Daily News Digest Featured News

Monday August 13 2018, Daily News Digest

Reasons for Personal Loan Inquiries July 2018
Source: LendingTree

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News Summary

United States

OnDeck Capital CEO says online lending is the future for small businesses, talks strong earnings (Proactive Investors) Rated: AAA

CEO Noah Breslow tells Proactive Investors the small business lending company has provided over US$9bln to small businesses, crossing the US$10bln mark this fall, saying online lending is the future for small businesses and consumers.

U.S. Cryptocurrency-Backed Lending Platform Now Available in 35 States After Passing Stringent Regulations (Crypto Disrupt) Rated: AAA

The cryptocurrency-backed lending firm, SALT, has released details that it is now operational across 35 states in lieu of passing crypto regulations and will be expanding its network to 20 new locations.

SALT is based in Colorado and is one of the few companies that allows borrowers to leverage their held crypto as collateral for loans. As more people than ever before hold crypto, it is important that cryptocurrency-backed lending firms pass regulatory checks to offer more competition to potential crypto borrowers in the safest possible manner.

SALT is planning to move into 20 new states, which will include North Carolina, Oklahoma, Florida, and Virginia. Crypto users in all but 15 states can now leverage their crypto to receive personal cryptocurrency-backed lending packages.

Tesla and Spotify say public markets have major flaws. Do they have a point? (Quartz) Rated: AAA

According to two prominent executives this week, the stock market isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Initial public offerings are broken, according to Spotify CFO Barry McCarthy (paywall). Tesla CEO Elon Musk says stock investors are too focused on the short-term, and his threat to take the company private sent tradersbankersfans, and government watchdogs into a tizzy.

McCarthy and Musk aren’t alone in their worries. The number of IPOs and listed companies in the US is shrinking: There were an average of 310 public offerings annually from 1980 to 2000, according to an analysis by Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida. The average has slipped to 108 since then.

A common complaint is that public markets are too demanding. It’s expensive to comply with regulations, and these days there’s ample private money available for companies to tap without all the hassles of dealing with analysts, short sellers, quarterly reporting, and the rest of it.

US Funding of Tech/Internet Companies
Source Quartz

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – July 2018 (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

Offered loan amounts are down about 3.5% for all borrowers, while offered APRs inched up. Rate and loan amount offers varied widely among consumers, depending on factors including, but not limited to, credit score, income, and current debt obligations.

The most common reasons for seeking a personal loan are credit card refinancing and debt consolidation. These two categories comprise 64% of all loan inquiries.

Reasons for Personal Loan Inquiries July 2018
Source Lending Tree

WV ranked 24th in US for student loan debt (Herald Dispatch) Rated: B

West Virginia schools rank 24th in the nation for the amount of debt its students graduate with, with Marshall University coming in sixth out of the schools tallied in a recent LendEDU report.

By licensing data collected from the annual Peterson’s voluntary financial aid survey, LendEDU, an online loan marketplace, completed its annual Student Loan Debt by School by State Report, a comprehensive analysis of student loan debt statistics for over 1,000 colleges and universities throughout the United States.

The total outstanding student loan debt now stands at $1.52 trillion, making it the second largest form of consumer debt behind only mortgages.

Average individual student loan debt up $ 313 in 2017 (UPI) Rated: AAA

The average amount of individual student loan debt owned by U.S. college students increased by more than $300 in 2017, according to a study by LendEDU.

The New Jersey-based online loan marketplace’s annual Student Loan Debt by School by State Report found the average debt per borrower for the class of 2017 was $28,288, up $313 from $27,975 in 2016.

“Student loan debt in the U.S. continues to be an issue of the utmost importance. The total outstanding student loan debt now stands at to $1.52 trillion, making it the second largest form of consumer debt behind only mortgages,” LendEDU said Wednesday.

The annual report uses data from the Peterson’s financial aid survey, which collects responses from 1,080 four-year public and private institutions to determine average individual student loan debt figures and rank states and colleges in terms of debt per borrower.

Who’s Departed, Who’s Left and Who’s Leading Among Robo-Advisors (Think Advisor) Rated: A

The second quarter of 2018 was a busy one for robo-advisors. Hedgeable announced its impending closure, WorthFM became history and LearnVest notified customers it was discontinuing its planning and online investment services.

During the same quarter, US Bank and Fifth Third Bank launched their robo-advisor platforms and SoFi, a fintech lender with a robo product, introduced checking accounts with debit cards, further blurring the lines between banking and digital advice. And U.K.-based Wealth Wizards, an independent digital advisor with AI capabilities, is exploring a talking robo-advisor.

What you need to know on Wall Street today (Business Insider) Rated: A

The crypto bear market has been a blessing for this bitcoin trading firm’s booming new business

Genesis Global Trading, a crypto trading shop based in New York,launched a crypto lending unit, Genesis Capital, earlier this year.That business originated $30 million in crypto loans on Tuesday, its largest amount ever, according to chief executive officer Michael Moro. The company typically lends out around $2 million per day on average.

In a sense, it could be a bearish indicator for the market. Many of the people who are borrowing crypto from the firm are doing so in order to take a short position on a given coin.

What happens when the government stops doing its job? (The Washington Post) Rated: A

It took almost two years for two dozen officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to pull together a case against Golden Valley Lending. The online lender was making small short-term loans at interest rates as high as 950 percent, violating laws in at least 17 states that cap interest rates.  Last October, the agency finalized a rule to stop “payday debt traps” by requiring lenders to determine whether people can afford to repay their loans.

Yet a few months later, it unceremoniously dropped the case, telling a federal judge in Kansas that it would “continue to investigate the transactions that were at issue.” Golden Valley is still doing business; its Web site says: “Get the money you need. It’s easy!”

Mulvaney has all but halted the enforcement of certain government regulations. He stripped the bureau’s fair-lending unit of enforcement power and redefined it as an advocacy office.

RealtyShares Launches New Brand Identity and Online Learning Center (SC Now) Rated: A

RealtyShares announced today the launch of its new corporate brand identity and online learning center. The brand changes come at a time when the company is continuing its focus on the commercial middle market, commercial transaction values under $50 million.

As part of the rebrand, RealtyShares is launching a new online learning center where investors can learn more about diversifying investments and the role that commercial real estate can play in an investment portfolio. This learning center includes guided learning paths and educational articles created and curated by RealtyShares’ expert professionals. The content is designed to help investors with a range of investing experience better understand the risks and rewards of investing in commercial real estate.

Kirill Bensonoff: 5 ways real estate can be transformed with a blockchain approach (Augusta Free Press) Rated: A

The real estate market has seen steady growth the past few years, and is showing no signs of slowing down. The commercial real estate industry alone is expected to reach $414 billion in commercial transactions next year.

This isn’t the biggest news in the real estate industry though.

According to real estate and cryptocurrency expert, Kirill Bensonoff, the most significant growth for real estate in the next few years will be how blockchain technology is applied to the market.

U.S. Fintech Even Opens New East Coast Headquarters In North Carolina After Securing More Than $ 40 Million in Series B Funding (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Holistic financial health platform Even announced on Friday it has opened its new office in Raleigh, North Carolina. This news follows the company securing $40 million through its Series B funding round. Founded in 2014, Even describes itself as a mission-driven technology company working to help Americans escape the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.

Even also reported that its mobile apps instantly budget so that users know how much is “okay to spend,” safely address cash flow issues with Instapay (on-demand access to wages), and help employees automatically save money out of their paycheck before it ever hits their bank balance.

Buy The Block: First Black-Owned Real Estate Investment Platform Allows Communities to Fight Gentrification (Digital Journal) Rated: A

Buy the Block founder Lynn P and her team have struck gold in the hills of Colorado for a second time in as many years with the release of their new app now available on Android and iOS platform. This app will expand the already extensive number of BlockVestor enthusiasts that populate the first Black-female owned FINRA and SEC regulated real estate crowd investing platform in the United States. The addition of the new app will rapidly expand a brand that is on the cutting-edge in alternative financing. This unique and innovative platform allows many inner-city residents a never-before available opportunity to invest with their peers and their communities.

Lowe’s Ventures backs Moved, a startup that makes moving less stressful (Tech Crunch) Rated: A

Moving can also be expensive, so the company has announced a partnership with Affirm, where Affirm’s financing will allow you to break up the moving costs into monthly payments.

To be clear, Moved isn’t doing the moving itself — instead, it’s basically connecting you to a marketplace of movers and other service providers. Pittenger said the company is “very strict about the suppliers and the vendors” and will remove them if customers aren’t happy with their experience.

Moved is managing all of this through a real, human assistant who can help you figure out what you need, handle the scheduling and serve as a “consumer advocate” who ensures that you’re not getting ripped off.

Take a Crash Course in Student Housing Investments (US News) Rated: A

As the back-to-school season gets under way, you may be shopping around for new investments for your portfolio. Real estate is a solid diversification tool and student housing is an under-the-radar sector to consider this fall.

“The student housing real estate investment market is virtually untapped,” says Jay Morrison, CEO of the Tulsa Real Estate Fund. An aura of exclusivity surrounds student housing investments but it’s a sector that’s far from fully realized, “which means there’s plenty of room for opportunity for new investors in this market.”

As a smaller niche within the commercial real estate market, student housing has long been the domain of institutional investors and people with a high net worth.

United Kingdom

LendInvest Debuts Exclusive Five-Year Fix Product Through Buy to Let Club (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Following the recent changes on its marketplace lending platform, UK-based LendInvest announced the launch of an exclusive five-year fix product through the lender’s Buy to Let Club. The lender reported that the product is Designed for landlords who wish to utilize a higher fee, lower interest rate loan, and allows the borrower to leverage their cash flow.

According to LendInvest, the five year fixed rate of 2.75% is available up to 75% LTV through the distributor, with a product fee of 4.99% which can be added to the loan. Affordability is then calculated at an Interest Cover Ratio (ICR) of 140% for higher rate taxpayers; 125% for limited companies and basic rate taxpayers, at an assessment rate of 4.19% against the total gross loan amount. The mortgage is available on loans up to £500,000 for purchase and remortgages, and suitable for standard property types and HMO’s.

Business funding options – what choices do you have? (Estate Agent Today) Rated: A

When you are starting up a new business, it is unlikely that you will already have enough capital to invest. Taking out a business loan is the best option as this will give you the chance to get set up.

But which loan type is best for your business idea?

Peer to Peer Lending

As banks are increasingly wary about giving out business loans, peer to peer lending has become a more popular method for matching people who wish to invest their money and those who need to borrow. Though this method can be quite expensive and may be risky, it is quite easy to raise substantial funds this way.

Crowdfunding

There are two types of crowdfunding: equity-based and reward-based. Equity-based crowdfunding is where people contribute money to receive equity in your business; reward-based crowdfunding is where people contribute money for a reward.

Competition from alternative lenders driving growth in business lending (London School of Business and Finance) Rated: A

Competition from alternative lenders is driving banks to boost lending amounts for businesses, according to Conrad Ford, Chief Executive of SME finance aggregator Funding Options.

Barclays and NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland are among the banks that are boosting access to finance for SMEs.

Growing competition

Competition from alternative lenders is thought to have been the driving force behind Barclays’ decision to increase its lending amount to £100,000.

Commenting on the trend, Ford stated that there is growing competition in this sector, adding that Barclays is not the only bank that is taking action, with RBS/NatWest launching their Esme loans service, a digital lending platform that enables SMES to access unsecured loans of up to £150,000.

The pros and cons of alternative property investment and crowdfunding (Buy Association) Rated: A

With tax changes and stricter lending rules making it harder for some to finance a property purchase, investors are increasingly looking to navigate the challenges in the buy-to-let sector.

It’s why setting up a limited company through which to buy and operate rental properties is growing in popularity.

Peer to peer lending has exploded in popularity because it offers investors high interest rates paid over relatively short time periods.

There is obviously a level of risk involved – the property is used as security, and if house prices drop suddenly then you risk losing some capital. That’s why it’s important to consider the loan to value ratio (LTV) – for example, if this is 75%, the borrower can borrow three quarters of the value of their property. This means house prices would need to fall 25% before the investor made a loss.

China

How peer-to-peer lending turned middle-class Chinese dreamers into angry protesters (Quartz) Rated: AAA

In recent years, many in China’s middle classes poured their savings into peer-to-peer lending platforms, known as P2P for short, drawn in by promises of high returns. But amid a larger effort to curb financial risk to China’s economy, financial regulators tightened rules for these platforms, leading many of them to collapse without returning investor money. In Li’s case, the main stakeholders of Yonglibao, which he had put his money into, suddenly disappeared in mid-July (link in Chinese), he told the South China Morning Post. By the time its founders abandoned its offices, the platform had amassed a transaction volume of 7.6 billion yuan ($1.1 billion). The other protester told Quartz he had lost the equivalent of $50,000 on a platform called iqianjin.com—its name is Love Money, though it can also be understood as “Get Ahead” or “Money Coming.”

Both hoped a protest in Beijing would compel the government to help people recover their money from the dozens of P2P platforms that stopped allowing fund withdrawals last month. Instead, they were foiled by hundreds of uniformed police who locked down the area, patrolling corners near the offices of the central bank and securities regulators, and checking identity cards. More than 120 buses were brought to the area to take the stealth protesters away, according to a reporter with AFP.

Chinese Peer-to-Peer Lender Weidai Files to Raise Up to 0 Million in New York (Capital Watch) Rated: AAA

Hangzhou-based peer-to-peer lending platform Weidai, which translates as “micro-lending,” filed its preliminary prospectus Friday seeking to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering in New York.

The proposed IPO size shrinked significantly since the company first announced its plans in April. According to Bloomberg citing sources, Weidai was previously planning to raise nearly $400 million.

Launched in 2011, the online micro-lending platform has attracted multiple high-profile investments, including a $159 million series C funding in 2016 led by Vision Knight Capital. Among other key investors were Chinese billionaire Chen Tianqiao’s Shanda Group and Shenzhen-listed software developer Hakim Unique Internet Co.

HK is running out of runway (The Edge Markets) Rated: AAA

BRACE, brace. Hong Kong’s initial public offering (IPO) take-off is going to come to a screeching halt.

Top Venues for IPO Fundraising this Year
Source: The Edge Markets

Ascletis Pharma Inc, a Hangzhou-based maker of HIV drugs, has slumped 20% since making its entrance at the end of July (1).

Even the online insurer that sparked a revival of Hong Kong’s IPO frenzy is in the red. ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co, a company backed by Internet behemoths Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, surged on its debut in September, but now stands 42% below its price on listing.

Two-thirds of IPOs that raised more than US$1 billion in the two years ended July 2017 were below their offer prices after six months; three-quarters had dropped after a year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Ironically, the cause of the pain can be traced partly to measures Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd has taken to fight back against a US market that was luring away China’s new-economy stars.

Hexindai Further Strengthens Risk Control to Better Protect Investors (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Hexindai (NASDAQ:HX), a China-based peer to peer lender, announced on Friday it has further strengthened its risk control system to better protect investors throughout the entire process of borrower acquisition, risk-based pricing, post-loan management, and default risk coverage through its new comprehensive, stable and efficient asset security system, HX-CORE. Hexindai reported it established the system based on advanced risk control technologies that leverage risk control models and enormous volumes of credit data from cooperating partners and business data accumulated by the online lending platform.

According to Hexindai, the risk-based pricing is conducted by the Company’s proprietary risk control system, called Hurricane, which was developed by the lender and operates in cooperation with a number of credit information organizations and third-party Big Data risk management companies.

Ning Tang, CEO of CreditEase, Shares Insight into P2P Lending in China (Crowdfun Insider) Rated: A

Ning Tang, founder and CEO of CreditEase – a huge Chinese Fintech that started as just a peer to peer lending platform, recently spoke to Bloomberg in Asia. CreditEase is also the majority shareholder of US listed online lender Yirendai (NYSE:YRD)

Tang provided an interesting update on the Chinese P2P sector as it has been going through a transformational process. In July alone, it has been reported that over 100 peer to peer lenders shut down in China as regulatory authorities tighten operational standards to curb rampant fraud. The actions are to ensure a robust and sustainable sector of online lending.

Tang shared that revenues have not been impacted much by the regulatory actions as CreditEase has become more diversified with inclusive finance, alternative asset management, and wealth management.

China reduces risks of peer-to-peer lending (CGTN) Rated: A

Chinese authorities are taking immediate actions to reduce risks in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending business and better protect the interests of private investors.

The latest moves by Chinese financial regulators include urging leading internet platforms to undergo self-inspection and fix problems. They will also guide unqualified P2P lending platforms in exiting the market and dealing with their assets and debts in a market-oriented way based on legal principles.

European Union

Sweden’s Largest Loan Marketplace (Killer Startups) Rated: A

Thanks to rapid technological development around the world, it’s now possible for consumers to sidestep banks and other unnecessary intermediaries and secure private loans more efficiently.

One nation where this hasn’t been an issue is Sweden.  Look no further than Lendify – the country’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform – for proof.

“Lendify is a marketplace platform that connects borrowers with investors, without the involvement of banks or credit card companies,” said Erik Wikander, the company’s Founder.  “Some of Sweden’s foremost entrepreneurs are a big part of the platform – and we’ve been granted full approval from Finansinspektionen (the government’s financial regulation agency).”

Schwarmfinanzierung: Deloitte Study on “Crowdlending” in Germany says Banks Win (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Deloitte Germany has published research on the crowdfunding sector and when it comes to comparing new forms of online capital formation and old banks – banks win. That is, at least in the eyes of the Deloitte research.

Deloitte states that when it comes to providing finance to medium sized firms, the fabled Mittelstand, these companies have “little interest” in using this new form of finance. Simply put, their relationships with banks is too strong of a bond.

The research published by Deloitte was done in partnership with EFAM (Europäisches Forschungsfeld für Angewandte Mittelstandsforschung) at the University of Bamberg, the document said that the threat to traditional banks by crowdfunding or crowdlending has not panned out. This more recent study follows a similar one back in 2015 which stated that crowdlending was relatively unknown among company executives. Three years later, their survey of 250 medium size German firms appears to indicate little has change.

International

CreditRiskMonitor Announces Licensing Agreement with DBRS (Credit Risk Monitor) Rated: AAA

CreditRiskMonitor (OTCQX: CRMZ) today announced a new licensing agreement with DBRS, an independent, privately-held, globally recognized credit agency. DBRS is the fourth-largest ratings agency globally, with ratings on more than 2,400 issuer families and nearly 50,000 securities worldwide.

CreditRiskMonitor has also invested in cutting-edge technologies to improve the accuracy of its predictive scoring methods. The FRISK® score, a measure of bankruptcy risk in public companies, uses crowdsourced click patterns of risk professionals who subscribe to CreditRiskMonitor’s service. The PAYCE™ score, used for private company financial risk assessment, is formulated with deep neural network technology, a type of artificial intelligence.

Can Blockchain Revolutionize The Traditional Lending System? (Crypto Coin News) Rated: A

With the introduction of blockchain technology, there have been lots of projects built on blockchain that have attempted to improve the traditional banking system. This brings us back to the question; Can blockchain revolutionize the traditional lending system? The answer is unequivocally YES since there are projects already on the brink of achieving this. Also, the below features of blockchain technology is naturally what is needed to revolutionize the traditional lending system.

Ways blockchain technology edge the traditional lending system:

  • Accessibility
  • Time
  • Removal of intermediaries
  • Reduced risk

Assuring the future of financial services (Network World) Rated: A

The financial services industry is experiencing a period of dramatic change as a result of the growth in digitalization and its effect on customer behavior. In an emerging landscape made up of cryptocurrencies, frictionless trading, and consolidated marketplace lending, traditional banks have found themselves shaken by the introduction of new, disruptive, digitally-native and mobile-first brands.

With a reputation as being somewhat conservative and slow to innovate, many financial service providers are now modernizing and improving their systems, transforming their new business models and technologies in an effort to stay ahead of the more agile challengers snapping at their heels.

However, while this digital transformation brings significant opportunities, implementing these new technologies also presents challenges.

Australia

Blockchain P2P lender secures $ 1.35m to fund growth (Mortgage Business) Rated: A

BLOCKLOAN, a new blockchain-based marketplace lender headquartered in Sydney, has announced that venture capital fund Xplora Capital has purchased $1.35 million in tokens, as it continues its mission to provide “transparent, easy to understand, [and] real-time” access to personal finance on a global scale at more competitive rates than the banks.

The fintech said that by using cryptocurrency-backed loans on a global P2P lending marketplace, it aims to eliminate the “unnecessary” fees associated with traditional lending, while promising end-to-end loan origination, matching and management through the use of pooled smart contracts and an automated KYC and credit risk engine.

India

Are Digital Platforms Transforming Lending Decisions? (Entrepreneur) Rated: AAA

The effects of technology and the disruptions technology make, manifests itself in clearly perceivable ways. This is very evident in many sectors – in a short span (just eighteen months after its release) Google Maps had knocked out GPS navigation device makers and Amazon and Taobao (Alibaba) have disrupted how consumers shop for goods by moving them to online from offline (O2O). Enterprises are worried about being Uber-ed or Airbnb-ed as new age companies are challenging traditional ways of doing business.

Banking and Lending space have also gone through an amazing level of rapid innovation and disruption starting at the turn on the new millennium. Traditional banking monoliths can no longer feel impervious as they were protected by a myriad of government regulations which used to make it hard for fintech start-ups. Fintech start-ups don’t have to deal with the large legacy systems that drag down big banks and are nimbler and more suited to adapt to global trends and changing regulations. Internet only online banks with meagre to no brick and mortar branch presence have come up and have shaken up the large banks by offering better interest rates for deposits and borrowing than traditional banks. As an added benefit with the ubiquity of eKYC systems and adoption by fintech industry, accounts can now be opened in a matter of minutes and can be ready to transact than days and after an insane amount of paperwork that needed to be filled in earlier days.

Africa

Wonga faced collapse in the UK, but says its 3 million loans in South Africa are unaffected (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

An emergency cash injection of R178 million has saved microlender Wonga from collapse – for now.

The UK firm, which has operations in South Africa, is currently facing immense pressure after the British authorities forced it to write off loans worth R4 billion because Wonga failed to properly check whether customers could afford them.

Wonga’s shareholders, two venture capital funds, have pledged the money to prop up Wonga.

Mobile banking inevitable but ATM card will remain useful (The New Times) Rated: A

During a wide-ranging interview with The New Times at a recent GSMA M360 Africa Series in Kigali, Mr Akinwale Goodluck, Head of the Global Mobile Operators’ organisation in sub-Saharan, sought to dispel the myth that mobile money would cannibalise banks.

He pointed to the fintech synergy between telcos and banks, noting how the significant numbers of people across the region are using “phones to do proper mobile banking.”

This is true, and perhaps more pronounced in East Africa. The sub-region has the largest mobile money market on the continent, accounting for 56.4 per cent of total users in sub-Saharan Africa, according to GSMA.

East Africa is, however, only leading the way, but not for long.

Asia

Indonesian startups Akseleran, Pomona confirm recent funding (Deal Street Asia) Rated: AAA

Two Indonesian startups have confirmed raising a funding round earlier this year.

P2P lending startup Akseleran said it raised a pre-Series A funding round of $1.85 million, while adtech startup Pomona said it secured an undisclosed Series A funding round.

P2P lending startup Akseleran raises $1.85 pre-Series A funding Peer-to-peer lending startup Akseleran has confirmed raising a $1.85-million pre-Series A funding round backed by a New York-based family office, the parent company of PT Bintraco Dharma Tbk and several angel investors.

According to a press release, the startup plans to use the fresh funding for expansion by recruiting representatives in a number of cities in Java such as Yogyakarta, Solo, Surabaya and Semarang. It also plans to step up its marketing campaigns through various advertisements.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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