Thursday December 5 2019, Weekly News Digest

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News Summary

United States

Highlights from the report include:

  • In October, 64% of originations were rated AA-B. The dollar‑weighted average FICO on the platform was 720, relatively flat month‑over-month.
  • The weighted average income of borrowers on the platform in October was ~$106K, relatively flat month-over-month.
  • The weighted average borrower rate for October originations increased 30 bps month-over-month largely due to a shift in Prosper Rating mix.

Prosper monthly originationsSource: Prosper

See the full report here.

New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has approved SoFi’s BitLicense application, allowing SoFi Invest customers in New York to trade cryptocurrencies on its platform through SoFi Digital Assets, LLC.

FT Partners recently announced our role as exclusive financial advisor to BlueVine on its $102,500,000 Series F financing led by ION Crossover Partners.

FT Partners common stock comparisonSource: FT Partners

Financings
Better Raises $160 million in Series C Financing (FT Partners Advised)
MoneyLion Raises $100 million in Series C Financing (FT Partners Advised)
defi SOLUTIONS Raises $55 million in Series C Financing Led by Bain Capital Ventures (FT Partners Advised)
Deserve Raises $50 million in Financing (FT Partners Advised)
Prosper Raises $50 million in Series G Financing (FT Partners Advised)
INSIKT Raises $50 million in Series D Financing Led by Grupo Coppel (FT Partners Advised)
Oakam Raises $47 million in Debt Financing From Victory Park Capital (FT Partners Advised)
Nav Raises $45 million in Series C Financing Led by Goldman Sachs (FT Partners Advised)
Credit Sesame Raises $42 million in Equity and Venture Debt (FT Partners Advised)
HomeLight Raises $109 million in Equity and Debt Financing
Brex Raises $100 million in Financing Led by Kleiner Perkins Digital Growth Fund
Neon Raises Approximately $95 million in Series B Financing

FT Partners online lender earningsSource: FT Partners

See the full report here.

Through the use of artificial intelligence, Upstart examines approximately 1,600 variables pertaining to loan applicants, says CFO Sanjay Datta. But he doesn’t like to draw attention to the artificial intelligence per se.

In a Nov. 8 report, Kroll rated the performances of five loan securitizations, worth a cumulative $1.5 billion, that Upstart offered from mid-2017 through early this year. Each one has significantly outperformed Kroll’s forecast at the time of the deal.

Kroll predicted that Upstart’s first securitization, dated June 21, 2017, would experience 13.07% credit losses by October 2019. But the actual losses were only 9.96%, 24% better than forecast.

Kabbage placed Vermont at the third-highest in the nation at 173.90 on the Kabbage Index Value, based on monthly median-revenue growth for small businesses.

The Kabbage Index Value (KIV), a value used to track revenue growth of small businesses, increased almost 22 points, from 136.8 to 158.4 points, indicating U.S. small businesses’ median revenue grew 15.7% in the first six months of the year. This represents a 22% increase compared to the same time period in 2018 and a large contrast from the second half of 2018 when small business revenue only grew 1.8 percent.

small business growthSource: Kabbage

StreetShares quietly discontinued a major part of its financing business on November 15, a new disclosure filed with the SEC revealed.

The company has only facilitated $180 million in funding to small businesses since inception in 2014. That would indicate that the invoice factoring portion was roughly half of the company’s funding volume.

Monzo has hired a Visa executive — who was previously with Standard Chartered — to lead its US business as it ramps up efforts to become a fully-fledged bank in the country even though complex rules have deterred some rivals, according to the FT.

Innovation in online lending has shifted consumers away from traditional payday lenders. And while that’s a safer bet, the shift has also sparked a misguided policy conversation around online lending that is focused on the wrong thing: capping interest rates.

Consumers with spotty or no credit histories might find it easier to get loans after federal banking regulators endorsed alternatives to traditional methods of assessing creditworthiness.

The regulators on Tuesday backed the use of information such as borrowers’ cash flow as an alternative to the traditional credit-evaluation system, which relies on scores issued by companies such as Equifax Inc. and Experian PLC based on applicants’ past history of borrowing and repayments.

Assets managed by digital advisers grew 10% over the first three quarters of 2019 to reach a total of $283 billion, according a new report from Aite Group, a consulting firm.

Fintech lenders were supposed to be the next big thing in finance. Big data, machine learning, peer-to-peer platforms, social networking data: the list of buzzy new ideas that were supposed to upend the business of money lending went on and on.

Law360 Madden

1. Prosper

Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending platform. The entire process is online, with no background check. Hence criminal history does not affect getting a loan.

2. HelpForFelons.org

HelpForFelons.org has lists of grants and loans for felons and links to reentry programs around the country.

Whether their families are higher income, lower income, or somewhere in between, a majority of all students today take out loans to cover at least part of their undergraduate degree. Which wasn’t always the case.

In fact, over the last 20 years, the percentage of students from higher-income families — defined here as making more than $114,000 a year — who take out loans to get a bachelor’s degree has more than doubled, from 30% in the mid-1990s to 60% now, according to a new report out Wednesday from the American Enterprise Institute. The percentage of students from low-income families who take out loans is higher, just over 75%, but hasn’t increased nearly as much since the 1990s.

student loansSource: Marketplace.org

Cred, a crypto lending and borrowing platform, announced earlier this week that it has added a local California mayor to its roster to further boost government relations for its business.

Ally Medina, mayor of Emeryville—a city in California, will lead the company’s strategic government relations and business development initiatives.

Curo Group Holdings Corp. failed to shake off a proposed shareholder class action after the District of Kansas found sufficient allegations that the company didn’t disclose facts that were bound to impact its financial performance.

CuroSource: Law360

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE: ELVT), today announced that its Chief Executive Officer, Jason Harvison, and Chief Financial Officer, Chris Lutes, will attend the Jefferies’ Crossover Consumer Finance Summit on December 12, 2019 at The New York Lotte Palace Hotel. Mr. Harvison and Mr. Lutes will be available for 1×1 meetings with investors.

On Tuesday, November 20, Harvard University’s Real Estate Development Club together with ArborCrowd (the “Company”), the first crowdfunding platform launched by a real estate institution, hosted a panel of experts at Harvard University to discuss the future of commercial real estate investing. The panel was attended by graduate students interested in pursuing a career in commercial real estate.

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data access and insights, and Ellie Mae, the cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry, today announced that Finicity’s digital Verification of Assets (VoA) solution is now available through Ellie Mae’s Encompass Consumer Connect, part of the Encompass Digital Lending Platform.

United Kingdom

Marketplace lending company Funding Circle (LSE:FCH) recently unveiled its £250 million securitization of SME loans with Waterfall Asset Management. The duo reported that the portfolio brings the total amount of UK Funding Circle loans securitized to £1 billion and the deal will notably open up the small business loans asset class to an even wider range of investors such as insurance companies and pension funds.

On, average Funding Circle collects 4.86% of the total amount of new loans generated annually as transaction revenue and 0.82% of the annual principal balance of loans under management in servicing fees.

Financial technology company Zopa has raised £140m, just in the nick of time to meet a key requirement of its provisional banking license.

Zopa announced on Tuesday it had secured the investment from IAG Capital, a US investment group that first backed the online lender in 2018.

Zopa has seen its valuation fall by 47 per cent following its latest fundraise to a new money valuation of £188m.

The trust wrote down £10.3m in the value of Zopa and its share price has fallen has fallen 4.67 per cent as a result today.

ZOPA’S struggle to raise last-minute funding so it can launch its banking brand should not be seen as a sign of trouble for the peer-to-peer lending sector, an analyst claims.

RATESETTER is to stop offering its family finance product from the new year.

Uncapped, a London-headquartered and Warsaw-based startup that wants to provide “revenue-based” finance to growing European businesses, is officially launching today and disclosing that it has raised £10 million in funding.

Educational technology start-up Student Finance has raised €1.15 million in a seed funding round led by Seedcamp and Mustard Seed Impact.

Greg Carter, the CEO of Growth Street, has stood down from his role.

Carter, who co-founded the business in 2014, is to remain with Growth Street in an advisory role, the company said.

Finastra today announced that it has joined the World Economic Forum. The move will see the company collaborating with industry leaders and policy-makers to drive change across financial services, world trade and beyond, to help build a better, sustainable future.

China

Southwest China’s Sichuan Province became the country’s latest province to ban all peer-to-peer lending (P2P) businesses amid regulators’ tightened grip on the internet financial industry due to monetary risks.

European Union

Volumes have picked up since then, and RMBS-related issuance is forecast to reach $100 billion in 2019, up from $86 billion in 2018, according to Standard & Poor’s. However, the market is still a shadow of its former self. The banks still dominate mortgage lending, but not nearly to the extent that they used to. Most are quick to point out that their online disruptors have yet to perform through a cycle.

The banks still dominate mortgage lending, but not nearly to the extent that they used to. Most are quick to point out that their online disruptors have yet to perform through a cycle.

There is no more ‘originate to distribute’, the grand name for the strategy behind so much of the dysfunctional lending that drove the sub-prime residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) crisis.

Today banks provide funding to a growing army of private and buy-side institutions that make the loans, and the banks then arrange securitization exits for them.

German fintech N26, valued at $3.5 billion in its latest funding round, views a stock market listing as an attractive option, but rather in 4-5 years than in the short-term, its Germany head told Reuters.

In a move to aid faster expansion and provide more security and regulatory compliance tools, Klarna Bank in Sweden is strengthening its longtime relationship with Amazon Web Services by making it the bank’s preferred cloud provider.

Klarna says it will leverage the AWS global infrastructure to support its scale, now at 60 million customers across 170,000 merchants in 17 countries.

Despite the influence of the US, we are finding something quite different when exploring the way the FinTech market is evolving. European technological innovation is having a profound effect on the approach US companies are taking, reversing the well-known ‘cultural influencing trend.’

International

The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 658 million Euro.

p2p lendingSource: P2P-Banking

While they turn to online banking, and given the rise in digital transformation, the most customers still appreciate the need for financial advice face-to-face, especially for complex transactions or help. Accenture’s recent study of financial service consumers show that on average two-thirds of consumers favour face-to-face interaction with their bank.

A 2018 study supported by the retail banking industry group EFMA, Vidyo and CUNA Strategic Services suggested more customers would be willing to use in-branch video (90 percent) than online video banking (85 percent).

Today, the entire crypto loaning industry is estimated at $4.7 billion and the number of crypto loan platforms is growing rapidly, according to a report made by blockchain company Graychain Ltd. While lenders have only earned a combined $86 million in interest since 2018, the demand for cryptocurrency loans is growing. In the first quarter of 2019, over 5,400 new loans were issued, and in the second, at least 18,500. The volume of lending also increased, with lenders issuing $64.8 million in loans in the first quarter and $159.3 million in the second.

crypto lendingSource: CoinTelegraph

The OpenID Foundation has launched a new microsite focused on global open banking initiatives and providing resources for fintech developers implementing the Foundation’s Financial-grade API (FAPI).

Australia/New Zealand

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) today published its third statistical report on peer-to-peer lending (P2P) and crowdfunding services in New Zealand.

Year-on-year, there were 34% fewer successful crowdfunding offers and 52% less investment from licensed service investors.

India

India’s central bank has raised the lending cap for peer-to-peer platforms fivefold, providing a boost to such lending.

The aggregate exposure of a lender to all borrowers at any point of time, across all non-banking financial company-peer-to-peer platforms, will be capped at Rs 50 lakh against Rs 10 lakh at present, the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies issued on Dec. 5.

MyMoneyMantra is taking on rivals like BankBazaar and Paisabazaar head on. The company is growing its giant distribution network even as it swiftly expands its digital footprint to scale faster. But its physical network will remain the core business. A digital-only model just doesn’t deliver, believes its founder.

Xiaomi on Tuesday announced Mi Credit, its digital lending solution in India. Mi Credit is Xiaomi’s second Mi Finance solution to be launched in India after Mi Pay.

The new venture is an app called Mi Credit, and it’s a marketplace for personalized lending, offering users credit between Rs 5,000 ($70) and Rs 100,000 ($1,400). Xiaomi said it offers a “low” interest rate.

Asia

FinAccel’s mission is to improve financial inclusion across Southeast Asia’s “vast and fast growing middle class”. Its starting point is Indonesia, where most of the country’s 265 million people lack access to formal financial services but do have a cell phone.

Indonesian peer-to-peer lending company Komunal secured an undisclosed amount of seed funding in a round led by East Ventures, with local VC firm Skystar Capital also participating.

Latin America

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to lend $125 million to Mercado Credito, the bank’s third loan to a Latin American fintech this year and the biggest ever in Mexico.

MercadoLibre dominates Latin American e-commerce with an almost 25% market share and 40 million unique monthly visitors, Julie Chariell, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said in a November report. It’s based in Argentina, but almost two-thirds of its $603 million in third-quarter net revenue came from Brazil, according to the company’s financial statements. Its market value more than doubled this year to $29 billion.

The borrower, a unit of MercadoLibre Inc., plans to use the money to triple in about one year its $100 million working-capital portfolio provided to small and midsize companies in Mexico, Martin de los Santos, a senior vice president, said in a phone interview.

Brazil SMB lending

Brazil creditSource: Nexoos

See the full white paper here.

Three months after Goldman Sachs lent $100 million to Mexican fintech Konfio, SoftBank has invested another $100 million into the financial services company. The investment confirms Reuters’ August report that SoftBank was in advanced talks with the startup — now one of the most heavily funded fintechs in Mexico.

Rebel, a Brazilian FinTech that offers unsecured credit to middle-class citizens in the country, has raised $10 million in new equity funding, according to a press release.

Africa

Migo, a fintech startup offering credit-as-a service to large companies, has raised $20 million in a Series B round led by Brazil-focused venture firm, Valor Capital Group. The round also saw participation from existing investors including The Rise Fund and Velocity Capital. It follows a $13 million Series A round in August last year.

In the inaugural edition the Global Fintech Index City Rankings, four African cities are identified among the top 100 fintech ecosystems globally.

City Global Finech Index City rank
Johannesburg, South Africa 62
Nairobi, Kenya 63
Lagos, Nigeria 71
Cape Town, South Africa 87
Accra, Ghana 123
Kigali, Rwanda 132
Kampala, Uganda 168

Authors:

George PopescuGeorge Popescu Allen TaylorAllen Taylor First seen on Lending Times

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