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Monday March 19 2018, Daily News Digest

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United States

Valuation for Robinhood, Maker of App That Offers Free Stock Trades, Tops $ 5 Billion (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Robinhood Markets Inc. is set to be valued at about $5.6 billion in a new funding round, according to people familiar with the matter, a fourfold increase in just one year that reflects the stock-trading app’s soaring popularity among millennials.

The Silicon Valley startup is in the final stages of securing around $350 million from a group of investors led by Russian firm DST Global, according to the people familiar with the fundraising.

Helena, Montana wants to be a new destination for engineers after landing a SoFi office (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

With a population of slightly more than 31,000, Helena is one of the country’s smallest state capitals. It’s not surprising, given that the entire state of Montana is home to only 1 million people. In addition to being tiny, Helena is also incredibly remote. The closest large metropolitan areas are Salt Lake City and Seattle, which are both nearly 500 miles away.

Those qualities shouldn’t make Helena a candidate to house a large engineering team for one of Silicon Valley’s most valuable unicorns. However, SoFi, the online personal finance company focusing on student loans, mortgages, and personal loans, has multiple locations in the city that together house roughly 140 employees — many of them programmers and engineers, as I learned on a trip last month to Helena.

Amazon’s footprint grows, CLUB 2018-NP1 Deep Dive (Peer IQ), Rated: AAA

Amazon continued its foray into the lending sector this week by offering a small business credit card, building on its success financing merchants with over $3 Bn in lending, Bloomberg reports. Amazon’s actions indicate broader ambitions to own the consumer’s financial relationship via lending, non-bank mortgage origination, credit cards, a co-branded deposit account, and potentially a robo advisor. Amazon is partnering with banks where they lack a clear regulatory swim lane.

CLUB 2018-NP1

Collateral Comparison
Source: Peer IQ

This is the largest near-prime deal that has been issued so far. The deal has 8,237 loans more than the CLUB 2017-NP2 deal and the average loan balance is $422 lower. The weighted average FICO on LC’s near-prime deals is 639, lower than that on AVNT 2017-B.

Bond Comparison
Source: Peer IQ

Kushners’ Cadre Startup Benefited From Misleading Rent Filings (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Cadre owned about 60 percent of three rent-regulated buildings in Queens sold by Kushner Cos. in April 2017. The $59 million price tag was an 80 percent premium over what they paid in January 2015, property records in New York show. It was the first known deal that Cadre, then a fledgling company, took from purchase to sale, and the high rate of return in a short time was touted as a proof-of-concept for its web-based investing platform.

Kushner Cos., Cadre’s operating partner at the properties, told the city the buildings had no rent-regulated tenants when applying for construction permits to update the buildings in 2015 but tax records filed later showed almost 100 such residents, according to a report by the Associated Press. The number of tenants fell precipitously prior to the buildings’ sale, the wire service reported.

 

U.S. Appeals Court Voids Obama-Era ‘Fiduciary Rule’(Financial Advisor), Rated A

A federal appeals court on Thursday voided the U.S. Department of Labor’s “fiduciary rule,” an Obama administration measure adopted in 2016 meant to curb conflicts of interest among providers of financial advice to Americans planning for retirement.

Study Finds Link Between Payday Loans, Poor Health (LendEDU), Rated: A

A new study has disclosed that almost 40 percent of people seeking short-term, high-interest loans from lenders such as payday loan companies are likely to report their health as either fair or poor.

Short-term loans have grown from a $10 billion industry in 1998 to $48 billion in 2011, reported The Guardian. Interest is extremely high on these loans—up to 600 percent per year—and the funds, typically utilized by low-income borrowers, are used for necessities including car repairs, food, and rent, according to the study.

Short-term loans have grown from a $10 billion industry in 1998 to $48 billion in 2011, reported The Guardian.

How Citizens Bank is reaching millennials (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Citizens Bank is selling millennials a comfortable, enjoyable life of travel, adventure and everything short of avocado toast in an effort to grow its student loan refinancing business.

At the end of 2017, Citizens’ student loan book was valued at $8.1 billion, according to the company. It’s a space which startups have forged a path, with CommonBond funding $1.5 billion loans since it was founded in 2012, and the value of SoFi’s student loan originations at $14 billion. Still, banks have unique advantages when it comes to the student loan refinance market, like a strong resource base to invest in marketing, and a book of business based on deposit products that lowers their costs.

Goldman Sachs launches in-house incubator (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs has launched an in-house incubator to allow its employees to bring innovative ideas and solutions to life, and to Goldman.

GS Accelerate is accepting applications for “ideas that can deliver best-in-class solutions for our clients, take Goldman Sachs into new business areas, manage risk and tackle inefficiencies in our operations,” according to an executive memo sent to staff Thursday and shared with Tearsheet. Goldman declined to comment further.

Developing The Application of Anti-fraud Technology to Enhance Financial Risk Management (Lendit), Rated: A

With the maturity of the underlying technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, the manual driven anti-fraud method will be closely integrated with artificial intelligence driven anti-fraud method by incorporating the online and offline scenarios, constantly and quickly generating a surge in innovative strategies from the previous unidirectional and inefficient strategy.

The current application of anti-fraud technology is a rule engine driven approach, that is, it can detect the problems when the frauds are triggered but cannot predict and warn in the early stage. By accumulating and studying the data of fraudulent activities and developing the new cyber technology, the application of anti-fraud technology is expected to be turn from passive investigation into active pre-warning to build up the first firewall of anti-fraud. Adding intervention techniques out of the rule engine, such as neural network technology, will help to improve the pre-warning mechanism.

Bank Fintech Partnership More Than Just a Good Idea (Lendit), Rated: A

Bank customers demand highly functioning and seamless digital experiences.  They expect easy loan application processes that minimize data entry and turn around decision and funding in session-time.  They expect configurable communications, inbound and outbound, via the channel of their choosing and on the cadence of their choosing.  They expect to conduct every possible interaction, including account opening, without being require to walk into a branch.  They crave AI-driven advice and AI-fueled interaction channels.  With mobile payment processes, remote deposit capture, 24/7 access and service, and high degrees of security all to boot.

While it is possible to develop these capabilities in house, the best solutions already exist, developed by fintech providers who are ready to partner with the bank.

Blake Cohen of SALT Lending (Lending Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Blake first got involved with blockchain and bitcoin.
  • The conversation that led to the founding of SALT Lending.
  • The outcome of his conversations with banks around accepting bitcoin as collateral.
  • How they discovered there would be demand for their proposed lending service.
  • Why they decided to sell discounted memberships instead of doing an ICO.
  • Why anybody who is holding cryptocurrency instantly understands their value proposition.
  • How much membership tokens, known as SALT tokens, cost.
  • The total amount of loan demand they have received to date.
  • How the process works when taking out a loan.
  • The loan products they are offering today.
  • How their margin calls work.
  • Why they do no credit checks on their borrowers.
  • How loans are getting funded today and their plans for the future here.
  • How the volatility in the price of cryptocurrencies has impacted their business.
  • The vision for the future of SALT lending.

Best Online Checking Accounts (Benzinga), Rated: A

Online checking accounts are different from regular checking accounts at your bank/credit union and the number one reason they’re different is that they’re from banks that forgo a traditional branch structure. Ally Bank is a great example of this type of online-only option.

Best for no monthly fees: Capital One 360 Online Checking Account
Best for hIgh APY: Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking
Best for no deposit minimum: Ally Interest Checking
Best business online checking account: EverBank Business Checking

Lendio announces South Charlotte franchise (Bankless Times), Rated: B

Small business loan marketplace Lendio this week opened a franchise in Charlotte, North Carolina. Through the Lendio franchise program, Chris Cronk will help local businesses in the community apply for loans, review their options and secure funding.

OnDeck Names Diamond Janitorial Services as Small Business Of the Month (PR Newwire), Rated: B

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending to small business, today announced that Diamond Janitorial Services has been selected as the OnDeck Small Business of the Month for March, 2018.

 

Government Lifts Prohibition on Payday Lending Chain’s Partnership With National Banks (WSJ), Rated: B

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has lifted a prohibition on partnerships between payday loan chain ACE Cash Express Inc. and national banks, as the agency’s Trump-appointed head, Joseph Otting, is encouraging financial institutions to offer more small-dollar consumer loans.

The OCC rescinded a 2002 consent order that restricted ACE’s ability to offer payday loans funded by nationally chartered banks.

Private equity firms buying real estate data and software provider EDR for $ 205 million (Housingwire), Rated: B

Two prominent private equity firms are buying EDR, a provider of real estate data and software-as-a-service, for $205 million, the companies announced earlier this week.

The buyers for EDR, which provides property due-diligence and risk management technology and information, are Silver Lake and Battery Ventures.

United Kingdom

MarketInvoice reaches £2b milestone (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Business finance company MarketInvoice has today reached the landmark milestone of having advanced £2b worth of invoice finance and business loans to UK companies.

The first £1b was achieved after 5 years of trading and the second £1b took just 14 months to reach. During this brief time, two new products were launched (confidential invoice discounting and business loans). These helped MarketInvoice provide funding worth £714.2m to business in 2017 up from £410.4m in 2016 (up 74%).

Lendy Announces 20,000 Investor Milestone & Repays Five Loans in February 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Lendy announced this week it has attracted its 20,000th investor to its peer-to-peer lending platform. This news comes just days after the online lender announced it repaid five loans in February 2018.

According to P2P Finance News, the lender reported that about 7,000 new investors have joined its platform during the past year, with growth in the under 40 age group. Lendy also revealed that investors have secured more than £37 million in interest since its platform’s launch in 2012, with over  £373 million in total has been lent through the platform.

More SMEs planning to apply for finance, research shows (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: AAA

A study from market research agency BDRC has shown that the number of SMEs planning to apply for finance increased in 2017, rising from 10% in the first quarter to 14% in the last three months of the year.  

The company’s SME Finance Monitor surveyed 132,000 businesses and also found that more SMEs are becoming aware of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, with more than 30% being aware of this type of finance in the final quarter of 2017.

The research showed an increase in awareness of P2P lending combined with crowdfunding, with 46% being aware of these types of finance, up from 36% at the start of last year.

Nearly half (48%) of larger businesses with 50-249 employees were found to be aware of P2P lending, compared to 32% of solo operations and 31% of smaller businesses with fewer than ten employees.

Get ready for UK fintech’s Big IPO Year (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Funding Circle, one of the most notable UK ‘unicorns’ (a tech firm with a valuation north of £1bn), is the latest firm to make headlines for a soon-expected IPO. It also recently enlisted Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to help with the process, according to media reports. Many other notable digital lending platforms such as Zopa and LendInvest as well as banking challengers such as Monzo have also dropped hints that they aspire to move into public spheres eventually, if not soon.

Peer-to-peer lender offers rare secured retail bond paying 5.4pc (The Telegraph), Rated: A

peer-to-peer lender is launching a secured retail bond paying 5.375pc in interest annually, until it matures in 2023. The company, LendInvest, is a service that allows individuals to loan their money to finance property projects.

IF Isas: a bold way to build your capital (Money Week), Rated: A

This time last year, for example, none of the big three peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms – Zopa, RateSetter, and Funding Circle – had IF Isas available. But the situation has improved, and now more than 30 platforms offer them.

More than 75% of those surveyed by specialist researcher AltFi Data shortly before Christmas said they weren’t aware of the products.

If you want to lend to consumers, you could try RateSetter, which offers up to 4.9% a year over five years. A far riskier option is FundingSecure. This platform offers 12% or more on sub-prime asset-backed lending – P2P pawnbroking, effectively.

On the lending to business side, Funding Circle offers 7.2%, but is currently only open to existing customers. Assetz Capital offers from 3.75% to 15% over various terms. Crowdstacker offers up to 7%. The UK Bond Network allows you to invest from £5,000 in individual corporate bonds from listed and unlisted businesses, returning an average of 11.1%. And if you prefer to invest in renewable-energy projects, Abundance Investments offers up to 15%.

China

Micro-cap Chinese fintech Senmiao Technology prices $ 12 million IPO at $ 4 low end (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

Senmiao Technology, an early-stage Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, raised $12 million by offering 3.0 million shares at $4.00, the low end of the range of $4.00 to $4.50.

At $4.00, the company commands an IPO market cap of $102 million and an enterprise value of $90 million. During fiscal 2017, it booked $0.2 million in revenue and a net loss of $0.7 million.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Ant Financial Buys Shares in Telenor Microfinance Bank

On March 13, Pakistan’s Telenor Group announced a strategic partnership with China’s Ant Financial Services Group. According to the agreement, Ant Financial will acquire 45% of Telenor Microcredit Bank, at the value of US $184.5 million. According to the agreement, Ant Financial will acquire 45% of Telenor Microcredit Bank, at the value of US $184.5 million.  

JD Finance Starts a New 13 Billion-Yuan Fundraising

On March 13, JD Financial announced that the group has initiated a new 13 billion yuan fundraising round. The new funding raised will be mainly utilized for financial licenses acquisition, technology research and marketing. It is said that CICC and COFCO shall lead this investment with a share of 10-billion-yuan. The leading investors will sign the agreements with JD Finance by the end of March and close their investment by the end of April.

Statistics shows that the valuation of JD Finance has reached 120-billion-yuan before this planned investment and is expected to reach between 165 and 190-billion-yuan after that.

 

 

Weekly Review (Investors Business Daily), Rated: A

China-based online lender Qudian (QD) reported $229.2 million in revenue and diluted EPS of 26 cents. ADT posted a surprise adjusted loss of 6 cents a share on 6% sales growth to $1.11 billion. On a GAAP basis, the home security company earned 99 cents a share.

European Union

Real estate crowdfunding in Finland: the drivers of campaign success and the industry development (Theseus.fi), Rated: B

The objectives of the study were to examine the phenomenon of real estate crowdfunding in Finland, to explain the success or failure of RECF campaigns, to understand the drivers behind industry development and to assess its future potential. The data was collected from the two main sources: interviews with the experts and the information from the websites of the crowdfunding platforms.

International

The Third Age of credit (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Today, buoyed by a plethora of technologies and a golden age for abundant data, creditis undergoing its most radical change yet. But it is being pulled in many directions by competing forces, each with their own vision for the future.

The last year has witnessed a Cambrian explosion in credit innovation, unveiling hundreds of possibilities for the future of credit. Unlike the last two ages, credit of the future will be personal, predictive, self-correcting and universal.

What does a new world of credit look like?

Thousands of startups are all finding new ways to apply this same concept of statistical modeling. WeLab in Hong Kong and Kreditech in Germany, for example, use up to 20,000 points of alternative data to process loans (WeLab has provided $28 billion in credit in four years). mPesa and Branch in Kenya provide developing-world credit using mobile data, Lendabledoes so using psychographic data and Koradoes this on blockchain. Young peer-to-peer lending startups like Funding CircleLending Club and Lufax have originated more than $100 billion in loans using algorithmic underwriting.

Victory Park Capital partners IFC on fintech fund for emerging markets (Finextra), Rated: A

Victory Park Capital (“VPC”), a leading investment firm focused on providing flexible debt and opportunistic equity solutions worldwide, announced today that it has launched a new fund together with the International Finance Corporation (“IFC”), a member of the World Bank Group.

The new fund will invest in financial technology companies in emerging markets. The partnership aims to improve access to debt capital for financial technology companies that lend to small businesses and consumers in emerging markets.

Accountants Look to Artificial Intelligence As Clients Get More Demanding (Sanvada), Rated: A

Accountancy firms to be particular are busy investing in AI and automation initiatives to help staffs with mundane tasks. The need is so open in some situations that businesses fail to deliver their mandate to customers.

In the research, close to 50 percent of the accountants said they would like to automate number crunching, diary management and the most time consuming of all: data entry. On the same note, three quarter showed great attraction to AI, to have it assist time-consuming responsibilities and automate involving tasks with recurring patterns.

Accounting firms have been in the front line of using cloud computing and Sage report stated that 67 percent of respondents now link their success to the use of cloud tech.

Finastra named provider of best payments solution by Global Finance (Vested for Finastra Email), Rated: B

Finastra has been named ‘best payment solutions provider’ by Global Finance, as part of the publication’s Best Treasury & Cash Management Banks and Providers for 2018, announced in the March issue of the magazine.

Finastra received the award based on its best-of-breed payments and financial messaging solutions that enable financial institutions and their business customers to manage cash, process payments, exchange information and transfer funds cost-effectively, securely and reliably within and across national boundaries.

Australia

SMEs shun banks, turn to fintechs (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

The proportion of SMEs planning to use banks dropped from 38% to 24% between 2014 and 2018, the Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index shows. It is recalculated every six months.

About half (47.6%) of the 1253 small-to-medium business leaders who had not used non-banking lending options in the last 12 months said they are interested in using alternative financing in the future.

Of the SMEs that used alternative working capital options in 2017, the most popular was debtor finance (77%), followed by merchant cash advances (23%), peer-to-peer lending (10%), crowdfunding (9%) and other online lending (5%).

9 in 10 SMEs say cash flow problems prevented revenue growth (Finder), Rated: A

A new report released this week has revealed the changing state of cash flow, finance and growth for Australian small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The SME Growth Index, released by working capital provider Scottish Pacific, found that one in five (21.1%) SMEs were unable to take on new work because of cash flow restrictions, and 9 in 10 (92.7%) SMEs said that cash flow restrictions actually prevented them from generating more revenue.

Small business revenue is heavily influenced by the business’ cash flow. Of the 1,253 small business respondents to the Index, only 7.3% said that improved cash flow would not have led to more revenue. The restrictions on revenue due to cash flow has cost the Australian economy $229.8 billion.

FinTech Australia Points to Report that Highlights Growth in Fintech Lenders as Traditional Finance Declines (Crowdfind Insider), Rated: A

FinTech Australia, is highlighting a report this week that points to the decline in traditional fince options (IE Banks) and the ongoing rise in SMEs using Fintech platforms to address their capital needs.

The report is courtesy of the Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index, released every six months, which is based on interviews with 1,253 SMEs across Australia with annual revenues of up to $5 million.

For SMEs with plans to invest in expansion over the next 6 months, 24% say they will fund growth by borrowing from their main relationship bank – continuing a downward trend, and well short of the high of 38% who nominated this option to fund growth in the first round of the Index in September 2014. More than one in five SMEs (22%) plan to use alternatives to their main bank to fund upcoming growth, with 91% relying on their own funds. Of the SMEs that used alternative working capital options in 2017, their funding choices were: debtor finance (used by 77%), merchant cash advances (23%), P2P lending (10%), crowdfunding (9%) and other online lending (5%).

Gen Y advisers shy away from the big banks (Financial Review), Rated: B

Data from consumer information company Adviser Ratings provided exclusively to The Australian Financial Review reveals in the last two years, the non-aligned sector – or what was previously termed the independent space – has seen it attract 70 per cent of all news advisers, compared with 40 per cent previously.

There has also been a 32 per cent increase in the number of Australian Financial Services Licenses (AFSLs) granted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. This equates to 400 new licenses in two years. Total adviser numbers have grown 10 per cent, up to 24,777 from 22,612 over that period.

India

Is RBI sleeping over Faircent’s P2P ad that promises huge returns? (MoneyLife), Rated: AAA

An overhyped, front page advertisements in a leading economic daily by Faircent.com, which claims it is India’s largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lending website, is luring people promising returns that are safer than the risky ’Sensex’ — almost like a Ponzi scheme. Shockingly, the company’s business and its puffery does not seem to attract the attention or supervision of any regulator. Not even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), whose governor recently lamented that his organisation does not have adequate powers over banks — especially public sector banks. So what about finance companies that are regulated by it? The Faircent.com advertisement would give you a clue. The last line of the advertisement, in its fine print carries a disclaimer saying, the “Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should not be held responsible for these claims or promises”.

Movers And Shakers Of The Week [12–17 March 2018] (Inc 42), Rated: B

Online financial services marketplace BankBazaar has appointed Aparna Maheshas the Chief Marketing Officer.

P2P lending company Faircent has roped in Vikas Prasad and Mayank Bishnoi on board its leadership team.  Vikas has joined Faircent as Head – Planning, Processes, and Control, while Mayank has taken over as Head – Customer Experience.

Asia

Genie: the broadest Asian business loans exchange platform (Global Coin Report), Rated: A

The Genie ICO recently hit its soft cap of $5 million, with another $20 million in the pipeline. They had achieved about $2.5million through crowd sale; with the $3million underwritten amount, the current token purchase crosses the soft cap of $5million.

 

The ICO, which started a few weeks ago, finalized on March, 1st. Tokens were for sale at a rate of 0.0025 ETH, with a fundraising goal of 5,000,000 USD that was already met.

INTERVIEW-Indonesian banks will see “more than 12 pct” loan growth in 2018- regulator (Reuters), Rated: A

Indonesian banks will see “more than 12 percent” loan growth in 2018 thanks to a recovering global economy and a pickup in commodity prices, the country’s financial regulator said.

Loan growth in Indonesia has fallen below 10 percent since the start of 2016, compared with more than 20 percent during the commodity boom years before that.

Canada

Merchant Advance Capital Closes $ 30 Million Debt Facility (deBanked), Rated: AAA

Canadian Merchant Advance Capital closed a $30 million debt facility from Comvest Credit Partners today.

“This is giving us significant runway,” Merchant Advance Capital CEO David Gens told deBanked. “For the next 12 months in particular, we’ve got great visibility as far as where our incremental capital is going to come from. This will allow us to focus less on fundraising and more on just building the business.”

Founded in 2010, Merchant Advance Capital offers several small business financing products including fixed term loans and business lines of credit.

Royal Bank of Canada Explores Blockchain to Automate Credit Scores (CoinDesk), Rated: A

The Royal Bank of Canada may be interested in putting credit scores on a blockchain.

In a patent application released Thursday, the bank outlines a platform built on a blockchain that would automatically generate credit ratings using a borrower’s historical and predictive data. The application as described proposes a system that would utilize more data sources than existing credit rating systems, improving the loan process while creating an immutable record.

If a loan application is submitted, the system would automatically determine what sort of loan and creditor would be appropriate before generating a unique smart contract that contains the terms of the loan.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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Allen Taylor

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