Survey Open for New Study on Asian Fintech

The University of Cambridge, Monash Business School and Tsinghua University launch the 2016-2017 Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Industry Survey with the support of major industry associations across the region.

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at University of Cambridge Judge Business School, Australian Centre for Financial Studies at Monash University and Tsinghua University Graduate School at Shenzhen are teaming up to launch the 2016-2017 Asia-Pacific Region Alternative Finance Industry Survey with the support of more than 20 major industry organisations across the region. This is the largest regional study to date focused on crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending & other forms of alternative finance.

From equity-based crowdfunding to peer-to-peer consumer and business lending, invoice trading to reward-based crowdfunding, these alternative financing activities are supplying credit to SMEs, providing venture capital to start-ups, offering more diverse and transparent ways for consumers to invest or borrow money, nurturing creativity, fostering innovation, generating jobs & funding worthwhile social causes across the Asia Pacific region.

Opening on February 15th 2017, this benchmarking survey aims to capture the key trends, developments, size, transaction volume and growth as well as the impact of changing regulations on the alternative finance markets across Asia in 2016 – building on last year’s inaugural study.

Last year’s inaugural report – Harnessing Potential – gathered survey data from 503 leading alternative finance platforms operating in 17 Asia-Pacific countries and regions. The study was cited by over 100 mainstream media organisations and has informed policymakers and regulators of industry developments in Asia Pacific countries including Malaysia, Singapore, India, Australia, Hong Kong and Indonesia for example. The report estimated the total Asia-Pacific online alternative finance market to have grown 323% year-on-year to reach 102.81 billion USD in 2015. China is the world’s largest market by transaction volume, registering 101.7 billion in 2015. Outside mainland China, the rest of the APAC region accrued 1.12 billion USD in 2015 with a 313% year-on-year growth rate from the 271.94 million raised in 2014. The authors hope this year’s study will dive even deeper into the growth and dynamics of the APAC alternative finance market. Continue reading

Why do we Need P2P Lending in India?

This is a guest post by Sunil Kumar, CEO of Loanmeet

Tragically, more than 78% of Indian population cannot get a personal loan from a bank or NBFC. Why? The reason is quite simple – most banks grant personal loans to salaried employees with annual gross salary above Rs. 3 Lakhs. Some banks give personal loans only to individuals earning Rs. 6 Lakhs per annum. If an individual is NOT working at one of the big MNCs or listed companies, then it would be a difficult for him to get a loan, or worse yet, his/her interest rate would be substantially higher. The P2P lending however, works differently; it comparatively uses multiple parameters to determine credit-worthiness of borrowers. The P2P credit models traverses beyond the salary of individuals; and fortunately, it does not decline the loan application even if the borrower’s salary is considerably low.

P2P lending, peer-to-peer lending amongst individuals, is not a new concept. It has been practiced for centuries. Even today, most individuals ask money for their short-term needs from friends and relatives. In old days, most individuals did not make EMI payments when they got loans from their friends and relatives; most loans were interest free, and as a victim of the evil perception of temporary profitability and eventual losses, there was a balloon payment at the end of the loan period. The private money lenders charge high interest rates, and seize land or jewelry for collateral. The online P2P lending model formalized the entire process of taking loans from friends, relatives, and unknown individuals, and made it simpler for us to get quick cash or earn great returns. The borrower puts an online loan application, and the platform either rejects or accepts the same. If the loan application is approved, then the lenders fund the loan amount. The loan payment is collected in the form of EMI payments, and sent to lenders. Continue reading

P2P Lending in India: A Concept Ahead of its Time

This is a guest post by an author working in the financial sector in India.

Consumer Peer to Peer or P2P lending (where consumers lend and borrow from each other with the help of an intermediary) has become an important part of the financial services sector in many countries globally. Companies like Lending Club and Prosper in the US, that only started a few years ago are now worth billions of dollars. Many success stories in the west have been replicated in India, making it a belief amongst many that P2P Lending is no different. However, as proven multiple times before, a credit business isn’t the easiest to clone and depends on multiple factors including the regulatory environment, end-user mindset towards credit and intermediaries such as credit bureaus, verification, collection and recovery agencies.

  1. P2P Lending is not regulated in India

indiaThe Indian Banking Regulator, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has not regulated peer to peer lending in India. This essentially means that privileges enjoyed by similar platforms globally, namely, access and reporting back to credit bureaus (like CIBIL in India); are not available to a P2P platform in India. These have important repercussions on the performance of loans originated through these platforms and can lead to suboptimal results. For e.g. if lenders are not able to see credit reports, then they will be in an inferior position compared to banks and other financial institutions to make credit assessments. Similarly, without the loan performance being reported back to the bureau, some borrowers may not feel the pressure to re-pay their lenders. Lastly, borrowers looking to build and improve their credit rating do not benefit, as their loan performance is not reported to the credit bureaus (CIBIL).

  1. Little spread between risk-free rates and borrowing rates from banks and other regulated financial institutions (NBFC’s) provides no real benefit to borrowers

A huge difference between the west and India is the difference between the risk-free rate and the borrowing rate. In the US and UK the difference between the two is as much as 12-15 percentage points. In India, the risk free rate is at over 8% and banks lend money starting at 12%. With lenders looking to make returns between 15-16%, the rate for the borrowers gets as high as 20%+ when the platform fee is also taken into account. This makes it unsuitable for lower risk borrowers who can find cheaper loans from banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFC’s). Continue reading

Milaap Raises 1.1M US$

P2P microfinance service Milaap (see earlier coverage on raised 1.1 million US$ from Jungle Ventures (Singapore), Toivo Annus,Lionrock Capital, Jayesh Parekh and Unitus Seed Fund. The current round of funds will be utilized to expand engineering and marketing investments for enhancing the online product experience, and to invest in scaling up marketing and outreach efforts.

Milaap says that so far 100% of the microfinance loans originated have been paid back.

Kiva Enters India

Today Kiva expanded its service to borrowers in India. India is the second most populous country and the largest democracy in Asia. India is an emerging economy (part of the aspiring fast growing so-called BRICS countries), but growth has slowed over the past years.

India is still country with large differences. Kiva states that ‘With more than 32% of India’s population falling below the international poverty line and 68% living on less than US$2 a day, the country is in dire need of responsible, affordable sources of capital. But India has a complex history with microfinance, leaving many financial institutions unable or unwilling to serve poor and socially-excluded borrowers. Recognizing this need and opportunity, Kiva wanted to give the global lending community a simple, ethical channel to support India’s most geographically-isolated, underserved and vulnerable groups. These groups include widows, the disabled, leprosy-affected families and many more who have had virtually no chance at making a sustainable living for themselves before now.

To start its p2p microfinance for India Kiva has partnered with 3 MFIs: People’s Forum, Mahashakti Foundation, and WSDS.

To comply with regulation in India loans will have a minimum term of 3 years and there will be no repayments to the lender during the 3 years. More details on Kiva’s country page.

P2P Lending in India – Interview with i-lend

VVSSB Shankar, founder & director of i-lend, answers the questions of

What is i-lend about?

i-lend is an Internet based P2P lending platform in India which went live two months ago. Presently this service is available in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. The portal connects the two sets of customers i.e. borrowers and investors who register online, undergo a verification process, list their requirements on the portal and agree for a mutually beneficial financial transaction.

Tell us about how your target customers traditionally seek loans?

Typically most of our borrowers have recourse to either personal loans from banks or resort to credit cards usage. These personal loans are available only to a selected segment working in some top 500 companies. Most people who are not a part of the above mentioned segment have to resort to private borrowings on which interest rates are very high more like 21 to 28%.  Moreover a vast majority of urban India who otherwise are gainfully employed are denied credit for various reasons. Personal loans are also very expensive in India attracting rates between 16% – 24% by banks.

Is there a reliable credit scoring model in India?

CIBIL – a credit rating institution was established a few years ago and today it is the de facto body which maintains credit scores. However the credit rating eco system is evolving.

What other challenges did i-lend face to introduce p2p lending in India?

Before establishing a P2P model in India, it was essential that we understand the complex regulatory environment. We had ensure that we were following various laws governing the banking sector, financial institutions and other state laws with respect the money transaction. With this information, we then worked on a viable business model for P2P lending in India.

We also had to modify the model such that both borrowers and investors found it attractive. For instance, i-lend does 100% physical verification of all details provided by the borrowers at both his residence and workplace reference. We also collect Post-dated cheques from borrowers for the loan tenure.

What are the three main advantages for lenders?

– Higher returns (at least 3 times more) on idle money compared to Saving Account – The return on savings account in India is 4% while i-lend offers a minimum returns of 12% on loans given to borrowers.

– Monthly returns on money invested through borrower EMI payment – While other investment options have a lock-in period, p2p loans will give investors monthly returns i.e. liquid cash

– A new investment option – where investors can decide whom they wish to invest in, their desired interest rate and spread their risk by investing in multiple borrowers – Min. investment amount is Rs.5,000.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

– Lower interest rates starting at 12%. Typical bank rates are anywhere between 17-19% and offered to select few

– No prepayment charges – Banks charge anywhere between 2-4% of the principal outstanding as pre-payment charges

– Flexible loan amounts – Rs.25,000 – Rs.300,000: Banks typically offer loans from Rs.100,00 only.

What interest rates do you expect to see on the marketplace?

We expect the interest rate to be anywhere between 14-16%. Continue reading