startup club.

The San Francisco-based startup is discussing an investment of about $150 million, said people familiar with the matter. The deal would value the company at $1.5 billion, about double the valuation from the last round in April 2016, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the terms aren’t finalized. Affirm declined to comment.

Acorns Teardown: The Most Popular Robo-Advisor Faces A Fierce Fight As It Goes ‘Upmarket’ (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

The micro-investing app has grown an of army of 2.2M accounts. But making money off these first-time, lower-income investors won’t be easy. To do so, Acorns is building out higher-tier investment services and moving into the highly saturated $40T retirement planning market.

With over 2.2M investment accounts in the US since launch, the company has proved there is a clear niche for its product. It is already the largest robo-advisor by client accounts.

Acorns’ service isn’t free, but it is cheap — the company charges $1 a month or .25% for accounts over $500. At $12 annually for many accounts, that’s not a lot of revenue.

Acorns is making a number of important moves:

  • It is launching its own retirement savings plan in 2018 called Acorns Later, which could help it reach new users and push up current users’ account size.
  • It has formed a strategic partnership with investor Paypal to extend its product to Paypal’s huge user base. In addition, its partnership with Paypal could ultimately help Acorns get into bank account services, a move similar to what low-income investing competitor Stash has done.
  • A B2B offering may also be in the works, based on recent acquisition activity. B2B products have helped other robo-advisors see big jumps in AUM.
Acorns
Source: CB Insights

Acorns manages approximately $528M in AUM and approximately $407 per account as of September 2017. Compare that to Betterment which manages approximately $28.5K per client account and Wealthfront which averages $42.3K.

robo-advisors
Source: CB Insights

Mortgage Marketplace Lender LendingHome Surpasses $ 2 Billion in Loan Originations (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Monday, mortgage marketplace lender LendingHome announced it has originated more than $2 billion in mortgage loans for homeowners and real estate investors. The online lender revealed that the first billion of originations occurred over the course of 30 months, while it took just 12 months for the company to originate its second billion. In the process, LendingHome crossed the major milestone of financing more than 10,000 homes nationwide.

How Cross River Bank plans to bring mobile payments to business customers (Tearsheet), Rated: A

How and when employees get paid should be their choice, Isaacson said. The technology to make that happen is already in the market — Uber and Lyft drivers are taking advantage of it, for example — but the systems aren’t in place at most companies, and there’s a mental barrier for businesses to overcome to begin creating mobile payout experiences.

It’s also too inflexible for some businesses, like a restaurant or store that may need more or fewer cases of Coca Cola than the originally ordered 10. They need to be able to make adjustments like that in real time, Isaacson said. With a mobile device, people can manage and initiate payments in real time and remotely.

Cross River Bank is a business bank, whose clients are some of the biggest fintech companies. Behind the scenes, CRB has developed payments solutions for faster, more secure and lower-cost transfers that have been integrated by TransferWise and the bitcoin wallet Coinbase, as well as Google Wallet and Stripe — which counts Lyft as a customer.

Morgan Stanley is getting in on the hottest trend in investing (Business Insider), Rated: A

The New York-based investment bank announced Monday the launch of Access Investing, an online roboadviser designed to capture a younger clientele.

The goal of Morgan Stanley’s new offering is to serve as a stepping stone, so to speak, for younger savers who one day might want to tap into the bank’s broader suite of wealth-management services when they are wealthier and older.

2017’s Best & Worst Cities for Wallet Fitness (WalletHub), Rated: AAA

Wallet Fitness levels vary widely across the U.S. As we prepare to make resolutions for self-improvement, it’s fair to wonder who’s best positioned for financial success and who has the most work to do. To find out, we compared more than 180 U.S. cities based on 29 key indicators of Wallet Fitness.

Source: WalletHub
10 Best Cities for Wallet Fitness 10 Worst Cities for Wallet Fitness
1 Fremont, CA 173 Oxnard, CA
2 San Francisco, CA 174 Miami, FL
3 Madison, WI 175 New Orleans, LA
4 Columbia, MD 176 Gulfport, MS
5 San Jose, CA 177 Santa Ana, CA
6 Seattle, WA 178 Brownsville, TX
7 Minneapolis, MN 179 San Bernardino, CA
8 Sioux Falls, SD 180 North Las Vegas, NV
9 Bismarck, ND 181 Newark, NJ
10 Warwick, RI 182 Hialeah, FL
median credit scores
Source: WalletHub

See the rest of the results here.

Rich Uncles Announces New CFO, COO, and Corporate Headquarters (Business Insider), Rated: A

Leading crowdfunding real estate investment platform, Rich Uncles, LLC, today announced the appointment of John H. Davis as its new chief financial officer and Jean Ho as its new chief operating officer and chief compliance officer.

Mr. Davis comes to Rich Uncles after more than four decades with KPMG LLP, one of the world’s four largest accounting firms, where he had served as a partner since 1988.

Ms. Ho joined Rich Uncles, LLC in 2016 as the company’s chief financial officer, where she has helped lead the acquisitions of 29 commercial properties across two Rich Uncles-sponsored REITs: Rich Uncles Real Estate Investment Trust I and Rich Uncles NNN REIT, Inc. Prior to joining Rich Uncles, LLC, Ms. Ho held positions as chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Soteira Capital, LLC, chief financial officer of MKA Capital Advisors, LLC, and with KPMG LLP, where she specialized in real estate, financial services, and high net wealth personal financial and estate planning.

Perkins Coie Law Firm Boosts Fintech Bench with SEC Attorney Hire (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Perkins Coie, a law firm that is very active in the Fintech / Blockchain space, has announced the hiring of a former SEC attorney. Michael S. Didiuk has joined the firm’s Investment Management practice group as a partner in the San Francisco office where he will represent clients on various federal securities laws and complex regulatory issues raised by Blockchain technology and with the emergence of digital asset sales and digital securities.

Barclaycard building digital bank in US (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Barclaycard is rebranding itself to Barclays in the US as part of its retail digital banking strategy in 2018.

According to Tearsheet, Barclaycard says since last November it has been targeting prime and super-prime borrowers with an online personal loan offering on a test-and-learn basis to a small group of customers. Barclaycard plans to launch the same offering publicly by the middle of 2018.

Mass firings at top digital currency investment bank (New York Post), Rated: A

The largest investment bank catering to the red-hot cryptocurrency sector was in total disarray on Friday after management fired nine employees — including the entire tech team, The Post has learned.

The Argon Group had been battling internal turmoil recently as many of its investment bankers had grown disenchanted over the direction of the company, sources said.

Atlantic Capital Bank expands into Fintech Banking with strategic new hire (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Chris Stanley joins Atlantic Capital Bank as Vice President of Fintech Industry Banking, to lead Atlantic Capital’s Fintech Banking practice.

Expanding on a successful payments industry line of business, the new fintech banking practice will focus on emerging growth and growth-stage companies in this evolving technology segment. This will bolster Atlantic Capital’s core deposit gathering strategy.

Want to Learn 8 Secrets for Getting a Business Loan? Here are 2 (Small Biz Trends), Rated: B

Secret #1:  Yes, You CAN Improve Your Personal Credit Score

  • Pay down your credit cards. As a yardstick, you’ll want all your cards under 50 percent  of their limits. This means no more maxing out cards — for personal or business.
  • Lower your debt compared to your income. A good benchmark is keeping debt to 30 percent of less of your income. Rather than taking a second mortgage on your home and increasing your debt load, you might be better served to apply for a business loan.
  • Monitor your credit score. Errors are more common than most people realize. Besides you’ll learn which creditors report to credit agencies and what they report on.

Secret #2:  Your Business Credit History May Be Incomplete, But It’s Not Hard to Change That

  • Establish free profiles with the three major business credit bureaus: D&B, Experian, Equifax
  • Apply for a business credit card and use it to establish a timely repayment history.
  • Do business with vendors (“trades”) that report to credit bureaus regularly.
United Kingdom

ThinCats delays IFIsa launch (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

ThinCats has announced that it will now be launching its Innovative Finance Isa (IFIsa) early next year.

The peer-to-peer lending platform had hoped to launch its IFIsa by the end of this year and thanked investors for their patience.

It is currently building the new systems needed to handle the different aspects of accepting and administering Isa investments safely.

Funding Circle hits £3bn lending milestone (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has become the first UK peer-to-peer platform to reach the £3bn cumulative lending milestone.

The business finance provider said on its website that “30,948 UK businesses have financed their goals by borrowing £3bn through Funding Circle”.

Zopa, which lent out a record £100m last month, said it expects to reach the £3bn mark in January.

Micro-lender Oakam secures £35 million debt facility from Victory Park Capital (Finextra), Rated: A

Digital micro-lender, Oakam today announced that it has secured a £35 million debt investment from Victory Park Capital Advisors, LLC (VPC), an investment firm focused on private middle market debt and equity investments.

LandlordInvest publishes loan book (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LANDLORDINVEST, a peer-to-peer lending platform for residential and commercial real estate mortgages, has published its entire loan book to mark its one-year anniversary.

It reveals that LandlordInvest lent a total of £2.7m between December 2016 and December 2017, with an average loan amount of £210,535.

The average loan term was 7.6 months, the average LTV was 63.7 per cent and the average annual gross return to investors was 11.1 per cent.

Welendus launches beta platform for investors (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer payday lender, has launched a beta version of its platform for investors after its latest funding round exceeded its target in under 24 hours.

The fully-authorised platform, which aims to re-define the short-term lending market with cheaper rates and no hidden costs, is now inviting investors to create an account.

Six ways fintech startups could hurt incumbent banks (Econsultancy), Rated: A

For years, there has been much talk about the impact of fintech startups like Mondo and Atom Bank on incumbent banks but little has been done to quantify the actual effects fintechs are having on big banks.

New data from The Bank of England (BoE), published as part of its 2017 stress test of the UK banking system, however, is shedding light on this subject.

  • Reduced overdraft revenue
  • Reduced fees from payment services
  • Higher customer acquisition and retention costs
  • More difficulty cross-selling
  • Increased liquidity risk
  • Increased cyber security risk

Five (more) UK startups to watch: Were we right? | Fintech Recap 2017 (Bob’s Guide), Rated: B

Where they were then: Trussle, the online mortgage trading company, is a rising star in the fintech industry. The start-up company provides solutions and answers to those looking to invest with a hassle-free process.

Where they are now: Following their funding round in early February to raise £4.5m ($5.68m) backed by Orange and Growth Capital, and existing investors LocalGlobe, Zoopla and Seedcamp, Trussle went on to join forces with Revolut in April to give users direct access to their mortgage brokering services.

Total equity funding: $7.38m (now $7.6m) +2.98%*

Where they were then: Iwoca was created to help make credit and loans of up to £100,000 available to small businesses.

Where they are now: 8 days after the time of writing the previous bio, Iwoca partnered with NatWest through Capital Connections to provide SMB loans, a significant collaboration for the six year-old startup.

Total equity funding: $58.5m (now $90m) +54%*

Where they are now: They currently boast a 6.6% annual return for investors and have earned £156m in interest for investors. They’ve lent £3 billion to UK businesses in a total of 43,251 loans (since 2010).

Total equity funding: $373.2m (now flat) –%*

Where they were then: Crowdcube is an investment crowdfunding platform that lets customers hand pick the businesses they want to back and invest in.

Where they are now: In the third quarter of 2017, Crowdcube registered £1m in company revenue, with 70 pitches.

Funds raised to date: $18.69m (now $28.3m) +51.42%*

Where they were then: Based in the heart of the UK capital, LendInvest is the UK’s leading online property lending and investing businesses.

Where they are now: In September, LendInvest announced the strategic partnership with Clever Lending, a specialist lending solution.

Total equity funding: $58.6m (now $393m) +570%*

China

Chinese Online Lender Dianrong Eyes 2018 IPO, Could Raise at Least $ 500 Million (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Dianrong.com, a Chinese online lending platform started and run by a co-founder of LendingClub Corp. , is planning an initial public offering as soon as next year that could raise at least $500 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

China Is Set to Implement a System of Ranking Its Citizens (Interesting Engineering), Rated: AAA

China is set to implement a social credit system that will rate each of its citizens on a publicly available scale. Officially known as the Social Credit Score or SCS, the system is likely to be implemented by 2020.

It works by giving each citizen a score based on their daily interactions and financial decisions, the score can be affected by debt, spending habits and even social interactions. Obviously, to get this kind of score that will be somewhat compared to a person’s trustworthiness, there will need to be a huge amount of individual monitoring and data collection. The SCS is expected to be rolled out in 2020, but there will be a large scale trial period from now until then so the system can be at optimal functionality when it goes live on its 1.3 billion citizens.

Micro-lender China Rapid Finance spots opportunity in new rules (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance will make any adjustments needed to its business practices and the fees it charges in response to Bejing’s new requirements to clean up fast-growing online micro-lenders, its chief executive Zane Wang said on Monday.

Online micro-lenders have come under scrutiny as “problems such as over-lending, repeat borrowing, improper collection, abnormally high interest rates, and privacy violations have become prominent”, Chinese financial regulators said last week.

Banks’ robo-advisers are facing increasing scrutiny (China Daily), Rated: A

With financial institutions increasingly employing roboadvisers, China’s central bank and financial regulators issued draft regulations for comment recently, requiring financial institutions to receive regulatory approval for offering such services.

The regulatory authorities said financial institutions should create rational investment strategies and algorithm models, as well as remind investors of the flaws and risks associated with algorithm-based robo-advisory models.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The project that Pinganfang.com was caught up in is a sharing working place project called Bar Works. Every work place was sold at $25,000 and the minimum purchase quota per investor was two each. The expected annual rate of return was between 12% to 15%.  On June 30th 2017, the SEC charged Renwick Haddow (the planner of Bar Works project) with multiple counts, including illegal fundraising $36 million from the Bar Works investors. 

On November 30th, JD Finance and China UnionPay co-launched a Blockchain-based risk information sharing mechanism.

On December 1st, Alibaba officially set up a poverty alleviation fund. As planned, the fund will invest 10-billion-yuan in the next five years to establish a comprehensive security system and help people fight against poverty. At the fund launch ceremony, Jack Ma, the executive chairman of Alibaba Group, told the media that Ant Financial would suspend plans for an initial public offering.

Change of pace ahead for fintech (China Daily), Rated: A

China has emerged as a leading fintech market globally, with analysts estimating the market size to have exceeded $243 billion by the end of last year, accounting for about 85 percent of the global market share.

The sector’s fast and furious growth was also illustrated by the surge of fintech investment in the country, which attracted capital of $8.8 billion between July 2015 to June 2016, equivalent to an increase of 252 percent since 2010, according to a report by Singaporean banking giant DBS Group and global accounting firm Ernst & Young.

International

Why Mobile Credit Can Be the Entry Ticket to Financial Inclusion (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: AAA

Think for a moment of what your life would be like with no access to credit. Chances are you wouldn’t own a home or a car. Most of us could not have afforded our college education. The entrepreneurs among us would be hard-pressed to build successful businesses. And what about the ways we take advantage of credit cards – basically small-time loans that exist to allow us to pay for emergencies and unexpected expenses? Our financial identity is tied up in our access to these credit opportunities.

The good news, however, is that mobile devices – along with the existence of the cloud – are providing an entirely new landscape for the developing world. This landscape involves assigning a financial identity to those who have largely remained anonymous, reaching these populations through their smartphones. There are scores of creditworthy people on the planet, and we’ve proven before through data science that worthiness has little to do with income or wealth, but instead with the opportunity to demonstrate responsibility.

With this understanding in mind, we reviewed activity in the wake of recent hurricanes that rocked the Caribbean and observed a spike in prepaid mobile users topping up their phone allowances via on-demand credit extensions prior to hurricanes making landfall.

credit-to-cash ratio
Source: Let’s Talk Payments

The following image shows the ratio of airtime credit extensions to cash top-ups as the eye of Hurricane Irma hit the Leeward Islands as well as Turks & Caicos.

credit-to-cash ratio Hurricane Irma
Source: Let’s Talk Payments

As Irma made landfall, purchasing airtime from shops become extremely difficult, if not impossible. The graph above shows what happens when cash based-top ups are not possible.

For these reasons, creating a mobile financial identity in order to provide mobile credit remains the best place to start to address financial exclusion in many parts of the world and smartphones are the most logical vehicle for providing it. Nearly 80% of people all across the globe have prepaid phones, and there are nearly $1 trillion in transactions taking place every day.

Anger and confusion as crypto traders lose thousands in ‘flash crash’ on $ 54 billion exchange (Business Insider), Rated: A

A “flash crash” on the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange has left customers demanding answers and refunds, with many claiming to have lost thousands of dollars.

The price of cryptocurrencies NEO, OMG, and ETP crashed as much as 90% in minutes on the Bitfinex exchange on Wednesday before quickly bouncing back to former levels.

The price crash led Bitfinex, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily volume, to close the positions of many traders who had placed leveraged bets on these digital currencies. Leveraged trading involves borrowing money to increase exposure.

Brett Kruger, a Bitfinex user affected by the “flash crash”, told Business Insider he is unhappy with Bitfinex because he claims the website was “lagging, unresponsive” at the time of the crash. He said he was also repeatedly logged out of the website, blaming recent DDoS attacks. Bitfinex announced last Sunday that it had been hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, a malicious attack meant to bring down the service.

Etherecash Provides Lawyer-backed Platform to Secure Loans Against Your Own Cryptocurrency (Coinspeaker), Rated: B

EthereCash, is a three prong financial platform, wants to eliminate borders, intermediaries and prejudices, providing access to bank services for everybody. It makes all the tedious and lengthy bank operations simple, transparent and secure.

ID Finance strengthens board with ex-CEO of 4finance (ID Finance Email), Rated: A

ID Finance, the emerging markets fintech company, has strengthened its board with the appointment of Kieran Donnelly, ex-CEO of, 4finance, as a board advisor. The appointment will support ID Finance as it continues rapid expansion and further diversification of its business.

Kieran Donnelly served as CEO at 4finance, the European online and mobile consumer lending group for three years. He brings over 30 years of management experience to ID Finance having also held senior roles at Standard Bank Group, MDM Bank and Renaissance Group.

India

India’s Small Businesses Are Ready To Boom, Thanks To Fintech (Forbes), Rated: AAA

In 2017, India ranked second in the growth rate of fintech adoptionamong digitally active consumers across the globe; this surge was paralleled by the rise in fintech funding — receiving over $200 million in the first half of the year.

The financial services market in India is primarily untapped, with 40% of the population having no association with any bank, and more than 80% of the transactions carried out through cash.

Economic analysts predict that the next impetus for growth in the Indian economy will come from SMBs and startups.This is a great opportunity for the fintech industry, especially startups, to make it easier for SMBs, including kirana and mom-and-pop stores that are looking to gain access to capital and grow their business, by providing services where traditional banks and lenders have failed to reach, or have done so at a far higher cost. For example, Mumbai-based online loan platform, SMECorner.com, offers business loans to SMBs with virtually zero collateral.

Online lifestyle renting firm Rentickle.com raises $ 4 M in equity and debt (YourStory), Rated: A

Delhi-NCR-based lifestyle products rental portal Rentickle.com today announced it has raised $4 million in a fresh funding round. The fundraising is a combination of equity and debt.

The equity portion was led by Ajay Relan, Founder and Chairman, CX Partners, and ThinKuvate, a Singapore-based VC firm, with participation from existing investors. Delhi-based NBFC, DMI Finance Pvt Ltd, extended the company a debt line. Rentickle.com had raised $250,000 seed funding in early 2016.

P2P Easy Extends Services As The Fastest Growing Peer-to-Peer Money Lending Platform In India (Digital Journal), Rated: B

‘P2P Easy’ is a recently founded online platform that works hand in hand with borrowers and lenders for fast loan processing & acceptance.

Although the idea of loaning money dates back to the time when the first bank was established, the core issues are more or less the same to date – i.e. 90% borrowers are rejected, and lenders are skeptic due to a lack of any reasonably acceptable guarantee.

APAC

Culum Capital launches online platform for alternative investment (HedgeWeek), Rated: A

Culum Capital, a Singapore-based receivables and supply chain financing provider, has launched a new investor platform, which is aimed at accredited and institutional investors around the globe, and provides invoice financing to SMEs as an alternative to traditional financing sources.

The platform uses its proprietary credit scoring and on-going risk measurement to identify optimum investment opportunities and provide transparency. The transactions carry a short tenor of maximum 120 days, with the average transaction at 70 days. Annualised gross returns are between 10 and 25 per cent, with a strong SME diversification.

Fintech versus financial inclusion: What’s the difference? (DevEx), Rated: A

Mobile phones have introduced a sea of opportunities in every sector imaginable, and that includes in finance. Today, anyone with a cellphone can engage in one form or another of cashless transaction, be it paying bills, sending phone credit, transferring cash, or buying goods and services — even in flea markets.

But what makes this a game changer in the financial sector is how it has penetrated different levels of society. This applies particularly to the unbanked, who are unable to access formal financial institutions and often borrow money from informal lenders who may charge high interest rates and where there is no guarantee of consumer protection.

In recent years, new technologies have emerged that are being used to complement and further what mobile money has achieved: machine learning, peer-to-peer lending, biometric technology, cloud computing, and blockchain, among others.

A conscious effort to ensure all these innovations work for the unbanked

But just because it’s fintech doesn’t necessarily mean it covers financial inclusion.

In fact, a number of the technologies being adopted in the sector are largely aimed at consumer convenience instead of the unbanked.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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Allen Taylor

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