Ever wondered how p2p lending is regulated in the US in detail? The new GAO report ‘Person-To-Person Lending: New Regulatory Challenges Could Emerge as the Industry Grows‘ has all the details and covers the situation of Prosper, Lending Club and Kiva. It also reviews possible regulatory changes.
Announcement by Kiva on joinFITE a new microlending platform to fund woman entrepreneurs:
In partnership with Dermalogica and strategic partners, today Kiva.org is launching joinFITE.org to provide microloans to women entrepreneurs in low-income regions of the United States and 56 other countries.A novel aspect of the campaign is its engagement of retail consumers as microlenders. Dermalogica, for example, will contribute $1 every time a consumer goes to the joinFITE.org Web site and enters a code printed on FITE-themed packaging that the company is using for five of its best-selling products. The resulting micro loan is made available to a designated entrepreneur within hours.“We know the collective impact of consumer action and socially responsible business practices can create sustainable and far-reaching change,” said strategic partner actress Geena Davis. “Together, we can maximize our effort to empower women and girls around the world.”
P2P microfinance platform MYC4 has closed its discussion forum. Links to the forum have been removed from main navigation.
The official explanation on the blog says: “The forum was originally createdÂ to ignite a dialog amongÂ the investors.Â We havenâ€™t seen all that many sparks recently. Most of the posts on the forum in the last year have been either investors asking specific questions to MYC4Â or MYC4 communicating news to the investors. Not much dialog.
We decided to try something different, so we created a blog.
… You can still write questions to the Partners on the forum. But the other topics have been frozen. You can find all the old posts there, but you canâ€™t write any new ones.”
It seems weird to argue that a forum is replaced by a blog because a forum is not fit for dialog. My impression is that the MYC4 forum had 3 aspects which can have caused the removal:
- Lenders pinpointed things that were not working properly on MYC4 (e.g. default levels, certain processes, provider quality). They kept track on the results following up earlier announcements of MYC4 on measures taken.
- In many cases answers by MYC4 did not satisfy the persons asking. This negative customer experience became publicly visible through the forums, possibly deterring new lenders.
- Possibly answering questions in the forums tied up to much staff time (but I would expect that the same questions are now send via email, therefore closing the forums does not change this issue)
So I do feel that MYC4, a company that at it’s launch trumpeted utmost transparency goals, chickened out. They no longer want to discuss and face customer demands and criticism in public, but rather elected to replace it with a blog, which is much more a one-way-communication channel.
Everyone is invited to continue the discussion on the MYC4 forum here on Wiseclerk.com.
The global recession or what has come to be known as the â€˜great recessionâ€™ â€“in direct reference to the 1930s era Great Depression-has been with us unbelievably for the last 3 and a half years. It doesnâ€™t seem like it does it? Many had predicted that it would turn out to be a â€˜Wâ€™ or maybe a â€˜U shaped or even a â€˜double dipâ€™ recovery by now, with most commentators assuming that we would most likely have seen its tail end with a year or two. Most- if not all of them- have been proved embarrassingly wrong! Countries such as the UK, US, Spain, Ireland, Hungary, Portugal â€“the list goes one and on and on and on- are still counting the cost of the recession in terms of lost jobs, productivity and in some cases, sovereign default! Recovery it seems, whatever alphabet sounds sexy, W or U shaped â€“is still yet to be seen in many cases.
Looking at the effects of the recession from the microfinance industry perspective however is what makes very interesting reading. Microfinance as such, is an industry that is curiously not correlated directly to the mainstream financial markets. Continue reading
Is there enough space for all of us and just how easy is it to set up shop?
In a span of just under 3 years, 3 new micro credit platforms have taken shape in the European micro lending P2P context:Â MyC4, Babyloan and the soon to be launched myAzimia.org (Azimia means to borrow and lend in swahili). These platforms are all aligned to a specific domestic market thanks to the way such businesses are regulated in Europe ; Myc4 is based in Denmark, Babyloan in France and myAzimia in the UK.
These are platforms all with varying business and revenue models but all with one key objective; to channel the capital of private and institutional investors in Europe to small businesses based in a emerging economies in sub saharan Africa and Asia. In achieving this objective, these young businesses get a life line of capital that they badly need, finally get an opportunity to enter the formal financial sector and the economic and social fabric of the countries that they operate in are significantly improved and ultimately the quality of life of these individuals is upgraded. I don’t need to to reinvent the wheel here, we all know about the fantastic tool that microfinance can be in helping to alleviate poverty and helping to improve lives, but the innovative element of these platforms takes microfinance as a financial tool to a new level as it uses the internet as a linkage between the entrepreneurs in developing economies and social investors in Europe.
As I mentioned already the business models of these platforms are all different, and one platform in particular has suffered significant reputational damage within the last 6 months as a result of selecting MFI partner institutions in Africa, that for one reason or another, turned out completely unable to deliver what they had promised. This is a challenge that any platform of this nature faces, the questions that need to be thoroughly explored before selecting partner institutions responsible for loan selection and assessment are:
1. who are the partners in the developing country?
2. Are they regulated locally?
3. Do they understand our process?
4.Do they already have a quality loan book?
5.Do they have high standards in their credit approval procedure?
6. Do they understand the local market and how it operates?
7. Do they have a good track record?
The identification and marketing to social investors is also an important aspect but to my mind has been highly overrated by some commentators. My motto is, get the right partners to work with, understand the market that you plan to disburse loans in and everything else will follow. Continue reading
In a telephone call MYC4 executive Jes Colding yesterday gave P2P-Banking.com a preview of the future positioning of MYC4. The two main goals are risk mitigation and new provider structure.
All new providers will have to take a direct stake in the loans they provide. They will have to guarantee 20% of the outstanding portfolio. The guarantee can either be provided by a bank deposit or by a bank guarantee. Loans from an already active partner on the MYC4 market place, Fusion Capital, are already covered by a 15% guarantee.
The agreements with new partners will also adapt a new fee structure. While in the past as much as 2/3 of the provider fees were deducted from the loan upon disbursement, in the future a minimum of 75% of the fee will be payable as the loan repays. Limiting fees payable on disbursement to a maximum of 25% of the total fees will align the interest of the providers with the interest of the investors, says Colding.
MYC4 will also shift towards a new kind of partners. The reasoning is that microfinance partners, which MYC4 solely worked with in the past, sometimes have cheaper access to capital already and cannot reach the 3 loan segments MYC4 wants to target in the future: SME, rural and youth.
SME (small and medium size enterprises)
To fund SME loans MYC4 aims to partner with consulting and private equity companies that already work with these clients. Colding cited Fusion Capital as an example.
Here MYC4 will have supply chain partners and outgrower schemes. Colding gave two interesting examples for the supply chain model. A large Danish supermarket chain wants to increase the amount of African produce on offer. The loans will be used to enable the farmers to upscale their production. And most interesting: Colding says MYC4 will be advertised on the products (e.g. bags of frozen peas) as well as in the supermarket.Â A solar system company wants to sell more solar power systems in Kenya. Here MYC4 loans will allow groups of people to buy a system, the manufacturer is paid upon delivery and the group repays MYC4 investors over the loan term. While these are not business but consumption loans, Colding says MYC4 will allow them because of their social and environmental impacts. A third example, which is already available to invest in on the MYC4 market place is loans to Armajaro farm shops in Ghana, which have been fully underwritten by Armajaro, one of the worldâ€™s largest cocoa bean wholesaler.
65% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa are under the age of 25. Many are well educated but have slim employment chances, leaving starting a business as only option. High riskÂ normally makes funding unavailable to them. Funding via MYC4 investors would not be sustainable for the same reason. Therefore MYC4 partners with theÂ International Labour Organisation (ILO), Geneva. The ILO and the provider partners will underwrite up to 90 percent of the risk.