News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

A leopard, running

1.UK – FinTech

Finextra reports: 

“Former peer-to-peer lender Zopa has hit £1 billion in customer deposits, reaching the milestone eighteen months after becoming a bank. 

Zopa has topped the savings tables 15 times since its launch, and is aiming to double its deposit base to £2 billion over the next year.

The digital bank in October raised £220 million from a clutch of investors led by Softbank Vision Fund 2. Alongside the £1 billion in deposits, the company has more than £1 billion of loans on balance sheet, issued more than 200,000 credit cards, tripled its revenue per customer and is on course for near-term profitability and an IPO in late 2022.” 

2. UK – FinTech 


Crowdfundinsider reports: 


Thincats, a UK-based lending platform, explains that their expertise in SME lending is the product of “a detailed manual underwriting process combined with market-leading data.” 

Because of their sharp focus on mid-sized SMEs, ThinCats claims that they have “continually invested in making sure [they] have the best data available to inform [their] decision making.” 

The firm also mentioned that their credit risk model, called PRISM, uses several different data sources including accounts filed at Companies House. PRISM models over 2 billion data points “covering every mid-sized SME that has traded since 2007 – around 200 metrics on over 750,000 businesses across 14 years.” 


3. UK - FinTech 


Altfi reports: 

“After expanding its subscription plans over the last few years, savings app Chip is now streamlining its offering. 

Starting this month, Chip is removing its £1.50/month ChipAI plan, which had included the app’s open banking-powered autosaving feature that sweeps excess cash into an Allica Bank savings account. 

Instead, autosaving of up to £85,000 is now available for free, with cash going either into an easy access Allica account that currently pays 0.7 per cent interest, or a general investment account with three funds on offer (and a 0.5 per cent annual platform fee). 

That leaves Chip with just a free tier and an unchanged ChipX tier at £3/month, which offers a Stocks and Shares ISA wrapper on investments and access to a larger universe of funds, including emerging markets and actively managed funds, along with a lower 0.25 per cent platform fee.” 


4. US – FinTech 

Finextra reports: 

“Online lender SoFi Technologies has received approval from US regulators to become a bank holding company. 

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve have approved SoFi's applications to become a bank through its proposed acquisition of Golden Pacific Bancorp.

SoFi agreed to buy the Californian community bank for $22.3 million last year specifically to help it obtain a bank charter. That acquisition is now set to close in February.

SoFi started life as a student loan financing outfit but in recent years has been expanding aggressively, most recently launching a credit card. It wants the bank charter to enable it to accept deposits and make loans that use its member deposits.

The firm says it will contribute $750 million in capital and pursue its national, digital business plan while maintaining Golden Pacific's community bank business and footprint, including three physical branches.” 

5. US – FinTech 

Crowdfundinsider looks at official views of private stable coins and CBDCs. 

“Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell spent much of yesterday testifying in front of the US Senate Banking Committee as part of his nomination process. It is anticipated that Powell will easily be approved by the Committee as well as the full Senate for a second term of running the Fed. 

While much of the conversation revolved around rising inflation concerns and Fed policy, Powell was asked several questions about digital assets or the crypto ecosystem.”