German Bank Commerzbank Plans to Launch Own P2P Lending Marketplace Within First Half of 2016

Informed sources told P2P-Banking.com that German Commerzbank plans to launch an own p2p lending marketplace called ‘Main Funders’ in the first half of 2016. The marketplace aims to connect SMEs seeking funding with investors. The name ‘Main Funders’ is a wordplay as ‘Main’ is the name of the river passing through Frankfurt, where the bank has its headquarter. The service is developed together with Main Incubator, the fintech incubator of Commerzbank. Currently all relevant domain names for Main Funders just redirect to the frontpage of Main Incubator. Commerzbank registered a trademark for ‘Main Funders’ in January 2016.

It remains to be seen whether this will be a full fledged marketplace, that also handles all transactions, or more a business initiation facilitator. A short mention in the 2015 annual report of Commerzbank uses the term ‘peer-to-peer-lending-plattform’ to describe Main Funders.

Under German regulation only banks can fund loans. To comply with this all existing p2p lending companies in Germany partner with a transaction bank which originates the loan and then sells the proceeds (repayments and interest) to the investors. So far a handful of small specialised banks were involved in these transaction. Commerzbank would be the first large German bank to enter the space and also the first bank to build an own platform.

MoneyPlace and Auswide Bank Enter into Strategic Relationship

MoneyPlace, Australia’s second fully licenced peer-to-peer (P2P) lender and Auswide Bank have entered into a significant strategic relationship and equity deal.
The long term relationship, the first of its kind in Australia, includes a 5 year deal to fund up to 60 million AUD to assist MoneyPlace to grow its consumer lending and for the bank to grow and
diversify its financing activities nationally. Additionally Auswide Bank is taking a 20 per cent equity stake in MoneyPlace.

MoneyPlace launched in October after receiving its retail and wholesale Australian Financial Services licence and provides loans of 5000 to 35,000 AUD through its peer-to-peer lending platform.

MoneyPlace CEO Stuart Stoyan said the relationship is a critical milestone for P2P lending globally and demonstrates how banks can work with P2P lenders to provide fairer, better rates
for all customers. Continue reading

Whatthefintech

Yesterday I spent my day at the ‘Whatthefintech 2’ event at Startplatz Cologne. The attendees were an interesting mix from startups, banks, service companies and interested users.

While none of the pitches and startups were focused on p2p lending, it was highlighted several times as one of the use cases. An interesting discussion evolved around the question whether startups have sustainable business models or just fill in a gap that is there for a limit time span. One argument was that too many fintech startups just add an incremental improvement rather than solve a big problem. An example given was that many startups can deliver a much better user experience than banks, so they win users now. But banks are learning and will catch up on the field of presentation and user experience and when the playing field is leveled then the startup has not much to show as the data and backend processes are still owned by the bank.

I think this is an important point but one that is answered by p2p lending marketplaces – they have a business model that adds real value by offering a more efficient process than banks do. While some p2p lending marketplace use and cooperate with banks, they certainly have developed own technologies which are a core for their product and are not a mere sales-frontends as some of the criticized fintech models.

The banks certainly are eager to open up to the developments. Jana Koch of comdirect bank presented the ‘Startup Garage’ program of comdirect bank, which is a essentially co-working space with mentoring from the bank professionals for teams which have just an idea yet and want to bring that to the first development stage. The bank pays the team to enable them to concentrate on the development of their idea, but does not expect equity or ownership of the idea. From the banks viewpoint the program will be kind of an outsourced research and development offering fresh impulses to the thinking of the bank’s executives.

Some other viewpoints out of the banking sector surprised. Two persons from major banks stated that they expect the branch to play a very important role in the next 20 years as a sales channel for banks and only thereafter to become obsolescent. Maybe this is the paradox that Bankstil also commented last week. What banks publicly say is that the branch is essential and used even by their young and technology liking clients. But what they do is that they close branch after branch after branch.

I liked the presentations, especially those by Peter Barkow who talked about the relationship between German fintech and venture capital and  Gernot Overbeck of Fintura, a comparison tools which promises to find the cheapest bank loan for SMEs within 15 minutes and close it within 72 hours.

The pitches of the 3 pitching fintech startups were well crafted (they had 7 minutes each).

As usual the most interesting part for me was the networking.

I am really looking forward to the next conference I’ll attend, which is LendIt in London in 2 weeks. If you register you can still use discount code wiseclerkvip to get 15% off.

 

whatthefintech
Impression from the event. More photos on Twitter.

 

 

Lending Club and Citi Team Up on Community Lending

Lending Club Lending Club Logoand Citi are launching a pioneering new partnership with Varadero Capital L.P., an alternative management firm focused on specialized credit investments, to facilitate up to 150 million US$ in loans designed to provide more affordable credit to underserved borrowers and communities.

Renaud Laplanche, founder and CEO of Lending Club, said, “Many banks across the country are looking for opportunities to enhance their community lending efforts for low- and moderate-income families. We’re excited to expand the use of the Lending Club platform to make this process easier for Citi and other banks, and help lower the cost of credit for borrowers.”

“It is important that we help increase access to financing alternatives for American families,” said John Heppolette, Co-Head and Managing Director of Citi Community Capital at Citi. “This partnership is a direct response to that need and will help provide a viable source of responsible credit. We are proud to be part of this initiative.”

Citi Community Capital is the group within Citi that focuses on providing community development loans and investments that help meet the credit needs of communities and which receive consideration under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Continue reading

Credit Suisse NEXT Investors Leads 165M US$ Investment Round in Prosper Marketplace

Prosper Marketplace, Prosper Logowhich operates a privately held p2p lending marketplace, today announced a 165 million US$ Series D financing, led by Credit Suisse NEXT Investors, part of Credit Suisse Asset Management. Additional participants included J.P. Morgan Asset Management, SunTrust Banks, a subsidiary of USAA, BBVA Ventures (BBVA’s representative office in San Francisco), Neuberger Berman Private Equity Funds, Passport Capital, Breyer Capital, and others. The latest funding will support the company’s continued growth, expansion, and development of a national brand as it builds new products and services for the marketplace’s borrowers and investors. This round put the valuation of the company at roughly 1.87 billion US$.

The funding comes on the heels of a record quarter, with nearly 600 million US$ in loans originated through the Prosper platform, up 200% from the year ago quarter. The significant growth is a true indication of the increasing mainstream acceptance of marketplace lending.

“This investment is a testament to the efforts of our entire team in changing how people experience access to credit,” said Aaron Vermut, chief executive officer at Prosper Marketplace. “The explosion of interest in P2P lending demonstrates that a shift is in progress in the way that consumers borrow and lend. This new funding will help us scale the business to meet this growing awareness and demand.” Continue reading

Lendico Announces Large Influx of Institutional Capital – Repositions in some Markets

Lendico logoGerman p2p lending service Lendico announced yesterday that an unnamed international hedge fund and 2 german banks will invest over 100 million Euro in loans on the Lendico marketplaces. The management sees that as a mark of confidence. Lendico is committed to increase activities in its growing core markets and plans to expand the product into SME loans. Continue reading