deBanked’s Top Five Stories of 2020

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DeBanked’s Top 10 most read stories of 2020 all involved the Payment Protection Program (PPP). It was by far the hottest topic in small business financial services for the year. As a result, we consolidated our most read stories into FIVE categories and this is what our readers consumed most in 2020!

1. PPP

PPP MysteryThe Payroll Protection Program saga boiled down to one major question early on in the pandemic: Who, if anybody, would be able to lend the money out on the government’s behalf? PPP Lender Requirements was the most read story on deBanked in 2020, followed by the world being curious to find out who was the biggest PPP lender. On April 22, deBanked was the first to spread the story that Ready Capital (Knight Capital‘s parent company) was the largest PPP lender in the US for Round 1.

2. NY’s Disclosure Bill

Fall AlbanyThe biggest non-PPP story of the year was a bill passed in New York that was signed by the governor at Midnight on Christmas Eve. SB 5470, which some have dubbed “The Small Business Truth in Lending Act,” is slated to completely overhaul the non-bank small business lending market in the state. The bill was passed by the legislature in July.

3. OnDeck

OnDeck NascarIt’s difficult to overstate how much of a rollercoaster it was for the stalwart fintech lender in 2020. OnDeck started the year with optimism, announcing a NASCAR sponsorship in March just as the company’s stock suddenly plummeted by 30%. By the time summer rolled around, the company was no longer engaged in non-PPP lending activities and was battling in a fight for its life with its creditors. In July, OnDeck was acquired by Enova, which led to shareholder lawsuits over the terms and disclosures tied to the deal. Somehow, by year-end, OnDeck managed to pull itself back together, thanks to its new parent company. It successfully originated $148M worth of loans in Q3.

Wow, just wow.

4. Covid-19

Covid-19The impact of Covid was a close 4th on deBanked’s top read list. In March, deBanked published a writeup of How Small Business Funders [Were] Reacting, an interesting glimpse into the pandemic as it was just unfolding. At that time, attitudes ranged from confidence in being prepared to being convinced it was time to shut everything down. One notable takeaway from the commentary is that nobody surmised that the situation would persist for the entire rest of the year.

Capify CEO David Goldin made an early bold prediction, however. “I would not be surprised if we learn in the next few weeks that the President of the United States has it,” he said in an interview with deBanked in mid-March. President Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19 less than six months later on October 6th.

5. Scandal

oops!Three scandals were a near-tie for views in 2020 so we’re revisiting them all here.

Brendan Ross & Direct Lending Investments – Brendan Ross, the former CEO of a very popular fintech lending hedge fund, was indicted on August 11th. Federal officials including the SEC, say that Ross defrauded investors while managing more than $1 billion in assets. Ross’s “unwinding” began in 2019 when he suddenly resigned from the firm and wrongdoing was alleged.

Jonathan Braun – Jon Braun, made infamous by a Bloomberg Businessweek profile, checked into FCI Otisville earlier this year after having been sentenced the previous May for drug related offenses. Braun resurfaced in the news this summer when the FTC announced civil charges against him for alleged acts related to a company named Richmond Capital Group, LLC. The New York State Attorney General filed its own charges against Braun and affiliates at the same time.

Par Funding – A financial services firm based in Philadelphia generated major headlines this year after the SEC filed a lawsuit against the company that ultimately resulted in it being placed in receivership. A series of stunts and accidents got the SEC’s case off to a rocky start, but the likelihood of Par ever restarting its business has diminished to almost nothing.

Last modified: December 28, 2020
Sean Murray

Category: Fintech

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