Mortgage Madness


Oct 09, 2023


Cindy Grazer


Oct 09, 2023


Cindy Grazer


The upward swing of central bank interest rates across the globe has had different degrees of implications throughout housing markets. Amidst this global trend, specific nuances within regional markets have emerged in the international mortgage scene. Even within regions of a single currency area such as Europe, borrower preferences and the products lenders offer diverge dramatically.

For instance, France had greater protection from this environment as mortgages have tended to be fixed for decades with an average length of 23 years. On the other hand, Spain’s housing data shows that 75% of outstanding mortgages are variable, prompting families to explore alternative financial products to mitigate the impact. Across the Atlantic, the US mortgage sector is navigating a parallel yet distinct path. The housing market has felt the significant impact of interest rate hikes since early last year. This week, the Mortgage Bankers Association data showed that there was a decrease in mortgage applications in the past month as the US 30 year mortgage rate reached 7.5% - a level not seen since 2000!

In this evolving macroeconomic landscape, borrowers in particular are on the hunt for solutions aimed at easing mortgage monthly payments and enabling accessibility to the housing market. Each regional market, with its unique mortgage dynamics, might just be a canvas for disruptive fintech solutions.

Considering the structural differences around the world, perhaps we see disruption go the way of FIFA and incorporate cross border dynamics (as the sporting body just announced this week that the 2030 World Cup will be hosted across six different countries and three different continents). Or maybe this presents an opportunity for those who are facing substantial monthly payments to reduce the burden by renting their home to one of the thousands of fans attending the tournament? Regardless of your allegiances, and while nobody likes a tie, maybe there will be more than one winner here - on and off the pitch.

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Portfolio News

CB Insights' Fintech 100: The most promising fintech startups of 2023 - Congratulations to FTC portfolio companies Anyfin, Mondu and Qlub for being named to The Fintech 100, which is CB Insights' annual list of the 100 most promising private fintech companies in the world. This year’s winners are working on A2A payments, spend management automation, embedded finance, and more. Read more

CapIntel places No. 13 on The Globe and Mail's fifth-annual ranking of Canada's Top Growing Companies - Canada’s Top Growing Companies is an editorial ranking that was launched in 2019. It aims to bring the accomplishments of innovative businesses in Canada to the forefront and ranks Canadian companies on three-year revenue growth. CapIntel earned its spot with three-year growth of 2443%. Read more

Unchained announces partnership with Coincover to further strengthen its Bitcoin collaborative custody network - The addition of Coincover to Unchained’s partners further strengthens its collaborative custody model, which enables investors to maintain sovereignty over their bitcoin—making their funds invulnerable to exchange hacks and collapses—without the risks of self-custody, such as loss of private keys. Read more

Charting the future of lending: Ocrolus’ CFO Conor O’Donoghue - The fintech CFO discusses the state of small business lending, building a culture of authenticity, and the importance of networking. Read more

Mortgage Madness

Where are European mortgage holders most exposed to higher rates? - Across Europe, borrowers looking to secure new mortgages or refinance existing ones have found their payments soaring on the back of sharp rises in central banks’ interest rates. For those already on the housing ladder, there are vast differences in levels of protection against higher rates. Much depends not only on variations in rate-setters’ levels of aggressiveness but also on divergences within national mortgage markets. Read more

US 30-year mortgage rate tops 7.5% for first time since 2000 - As a result, the overall measure of mortgage applications, which includes refinancing activity, slid 6% to its weakest reading since 1996. Higher mortgage rates and elevated home prices, due in part to limited supply, is contributing to one of the most unaffordable housing markets on record. Read more

Industry News

The great Zelle pool scam - All I wanted was a status symbol. What I got was a $31,000 lesson in the downside of payment apps. The point here isn't that Zelle is worse than all the other places that invented this fun, frictionless way to accidentally transfer your net worth to someone else you were supposedly told to pay. It's just that Zelle is bigger. And that nobody — not the banks, not the police, not the Feds — feels it's their job to go after the criminals when it happens. Read more

Can AI beat the market? Wall Street is desperate to try - The irony of investors’ piling into AI is that the technology has for years struggled to crack the actual business of investing. Machines get bamboozled by noisy markets and can be caught off guard by fickle trends, and finance—surprisingly—sometimes lacks the oceans of data that underpin the technology in other domains. Read more

Hong Kong Stock Exchange launches blockchain-based settlement platform - The HKSE's Stock Connect system, which links Hong Kong’s stock markets with those in mainland China, is getting an upgrade thanks to blockchain technology. The upgraded Stock Connect, dubbed Synapse, will incorporate smart contracts to help execute post-trade workflows and reduce settlement risk. Read more

Visa to invest $100m in generative AI for commerce and payments - Visa’s generative AI ventures initiative will be led by Visa Ventures, the company’s global corporate investment arm. This initiative builds upon Visa’s long-standing use of AI in payments and its commitment to driving innovation in the industry. Read more

FTX employees found Alameda’s secret backdoor months before collapse - Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried stole funds from FTX customers, in part, by secretly ordering the programming of “special features” that gave Alameda—his crypto trading firm—the ability to treat FTX as a giant slush fund. Court filings have revealed a line buried deep in FTX’s code that allowed Alameda to have a negative balance of as much as $65 billion on the exchange. Read more

Paris Hilton inks content and commerce deal with X/Twitter, will host videos featuring live shopping - The partnership appears to be the first of its kind under Musk’s leadership, and it seems to push forward his vision of X as an “everything app,” where users can not only scroll social media but shop, send money to friends, call a taxi, and more. Read more

CLEAR expands into financial services, launches its first reusable KYC solution - This expansion of CLEAR's identity platform comes from its acquisition of ID verification startup Sora ID. The one-touch KYC solution brings together a seamless onboarding experience and CLEAR's embedded 17m person user base, and will help financial services companies successfully convert prospects into customers – combatting traditional over 40% drop off at onboarding due to friction. Read more

You can now invest in ‘Shrek’ music rights the same place you buy stocks - Public’s foray into music-royalties investing is the latest effort among financial firms to offer everyday investors access to alternative assets, from blue-chip art to venture capital, that have traditionally been limited to institutions and the ultra wealthy. Read more

Crypto exchange Coinbase secures Singapore payments license - The Major Payment Institution (MPI) license, granted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), will allow Coinbase to offer digital payment token services to individuals and institutions in Singapore, which has emerged as a center for crypto in Asia in recent years. Read more

Student loan bills resume for 40m Americans. How it could shake the economy - Economists caution that the impact on households and the economy remains largely uncertain, as there is little precedent for borrowers getting such a long break from their loan bills. But as the Biden administration ramps up repayment of the more than $1.7t in federal student loan debt, retailers and lenders are bracing for a hit. Read more

The IMF proposed a country-by-country risk assessment strategy for digital assets - The International Monetary Fund has a working paper out on a "Crypto Risk Assessment Matrix," aimed at helping countries strengthen their policy frameworks. The IMF recommends a country-by-country assessment of how much it should be monitored. Read more

Supreme Court justices appear skeptical of challenge to CFPB's funding structure - The question in the case is whether the way in which the CFPB receives its funding violates the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution. A federal appeals court found it does, but some of the justices indicated they were struggling to grasp the argument put forth by the two trade associations that brought the case, which say Congress must approve annual appropriations for the CFPB. Read more

Experian launches debit card and digital checking account - The new products embed the company's Experian Boost feature, which factors payments like subscription services into people's credit scores. With the debit card and checking account, customers will be able to make use of the credit-boosting feature and improve their credit profiles. Read more

Select Financings

AlphaSense - New York based AI-based market intelligence firm raised $150m in growth funding led by Bond Capital. Read more

Apron - London based payments platform designed to help small businesses pay and process their invoices raised $15m in Series A funding led by Index Ventures. Read more

Blackbird Labs - New York based restaurant rewards startup raised $24m in Series A funding led by a16z. Read more

Cardata - Toronto based platform that creates reimbursement plans for employees that use their personal cars raised $100m in growth funding led by Wavecrest Growth Partners. Read more

Cobre - Colombia based corporate treasury platform raised $13m in new funding led by Kaszek. Read more

Creednz - Israel based payments fraud startup raised $7m in new funding led by Blumberg Capital. Read more

GetPaid - Germany based payments solution provider raised $6m in Seed funding led by Inventure. Read more

Grow Credit - California based credit-building startup raised $10m in Series A funding led by USAA. Read more

Investree - Indonesia based P2P lender raised €220m in Series D funding led by JTA International (Qatar). Read more

Kafene - New York based point-of-sale financing platform raised $12.6m in a Series B extension funding led by Third Prime. Read more

MeetingPackage - Finland based provider of sales automation software for venue and group bookings startup raised $4.6m in Series A funding led by Scale Capital. Read more

Pivot - France based spend management startup raised €5m in pre-Seed funding led by Visionaries, Emblem, Cocoa, Anamcara, and Financière Saint James. Read more

Qobra - France based sales compensation startup raised $10.5m in Series A funding led by Singular. Read more

Reserv - New York based AI-driven insurtech startup raised $20m in Series A funding led by Altai Ventures and Bain Capital Ventures. Read more

SpecCheck - Los Angeles based optical care network and billing platform raised $3.7m in Seed funding led by Initialized Capital. Read more

Stampli - California based accounts payable automation startup raised $61m in Series D funding led by Blackstone. Read more

Stitch - South Africa based fintech API startup raised $25m in a Series A extension led by Ribbit Capital. Read more


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