Category Archives: Marketplace Lending/P2P, Online Lending

The lending revolution: How digital credit is changing banks from the inside

Share

McKinsey&Company | By Gerald Chappell, Holger Harreis + | Aug 2018

Faster credit decisions, vastly improved customer experience, 40 percent lower costs, and a more secure risk profile. Here’s how to get there.

Today in traditional banks, the average “time to decision” for small business and corporate lending is between three and five weeks.1 Average “time to cash” is nearly three months. In our view, these times will soon seem as antiquated and unacceptable as the three weeks it once took to cross the Atlantic. Leading banks have embraced the digital-lending revolution, bringing “time to yes” down to five minutes, and time to cash to less than 24 hours.

That’s the profound result of a top priority for banks around the world: the digital transformation of end-to-end credit journeys, including the customer experience and supporting credit processes. Credit is at the heart of most customer relationships, and digitizing it offers significant advantages to banks and customers alike. For the bank, successful transformations enhance revenue growth and achieve significant cost savings. One large European bank increased win rates by a third and average margins by over 50 percent as a result of slashing its time to yes on small- and medium-enterprise (SME) lending from 20 days to less than ten minutes, far outpacing the competition. Our analysis suggests that a bank with a balance sheet of $250 billion could capture as much as $230 million in annual profit, of which just over half derives from cost efficiencies (such as less “touch time” and lower cost of risk), and the remainder comes from revenue gains (increased applications, higher win rates, and better pricing). In this article, we will look at the six design principles that successful banks have used to build digital-lending capabilities and transform their institutions.

See:  Peer-to-peer lending will help small businesses stay afloat

The variety of digital ambition

As digitization proceeds apace, the dimensions of banks’ digital ambitions vary among segments and products. Digitization is becoming the norm for retail credit processes. Personal-loan applications can now be submitted with a few swipes on a mobile phone, and time to cash can be as short as a few minutes. Mortgage lending is more complex due to regulatory constraints, yet banks in many developed markets have managed to digitize large parts of the mortgage journey. More than one bank has set an aspiration to automate 95 percent of retail underwriting decisions.

Banks are now treating SME lending as a digital priority. The reasons are clear: costs are high, and the opportunities to improve customer experience are significant. Furthermore, both traditional banks and fintechs already offer compelling digital propositions in SME lending, featuring dramatically shorter approval and disbursement times—a key factor for customers when choosing a lender.

Digital is also advancing in corporate lending, though naturally corporate banks are moving with greater caution and less urgency (given the relatively lower transaction volumes in this segment). Rather than reworking the entire customer experience, banks are enhancing common processes—for example, digitizing credit proposal papers and automating annual reviews to improve both time to yes and “quality of yes.”

Some banks’ digital strategies let corporate-transaction approvers focus their time on those clients and deals that matter the most. Low-risk credit-line renewals, for example, can be automated, while valuable human review time is focused on more complex or riskier deals. And data aggregation can be automated so that relationship managers (RMs) have the most relevant data and risk-monitoring scores at their fingertips—including financial performance, industry performance, market and sentiment data, and pertinent news and external risk factors.

Avoiding slow starts and piecemeal results

While most banks are digitizing parts of their business and operations, many are dissatisfied with progress, especially in credit. A few familiar frustrations include legacy IT systems; a general lack of trust in automated decision making; insufficient cooperation between businesses and risk, IT, and operations functions; limited data access; and scarce digital talent. Moreover, there is no single “owner” of the credit process with the discretion to drive change at scale. A number of stakeholders need to align and remain constantly aligned over a prolonged period (two to three years in banks that have executed ambitious programs successfully).

See:  Square partners with eBay to expand lending for ‘underserved’ small businesses

These barriers have caused more than one bank to delay or sidetrack digitization efforts. Programs launched with great executive attention and focus lose momentum as the initial excitement of chief risk and lending officers evaporate. Investments needed to sustain programs are partly or wholly withheld. Incremental changes are sometimes substituted for planned end-to-end transformations.

However, numerous banks successfully digitized the credit journey. In the following pages, we offer the practical lessons that have emerged from these experiences, with special emphasis on SME lending, the area that is currently getting the most attention and investment.

Designing a successful digital lending transformation

Experience has shown that successful transformations rely on some basic principles.

An end-to-end journey but with limited scope

Many banks have found that an end-to-end view of the entire customer journey, including a target state set according to the customer experience, was crucial to success. For example, a Benelux bank redesigned its business-lending process from end to end, allowing it to eliminate numerous handovers. The result was about 30 percent greater efficiency. Without an end-to-end orientation, on the other hand, banks have seen disappointing results. Attempts to improve the credit process piece by piece tend to become incremental, lose customer focus, and miss the big-picture opportunity to deliver a fundamental step change in performance and approach. One Northern European bank found such an opportunity by shifting its focus for SME customers from selling products to fulfilling customer needs. As a result it radically rationalized its lending-product range down to just three simple products, massively reducing complexity. This would not have happened with a piecemeal approach.

While taking an end-to-end view, however, successful banks have learned that it pays to limit the scope of the first wave of the transformation and focus on a minimum viable product (MVP). The MVP is scoped to be substantial enough to drive real value, momentous enough to create excitement within the organization, and simple enough to be designed and implemented rapidly. Improvements can then be made progressively in waves of rapid subsequent releases.

See:  Technology is the ‘most profound force bearing down’ on big banks, ex-Barclays boss says

At one Scandinavian bank, as many as half of all credit decisions concerned SME customers with existing loans seeking additional credit. The bank decided to focus on improving their experience, since the cost to serve them was significant, but the decisions involved were less complex, as most of the necessary data were already available in the systems. Over an intense 20-week period, the bank designed a new end-to-end digital journey, including an online application process, a framework for making new credit decisions, a revised credit process with automated decision making and fast-track handling for simple cases, as well as radically simplified credit-paper and collateral-review processes. Certain features of the new journey were not included in the MVP but scheduled for later releases. This kind of approach avoids too much early-stage complexity so that a transformative solution can be implemented more quickly, establishing momentum for future change.

Building momentum for full automation

With good reason, risk managers can be wary of a fully automated approval process for business loans. Long-standing policies and decision processes often depend on manual reviews and cross-checks. Years of root-cause analysis of defaults and assessments of soft factors have proved reliable but would be missed in an automated approach.

At one bank in central Europe, the long-standing business-lending process features a decision checklist incorporating thousands of criteria and covenants for contracting and disbursement. While time consuming and costly, the process does achieve the desired risk outcome. In fact, risk functions at many banks successfully use experience-based subjective assessments to achieve low default rates. While the accuracy of data-driven model-based decision making continues to improve, risk managers are correct in taking a cautious approach to automation.

Leading banks express this caution in two ways when introducing automation. First, to establish accuracy, many banks test models on past decisions. A bank in Scandinavia ran its newly developed decision engine on all applications from the past five years. The tests proved that the automated engine based on data-driven assessments and a structured credit “decisioning” framework was better at predicting default risk than the subjective human assessments had been—and far more consistent, which was a key factor in approving the model for use on new cases.

Second, banks start small, at first directing only a few cases to the fully automated straight-through digital process flow (sometimes called the “swim lane”). One Northern European bank recently opened the swim lane for fewer than 15 percent of applications, mainly the less complex cases. As the engine proves itself, the bank will gradually increase the flow.

In the most sophisticated examples, about 70 to 80 percent of SME-lending decisions are fully automated, with the remainder referred for credit review, allowing valuable expert time to be focused on complex or marginal cases.

Embrace relationship managers

RMs play an important role in SME lending. Digitization doesn’t replace this. While for some segments it makes sense to steer customers into a mostly self-service approach, successful banks have typically opted for a “multichannel, single application” route for SME lending, where customers can complete digital applications on a shared screen with their RMs. This allows the RM to guide the customer through the process, explain results of automated risk assessments, and quickly ask any follow-up questions required.

See:  How Fintech Is Transforming Microfinance

A Scandinavian bank went this route, for four reasons:

  • in customer testing, it was clear this is what SMEs in the region wanted
  • it allowed the strengthening of RM–customer relationships, and greater cross-selling
  • it allowed the new digital journey to be introduced alongside legacy processes, giving RMs the option of using the old process to give them reassurance (and manage the small number of cases that could not be treated with the new process)
  • the digital solution set the right incentives to discourage discounts and lowered the pressure on RMs (by delivering offers in near real time through the digital process, RMs and the bank could gain market share and margin)

Ultimately, RMs were able to provide loan approval in five to ten minutes about three-quarters of the time; more complex cases are decided in an average of 90 minutes (and not more than 24 hours) following a manual review.

Big data—but not too big

To develop models, many banks have expressed interest in using external data (when legally permissible), including novel sources such as social media. While creative use has been made of unusual data sets, it is usually best to begin with readily available data. Transactional data have proved especially powerful. A number of banks and fintechs have developed tools to process transactions from primary operating accounts line by line, classifying them into detailed revenue and expense items. Advanced analytics can use these rich risk data to generate simplified financial statements, affordability ratios, customer- and supplier-concentration analyses, and so on, in real time. These transactional data offer substantially richer and more up-to-date insights about company performance than out-of-date annual accounts. With the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and other open-banking initiatives now coming into force, similar analyses can now also be performed on new customers.

Pragmatic data solutions can create real impact quickly, building momentum for subsequent, gradual data-management improvements.

Ambitious data-aggregation plans or multiyear data-lake projects are rarely good bases for digital-lending transformations. Such plans are frequently abandoned before completion. Successful transformations generally rely on existing data sources, sometimes using imperfect, robotics-based data integration (such as screen scraping) to get started. Recently, a major bank in Southern Europe successfully completed the early stages of its transformation using readily available demographic and behavioral data. That experience shows how pragmatic data solutions can create real impact quickly, building momentum for subsequent, gradual data-management improvements.

More:  Swiss watchdog to propose looser anti-money laundering rules for fintechs

By incorporating regulatory models in their new credit-decision engines, banks can satisfy regulatory requirements in less time and start reaping the benefits of digitization more quickly. A Northern European bank did just this, after applying the existing internal ratings-based system for business lending and building new automated analyses for affordability and cash flow.

The need for an agile approach

The divergent interests of business and risk management—not to mention operations and IT—will create inherent tensions for banks in redesigning credit processes. One Eastern European bank found that its months-long project to simplify the corporate-lending process had made little headway, ultimately due to legitimate but conflicting internal interests. The project became bogged down with individual silos optimizing for their own interests rather than collaborating on optimizing the customer’s experience. It lacked an agile approach.

Agile project delivery is essential for successful credit digitization. The starting point is a set of colocated, cross-functional, full-time, dedicated teams empowered with decision-making authority and tasked to deliver products on deadline in intense bursts of effort called “sprints.”

However, while most executives are actively talking about agile, not many are actually doing it. Worse, we see many firms adopting “cosmetic agile,” where traditional project-management approaches are peppered with agile lingo and walls filled with Post-it notes, but necessary fundamental changes in ways of working are not adopted and organizational commitments are not made.

A common failure is the inability to overcome organizational silos. A cross-functional team with business, risk, IT, and operations is simply essential, for several reasons:

  • collaborating across all functions helps strike the balance of customer-journey and business objectives with robust credit decision making and risk control
  • bringing critical-path IT-development work into the control of the agile team allows rapid iteration and testing of journeys, data integrations, and results
  • maintaining agile’s customer and “time to market” focus helps quickly assess trade-offs and work-arounds for IT and process bottlenecks as well as design solutions that allow rapid value delivery to customers

The agile redesign process is sometimes referred to as a “zero-based” approach. Teams begin with a blank sheet rather than thinking about marginal improvements to the existing process and the restrictions of existing policies. They define the essential mission, often working from the customer backward. This mode of operating can initiate deep changes that exceed incremental process adjustments and see beyond the constraints of legacy systems.

See:  The forces of change are trumping banks and regulators

A further powerful aspect of agile is the iterative, sprint-based approach to developing solutions. Emerging prototypes are continually tested with RMs and usually clients as well. Teams gather their feedback early on, so that less compelling ideas can be quickly discarded and attention focused on experientially successful ideas—which are also revised as needed. The working relationships fostered in agile teams create enormous engagement among colleagues from all areas of the organization, which ultimately translates into better ideas and faster results.

In a best-practice agile example, a leading European bank built a “digital lab” to enhance its credit processes systematically. Business, IT, and risk came together to align on objectives and incentives, while a dedicated organizational unit (the “digital factory”) was empowered to make decisions with quick cross-functional escalation mechanisms. The teams developed a safe IT environment to test changes before reshaping processes on a wider scale.

Continue to the full article --> here


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with fintech, alternative finance, blockchain, cryptocurrency, crowdfunding and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: ncfacanada.org

NCFA Canada | Sep 21, 2018 Ep10-Sep 21: A Regtech-based Blockchain KYC Solution for Document Custody About this episode: On this episode, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with the CEO of Commercial Passport Brice Penaud. They chat about what KYC looks like in blockchain, how fintech and regtech can work alongside with governments, and the benefits of creating a digital identity. Enjoy! Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: Brice Penaud, CEO, Commercial Passport Bio: Commercial Passport provides global digital KYC solutions, helping financial institutions reduce the time to on-board clients by automating beneficial ownership analysis and client document maintenance. Based in Toronto, Canada, Commercial Passport’s Universal KYC Solution is a paradigm shift in KYC collection, providing senders and receivers a clear chain of custody for KYC documents through blockchain technology. Subscribe and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech. Listen to more Fintech Fridays podcasts here Transcription of Interview Manseeb Khan: Hey Everybody how are you doing today Manseeb Khan here . And you tuning in to Fintech Friday's today. I have. OK. I know I see this every episode. But I do have a really incredible guest today ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.10-Sep 21):  A Regtech-based Blockchain KYC Solution for Document Custody with Brice Penaud, CEO Commercial Passport
The Globe and Mail | Clare O’Hara | Sep 20, 2018 Cryptocurrency trading platform Coinsquare is moving into the exchange-traded fund business as its investment management division launches two new technology funds. Coin Capital Investment Management Inc., a portfolio management subsidiary established in July, has become the 30th ETF provider in Canada with the launch of two new ETFs focused on global emerging technologies. With a management fee of 0.64 per cent, the Coincapital STOXX Blockchain Patents Innovation Index Fund (LDGR) and the Coincapital STOXX B.R.AI.N. Index Fund (THNK) began trading Thursday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange. “Canadians know technologies like AI and the blockchain are going to change the way we live and work, but it can be difficult to access high-quality investments in these sectors without deep domain expertise,” said Coin Capital CEO Lewis Bateman. Blockchain is an online digital ledger. Once a transaction is completed, it goes into a blockchain database and is kept as a permanent, secure record. It is most commonly known as the technology behind the booming cryptocurrency bitcoin, which soared above US$18,000 last December. See:  Coinsquare launches Coin Capital Investment Management Inc. to help Canadians invest in emerging technology LDGR will aim ...
Read More
Coinsquare moves into ETF business with two new funds
FastCompany | By Lydia Dishman | Sep 20, 2018 When you have a technology that’s only 10 years old, women and underrepresented minorities have the chance to change this corner of the tech industry. Yael Rozencwajg recently had an experience that was unusual for a woman in tech. Speaking at a conference for executives in the blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) space, Rozencwajg found herself explaining the digital ledger system that forms the basis of blockchain technology to about 200 people, most of whom were white, male CEOs. “There was a lot they didn’t know,” the founder of startup Blockchain Israel tells Fast Company. The difference was that the audience was respectful and deferential, despite the prevailing reality that when women are outnumbered in a work setting like this, several studies show that they are talked over, interrupted, or simply ignored. Rozencwajg chalks it up to the relative newness of the blockchain space. The technology is only 10 years old and was initially used to record bitcoin transactions. But its applications have since moved from solely recording bitcoin and other digital currency transfers to smart contracts and other transactions that need the security that an immutable record can provide ...
Read More
Meet the women who are making sure blockchain is inclusive
Blockchain is here – so what next? The Blockchain Developer Opportunity If you are a software engineer interested in emerging high growth project opportunities, you’ll want to ensure your technical skills are polished and you have access to proper training and resources. There is a significant shortage of skilled Blockchain developers unable to meet the demand of emerging projects! NCFA is pleased to announce an inaugural educational partnership with the Blockchain Learning Group offering a special introductory rate to attend an immersive, 2-day Blockchain developer training course on decentralized application development to help fill the gap of skilled engineers while connecting graduates to project opportunities. According to a recent 2018 PwC survey, 84% of 600 executive responders confirmed some involvement with Blockchain technology from proof of concepts to well capitalized international scale-ups and incumbents looking to modernize legacy systems. Distributed and immutable ledger applications are evolving rapidly with uses cases that improve trust and transparency for many business processes while distributing transactions to a decentralized network in a way that reduces costs and eliminates intermediaries. While crypto markets have exceeded $200 billion in just the last 2 years alone, the underlying technology is forecasted to disrupt almost every vertical with ...
Read More
Immersive 2-day Blockchain Developer Training Course (Nov 10-11, Toronto): Decentralized Application Development
Incipient Industries | Steven Dryall | Sep 19, 2018 Incipient Industries Releases Whitepaper Describing How Cryptocommodities  Are Created and Used As The Basis For A Stable Cryptocurrency Toronto, ON, Canada, September 17, 2018 - Incipient Industries Inc. announces the release of the definitive whitepaper on the subject of cryptocommodities. Following years of development combined with the dissemination of information related to cryptocurrency viability and asset- based cryptocurrencies, an actual description of how to deploy a cryptocommodity  is now available. This is a first in the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry and represents a significant step towards a stabilized digital economy. The cryptocurrency industry is still developing and discovering ways to integrate with traditional financial systems or to replace them altogether. The introduction of cryptocoomodities into the cryptosphere creates a new category of opportunities for pioneers in the space. For those seeking a solution to a stable cryptocurrency, this is the best path to success. See:  3 Clever Ways To Reach Crypto Price Stability, And One Giant Leap Of Faith “This is a perfect use case for cryptocurrency and also follows the Three Pillars of a Viable Cryptocurrency framework.” says Steven Dryall, CEO of Incipient Industries, who has pioneered several key concepts of ...
Read More
Whitepaper Provides Information About Cryptocommodities As The Basis For A Stable Cryptocurrency
Bloomberg | Joshua Brustein | Sep 4, 2018 With fewer than 100 residents, Ocean Falls is looking for a revival after almost four decades of industrial false starts. In 1971, an 11th grader named Greg Strebel wrote the introduction to a book about Ocean Falls, the tiny town in the British Columbian hinterlands where he lived. Strebel mentioned the odd fact that many of the town’s roads were made of wood, said the weather wasn’t as bad as some people made it out to be and noted that it had just gotten a new school building. But the one thing that mattered above all, according to Strebel, was the paper mill. “To most, 'the mill’ imparts a sense of security by its presence,” he wrote. “A low throb of power is audible throughout most of the town as long as the mill runs, accompanied by voluminous exhalations of steam.” The security provided by the mill turned out to be fleeting. It went silent when Strebel was in his 20s. Most of the buildings in Ocean Falls that haven’t been demolished over the decades are crumbling in place, and Strebel, along with most everyone who once lived there, is long gone. A ...
Read More
The Bitcoin Boom Reaches a Canadian Ghost Town
Australian Financial Review | Michael Bailey | Sep 12, 2018 Businesses wishing to raise money from retail investors will no longer have to convert to an unlisted public company structure, after an amendment to 2017's equity crowdfunding legislation passed federal Parliament. The legislation, which takes effect in 28 days from Wednesday, allows proprietary companies or unlisted public companies with annual turnover or gross assets of up to $25 million to advertise their business plans on ASIC-licensed crowdfunding portals, and raise up to $5 million a year to carry them out. Investors can put up to $10,000 a year each into an unlimited number of ideas. Australian private companies are typically limited to a maximum of 50 non-employee shareholders. However, under these reforms, investors acquiring shares through a crowdfunding portal are excluded from this cap, allowing private companies to raise funds from potentially hundreds or thousands of investors. See:  Australia and UK set up FinTech Bridge to deepen collaboration between governments, regulators, and industry bodies Proprietary companies with crowdfunded shareholders will have to prepare annual financial and directors' reports in accordance with accounting standards. Only large proprietary companies, defined as those with any two of either $25 million turnover or above, $12.5 million of gross ...
Read More
$5 million Equity crowdfunding extended to private companies
NCFA Sponsored guest post | Sep 18, 2018 “You are such a worry-wart.” This is the common reaction I get whenever I tell people about how I like to plan ahead. They tell me that I’m too overreacting, that I live too much for the future and not for the present, and that I really don’t get the concept of YOLO. I really don’t give a darn about what these people say. They’re impractically wasting their time, breath, and energy trying to change how I live my life. What if I’m so gung-ho about planning for the future? What if I’m too overly prepared even my future dogs and cats will be feasting every single day? It’s still better than having no insurance. It’s still better than having my children carry my weight. Lastly, it’s still better than being ill-prepared. See:  What Can Traditional Banks Learn From Fintech? If I were to choose between too much and too little, I’d choose too much any day. After all, what’s wrong with having so much you could spare a ton? It’s a thousand times better than having to ask for financial aid because you have so little. Do you get me? I ...
Read More
Why Life Insurance Policies Matter
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Sep 17, 2018 People keep asking me, what’s the deal with stablecoins? With two prominent regulatory approvals to issue the blockchain-based tokens, many have heralded them as the next evolution of cryptocurrency, while others say they’re perfect evidence of why no one ever needed cryptocurrency in the first place. On a basic level, a stablecoin is a token that has a mechanism in place to minimize its price fluctuations. Unlike traditional cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether, which are directly tied to their wildly fluctuating demand, a stablecoin can rely on four methods to constrain its fluctuations. See:  One SEC commissioner is establishing herself as the voice of innovation for the crypto market The first and by far most popular way to achieve this stability is to peg the price of the token to a more stable asset like the U.S. dollar. This is what both the Gemini and Paxos cryptocurrency exchanges received permission to do from the New York Department of Financial Services last week. Unlike bitcoin and ethereum, which are created through a mining process that also ensures the blockchain’s accuracy, these stablecoins are only created when someone buys them with U.S. dollars. Gemini and Paxos ...
Read More
3 Clever Ways To Reach Crypto Price Stability, And One Giant Leap Of Faith
NCFA Canada | Sep 14, 2018 Ep9-Sep 14: Curexe's New SmartPay Product & Front-line of Global Digital Payments About this episode:  On this episode our host Manseeb Khan sits down with the CEO And founder of Curexe, so chat about their new product called SmartPay! They also talked about how A.I is going to touch the payments and every other industry, regulations that could be in place when accepting crypto and many more. Enjoy! Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: Johnathan Holland, Founder and CEO, Curexe Bio:  Johnathan Holland's experience comes from a decade of learning about capital markets and a relentless pursuit of providing better customer experiences in the payments and currency exchange industry. Johnathan’s advantage has been to look at the currency exchange industry in a new light, which enabled him to create a new, better way to empower the businesses that are underserved by their current solutions.  Johnathan graduated from the 2016 cohort of the Next 36 accelerator program that helps young entrepreneurs build high impact businesses and is currently running the company out of the DMZ.  LinkedIn profile Join NCFA's weekly Podcast series 'FINTECH FRIDAY$' where we sit down with the incredible people ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.9-Sep 14):  Curexe's New SmartPay Product & Front-line of Global Digital Payments with Johnathan Holland, Founder of Curexe

 

Share

Square partners with eBay to expand lending for ‘underserved’ small businesses

Share

CNBC Markets |   | Jul 24, 2018

Fintech company Square is boosting its small-business lending with an eBay partnership.

Square Capital, the lending arm of the payment start-up, will be available to eBay sellers looking to expand their business operations. Starting in the third quarter, merchants on the site can apply for a loan as small as $500 and up to $100,000 to help with everything from payroll and inventory to equipment and marketing, the companies announced Tuesday.

Square Capital’s focus since launching in 2014 has been on those businesses historically excluded from the larger financial system. The partnership will offer access to capital for those who have been “underserved when seeking funding” and give U.S. sellers a "seamless funding experience," said Jacqueline Reses, head of Square Capital.

See: 

Small-business lending is an increasingly competitive area in fintech. PayPal, which was once a part of eBay, has a program called Working Capital and provides loans to merchants based on sales history. Amazon also does this for sellers, and began extending credit to small business owners in 2011. It uses sales data to trigger invitations for financing that could boost growth.

Still, credit availability continues to be an issue for smaller merchants. Heading into this year, small businesses reported stronger revenue growth and profitability but still struggled to get loans to pay operating expenses and wages, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2017 Small Business Credit Survey. As many as 70 percent of merchants didn't receive the funding they wanted last year, the report said.

San Francisco-based Square, run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, is best known as a credit cards processor but also offers payment hardware. Its peer-to-peer Cash App is growing faster than PayPal’s Venmo, according to a recent Nomura report. It began offering cryptocurrency trading on the Cash App late January.

Continue to the full article --> here


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with fintech, alternative finance, blockchain, cryptocurrency, crowdfunding and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: ncfacanada.org

NCFA Canada | Sep 21, 2018 Ep10-Sep 21: A Regtech-based Blockchain KYC Solution for Document Custody About this episode: On this episode, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with the CEO of Commercial Passport Brice Penaud. They chat about what KYC looks like in blockchain, how fintech and regtech can work alongside with governments, and the benefits of creating a digital identity. Enjoy! Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: Brice Penaud, CEO, Commercial Passport Bio: Commercial Passport provides global digital KYC solutions, helping financial institutions reduce the time to on-board clients by automating beneficial ownership analysis and client document maintenance. Based in Toronto, Canada, Commercial Passport’s Universal KYC Solution is a paradigm shift in KYC collection, providing senders and receivers a clear chain of custody for KYC documents through blockchain technology. Subscribe and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech. Listen to more Fintech Fridays podcasts here Transcription of Interview Manseeb Khan: Hey Everybody how are you doing today Manseeb Khan here . And you tuning in to Fintech Friday's today. I have. OK. I know I see this every episode. But I do have a really incredible guest today ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.10-Sep 21):  A Regtech-based Blockchain KYC Solution for Document Custody with Brice Penaud, CEO Commercial Passport
The Globe and Mail | Clare O’Hara | Sep 20, 2018 Cryptocurrency trading platform Coinsquare is moving into the exchange-traded fund business as its investment management division launches two new technology funds. Coin Capital Investment Management Inc., a portfolio management subsidiary established in July, has become the 30th ETF provider in Canada with the launch of two new ETFs focused on global emerging technologies. With a management fee of 0.64 per cent, the Coincapital STOXX Blockchain Patents Innovation Index Fund (LDGR) and the Coincapital STOXX B.R.AI.N. Index Fund (THNK) began trading Thursday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange. “Canadians know technologies like AI and the blockchain are going to change the way we live and work, but it can be difficult to access high-quality investments in these sectors without deep domain expertise,” said Coin Capital CEO Lewis Bateman. Blockchain is an online digital ledger. Once a transaction is completed, it goes into a blockchain database and is kept as a permanent, secure record. It is most commonly known as the technology behind the booming cryptocurrency bitcoin, which soared above US$18,000 last December. See:  Coinsquare launches Coin Capital Investment Management Inc. to help Canadians invest in emerging technology LDGR will aim ...
Read More
Coinsquare moves into ETF business with two new funds
FastCompany | By Lydia Dishman | Sep 20, 2018 When you have a technology that’s only 10 years old, women and underrepresented minorities have the chance to change this corner of the tech industry. Yael Rozencwajg recently had an experience that was unusual for a woman in tech. Speaking at a conference for executives in the blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) space, Rozencwajg found herself explaining the digital ledger system that forms the basis of blockchain technology to about 200 people, most of whom were white, male CEOs. “There was a lot they didn’t know,” the founder of startup Blockchain Israel tells Fast Company. The difference was that the audience was respectful and deferential, despite the prevailing reality that when women are outnumbered in a work setting like this, several studies show that they are talked over, interrupted, or simply ignored. Rozencwajg chalks it up to the relative newness of the blockchain space. The technology is only 10 years old and was initially used to record bitcoin transactions. But its applications have since moved from solely recording bitcoin and other digital currency transfers to smart contracts and other transactions that need the security that an immutable record can provide ...
Read More
Meet the women who are making sure blockchain is inclusive
Blockchain is here – so what next? The Blockchain Developer Opportunity If you are a software engineer interested in emerging high growth project opportunities, you’ll want to ensure your technical skills are polished and you have access to proper training and resources. There is a significant shortage of skilled Blockchain developers unable to meet the demand of emerging projects! NCFA is pleased to announce an inaugural educational partnership with the Blockchain Learning Group offering a special introductory rate to attend an immersive, 2-day Blockchain developer training course on decentralized application development to help fill the gap of skilled engineers while connecting graduates to project opportunities. According to a recent 2018 PwC survey, 84% of 600 executive responders confirmed some involvement with Blockchain technology from proof of concepts to well capitalized international scale-ups and incumbents looking to modernize legacy systems. Distributed and immutable ledger applications are evolving rapidly with uses cases that improve trust and transparency for many business processes while distributing transactions to a decentralized network in a way that reduces costs and eliminates intermediaries. While crypto markets have exceeded $200 billion in just the last 2 years alone, the underlying technology is forecasted to disrupt almost every vertical with ...
Read More
Immersive 2-day Blockchain Developer Training Course (Nov 10-11, Toronto): Decentralized Application Development
Incipient Industries | Steven Dryall | Sep 19, 2018 Incipient Industries Releases Whitepaper Describing How Cryptocommodities  Are Created and Used As The Basis For A Stable Cryptocurrency Toronto, ON, Canada, September 17, 2018 - Incipient Industries Inc. announces the release of the definitive whitepaper on the subject of cryptocommodities. Following years of development combined with the dissemination of information related to cryptocurrency viability and asset- based cryptocurrencies, an actual description of how to deploy a cryptocommodity  is now available. This is a first in the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry and represents a significant step towards a stabilized digital economy. The cryptocurrency industry is still developing and discovering ways to integrate with traditional financial systems or to replace them altogether. The introduction of cryptocoomodities into the cryptosphere creates a new category of opportunities for pioneers in the space. For those seeking a solution to a stable cryptocurrency, this is the best path to success. See:  3 Clever Ways To Reach Crypto Price Stability, And One Giant Leap Of Faith “This is a perfect use case for cryptocurrency and also follows the Three Pillars of a Viable Cryptocurrency framework.” says Steven Dryall, CEO of Incipient Industries, who has pioneered several key concepts of ...
Read More
Whitepaper Provides Information About Cryptocommodities As The Basis For A Stable Cryptocurrency
Bloomberg | Joshua Brustein | Sep 4, 2018 With fewer than 100 residents, Ocean Falls is looking for a revival after almost four decades of industrial false starts. In 1971, an 11th grader named Greg Strebel wrote the introduction to a book about Ocean Falls, the tiny town in the British Columbian hinterlands where he lived. Strebel mentioned the odd fact that many of the town’s roads were made of wood, said the weather wasn’t as bad as some people made it out to be and noted that it had just gotten a new school building. But the one thing that mattered above all, according to Strebel, was the paper mill. “To most, 'the mill’ imparts a sense of security by its presence,” he wrote. “A low throb of power is audible throughout most of the town as long as the mill runs, accompanied by voluminous exhalations of steam.” The security provided by the mill turned out to be fleeting. It went silent when Strebel was in his 20s. Most of the buildings in Ocean Falls that haven’t been demolished over the decades are crumbling in place, and Strebel, along with most everyone who once lived there, is long gone. A ...
Read More
The Bitcoin Boom Reaches a Canadian Ghost Town
Australian Financial Review | Michael Bailey | Sep 12, 2018 Businesses wishing to raise money from retail investors will no longer have to convert to an unlisted public company structure, after an amendment to 2017's equity crowdfunding legislation passed federal Parliament. The legislation, which takes effect in 28 days from Wednesday, allows proprietary companies or unlisted public companies with annual turnover or gross assets of up to $25 million to advertise their business plans on ASIC-licensed crowdfunding portals, and raise up to $5 million a year to carry them out. Investors can put up to $10,000 a year each into an unlimited number of ideas. Australian private companies are typically limited to a maximum of 50 non-employee shareholders. However, under these reforms, investors acquiring shares through a crowdfunding portal are excluded from this cap, allowing private companies to raise funds from potentially hundreds or thousands of investors. See:  Australia and UK set up FinTech Bridge to deepen collaboration between governments, regulators, and industry bodies Proprietary companies with crowdfunded shareholders will have to prepare annual financial and directors' reports in accordance with accounting standards. Only large proprietary companies, defined as those with any two of either $25 million turnover or above, $12.5 million of gross ...
Read More
$5 million Equity crowdfunding extended to private companies
NCFA Sponsored guest post | Sep 18, 2018 “You are such a worry-wart.” This is the common reaction I get whenever I tell people about how I like to plan ahead. They tell me that I’m too overreacting, that I live too much for the future and not for the present, and that I really don’t get the concept of YOLO. I really don’t give a darn about what these people say. They’re impractically wasting their time, breath, and energy trying to change how I live my life. What if I’m so gung-ho about planning for the future? What if I’m too overly prepared even my future dogs and cats will be feasting every single day? It’s still better than having no insurance. It’s still better than having my children carry my weight. Lastly, it’s still better than being ill-prepared. See:  What Can Traditional Banks Learn From Fintech? If I were to choose between too much and too little, I’d choose too much any day. After all, what’s wrong with having so much you could spare a ton? It’s a thousand times better than having to ask for financial aid because you have so little. Do you get me? I ...
Read More
Why Life Insurance Policies Matter
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Sep 17, 2018 People keep asking me, what’s the deal with stablecoins? With two prominent regulatory approvals to issue the blockchain-based tokens, many have heralded them as the next evolution of cryptocurrency, while others say they’re perfect evidence of why no one ever needed cryptocurrency in the first place. On a basic level, a stablecoin is a token that has a mechanism in place to minimize its price fluctuations. Unlike traditional cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether, which are directly tied to their wildly fluctuating demand, a stablecoin can rely on four methods to constrain its fluctuations. See:  One SEC commissioner is establishing herself as the voice of innovation for the crypto market The first and by far most popular way to achieve this stability is to peg the price of the token to a more stable asset like the U.S. dollar. This is what both the Gemini and Paxos cryptocurrency exchanges received permission to do from the New York Department of Financial Services last week. Unlike bitcoin and ethereum, which are created through a mining process that also ensures the blockchain’s accuracy, these stablecoins are only created when someone buys them with U.S. dollars. Gemini and Paxos ...
Read More
3 Clever Ways To Reach Crypto Price Stability, And One Giant Leap Of Faith
NCFA Canada | Sep 14, 2018 Ep9-Sep 14: Curexe's New SmartPay Product & Front-line of Global Digital Payments About this episode:  On this episode our host Manseeb Khan sits down with the CEO And founder of Curexe, so chat about their new product called SmartPay! They also talked about how A.I is going to touch the payments and every other industry, regulations that could be in place when accepting crypto and many more. Enjoy! Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: Johnathan Holland, Founder and CEO, Curexe Bio:  Johnathan Holland's experience comes from a decade of learning about capital markets and a relentless pursuit of providing better customer experiences in the payments and currency exchange industry. Johnathan’s advantage has been to look at the currency exchange industry in a new light, which enabled him to create a new, better way to empower the businesses that are underserved by their current solutions.  Johnathan graduated from the 2016 cohort of the Next 36 accelerator program that helps young entrepreneurs build high impact businesses and is currently running the company out of the DMZ.  LinkedIn profile Join NCFA's weekly Podcast series 'FINTECH FRIDAY$' where we sit down with the incredible people ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.9-Sep 14):  Curexe's New SmartPay Product & Front-line of Global Digital Payments with Johnathan Holland, Founder of Curexe

 

Share

Peer-to-peer lending will help small businesses stay afloat

Share

The Globe and Mail | Michael King and Craig Asano | May 30, 2018

With interest rates on the rise and the Canadian banks moving up lending rates, the higher cost and reduced availability of credit will affect all Canadian businesses, like a rising tide lifting all boats. Inevitably some boats will be swamped and sink, particularly if they are smaller and more vulnerable.

One set of borrowers at greater risk are Canada’s 1.14 million small businesses, defined as companies that employ up to 99 workers. Statistics Canada reports that small businesses represented 98 per cent of all businesses, employed 70 per cent of workers, and generated 30 per cent of each province’s GDP on average. This category includes startups and high-growth firms, which represent Canada’s best hope for job creation and economic growth.

As credit becomes less available, small businesses face a difficult choice of cutting back on investment or turning to more expensive borrowing, such as credit cards or payday loans. Either option is bad.

Fortunately, small businesses now have an alternative source for loans called peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. These online platforms match borrowers and investors directly and can provide loans cheaper and faster than traditional sources. How can that be? The answer is technology.

Taking a step back, small businesses are financed differently than big ones. Most Canadian startups have neither the credit history nor the collateral to secure a bank loan. Statscan reports that more than 80 per cent of startups rely on alternative funding sources such as the entrepreneurs’ savings and personal loans taken out by owners. Only 45 per cent can access credit from financial institutions and 19 per cent receive trade credit from suppliers.

Technology is disrupting this paradigm. P2P lending platforms allow businesses (and individuals) to take out a loan online with the funds crowdsourced by investors who pool their savings to fund loans. Traditionally only financial institutions were set up to screen borrowers and allocate credit. But technologies such as the internet, cloud computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence have opened this asset class to new lenders such as your neighbour or a fellow business owner.

Canada’s first P2P platform, Lending Loop, was launched in late 2015 – a decade after this model was pioneered in Britain by Zopa. Last month, Lending Loop passed $20-million in loans funded on its platform by more than 20,000 Canadian investors. While $20-million is impressive, it is still only a sliver of the $95-billion of credit outstanding to Canadian small businesses as reported by Statscan.

The average small business borrower on Lending Loop’s platform is borrowing $75,000 to $100,000 for three to five years. While interest rates vary substantially, P2P loans typically start at around 6 per cent with an average interest rate of 12 per cent, significantly lower than a credit card. These loans are used to finance inventory and equipment, or to hire new employees.

The Canadian P2P lending market got a boost this month when the Ontario government announced it would contribute $3-million over the next two years to loans funded on Lending Loop’s platform. The Ontario government will fund up to 10 per cent of small business loans, supporting funding of $30-million.

See:

Besides the obvious benefit to small businesses, Ontario’s announcement was important for two reasons. First, Ontario has drawn attention to P2P lending as an alternative funding source and raised awareness among businesses to accelerate adoption. And second, by partnering with a fintech startup, Ontario is leading by example and giving a boost to entrepreneurs working to democratize finance.

Here are four more steps that Canadian policy makers can take to promote P2P lending:

First, Canada should follow Britain and adopt new P2P lending regulations, as opposed to shoehorning this sector under existing equity regulations. New regulations should ensure the cost of due diligence borne by lenders is proportionate to the investment risk.

Second, retail investor caps for P2P lending should be raised over time if this asset class is proven to be low risk, increasing the pool of funds available to meet the needs of small businesses.

Third, the federal government should partner with industry to provide more education for investors and small businesses. This effort should include data collection and benchmarking to allow researchers to establish what is working and what is not.

Fourth, Canada should adopt Britain’s mandatory referral program. Banks that reject a small-business loan must refer unsuccessful applicants to a government portal that connects them with alternative lenders who may be able to assist them.

Our hope is that Canadian politicians recognize that promoting innovation means more than cutting ribbons and offering tax credits. It is about plugging holes in a leaky financial system and adding wind to the sails of small businesses to move them forward.

 

Continue to the full article --> here

 


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  ncfacanada.org

Share

Silicon Valley Bank Is Coming for Canada’s Burgeoning Tech Scene

Share

Bloomberg | By | May 14, 2018

Canada’s tech scene is heating up, and one of Silicon Valley’s oldest financial institutions wants a piece.

Silicon Valley Bank, the 35-year-old lender focused on tech startups and venture capital firms, plans to hire more than a dozen bankers in Canada with the goal of eventually banking 40 percent of the country’s tech and life science companies. It’s received authorization from Canada’s finance minister to open and is waiting on final regulatory approvals to begin lending.

Canada’s tech scene is thriving. Startups are proliferating, fueled by increased local investment and the presence of big-name U.S. venture firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital. Internet giants including Amazon.com Inc. and Google are hiring thousands of engineers in Vancouver and Toronto and home-grown success stories like Shopify Inc. are taking off.

See:  PayPal is going after the big banks

With all that activity comes opportunity for banks willing to lend to small, unproven startups, said Barbara Dirks, Silicon Valley Bank’s recent hired head of Canada.

Canadian banks have a long-standing and concrete view of risk that might make it difficult for them to dive into earlier-stage tech, said Dirks, a veteran of Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada. Silicon Valley Bank brings a unique understanding of tech and the web of relationships in Silicon Valley and around the world to get startup investing right, she said.

Risk Appetite

“We’ve been in the space for so long, so something which may look risky to one institution is right in our expertise,’’ Dirks said.

At least one of those Canadian banks might beg to differ. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has trumpeted its own interest in the tech scene, recently buying tech-focused lender Wellington Financial and putting its CEO Mark McQueen in charge of a new “innovation banking’’ division. While Silicon Valley Bank will initially only have permission to give loans, CIBC’s unit is already licensed to offer a full range of banking services in Canada.

Silicon Valley Bank won’t be starting from scratch though. It already helps hundreds of Canadian companies including Shopify, Drop Technologies Inc. and Lightspeed POS Inc. with their U.S. banking, Dirks said. The goal now is to catch Canadian companies earlier and compete for deals directly. The bank will be focused on loans from as small as $750,000, all the way to leading syndicates of hundreds of millions of dollars, said Mark Gallagher, senior market manager for the U.S. northeast and Canada.

Global Connections

Gallagher has led a team for years that’s helped Canadian tech companies bank in the U.S., but watching the activity of the last few years, he said he knew it was time to step up Silicon Valley Bank’s presence north of the border.

“The broad diaspora of Canadians both in the U.S. and that have returned from the U.S. that have experience scaling companies is very strong,’’ Gallagher said. Venture capital investment reached about C$3.8 billion in 2017, up from $3.2 billion the year before, according to the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association.

Check out:  RBC first Canadian bank to open an API developer portal

Canadian companies that want to compete globally generally need to expand outside of their home market quickly. Shopify, the country’s best-known success story since BlackBerry, gets the vast majority of its revenue from outside of Canada. Linking companies up to partners and investors around the world is a major part of what gives Silicon Valley Bank a competitive edge, Dirks said.

Serious Swagger

“We connect companies between Canada and Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley and New York, Israel, China, etc.,’’ she said. “That will be one of the things that we’ll be able to contribute to the ecosystem.’’

Continue to the full article --> here

 


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  ncfacanada.org

Share

What we can learn from Ontario’s $3 million loan to small business

Share

NCFA Canada | By Gary Buisansky | May 11, 2018

Summary

It's not every day we wake up to hear that the Ontario Government has committed to a loan of 3 million Dollars for small business. A market woefully underserved by traditional lenders.

Beyond the benefit this will have for small business, it provides testimony to the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada’s continued advocacy for financial and regulatory support to the sector. (You can read the NCFA’s March 2018 submission to Finance Canada here and Lifting the Veil on Peer to peer Lending in Q1 2016 here).

As an industry, while we navigate the regulatory hurdles, there are some lessons we can take away from this, to better help ourselves and the Canadian market. There are also several Canadian success stories which we should not lose sight of. AI, Crypto currency and blockchain, are all thriving in Canada.

Ontario Government supports small business

Lending Loop, an active member of the NCFA, has been making the news lately with an announced 2-year pilot project partnership with the Ontario Government for a $3 million loan.

If you're not familiar with Lending Loop, it fills an important void in the market, connecting small businesses and Canadian retail investors, willing to lend to them.

Through the Lending Loop platform, small companies can finance loans at reasonable rates, often within days of their loan application.

These borrowers face very real challenges securing funding in the Canadian market with debt finance to SME's considered very risky. Where loans are made, they usually come with eyewatering interest rates, reflecting their often-limited track record, lack of financial information and availability of collateral.

See:  Ontario government invests in fintech to boost small-business lending

Loans provided by Lending Loop will now have a 10% government participation, with the government portion of the loan amount treated like any other; the principle amount will be repaid together with interest.

The anchor investment by the Ontario Government will enable total funding of around $30 million to Ontario's SME's providing welcome relief to an under banked market and provide leveraged economic benefit into the broader economy.

This is a clear win for all parties. But what can the greater fintech community learn from this success?

The importance of government relationships and support for fintech companies

Cato Pastoll, CEO and Co-Founder of Lending Loop, makes the point that fintech companies underestimate the importance of government relationships, particularly those in the startup phase. He suggests:

"Its up to you to educate the regulators about your business and what societal benefits it provides. You need to make yourself heard. For the most part, fintech entrepreneurs do not make it a priority to try work with government.

It can be vital, particularly in regulated industries, to find the time and make the effort. The governments role is to hear the challenges industries and people are facing and want to understand the dynamics of the market".

In his experience, regulators and government only hear part of the story and if fintech does not speak up, then regulators are left with only the incumbents viewpoint.

Government recognizes that Canada can play a bigger game

In a study released in December last year, the Canadian Competition- Bureau, observed:

"...other jurisdictions have more welcoming and innovationconducive regulatory environments than Canada. The United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore, Germany, Australia and Hong Kong have been identified as leading fintech hubs based on talent, funding availability, government policy and demand for fintech".

This contrasts with the position in Canada, where regulatory gaps, uncertainty and lack of consistency across provinces prevail.

An 11-point plan has been proposed, that includes harmonizing regulation across geographic boundaries, and identifying a fintech policy lead for Canada. These solutions would go a long way to addressing key roadblocks in the growth and development of Canadian fintech. Additionally, Craig Asano, Executive Director of the NCFA, makes the point that:

To help verify Canadas competitive position relative to other jurisdictions, additional resources and support are needed for data collection and education. This will help quantify the number of fintech companies, capital investments, financings and loan volumes of new funding models, and the time and cost spent on compliance.

The Canadian government is extremely well placed to support the sector. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is the largest VC fund in the country with over $1 billion in capital under management. Most Canadian VC funds have government money, either directly through BDC investing in the funds or indirectly through funds of funds that in turn invest in VC's.

The significance of government involvement and ability to support and foster a sustainable fintech sector, with market confidence is critical. The C.D. Howe Institute makes the case for a suite of recommendations that, if adopted, will better position Canada to take advantage of its investments in the technological revolution that is underway throughout the economy.

Right way round regulatory sandboxes could offer short term benefits

While Canada makes use of regulatory sandboxes to help start-ups test new products or services in a controlled environment, there is room to improve the model. Unlike competitor countries including the UK and Australia, which offer flexible and proportional regulatory frameworks, Canada follows a more paternalistic model.

See:  How Blockchain and Crypto are Impacting Canadian Fintech Markets

Cato Pastoll says the Canadian model has it the wrong way around.

In Canada one must adjust your business to fit in with the existing regulatory models rather than forcing regulators to figure out how best to regulate.

Getting this right is critical in his view, particularly if we are going to compete with other countries.

What this requires is a mind shift followed by active dialogue between stakeholders and industry to work out a better framework for regulatory sandboxes.

That said, there are some areas of fintech where accelerator programs and innovation hubs are showing strong results.

Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain is accelerating in Canada

KPMG International in their Pulse of Fintech Q4'17 Report, highlights AI as a major driver of innovation in the Americas, particularly in the US and Canada.

It refers to Canada as, "a hotbed for fintech innovation", and goes on to say that Canada’s participation in the space is getting more notice with world-class fintech hubs in Canada rapidly maturing with increased attention from US investors.

Crypto currency and blockchain related ventures are also recognizing Canada as a friendly jurisdiction.  With strong investor appetite available, crypto mining companies, Hut 8 Mining, BitFury and HIVE have all come to market to capital through the TSX-V.

See:  Registration Open: Convergence of the titans: Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, Irakli Beridze, to Present in Toronto at AiDecentralized Summit (May 22)

More recently, the Ontario Securities Commission consented to the listing of the first Canadian Bitcoin ETF on the TSX under the ticker, HBLK which invests in companies involved in blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.

And over the past few days, Huobi a Singapore-based bitcoin exchange, (and the world’s number three exchange by 24-hour volume), has stated its intention to expand its operations to Toronto.

General Manager of Huobi, Ross Zhang stated;

"Canada is emerging as a leading blockchain nation, and Toronto is set to become one of the next most active blockchain hubs across North America".

Canada's fintech time is now

This serves to demonstrate that If Canada is to capitalize on the wave of fintech opportunity washing our shores, we need to act swiftly and get our regulatory house in order.

Without the need to reinvent the wheel, we can borrow from global best practices. We must continue to lobby for a unified regulatory framework and insist that the Federal Government champion fintech. Fintech after all has the wherewith-all to make a marked difference in our economy.

It would be a sad day if in years to come, we look back and wonder how we let slip what could have been ours to have.

 

Gary Buisansky is a freelance writer for NCFA and founder of Coin My Copy  which specializes in writing marketing content, including white papers, website copy, articles and case studies for fintech and traditional finance companies.

 


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to over 1700+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  ncfacanada.org

Share

Ontario government invests in fintech to boost small-business lending

Share

The Globe and Mail | Clare O'hare | May 2, 2018

The Ontario government is turning to Canada’s financial technology sector to help small businesses get better access to financing.

On Wednesday, Lending Loop, a peer-to-peer online lending platform for small-business loans, announced a pilot project in partnership with Ontario that will provide $3-million of loans over the next two years. The government will boost Lending Loop’s loans by 10 per cent, which will help fund more than $30-million of loans to businesses across Ontario. The government will receive a full re-payment of the loan plus interest at the end of the loan terms.

“This pilot program is important as it will significantly benefit small businesses, accelerate Fintech adoption, and provide new opportunities for financial institutions,” Jeff Leal, Minister Responsible for Small Business, said in a statement.

Small-business loans are seen as risky, with borrowers facing annual interest rates between 8 per cent to 40 per cent as a result of challenges such as absence of collateral, a lack of operating and credit history, unaudited financial information or an absence of steady cash inflows.

“The new lending commitment from the province recognizes the contribution that non-traditional channels can play in improving businesses’ access to capital,” says Cato Pastoll, co-founder and CEO of Lending Loop. “This partnership is a major step forward for peer-to-peer lending in Canada. Globally, over $40-billion has been lent to businesses through the peer-to-peer model, and we are incredibly excited to see the Ontario government involved in helping support the growth of businesses across the province.”

In Canada, there are a handful of online lenders offering small-business loans. The majority of the platforms are fintech start-ups that have been looking to address challenges many small businesses face when accessing financing from traditional sources – such as Canada’s five big banks.

As part of Ontario’s strategy to support small businesses, the 2017 Fall Economic Statement included a commitment to establish a pilot project to address small-business financing challenges.

In early 2018, the ministry held a number of consultations with representatives of lending platforms, credit unions and large financial institutions to determine the best approach. The government found that many businesses struggle when it comes to securing loans between $500,000 and $1-million.

See:  Lending Loop launches “Auto-Lend” after raising new round of funding

“Peer-to-peer lending platforms play an important role because they increase the amount of capital for small businesses by creating new sources of loan capital, more sophisticated credit models, and efficient access,” said a spokesperson for Mr. Leal’s office. “Platforms in other markets have proven that lending to small businesses with affordable, long-term capital not only benefits the small businesses but is also a highly attractive investment for investors.”

The three-year “access to capital” pilot program also includes a commitment to provide a grant of up to $750,000 to the Toronto Financial Services Alliance to promote awareness of alternative forms and sources of lending programs available to small businesses.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  ncfacanada.org

Share

U.S. regulator sues LendingClub over hidden fees

Share

Reuters |Anna Irrera | Apr 25, 2018

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. regulator sued online lender Lending Club Corp (LC.N) on Wednesday for allegedly overcharging consumers and misleading them on hidden fees.

The Federal Trade Commission said in a complaint filed in federal court in California that LendingClub deducted hidden fees from the loans it issued to borrowers, despite promising “no hidden fees.”

LendingClub also allegedly deducted payments automatically from consumers’ bank accounts even when they had paid off their loans, or had canceled automatic payments, according to the complaint. Some consumers were allegedly charged double payments, the complaint said.

LendingClub shares were down as much as 16 percent at $2.72 following the news.

The San Francisco-based start-up is one of the largest companies known as peer-to-peer lenders and runs a website where consumers can apply for loans that are either funded by individual investors or by institutions such as banks.

“We support the important role that the FTC plays in encouraging appropriate standards and best practices,” a spokesman for LendingClub said in a written statement. “In this case, we believe the FTC is wrong, and are very disappointed that it was not possible to resolve this matter constructively with the agency’s current leadership.”

LendingClub has been in recovery mode since May 2016, when it acknowledged issues, including the way it had sold loans to an investor, prompting the departure of its then chief executive.

Its shares have fallen more than 88 percent since its initial public offering in late 2014.

Continue to the full article --> here


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  ncfacanada.org

 

Share