Daily News Digest Featured News

Thursday January 31 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintech vc 2018
Source: Quartz

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United States

United Kingdom

International

India

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News Summary

United States

GreenSky launches new loan product for elective health care (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The Atlanta fintech on Tuesday announced the launch of a revolving credit line of up to $25,000. GreenSky previously offered only installment loans; the new product is designed to be a better fit for elective medical providers that rely heavily on repeat business.

Is SoFi Money the Bank Account of the Future? (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

There are three main benefits that SoFi touts with the SoFi Money account:

  1. Pay zero account fees.
  2. Earn more interest.
  3. Free ATMs everywhere.

SoFi will pay (as of this writing) 2.25% on balances held in a SoFi Money account. Note about the small print: you will only earn this 2.25% for the first three months and then the interest rate drops to a (still respectable) 1.25% unless you do one of two things. Either setup a salary direct deposit of $3,000 or more a month or do $500 in debit card transactions each month. I am in the process of moving my salary deposit to my SoFi Money account.

The cash balance in SoFi Money Accounts is swept to one or more program banks where it earns a variable rate of interest and is eligible for FDIC insurance. FDIC Insurance is not provided until the funds arrive at partner bank. There are currently six banks available to accept these deposits, making customers eligible for up to $1,500,000 of FDIC insurance (six banks, $250,000 per bank).

Mixed Credit Card Issuers’ Earnings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Credit card master trust data shows that delinquencies have picked up from their lows but remain significantly below their peaks. Issuers (with the exception of Capital One), have increased loan loss reserves at a rate higher than loan growth as credit renormalization continues.

30 and 90-day delinquency rates from credit card master trust data

credit card delinquencies
Source: Bloomberg, Bank Credit Card Trust Data, PeerIQ

How online platforms shook small-business lending in America (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

In the years after the financial crisis, small businesses that needed credit were stuck. New capital rules discouraged big banks from touching any borrower perceived as risky. The bond and loan markets, where larger businesses flocked for inexpensive debt capital, have little use for sums under $100,000 — which is what most small enterprises need.

A handful of non-bank lenders, payment and e-commerce companies have leapt into the gap. In an environment of easy money and economic expansion, small business lending operations at OnDeck, Kabbage, PayPal, Square and others have grown fast.

LendingTree Analysis Reveals How Personal Loan Purposes Vary by States and Credit Scores (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Key takeaways

  • Managing existing debt is far and away the most popular reason for a personal loan, representing 61 percent of all loan requests in 2018. Thirty-nine percent of borrowers plan to use their loans to consolidate debt, and 22 percent plan to use it to refinance credit cards.
  • Consumers seeking personal loans to manage debt also requested the highest origination amounts: $14,107average amount for credit card refinance, and $12,670 for debt consolidation.
  • Almost 15 percent of loans reasons are categorized as “other” — the third most popular choice. Home renovation and improvement loans are the next-most popular loan purpose, accounting for 7.7 percent of loan requests with an average loan amount of $12,384.
  • New Englanders are the most likely to use their loans to manage existing debt, taking the top five spots. The residents of MississippiLouisiana, and Arkansas are the least likely.
  • Washington, D.C. is home to the highest rates of a few offbeat loan purposes, with more residents requesting loans here for a move (7.4 percent) or business (2.6 percent). It’s also tied with New York and Louisiana as the place where wedding loans are most requested, with 1.5 percent of loans in these states intended to cover the costs of tying the knot.
  • West Virginia is the top state for borrowers requesting loans for their home, specifically home improvements (8.6 percent of loans requested in this state) or home buying (4.9 percent).
  • In Wyoming, residents request personal loans for medical expenses more than anywhere else (6.5 percent). In fact, most of the states where people are more likely to request a loan for medical costs are low-density states with more rural areas.
personal loans
Source: LendingTree

See the full report here.

Cities Where Homeowners Stay Put the Longest (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • Cities with shorter housing tenure have greater price appreciation. The top 10 cities had an average tenure of 7.46 years and an average three-year home price appreciation of 12%. The bottom 10, with an average tenure of 6.63 years, have average price appreciation 30%. This suggests that higher housing turnover drives prices upwards, while faster price appreciation could be enticing home owners to sell.
  • The northeast dominates the list of cities with the longest tenure. The top three cities, Pittsburgh, New York and Buffalo are all in the northeast. An additional three northeastern cities are in the top 10 for a total of six.
  • Hot and sunny places have the shortest tenures. The three cities with the shortest tenures — Las Vegas, Phoenix and Austin — are all in warm-weather areas. This reflects high migration rates to those cities, something we looked at in a prior study on where Americans are moving. Denver is the only city in the bottom 10 that experiences a significant winter season.

A George Soros-backed fintech has raised millions to analyze consumer loan trends just as recession worries pick up steam (Business Insider), Rated: A

dv01, a New York-based startup, has raised $15 million in a series B round led by Pivot Investment Partners, a venture capital firm started by a a trio of bankers who worked together at Deutsche Bank AG. One of those ex-bankers, Dinkar Jetley, will join dv01’s board.

Kabbage hires chief revenue officer from LegalZoom (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Atlanta-based Kabbage Inc. has hired the chief marketing officer at LegalZoom as its new chief revenue officer.

Laura Goldberg‘s appointment is effective immediately, according to a Kabbage spokeswoman. She succeeds Victoria Treyger, who vacated the CRO position at Kabbage in August 2018 to accept a position with Felicis Ventures.

Varo Raises Annual Percentage Yield on Savings Account to Industry-Leading 2.80% (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

In a move to make high-yield savings available to more Americans, no-fee mobile banking company Varo Money, Inc., announced today that it raised the Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) on its FDIC-insured Varo Savings Account to 2.80% for customers whose Savings Account balance is $50,000 or less, and who have qualifying direct deposits and debit card purchases from their Varo Bank Account.1 An APY of 2.12%1 will apply if these conditions are not met.

Elevate’s RISE Brand Announces Scholarship to Promote Financial Literacy (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that its largest consumer product, RISE, will offer college scholarships in an effort to promote financial literacy.

The RISE scholarship will offer five $5,000 awards each year to students who demonstrate a desire to improve their financial knowledge and educate others on personal finance. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must complete an online financial literacy course that was developed in partnership with digital education expert EVERFI.

Credit card player Petal picks up $ 30m funding (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

New York-based credit card firm Petal is back in the money with $30 million in Series B funding.

This is Petal’s second investment from Valar, which was also the lead investor in its Series A funding round. Back in October 2018, Petal got $34 million in financing.

Fintech targets banks keen for out-of-market CRE loans (American Banker), Rated: A

As more banks take the often risky step of expanding outside their traditional markets, especially through digital means, some fintechs sense an opportunity to offer them data they need to find new customers and assess risk.

LendingClub, OnDeck Capital and Lending Tree are each online lending platforms that have bet on this trend. CrediFi, a finance data provider, aims to do the same with a focus on one of the largest asset classes around: commercial real estate.

LoanSnap Raises $ 4.7M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

LoanSnap, a San Francisco, CA-based creator of smart loan technology, raised an additional $4.7M in funding.

The round, which brought total financing to $17M, was led by Thomvest Ventures and existing investors.

Oxygen gets $ 2.3m funding for digital banking life (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

San Francisco-based digital banking service Oxygen has raised $2.3 million in funding to breathe life into its gig economy plans.

In this round it got funding from Digital Horizon Capital; Cynthia Chen, investor, advisor, executive and board member for several US-based fintechs and now co-founder and chief risk officer at Figure; ZMT Capital (China); Locus Ventures; Endure Capital; PioneerFund; Magic City; Light Bridge; Strawberry Creek; Base Ventures; The House Fund and Sam Yam, co-founder of Patreon.

Better Mortgage Secures $ 70 Million in Series C Funding from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Better Mortgage, one of the leading digital mortgage lenders in the U.S., today announced its closing of $70 million in Series C financing from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), in addition to existing investors Kleiner Perkins, Goldman Sachs, and Pine Brook. The new capital will support continued growth and investment in Better’s technology platform.

CFPB Announces $ 3.2 Million Settlement with Online Payday Lender (JD Supra), Rated: A

On January 25, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it had entered into a consent order with an online lender that extends unsecured payday and installment loans, as well as lines of credit, resolving allegations that the lender had engaged in unfair acts or practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), 12 U.S.C. §§ 5531, 5536.

Popular ‘robo-advisor’ Betterment picks Philly for its first office outside New York; to hire 20 by end of 2019 (Philly.com), Rated: A

Betterment, a digital wealth manager popular among millennials, has picked Philadelphia for the first office outside its New York home base.

The company, which manages $15 billion in assets, plans to open a Philadelphia office as soon as February, according to founder Jon Stein. Betterment is looking for office space in Center City, with the intent of adding 20 employees in its computer and engineering departments by the end of 2019.

Numerated and PayNet Partner to Improve Digital Lending (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Numerated announces that it will integrate PayNet’s MasterScore v2 within its real-time lending and growth platform. PayNet, a leading commercial lending data and analytics firm, will integrate its proprietary database within Numerated’s customizable rules- and segment-based credit decisioning engine to offer banks additional business scoring criteria for managing risk when lending to businesses in real-time.

Planet Home Lending Opens Several Branches; Sees Growth in Business Channels (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Planet Home Lending, LLC opened 26 active distributed retail branches and brought on 165 mortgage loan originators in 2018. Planet Home Lending also enjoyed additional growth in 2018 in its other channels.

Senior Counsel, Litigation (Employment Focus) (Built in Chicago), Rated: B

Guaranteed Rate is building a winning team to reinvent the mortgage experience through innovation, technology and a relentless focus on providing industry-leading mortgage products and superlative customer service.  The Senior Counsel will embrace and support these efforts by working to pursue claims and resolve disputes as appropriate through negotiation, arbitration or litigation, with a particular focus on employment claims and matters.

United Kingdom

Lending Works hits £150m of loans in five years (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Lending Works, the peer-to-peer lender, has surpassed £150m in loans to households and firms.

Nick Harding, Lending Works Co-Founder and CEO, says the firm is aiming to reaching £300m loans by the end of 2019 thanks in part to its “greatest ISA season yet ”.

LendInvest provides GBP7.35 million bridging loan in under seven days (Property Funds World), Rated: A

UK property finance specialist LendInvest has facilitated a GBP7.35 million bridging finance loan for a developer in just seven days.

Brexit blamed for slowdown in consumer lending (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

UNSECURED consumer lending has slowed to its lowest level since 2014, as Brits scale back their spending amid Brexit uncertainty.

The latest Bank of England Money and Credit statistics also found that the total number of mortgage approvals fell from 126,794 to 124,829 in December 2018, indicating an overall lag in the lending market.

Meanwhile, mortgage approvals for house purchase were around 63,800 in December – just slightly less than the 2018 average of 65,200.

Ultimate Finance lends record £1.4bn to small firms (AltFi), Rated: A

Small business financer Ultimate Finance said it lent a record £1.4bn to small firms across the UK last year.

The Bristol-based business said its overall lending jumped 35 per cent in the year to December 2018, boosted by writing more loans across its operations.

It said its bridging loans more than doubled to £31m over the period, asset finance jumped 37 per cent to £46m, while invoice finance also increased by almost a quarter to £117m.

Primary Factors to Have At Hand When Borrowing Money Online (EconoTimes), Rated: A

Online borrowing should be all about convenience, and Loanski loans have made this aspect their rising pillar for excellence. The only requirement for one to apply for a loan through the platform is they must be United Kingdom residents and have an active bank account. These minimum requirements essentially mean that anyone who uses their bank accounts frequently can have the pleasures of having an instant loan when they need it the most.

China

Ant Financial’s money market fund shrinks to 2-year low (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The world’s largest money-market mutual fund, Ant Financial’s Tianhong Yu’E Bao, was at its smallest for two years by the end of last year as Chinese regulators pressured it to downsize over concerns about systemic risk.

The shrinkage is a sign that Ant, the financial services business of Alibaba Group, is shifting away from marketing its own financial products to serving as a platform for other groups to access its huge customer base.

Ant Financial

Cryptocurrency and pyramid schemes add to US$ 44.5 billion surge in illegal fundraising in China (SCMP), Rated: A

Chinese police investigated more than 10,000 cases of illegal fundraising last year, a 22 per cent rise in the caseload, according to China’s top prosecutors.

The total amount involved also rose, more than doubling to about 300 billion yuan (US$44.5 billion), the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said on Wednesday.

Apart from traditional hotbeds such as product marketing, real estate investment, and education, there has been a big rise in fundraising schemes in online lending, wealth management, private equity, cryptocurrency, and elderly care services.

European Union

Europe’s fintech companies are preparing for a no-deal Brexit (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Europe’s fintech companies are getting serious about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

As uncertainty looms over the U.K.’s split from the EU, the industry gathered this week at the Paris Fintech Forum. Payments providers, cryptocurrency exchanges and digital banks all said they were taking steps to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

N26 is a Berlin-based digital bank that was recently named one of Europe’s largest fintech start-ups.

Synsam Group and Klarna Launch Innovative Contact Lens Subscription in the Nordics (Webwire), Rated: A

Synsam Group has over 50 years of experience in improving people’s eye health and is today Sweden’s largest optician chain with over 190 stores in Sweden, and 500 stores throughout the Nordic region. One of the company’s most popular services is Synsam Lifestyle Contact Lens Subscription, which includes home deliveries and annual contact lens examinations. To create a better and smoother customer experience, Synsam Group and Klarna have developed a new concept that allows customers to subscribe to contact lenses by using their mobile phones instore, while they can manage all the administration around the subscription online.

International

China’s Ant Financial raised almost as much money as all US and European fintech firms combined (Quartz), Rated: AAA

When it comes to financial technology companies, Ant Financial is in it own league. The affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $14 billion in venture capital last year, not far from the $15.9 billion for all fintech investments in the EU and US in the same period. A key question is whether the growth of the world’s most valuable fintech firm is an anomaly or a sign of things to come from China.

Ant Financial accounted for 35% of global venture capital investment in fintech firms last year, according to CB Insights.

fintech vc 2018
Source: Quartz

Cross River and Railsbank Announce Partnership (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cross River Bank (“Cross River”), a leading innovator and provider of banking services for financial technology companies, and Railsbank Technology Limited (“Railsbank”), a leading UK-based open banking and RegTech technology services platform, today announced that they have entered into a partnership arrangement that will provide Railsbank the opportunity to offer a variety of API-powered, banking and payment processing services across the U.S.

Fintech companies raised a record $ 39.6 billion in 2018 (Reuters), Rated: A

In the last three months of the year, five companies joined the coveted ranks of fintech “unicorns”, or companies valued at more than $1 billion. These include credit card provider Brex, digital bank Monzo and data aggregator Plaid.

Australia

Canada’s Eguana will set up local manufacturing to join South Australia Home Battery Scheme (Energy-Storage.news), Rated: AAA

The South Australia Home Battery Scheme, launched by the state government, offers a maximum of AU$6,000 assistance per household for the purchase of battery energy storage. Home storage systems are typically, but not always, paired with solar PV, and homeowners can get back between AU$500 and AU$600 per kilowatt hour of battery storage capacity purchased.

Announced in September and then launched a month later, the scheme will assist up to 40,000 households financially, with the state government putting in AU$100 million and peer-to-peer lending group RateSetter later committing the same amount of funding in the form of low-interest loans.

ING latest lender to hike variable home loan rates (Mozo), Rated: A

Online lender ING has become the latest bank to lift its variable home loan rates following an announcement earlier today.

The lender will raise rates across all of its variable rate home loan products by 15 basis points, effective as of February 7, 2019.

India

Small Business Lender Kabbage Expanding to India (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Kabbage has opened an office in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) and plans to have 125 employees by year end. For comparison, the company has about 350 employees in their Atlanta headquarters.

To our knowledge Kabbage is the first US-based lender to enter the Indian market.

RBI directs P2P lenders to file quarterly reports on key metrics (TechCircle), Rated: AAA

RBI P2P

Lending has been our star performer: MobiKwik founder (India Times), Rated: A

As of the end of the last financial year, we have a register user base of more than 107 Mn users and a network of over 3 Mn merchants. We are aiming at 400% growth this fiscal. We are aiming at 400% growth this fiscal. We are adding over 3 Mn new users every month, one of the highest in the industry. We will have close to 200 million users by the end of 2019.

A) Lending is growing by leaps and bounds ever since we started out. The opportunity is huge with less than 10% of Indians having access to credit.

Blockchain-based Loan Marketplace Streamsource Raises $ 1 Mn Seed Funding from Accel India (IndianWeb2), Rated: A

Gurgaon-based StreamSource Technologies, a decentralized marketplace for loans, has raised $1 million in seed funding from Accel India, making it Accel’s first local investment in the blockchain sector.

Indian banks unveil blockchain-linked funding for SMEs (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

A group of 11 Indian banks have teamed together to unveil the nation’s first blockchain-linked funding for SMEs.

According to the Economic Times, the participants include ICICI, Axis, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra, Yes Bank, Standard Chartered, RBL, South Indian Bank, IndusInd Bank, State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda.

How are interest rates set on P2P platforms? (India Times), Rated: A

“Borrowers on our platform are given a score out of 100, which determines their risk profile. A score of 52 to 60 points is high risk while a borrower with more than 60 points will get a lower interest rate,” says Bhavin Patel, Founder & CEO, LenDenClub.

IndiaMoneyMart App Brings P2P Investment and Wealth Creation for Masses (Business Standard), Rated: A

lending or lending is a mode of direct financing that enables individuals to borrow and lend on mutual terms. Platforms like IndiaMoneyMart (IMM) eliminate the traditional financial institutions and enable businesses to flourish through a people to people contact.

P2P industry expectations from Budget 2019 (India Times), Rated: A

“While a great boost to the P2P industry would be via the regulator easing lending caps, we look forward to a critical role from the finance ministry for better financial inclusion by extending SOPs to retail investors,” says Dhiren Makhija, CEO, Cashkumar.

Here’s how you can invest in peer-to-peer lending (CNBCTV18), Rated: A

According to i2ifunding.com, a category A borrower may face the least risk while a category F borrower faces the highest risk.

Following interest rates are paid by borrowers across categories:

  • A category borrowers – 12.00 percent to 14.99 percent
  • B category borrowers – 15.00 percent to 17.49 percent
  • C category borrowers – 17.50 percent to 19.99 percent
  • D category borrowers – 20.00 percent to 22.49 percent
  • E category borrowers – 22.50 percent to 24.99 percent
  • F category borrowers – 25.00 percent to 36.00 percent

CreditVidya receives $ 3m funding to develop credit score tech (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

CreditVidya, an Indian alternative credit score firm, has raised $3 million in a funding round led by Bharat Innovation Fund.

Ryan Khoury, Navroz D. Udwadia and Rick Gerson (founding members of Falcon Edge Capital) also participated in the round.

Abhinav Kumar, of Trivago fame, joins Paisadukan as a marketing advisor (India Times), Rated: B

Digital marketing strategist Abhinav Kumar who shot to fame because of his appearance on television commercials of travel search engine Trivago has joined peer to peer lending platform Paisadukan as a digital marketing and branding advisor and also will be on the company’s advisory board.

Asia

P2P lending third most complained about business sector (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

The country’s growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector has become one of the most complained about business sectors partly because of high interest rates and aggressive debt collection practices, according to a report.

The report by the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) shows online lending platforms are the third most complained about business sector while property and banking rank second and first respectively.

NTU and Chinese online lender WeBank launch research centre (Straits Times), Rated: A

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and China’s first digital-only bank have opened a research centre that aims to help customers manage their finances in real-time wherever they are.

NTU research scientists and engineers from WeBank will also study how to provide personalised wealth management advice to customers, among other projects, in the five-year partnership.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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