Less than two months after spotlighting a new domain name market linked to the Ethereum blockchain, the name loan.eth was sold on a secondary market for the equivalent of $45,000. It’s not a website domain like one would expect with a .com or a .net, but rather a crypto wallet address shortener that can double as a screen name and authentication service on web 3.0. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the utility that a .eth domain can offer.
Although most people may not be familiar with .eth domain names, the new owner of loan.eth, who goes by @BloomCapital_ on twitter, is so confident that such names will be adopted in the future, that he believes the value of this one will be many times what he paid for it.
“Just so it has to be said, Loan.eth won’t be sold for less than $10M,” Bloom wrote. Bloom said he considers loan to be the top .eth name that he has.
Three months after the SBA told a Sioux Falls small business lender that it wasn’t eligible for PPP loan forgiveness because it was involved in lending, the same agency approved full forgiveness for one of the nation’s largest consumer lending businesses, Prosper Marketplace.
“On March 21, 2022, we were notified by the SBA that all principal and interest under our PPP loan, totaling $8.6 million, was forgiven through a full forgiveness payment made on March 15, 2022 by the SBA to the lender of our PPP loan,” Prosper reported in its Q1 earnings. The company also announced that it had facilitated $560.6M in Borrower Loan originations in the first three months of this year so far.
Technically, Prosper is a “credit marketplace.” All loans originated through the marketplace are made by WebBank. Prosper facilitated $1.9B in loan originations last year alone.
Prosper was among the lenders that actually turned a profit in 2020, $18.5M to be precise, on $1.5B in loans facilitated.
TransUnion recently conducted a global study, “Empowering Credit Inclusion: A Deeper Perspective on Credit Underserved and Unserved Consumers.” Both developed and developing credit markets were observed including the United States, Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, and South Africa. The study further focused on the journey of credit disadvantaged consumers and how they migrate from being underserved to credit served, and the ability to gain access to additional credit opportunities. New-to-credit consumers – individuals who have opened their first product within the past two years – were not considered.
Among the US market, about 45 million consumers have been categorized as unserved or underserved. Approximately 8.1 million are unserved or invisible to the credit bureau while 37 million are underserved, resulting in 14% of the adult population.
In developed countries versus emerging economies there is a large contrast between what percent of the population is still credit unserved. In Canada about 7% of the adult population is unserved while Colombia’s percentage reaches 44% and India is at 63%.
Nidhi Verma, Vice President, International Research and Consulting at TransUnion stated, “…I think a lot of it has to do with, it’s not a saturated market quite yet, in terms of the presence and the availability of credit access, and consumers actually having to rely on credit or understanding the importance of private credit in their daily lives. And that’s generally the essence of a developing credit economy.”
According to the study credit migration decreased post-pandemic amongst all regions. Two cohorts of consumers were analyzed, each over a two-year time period. The first during the pre-pandemic period from March 2018 to March 2020 and the second through June 2019 to June 2021.
Around one in four consumers identified in the underserved population were becoming credit served pre-pandemic. Due to the pandemic there was a drastic halt and a cut back in lending. The migration rate of transitioning from being underserved to served from a credit perspective went down from 24% to about 22% not only in the US but within other global markets as well.
Unserved consumers are faced with a “chicken and egg conundrum” of how to get their first credit card without a credit score or credit history. Although many lenders are hesitant to extend credit to these consumers, alternative data is an option.
“Especially in the current environment, where most lenders, financial services are seeking to grow their portfolio,” said Verma, “there’s certainly a huge opportunity of acquiring these new customers that have no scores or credit history, and leveraging incorporating alternative assets, such as your rental information, such as your deposit account information, incorporating that in the underwriting strategies, so we find fewer consumers to be credit invisible.”
This is applicable for both a growth for lenders and consumers to potentially find an upward mobility with the ability to get better access to credit, financial products, and services.
“Having access to credit, without overextending, can help consumers with a financial situation in daily life and alternative data, which would be just basically one of the gateways to enable that credit score for consumers,” Verma noted.
According to Verma, TransUnion is making efforts to help those who are credit invisible be seen. “We’ve continued to invest and enable alternative data assets, solutions in each of the markets to make sure that those can be incorporated for lenders to make lending decisions in lending criteria.”
Alternative data provides an opportunity for more consumers to become visible with credit history and in the credit market. This will also ensure to underserved consumers that there are more alternative products with lower cost of credit, a key finding that lenders could leverage in their day-to-day pricing and underwriting strategies.
The Financial Health Network, an organization that attempts to quantify the nation’s financial health, recently released the results of their first truly nationally representative survey titled Buy Now, Pay Later: Implications for Financial Health. The survey seeks to understand who uses Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) and their experiences with the service, and touched on what kind of financial habits are coming about for those BNPL use.
“Buy Now Pay Later could be a mixed bag for consumers–on the one hand it provides a convenient and low-cost way for consumers to finance purchases, but there are customers who are using BNPL to make purchases they would not otherwise make,” said Meghan Greene, director of research at Financial Health Network.
According to the release, the data found that roughly one in four users of BNPL are financially vulnerable. Out of this group, a quarter of BNPL users reported struggling to make payments. With this, the survey later mentions that 92% of users reported no difficulty making payments, and 99% stated that they understood the terms and conditions of the product.
“It’s still too early to know the full impact of BNPL on the financial health of consumers, but we do see potential warning signs in the number of consumers,” Greene said. “Particularly those who are already financially vulnerable, who report struggling to make repayments.”
Out of those surveyed, 47% said they would not have made a purchase or spent more than they otherwise would have spent had BNPL not been available. With this being said, it seems that BNPL executives are getting exactly what their product is marketed to retailers to do.
There are many types of plans using the BNPL label ranging from plans which divide payments into four installments with no interest charge (“pay in four”) to longer-term installment loans. Companies like Ikea, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, and thousands of other global businesses have gotten into offering these financial products.
Other interesting finding from the survey are below-
–Short-term BNPL users reported owing an average balance of $330.
–10% of households report having used BNPL in the 12 months prior to November 2021, a significant deviation from other published estimates. Of these, 70% report using a short-term, no-interest BNPL plan.
–Younger and less financially healthy households are more likely to use BNPL. Financially Vulnerable households, as measured using the Financial Health Network’s innovative FinHealth Score(R), are nearly four times more likely to use BNPL than Financially Healthy households (18% vs. 5%). In fact, almost one-quarter (24%) of BNPL users are Financially Vulnerable.
–Despite the recent emergence of BNPL in the United States, almost half (46%) of users had used BNPL three or more times in the previous 12 months, as of November 2021.
–Total U.S. consumer spending on interest and fees from BNPL in 2021 is estimated at less than $1 billion, a small fraction of the estimated $95 billion spent on revolving credit card balances.
–Over 20% of BNPL users do not have or do not use credit cards (roughly the same as non-users).
–More than 40% report having subprime credit scores.
–One in three users of BNPL report that they would not have made the purchase if BNPL were not available. Among Financially Vulnerable BNPL users, over 60% said they would not have made the purchase without BNPL.
The annual fintech study published by Smarter Loans revealed that 25% of respondents had used either Alexa, Siri, or another voice search to find information about financial services.
Voice devices, it appears, are not only getting better at answering regular questions, but users are also getting more comfortable even asking them in the first place.
“Alexa, what is deBanked?” for example, returns an accurate reply despite our not having made any efforts to opt-in to the device’s knowledge base. Alexa just knows.
So why bother performing an old-fashioned Google search? Turns out, it’s becoming less common to do. Only 57% of respondents said they discovered the lender they applied with through online search. 13% said they discovered them through social media. 8% came from a friend’s recommendation. 15% found them through a well-regarded “Loan & Financial Directory” (Smarter Loans, who authored the study).
Once on a lender website, users had questions. 27% read online articles and reports, 37% read reviews, 16% called the company, and 9% consulted a friend or family member.
60% of respondents said informative videos about a company or its products would increase their confidence in that company. That could be key since 66% of respondents said that they researched more than 3 lenders before applying for a loan.
All of the respondents resided in Canada. 92% of respondents also said that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their loan provider.
The supposed bombshell lawsuit filed by Nicolas Goureau, Stephanie Menkin, and ML Fashion against Marcus Lemonis has been dismissed. Despite the sensational allegations that enabled Forbes to pen a major story, the Court found the entire lawsuit defective and dismissed it altogether on October 15.
The plaintiffs have advised the Court that they intend to try again by filing a second amended complaint. That would in fact make it their third attempt to try even getting past the opening stage of litigation.
The dismissed lawsuit had been packaged up to make headlines, opening with a monologue about it being the culmination of an “eight-month investigation” carried out with the help of a “former district attorney and a top law school professor, and a world renown psychiatrist that was spurred by the coming forward of no less than seventy (70) family businesses that have been destroyed…”
Despite all this, the judge ordered the suit “dismissed in its entirety.”
Elevate Credit, Inc., a top provider for credit solutions marketed for non-prime individuals, announced Wednesday a $50 million financing facility, which may increase to $100 million, according to a company press release. The funding is to grow the Today Card, a credit card designed to expand access to credit while promoting intelligent credit decisions for people with less than perfect credit scores.
Financing for the Today Card will come from Park Cities, an asset management and alternative investment company that provides flexible debt solutions to its customers. The partnership will help reduce the amount of capital required by Elevate for the project.
“The Today Card has seen outsized demand and has been the fastest growing brand over the last 12 months,” said Elevate CEO, Jason Harvison. “To continue that growth, we have announced a new lower cost credit facility. Park Cities has demonstrated a deep understanding of our space. I am pleased to both diversify our financing and promote our platform’s ability to serve non-prime consumers at even lower APRs.”
Backed by Mastercard, Today Card offers all the benefits of a regular credit card to individuals who may not qualify for the same perks through other creditors. Family share, fraud control, and flexible payment options are all packaged into the Today Card product. These options will familiarize cardholders with these types of benefits should their credit improve in the future and they qualify for other cards with different banks.
“Elevate is changing the game for non-prime Americans. We are proud to partner with a mission driven organization and help enable their growth,” said Park Cities Managing Partner, Alex Dunev.
Elevate has originated $9.2 billion in non-prime credit to more than 2.6 million non-prime consumers to date, and has saved its customers more than $8.5 billion versus the cost of payday loans, according to the report. They already offer borrower incentives like reduced interest rates over time, free credit monitoring, and free financial training.
Personal finance company NerdWallet disclosed who its direct competitors were last week in an S-1 filing.
Those companies include: Bankrate, Credit Karma, LendingTree, and Zillow.
“We currently compete with a number of companies that market financial services online, as well as with more traditional sources of financial information, and with financial institutions offering their products directly, and we expect that competition will intensify,” NerdWallet said.
“… We also face direct or indirect competition from providers of consumer personal finance guidance and online search engines,” the company added.
NerdWallet generated 16 million unique users per month last year, defining that metric as a unique user with at least one session in a given month as determined by unique device identifiers. That was up from the 13 million per month in 2019.
The company had more than 8 million registered users as of December 2020, 2 million of which registered in 2020.