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Thursday September 6 2018, Daily News Digest

Purchase APR by Credit Score Range
Source Lending Tree

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United States

Varo Money wins preliminary approval for US national bank charter (FinExtra) Rated: AAA

San Francisco-based fintech startup Varo Money has been granted preliminary approval for a national bank charter by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), paving the way for the creation of the first fully-licensed mobile-only bank in the US.

Co-founded by former Wells Fargo executive Colin Walsh, Varo Money has raised $79 million in funding over the past two years and currently provides a range of savings, loans and account-based services through a relationship with The Bancorp Bank.

The approval for a Federal banking charter will enable the firm to expand its portfolio of millennial-friendly financial products on a national scale, providing a wider range of services in all 50 states.

Four Things for FinTechs to Consider Before Filing a Bank Charter Application, says Auriemma Consulting Group (PR Web) Rated: A

Each FinTech now finds itself at a regulatory Rubicon: To either take control of its destiny by embracing one of the available bank charters, with all of the attendant compliance and regulatory challenges; or to remain a non-bank technology company, dependent on a bank partner or subject to multi-state laws.

Here are four of the most important factors for FinTechs to consider now:

  1. Determine the importance of interest rate exportation to your business.
  2. Consider the need for deposit funding.
  3. Consider the requirements of equity investors – now and in the future.
  4. Weigh the risk represented by a Bank Partner.

3 best pieces of career advice for young people from ex NFL and Twitter exec (NBC) Rated: AAA

Anthony Noto has had a star-studded corporate career.

He has been the chief operating officer of Twitter, the co-head of telecommunications, media and technology investment banking at Goldman Sachs and the executive vice president and chief financial officer of the National Football League. And currently, he is the chief executive officer at the online personal finance company SoFi, short for Social Finance.

  1. Fix problems, don’t pass the buck
  2. ‘Be a truth seeker’ so you can make the best decisions possible
  3. Focus on making your whole team better

SynapseFI raises $ 17M to develop its fintech and banking platform (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

SynapseFI, a startup that helps banks and fintech companies work together to develop technology, has announced that it raised a $17 million Series A funding round.

The funding actually closed at the back end of last year, but CEO Sankaet Pathak said the company has been so busy developing new products, hiring and more than that it is only getting around to disclosing the deal now. The investment was led by Trinity Ventures and Core Innovation Capital, with participation from other unnamed backers.

The San Francisco-based startup has sat under the radar for a while now despite starting up in 2014. Its core product is a platform that helps banks and developers work together. That involves developer-facing APIs that allow companies to connect with banks to offer services, and also bank-facing APIs that allow banks to automate and extend back-end operations.

The LendingTree Mortgage Offers Report contains data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders.

  • APR: Actual APR offers to borrowers on our platform
  • Down Payment: Though analogous to the LTV, we find that borrowers identify more closely with the down payment. Academic studies have also found that the down payment is the primary concern for homebuyers and one of the main impediments to entering the home buying market.
  • LTV: Actual LTV offered to borrowers on our platform
  • Loan Amount: The average loan amount borrowers are offered
  • Lifetime Interest Paid: This is the total cost a borrower incurs for the loan, inclusive of fees.
Purchase APR by Credit Score Range
Source: Lending Tree

Credit unions split on potential threat posed by OCC’s fintech charter (Credit Union Journal) Rated: A

With the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency having approved a national bank charter for fintechs this summer, a host of insiders have weighed in on potential pros and cons, and how OCC’s move might ultimately impact credit unions.

“The threat to any financial institution, including credit unions, would be around the prospect of a fintech with compelling, modern technology and innovative approaches to traditional banking services becoming regulated and competing with CUs and banks,” said Michael Carter, EVP of digital practice for the Memphis-based Strategic Resource Management (SRM).

Ted Bilke, president of Symitar and VP of Jack Henry & Associates, said one charter “negative” could be enabling large players like Walmart and Amazon to “provide traditional depository and lending services” that compete directly with traditional credit union business.

Should You Take Out a Loan for Payroll? (NAV) Rated: A

When cash flow slows, becomes stagnant, or is otherwise disrupted (large purchases, overdue accounts, etc.), business owners can become vulnerable to a variety of financial woes. Bills can go unpaid, vendor relationships can become strained, and, if the problems persist, your credit can take a quick slide downward. Unfortunately, cash flow problems can also impact another essential part of your business – payroll.

Aside from leaving employees disgruntled, failure to meet your payroll obligations is considered a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which can result in penalties handed down from the Department of Labor.

Why can’t you make payroll? 

Though the exact reason for payroll problems can vary from business to business, there are typically two primary circumstances that leave business owners frantically trying to make good on this obligation:  changes in cash flow or unexpected expenses.

Americans Are Planning to Spend Less on Fashion This Fall; Many Are Embracing Alternatives to Cash or Credit Cards (Business Wire) Rated: A

Affirm, Inc., the company founded by entrepreneur Max Levchin to provide fair and honest alternatives to traditional credit, today announced the “Shop with Affirm” fall fashion campaign and released the findings of a new survey revealing how Americans plan to shop and pay for apparel purchases this fall.

Starting in September, Affirm will feature fashion and apparel brands that partner with Affirm across Instagram and Affirm.com, showing consumers where they can buy now and pay for purchases over time with Affirm. Many fashion brands now give customers the option to use Affirm to buy items with no interest, repaid in three easy monthly installments.

The campaign was designed to make great brands accessible to more customers, offering a transparent payment option that better aligns with shoppers’ cash flows and helps them budget for fall purchases.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Closes $ 20 Million Financing For Fox Rehabilitation (Business Wire) Rated: B

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent on the funding of a $20 million asset based senior credit facility for Fox Rehabilitation, Inc. (“Fox”). The funds were primarily used to refinance existing indebtedness and support continued growth.

Fox provides physical, occupational and speech therapy services to help geriatric patients regain a better quality of life. “We are excited to partner with a practice that is so highly focused on clinical outcomes. By investing in people and processes, Fox has demonstrated the unique ability to maintain continuity of care while expanding throughout the country,” said Ross Eldridge, Managing Director at White Oak.

United Kingdom

RateSetter ISA sees £130m inflows in eight months (Altfi News) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has seen a inflows of more than £130m into its Innovative Finance ISA in just eight months.

The firm, one of the three largest P2P lending platforms in the UK, launched its IFISA to existing customers in February and new customers in March. Like its peers Funding Circle and Zopa, the platform was fully regulated and therefore able to launch an IFISA later than many of its smaller peers.

John Battersby, head of communications at the firm, says that demand has been higher than expected for Ratesetter’s ISA.

Disgraced ex Lloyds Banking boss set to make £3.3m when web-based lender Funding Circle floats (This is Money) Rated: AAA

The disgraced former boss of Lloyds Banking Group could make millions of pounds when fintech darling Funding Circle lists on the stock market in the coming weeks.

Eric Daniels, who orchestrated Lloyds’ disastrous takeover of rival HBOS during the financial crisis which left the bank in need of a £20billion taxpayer bailout, is an investor and director at the peer-to-peer lender.

He owns a 0.2 per cent stake in the business, which looks set to be worth £3.3million when it joins the stock market.

Funding Circle “Go further” by Lucky Generals (Campaign) Rated: A

Funding Circle, the small business loans platform, breaks the functional conventions of most financial services advertising in its second TV campaign.

 

LendInvest’s Total Lending Capital Hits £1 Billion as Fintech Raises £150 Million in Residential Development Funding in New JV (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

LendInvest, an online property finance platform, reports it has secured £150 million of “initial funding” in a new joint venture with Nomura, a global investment bank,  and Magnetar, an alternative investment manager. This new capital infusion now places LendInvest’s total capital for lending at around £1 billion. The JV with LendInvest will see the funding used for residential development finance.

Nomura is a Japan headquartered financial services group with an integrated global network spanning over 30 countries. Magnetar, based in the US, is a $13.7 billion investment manager that seeks to achieve stable risk-adjusted returns by opportunistically employing a wide range of fixed income, energy, quantitative and fundamental investment strategies.

Proposed investor restrictions threaten P2P sector’s growth (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

THE PEER-TO-PEER lending industry has blasted the City watchdog’s proposed investor restrictions as unfair, costly and damaging to the sector’s future.

P2P platforms have been busy digesting the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) long-awaited post-implementation review of the sector – released over the summer – and while most are happy with plans for heightened transparency and loanbook disclosure, there are concerns over proposed marketing restrictions and appropriateness tests  for investors.

These proposals would make P2P lending platforms become the preserve of sophisticated, high-net-worth or ‘restricted’ investors, akin to crowd bond providers like Abundance and alternative investment firms such as Goji.

WELENDUS LAUNCHES INDUSTRY-FIRST 15% RETURN ISA PRODUCT (Fintech Finance) Rated: A

Welendus, the FCA-approved Peer-to-Peer (“P2P”) lender, today announces the launch of an industry-first; it’s HMRC-approved Innovative Finance ISA (“IF-ISA”), which will allow investors to invest their annual ISA allowance in a flexible high return investment product, with no income tax on the interest earnings. This product will be the first ISA product on the market with up to a 15% return.

The UK’s short-term lending market is now worth £3.7 billion per year[1], however new innovative products have been few and far between, leaving great opportunity for disruption and innovation. In addition, the UK’s P2P lending market is expected to exceed £10 billion this year, and up to £19 billion by 2020.

Buy to let Britain: A divided nation sell or stay? (Property Reporter) Rated: A

Britain’s buy-to-let landlords are divided over their future, in light of tax and market changes – according to latest research from property-backed P2P lending product, Octopus Choice.

While three in five buy to let investors (56%) want to keep or buy more rental properties, two in five (44%) are looking to sell. The majority of UK landlords still view it as a money-making asset class but think it will be on the decline in the future. As the market consolidates, buy to let owners are polarized across the country, with tough decisions to make on whether to stay or leave the sector.

For those looking to exit the market, nearly a quarter blame falling yields (24%) and tax changes (23%), while a fifth blame cooling house prices (19%). Three in five (60%) say that property management had become a burden and 61% undervalued the costs involved.

Charlotte Rogers: The demise of Wonga shows toxic brands will always fail (Marketing Week) Rated: A

At one point Wonga was the UK’s biggest payday lender and tipped for a $1bn listing on the New York Stock Exchange, but it collapsed under the weight of compensation claims from customers who had been mis-sold loans and has not done enough to repair the damage.

Some 200,000 customers who owe an estimated £400m in short-term loans are still being asked to make repayments to the company, despite the fact compensation claimants are unlikely to ever receive a full pay-out.

The current reality is a world away from 2008, the year Wonga launched. The company positioned itself as a flexible digital alternative to banks and as an option for people looking online for a financial fix in 15 minutes.

Taking a cheeky and brash tone, the loans firm invested heavily in marketing to raise its brand awareness. Wonga’s advertising spend rocketed from £22,000 in 2009 to £16m by 2011, according to estimates by analysts AC Nielson MMS.

In 2010, Wonga made its first high profile move into sponsorship, teaming up with Transport for London to sponsor five hours of free late-night travel on New Year’s Eve. That same year the company made its first foray into the world of sports through a shirt sponsorship deal with Blackpool FC, which it would continue until 2015.

The PRS in a divided Nation – 44% say sell and 56% stay (Property 118) Rated: A

Britain’s buy-to-let landlords are divided over their future, in light of tax and market changes with 56% buy to let investors wanting to keep or buy more rental properties, and 44% are looking to sell. This is according to latest research from property-backed P2P lending product, Octopus Choice.

The majority of UK landlords still view it as a money-making asset class, but think it will be on the decline in the future. As the market consolidates, buy to let owners are polarized across the country, with tough decisions to make on whether to stay or leave the sector.

Meet the Wonga wannabees: Britain cheered when its biggest payday lender went bust last week… But beware its rivals still out there (This is Money) Rated: A

Wonga is no more — but there are still dozens of other payday loan firms out there.

So who are the Wonga wannabes?

SUNNY LOANS

Borrowers can apply for a loan of between £100 and £2,500.

The standard representative APR is 1,293 per cent, with risky borrowers charged up to 1,617 per cent.

QUICKQUID

Owned by parent firm Cash- EuroNet UK, QuickQuid has been trading since 2007 and offers loans up to £1,000 for new customers — £1,500 to those returning.

PEACHY

It offers loans of between £100 and £1,000 for between one and 12 months.

MR LENDER

It offers loans of between £200 and £1,000 over a term of six months.

Its typical APR is 1,256 per cent and maximum is 1,462 per cent. Borrow £1,000 over six months at the standard rate and you would repay a total of £1,815.

MYJAR

Based in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, Myjar launched a decade ago and offers loans of between £100 and £7,200 over three, six, 12 or 24 months, with a maximum interest rate of 1,326 per cent.

China

Slow-Motion Crash Sees Chinese Auto Stocks Skid 40% This Year (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

A plan by Great Wall Motor Co. GWLLY -4.12% to offer discounts of between 11% and 27% on its cars has helped trigger a round of selling this week, according to analysts at Deutsche Bank.

Year to date performance
Source: Wall Street Journal

Dongfeng Motor Group Co. DNFGY 8.84% Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. GELYY -0.90% andGuangzhou Automobile Group Co. 2238 -2.97%—among the largest Chinese auto makers listed in Hong Kong—have each dropped by between 4% and 7% in the last two days of trading.

Combined, the trio have lost nearly 194 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$24.8 billion) in market capitalization this year, Datastream shows, while a Thomson Reuters index of Hong Kong-listed auto and truck manufacturers is down 39%.

Vehicle purchases are on the decline: In July, new car sales were 5.5% lower than in the same month last year. Sales of insurance policies are also falling. Peer-to-peer lending for car purchases had become increasingly popular, but after a series of lending scandals the government has cracked down.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes August 2018 (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

p2p lending volume 08/2018
Source P2P Banking

Startup Influx into Fintech: Is There Still Space for Growth? (Equities) Rated: AAA

We need to understand that the fintech industry is extremely broad, and the user base does not fit into a single category. Therefore, the applications of financial technology will find relevance in many spheres. This is one of the factors that have accounted for a massive growth in the number of fintech startups across the world. It is estimated that the number of startups in the fintech space has increased 8-fold; from an estimated 1000 companies in 2005 to more than 8000 companies in 2016.

Global FinTech Investments 2017-2018
Source: Equities

The fintech industry is still in a growth phase and therefore there is every possibility that we will continue to see an increase in the number of startups jumping into the fintech space. However, the emerging markets will see more of the increase in the number of startups due to the underserved nature of these markets.

ACORN OakNorth Holdings closes $ 100m round as business continues to grow ahead of plan (Fintech Finance) Rated: A

ACORN OakNorth Holdings has today announced that it has secured $100m from the EDBI of Singapore, NIBC Bank, Clermont Group, GIC, and Coltrane Asset Management. The $100m represented 4.3% of the company. The capital will be used to accelerate the growth of ACORN machine and enable OakNorth to continue scaling its lending efforts in the UK.

Meanwhile, ACORN machine has opened offices in New York and Singapore to service clients across multiple continents and will have over $5bn of assets under service on its platform by year end. NIBC Bank is the platform’s first client in the Netherlands. ACORN machine’s team now consists of almost 100 people and in the short term expects to add another 50 people across growth and operations, engineering, machine learning and data science.

Biz2Credit Launches New Virtual CFO for Small Businesses (Crowfund Insider) Rated: A

Biz2Credit announced on Wednesday the launch of its BizAnalyzer Virtual CFO, which is described as an advanced software tool that enables business owners to make smarter financial decisions about their companies. According to Biz2Credit, the virtual CFO software is available to clients of Paychex Promise, a subscription-based service from Paychex, a provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services.

Australia

Lender produces guide to business loans (Broker News) Rated: A

An online lender has released a free eBook to help brokers move into writing unsecured online business loans.

The ‘Guide to Online Business Loans’ is the first comprehensive guide to alternative lending produced by a fintech lender in Australia.

It was created to overcome barriers such as a lack of education and knowledge of the industry, to help brokers diversify.

India

P2P lending: How the Rs 10 lakh cap will affect small businesses? (The Economic Times) Rated: AAA

If you are salaried and earn up to Rs 20,000 every month, cold calls and emails from banks for pre-approved personal loans is a regular thing. But for someone planning to open a franchise store or start a catering business, getting an unsecured loan is not easy. Banks and NBFCs are reluctant to fund businesses or expansion plans of MSMEs/SMEs or proprietors.

This could be due to factors like lack of credit data, remote location or poor education. Banks and financial institutions require an individual to display established source of income, thus leaving about 80 percent of the population with no access to credit.

The Peer-to-peer (P2P) online platform aims to bridge the gap between people who can lend and those who want to borrow without any security. The P2P industry took its first baby step in October in the form of RBI regulations which allows high-end investors to lend their money to low-end borrowers.

Asia

The evolution of sme financing (The Business Times) Rated: AAA

This gap in payments in certain industries can be up to several months, such as in the construction sector. When unexpected crises hit, such as late payments by customers or budget overruns during projects, businesses without adequate financing can be left high and dry.

With so much at stake, SMEs need to ask themselves if their current financing facilities are adequate for their needs and future expansion.

While the SME Financing Survey suggests that SMEs do not have a serious problem with getting external debt financing as 90 per cent of SMEs were successful in securing loans in 2017, other SME surveys indicate that financing is still a top concern by this particular segment. In a separate SME Development Survey 2017 by DP Info, 35 per cent of SMEs cited facing financing concerns – up from 22 per cent in 2016 and 14 per cent in 2015.

Kristine Ng: Fundaztic’s SME Lifeline to Plug the RM80 Billion Funding Gap (Awani Review) Rated: A

Kristine Ng understands very well the struggles SMEs go through to obtain financing. She spent a decade in the banking sector – five with Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC), which was set up with the sole objective to help SMEs obtain credit facilities by providing guarantee schemes.

Recognising the need to plug the funding gap, particularly among smaller and micro enterprises. Kristine left her corporate career to start to start peer-to-peer (P2P) platform Fundaztic with a team of senior level ex-bankers.

Hard cash (Business Times) Rated: A

Indonesian ride-hailing and online payment company GO-JEK is expanding its financial technology services through partnerships with three peer-to-peer (P2P) lending firms: Findaya, Dana Cita and Aktivaku.

GO-JEK’s payment system GO-PAY launched last year, accounting for more than half of the startup’s transactions. The company integrated GO-PAY into the GO-JEK app, enabling customers to store money on their mobile phones — similar to a digital debit card. Adding to the GO-PAY account can be done from a bank account or ATM. If customers don’t have a bank account, they can hand cash over to GO-JEK’s drivers, and it will be transferred immediately to their account.

MENA

New Report Trails the Rise of Israeli Fintech (C Tech) Rated: AAA

Over the last 18 months, 16 multinational financial firms started operating in the Israeli tech system, or increased their local footprint through strategic partnerships and investments, according to a new report by Start-Up Nation Central (SNC), a nonprofit working to promote Israeli tech.

Newcomers include French insurance firm AXA SA, Bank of Montreal, Fosun, TD Bank, AmTrust, and Mastercard.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

About the author

Allen Taylor

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