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Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 14th, 2022

CVB Financial Corp. Reports Earnings for the Third Quarter of 2021

Net Earnings of $49.8 million for the third quarter of 2021, or $0.37 per share 6% Quarter-over-Quarter Annualized Core Loan Growth Year-to-Date Efficiency Ratio of 40.9% Return on Average Tangible Common Equity of 14.6% for the third quarter of 2021 ONTARIO, Calif., Oct. 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CVB Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:CVBF) and its subsidiary, Citizens Business Bank (the "Company"), announced earnings for the quarter ended September 30, 2021. CVB Financial Corp. reported net income of $49.8 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, compared with $51.2 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2021 and $47.5 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2020. Diluted earnings per share were $0.37 for the third quarter, compared to $0.38 for the prior quarter and $0.35 for the same period last year. The third quarter of 2021 included $4.0 million in recapture of provision for credit losses, primarily due to a modest improvement in our economic forecast.   In comparison, the second quarter of 2021 included $2.0 million in recapture of provision. The Company's allowance for credit losses at September 30, 2021 of $65.4 million, compares to the pre-pandemic allowance of $68.7 million at December 31, 2019. David Brager, Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Business Bank, commented, "Citizens Business Bank remains well positioned to take advantage of the improving economic environment in California. Our pre-tax, pre-provision earnings remain strong despite the impact of the low interest rate environment and prevailing lower line utilization rates due to strong customer liquidity. We believe that our net interest margins will increase in a rising rate environment, and we are seeing the steady improvement in our loan pipelines from previous quarters translate into solid loan growth in the third quarter. We are also excited about our announced acquisition of Suncrest Bank and the opportunities it provides to expand into the Sacramento market as well as to solidify our significant position in the Central Valley." Net income of $49.8 million for the third quarter of 2021 produced an annualized return on average equity ("ROAE") of 9.49% and an annualized return on average tangible common equity ("ROATCE") of 14.62%. ROAE and ROATCE for the second quarter of 2021 were 10.02% and 15.60%, respectively, and 9.51% and 15.20%, respectively, for the third quarter of 2020. Annualized return on average assets ("ROAA") was 1.26% for the third quarter, compared to 1.35% for the second quarter and 1.38% for the third quarter of 2020. The efficiency ratio for the third quarter of 2021 was 42.27%, compared to 40.05% for the second quarter of 2021 and 42.57% for the third quarter of 2020.        Net income totaled $164.8 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021. This represented a $37.7 million, or 29.68%, increase from the prior year, as we recaptured $25.5 million of provision for credit losses for the first nine months of 2021 compared to a $23.5 million provision for credit losses for the same period of 2020. Diluted earnings per share were $1.21 for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, compared to $0.93 for the same period of 2020. Net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 produced an annualized ROAE of 10.73%, an ROATCE of 16.64% and an ROAA of 1.46%. This compares to ROAE of 8.55%, an ROATCE of 13.76% and an ROAA of 1.35% for the first nine months of 2020. The efficiency ratio for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 was 40.85%, compared to 41.66% for the first nine months of 2020. Net interest income before recapture of provision for credit losses was $103.3 million for the third quarter of 2021. This represented a $2.1 million, or 1.98%, decrease from the second quarter of 2021, and was flat compared to the third quarter of 2020. Total interest income was $104.5 million for the third quarter of 2021, which was $2.5 million, or 2.32%, lower than the second quarter of 2021 and $2.1 million, or 1.95%, lower than the same period last year. Total interest income and fees on loans for the third quarter of 2021 of $88.4 million decreased $3.3 million from the second quarter of 2021, and decreased $5.8 million, or 6.17%, from the third quarter of 2020.   Total investment income of $15.0 million increased $461,000 from the second quarter of 2021 and increased $3.2 million, or 26.89%, from the third quarter of 2020. Interest expense decreased $392,000 from the prior quarter and decreased $2.1 million, or 62.19%, compared to the third quarter of 2020. During the third quarter of 2021 we recaptured $4.0 million of provision for credit losses, compared to a recapture of $2.0 million of provision for credit losses in the second quarter of 2021. The recapture during the quarter reflects continued improvement in our economic forecast of certain macroeconomic variables, as the negative economic impact from the pandemic continues to wane. A $25.5 million recapture of provision for credit losses was recorded for the nine months ended September 30, 2021. In comparison, $23.5 million in provision for credit losses was recorded for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 due to the severe economic forecast at that time as a result of the pandemic. Noninterest income was $10.5 million for the third quarter of 2021, compared with $10.8 million for the second quarter of 2021 and $13.2 million for the third quarter of 2020. Trust and investment services income declined by $486,000, compared to the second quarter of 2021 and grew by $276,000 year-over-year. Service charges on deposit accounts increased $344,000 quarter-over-quarter and increased $543,000 from the third quarter of 2020. Swap fee income increased $167,000 quarter-over-quarter and decreased $1.4 million from the third quarter of 2020. The third quarter of 2020 included a $1.7 million net gain on the sale of one of our bank owned buildings. Noninterest expense for the third quarter of 2021 was $48.1 million, compared to $46.5 million for the second quarter of 2021 and $49.6 million for the third quarter of 2020. The $1.5 million quarter-over-quarter increase was primarily due to a $1.0 million recapture of provision for unfunded loan commitments recorded in the second quarter of 2021 and $809,000 in acquisition expense in the third quarter related to the announced merger with Suncrest Bank. A $905,000 increase in salaries and employee benefit costs resulted from a one-time reduction in benefit expense of approximately $1 million during the second quarter of 2021. Marketing and promotion expense decreased $900,000 due to the timing of donations made during the second quarter of 2021. The year-over-year decrease of $1.5 million included a $1.3 million decrease in salaries and employee benefits, including $1.1 million in additional bonus expense for "Thank You Awards" paid to all Bank employees during the third quarter of 2020, and a $700,000 write-down of one OREO property in the third quarter of 2020. Compared to the third quarter of 2020, merger related expenses increased $809,000 and regulatory assessment expense increased $227,000 in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the prior year quarter, resulting from the final application of assessment credits provided by the FDIC at the end of the second quarter of 2020. As a percentage of average assets, noninterest expense was 1.22% for the third quarter of 2021, compared to 1.23% for the second quarter of 2021 and 1.44% for the third quarter of 2020. Net Interest Margin and Earning Assets Our net interest margin (tax equivalent) was 2.89% for the third quarter of 2021, compared to 3.06% for the second quarter of 2021 and 3.34% for the second quarter of 2020. Total average earning asset yields (tax equivalent) were 2.92% for the third quarter of 2021, compared to 3.11% for the second quarter of 2021 and 3.45% for the third quarter of 2020. The decrease in earning asset yield from the prior quarter was due to a combination of a 3 basis point decline in loan yields and a change in asset mix with loan balances declining to 54.97% of earning assets on average for the third quarter of 2021, compared to 59.22% for the second quarter of 2021. Interest and fee income from Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") loans was approximately $7.9 million in the third quarter of 2021, compared to $8.1 million in the second quarter of 2021. The decrease in earning asset yield compared to the third quarter of 2020 was primarily due a change in asset mix with loan balances declining to 54.97% of earning assets on average for the third quarter of 2021, compared to 67.08% for the third quarter of 2020. The decline in interest rates since the start of the pandemic has had a negative impact on loan yields, which after excluding discount accretion, nonaccrual interest income, and the impact from PPP loans, declined by 23 basis points compared to the third quarter of 2020. The significant decline in interest rates also impacted the tax equivalent yield on investments, which decreased by 45 basis points from the third quarter of 2020, but remained essentially the same as the prior quarter. Earning asset yields were further impacted by a change in asset mix resulting from an $876.6 million increase in average balances at the Federal Reserve compared to the third quarter of 2020. Average earning assets increased from the second quarter of 2021 by $471.1 million to $14.40 billion for the third quarter of 2021. Of the increase in earning assets, $186.8 million represented an increase in average investment securities while average loans declined by $333.0 million. Average investments increased by $1.51 billion, while balances at the Federal Reserve grew on average by $876.6 million compared to the third quarter of 2020. Average earning assets increased by $1.91 billion from the third quarter of 2020. Average loans declined by $465.8 million from the third quarter of 2020, which included a $336.7 million decrease in PPP loans on average. Total cost of funds declined to 0.04% for the third quarter of 2021 from 0.05% for the second quarter of 2021. The Company redeemed $27.6 million in subordinated debt on June 15, 2021, which had an average interest rate of 1.57% during the previous quarter. Noninterest bearing deposits grew on average by $292.8 million, from the second quarter of 2021, while interest-bearing deposits and customer repurchase agreements grew on average by $124.3 million. The cost of interest-bearing deposits and customer repurchase agreements declined from 0.12% for the prior quarter to 0.09% for the third quarter of 2021. In comparison to the third quarter of 2020, our overall cost of funds decreased by 7 basis points, as average noninterest bearing deposits grew by $1.26 billion, compared to average growth of $652.6 million in interest-bearing deposits. The cost of interest-bearing deposits and customer repurchase agreements declined by 19 basis points when compared to the third quarter of 2020. On average, noninterest bearing deposits were 62.94% of total deposits during the current quarter. Income Taxes Our effective tax rate for the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2021 was 28.60%, compared with 29.00% for the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2020, respectively.   Our estimated annual effective tax rate can vary depending upon the level of tax-advantaged income as well as available tax credits. Assets The Company reported total assets of $16.20 billion at September 30, 2021. This represented an increase of $662.3 million, or 4.26%, from total assets of $15.54 billion at June 30, 2021.   Interest-earning assets of $14.93 billion at September 30, 2021 increased $669.7 million, or 4.70%, when compared with $14.26 billion at June 30, 2021. The increase in interest-earning assets was primarily due to a $667.1 million increase in investment securities and a $223.4 million increase in interest-earning balances due from the Federal Reserve, partially offset by a $221.8 million decrease in total loans which included a decrease in PPP loans of approximately $327 million for the current quarter. The Company's total assets of $16.20 billion at September 30, 2021, represented an increase of $1.78 billion, or 12.36%, from total assets of $14.42 billion at December 31, 2020. Interest-earning assets of $14.93 billion at September 30, 2021 increased $1.71 billion, or 12.92%, when compared with $13.22 billion at December 31, 2020. The increase in interest-earning assets was primarily due to a $1.66 billion increase in investment securities and a $565.9 million increase in interest-earning balances due from the Federal Reserve, partially offset by a $499.3 million decrease in total loans which included a decrease in PPP loans of $552 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021. Total assets of $16.20 billion at September 30, 2021 increased by $2.38 billion, or 17.24%, from total assets of $13.82 billion at September 30, 2020. Interest-earning assets increased $2.34 billion, or 18.58%, when compared with $12.59 billion at September 30, 2020.   The increase in interest-earning assets includes a $1.85 billion increase in investment securities and a $1.06 billion increase in interest-earning balances due from the Federal Reserve, partially offset by a $558.4 million decrease in total loans which included PPP loan decrease of $770 million.   Total loans include the remaining outstanding balance in PPP loans, totaling $331 million as of September 30, 2021, compared to $657.8 million as of June 30, 2021 and $1.1 billion as of September 30, 2020. Excluding PPP loans, total loans grew by $105.1 million from June 30, 2021 and grew by $211.8 million compared to September 30, 2020. Investment Securities Total investment securities were $4.64 billion at September 30, 2021, an increase of $667.1 million, or 16.81%, from $3.97 billion at June 30, 2021, an increase of $1.66 billion from December 31, 2020, and an increase of $1.85 billion, or 66.56%, from $2.78 billion at September 30, 2020. In the third quarter of 2021, we purchased $892.5 million of securities with an average investment yield of approximately 1.70%, compared to $317.1 million of securities with an average investment yield of approximately 1.69% in the second quarter of 2021 and $1.23 billion of securities purchased in the first quarter of 2021, with an average expected yield of approximately 1.57%. At September 30, 2021, investment securities held-to-maturity ("HTM") totaled $1.71 billion, a $1.13 billion, or 195.69%, increase from December 31, 2020 and a $1.13 billion increase, or 196.17%, from September 30, 2020. In the third quarter of 2021, we purchased approximately $705.1 million of HTM securities. Approximately $546 million of HTM securities were purchased in the first quarter of 2021. At September 30, 2021 investment securities available-for-sale ("AFS") totaled $2.93 billion, inclusive of a pre-tax net unrealized gain of $8.8 million. AFS securities increased by $526.1 million, or 21.93%, from December 31, 2020, and increased by $719.4 million, or 32.62%, from September 30, 2020. During the third quarter of 2021, we purchased approximately $187.4 million of AFS securities, compared to approximately $317.1 million of AFS securities purchased in the second quarter of 2021 and approximately $683 million of AFS securities purchased in the first quarter of 2021. Combined, the AFS and HTM investments in mortgage backed securities ("MBS") and collateralized mortgage obligations ("CMO") totaled $3.81 billion at September 30, 2021, compared to $2.66 billion at December 31, 2020 and $2.48 billion at September 30, 2020. Virtually all of our MBS and CMO are issued or guaranteed by government or government sponsored enterprises, which have the implied guarantee of the U.S. Government. Our combined AFS and HTM municipal securities totaled $242.8 million as of September 30, 2021, or approximately 5% of our total investment portfolio. These securities are located in 28 states. Our largest concentrations of holdings by state, as a percentage of total municipal bonds, are located in Minnesota at 21.18%, Texas at 10.39%, Massachusetts at 10.30%, Ohio at 8.16%, and Connecticut at 5.74%. Loans Total loans and leases, at amortized cost, of $7.85 billion at September 30, 2021 decreased by $221.8 million, or 2.75%, from $8.07 billion at June, 2021. The $221.8 million decrease in total loans included decreases of $326.9 million in PPP loans, $10.9 million in construction loans, and $5.8 million in SFR mortgage loans, partially offset by increases of $64.0 million in commercial real estate loans, $21.8 million in dairy & livestock and agribusiness loans, $20.9 million in commercial and industrial loans, and $15.8 million in Small Business Administration ("SBA") loans. After adjusting for PPP loans, our loans grew by $105.1 million or at an annualized rate of approximately 6% from the end of the second quarter of 2021. Total loans and leases, at amortized cost, of $7.85 billion at September 30, 2021 decreased by $499.3 million, or 5.98%, from December 31, 2020. The $499.3 million decrease in total loans included decreases of $552.0 million in PPP loans, $81.6 million in dairy & livestock and agribusiness loans due to seasonal pay downs, $42.1 million in commercial and industrial loans, $39.2 million in SFR mortgage loans, $7.7 million in construction loans, and $13.5 million in consumer and other loans, partially offset by an increase of $233.2 million in commercial real estate loans and $3.6 million in SBA loans. After adjusting for seasonality and PPP loans, our loans grew by $134.3 million or at an annualized rate of approximately 3% from the end of the fourth quarter of 2020. Total loans and leases, at amortized cost, decreased by $558.4 million, or 6.64%, from September 30, 2020. The decrease in total loans included a $770.2 million decline in PPP loans. After excluding the impact of PPP loans, the $211.8 million or approximately 3% increase in core loans included increases of $306.5 million in commercial real estate loans, $26.8 million in dairy & livestock and agribusiness loans and $9.3 million in municipal lease financings.   Partially offsetting these increases were declines of $47.1 million in commercial and industrial loans, $43.4 million in SFR mortgage loans, $24.5 million in construction loans, and $15.8 million in consumer and other loans. Asset Quality During the third quarter of 2021, we experienced credit charge-offs of $11,000 and total recoveries of $33,000, resulting in net recoveries of $22,000. The allowance for credit losses ("ACL") totaled $65.4 million at September 30, 2021, compared to $93.7 million at December 31, 2020 and $93.9 million at September 30, 2020. The allowance for credit losses for 2021 was decreased by $25.5 million, due to the improved outlook in our forecast of certain macroeconomic variables that were influenced by the economic impact of the pandemic and government stimulus, and by $2.8 million in year-to-date net charge-offs. At September 30, 2021, ACL as a percentage of total loans and leases outstanding was 0.83%. This compares to 1.12% and 1.12% at December 31, 2020 and September 30, 2020, respectively. When PPP loans are excluded, ACL as a percentage of total adjusted loans and leases outstanding was 0.87% at September 30, 2021, compared to 1.25% at December 31, 2020 and 1.28% at September 30, 2020. Nonperforming loans, defined as nonaccrual loans and loans 90 days past due accruing interest plus nonperforming TDR loans, were $8.4 million at September 30, 2021, or 0.11% of total loans. This compares to nonperforming loans of $14.3 million, or 0.17% of total loans, at December 31, 2020 and $11.8 million, or 0.14% of total loans, at September 30, 2020. The $8.4 million in nonperforming loans at September 30, 2021 are summarized as follows: $4.1 million in commercial real estate loans, $2.0 million in commercial and industrial loans, $1.5 million in SBA loans, $399,000 in SFR mortgage loans, $305,000 in consumer and other loans, and $118,000 in dairy & livestock and agribusiness loans. As of September 30, 2021, we had no OREO properties, compared to $3.4 million at December 31, 2020 and $4.2 million at September 30, 2020. At September 30, 2021, we had loans delinquent 30 to 89 days of $1.1 million. This compares to $3.1 million at December 31, 2020 and $3.8 million at September 30, 2020. As a percentage of total loans, delinquencies, excluding nonaccruals, were 0.01% at September 30, 2021, 0.04% at December 31, 2020, and 0.04% at September 30, 2020. At September 30, 2021, we had $8.0 million in performing TDR loans, compared to $2.2 million in performing TDR loans at December 31, 2020 and $2.2 million in performing TDR loans at September 30, 2020. Nonperforming assets, defined as nonaccrual loans and loans 90 days past due accruing interest plus OREO, totaled $8.4 million at September 30, 2021, $17.7 million at December 31, 2020, and $16.0 million at September 30, 2020. As a percentage of total assets, nonperforming assets were 0.05% at September 30, 2021, 0.12% at December 31, 2020, and 0.12% at September 30, 2020. Classified loans are loans that are graded "substandard" or worse. At September 30, 2021, classified loans totaled $49.8 million, compared to $78.8 million at December 31, 2020 and $72.7 million at September 30, 2020. Deposits & Customer Repurchase Agreements Deposits of $12.93 billion and customer repurchase agreements of $659.6 million totaled $13.59 billion at September 30, 2021. This represented an increase of $342.5 million, or 2.59%, when compared with $13.25 billion at June 30, 2021. Total deposits and customer repurchase agreements increased $1.41 billion, or 11.61% when compared to $12.18 billion at December 31, 2020 and increased $1.94 billion, or 16.63%, when compared with $11.65 billion at September 30, 2020. Noninterest-bearing deposits were $8.31 billion at September 30, 2021, an increase of $245.3 million, or 3.04%, when compared to June 30, 2021, an increase of $855.3 million, or 11.47%, when compared to $7.46 billion at December 31, 2020, and an increase of $1.39 billion, or 20.11%, when compared to $6.92 billion at September 30, 2020. At September 30, 2021, noninterest-bearing deposits were 64.27% of total deposits, compared to 63.66% at June 30, 2021, 63.52% at December 31, 2020 and 61.95% at September 30, 2020. Capital The Company's total equity was $2.06 billion at September 30, 2021. This represented an increase of $55.9 million, or 2.79%, from total equity of $2.01 billion at December 31, 2020. The increase was primarily due to net earnings of $164.8 million, partially offset by a $32.3 million decrease in other comprehensive income from the tax effected impact of the decrease in market value of available-for-sale securities and $73.4 million in cash dividends. During the third quarter, we repurchased 390,336 shares of common stock for $7.4 million, or an average repurchase price of $18.97. Our tangible book value per share at September 30, 2021 was $10.13. Our capital ratios under the revised capital framework referred to as Basel III remain well-above regulatory standards. As of September 30, 2021, the Company's Tier 1 leverage capital ratio was 9.2%, common equity Tier 1 ratio was 14.9%, Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio was 14.9%, and total risk-based capital ratio was 15.7%. CitizensTrust As of September 30, 2021 CitizensTrust had approximately $3.28 billion in assets under management and administration, including $2.39 billion in assets under management. Revenues were $2.7 million for the third quarter of 2021 and $8.5 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, compared to $2.4 million and $7.3 million, respectively, for the same periods of 2020. CitizensTrust provides trust, investment and brokerage related services, as well as financial, estate and business succession planning. Corporate Overview CVB Financial Corp. ("CVBF") is the holding company for Citizens Business Bank. CVBF is one of the 10 largest bank holding companies headquartered in California with over $15 billion in total assets. Citizens Business Bank is consistently recognized as one of the top performing banks in the nation and offers a wide array of banking, lending and investing services through 58 banking centers and 3 trust office locations serving the Inland Empire, Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego County, Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, and the Central Valley area of California. Shares of CVB Financial Corp. common stock are listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol "CVBF". For investor information on CVB Financial Corp., visit our Citizens Business Bank website at www.cbbank.com and click on the "Investors" tab. Conference Call Management will hold a conference call at 7:30 a.m. PDT/10:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday, October 21, 2021 to discuss the Company's third quarter 2021 financial results. To listen to the conference call, please dial (833) 301-1161, participant passcode 9938279. A taped replay will be made available approximately one hour after the conclusion of the call and will remain available through October 28, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. PDT/9:00 a.m. EDT. To access the replay, please dial (855) 859-2056, participant passcode 9938279. The conference call will also be simultaneously webcast over the Internet; please visit our Citizens Business Bank website at www.cbbank.com and click on the "Investors" tab to access the call from the site. Please access the website 15 minutes prior to the call to download any necessary audio software. This webcast will be recorded and available for replay on the Company's website approximately two hours after the conclusion of the conference call, and will be available on the website for approximately 12 months. Safe HarborCertain matters set forth herein (including the exhibits hereto) constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including forward-looking statements relating to the Company's current business plans and expectations and our future financial position and operating results. Words such as "will likely result", "aims", "anticipates", "believes", "could", "estimates", "expects", "hopes", "intends", "may", "plans", "projects", "seeks", "should", "will," "strategy", "possibility", and variations of these words and similar expressions help to identify these forward-looking statements, which involve risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance and/or achievements to differ materially from those projected. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, local, regional, national and international economic and market conditions, political events and public health developments and the impact they may have on us, our customers and our assets and liabilities; our ability to attract deposits and other sources of funding or liquidity; supply and demand for commercial or residential real estate and periodic deterioration in real estate prices and/or values in California or other states where we lend; a sharp or prolonged slowdown or decline in real estate construction, sales or leasing activities; changes in the financial performance and/or condition of our borrowers, depositors, key vendors or counterparties; changes in our levels of delinquent loans, nonperforming assets, allowance for credit losses and charge-offs; the costs or effects of mergers, acquisitions or dispositions we may make, whether we are able to obtain any required governmental approvals in connection with any such mergers, acquisitions or dispositions, and/or our ability to realize the contemplated financial or business benefits associated with any such mergers, acquisitions or dispositions, including our recently announced agreement to acquire Suncrest Bank ; the effects of new laws, regulations and/or government programs, including those laws, regulations and programs enacted by federal, state or local governments in the geographic jurisdictions in which we do business in response to the current national emergency declared in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic; the impact of the federal CARES Act and the significant additional lending activities undertaken by the Company in connection with the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program enacted thereunder, including risks to the Company with respect to the uncertain application by the Small Business Administration of new borrower and loan eligibility, forgiveness and audit criteria; the effects of the Company's participation in one or more of the new lending programs recently established by the Federal Reserve, including the Main Street New Loan Facility, the Main Street Priority Loan Facility and the Nonprofit Organization New Loan Facility, and the impact of any related actions or decisions by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and its special purpose vehicle established pursuant to such lending programs; the effect of changes in other pertinent laws, regulations and applicable judicial decisions (including laws, regulations and judicial decisions concerning financial reforms, taxes, bank capital levels, allowance for credit losses, consumer, commercial or secured lending, securities regulation and securities trading and hedging, bank operations, compliance, fair lending rules and regulations, the Community Reinvestment Act, employment, executive compensation, insurance, cybersecurity, vendor management, customer and employee privacy, and information security technology) with which we and our subsidiaries must comply or believe we should comply or which may otherwise impact us; changes in estimates of future reserve requirements and minimum capital requirements, based upon the periodic review thereof under relevant regulatory and accounting standards, including changes in the Basel Committee framework establishing capital standards for bank credit, operations and market risks; the accuracy of the assumptions and estimates and the absence of technical error in implementation or calibration of models used to estimate the fair value of financial instruments or currently expected credit losses or delinquencies; inflation, changes in market interest rates, securities market and monetary fluctuations; changes in government-established interest rates, reference rates or monetary policies, including the possible imposition of negative interest rates on bank reserves; the impact of the anticipated phase-out of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) on interest rate indexes specified in certain of our customer loan agreements and in our interest rate swap arrangements, including any economic and compliance effects related to the expected change from LIBOR to an alternative reference rate; changes in the amount, cost and availability of deposit insurance; disruptions in the infrastructure that supports our business and the communities where we are located, which are concentrated in California, involving or related to public health, physical site access and/or communication facilities; cyber incidents, attacks, infiltrations, exfiltrations, or theft or loss of any Company, customer or employee data or money; political developments, uncertainties or instability, catastrophic events, acts of war or terrorism, or natural disasters, such as earthquakes, drought, the effects of pandemic diseases, climate change or extreme weather events, that may affect electrical, environmental and communications or other services, computer services or facilities we use, or that may affect our assets, customers, employees or third parties with whom we conduct business; our timely development and implementation of new banking products and services and the perceived overall value of these products and services by our customers and potential customers; the Company's relationships with and reliance upon outside vendors with respect to certain of the Company's key internal and external systems, applications and controls; changes in commercial or consumer spending, borrowing and savings patterns, preferences or behaviors; technological changes and the expanding use of technology in banking and financial services (including the adoption of mobile banking, funds transfer applications, electronic marketplaces for loans, block-chain technology and other financial products, systems or services); our ability to retain and increase market share, to retain and grow customers and to control expenses; changes in the competitive environment among banks and other financial services and technology providers; competition and innovation with respect to financial products and services by banks, financial institutions and non-traditional providers including retail businesses and technology companies; volatility in the credit and equity markets and its effect on the general economy or local or regional business conditions or on the Company's capital, deposits, assets or customers; fluctuations in the price of the Company's common stock or other securities, and the resulting impact on the Company's ability to raise capital or to make acquisitions; the effect of changes in accounting policies and practices, as may be adopted from time-to-time by the principal regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over the Company, as well as by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the Financial Accounting Standards Board and other accounting standard-setters; changes in our organization, management, compensation and benefit plans, and our ability to recruit and retain or expand or contract our workforce, management team, key executive positions and/or our board of directors; our ability to identify suitable, qualified replacements for any of our executive officers who may leave their employment with us, including our Chief Executive Officer; the costs and effects of legal, compliance and regulatory actions, changes and developments, including the initiation and resolution of legal proceedings (including any securities, lender liability, bank operations, check or wire fraud, financial product or service, data privacy, health and safety, consumer or employee class action litigation); regulatory or other governmental inquiries or investigations, and/or the results of regulatory examinations or reviews; our ongoing relations with our various federal and state regulators, including the SEC, Federal Reserve Board, FDIC and California DFPI; our success at managing the risks involved in the foregoing items and all other factors set forth in the Company's public reports, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, and particularly the discussion of risk factors within that document. Among other risks, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may significantly affect the banking industry, the health and safety of the Company's employees, and the Company's business prospects.  The ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and financial results will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including the scope and duration of the pandemic, the impact on the economy, our customers, our employees and our business partners, the safety, effectiveness, distribution and acceptance of vaccines developed to mitigate the pandemic, and actions taken by governmental authorities in response to the pandemic. The Company does not undertake, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to update any forward-looking statements to reflect occurrences or unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statements, except as required by law. Any statements about future operating results, such as those concerning accretion and dilution to the Company's earnings or shareholders, are for illustrative purposes only, are not forecasts, and actual results may differ. Contact: David A. Brager   Chief Executive Officer   (909) 980-4030               CVB FINANCIAL CORP. AND SUBSIDIARIES CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (Unaudited) (Dollars in thousands)                                 September 30,2021   December 31,2020   September 30,2020 Assets             Cash and due from banks   $ 159,563     $ 122,305     $ 145,455   Interest-earning balances due from Federal Reserve     2,401,800       1,835,855       1,339,498   Total cash and cash equivalents     2,561,363       1,958,160       1,484,953   Interest-earning balances due from depository institutions     27,260       43,563       44,367   Investment securities available-for-sale     2,925,060       2,398,923       2,205,646   Investment securities held-to-maturity     1,710,938       578,626       577,694   Total investment securities     4,635,998       2,977,549       2,783,340   Investment in stock of Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB)     17,688       17,688       17,688   Loans and lease finance receivables     7,849,520       8,348,808       8,407,872   Allowance for credit losses     (65,364 )     (93,692 )     (93,869 )   Net loans and lease finance receivables     7,784,156       8,255,116       8,314,003   Premises and equipment, net     49,812       51,144       51,477   Bank owned life insurance (BOLI)     251,781       226,818       228,132   Intangibles     27,286       33,634       35,804   Goodwill     663,707       663,707       663,707   Other assets     182,547       191,935       195,240         Total assets   $ 16,201,598     $ 14,419,314     $ 13,818,711   Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity             Liabilities:             Deposits:             Noninterest-bearing   $ 8,310,709     $ 7,455,387     $ 6,919,423   Investment checking     594,347       517,976       447,910   Savings and money market     3,680,721       3,361,444       3,356,353   Time deposits     344,439       401,694       445,148     Total deposits     12,930,216       11,736,501       11,168,834   Customer repurchase agreements     659,579       439,406       483,420   Other borrowings     -       5,000       10,000   Junior subordinated debentures     -       25,774       25,774   Payable for securities purchased     421,751       60,113       -   Other liabilities     126,132       144,530       148,726       Total liabilities     14,137,678       12,411,324       11,836,754   Stockholders' Equity             Stockholders' equity     2,060,842       1,972,641       1,945,864   Accumulated other comprehensive income, net of tax     3,078       35,349       36,093       Total stockholders' equity     2,063,920       2,007,990       1,981,957         Total liabilities and stockholders' equity   $ 16,201,598     $ 14,419,314     $ 13,818,711                 CVB FINANCIAL CORP. AND SUBSIDIARIES CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED AVERAGE BALANCE SHEETS (Unaudited) (Dollars in thousands)                                             Three Months Ended   Nine Months Ended     September 30,2021   June 30,2021   September 30,2020   September 30,2021   September 30,2020 Assets                         Cash and due from banks   $ 156,575     $ 157,401     $ 156,132     $ 154,861     $ 154,543   Interest-earning balances due from Federal Reserve     2,328,745       1,711,878       1,452,167       1,890,160       916,849   Total cash and cash equivalents     2,485,320       1,869,279       1,608,299       2,045,021       1,071,392   Interest-earning balances due from depository institutions     27,376       26,907       41,982       32,074       30,362   Investment securities available-for-sale     2,942,255       2,862,552       2,006,829       2,787,617       1,774,620   Investment securities held-to-maturity     1,169,892       1,062,842       594,751       1,005,613       626,594   Total investment securities     4,112,147       3,925,394       2,601,580       3,793,230       2,401,214   Investment in stock of FHLB     17,688       17,688       17,688       17,688       17,688   Loans and lease finance receivables     7,916,443       8,249,481       8,382,257       8,144,105       7,972,208   Allowance for credit losses     (69,309 )     (71,756 )     (93,972 )     (78,094 )     (82,529 ) Net loans and lease finance receivables     7,847,134       8,177,725       8,288,285       8,066,011       7,889,679   Premises and equipment, net     50,105       50,052       52,052       50,348       52,817   Bank owned life insurance (BOLI)     251,099       239,132       227,333       239,137       226,209   Intangibles     28,240       30,348       37,133       30,377       39,376   Goodwill     663,707       663,707       663,707       663,707       663,707   Other assets     190,445       189,912       189,117       190,034       183,118        Total assets   $ 15,673,261     $ 15,190,144     $ 13,727,176     $ 15,127,627     $ 12,575,562   Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity                   Liabilities:                   Deposits:                   Noninterest-bearing   $ 7,991,462     $ 7,698,640     $ 6,731,711     $ 7,646,283     $ 6,063,469   Interest-bearing     4,704,976       4,633,103       4,184,688       4,591,779       3,844,874    Total deposits     12,696,438       12,331,743       10,916,399       12,238,062       9,908,343   Customer repurchase agreements     636,393       583,996       504,039       593,543       475,103   Other borrowings     4       3,022       10,020       2,658       4,833   Junior subordinated debentures     -       20,959       25,774       15,483       25,774   Payable for securities purchased     151,866       98,771       157,057       113,685       53,630   Other liabilities     108,322       102,697       128,045       110,064       121,579      Total liabilities     13,593,023       13,141,188       11,741,334       13,073,495       10,589,262   Stockholders' Equity                   Stockholders' equity     2,067,072       2,041,906       1,948,351       2,035,787       1,956,676   Accumulated other comprehensive income, net of tax     13,166       7,050       37,491       18,345       29,624      Total stockholders' equity     2,080,238       2,048,956       1,985,842       2,054,132       1,986,300         Total liabilities and stockholders' equity   $ 15,673,261     $ 15,190,144     $ 13,727,176     $ 15,127,627     $ 12,575,562                       CVB FINANCIAL CORP. AND SUBSIDIARIES CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS (Unaudited) (Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)                                             Three Months Ended   Nine Months Ended     September 30,2021   June 30,2021   September 30,2020   September 30,2021   September 30,2020 Interest income:                         Loans and leases, including fees   $ 88,390     $ 91,726     $ 94,200     $ 271,911     $ 281,669   Investment securities:                   Investment securities available-for-sale     9,813       9,410       8,447       28,382       26,945   Investment securities held-to-maturity     5,188       5,130       3,375       14,258       11,033   Total investment income     15,001       14,540       11,822       42,640       37,978   Dividends from FHLB stock     258       283       215       758       761   Interest-earning deposits with other institutions     898  .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 20th, 2021

Inside the World of Black Bitcoin, Where Crypto Is About Making More Than Just Money

“We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world” At the Black Blockchain Summit, there is almost no conversation about making money that does not carry with it the possibility of liberation. This is not simply a gathering for those who would like to ride whatever bumps and shocks, gains and losses come with cryptocurrency. It is a space for discussing the relationship between money and man, the powers that be and what they have done with power. Online and in person, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., an estimated 1,500 mostly Black people have gathered to talk about crypto—decentralized digital money backed not by governments but by blockchain technology, a secure means of recording transactions—as a way to make money while disrupting centuries-long patterns of oppression. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “What we really need to be doing is to now utilize the technology behind blockchain to enhance the quality of life for our people,” says Christopher Mapondera, a Zimbabwean American and the first official speaker. As a white-haired engineer with the air of a lecturing statesman, Mapondera’s conviction feels very on-brand at a conference themed “Reparations and Revolutions.” Along with summit organizer Sinclair Skinner, Mapondera co-founded BillMari, a service that aims to make it easier to transmit cryptocurrency to wherever the sons and daughters of Africa have been scattered. So, not exactly your stereotypical “Bitcoin bro.” Contrary to the image associated with cryptocurrency since it entered mainstream awareness, almost no one at the summit is a fleece-vest-wearing finance guy or an Elon Musk type with a grudge against regulators. What they are is a cross section of the world of Black crypto traders, educators, marketers and market makers—a world that seemingly mushroomed during the pandemic, rallying around the idea that this is the boon that Black America needs. In fact, surveys indicate that people of color are investing in cryptocurrency in ways that outpace or equal other groups—something that can’t be said about most financial products. About 44% of those who own crypto are people of color, according to a June survey by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. In April, a Harris Poll reported that while just 16% of U.S. adults overall own cryptocurrency, 18% of Black Americans have gotten in on it. (For Latino Americans, the figure is 20%.) The actor Hill Harper of The Good Doctor, a Harvard Law School friend of former President Barack Obama, is a pitchman for Black Wall Street, a digital wallet and crypto trading service developed with Najah Roberts, a Black crypto expert. And this summer, when the popular money-transfer service Cash App added the option to purchase Bitcoin, its choice to explain the move was the MC Megan Thee Stallion. “With my knowledge and your hustle, you’ll have your own empire in no time,” she says in an ad titled “Bitcoin for Hotties.” Read more: Americans Have Learned to Talk About Racial Inequality. But They’ve Done Little to Solve It But, as even Megan Thee Stallion acknowledges in that ad, pinning one’s economic hopes on crypto is inherently risky. Many economic experts have described crypto as little better than a bubble, mere fool’s gold. The rapid pace of innovation—it’s been little more than a decade since Bitcoin was created by the enigmatic, pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto—has left consumers with few protections. Whether the potential is worth those risks is the stuff of constant, and some would say, infernal debate. Jared Soares for TIMECleve Mesidor, who founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain What looms in the backdrop is clear. In the U.S., the median white family’s wealth—reflecting not just assets minus debt, but also the ability to weather a financial setback—sat around $188,200, per the Federal Reserve’s most recent measure in 2019. That’s about eight times the median wealth of Black families. (For Latino families, it’s five times greater; the wealth of Asian, Pacific Island and other families sits between that of white and Latino families, according to the report.) Other estimates paint an even grimmer picture. If trends continue, the median Black household will have zero wealth by 2053. The summit attendees seem certain that crypto represents keys to a car bound for somewhere better. “Our digital selves are more important in some ways than our real-world selves,” Tony Perkins, a Black MIT-trained computer scientist, says during a summit session on “Enabling Black Land and Asset Ownership Using Blockchain.” The possibilities he rattles off—including fractional ownership of space stations—will, to many, sound fantastical. To others, they sound like hope. “We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world,” he says. The next night, when in-person attendees gather at Barcode, a Black-owned downtown D.C. establishment, for drinks and conversation, there’s a small rush on black T-shirts with white lettering: SATOSHI, they proclaim, IS BLACK. That’s an intriguing idea when your ancestors’ bodies form much of the foundation of U.S. prosperity. At the nation’s beginnings, land theft from Native Americans seeded the agricultural operations where enslaved Africans would labor and die, making others rich. By 1860, the cotton-friendly ground of Mississippi was so productive that it was home to more millionaires than anywhere else in the country. Government-supported pathways to wealth, from homesteading to homeownership, have been reliably accessible to white Americans only. So Black Bitcoiners’ embrace of decentralized currencies—and a degree of doubt about government regulators, as well as those who have done well in the traditional system—makes sense. Skinner, the conference organizer, believes there’s racial subtext in the caution from the financial mainstream regarding Bitcoin—a pervasive idea that Black people just don’t understand finance. “I’m skeptical of all of those [warnings], based on the history,” Skinner, who is Black American, says. Even a drop in the value of Bitcoin this year, which later went back up, has not made him reticent. “They have petrol shortages in England right now. They’ll blame the weather or Brexit, but they’ll never have to say they’re dumb. Something don’t work in Detroit or some city with a Black mayor, we get a collective shame on us.” Read more: America’s Interstate Slave Trade Once Trafficked Nearly 30,000 People a Year—And Reshaped the Country’s Economy The first time I speak to Skinner, the summit is still two weeks away. I’d asked him to talk through some of the logistics, but our conversation ranges from what gives money value to the impact of ride-share services on cabbies refusing Black passengers. Tech often promises to solve social problems, he says. The Internet was supposed to democratize all sorts of things. In many cases, it defaulted to old patterns. (As Black crypto policy expert Cleve Mesidor put it to me, “The Internet was supposed to be decentralized, and today it’s owned by four white men.”) But with the right people involved from the start of the next wave of change—crypto—the possibilities are endless, Skinner says. Skinner, a Howard grad and engineer by training, first turned to crypto when he and Mapondera were trying to find ways to do ethanol business in Zimbabwe. Traditional international transactions were slow or came with exorbitant fees. In Africa, consumers pay some of the world’s highest remittance, cell phone and Internet data fees in the world, a damaging continuation of centuries-long wealth transfers off the continent to others, Skinner says. Hearing about cryptocurrency, he was intrigued—particularly having seen, during the recession, the same banking industry that had profited from slavery getting bailed out as hundreds of thousands of people of color lost their homes. So in 2013, he invested “probably less than $3,000,” mostly in Bitcoin. Encouraged by his friend Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading crypto, he grew his stake. In 2014, when Skinner went to a crypto conference in Amsterdam, only about eight Black people were there, five of them caterers, but he felt he had come home ideologically. He saw he didn’t need a Rockefeller inheritance to change the world. “I don’t have to build a bank where they literally used my ancestors to build the capital,” says Skinner, who today runs a site called I Love Black People, which operates like a global anti-racist Yelp. “I can unseat that thing by not trying to be like them.” Eventually, he and Mapondera founded BillMari and became the first crypto company to partner with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to lower fees on remittances, the flow of money from immigrants overseas back home to less-developed nations—an economy valued by the World Bank and its offshoot KNOMAD at $702 billion in 2020. (Some of the duo’s business plans later evaporated, after Zimbabwe’s central bank revoked approval for some cryptocurrency activities.) Skinner’s feelings about the economic overlords make it a bit surprising that he can attract people like Charlene Fadirepo, a banker by trade and former government regulator, to speak at the summit. On the first day, she offers attendees a report on why 2021 was a “breakout year for Bitcoin,” pointing out that major banks have begun helping high-net-worth clients invest in it, and that some corporations have bought crypto with their cash on hand, holding it as an asset. Fadirepo, who worked in the Fed’s inspector general’s office monitoring Federal Reserve banks and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is not a person who hates central banks or regulation. A Black American, she believes strongly in both, and in their importance for protecting investors and improving the economic position of Black people. Today she operates Guidefi, a financial education and advising company geared toward helping Black women connect with traditional financial advisers. It just launched, for a fee, direct education in cryptocurrency. Crypto is a relatively new part of Fadirepo’s life. She and her Nigerian-American doctor husband earn good salaries and follow all the responsible middle-class financial advice. But the pandemic showed her they still didn’t have what some of his white colleagues did: the freedom to walk away from high-risk work. As the stock market shuddered and storefronts shuttered, she decided a sea change was coming. A family member had mentioned Bitcoin at a funeral in 2017, but it sounded risky. Now, her research kept bringing her back to it. Last year, she and her husband bought $6,000 worth. No investment has ever generated the kinds of returns for them that Bitcoin has. “It has transformed people’s relationship with money,” she says. “Folks are just more intentional … and honestly feeling like they had access to a world that was previously walled off.” Read more: El Salvador Is Betting on Bitcoin to Rebrand the Country — and Strengthen the President’s Grip She knows frauds exists. In May, a federal watchdog revealed that since October 2020, nearly 7,000 people have reported losses of more than $80 million on crypto scams—12 times more scam reports than the same period the previous year. The median individual loss: $1,900. For Fadirepo, it’s worrying. That’s part of why she helps moderate recurring free learning and discussion options like the Black Bitcoin Billionaires chat room on Clubhouse, which has grown from about 2,000 to 130,000 club members this year. Jared Soares for TIMECharlene Fadirepo, a banker and former government regulator, near the National Museum of African American History and Culture There’s a reason Black investors might prefer their own spaces for that kind of education. Fadirepo says it’s not unheard-of in general crypto spaces—theoretically open to all, but not so much in practice—to hear that relying on the U.S. dollar is slavery. “To me, a descendant of enslaved people in America, that was painful,” she says. “There’s a lot of talk about sovereignty, freedom from the U.S. dollar, freedom from inflation, inflation is slavery, blah blah blah. The historical context has been sucked out of these conversations about traditional financial systems. I don’t know how I can talk about banking without also talking about history.” Back in January, I found myself in a convenience store in a low-income and predominantly Black neighborhood in Dallas, an area still living the impact of segregation decades after its official end. I was there to report on efforts to register Black residents for COVID-19 shots after an Internet-only sign-up system—and wealthier people gaming the system—created an early racial disparity in vaccinations. I stepped away to buy a bottle of water. Inside the store, a Black man wondered aloud where the lottery machine had gone. He’d come to spend his usual $2 on tickets and had found a Bitcoin machine sitting in its place. A second Black man standing nearby, surveying chip options, explained that Bitcoin was a form of money, an investment right there for the same $2. After just a few questions, the first man put his money in the machine and walked away with a receipt describing the fraction of one bitcoin he now owned. Read more: When a Texas County Tried to Ensure Racial Equity in COVID-19 Vaccinations, It Didn’t Go as Planned I was both worried and intrigued. What kind of arrangement had prompted the store’s owner to replace the lottery machine? That month, a single bitcoin reached the $40,000 mark. “That’s very revealing, if someone chooses to put a cryptocurrency machine in the same place where a lottery [machine] was,” says Jeffrey Frankel, a Harvard economist, when I tell him that story. Frankel has described cryptocurrencies as similar to gambling, more often than not attracting those who can least afford to lose, whether they are in El Salvador or Texas. Frankel ranks among the economists who have been critical of El Salvador’s decision to begin recognizing Bitcoin last month as an official currency, in part because of the reality that few in the county have access to the internet, as well as the cryptocurrency’s price instability and its lack of backing by hard assets, he says. At the same time that critics have pointed to the shambolic Bitcoin rollout in El Salvador, Bitcoin has become a major economic force in Nigeria, one of the world’s larger players in cryptocurrency trading. In fact, some have argued that it has helped people in that country weather food inflation. But, to Frankel, crypto does not contain promise for lasting economic transformation. To him, disdain for experts drives interest in cryptocurrency in much the same way it can fuel vaccine hesitancy. Frankel can see the potential to reduce remittance costs, and he does not doubt that some people have made money. Still, he’s concerned that the low cost and click-here ease of buying crypto may draw people to far riskier crypto assets, he says. Then he tells me he’d put the word assets here in a hard set of air quotes. And Frankel, who is white, is not alone. Darrick Hamilton, an economist at the New School who is Black, says Bitcoin should be seen in the same framework as other low-cost, high-risk, big-payoff options. “In the end, it’s a casino,” he says. To people with less wealth, it can feel like one of the few moneymaking methods open to them, but it’s not a source of group uplift. “Like any speculation, those that can arbitrage the market will be fine,” he says. “There’s a whole lot of people that benefited right before the Great Recession, but if they didn’t get out soon enough, they lost their shirts too.” To buyers like Jiri Sampson, a Black cryptocurrency investor who works in real estate and lives outside Washington, D.C., that perspective doesn’t register as quite right. The U.S.-born son of Guyanese immigrants wasn’t thinking about exploitation when he invested his first $20 in cryptocurrency in 2017. But the groundwork was there. Sampson homeschools his kids, due in part to his lack of faith that public schools equip Black children with the skills to determine their own fates. He is drawn to the capacity of this technology to create greater agency for Black people worldwide. The blockchain, for example, could be a way to establish ownership for people who don’t hold standard documents—an important issue in Guyana and many other parts of the world, where individuals who have lived on the land for generations are vulnerable to having their property co-opted if they lack formal deeds. Sampson even pitched a project using the blockchain and GPS technology to establish digital ownership records to the Guyanese government, which did not bite. “I don’t want to downplay the volatility of Bitcoin,” Sampson says. But that’s only a significant concern, he believes, if one intends to sell quickly. To him, Bitcoin represents a “harder” asset than the dollar, which he compares to a ship with a hole in it. Bitcoin has a limited supply, while the Fed can decide to print more dollars anytime. That, to Sampson, makes some cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, good to buy and hold, to pass along wealth from one generation to another. Economists and crypto buyers aren’t the only ones paying attention. Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Reserve have indicated that they will move toward official assessments or regulation soon. At least 10 federal agencies are interested in or already regulating crypto in some way, and there’s now a Congressional Blockchain Caucus. Representatives from the Federal Reserve and the SEC declined to comment, but SEC Chairman Gary Gensler assured a Senate subcommittee in September that his agency is working to develop regulation that will apply to cryptocurrency markets and trading activity. Enter Cleve Mesidor, of the quip about the Internet being owned by four white men. When we meet during the summit, she introduces herself: “Cleve Mesidor, I’m in crypto.” She’s the first person I’ve ever heard describe herself that way, but not that long ago, “influencer” wasn’t a career either. A former Obama appointee who worked inside the Commerce Department on issues related to entrepreneurship and economic development, Mesidor learned about cryptocurrency during that time. But she didn’t get involved in it personally until 2013, when she purchased $200 in Bitcoin. After leaving government, she founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain, and is now the public policy adviser for the industry group the Blockchain Association. There are more men than women in Black crypto spaces, she tells me, but the gender imbalance tends to be less pronounced than in white-dominated crypto communities. Mesidor, who immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti and uses her crypto investments to fund her professional “wanderlust,” has also lived crypto’s downsides. She’s been hacked and the victim of an attempted ransomware attack. But she still believes cryptocurrency and related technology can solve real-world problems, and she’s trying, she says, to make sure that necessary consumer protections are not structured in a way that chokes the life out of small businesses or investors. “D.C. is like Vegas; the house always wins,” says Mesidor, whose independently published book is called The Clevolution: My Quest for Justice in Politics & Crypto. “The crypto community doesn’t get that.” Passion, she says, is not enough. The community needs to be involved in the regulatory discussions that first intensified after the price of a bitcoin went to $20,000 in 2017. A few days after the summit, when Mesidor and I spoke by phone, Bitcoin had climbed to nearly $60,000. At Barcode, the Washington lounge, Isaiah Jackson is holding court. A man with a toothpaste-commercial smile, he’s the author of the independently published Bitcoin & Black America, has appeared on CNBC and is half of the streaming show The Gentleman of Crypto, which bills itself as the one of the longest-running cryptocurrency shows on the Internet. When he was building websites as a sideline, he convinced a large black church in Charlotte, N.C., to, for a time, accept Bitcoin donations. He helped establish Black Bitcoin Billionaires on Clubhouse and, like Fadirepo, helps moderate some of its rooms and events. He’s also a former teacher, descended from a line of teachers, and is using those skills to develop (for a fee) online education for those who want to become crypto investors. Now, there’s a small group standing near him, talking, but mostly listening. Jackson was living in North Carolina when one of his roommates, a white man who worked for a money-management firm, told him he had just heard a presentation about crypto and thought he might want to suggest it to his wealthy parents. The concept blew Jackson’s mind. He soon started his own research. “Being in the Black community and seeing the actions of banks, with redlining and other things, it just appealed to me,” Jackson tells me. “You free the money, you free everything else.” Read more: Beyond Tulsa: The Historic Legacies and Overlooked Stories of America’s ‘Black Wall Streets’ He took his $400 savings and bought two bitcoins in October 2013. That December, the price of a single bitcoin topped $1,100. He started thinking about what kind of new car he’d buy. And he stuck with it, even seeing prices fluctuate and scams proliferate. When the Gentlemen of Bitcoin started putting together seminars, one of the early venues was at a college fair connected to an annual HBCU basketball tournament attended by thousands of mostly Black people. Bitcoin eventually became more than an investment. He believed there was great value in spreading the word. But that was then. “I’m done convincing people. There’s no point battling going back and forth,” he says. “Even if they don’t realize it, what [investors] are doing if they are keeping their bitcoin long term, they are moving money out of the current system into another one. And that is basically the best form of peaceful protest.”   —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Simmone Shah.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 15th, 2021

5 Stocks to Play Strength in Booming Homebuilding Industry

Although a rise in input prices and land/labor costs pose risks, higher demand is likely to drive the industry. DHI, LEN, TOL, PHM and KBH are well positioned to gain. Indeed, the U.S. housing space continues to grapple with the rising raw material and labor costs. Also, disruption in the supply chain arising from the novel coronavirus outbreak may impact builders’ ability to deliver on time. That said, the rising need for more work-at-home space has been aiding the Zacks Building Products - Home Builders industry. Also, companies like D.R. Horton, Inc. DHI, Lennar Corporation LEN, Toll Brothers Inc. TOL, PulteGroup, Inc. PHM and KB Home KBH have been gaining from higher demand, focus on cost control, increased operating leverage, and important buyouts.Industry DescriptionThe Zacks Building Products - Home Builders industry comprises manufacturers of residential and commercial buildings. Some of the industry players are involved in providing financial services that include selling mortgages and collecting fees for title insurance agencies as well as closing services. The industry players are involved in building single-family detached and attached home communities; townhouses, condominiums, duplexes and triplexes; master-planned luxury residential resort-style golf communities; and urban low, mid, and high-rise communities. The companies are also involved in the purchase, development and sale of residential land. Additionally, the companies build and own multi-family rental properties; residential real estate; and oil and gas assets.3 Trends Shaping the Homebuilding Industry's FutureSuburban Shift: The changing geography of housing demand has been supporting builder confidence. Demand for new homes is improving in lower-density markets, including small metro areas, rural markets and large metro exurbs, as people seek larger homes to work from home amid the pandemic. The desire for more space and amenities to accommodate working and learning from home should continue to boost the U.S. housing market in the near term.Cost-Control Efforts, Focus on Entry-Level Buyers & Acquisitions: Given the accelerated raw material prices, the companies have been relying on effective cost control and focusing on making the homebuilding platform more efficient, which in turn is resulting in higher operating leverage. Homebuilders have been controlling construction costs by designing homes efficiently and obtaining construction materials and labor at competitive prices. Some homebuilders also follow a dynamic pricing model, which enables them to set the price according to the latest market conditions.Also, the majority of companies are focused on growing the demand for entry-level homes and addressing the need for lower-priced homes, given affordability concerns prevailing in the U.S. housing market. Meanwhile, industry players have been acquiring other homebuilding companies in desirable markets, in turn resulting in improved volumes, market share, revenues as well as profitability.Supply Chain Hurdles, Tight Labor Market & Expected Higher Rates: Continuous supply-chain issues arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and response to the health crisis in various countries have been impacting builders’ ability to deliver on time. Also, rising material costs are quite challenging. According to an Associated Builders and Contractors' latest analysis of information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there has been upward pressure on construction input prices in recent weeks. Again, the shortage of skilled labor continues to be a pressing concern. Homebuilders remain cautiously optimistic about the industry’s prospects owing to the rising input and labor costs.Although the U.S. housing market remains buoyant, defying low inventory levels and broad-based economic as well as public health risks, higher mortgage rates expectation in the near term may mar its prospects. It is to be noted that the Federal Reserve expects to raise interest rates three times in 2022 as it exits from the policies enacted at the start of the health crisis. Interest rate hikes, soaring inflation and a smaller bond-buying program are pointing to higher mortgage rates in 2022. This may prove less encouraging for this rate-sensitive market, which accounts for almost 3% of the economy.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright ProspectsThe Zacks Building Products - Home Builders industry is a 19-stock group within the broader Zacks Construction sector. The industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #40, which places it at the top 16% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates upbeat near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are gradually gaining confidence in this group’s earnings growth potential. Since December 2021, the industry’s earnings estimates for 2022 have increased approximately 7.4%.Given solid near-term prospects, we will present a few stocks that have the potential to outperform the market. But before that, it’s worth taking a look at the industry’s shareholder returns and current valuation.Industry Lags Sector and S&P 500The Zacks Building Products - Home Builders industry has lagged the S&P 500 Index and broader Zacks Construction sector in the past year.Over this period, the industry has gained 7.4% compared with the S&P 500’s rise of 18.5% and the broader sector’s 9.9% rally.One-Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current ValuationOn the basis of the forward 12-month price-to-earnings ratio, which is commonly used for valuing homebuilding stocks, the industry is currently trading at 6.32 compared with the S&P 500’s 20.65 and the sector’s 13.74.Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 14.37X and as low as 6.31X, with a median of 9.63X, as the chart below shows.Industry’s P/E Ratio (Forward 12-Month) Versus S&P 5005 Homebuilding Stocks to Buy Right NowWe have selected five stocks from the Zacks homebuilding space that currently carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. Lennar: Based in Miami, FL, Lennar is engaged in homebuilding and financial services in the United States. The company’s dynamic pricing model, asset-light strategy, effective cost control and higher operating leverage have been aiding its performance. Although the rising land, labor and material costs remain headwinds, its focus on the lighter land strategy to boost free cash flow will bolster the balance sheet and thereby drive returns.Lennar has lost 5% over the past year. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 and has an expected earnings growth of 10.9% for fiscal 2021. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its fiscal 2022 earnings has moved up 1.4% over the past seven days.Price and Consensus: LENToll Brothers: Based in Horsham, PA, Toll Brothers is a leading builder of luxury homes. The company has been benefiting from its strategy of broadening the product lines, price points and geographies. Also, it has been gaining from a favorable housing backdrop, lack of competition in the luxury new home market and buyout synergies.Earnings for Toll Brothers — sporting a Zacks Rank #1 — are expected to grow 49.9% in fiscal 2022. It has gained 5.2% over a year. Toll Brothers has seen an upward estimate revision of 2.5% for fiscal 2022 earnings over the past seven days.Price and Consensus: TOLKB Home: This Los Angeles, CA-based homebuilder is well positioned, given a robust backlog level, a strong lineup of community openings and a solid return-focused growth model. With resilient U.S. housing market momentum, backlog value at fiscal fourth quarter-end grew 67% from a year ago to $4.95 billion, marking the highest fourth-quarter level since 2005.Earnings for KB Home — currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 — are expected to grow 67.9% in fiscal 2022. It has gained 1.3% over the past year. KBH has seen an upward estimate revision of 28.9% for fiscal 2022 earnings over the past seven days.Price and Consensus: KBHD.R. Horton: Based in Texas, this homebuilder offers a diverse line of homes across various price points through a multi-brand platform like D.R. Horton, Emerald Homes, Express Homes and Freedom Homes. Further, the company enjoys one of the broadest geographic diversities in the industry and is not dependent on any particular market. It has a strong presence in 98 markets across 31 states in the East, Midwest, Southeast, South Central, Southwest and West regions of the United States. With 81,965 homes closed in fiscal 2021 for $26.5 billion, D.R. Horton completed its 20th consecutive year as the largest homebuilder in the United States. Impressive performance, industry-leading market share, solid acquisition strategy, a well-stocked supply of land, lots and homes along with affordable product offerings across multiple brands are expected to drive growth.Earnings for D.R. Horton — presently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 — are expected to grow 27.6% in fiscal 2022. The stock has declined 3.4% over the past year. That said, DHI has seen an upward estimate revision of 0.6% for fiscal 2022 earnings over the past seven days.Price and Consensus: DHIPulteGroup: Based in Atlanta, GA, this homebuilder has been benefiting from a prudent land investment strategy, focus on entry-level buyers and returning more free cash flow to shareholders. PulteGroup’s annual land acquisition strategies have been resulting in improved volumes, revenues and profitability for quite some time now. The company has been reaping benefits from the successful execution of strategic initiatives to boost profitability, with a focus on entry-level homes.PulteGroup stock, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 at present, has dropped 0.9% over the past year. That said, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2022 earnings has been upwardly revised by 0.7% over the past seven days. Earnings for 2022 are expected to grow 23.8%.  Price and Consensus: PHM 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report D.R. Horton, Inc. (DHI): Free Stock Analysis Report PulteGroup, Inc. (PHM): Free Stock Analysis Report Toll Brothers Inc. (TOL): Free Stock Analysis Report KB Home (KBH): Free Stock Analysis Report Lennar Corporation (LEN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 21st, 2022

First American (FAF) Inks a Deal to Acquire Mother Lode

First American Financial (FAF) agrees to acquire Mother Lode Holding Company to widen its exposure in the growth markets and enhance its title insurance business. First American Financial Corporation FAF recently agreed to acquire Mother Lode Holding Company. The transaction is expected to close pending regulatory conditions.Mother Lode Holding Company is a CA-based provider of title insurance, underwriting and escrow services for residential and commercial real estate transactions. It aims to provide title and title-related products and services throughout the United States and continues to extend its commercial and residential services. The company has 17 operating subsidiaries throughout the United States, primarily in California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, Washington and New Mexico.With this deal, FAF will leverage Mother Lode Holding Company’s competence in customer service. The acquisition is likely to broaden First American’s exposure in the crucial growth markets, enhance the insurer’s capabilities to better serve customers across the strongest housing markets as well as fortify its presence in the United States.As far as customers of Mother Lode Holding Company is concerned, they will gain from improved underwriting resources and the industry’s largest property and ownership dataset, as well as access to other industry-leading resources for residential transactions.In line with its strategic initiatives, First American actively pursues acquisitions to boost and expand its core business. In October 2021, First American acquired ServiceMac, LLC to enhance First American’s ability to provide lenders and servicers with end-to-end mortgage, settlement, post-closing services and servicing-related products and solutions. Other notable acquisitions made by the title insurer include Docutech, Title Security Agency and the acquisition of Georgetown Title in July 2021.The title insurer also pursued small title agency buyouts in the regions that it identifies as growth markets. It also continues to make significant investments in technology across all its major businesses to enhance customer experience through digital solutions.Therefore, this buyout is likely to bolster and expand the insurer’s title insurance business and escrow services, which in turn contribute to the top-line growth of the company.Price PerformanceShares of this currently Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) property and casualty insurer have outperformed the industry in a year’s time. The stock has gained 52.8%, outperforming the industry’s increase of 20.9%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchOther Acquisitions in the Same SpaceGiven the insurance industry’s adequate capital level, players like Brown and Brown Inc. BRO, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. AJG and HCI Group Inc. HCI are pursuing strategic mergers and acquisitions.Brown & Brown’s subsidiary Brown & Brown Lone Star Insurance Services has purchased HARCO to boost its presence in Texas. Brown & Brown and its subsidiaries continuously make strategic acquisitions to expand globally, add capabilities and boost operations. Also, these strategic buyouts help Brown & Brown increase commissions and fees, which, in turn, drive revenues.Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquired Risk Transfer Insurance Agency, LLC. Arthur J. Gallagher boasts an impressive inorganic story. AJG’s merger and acquisition pipeline is quite strong with about $400 million revenues associated with nearly 50 term sheets either agreed upon or being prepared. The insurance broker estimates more than $2.5 billion for mergers and acquisitions consisting of $1 billion in cash, about $650 million of net cash generation in the second half of 2021, and $600 million to $700 million of borrowing capacity.HCI Group has agreed to acquire United Insurance Holdings’ personal lines insurance business in the states of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to expand into new geographies. Well-performing Homeowners Choice and TypTap coupled with conservative reserving practice should continue to support HCI’s growth story.Shares of Brown and Brown, Arthur J. Gallagher and HCI Group have gained 51.8%, 42.9% and 48.3%, respectively, in a year’s time.  Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities. Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly. See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report First American Financial Corporation (FAF): Free Stock Analysis Report Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG): Free Stock Analysis Report Brown & Brown, Inc. (BRO): Free Stock Analysis Report HCI Group, Inc. (HCI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 13th, 2022

Jeff Bezos turns 58 today. Here"s how he built Amazon into a $1.7 trillion company and became one of the world"s richest people.

Jeff Bezos got his start as a New York hedge-funder before driving across the country to start building Amazon. Jeff Bezos inside Amazon's Spheres in 2018.The Washington Post/Getty Images Jeff Bezos began his career as a hedge-funder in New York before leaving to start Amazon. Amazon struggled to turn a profit at first, but these days, it's worth $1.7 trillion. Its share price has hit new highs during the pandemic. Along the way, Bezos has faced antitrust scrutiny, weathered scandals, traveled to space, and become one of the world's richest people. Jeff Bezos' mom, Jackie, was a teenager when she had him on January 12, 1964. She had recently married Cuban immigrant Miguel Bezos, who adopted Jeff. Jeff didn't learn that Miguel wasn't his real father until he was 10, but says he was more fazed about learning he needed to get glasses than he was about the news.Jeff Bezos with his father, Miguel Bezos.Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Statue Of Liberty-Ellis Island FoundationSource: WiredWhen Bezos was 4, his mother told his biological father, who previously had worked as a circus performer, to stay out of their lives. When Brad Stone interviewed Bezos' biological father for Stone's book "The Everything Store," Bezos' dad had no idea who his son had become.Not Jeff Bezos' father.Reuters/Eric GaillardSource: The Everything StoreBezos showed signs of brilliance from an early age. When he was a toddler, he took apart his crib with a screwdriver because he wanted to sleep in a real bed.Fabian Strauch/picture alliance via Getty ImagesSource: The Everything StoreFrom ages 4 to 16, Bezos spent summers on his grandparents' ranch in Texas, doing things like repairing windmills and castrating bulls.AP Photo/Richard DrewSource: The Everything StoreHis grandfather, Preston Gise, was a huge inspiration for Bezos and helped kindle his passion for intellectual pursuits. At a commencement address in 2010, Bezos said Gise taught him "it's harder to be kind than clever."Jeff Bezos.AP ImagesSource: Business InsiderBezos fell in love with reruns of the original "Star Trek" and became a fan of later versions too. Early on, he considered naming Amazon MakeItSo.com, a reference to a line from Captain Jean-Luc Picard.Paramount PicturesSource: The Everything StoreIn school, Bezos told teachers "the future of mankind is not on this planet." As a kid, he wanted to be a space entrepreneur — now, he owns a space-exploration company called Blue Origin.Getty Images / Blue OriginSource: WiredAfter spending a miserable summer working at McDonald's as a teen, Bezos, together with his girlfriend, started the Dream Institute, a 10-day summer camp for kids. They charged $600 a kid and managed to sign up six students. The "Lord of the Rings" series made the required reading list.Kim Kulish/Getty imagesSource: WiredBezos eventually went to college at Princeton University and majored in computer science. Upon graduation, he turned down job offers from Intel and Bell Labs to join a startup called Fitel.Princeton University.John Greim / Getty ImagesSource: The Everything StoreAfter he quit Fitel, Bezos considered partnering with Halsey Minor — who would later found CNET — to launch a startup that would deliver news by fax.Karl Baron/FlickrSource: WiredInstead, he got a job at the hedge fund D.E. Shaw. He became a senior vice president after only four years.The rising graph of the Bombay Stock Index is reflected in the glasses of Senior broker and Assistant Vice President of Motilal Oswal Securities Limited, Jitendra Prasad, as he looks into a computer in his firm in Bombay November 15, 2001. India's key share index finished up more than two percent on Thursday to its highest level since September 11, as investors bet on a recovery in global equity sentiment. The 30-share Bombay Sensitive Index closed up a provisional 2.65 percent at 3,195.52 points. YEAREND PICTURES 2001 Reuters/Arko DattaSource: The Everything StoreMeanwhile, Bezos was taking ballroom dancing classes as part of a scheme to increase his "women flow." Just as Wall Streeters have a process for increasing their "deal flow," Bezos thought analytically about meeting women.Lisi Niesner/ReutersSource: The Everything StoreHe married MacKenzie Tuttle, a D.E. Shaw research associate, in 1993. The couple had four kids together.APSource: The Everything StoreIn 1994, Bezos read that the web had grown 2,300% in one year. This number astounded him, and he decided he needed to find some way to take advantage of its rapid growth. He made a list of 20 possible products to sell online and decided books were the best option.Paul FalardeauSource: The Everything StoreBezos decided to leave D.E. Shaw even though he had a great job. His boss at the firm, David E. Shaw, tried to persuade Bezos to stay. But Bezos was already determined to start his own company — he felt he'd rather try and fail at a startup than never try at all.Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is silhouetted during a presentation of his company's new Fire smartphone at a news conference in Seattle, Washington June 18, 2014.REUTERS/Jason RedmondSource: WiredAnd so Amazon was born. MacKenzie and Jeff flew to Texas to borrow a car from his father, and then they drove to Seattle. Bezos was making revenue projections in the passenger seat the whole way, though the couple did stop to watch the sunrise at the Grand Canyon.Sara Jaye/Getty Images Source: The Everything StoreBezos started Amazon.com in a garage with a potbelly stove. He held most of his meetings at the neighborhood Barnes & Noble.Mike Segar/ReutersSource: WiredIn the early days, a bell would ring in the office every time someone made a purchase, and everyone would gather around to see whether anyone knew the customer. It took only a few weeks before it was ringing so often they had to make it stop.AP Photo/Andy RogersSource: InsiderIn the first month of its launch, Amazon sold books to people in all 50 states and in 45 different countries. And it continued to grow: Amazon went public on May 15, 1997.Frank Micelotta/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderWhen the dot-com crash came, analysts called the company "Amazon.bomb." But it weathered the storm and ended up being one of the few startups that wasn't wiped out by the dot-com bust.Mario Tama/Getty ImagesSource: Barron'sAmazon has now gone beyond selling books to offering almost everything you can imagine, including appliances, clothing, and even cloud computing services.An Amazon warehouse.ShutterstockIn the early days, Bezos was a demanding boss and could explode at employees. Rumor has it he hired a leadership coach to help him tone it down.Amazon's Jeff BezosReutersSource: InsiderBezos is known for banning PowerPoint presentations at Amazon. Instead, he requires his staff to turn in papers of a specific length on their proposals to encourage critical thinking over simplistic bullet points.Pens and paper with an Amazon logo are seen at the logistics center in BrieselangThomson ReutersSource: The Everything StoreBezos is also known for creating a frugal company culture that doesn't offer perks like free food or massages.An Amazon office.Business InsiderIn 1998, Bezos became an early investor in Google. He invested $250,000, which was worth about 3.3 million shares when the company went public in 2004. Those would be worth billions today (Bezos hasn't said whether he kept any of his stock after the initial public offering).APSource: All Things DWhat does Bezos do with all his money? In 2012, he donated $2.5 million to defend gay marriage in Washington. More recently, he's pledged $10 billion to fight climate change, donated $200 million to the Smithsonian, and gave $100 million each to the Obama Foundation, chef Jose Andres, and activist Van Jones.Jeff Bezos.REUTERS/Abhishek N. ChinnappaSource: The Washington Post, Insider, InsiderBezos has also donated $42 million and part of his land in Texas to the construction of The Clock Of The Long Now, an underground timepiece designed to work for 10,000 years.The Long Now Foundation / Facebook Source: InsiderIn August 2013, Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSource: The Washington PostAnd he also spend money on his space company, Blue Origin. Blue Origin made history in 2015 when it became one of the first commercial companies to successfully launch a reusable rocket.Blue OriginSource: InsiderBezos' interest in flying has gotten him into trouble in the past. In 2003, Bezos almost died in a helicopter crash in Texas while scouting a site for a test-launch facility for Blue Origin.This isn't Bezos' helicopter.NTSBSource: CNNBut in early 2016, he flew his personal jet to Germany to pick up and bring home Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter who had been detained by Iran.Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderBezos is said to own a 5.35-acre estate on Seattle's Lake Washington that includes 200 yards of shoreline.An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 freighter, nicknamed Amazon One, flies over Lake Washington.Stephen Brashear/GettySource: Curbed SeattleHe bought a seven-bedroom, $24.5 million mansion in Beverly Hills in 2007. There's a greenhouse, tennis court, pool, and guest house on the property, and it neighbors Tom Cruise's estate.Bezos' house in Beverly Hills.Dream Homes MagazineSource: ForbesIn January 2017, Bezos purchased the Textile Museum, a pair of mansions in Washington, DC's Kalorama neighborhood. The property sold for $23 million and is the largest in Washington. Bezos' renovation plans for the house cost $12 million.AgnosticPreachersKid/Wikimedia CommonsSource: The Washington Post, InsiderBezos also owns five apartments at 212 Fifth Avenue in New York City. His most recent purchase in the building was last August, when he paid a reported $23 million for a four-bedroom unit, bringing his total real estate holdings in the building to $119 million.Madison Square Park in New York City.ShutterstockSource: InsiderIn February 2020, Bezos became the new owner of the Warner estate, a sprawling compound in Beverly Hills, California, that he reportedly purchased for $165 million. A few months later, Bezos added to the compound with an adjacent house worth $10 million.Los Angeles County/PictometrySource: InsiderIn October 2021, Bezos reportedly added to his real estate portfolio once again with a new home in Hawaii. The home is located in an isolated area on Maui's south shore and is near lava fields, Pacific Business News reported.A home in Maui, Hawaii, although not the one Bezos purchased.ejs9/Getty ImagesSource: Insider, Pacific Business NewsNow, more than 20 years after going public, Amazon has a market cap of nearly $1.7 trillion.Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesSource: Markets InsiderIn August 2017, Amazon officially acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. The Amazon influence became immediately clear: Customers who are Amazon Prime subscribers can get 10% of sale prices, and you'll see some Amazon branded items offered in stores, including tech products like the popular Amazon Echo line.Kate Taylor/Business InsiderSource: InsiderIn July 2017, Bezos became the world's richest person for the first time, surpassing Microsoft founder Bill Gates. At the time, his net worth was more than $90 billion.Getty ImagesSource: Markets Insider, ForbesDespite his high net worth, Bezos never actually took home a high salary, comparatively speaking: His annual salary while he was CEO came out to $81,840, according to Bloomberg.Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon, and John Elkann, chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, walk together during the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 12, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSource: BloombergIn January 2019, Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, announced they were divorcing. "As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends," the couple wrote in the statement. "If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again."Dia Dipasupil / StaffSource: InsiderShortly after the Bezoses announced their divorce, news broke that Bezos was dating TV host and helicopter pilot Lauren Sanchez. At the time, the National Enquirer said it had obtained texts and explicit photos the couple had sent to each other.Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderBezos immediately launched an investigation into who had leaked his personal messages. Soon after, he dropped a bombshell of his own: an explosive blog post accusing National Enquirer publisher AMI of trying to blackmail him. "Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten," Bezos wrote.Jeff Bezos.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSource: MediumThe Bezoses announced on Twitter they had finalized the term of their divorce in April 2019. MacKenzie retained more than $35 billion in Amazon stock, making her one of the world's richest women.Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos.ReutersSource: InsiderSince then, Bezos and Sanchez have had a whirlwind few years, attending Wimbledon together, yachting with other moguls and celebrities, and vacationing in Saint-Tropez and St. Barths.Reuters/Andrew CouldridgeSource: InsiderDuring the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon saw a surge in demand as more people were forced to shop online. At the same time, the company faced criticism over its treatment of workers and its attention to health and safety at its fulfillment centers nationwide.Former Amazon employee, Christian Smalls, stands with fellow demonstrators during a protest outside of an Amazon warehouses in the Staten Island borough of New York on May 1, 2020.REUTERS/Lucas JacksonSource: InsiderAmazon delivery drivers, who are contractors employed by third-party companies, have also spoken out about the demands of their jobs. Drivers say Amazon's emphasis on metrics has forced them to use their delivery vans as a bathroom or sacrifice safety to deliver packages on time.An Amazon driver carrying packages.Patrick T. FALLON / AFPSource: Insider, InsiderThe company is also facing antitrust concerns, particularly over the company's treatment of third-party sellers on its platform. Bezos and other major tech CEOs were called to testify before Congress in July 2020.Jeff Bezos threw his weight behind the US military.AP/Pablo Martinez MonsivaisSource: InsiderAfter the killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed in 2020, Bezos was outspoken about his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, publicly shaming customers who sent racist emails about his and Amazon's support. In an Instagram post, he posted a screenshot of a customer email and described the man as "the kind of customer I'm happy to lose."A person holds a "Black Lives Matter" sign at a protest in Seattle, Washington on June 1, 2020.Lindsey Wasson/ReutersSource: InsiderOn February 2, 2021, Bezos announced he would step down as Amazon's CEO and transition to executive chairman after 27 years at the helm. Bezos said that he planned to spend more time on philanthropy — including the Bezos Earth Fund and his Day 1 Fund — as well as his two other major endeavors: The Washington Post and his rocket company, Blue Origin.Jeff Bezos attends the premiere of "Star Trek Beyond" in 2016.Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderBezos stepped down in July and embarked on his next adventure: On July 20, he took an 11-minute voyage to the edge of space aboard a Blue Origin spacecraft. He was accompanied by his brother, Mark; a Dutch teenager named Oliver Daemen; and Wally Funk, an 82-year-old aviator who trained to go to space in the '60s but was ultimately denied the opportunity because she was a woman.Isaiah J. Downing/ReutersSource: Insider Allana Akhtar contributed to an earlier version of this story.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

Amazon (AMZN) Buys Westborough Property, Expands Presence

Amazon (AMZN) purchases a $65-million property in Westborough, MA, to expand its presence by building a 221,000-square-foot last-mile fulfillment center. Amazon.com AMZN recently purchased a 93-acre property in Westborough to continue the expansion of its presence in Massachusetts. According to media reports, the $65-million property will be transformed into a 221,000-square-foot distribution center site for the e-commerce giant.Per the Worcester Registry of Deeds records, Amazon, one of the largest e-commerce providers globally, acquired the facility from Carruth Capital LLC, a privately-owned commercial real estate firm in Westborough.The current building at the site will be demolished and the last mile Amazon fulfillment center will be built in its place. This plan has been proposed by real-estate operator, Atlantic Management Corporation, and sanctioned by the Westborough Planning Board.In October, Amazon expanded its robotics operation unit by unveiling a 350,000-square feet facility in Westborough for manufacturing drive unit robots. The new property featuring offices, research and development labs, and manufacturing space accommodates about 200 workers. Amazon.com, Inc. Price and Consensus Amazon.com, Inc. price-consensus-chart | Amazon.com, Inc. QuoteAmazon has been gaining on solid Prime momentum owing to ultrafast delivery services and a strong content portfolio. The growing momentum across Amazon Music and the strong adoption rate of Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) are positives. Robust Alexa skills and expanding smart home products portfolio are contributing well. However, the AWS business is bringing an element of cyclicality into the business. AWS continues to account for a small percentage of the company’s overall business while having a significant impact on its profitability due to the low-margin profile of the retail business.During the third quarter of 2021, Amazon reported net sales of $110.81 billion, indicating year-over-year surge of 15%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its fourth-quarter 2021 sales is pegged at $137.63 billion, suggesting growth of 9.6%.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderAmazon currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).Some better-ranked stocks from the broader retail-wholesale sector include Build-A-Bear Workshop BBW, The Buckle BKE and AutoZone AZO, each flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Build-A-Bear’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 earnings has been revised downward by 12 cents to 64 cents per share over the past 30 days. For fiscal 2021, earnings estimates have moved upward by 26.7% to $2.04 per share in the last 30 days.Build-A-Bear’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 261.4%. BBW stock has soared 333.7% YTD.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for The Buckle’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2022 earnings has been revised upward by2.4% to $1.29 per share over the past 60 days. For fiscal 2022, earnings estimates have moved north by 52 cents to $4.76 per share in the past 60 days.The Buckle’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 42.8%. Shares of BKE have rallied 46.2% in the YTD period.The consensus mark for AutoZone’s second-quarter fiscal 2022 earnings has been revised upward to $17.94 per share from $16.12 over the past 30 days. For fiscal 2022, earnings estimates have been revised upward by 8.9 cents to $106.60 per share in the last 30 days.AutoZone’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 23.2%. Shares of AZO have surged 75.8% YTD. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report AutoZone, Inc. (AZO): Free Stock Analysis Report Buckle, Inc. The (BKE): Free Stock Analysis Report BuildABear Workshop, Inc. (BBW): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 2nd, 2022

Check out 30 pitch decks from fintechs disrupting trading, banking, and lending that helped them raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC  funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. A trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of Tulipshare.TulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 21st, 2021

Stewart Information (STC) Expands in Michigan With Devon Buyout

Stewart Information's (STC) Devon Title Agency buyout will help it emerge as one of the market leaders in Michigan. Stewart Information Services Corporation STC has acquired Devon Title Agency to expand in Michigan. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) global real estate services aims to be the premier title services company. The recent acquisition is in line with this strategy.Devon is one of the largest title agencies in Michigan, providing service to residential, commercial and lender customers across the state for more than decades. Thus, with its addition to Stewart Information’s portfolio, the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) acquirer will emerge as one of the market leaders in Michigan.Devon, on the other hand, stands to benefit from leveraging Stewart Information’s solid financial position and leading-edge technology to grow its business.Stewart Information has a sizable merger and acquisition pipeline. In November, STC agreed to acquire PropStream, a leader in residential real estate data and analytics for investors, realtors, real estate agents, brokers and lenders. Stewart Information remains focused on improving operational efficiencies by adding scale, investing in priority markets and strengthening core business with real estate technology and services.Stewart Information Services boasts a strong balance sheet with $585 million over regulatory requirements and $74 million on the existing line of credit facility supporting growth initiatives.Shares of Stewart Information Services have rallied 55.6% year to date, outperforming the industry's increase of 13.2%. The company’s solid Title insurance business and sturdy financial position will help shares retain the momentum. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchGiven the insurance industry’s adequate capital level, players like Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. AJG, Brown & Brown, Inc. BRO and Athene Holdings ATH are pursuing strategic mergers and acquisitions.Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquired Tave Risk Management, LLC. Arthur J. Gallagher boasts an impressive inorganic story. AJG’s merger and acquisition pipeline is quite strong with about $400 million revenues associated with nearly 50 term sheets either agreed upon or being prepared. The insurance broker estimates more than $2.5 billion for mergers and acquisitions consisting of $1 billion in cash, about $650 million of net cash generation in the second half of 2021, and $600 million to $700 million of borrowing capacity.Brown & Brown’s subsidiary Brown & Brown of Florida, Inc. has acquired substantially all assets of Corporate Insurance Advisors. Brown & Brown intends to make consistent investments in boosting organic growth and margin expansion. BRO’s solid earnings have allowed it to expand its capabilities, with the buyouts extending its geographic footprint.Athene and Apollo Global have agreed to buy a majority interest in Aqua Finance to boost Apollo’s $80 billion annual run-rate of asset origination across commercial and consumer lending platforms. Athene boasts impressive inorganic growth, driven by several buyouts and block reinsurance transactions with several companies. ATH expects its inorganic growth channel to continue to be an important driver in the future.Shares of Arthur J. Gallagher, Brown & Brown and Athene have gained 32.9%, 38.9% and 86.8%, respectively, year to date.  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG): Free Stock Analysis Report Brown & Brown, Inc. (BRO): Free Stock Analysis Report Stewart Information Services Corporation (STC): Free Stock Analysis Report Athene Holding Ltd. (ATH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 20th, 2021

Here are 29 pitch decks from fintechs disrupting trading, banking, and lending that helped them raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC  funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. The back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 16th, 2021

Mapping The NFT Ecosystem

Mapping The NFT Ecosystem NFTs have been the hottest topic and frothiest market of 2021, with sales volumes increasing by 100x while also becoming a topic of discussion on evening talk shows. It took crypto nearly a decade to really penetrate the mainstream, but as Visual Capitalist's Niccolo Conte details below, NFTs only needed a couple of years to capture people’s attention. As brands like Budweiser, Visa, and Adidas have purchased NFTs and entered the space, it’s clear that NFTs are more than just another hot new trend. This infographic sponsored by Next Decentrum defines NFTs and explores the flourishing ecosystem that has quickly grown around them. Discover what non-fungible means, where NFTs are being minted and traded, and what the future holds for this asset class. What are NFTs, and What is Fungibility? NFTs are non-fungible tokens that have their history of ownership and current ownership cryptographically secured on a blockchain. These tokens can represent anything, whether it’s a piece of digital art in the form of a jpeg or a song as an mp3 file. By storing transactions of these tokens on a blockchain, we can have digital proof of ownership and markets for these digital goods without the fear of double spending or the tampering of past transactions and ownership. Figuring out Fungibility This all sounds pretty similar to cryptocurrencies, so what makes NFTs so special? Their non-fungibility. Unlike cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or ethereum, non-fungible tokens represent goods or assets with unique properties and attributes, allowing them to have unique values even if they are part of the same collection. Fungible: A good with interchangeable units that are indistinguishable in value. Examples: U.S. dollars, bitcoin, arcade tokens Non-Fungible: A good with unique properties, giving it a unique value when compared to similar goods. Examples: real estate, paintings, NFTs The most popular NFT collection, Cryptopunks, is a collection of 10,000 pixel art “punks”, with varying attributes like different hats, glasses, hairstyles, and more. The random combinations of attributes with differing scarcity results in each punk having a unique value. Scarcity and subjective aesthetic preferences drive valuations for cryptopunks and other NFTs, with other factors like their historical significance, and even the blockchain they’re hosted on affecting their value. The NFT-Capable Blockchains Compared There are many different blockchains that are able to mint and host NFTs, with Ethereum currently the largest and most used by market cap and transaction volume. Ethereum uses the energy-intensive proof of work consensus method but the network is planning to transition to proof of stake next year which should reduce energy usage by about 99%.   Source: Messari.io As of Nov 29th, 2021   Along with concerns around its energy intensity, minting and transacting on the Ethereum blockchain incurs significantly higher fees compared to other blockchains. The average Ethereum transaction fee varies between $30-80 (depending on the specific transaction) and the current NFT minting fee is ~$130, every other blockchain in the table above has transaction and minting fees that remain below $1. While these high Ethereum fees have driven many users to explore other blockchains to mint NFTs, many secondary marketplaces help cover a portion, or even all gas fees, when minting on Ethereum. The Secondary NFT Marketplaces Alongside the primary blockchain networks where NFTs are minted and hosted, there are a variety of secondary marketplaces for NFTs where the majority of NFT exchanges take place. These marketplaces enable users to more easily mint, buy, and sell NFTs, with OpenSea having emerged as the leading secondary NFT marketplace. It’s estimated that OpenSea had $1.9 billion of traded volume in November 2021, making up over 95% of NFT trading volumes.   Source: The Block   Although some of the marketplaces (like OpenSea) allow anyone to easily mint and offer an NFT for sale, other platforms like SuperRare limit the art and artists on offer, resulting in a more curated marketplace. Similarly, some marketplaces like OpenSea host NFTs from multiple blockchains like Ethereum and Polygon, while other marketplaces like Hic et Nunc are faithful to one blockchain (Tezos). While OpenSea currently dominates the secondary market, cryptocurrency exchanges are likely to offer some fresh competition soon. Coinbase is currently building out its own NFT marketplace, and FTX’s marketplace with Ethereum and Solana NFTs is up and running. Digital Art, Gaming, The Metaverse, and The Future of NFTs NFTs made a huge splash in 2021, giving creators digital and decentralized networks where they could host and exchange their work. Currently, digital-first use-cases are at the forefront of NFT development, with ownership of in-game assets or goods in the metaverse two of the primary use-cases being explored. However, NFTs can be used to tokenize physical assets like real estate, physical artwork, and much more, opening up near endless possibilities for their application. From removing the friction of paperwork and bureaucracy in today’s real estate exchanges to allowing for easy fractionalization of asset ownership, the tangible real-world use-cases of NFTs are just starting to be explored. To learn more about NFTs, visit Next Decentrum. Tyler Durden Sun, 12/12/2021 - 08:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 12th, 2021

Here"s Why Investors Should Hold Onto Ensign Group (ENSG)

Riding high on a solid portfolio and a rising top line, Ensign Group (ENSG) holds enough potential to reap benefits for investors. The Ensign Group, Inc. ENSG continues to be in investors' good books owing to its inorganic growth strategy that led to top-line improvement. ENSG stood out as a lucrative investment option on the back of a robust portfolio. All these factors instill investors’ confidence in the stock.ENSG has an impressive  VGM Score  of B. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum with the score being a weighted combination of all three factors.Over the past 60 days, the stock has witnessed its 2021 earnings estimate move 0.3% north.Ensign Group’s trailing 12-month return on equity (ROE) reinforces its growth potential. Its ROE of 20.4% came against the industry’s negative ROE of 22.6%. This, in turn, reflects its tactical efficiency in utilizing its shareholders’ funds.Now let’s see what makes this currently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) player an attractive stock.  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.ENSG's revenues have been bolstering since 2012. Its healthy revenue stream is evident from its five-year CAGR (2015-2020) of 12.4%, driven by both its Medicaid and Medicare businesses. In the first nine months of 2021, total revenues rose 9.1% year over year. ENSG expects revenues for 2021 in the band of $2.62-$2.69 billion, the midpoint indicating a rise of 16% from the 2020 reported figure.The nursing home player has been buying skilled nursing hubs for a while. For instance, last month, ENSG purchased the real-estate properties of five skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. Ensign Group remains keen on inking new deals for purchasing assets, the operations of which are entrusted with either an Ensign Group affiliate or any third party.With each acquisition, ENSG sharpened its expertise, both clinically and financially. Ensign Group continues to actively seek transactions to acquire real- estate properties and lease both well-performing and struggling skilled nursing, assisted living and other healthcare-related businesses in the new and existing markets.As of Sep 30, 2021, Ensign Group operated 242 facilities under long-term lease arrangements and has options to buy 11 of the 175 facilities. ENSG has a series of activities lined up going forward.The solvency level impresses too. Its total debt is 12.8% of its capital, much lower than the industry’s average of 77.7%. Also, its times interest earned stands at 38.21X against the industry’s negative average of 1.16X. As of Sep 30, 2021, it had $304.6 million of cash and cash equivalents and a revolving line of credit of up to $350 million as available capacity, higher than its long-term debt less current maturities of $140.6 million.Ensign Group has been a dividend-paying organization since 2002 and has increased its payout annually for the past 18 years. ENSG's board of directors recently approved a 5% hike in its quarterly dividend to enhance shareholder value. ENSG’s dividend payment is expected to continue.Concurrent with the third-quarter results, ENSG raised its current-year earnings projection to $3.60-$3.68, up from the prior guidance of $3.55-$3.67. It still expects its annual revenues in the band of $2.62-$2.69 billion, the midpoint indicating a rise of 16% from the 2020 reported figure. The bullish guidance should buoy investors’ optimism on the stock.The consensus mark for 2021 earnings indicates an upside of 15.9% from the year-ago reported figure.ENSG's shares have gained 9.7% in a year's time, underperforming its industry’s growth of 11.4%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchStocks to ConsiderSome better-ranked stocks in the medical sector are Molina Healthcare, Inc. MOH, AmerisourceBergen Corporation ABC and AMN Healthcare Services AMN.With a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), Molina Healthcare is a multi-state managed care organization participating exclusively in government-sponsored healthcare programs, such as the Medicaid program and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), catering to low-income persons. Its earnings managed to beat mark in two of its trailing four quarters (missing the mark in the remaining two), the average beat being 4%.AmerisourceBergen is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical services companies, which focuses on providing drug distribution and related services to reduce health care costs and improve patient outcomes. With a Zacks Rank of 2 at present, ABC managed to come up with a trailing four-quarter surprise of 5.48%, on average.AMN Healthcare Services is a travel healthcare staffing company with a Zacks Rank of 2 at present. It has a trailing four-quarter surprise of 19.51%, on average.Shares of Molina Healthcare, AmerisourceBergen and AMN Healthcare Services have rallied 47.5%, 24.1% and 63.3% each in the past year.  5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report AmerisourceBergen Corporation (ABC): Free Stock Analysis Report Molina Healthcare, Inc (MOH): Free Stock Analysis Report AMN Healthcare Services Inc (AMN): Free Stock Analysis Report The Ensign Group, Inc. (ENSG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 10th, 2021

JLL Technologies tapped to help city bring its portfolio into the future

The city has selected JLL Technologies to find new companies that can help it transform its portfolio of properties with next generation solutions to today’s problems. JLL will seek out proptech startups working to solve everything from reducing carbon emissions to integrating high-speed internet. The aim is to work with... The post JLL Technologies tapped to help city bring its portfolio into the future appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. The city has selected JLL Technologies to find new companies that can help it transform its portfolio of properties with next generation solutions to today’s problems. JLL will seek out proptech startups working to solve everything from reducing carbon emissions to integrating high-speed internet. The aim is to work with home-grown talent to modernize they city’s 56 public buildings and NYCHA’s 335 housing developments. DAWN PINNOCK “Proptech can help reduce energy use and emissions from City facilities and improve the way these properties are managed,” said Dawn M. Pinnock, Acting Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “Many of the best and brightest minds in proptech are right here in New York City, and DCAS is excited to partner with them to help meet the City’s ambitious climate goals.” The announcement was made at the annual Propel by MIPIM conference earlier this week by New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President and CEO Rachel Loeb. Loeb said JLL Technologies (JLLT) will serves as the City’s key partner to launch its Property Technology (Proptech) Piloting Program. The program will seek to find innovative proptech startups that are interested in working with NYCEDC, Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to improve quality of life for tenants and address building sustainability at City-owned and -managed assets  “We have chosen JLL Technologies as our partner to help address the city’s unique needs because of their deep knowledge of the proptech sector, a steadfast commitment to sustainability, and an alignment to the program’s goals,” said Loeb. “This program will go a long way toward rethinking how proptech is used and pave the way for technology to help bridge the digital divide and drive a more equitable recovery.” YISHAI LERNER Yishai Lerner, co-CEO of JLLT, said, “We are excited that this program will help spur technology innovation in the sector and serve as a model for other cities as they strive to improve well-being, sustainability, and more.” In 2020, NYCEDC in partnership with DCAS and NYCHA issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify a partner to serve as the go-to organization for vetting and recommending proptech startups interested in working with city agencies to seek solutions for their tenants and assets. JLL Technologies, one of the world’s largest real estate services organizations, was chosen for its high level of experience and previous work with thousands of startups to deliver innovative technologies to the world.  Together JLL Technologies, NYCEDC, NYCHA, and DCAS aim to bring the benefits of proptech to underinvested buildings and underserved communities, helping to drive more equitable access to technology. Further, the company will offer recommendations for startups whose technologies and innovations can be piloted in live environments. “Incorporating new technologies is essential to improving the quality of life for our residents,” said NYCHA Chair & CEO Greg Russ. “The Property Technology Piloting Program spearheaded by NYCEDC will enable NYCHA to identify and partner with cutting-edge organizations capable of optimizing our technical and support services at the highest level, and prepare the Authority for meeting the property management challenges of the 21st century.” “New smart building technologies have the ability to improve people’s lives by bolstering safety systems, increasing access to high-speed broadband internet, and making homes more energy efficient and sustainable,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. “As founder of the Congressional Smart Cities Caucus, I’m excited about the opportunities this Proptech Pilot Program will create for our Brooklyn small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the smart city ecosystem, and I’m very hopeful that it will meaningfully and equitably enhance quality of life for our NYCHA residents.” “As Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Technology, I applaud this pilot program to make use of proptech to improve the lives of New Yorkers who need it most. We must always move our city into the future and make use of the tech talent at our disposal,” said New York City Councilmember Robert Holden. “It’s great to see NYCEDC harnessing the power of New York’s growing tech ecosystem to make the city’s buildings healthier and more efficient,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director, Center for an Urban Future. “Hopefully, this will both improve quality of life for tenants and give a boost to the city’s emerging prop tech sector.”  In November of 2019, Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been announced the City’s intention to create a proptech piloting program to leverage the City’s real estate portfolio to support sustainability, operations management, and public health. The selection of JLL Technologies is one step to bringing that vision to reality.  For startups interested in potentially piloting their technologies with the city via the proptech piloting program visit: edc.nyc/program/proptech for additional information.  The post JLL Technologies tapped to help city bring its portfolio into the future appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyDec 10th, 2021

Check out 27 pitch decks that fintechs disrupting trading, banking, and lending used to raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC  funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Helping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 10th, 2021

Biden"s Treasury Department takes aim at Trump and Putin with money laundering crackdown in real estate market

Property moguls like Donald Trump can make all-cash property deals worth up to $3 million without disclosing key details. Treasury wants to change it. Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden.Getty Images The Biden administration unveiled new rules for fighting money laundering in real estate on Monday. Treasury would ramp up scrutiny of all-cash deals, which now face less regulation than deals with loans. Under current law, moguls like Trump don't have to disclose key details on all-cash deals under $3 million. The Biden administration is set to crack down on all-cash deals in the housing market, a type of transaction beloved by former President Donald Trump and many Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin. The effort aims to stamp out money laundering and other illicit activity, the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said in a Monday statement.Specifically, the administration wants buyers in all-cash purchases worth at least $300,000 to disclose more information in such deals. The current limit is $3 million and only applies in the largest US cities. The lower threshold would allow FinCEN to monitor a much larger set of purchases for potential illicit activity. Since all-cash purchases don't involve mortgages and the bank requirements that come with them, it's currently "nearly impossible" to trace buyers behind their shell companies, the agency said."Increasing transparency in the real estate sector will curb the ability of corrupt officials and criminals to launder the proceeds of their ill-gotten gains through the US real estate market," FinCEN Acting Director Himamauli Das said. "Addressing this risk will strengthen US national security and help protect the integrity of the US financial system."President Donald Trump completed 14 all-cash purchases in the nine years before his presidential campaign, The Washington Post reported in 2018. The spending spree included five East Coast golf clubs and a Virginia winery, along with several multimillion-dollar purchases abroad. The all-cash deals are the kind that could fall under increased scrutiny from Treasury's new regulations, and investigations by ProPublica and WYNC have linked Trump's real-estate deals to alleged money launderers and criminal activity.The regulation could also squash Russian oligarchs' interest in US real estate. The fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s created a small band of Russian billionaires as the national economy was privatized and businesses were sold at steep discounts through political connections, particularly ties to current president Vladimir Putin. The following decades have seen much of that cash parked outside of Russia, and US real estate has been a favorite for Russia's wealthiest.In fact, a Reuters report in 2017 found that wealthy Russians had piled at least $98 million into Trump-branded properties in southern Florida. Separately, roughly one-third of owners in seven Florida-based Trump properties are limited liability companies, which obscure the identity of the true owners. The report found no wrongdoing by Trump or his business, but the deals — and their lack of key details — underscore just how murky all-cash real estate deals can be.Laws passed after 9/11 ramped up regulation of the US financial sector and fought money laundering in banks. That shifted Russian wealth into US real estate, and the lack of similar rules allowed Russian billionaires to benefit from the surge in property values while keeping a low profile, Franklin Foer, a reporter at The Atlantic, told NPR in 2019."We closed off banking and then opened up the real estate sector to become this giant magnet for kleptocratic fortunes," Foer said. "There's a journalist who jokes Vladimir Putin could own those properties, and we wouldn't know."The rules for all-cash real estate purchases are part of a collection of new regulations announced by the Biden administration on Monday. The White House also rolled out proposals for beefing up intelligence and law enforcement agencies to root out corruption, as well as improving collaboration across agencies for anti-corruption work.Apart from the real-estate rules, the administration also aims to target financial-sector "gatekeepers" like lawyers and accountants to make it harder for them to avoid oversight. New transparency regulations could also make it easier for the government to identify bad actors hiding behind shell companies and other corporate structures, the White House said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 7th, 2021

Ferguson: Omicron Sounds The Death Knell For Globalization 2.0

Ferguson: Omicron Sounds The Death Knell For Globalization 2.0 Authored by Niall Ferguson, op-ed via Bloomberg.com, On top of an intensifying cold war between the U.S. and China and other seismic changes, the rapid spread of Covid-19’s newest variant could finish off our most recent phase of global integration. “Somewhere out there,” I wrote here two weeks ago, “may lurk what I grimly call the ‘omega variant’ of SARS-CoV-2: vaccine-evading, even more contagious than delta, equally or more deadly. According to the medical scientists I read and talk to … the probability of this nightmare scenario is very low, but it is not zero.” Indeed. Little did I know, but even as I wrote those words something that appears to fit this description was spreading rapidly in South Africa’s Gauteng province: not the omega variant, but the omicron variant. As I write today, major uncertainties remain, but what we know so far is not good. People are emotionally predisposed to look on the bright side — we are all sick of this pandemic and want it to be over — so it pains me to write this. Nevertheless, I’ll stick to my policy of applying history to the best available data, even if it means telling you what you really don’t want to hear. First the data: South African cases were up 39% on Friday, to 16,055. The test positivity rate rose from 22.4% to 24.3%, suggesting that the true case number is rising even faster. A Lancet paper suggests that Omicron is likely by far the most transmissible variant yet. There are three possible explanations for this: A higher intrinsic reproduction number (R0), An advantage in “immune escape” to reinfect recovered people or evade vaccines, or Both of the above. An important preprint published on Dec. 2 pointed to immune escape. South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases has individualized data on all its 2.7 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the pandemic. From these, it identified 35,670 suspected reinfections. (Reinfection is defined as an individual testing positive for Covid-19 twice, at least 90 days apart.) Since mid-November, the daily number of reinfections in South Africa has jumped far faster than in any previous wave. In November, the hazard ratio was 2.39 for reinfection versus primary infection, meaning that recovered individuals were getting Covid at more than twice the rate of people who had never had Covid before. And this was when omicron made up less than a quarter of confirmed cases. By contrast, the same study found no statistically significant evidence that the beta and delta variants were capable of reinfection. And, crucially, at least some of these new infections are leading to serious illness. On Thursday, the number of Gauteng patients in intensive care for Covid almost doubled from 63 to 106. Data from a private hospital network in South Africa that has over 240 patients hospitalized with Covid indicate that 32% of the hospitalized patients were fully vaccinated. Note that around three-quarters of the vaccinated in South Africa received the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine. The rest got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Yet these are not the data that worried me the most last week. Those had to do with children. Between Nov. 14 and 28, 455 people were admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in Tshwane metro area, one of the largest hospital systems in Gauteng. Seventy (15%) of those hospitalized were under the age of five; 117 (25%) were under 20. And this is not just a story of precautionary hospitalizations. Twenty of the 70 hospitalized toddlers progressed to “severe” Covid. Up until Oct. 23, before experts estimate omicron began circulating, under-fives represented only 1.8% of cumulative Covid hospital admissions in South Africa. As of Nov. 29, 10% of those now hospitalized in Tshwane were under the age of two. If this trend holds as omicron spreads to advanced economies — and it is spreading very fast, confirming omicron’s high transmissibility — the market impact could be much bigger than is currently priced in. Unlike with the delta wave, many schools would return to hybrid instruction, parents would withdraw from the labor force to provide childcare and consumption patterns would again shift away from retail, hospitality and face-to-face services. Hospital systems would also face shortages of pediatric intensive care beds, which have not been much needed in prior Covid waves. South Africa’s top medical advisor Waasila Jassat noted on Dec. 3 that hospitalizations on average are less severe than in previous waves and hospital stays are shorter. But she also noted a “sharp” increase in hospital admissions of under-fives. Children under 10 represent 11% of all hospital admissions reported since Dec. 1. Here’s what we don’t know yet. We do not know how far prior infection and vaccination will protect against severe disease and death in northern hemisphere countries, where adult vaccination rates are much higher than in South Africa (just 24%). And we do not know if omicron will prove as aggressive toward children in those countries, especially the very young children we have not previously contemplated vaccinating. (Because South Africa has limited testing capacity, we do not know the total number of under-fives infected with omicron in Gauteng, so we do not know what percentage of children are falling sick.) We may not know these things for another week, possibly longer. So panic is not yet warranted. Nor, however, is wishful thinking. It may prove a huge wave of mild illness, signaling the final phase of the transition from pandemic to endemic. But we don’t know that yet. Now the history. First, it makes all the difference in the world whether or not children fall gravely ill in a pandemic. Covid has so far spared the very young to an extent rarely seen in the recorded history of respiratory disease pandemics. (The exception seems to be the 1889-90 “Russian flu,” which modern researchers suspect was in fact a coronavirus pandemic.) The great influenza pandemics of 1918-19 and 1957-58 killed the very young as well as the very old. The former also carried off young adults in the prime of life. The latter caused significant excess mortality among teenagers. Up until this point, Covid was the social Darwinist disease: It disproportionately killed the old, the sick and the gullible (the vulnerable people who allowed themselves to be persuaded that the vaccine was more dangerous than the virus). A hundred years ago, many experts would have hailed such a disease for the same reasons they promoted eugenics. We think differently now. However, emotionally and rationally, we still dread the deaths of children much more than the old, the sick and the foolish. The moment children become seriously ill — as has already happened in Gauteng — the nature of the pandemic fundamentally alters. Risk aversion will be far higher in the Ferguson family, for example, if its youngest members are vulnerable for the first time. The second historical point is that this may be how our age of globalization ends — in a very different way from its first incarnation just over a century ago. The first age of globalization, from the 1860s until 1914, ended with a bang, not a whimper, with the outbreak of World War I. Within a remarkably short space of time, that conflict halted trade, capital flows and migration between the combatant empires. Moreover, the war and its economic aftershocks strengthened and ultimately empowered new political movements, notably Bolshevism and fascism, that fundamentally repudiated free trade and free capital movements in favor of state control of the economy and autarky. By 1933, the outlook for liberal economic policies seemed so utterly hopeless that, in a lecture he gave in Dublin, even John Maynard Keynes threw in the towel and embraced economic self-sufficiency. Now, there is an argument (made by my Bloomberg colleague and occasional editor James Gibney) that the pandemic will not kill globalization. I am not so sure. Defined too broadly, to include any kind cross-border interaction, the word loses its usefulness. Yes, there were all kinds of “transnational networks in science, health, entertainment,” as well as increasingly ambitious international agencies between the wars. But the fact that (for example) the Pan European movement was founded by Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi in the 1920s does not mean that the subsequent decades were a triumph of European integration. There was a great deal of international cooperation and cross-border activity between 1939 and 1945, too. That does not mean that the 1940s were a time of globalization. For the word to be meaningful, globalization must refer to relatively higher volumes of trade, capital flows, migration flows and perhaps also cultural integration on a global scale.   On that basis, globalization peaked — or maybe “maxed out” would be more accurate — in around 2007. Calculate it how you like: Whether the ratio of global exports to GDP, the ratio of gross foreign assets to GDP, global or national migrant flows in relation to total population, they all tell the same story of a sustained rise of globalization hitting a peak around 14 years ago. The economic historian Alan M. Taylor has long argued that we should measure globalization by looking at current account imbalances, which tell us when a lot of trade and lending are happening. On that basis, too, globalization peaked in 2007. Even Before Covid, Trade and Lending Were Trending Down Source: Our World in Data from Maurice Obstfeld and Alan M. Taylor, "Global Capital Markets: Integration, Crisis, and Growth," Japan–US Center UFJ Bank Monographs on International Financial Markets; and International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database. Note: The data shown is the average absolute current account balance (as a percentage of GDP) for 15 countries in five-year blocks. The countries in the sample are Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, U.K., U.S.. Since the financial crisis of 2008-9, however, the volume of world trade has flatlined relative to the volume of industrial production. The U.S. current account deficit peaked in the third quarter of 2006 at -6.3% of GDP. The latest read? -3.3%. The same story emerges when one turns to migration. The foreign-born share of the U.S. population rose rapidly from its nadir in 1970 (4.7%) to a peak of 13.7% in 2019. But the rate of growth clearly slowed after 2012. It remains below its historic peak of 14.7%, back in 1890. Data for net migration similarly point to peaks prior to the financial crisis. Net emigration from South Asia peaked in 2007, for example. So did net immigration to the United Kingdom. Not-So-Open Borders Source: United Nations Population Division What about cultural globalization? My guess is that peaked in 2012, which was the last year that imported films earned more at the Chinese box office than domestic productions. The highest-grossing movie in the history of the People’s Republic is this year’s “Battle of Lake Changjin,” a Korean War drama in which heroic Chinese troops take on the might of the U.S. Army—and win. (Watch the trailer. Then tell me globalization is going to be fine.) What has caused globalization to recede? Let me offer a six-part answer. First, global economic convergence. This may come as a surprise. An influential story over the past two decades was Branco Milanovic’s thesis that globalization had increased inequality. In particular, Milanovic argued in 2016 that “large real income gains [had] been made by people around the median of the global income distribution and by those in the global top 1%. However, there [had] been an absence of real income growth for people around the 80-85th percentiles of the global distribution.” He illustrated this argument with a famous “elephant chart” of cumulative income growth between 1988 and 2008 at each percentile of the global income distribution. On closer inspection, the elephant was a statistical artifact. Strip out the data for Japan, the former Soviet Union and China, and the elephant vanishes. The story Milanovic’s chart told was of the decline of ex-Soviet and Japanese middle-class incomes following the collapse of the USSR and the bursting of Tokyo’s bubble in 1989-90, and the surge of Chinese middle-class incomes, especially after China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001. The real story of globalization turns out to be a sustained reduction in global inequality as Chinese incomes caught up rapidly with those in the rest of the world, combined with big increases in national inequality as the “one percent” in some (not all) countries got a whole lot richer. At the heart of globalization was what Moritz Schularick and I called “Chimerica”—the symbiosis between the Chinese and American economies that allowed American capital to take advantage of low-cost Chinese labor (offshoring or outsourcing), American borrowers to take advantage of abundant Chinese savings, and American consumers to take advantage of cheap Chinese manufactures. It could not last. In 2003 Chinese unit labor costs were around a third of those in the U.S. By 2018 the two were essentially on a par. In that sense, the glory days of globalization were bound to be numbered. For as Chinese incomes rose, the rationale for relocating production to China was bound to become weaker. Secondly, and at the same time, new technologies — robotics, three-dimensional printing, artificial intelligence — were rapidly reducing the importance of human labor in manufacturing. With the surge of online commerce and digital services, globalization entered a new phase in which data rather than goods and people crossed borders, even if the Great Firewall of China partly cordoned off China’s internet from the rest of the world’s. Chimerica, as Schularick and I argued back in 2007, was in many ways a chimera — a monstrous creature with the potential to precipitate a crisis, not least by artificially depressing U.S. interest rates and inflating a real estate bubble. When that crisis struck in 2008-9, it was the third blow to globalization. For those who suffered the heaviest losses in the United States and elsewhere, it was not illogical to blame free trade and immigration. A 2015 study by the McKinsey Global Institute showed clearly that people in the U.S., U.K. and France who saw themselves as “not advancing and not hopeful about the future” were much more likely than more optimistic groups to blame “legal immigrants,” “the influx of foreign goods and services,” and “cheaper foreign labor” for, respectively, “ruining the culture and cohesiveness in our society,” “leading to domestic job losses” and “creating unfair competition to domestic businesses.” The only surprising thing was that these feelings took as long as seven years to manifest themselves as an organized political backlash against globalization, in the form of Britain’s vote to exit the European Union and America’s vote for Donald Trump. Dani Rodrik’s famous trilemma — which postulated that you could have any two of globalization, democracy and sovereignty — was emphatically answered in 2016: Voters chose democracy and sovereignty over globalization. This was the fourth strike against “the globalists,” a term invented by the populists to give globalization a more easily hateable human face. The financial crisis and the populist backlash didn’t sound the death knell for globalization. They merely dialed it back — hence the plateau in trade relative to manufacturing and the modest decline (not collapse) of international capital flows and migration. The fifth blow was the outbreak of Cold War II, which should probably be dated from Vice President Mike Pence’s October 2018 Hudson Institute speech, the first time the Trump administration had taken its anti-Chinese policy beyond the confines of the president’s quixotic trade war (which only modestly reduced the bilateral U.S.-Chinese trade deficit). Not everyone has come to terms with this new cold war. Joseph Nye (and the administration of President Joe Biden) would still like to believe that the U.S. and China are frenemies engaged in “coopetition.” But Hal Brands and John Lewis Gaddis, John Mearsheimer and Matt Turpin have all come round to my view that this is a cold war — not identical to the last one, but as similar to it as World War II was to World War I. The only question worth debating is whether or not, as in 1950, cold war turns hot. There is no Thucydidean law that says this is inevitable, as Graham Allison has shown. But I agree with Mearsheimer: The risk of a hot war in Cold War II may actually be higher than in Cold War I. Nothing would kill globalization faster than the outbreak of a superpower war over Taiwan. (And “The Battle of Lake Changjin” is blatantly psyching Chinese cinemagoers up for such a conflict.) The decoupling of the U.S. and Chinese economies would almost certainly have continued even if the sixth blow — the Covid pandemic — had not struck. It has been astounding how little the Biden administration has changed of its predecessor’s China strategy. However, the pandemic has delivered the coup de grace — “a brutal end to the second age of globalization,” as Nicholas Eberstadt put it last year. True, the volume of merchandise trade has recovered even more rapidly in 2021 than the World Trade Organization anticipated back in March. But the emergence of a new, contagious and lethal coronavirus has caused a collapse of international travel and tourism. The number of passengers carried by the global airline industry plunged by 60% in 2020. It will be not much better than 50% of its pre-pandemic level this year. International tourist arrivals are down by even more this year than last year — close to 80% below their 2019 level. In Asia, international tourism has all but ceased to exist this year. Meanwhile, both the U.S. and the Chinese governments keep devising new ways to discourage their nationals from investing in the rival superpower. Didi Global Inc., the Chinese Uber, just announced it is delisting its shares from the New York Stock Exchange. And the pressure mounts on Wall Street financiers — as Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio discovered last week — to wind up their “long China” trade and stop turning a blind eye to genocide in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses. Next up: the campaign to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Strikingly, a growing number of Western sports stars and organizations such as the Women’s Tennis Association are already willing to defy Beijing — in the case of the WTA by suspending tournaments in China in response to the disappearance of the tennis star Peng Shuai, who accused a senior Communist Party official of sexually assaulting her. China’s leaders should be even more worried by a recent Chicago Council of World Affairs poll, which showed that just over half of Americans (52%) favor using U.S. troops to defend Taiwan if China invades the island — the highest share ever recorded in surveys dating back to 1982. Last month I asked a leading American lawmaker how he explained the marked growth in public hostility toward the Chinese government. His answer was simple: “People blame China for Covid.” And not without reason, as Matt Ridley’s new book “Viral” makes clear. For the avoidance of doubt, I do not foresee as complete a collapse of globalization as happened after 1914. Globalization 2.0 seems to be going out with a whimper — or perhaps a persistent cough — rather than with a bang. Income convergence and technological change were bound to reduce its utility. Having overshot by 2007, globalization settled at a lower level after the financial crisis and was less damaged by populist policies like tariffs than might have been anticipated. But the advent of Cold War II and Covid-19 struck two severe blows. How far globalization is rolled back depends on how far the two phenomena persist or worsen. Maybe — let us pray — the alarming data from Gauteng will not imply a major new wave of illness and death in the wider world. Maybe the omicron variant will not, after all, be that nightmare variant I have feared: more infectious, more lethal, vaccine-evading, not ageist. But omicron is only the 15th letter in the Greek alphabet. In all of Africa only 7.3% of the population are fully vaccinated and there are countless immunocompromised individuals with HIV. Even if omicron turns out to be, like delta, a variant we can live with, there is still some non-zero chance that at some point we get my “omega variant.” In that scenario, the pandemic does not oblige us, weary as we are of it, by ending, but recurs in a succession of waves extending for years. One begins to wonder if China will ever lift its stringent restrictions on foreign visitors. Under such circumstances, I see little chance of Cold War II reaching the détente phase earlier than Cold War I.   In addition to applying history, I have come to believe that we should also apply science fiction, on the principle that its authors are professionally incentivized to envision plausibly the impact of social, technological and other changes on the future. (Fact: an Italian sci-film called “Omicron,” in which an alien takes over a human body, was released in 1963.) No living author is better at this kind of thing than Neal Stephenson, whose “Snow Crash” coined the word “metaverse,” and whom I got to know — appropriately via Zoom — through my friends at the Santa Fe Institute. When Stephenson and I met for a late-night Scotch at a bar in Seattle a few weeks back, we swiftly found common ground. Never have I seen a longer list of wines and spirits: We could have scrolled down on the iPad the server handed us for an hour and still not reached the end. Eventually, we found the malt whisky. And immediately we agreed: Laphroaig — the standard 10-year-old version. Stephenson’s latest novel is “Termination Shock.” Buy it. You will be catapulted into a future Texas of intolerable heat, man-eating hogs, and other nightmares, the effect of which will be to make your present circumstances seem quite tolerable. Part of Stephenson’s genius is his use of the throwaway detail. “RVs,” he writes, were “already at a premium because of Covid-19, Covid-23 and Covid-27.” It’s not really part of the plot, but it stopped my eyeballs in their tracks. And remember: He predicted the metaverse. In 1992. Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 05:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 6th, 2021

Bonhoeffer 3Q21 Commentary: Case Study – Millicom

Bonhoeffer Capital Management commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021, providing a case study for Millicom International Cellular SA (NASDAQ:TIGO). Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Dear Partner, The Bonhoeffer Fund returned -2.8% net of fees in the third quarter of 2021. In the same time period, the MSCI World ex-US, a […] Bonhoeffer Capital Management commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021, providing a case study for Millicom International Cellular SA (NASDAQ:TIGO). if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Dear Partner, The Bonhoeffer Fund returned -2.8% net of fees in the third quarter of 2021. In the same time period, the MSCI World ex-US, a broad-based index returned -0.7% and the DFA International Small Cap Value Fund, our closest benchmark, returned -2.5%. Year to date, the Bonhoeffer Fund has returned 22.9% net of fees. As of September 30, 2021, our securities have an average earnings/free cash flow yield of 14.3% and an average EV/EBITDA of 4.7. The DFA International Small Cap Value Fund had an average earnings yield of 11.1%. These multiples are lower than last quarter primarily due to increasing earnings and declining share prices. The difference between the portfolio’s market valuation and my estimate of intrinsic value is greater than 100%. I remain confident that the gap will close over time and the portfolio quality will continue to increase as we increase allocations to faster-growing firms. Bonhoeffer Fund Portfolio Overview Our investment universe has been extended beyond value-oriented special situations to include growthoriented firms using a value framework, including companies that generate growth through consolidation. There have been modest changes within the portfolio in the last quarter in line with our low historical turnover rates. We have sold Cambria Automotive which is in the process of being acquired and used the proceeds to increase our holdings in Asbury Automotive, Countryside Properties, and Millicom. As of September 30, 2021, our largest country exposures include: South Korea, United States, United Kingdom, Italy, South Africa, and Philippines. The largest industry exposures include: distribution, telecom/media, real estate/infrastructure, and consumer products. We added to some smaller positions within the portfolio and are investigating additional consolidation plays with modest valuations in industries that have nice returns on invested capital such as fiber rollouts, convenience stores, and IT services. Compound Mispricings (37% of Portfolio; Quarterly Average Performance -8%) Our Korean preferred stocks, the nonvoting share of Telecom Italia, Wilh. Wilhelmsen, and some HoldCos all feature characteristics of compound mispricings. The thesis for the closing of the voting, nonvoting, and holding company valuation gap includes evidence of better governance and liquidity. We are also looking for corporate actions such as spinoffs, sales, or holding company transactions and overall growth. Throughout the year, Net1 UEPS has been accumulating cash from the sale of its non-core assets including a Korean transaction processing network and its stake in a crypto bank. This cash, in addition to issuing some debt, was used to purchase Connect, a merchant transaction processor catering to small and medium businesses. This acquisition will complement its consumer fintech EasyPay transaction and ATM network and expand Net1 UEPS’s total addressable market to include small and midsized businesses and lead to profitability. The Korean preferred discounts in our portfolio are still large (25% to 73%). The trends of better governance and liquidity have reduced the discount in names like Samsung Electronics, and more preferred names trade at a premium to common shares. We continue to like the prospects for LG Corp preferred post LX Holdings spinoff from both a business and discount perspective. The current discount to NAV is 74% for the LG Corp preferred. In addition, this discount is based upon a base value of LG Corp with reasonable implied EV/EBITDA multiples of LG Corp subsidiaries of 4.7x for LG Electronics, 13.6x for LG Chemical (including LG’s EV battery division), and 16.7x for LG Household & Health Care. Public LBOs (37% of Portfolio; Quarterly Average Performance -1%) Our broadcast TV franchises, leasing, building products distributors, and roll-on/roll-off (RORO) shipping fall into this category. One trend I’ve noted in these firms is growth creation through acquisitions which provide synergies and operational leverage associated with vertical and horizontal consolidation and the subsequent repurchasing of shares with debt. The increased cash flow is used to pay the debt and the process is repeated. Millicom, this quarter’s case study, is a public LBO that has financed many of its investment opportunities with debt. The recently announced buyout of its Guatemalan JV partner illustrates this. The debt, when used in situations like this, has been paid down over time as Millicom generates a lot of free cash flow and can increase returns like leveraged rollups, as described below. Distribution Theme (41% of Portfolio; Quarterly Performance +3%) Our holdings in car and branded capital equipment dealerships, convenience stores, building product distributors, and capital equipment leasing firms all fall into the distribution theme. One of the main KPIs for dealerships and shopping is velocity or inventory turns. We own some of the highest-velocity dealerships in markets around the world. There have been challenges in some markets hit by COVID, like South Africa and Latin America; but there should be recovery now that vaccines have been approved and distributed. GS Retail, the second largest convenience store operator in Korea (with 14,600 convenience stores and 320 grocery stores), is the security we received for the buyout of GS Home Shopping. We have applied our growth methodology described in the last quarterly report. The following is a summary: The convenience store business is growing and consolidating worldwide. As a result of the acquisition, management is planning on using the younger customer data from GS Retail, the older customer data from GS Home Shopping, and the GS distribution network (42 logistics centers supporting convenience, grocery, and home shopping customers) to provide older and younger customers their products instore (convenience store) or next-day home delivery across Korea. Management expects 10% growth overall, composed of underlying convenience store growth of 4-5% and 5% from cross selling and digital commerce from the merger. Given the fixed costs in the convenience store network and distribution infrastructure, management expects cost synergies to generate net income margins of 5.0%. If these revenue and growth rates are realized, then a P/E closer to comparable convenience stores BGF Retail (Korea), Seven & I, and Alimentation Couche-Tard of 15-20x is not unreasonable. This range has significant upside from current P/E multiple of 5.9x and five-year forward P/E of 4.3x. Telecom/Transaction Processing Theme (36% of Portfolio; Quarterly Performance -2%) The increasing use of transaction processing in our firms’ markets and the rollout of 5G will provide growth opportunities. Given that most of these firms are holding companies and have multiple components of value (including real estate), the timeline for realization may be longer than for other firms. Telecom Italia continues to work with the Italian government and Fiber Corp to merge their telecommunications infrastructures together. Vivendi has called an emergency board meeting to ensure Telecom Italia will retain control of the combined telecommunication infrastructure after the merger. We view this action as a positive despite the decline in Telecom Italia’s share price. The updated sum-ofthe- parts analysis (as detailed in previous letters) implies an upside of 80–100%. In my opinion, much of the recent decline is due to concerns that Telecom Italia will give up control of the combined telecommunications infrastructure. Consumer Product Theme (10% of Portfolio; Quarterly Performance -7%) Our consumer product, tire, and beverage firms comprise this category. The defensive nature of these firms has led to lower-than-average performance due to the stronger performance from more recoverycorrelated names. One theme we have been examining is the increase in sales of adult products (tobacco, alcohol, and lottery) in convenience stores as other stores are removing these products from their product offerings. GS Retail is taking advantage of this trend in Korea. Real Estate/Construction Theme (23% of Portfolio; Quarterly Performance -3%) In my opinion, the pricing of our real estate holdings has been impacted by both a recession and the communist takeover in Hong Kong. The current cement and construction holdings (in US/Europe via BFS and Countryside and in Korea via Asia Cement) should do well as the world recovers from COVID shutdowns and governments start infrastructure programs. Asia Standard also declined during the quarter due to the concern over the decline in its Chinese real estate developer bond holdings. Asia Standard holds a large number of Chinese real estate developer bonds, including those of Evergrande and Kaisa. The Evergrande bonds have declined to about 20% of face value as of September 30 (they were at 40% of face value on July 31, 2021, the last market-to-market valuation date for Asia Standard’s bond portfolio) while the Kaisa bonds have declined to 85% of face value. I ran a stress test assuming a 25% decline in the bond portfolio from July 31, 2021. This is 2x the 13% decline in the portfolio from Evergrande and Kaisa bond prices between July 31, 2021, to September 30, 2021. The resulting NAV/share is $8.09 versus the $10.09 NAV as of July 31, 2021. The September 30 stock price of $0.85 is at a 91% discount to the stressed NAV and 92% to the July 31, 2021, NAV. Consolidation Frameworks In our Q1 letter, we described how we are examining growth opportunities associated with consolidation in fragmented industries. Growth from consolidation can be a resilient form of growth as it is dependent upon the availability of target firms and associated cost and revenue synergies versus overall market growth. When consolidation growth is combined with modest industry growth, some exciting growth can be realized. If the firms also exhibit operational leverage from economies of scale/scope, then the combined effect can be significant growth in earnings or free cash flows. The advantage of this type of growth is that it is realized over time and not recognized by the market in advance. This can be seen in the price charts of many of these firms moving from the lower left to the upper right over time as the growth is realized. Fragmented markets can have long runways associated with consolidation and economies of scale and scope which can lead to cash flow growth in excess of the market growth for many years. We try to identify these markets and firms that can ride the consolation wave over a long timeframe. Some of these firms have valuations reflecting some of the future growth and some have little to no premium reflecting future growth from consolidation. Currently, the internet (an innovation) is providing more consolidation via additional fragmentation of retail demand from offline, online, and omni-channel selling channels. An example is traditional auto dealers using an omni-channel sales approach and Carvana who is exclusively online. Bonhoeffer is looking for businesses that are adopting the innovation (internet distribution) which will enhance growth going forward but where it is not recognized by the market yet, as evidenced by the current stock price. Some analysts have developed useful frameworks to evaluate consolidation or serial acquirer situations. Scott Capital has developed a useful framework1 for categorizing consolidators, shown below: Scott has categorized these types of firms depending upon the level of target integration. Most of the firms we have been examining recently have been rollups (firms in the same industry) with scale-driven synergies and operational leverage. We also hold one platform (Wilh. Wilhelmsen) and one holding company (LG Corp). Another way to look at these firms is cross-sectionally based on total addressable market (TAM) size and integration of operations, as described by Canuck Analysts Substack2 below: Using this framework for our current areas of interest (rollups), I have been monitoring acquisition multiples in the car dealers (Asbury Automotive), local TV and radio firms (Gray Television), building supply distribution (Builders First Source), Latin American telecommunications (Millicom), cement firms (Asia Cement), equipment leasing firms (Ashtead), and network processing (Net 1 UEPS). In each of these segments, multiples have been modest. None of these firms have done international “diworsifying” deals to date and some have recently divested unrelated firms (Net 1 UEPS, Daelim Industrial and LG Corp). In each of these markets, the market share of the top firms is less than 10% except for GS Retail, where itself and FRB have a dominant share of 31% each, and Millicom, where it has a leading or number two position in eight of its nine markets where it competes. The small market shares provide a large runway for consolidation in its existing industry for years to come. Also, none have made international expansion into new markets outside their existing footprints. A return benchmark developed by the Canuck Analysts Substack3 is shown below: This framework, used in combination with calculating return on incremental capital, can illustrate where the invested capital returns can be modest. As an example, we will look at Asbury Automotive. Asbury’s returns on invested capital averaged 13%, and the return on equity averages 31% over the past 10 years plus an organic growth rate of 2 to 3% per year based upon US auto sales and maintenance service costs. This results in an ROIC plus ½ of annual organic growth of about 15%. The size of Asbury’s acquisitions has been about $1.4 billion over the past five years. Below is Asbury’s return on incremental invested capital over the past 10 years which has averaged in the upper teens during that period. For other serial acquirers like Ashtead, the organic growth rate is 6% and its ROICs over the past 10 years is 14% resulting in an ROIC plus ½ of annual organic growth of about 17%. The size of Ashtead’s acquisitions has been about $2.0 billion over the past five years. Conclusion As always, if you would like to discuss any of the philosophies or investments in deeper detail, then please do not hesitate to reach out. Until next quarter, thank you for your confidence in our work and have a safe and warm year-end holiday season. Warm Regards, Keith D. Smith, CFA Case Study: Millicom International Cellular SA (TIGO) Millicom International Cellular SA (NASDAQ:TIGO) provides mobile and broadband telecommunications services to consumers and businesses in Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama) and South America (Columbia, Bolivia, and Paraguay). TIGO provides legacy voice, wireless and data services, and fiber-based services to firms and individuals. Currently, TIGO has 43.1 million wireless subscribers, including 20.3 million 4G subscribers and 4.9 million home customers, including 8.4 million revenue generating units (RGUs) and 4.1 million broadband subscribers. In addition, TIGO’s network includes 5,400 points of presence and 300,000 business customers. TIGO is the number one or two broadband and wireless provider in eight of the nine markets in which TIGO competes. Recently, TIGO announced the purchase of its joint venture (JV) partner’s share of its JV in Guatemala for $2.2 billion. This transaction will be financed by debt and a shareholder friendly common stock rights offering. TIGO provides mobile money/banking services for five million customers in six countries. TIGO also has 10,000 towers and 13 data centers which can be sold and leased backed. TIGO is in the process of separating its towers and data centers (like Telefónica and América Móvil) and its mobile money/banking service to facilitate sales or investments by third parties. In 2017, TIGO sold 3,410 towers in Columbia, El Salvador, and Paraguay for $417 million or $122,287 per tower. Historically, TIGO operated in both Africa and Latin America. Over the past five years, TIGO has divested its African telecommunications assets and purchased additional assets in Latin America. TIGO’s network passes over 12.2 million homes (24% penetration of total homes) and covers 80% of mobile phones. The firm is in the midst of rolling out fiber to homes to provide broadband connectivity to Latin American customers. This rollout is being funded by cash flow from operations. The firm has been described as building a Charter Communications under a wireless Verizon umbrella. This is similar to our Consolidated Communications play with the additional benefit of having a wireless network and a mobile money business. In most countries in which TIGO operates, they have joint ventures or minority interest local partners. TIGO currently has an average high-speed internet (HSI) penetration rate (a take rate of HSI for homes passed) of about 39% across the countries it serves. This has increased by 1.4% since year-end 2020. To put this in context, most cable broadband penetrations are in the 50% plus range. In seven of the nine countries they serve, TIGO is the number one or two competitor in wireless and broadband in two-player markets (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Bolivia, and Paraguay) and number three in two markets (Nicaragua and Costa Rica). The Q3 2021 mobile average revenue per RGU was $6.40 per month, and the broadband revenue per RGU was $28.10 per month. The largest shares of proportional EBITDA are from Guatemala (38%), Bolivia (11%), Paraguay (11%), Panama (10%), and Columbia (9%). In terms of regions, 70% of EBITDA is from Central America and 30% from South America. TIGO has developed a customer-focused culture at the corporate and country level using NPS as a metric which is collected and used as a management incentive to increase customer satisfaction. In addition, the countries that TIGO serves have stable currencies versus the US dollar. Since 2000, the EBITDA weighted average currency movements have been only 0.7% per year. Another positive trend is the movement of suppliers to US-based firms moving from China to a closer location with political and currency stability—Central America. If we look at the index of economic freedom for the Central American countries in which TIGO primarily operates, they have a moderately free ranking. For the subcategories most of interest to suppliers (tax burden and trade and business freedom), they all are ranked free or mostly free (highest ratings). Millicom and Fiber-optic Rollout The Latin American telecommunications services market is a local, fragmented market. Consolidation has occurred over the past 10 years amongst these local players, and the next generation of technology (fiber-optic connections) is being rolled out. Fiber-optic rollouts are generating organic growth and economies of scale with high incremental user profitability. Millicom has created economies of scale depending upon the geography of the acquired telecommunications firm. There is also the vertical integration across telecommunications services (like wireless, voice, data, cable, and hosting) in a given geography which can create additional economies of scale. With these rollouts, telecommunications companies compete with the local cable companies—and in some cases wireless providers—to provide HSI and other services to customers in their local footprints. Historically, telecommunications and cable firms have had poor customer service, as evidenced by low net promoter scores (NPSs). Keith Rabois, a founder of PayPal, has tweeted, “Formula for startup success: Find large highly fragmented industry w low NPS; vertically integrate a solution to simplify value product.” Part of simplifying the solution is providing multiple services and good customer service. The telecommunication services market fits this description. The new fiber rollouts are analogous to organic startups and thus can also be successful in the vertical integration into these markets. Business and Service Analysis One way to look at telecom business is to divide it into slowly growing (wireless) and quickly growing segments (HSI). The slower-growing wireless business is mature and is growing about 2% per year. The HSI business is growing at an 8% annual rate driven by fiber rollouts in TIGO’s countries. Millicom’s overall mix of wireless and HSI revenue is 33% HSI and 67% wireless, with 67% recurring subscription revenue (HSI and post-paid wireless) but varies by country. The current revenue growth rate is 4.3% and will increase to 5%, by the end of 10 years and the HSI/wireless mix approach 50%/50%. If we look at unit economics of the fiber rollout, it is also quite favorable. According to management, the estimated cost to pass each new customer is about $150; and the cost to connect a customer is $100. This is similar to the cost reported by Oi, a telecommunications firm rolling out a fiber-optic network in Brazil. If you have a final penetration rate of 45% using the current HSI monthly charge of $28/month, and a steady-state EBITDA margin of 45% (which management believes are both achievable at scale; the current margin is 40%), then the payback time is between six and seven years, and the unlevered IRR is 26% and a levered return of 52%. See Exhibit A for details. Latin America Broadband Telecommunications Market The broadband telecom business in Latin America is a fragmented market on an international basis and a concentrated market on a country-by-country basis. The market is a local market, so the smaller country markets only have a few competitors. This leads to less price competition for TIGO than in larger, more urban markets where there are more competitors. Gig speed internet and wireless are core infrastructure services that will be required in the internet service economy. Currently, broadband usage is growing at a 30-40%/year rate and is expected to increase going forward, as more bandwidthintensive applications are developed and rolled out over time. Since most of TIGO’s competition is from cable companies and incumbent telecom firms (that have low NPSs), TIGO has an opportunity to provide improved customer service versus the cable companies. This highlights the importance of the decentralized management system, incentivized and shareholding country managers, and including NPSs in management’s incentive compensation at the corporate and country levels. Of the other publicly traded Latin American telecommunications firms, TIGO has the largest potential to increase HSI organic revenue growth (by 8%) via a fiber rollout in its incumbent territories. This can be seen in the projections based upon the currently planned and financed fiber rollout shown in Exhibit B. The tilt toward the faster-growing Central American countries (which should get some opportunities to replace China as exporters to the US) versus the slower-growing South American countries will also add a nice tailwind. The countries TIGO services had an average real GDP growth rate of 3.2% per year over the past five years versus the overall 0.7% GDP growth rate for all of Latin America. Downside Protection TIGO has been reducing debt over the past few years with a current proportional debt/EBITDA of 2.7x and a goal of 2.0x. TIGO has a bond rating of Ba2 and yields 3.5% for five- to 10-year bonds. TIGO is in a defensive business—telecommunications services—which has a large amount of recurring revenue. HSI data revenues are increasing, while wireless revenues are increasing at a slower rate. See below for projections and Exhibit B for more detailed projections. Below is the proportional historical and projected revenue, EBITDA, and FCF since 2016 when the Guatemalan and Honduran JVs were deconsolidated. Management and Incentives One of the risks in emerging-markets investing is management, as they may have different incentives than those to which Western investors are accustomed. In this case, you have a management team based in the US (Miami) that has been historically influenced by the firm’s domicile, Sweden. TIGO is led by a former Liberty Latin America executive, Mauricio Ramos. He brings the Liberty Media playbook (a successful leveraged rollup strategy of cable-related properties and associated shareholder friendly corporate actions) to the markets that TIGO serves. TIGO is listed in Sweden and the United States and brings the corporate governance practices, capital allocation, and shareholder renumeration approaches to its operations throughout Latin America. In many countries, TIGO has local JV partners which provide TIGO with access to the local connections. TIGO has management incentives, including TIGO stock (with minimum levels for country managers) at both the corporate and country levels. The capital allocation is also done at both the corporate and country levels. This country-level capital allocation, incentives, and stock ownership is unusual for a Latin American company. The major categories of capital allocation for TIGO are: 1) purchasing minority interests from partners, 2) investing in the HSI broadband rollout described above, 3) selective acquisitions, 4) repurchasing shares, or 5) distributing dividends. Categories 1, 2, 3 and 4 have the most well-defined and highest returns and have been used by management in the past. In 2020, the CEO’s management compensation was 20% base salary and 80% incentive-based bonus, of which short-term incentive (STI) is 50% equity based (TIGO shares) and 50% cash based and long-term incentive (LTI) is 100% equity based (TIGO shares). The 2020 STI compensation was based on service revenue growth, EBITDA growth, operational cash flow growth, NPS, and other operational goals. The 2020 LTI compensation is based upon service and EBITDA growth and relative total shareholder return versus peers. The 2020 equity-based shares were issued at $38.09 per share, and the 2019 shares were issued at $42.70 per share. Overall, 700,000 shares were granted in 2020 (about 0.7% of shares outstanding per year). The management team owns 0.7% of TIGO common stock. TIGO has stock ownership guidelines of 5x the salary for the CEO, 3x for other senior managers, and 1x for country managers. Valuation The valuation of TIGO is an interesting exercise because its expected growth rate is accelerated by the fiber rollout and share buybacks described above. The implied growth using the Graham Formula, adjusted to today’s interest rates ((8.5 + 2g)*(4.4/AAA bond rate)) and the current P/E, is -1.8%, clearly implying that the market expects TIGO’s cash flows to continue to decline. Some benchmarks for growth are the projected sales growth rates of 4.5% per year (based upon the fiber rollout), an EBITDA growth rate of 6% per year, and an adjusted free cash flow growth of 12%. The question is whether this growth rate is sustainable over the next seven years. Given the key penetration, margin, investment, and timing assumptions in the projection model, I believe it is. TIGO is the only Latin American publicly traded telecom firm that has a rollout of this magnitude (adding 18% to revenue) scheduled over the next five to seven years. One firm that also has a Latin American footprint is Liberty Latin America (LILA). LILA has grown revenues and EBITDA at about 8% per year since 2015. The EBITDA margin is similar to TIGO, but historically the conversion to FCF from EBITDA was 50% less than TIGO—25% for TIGO and closer to 12% for LILA. The current FCF multiple of LILA is about 16x. If that multiple is applied to TIGO’s FCF, it yields a value of $74 per share, which I believe is a reasonable 12-month target. If, over the five to seven years, a 12% FCF growth is attained, then the earnings will be $8.19. Applying a 23.8x multiple to these earnings (implying a 4% growth rate over the subsequent seven years) means a value of $195 per share is obtained. Another way to look at valuation is on an enterprise basis. If we value TIGO on a forward EBITDA basis of 9x EBITDA (the current multiple of cable overbuilder WOW!), then the resulting value is $200 per share. If we consider both benchmarks, then a $200 price target is not unreasonable. See Exhibit B for details. This results in a five-year IRR of about 42%. In addition to the core assets, TIGO has about 10,000 towers (with an additional 2,000 under construction), 13 data centers, and a mobile banking division. According to management, these non-core assets are being prepared for either sale-leasebacks or investments by third parties. The estimated value of the towers and data centers is about $2 billion—$1.1 billion for the towers and $900 million for the data centers. The tower valuation of $1.4 billion is based upon an estimated value per tower of $120k based upon tower transaction values (TIGO’s historic transactions averaged $122k/tower and a 2021 Telxius transaction was $110k/tower, 9,300 Latin American towers for €900 million) and Telesites’s current valuation of $252k/tower times 12,000 towers. The data center valuation of $750 million is based upon an estimated value per data center of $58k which is based upon Latin American data center transactions (Anxel data centers were purchase by Equinix for $58k/center, three data centers for $175 million, and Telefónica data centers were purchased by Asterion for $58k/data center, nine data centers for €550 million) times 13 data center. Adding together the towers and data centers, the total valuation of these assets is $2.1 billion. The mobile banking division (TIGO Money) can be valued using a range of values based upon the value of African mobile banking firms and Latin American neobank firms. The mobile banking business had 5 million customers and 48 million transactions in 2020. If we use African mobile banking transactions (20 million Airtel customers were purchased for $2.6 billion and 46 million MTN customers were purchased for $5.0 billion), the average value per user is $121. If we use $121/customer times 5 million transactions, it implies a $600 million value for TIGO Money. If we use recent Latin American neobank transactions (40 million Nubank (Brazil) customers were purchased for a $30 billion valuation and 3.5 million Ualá (Argentina) customers were purchased for a $2.45 billion valuation), the average value per user is $750. If we use the midpoint of the African mobile banking and Latin American neobanks of $435, we get $435 times 5 million customers, and the resulting value is $2.2 billion. This is additional value of $2.7 to $4.2 billion ($27 to $42 per share) in addition to the core business value estimated above. So, for example, if you assume a 12% FCF growth rate and the value of non-core assets, you get a total value of $255 to $270 per share. Comparables Given the fiber rollout and the size of TIGO, the comparable firms include US and Italian small-cap telecommunications firms. One of the larger issues in Latin American firms versus developed markets is currency risk, however; as described above, TIGO’s currency risk is similar to developed markets’ risk. The following are the comparable firms in the US and Italian telecommunications markets. The smaller Italian telecom firms have smaller floats than the US firms and are majority controlled (70%+) by the original owners. There have been some private equity acquisitions in the US rural local exchange carriers (RLEC) space, namely Cincinnati Bell and Alaska Communications. These firms have a similar dynamic associated with their respective fiber rollouts, and private equity firms have invested in these firms for similar reasons that make CNSL attractive. Cincinnati Bell has been purchased by the private equity firm Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, which outbid an original offer from Brookfield Asset Management. Alaska Communications is also in the process of being purchased by ATN International and Freedom 3 Capital. The EV/EBITDA paid by these buyers was 6.5 to 6.9x EBITDA for assets with lower margins than the current price of TIGO (4.6x EBITDA). Benchmarking In comparison to other US and Italian firms, TIGO has above-average (but good) FCF ROE and a high EBITDA margin. With TIGO’s fiber rollout and customer take-up, the fixed asset turns and ROEs should increase. With these favorable operational metrics, TIGO has one of the lowest current and 2021 P/FCF ratios of either group. Risks The primary risks to achieving a target valuation of $72 per share for TIGO include: a lower-than-expected broadband penetration of fiber rollout communities; and a quicker-than-expected decline in the legacy telecom lines. Potential Upside/Catalysts The primary upsides/catalysts include: faster-than-expected penetration of uptake of broadband services; operational leverage due to economies of scale; and re-rating to reflect higher growth. Timeline/Investment Horizon The short-term target is $72, which is more than double today’s price. I think the investment thesis can play out over the next three to five years. By that time, TIGO’s net income and earnings should have appreciated by 75%, and the fair multiple could triple with a 4% increased growth rate. If that is the case, then TIGO will attain a 6.7x return to $235 over five years or 46% annualized. This is similar to a “Davis double,” where both underlying earnings increase along with the fair value multiple. Updated on Dec 1, 2021, 1:24 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 1st, 2021

Office condo near Capitol changes hands

A 16,000-square-foot office condo at Westgate Tower was purchased in mid-November by a real estate development and investment firm. Get the details on that transaction and a few other recent deals in this story, and dive into List data on the city's largest office buildings......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 25th, 2021

A housing crisis in China would look nothing like what"s happening in the US — it could wipe out entire families instead of one generation

Evergrande's debt woes have put China's enormous housing market — which accounts for 29% of the country's GDP — on edge. China's housing crisis won't be a generational crisis — it'll be a familial one.Xinhua News Agency / Contributor / Getty Images Comparing the state of the housing market in the world's two biggest economies reveals two different breeds of crisis. In the US, millennials are getting screwed by and priced out of the housing market. In China, it won't be a generation that bears the brunt of a crisis — instead, a housing market fallout would create intergenerational, familial crises. It's not a great time to be a millennial trying to buy a home.Millennials are supposed to be in their prime homebuying years right now, but instead, they're priced out of urban markets and facing the prospect of renting forever."Due to the soaring housing prices in urban areas, millennials in general cannot afford to purchase a property, which has become a global phenomenon," Chunling Li, a prominent Chinese sociologist, wrote in an October 2020 paper called "Children of the reform and opening-up: China's new generation and new era of development," published in the Journal of Chinese Sociology.Housing markets all over the world are seeing some version of this crisis, but comparing the current state of the housing market in the world's two biggest economies reveals two different breeds of crisis. While the US housing crisis is shouldered primarily by one generation, China's potential housing crisis will be felt across multiple generations within the same family. And as China contends with the potential default of Evergrande — one of the country's largest property developers — a housing crisis looms ever closer on the horizon.America's housing crisis: A generation bears the bruntIn the US, millennials are getting squarely hammered when it comes to finances, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the housing market. They're facing down their second housing crisis in 12 years.Per Apartment List's 2021 Homeownership report, 47.9% of US millennials are now homeowners. That's up from three years ago, but it's still lagging behind other generations: At age 30, 42% of millennials were homeowners, while 48% of Gen Xers and 51% of baby boomers were homeowners by the same age.This lag is, in large part, because of rising housing prices. Soaring home costs in the US have meant that millennials buying their first home in the US in 2008 paid 39% more than their baby boomer counterparts did 40 years earlier.But they're also getting screwed by the availability of homes — whether or not they can actually make a purchase. As Insider's Hillary Hoffower reported earlier this year, the pandemic, an undersupply of homes, and a lumber shortage created a perfect storm for potential homebuyers in the US. Daryl Fairweather, the chief economist at Redfin, told Hoffower that there are just not enough homes in the US for millennials, America's largest generation, to buy.What all of this has compounded into is a generation that owns fewer homes, proportionally, than previous generations did at their age; paid more for those homes, if they were able to buy at all; and now are struggling to accumulate wealth because they haven't been able to build equity through homeownership.A Minneapolis home.Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune via Getty ImagesChina's housing crisis: Everyone — and their family — is implicatedHomeownership rates in China are high.More than 90% of households are homeowners, according to a January research paper on homeownership in China from the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The US, for comparison, has a 65% homeownership rate.And it doesn't stop with one home: More than 20% of homeowners in China own more than one home.But the down payment on your first property in China is high, at 30-40%, said Dr. Xin Sun, a senior lecturer in Chinese and East Asian Business at King's College London. On additional properties purchased as investments, the down payment is even higher, at 50-60%.In her October 2020 paper, Li, the sociologist, examined how China's "new generation" — those born in the 1980s and 1990s — grew up in an era of reform. Li's research included how China's millennials study, spend, and save — and how they buy homes. Because housing prices have soared in the past two decades, she wrote, most millennials have had to turn to personal lending networks in order to buy a home. "In China, most of the millennial generation have to seek financial support from parents to purchase a house (or apartment) so as to start a family," Li wrote.Sun further explained how government policies have created this pattern of intrafamilial lending: "Increasingly, the government has adopted more and more restrictive limits to market loans, towards how much money you can borrow from banks to buy properties, especially for the second and third homes." As a result, he said, people borrow money heavily from family members to make their down payments.That's why, in a worst-case housing-market scenario in China, it's not a generation that would get wiped out, Sun said: It's families."Chinese families are not as separate as in the Western world, which means that for any generation to buy a property in China, it probably needs to collect money from all the family members," Sun said. "For example, for younger generations who buy properties in big cities, they need savings from the banks of mom and dad, and even the grandparents."That means that if there were an issue in the housing market — say, a massive real-estate developer with $300 billion in debt, missed bond repayment deadlines, and strong signs of contagion risk — what would be triggered wouldn't be a wave of bank defaults. It would be a wave of personal bankruptcies spreading from individuals back to their families.The issue is of particularly grave concern because real estate accounts for a huge part of China's economy and a huge part of household wealth. The sector accounts for 29% of China's GDP (housing accounts for about 15-18% of America's GDP). And according to Moody's estimates, 70-80% of Chinese household assets are tied to real estate, CNBC reported in August.A wealth divide drawn along geographical linesExperts say Evergrande is simply too big to for the government to ignore, and expect Beijing to intervene in a controlled implosion of the company. And while Beijing is expected to prioritize homebuyers when it manages the bankruptcy (largely to maintain social stability), there will still be people who pay the price of Evergrande's mismanaged and outsized, $300 billion debt load.The differences in how families stand to be affected in China are largely drawn among wealth lines, experts said.Households that own only one home are thought to face the greatest risk."People who own one home, because of high prices and low income, they have some risk," Li Gan, professor of economics at Texas A&M University and the director of the Survey and Research Center for China Household Finance at Chengdu's Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, previously told me. "For many of them, their down payment is borrowed from friends, from relatives — not from banks.""The people who come from lower- and middle-income families, and those who bought properties more recently, they are exposed to higher risks because of the combination of lower income, lower family wealth, and higher prices they paid," Sun said.The wealth divide also echoes along geographical divides. While more than 83% of married millennials from urban families own property, less than 27% of married millennials from rural families own theirs, Li wrote.What this adds up to, Li wrote, is that "the intergenerational transmission of wealth inequality is increasingly exacerbated, creating an ever-widening gap between the young people from urban families and those from rural families."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 25th, 2021

Deere Reports Net Income of $1.283 Billion for Fourth Quarter, $5.963 Billion for Fiscal Year

MOLINE, Ill., Nov. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Fourth-quarter net income rises on net sales gain of 19%, demonstrating solid execution and benefits of operating model. UAW contract agreement shows commitment to Deere's workforce. Full-year 2022 earnings forecast to be $6.5 to $7.0 billion, reflecting healthy demand. Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) reported net income of $1.283 billion for the fourth quarter ended October 31, 2021, or $4.12 per share, compared with net income of $757 million, or $2.39 per share, for the quarter ended November 1, 2020. For fiscal year 2021, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $5.963 billion, or $18.99 per share, compared with $2.751 billion, or $8.69 per share, in fiscal 2020. Worldwide net sales and revenues increased 16 percent, to $11.327 billion, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 and rose 24 percent, to $44.024 billion, for the full year. Equipment operations net sales were $10.276 billion for the quarter and $39.737 billion for the year, compared with corresponding totals of $8.659 billion and $31.272 billion in 2020. "Deere's strong fourth-quarter and full-year performance was delivered by our dedicated employees, dealers, and suppliers throughout the world, who have helped safely maintain our operations and serve customers," said John C. May, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our results reflect strong end-market demand and our ability to continue serving customers while managing supply-chain issues and conducting contract negotiations with our largest union. Last week's ratification of a 6-year agreement with the UAW brings our highly skilled employees back to work building the finest products in our industries. The agreement shows our ongoing commitment to delivering best-in-class wages and benefits." Company Outlook & Summary Net income attributable to Deere & Company for fiscal 2022 is forecasted to be in a range of $6.5 billion to $7.0 billion. "Looking ahead, we expect demand for farm and construction equipment to continue benefiting from positive fundamentals, including favorable crop prices, economic growth, and increased investment in infrastructure," May said. "At the same time, we anticipate supply-chain pressures will continue to pose challenges in our industries. We are working closely with our suppliers to address these issues and ensure that our customers can deliver essential food and infrastructure more profitably and sustainably." Deere & Company Fourth Quarter Full Year $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change 2021 2020 % Change Net sales and revenues $ 11,327 $ 9,731 16% $ 44,024 $ 35,540 24% Net income $ 1,283 $ 757 69% $ 5,963 $ 2,751 117% Fully diluted EPS $ 4.12 $ 2.39 $ 18.99 $ 8.69 Net income in the fourth quarter and full-year 2020 was negatively affected by impairment charges and employee-separation costs of $211 million and $458 million after-tax, respectively. In addition, net income was unfavorably affected by discrete adjustments to the provision for income taxes in both periods of 2020. Equipment Operations Fourth Quarter $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change Net sales $ 10,276 $ 8,659 19% Operating profit $ 1,393 $ 1,056 32% Net income $ 1,056 $ 571 85% For a discussion of net sales and operating profit results, see the production and precision agriculture, small agriculture and turf, and construction and forestry sections below. Production & Precision Agriculture Fourth Quarter $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change Net sales $ 4,661 $ 3,801 23% Operating profit $ 777 $ 578 34% Operating margin 16.7% 15.2% Production and precision agriculture sales increased for the quarter due to higher shipment volumes and price realization. Operating profit rose primarily due to price realization and improved shipment volumes / mix. These items were partially offset by higher production costs. Results for fourth-quarter 2020 were negatively impacted by employee-separation expenses.   Small Agriculture & Turf Fourth Quarter $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change Net sales $ 2,809 $ 2,397 17% Operating profit $ 346 $ 282 23% Operating margin 12.3% 11.8% Small agriculture and turf sales increased for the quarter due to higher shipment volumes and price realization. Operating profit rose primarily due to improved shipment volumes / mix and price realization. These items were partially offset by higher production costs and higher research and development and selling, administrative, and general expenses. Employee-separation expenses and impairments negatively impacted the fourth quarter of 2020.   Construction & Forestry Fourth Quarter $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change Net sales $ 2,806 $ 2,461 14% Operating profit $ 270 $ 196 38% Operating margin 9.6% 8.0% Construction & Forestry sales moved higher for the quarter primarily due to higher shipment volumes and price realization. Operating profit improved mainly due to price realization and higher sales volume / mix. Partially offsetting these factors were increases in production costs and higher selling, administrative, and general and research and development expenses. Fourth-quarter 2020 results were adversely affected by employee-separation expenses and impairments.   Financial Services Fourth Quarter $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change Net income $ 227 $ 186 22% Net income for financial services in the quarter rose mainly due to income earned on a higher average portfolio and favorable financing spreads, as well as improvements on operating-lease residual values. These factors were partially offset by a higher provision for credit losses. Results in 2020 also were affected by employee-separation costs. Industry Outlook for Fiscal 2022 Agriculture & Turf U.S. & Canada: Large Ag Up ~ 15% Small Ag & Turf  ~ Flat Europe Up ~ 5% South America (Tractors & Combines) Up ~ 5% Asia  ~ Flat Construction & Forestry U.S. & Canada: Construction Equipment Up 5 to 10% Compact Construction Equipment Up 5 to 10% Global Forestry Up 10 to 15%   Deere Segment Outlook for Fiscal 2022 Currency Price $ in millions Net Sales Translation Realization Production & Precision Ag Up 20 to 25% 0% +9% Small Ag & Turf Up 15 to 20% -1% +7% Construction & Forestry Up 10 to 15% 0% +8% Financial Services Net Income $870 Financial Services. Fiscal-year 2022 net income attributable to Deere & Company for the financial services operations is forecast to be approximately $870 million. Results are expected to be slightly lower than fiscal 2021 due to a higher provision for credit losses, lower gains on operating-lease residual values, and higher selling, general, and administrative expenses. These factors are expected to be partially offset by income earned on a higher average portfolio. John Deere Capital Corporation The following is disclosed on behalf of the company's financial services subsidiary, John Deere Capital Corporation (JDCC), in connection with the disclosure requirements applicable to its periodic issuance of debt securities in the public market. Fourth Quarter Full Year $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change 2021 2020 % Change Revenue $ 673 $ 693 -3% $ 2,688 $ 2,808 -4% Net income $ 181 $ 154 18% $ 711 $ 425 67% Ending portfolio balance $ 41,488 $ 38,726 7% Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 was higher than in the fourth quarter of 2020 primarily due to income earned on higher average portfolio balances and improvements on operating-lease residual values. These factors were partially offset by a higher provision for credit losses. Fourth-quarter 2020 results were also negatively impacted by employee-separation expenses. Full-year 2021 net income was higher than in 2020 due to improvements on operating-lease residual values, a lower provision for credit losses, favorable financing spreads, and income earned on a higher average portfolio. Full-year 2020 results also included impairments on lease residual values. Safe Harbor Statement Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995:  Statements under "Company Outlook & Summary," "Industry Outlook for Fiscal 2022," "Deere Segment Outlook (Fiscal 2022)," and other forward-looking statements herein that relate to future events, expectations, and trends involve factors that are subject to change and risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Some of these risks and uncertainties could affect particular lines of business, while others could affect all of the company's businesses. The company's agricultural equipment businesses are subject to a number of uncertainties, including certain factors that affect farmers' confidence and financial condition. These factors include demand for agricultural products; world grain stocks; weather conditions and the effects of climate change; soil conditions; harvest yields; prices for commodities and livestock; crop and livestock production expenses; availability of transport for crops (including as a result of reduced state and local transportation budgets); trade restrictions and tariffs (e.g., China); global trade agreements; the level of farm product exports (including concerns about genetically modified organisms); the growth and sustainability of non-food uses for some crops (including ethanol and biodiesel production); real estate values; available acreage for farming; land ownership policies of governments; changes in government farm programs and policies; international reaction to such programs; changes in and effects of crop insurance programs; changes in environmental regulations and their impact on farming practices; animal diseases (e.g., African swine fever) and their effects on poultry, beef, and pork consumption and prices and on livestock feed demand; crop pests and diseases; and the impact of the COVID pandemic on the agricultural industry including demand for, and production and exports of, agricultural products, and commodity prices.  The production and precision agriculture business is dependent on agricultural conditions, and relies in part on hardware and software, guidance, connectivity and digital solutions, and automation and machine intelligence. Many factors contribute to the company's precision agriculture sales and results, including the impact to customers' profitability and/or sustainability outcomes; the rate of adoption and use by customers; availability of technological innovations; speed of research and development; effectiveness of partnerships with third parties; and the dealer channel's ability to support and service precision technology solutions. Factors affecting the company's small agriculture and turf equipment operations include agricultural conditions; consumer confidence; weather conditions and the effects of climate change; customer profitability; labor supply; consumer borrowing patterns; consumer purchasing preferences; housing starts and supply; infrastructure investment; spending by municipalities and golf courses; and consumable input costs. Factors affecting the company's construction and forestry equipment operations include consumer spending patterns; real estate and housing prices; the number of housing starts; interest rates; commodity prices such as oil and gas; the levels of public and non-residential construction; and investment in infrastructure. Prices for pulp, paper, lumber, and structural panels affect sales of forestry equipment. Many of the factors affecting the production and precision agriculture, small agriculture and turf, and construction and forestry segments have been and may continue to be impacted by global economic conditions, including those resulting from the COVID pandemic and responses to the pandemic taken by governments and other authorities. All of the company's businesses and its results are affected by general economic conditions in the global markets and industries in which the company operates; customer confidence in general economic conditions; government spending and taxing; foreign currency exchange rates and their volatility, especially fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar; interest rates (including the availability of IBOR reference rates); inflation and deflation rates; changes in weather and climate patterns; the political and social stability of the global markets in which the company operates; the effects of, or response to, terrorism and security threats; wars and other conflicts; natural disasters; and the spread of major epidemics or pandemics (including the COVID pandemic) and government and industry responses to such epidemics or pandemics, such as travel restrictions and extended shut downs of businesses. Continued uncertainties related to the magnitude, duration, and persistent effects of the COVID pandemic may significantly adversely affect the company's business and outlook. These uncertainties include, among other things: the duration and impact of the resurgence in COVID cases in any country, state, or region; the emergence, contagiousness, and threat of new and different strains of virus; the availability, acceptance, and effectiveness of vaccines; additional closures as mandated or otherwise made necessary by governmental authorities; disruptions in the supply chain, including those caused by industry capacity constraints, material availability, and global logistics delays and constraints arising from, among other things, the transportation capacity of ocean shipping containers, and a prolonged delay in resumption of operations by one or more key suppliers, or the failure of any key suppliers; an increasingly competitive labor market due to a sustained labor shortage or increased turnover caused by COVID pandemic; the company's ability to meet commitments to customers on a timely basis as a result of increased costs and supply and transportation challenges; increased logistics costs; additional operating costs due to continued remote working arrangements, adherence to social distancing guidelines, and other COVID-related challenges; increased risk of cyber-attacks on network connections used in remote working arrangements; increased privacy-related risks due to processing health-related personal information; legal claims related to personal protective equipment designed, made, or provided by the company or alleged exposure to COVID on company premises; absence of employees due to illness; and the impact of the pandemic on the company's customers and dealers. The sustainability of the economic recovery observed in 2021 remains unclear and significant volatility could continue for a prolonged period. These factors, and others that are currently unknown or considered immaterial, could materially and adversely affect our business, liquidity, results of operations, and financial position. Significant changes in market liquidity conditions, changes in the company's credit ratings, and any failure to comply with financial covenants in credit agreements could impact access to funding and funding costs, which could reduce the company's earnings and cash flows. Financial market conditions could also negatively impact customer access to capital for purchases of the company's products and customer confidence and purchase decisions, financing and repayment practices, and the number and size of customer delinquencies and defaults. A debt crisis in Europe, Latin America, or elsewhere could negatively impact currencies, global financial markets, social and political stability, funding sources and costs, asset and obligation values, customers, suppliers, demand for equipment, and company operations and results. The company's investment management activities could be impaired by changes in the equity, bond, and other financial markets, which would negatively affect earnings. Continued effects of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union could adversely affect business activity, political stability, and economic conditions in the United Kingdom, the European Union, and elsewhere. The economic conditions and outlook could be further adversely affected by (i) uncertainty regarding any new or modified trade arrangements between the United Kingdom and the European Union and/or other countries; (ii) the risk that one or more other European Union countries could come under increasing pressure to leave the European Union; or (iii) the risk that the euro as the single currency of the eurozone could cease to exist. Any of these developments could affect our businesses, liquidity, results of operations, and financial position. Additional factors that could materially affect the company's operations, access to capital, expenses, and results include changes in, uncertainty surrounding, and the impact of governmental trade, banking, monetary, and fiscal policies, including financial regulatory reform and its effects on the consumer finance industry, derivatives, funding costs, and other areas; the potential default of the U.S. federal government if Congress fails to pass a fiscal 2022 budget resolution; governmental programs, policies, and tariffs for the benefit of certain industries or sectors; sanctions in particular jurisdictions; retaliatory actions to such changes in trade, banking, monetary, and fiscal policies; actions by central banks; actions by financial and securities regulators; actions by environmental, health, and safety regulatory agencies, including those related to engine emissions, carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, noise, and the effects of climate change; changes to GPS radio frequency bands or their permitted uses; changes in labor and immigration regulations; changes to accounting standards; changes in tax rates, estimates, laws, and regulations and company actions related thereto; changes to and compliance with privacy, banking, and other regulations; changes to and compliance with economic sanctions and export controls laws and regulations; compliance with U.S. and foreign laws when expanding to new markets and otherwise; and actions by other regulatory bodies. Other factors that could materially affect the company's results include production, design, and technological innovations and difficulties, including capacity and supply constraints and prices; the loss of or challenges to intellectual property rights, whether through theft, infringement, counterfeiting, or otherwise; the availability and prices of strategically sourced materials, components, and whole goods; delays or disruptions in the company's supply chain or the loss of liquidity by suppliers; disruptions of infrastructures that support communications, operations, or distribution; the failure of customers, dealers, suppliers, or the company to comply with laws, regulations, and company policy pertaining to employment, human rights, health, safety, the environment, sanctions, export controls, anti-corruption, privacy and data protection, and other ethical business practices; introduction of legislation that could affect the company's business model and intellectual property, such as right to repair or right to modify; events that damage the company's reputation or brand; significant investigations, claims, lawsuits, or other legal proceedings; start-up of new plants and products; the success of new product initiatives or business strategies; changes in customer product preferences and sales mix; gaps or limitations in rural broadband coverage, capacity, and speed needed to support technology solutions; oil and energy prices, supplies, and volatility; the availability and cost of freight; actions of competitors in the various industries in which the company competes, particularly price discounting; dealer practices, especially as to levels of new and used field inventories; changes in demand and pricing for used equipment and resulting impacts on lease residual values; labor relations and contracts, including work stoppages and other disruptions; changes in the ability to attract, develop, engage, and retain qualified personnel; acquisitions and divestitures of businesses; greater-than-anticipated transaction costs; the integration of new businesses; the failure or delay in closing or realizing anticipated benefits of acquisitions, joint ventures, or divestitures; the inability to deliver precision technology and agricultural solutions to customers; the implementation of the smart industrial operating model and other organizational changes; the failure to realize anticipated savings or benefits of cost reduction, productivity, or efficiency efforts; difficulties related to the conversion and implementation of enterprise resource planning systems; security breaches, cybersecurity attacks, technology failures, and other disruptions to the information technology infrastructure of the company and its suppliers and dealers; security breaches with respect to the company's products; changes in company-declared dividends and common stock issuances and repurchases; changes in the level and funding of employee retirement benefits; changes in market values of investment assets, compensation, retirement, discount, and mortality rates which impact retirement benefit costs; and significant changes in health care costs. The liquidity and ongoing profitability of John Deere Capital Corporation and the company's other financial services subsidiaries depend largely on timely access to capital in order to meet future cash flow requirements, and to fund operations, costs, and purchases of the company's products. If general economic conditions deteriorate or capital markets become more volatile, funding could be unavailable or insufficient. Additionally, customer confidence levels may result in declines in credit applications and increases in delinquencies and default rates, which could materially impact write-offs and provisions for credit losses. The company's forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions relating to the factors described above, which are sometimes based upon estimates and data prepared by government agencies. Such estimates and data are often revised. The company, except as required by law, undertakes no obligation to update or revise its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new developments or otherwise. Further information concerning the company and its businesses, including factors that could materially affect the company's financial results, is included in the company's other filings with the SEC (including, but not limited to, the factors discussed in Item 1A. Risk Factors of the company's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q).   DEERE & COMPANY FOURTH QUARTER 2021 PRESS RELEASE (In millions of dollars) Unaudited Three Months Ended Years Ended October 31 November 1 % October 31 November 1 % 2021 2020 Change 2021 2020 Change Net sales and revenues: Production & precision ag net sales $ 4,661 $ 3,801 +23 $ 16,509 $ 12,962 +27 Small ag & turf net sales 2,809 2,397 +17 11,860 9,363 +27 Construction & forestry net sales 2,806 2,461 +14 11,368 8,947 +27 Financial services 869 891 -2 3,548 3,589 -1 Other revenues 182 181 +1 739 679 +9 Total net sales and revenues $ 11,327 $ 9,731 +16 $ 44,024 $ 35,540 +24 Operating profit: * Production & precision ag $ 777 $ 578 +34 $ 3,334 $ 1,969 +69 Small ag & turf 346 282 +23 2,045 1,000 +105 Construction & forestry 270 196 +38 1,489 590 +152 Financial services 299 249 +20 1,144 746 +53 Total operating profit 1,692 1,305 +30 8,012 4,305 +86 Reconciling items ** (78) (219) -64 (390) (472) -17 Income taxes (331) (329) +1 (1,659) (1,082) +53 Net income attributable to Deere & Company $ 1,283 $ 757 +69 $ 5,963 $ 2,751 +117 * Operating profit is income from continuing operations before corporate expenses, certain external interest expense, certain foreign exchange gains and losses, and income taxes. Operating profit of the financial services segment includes the effect of interest expense and foreign exchange gains or losses. ** Reconciling items are primarily corporate expenses, certain external interest expense, certain foreign exchange gains and losses, pension and postretirement benefit costs excluding the service cost component, and net income attributable to noncontrolling interests.   DEERE & COMPANY STATEMENT OF CONSOLIDATED INCOME For the Three Months Ended October 31, 2021 and November 1, 2020 (In millions of dollars and shares except per share amounts) Unaudited  2021 2020 Net Sales and Revenues Net sales $ 10,276 $ 8,659 Finance and interest income 828 867 Other income 223 205 Total 11,327 9,731 Costs and Expenses Cost of sales 7,809 6,470 Research and development expenses 450 443 Selling, administrative and general expenses 936 1,011 Interest expense 210 278 Other operating expenses 309 414 Total 9,714 8,616 Income of Consolidated Group before Income Taxes 1,613 1,115 Provision for income taxes 330 329 Income of Consolidated Group 1,283 786 Equity in income (loss) of unconsolidated affiliates 1 (28) Net Income 1,284 758 Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests 1 1 Net Income Attributable to Deere & Company $ 1,283 $ 757 Per Share Data Basic $ 4.15 $ 2.41 Diluted $ 4.12 $ 2.39 Average Shares Outstanding Basic 309.1 314.1 Diluted 311.5 317.1 See Condensed Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.   DEERE & COMPANY STATEMENT OF CONSOLIDATED INCOME For the Years Ended October 31, 2021 and November 1, 2020 (In millions of dollars and shares except per share amounts) Unaudited 2021 2020 Net Sales and Revenues Net sales $ 39,737 $ 31,272 Finance and interest income 3,296 3,450 Other income 991 818 Total 44,024 35,540 Costs and Expenses Cost of sales 29,116 23,677 Research and development expenses 1,587 1,644 Selling, administrative and general expenses 3,383 3,477 Interest expense 993 1,247 Other operating expenses 1,343 1,612 Total 36,422 31,657 Income of Consolidated Group before Income Taxes 7,602 3,883 Provision for income taxes 1,658 1,082 Income of Consolidated Group 5,944 2,801 Equity in income (loss) of unconsolidated affiliates 21 (48) Net Income 5,965 2,753 Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests 2 2 Net Income Attributable to Deere & Company $ 5,963 $ 2,751 Per Share Data Basic $ 19.14 $ 8.77 Diluted $ 18.99 $ 8.69 Average Shares Outstanding Basic 311.6 313.5 Diluted 314.0 316.6 See Condensed Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.   DEERE & COMPANY CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET As of October 31, 2021 and November 1, 2020 (In millions of dollars) Unaudited  2021 2020 Assets Cash and cash equivalents $ 8,017 $ 7,066 Marketable securities 728 641 Receivables from unconsolidated affiliates 27 31 Trade accounts and notes receivable - net 4,208 4,171 Financing receivables - net 33,799 29,750 Financing receivables securitized - net 4,659 4,703 Other receivables 1,738 1,220 Equipment on operating leases - net 6,988 7,298 Inventories 6,781 4,999 Property and equipment - net 5,820 5,817 Investments in unconsolidated affiliates 175 193 Goodwill 3,291 3,081 Other intangible assets - net 1,275 1,327 Retirement benefits 3,601 863 Deferred income taxes 1,037 1,499 Other assets 1,970 2,432 Total Assets $ 84,114 $ 75,091 Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity Liabilities Short-term borrowings $ 10,919 $ 8,582 Short-term securitization borrowings 4,605 4,682 Payables to unconsolidated affiliates 143 105 Accounts payable and accrued expenses 12,205 10,112 Deferred income taxes 576 519 Long-term borrowings 32,888 32,734 Retirement benefits and other liabilities 4,344 5,413 Total liabilities 65,680 62,147 Stockholders' Equity Total Deere & Company stockholders' equity 18,431 12,937 Noncontrolling interests 3 7 Total stockholders' equity 18,434 12,944 Total Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity $ 84,114 $ 75,091 See Condensed Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.   DEERE & COMPANY STATEMENT OF CONSOLIDATED CASH FLOWS For the Years Ended October 31, 2021 and November 1, 2020 (In millions of dollars) Unaudited 2021 2020 Cash Flows from Operating Activities Net income $ 5,965 $ 2,753 Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities: Provision (credit) for credit losses (6) 110 Provision for depreciation and amortization 2,050 2,118 Impairment charges 50 194 Share-based compensation expense 82 81 Loss on sales of businesses and unconsolidated affiliates 24 Undistributed earnings of unconsolidated affiliates 2 (7) Credit for deferred income taxes (441) (11) Changes in assets and liabilities: Trade, notes, and financing receivables related to sales 969 2,009 Inventories (2,497) 397 Accounts payable and accrued expenses 1,884 (7) Accrued income taxes payable/receivable 11 8 Retirement benefits 29 (537) Other (372) 351 Net cash provided by operating activities 7,726 7,483 Cash Flows from Investing Activities Collections of receivables (excluding receivables related to sales) 18,959 17,381 Proceeds from maturities and sales of marketable securities 109 93 Proceeds from sales of equipment on operating leases 2,094 1,783 Cost of receivables acquired (excluding receivables related to sales) (23,653) (19,965) Acquisitions of businesses, net of cash acquired (244) (66).....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 24th, 2021

Millennials Collaborating to Attain the American Dream of Homeownership

The affordability issues in the housing market aren’t going away for younger buyers. The financial challenges hindering millennial homeownership have been well documented between overwhelming student loan debt and record-level home prices. However, some within the cohort are carving their own path to the American dream through teamwork. “Affordability is a key issue for young […] The post Millennials Collaborating to Attain the American Dream of Homeownership appeared first on RISMedia. The affordability issues in the housing market aren’t going away for younger buyers. The financial challenges hindering millennial homeownership have been well documented between overwhelming student loan debt and record-level home prices. However, some within the cohort are carving their own path to the American dream through teamwork. “Affordability is a key issue for young buyers or first-time homebuyers entering into the market with limited housing inventory, so pooling incomes with a roommate becomes a really good solution for many buyers to be able to enter into the housing market,” says Jessica Lautz, vice president of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Recent data from ATTOM Data Solutions, reported by the Wall Street Journal, suggests that the number of home and condo sales across the country by co-buyers has soared since millennials became the largest share of homebuyers in the U.S. in 2014. The number of co-buyers with different last names increased by 771% between 2014 and 2021, according to ATTOM. Like other market trends, the pandemic accelerated the trend, according to Lautz, who also suggests that declining marriage rates among younger generations have also contributed. Despite the generational lull in nuptials, that hasn’t kept buyers, particularly millennials, from pursuing homeownership. Based on NAR’s recently released 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report, for the third consecutive year, the share of unmarried couples that purchased a home accounted for 9% of the buyer pool. According to NAR’s data, the share of first-time buyers who were unmarried couples rose slightly to 17%. Navigating the Trend While co-buying isn’t a novel concept in real estate, experts and agents told RISMedia that it’s a worthwhile trend to keep an eye on, as affordability issues and student loan debt plague millennials—the largest cohort of buyers in the market. Along with working as an agent, Nicholas Ritacco is also a co-buyer. The New York-based Corcoran agent teamed up with his roommate to buy their first home during the pandemic to escape renting. Looking at the numbers, Ritacco says low mortgage rates since 2008—and record lows during the pandemic—presented an opportunity to finally tap into homeownership while living in or near more major metro areas. “The affordability is in our favor, and it is time-sensitive, whether it’s two, three or five years down the line, no one can predict, but I can tell you every point we go up is pricing out somebody,” he says. Compared with traditional buyer scenarios, Lautz suggests that agents work with their co-buying clients to identify long-term intentions for the property they are looking to buy and how they will address any life changes. “If someone gets a job on the other side of the country, are you going to rent the room that the roommate has been living in?” Lautz asks. Discussion over income between the clients is also essential, as Lautz notes that will become an issue when it comes time to divvy up the down payment and closing costs in very similar ways, so they are earning equity in the same way. “Questions like that may get into the nitty-gritty, but I do think it’s important for keeping that relationship and the home-buying transaction on track as well about what is realistic and what may not be realistic.” Having gone through it himself, Ritacco says that he also started working with friends that want to partner up to buy a home. Part of his guidance strategy is helping his clients identify their “exit strategy” before going into a co-buying partnership. This typically involves determining how long they intend to live in the property and how they want to approach selling or renting it out when one or more parties is ready to move. “You have to understand what your options are and what your rights are,” he says, noting that he gets “granular” with his clients when working out the details so that each party is comfortable entering into the deal from the beginning. “It’s really about understanding every step of the process and what is expected of everybody,” Ritacco says. “It’s a joint venture. You’re just changing it from that typical investment-focused agreement to adopting it for a joint venture for a primary.” According to agent Kate Wright at Better Home and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers in Atlanta, Georgia, taking a deep dive into buyer goals and expectations during an opening consultation is a helpful tool to mitigate future issues. “That way, I know what they are looking for and what their goals are, and I can direct them toward the best avenue for pursuing the purchase,” Wright says, adding that her market has been popular among millennial buyers because of its affordability. Wright’s pool of millennial co-buyers have already bought their first home and have joined friends to start investing in other properties. While she admits that her pool of first-time buyers co-buying is negligible in her market, broker Shonna Peterson at the Warmack Group with Keller Willams in Seattle says that the trend is popular with the millennial investment group. Peterson notes that investor buyers’ motivation focuses more on the numbers and turning a profit rather than living in the home primarily. Despite the difference in approaches and desired outcomes, Peterson indicates that managing emotions is essential to navigating millennial investors. “While they have a great grasp on the numbers, there does still tend to be an emotional component just because it’s human nature to get somewhat competitive when you know that the competition is stiff,” Peterson says. Legal Protection While the trend of co-buying opens doors to homeownership, it’s not without its challenges, which is why agents told RISMedia that they encourage their clients in co-buying situations to speak with legal experts. Real estate attorney Edwin Farrow recommends hashing things out in writing before closing on a home when it comes to co-buying partnerships. “What they’ve done is create a partnership, and partnerships can go bad,” Farrow says. “You need to know what happens in the event the partnership is dissolved, keeping in mind the fact that the bank doesn’t care that you’re friends and agreed to whatever you agreed to.” Farrow’s co-buying clientele typically consists of unmarried couples and family members teaming up to buy homes together. He indicates that getting a better understanding of the risks and benefits of teaming up to buy a property together is vital for any buyers looking to take this route toward homeownership. Eric Smith, a real estate attorney with Timoney Knox in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, echoed similar sentiments, adding that the biggest problem that he notices among co-buyers is that many tend to bypass getting a written agreement before closing on their home. If the partnership doesn’t end amicably, Smith says a written agreement could save buyers “tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees” if their friendship or relationship dissolves and they end up selling the property. “In the end, it will be costly to prove that the person who paid the down money is entitled to get it all back or any of it back,” he says. By default, Smith says tenants in common (TIC) is the route that clients take. The option gives each property owner an “undivided interest of the whole thing in equal shares.” “It essentially means that each owns a slice of the pie,” Smith says, adding that shares can be passed on to an heir in the event of a death. A joint tenancy with the right of survivorship is another route, Smith explains, noting that each partner owns the whole property together, and the last of them to die would keep everything. “You could also imagine a circumstance where you might have a number of people who buy a piece of property as legitimate business partners,” Smith says. He thinks the best option is to buy with an entity—like a limited liability company—so parties can have an operating agreement for the property. “It just makes it easier to manage,” Smith opines. Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jgrice@rismedia.com. The post Millennials Collaborating to Attain the American Dream of Homeownership appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaNov 23rd, 2021