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日本市场借贷现状概述

这篇客座文章对日本市场借贷市场作了概述。

编者的话:这篇客座文章来自Yo Shibata,他是一位卖掉三家企业的连续创业企业家。2016年,他合作创建了号称“日本借贷业彭博社”的Crowdport。同时他也是天使投资基金Tokyo Founders Fund的合伙人。他的前一个公司提供Smapo服务,用户进入合作商店后,利用基于微定位技术的专利超声波来匹配手机应用,向用户提供忠诚积分服务,后这项服务被Rakuten收购。Yo Shibata之前致力于创建企业,曾是McKinsey & Company的顾问。

市场借贷业发展

与美国、欧洲、中国相比,日本市场借贷业发展一度比较缓慢,但过去三年间情况发生了变化。过去三年,借贷市场几乎每年都翻倍增长,我们预测2017年将持续这一趋势。2014年市场借贷业投资总额为1.4亿美元,2015年为3.1亿美元,2016年为5.3亿美元。我们预测今年这一数字会达到10亿美元。

日本市场借贷通常也被称为“社会借贷”,2008年左右作为P2P借贷开始出现,但这种违约率很高,有时可达30%,因此发展并没有很好。自日本借贷法规定多数借贷利率不能超过15%后,高达30%的违约率没有再出现过。

2011年左右当时仅有三四家市场借贷公司,这些公司开始把重心转向公司借贷,尤其是房地产及清洁能源公司,这些贷款背后往往都有高价抵押品。当这些公司证明这种新型借贷模式可行后,新公司开始进入市场。两年间,众筹平台数量从少于10家增长到21家。现在有更多的公司正准备进入市场。

年利率增加

主要因为新企业征收高年利率,两年间行业平均年利率从5.7%增长到8.4%。而平台对借款人的选择更加谨慎,过去三年违约率基本为0。因此市场借贷成为非常吸引投资者的一种资产类别。

从宏观经济视角来说,日本零利率或负利率闻名世界。日本10年政府债券收益仅为0.06%,5年债券收益为-0.07%。银行储蓄平均年利率为0.4%。因老龄化及人口减少趋势难以扭转,一般消费者对日本长远经济持悲观态度。

金融素养不足

日本消费者为何没有蜂拥涌向年利率比银行储蓄高200多倍的市场借贷市场?因为他们保守吗?并非这样。

看看过去三个月(2017年3月至2017年5月)比特币的价格及围绕比特币的大肆宣传,会发现主要都由日本人推动。以日元结算的比特币交易量经常超过以美元结算的比特币交易量,这一发现可能让人感到惊奇。众所周知,日本有着世界上最大的外汇交易总量。相当一部分日本人喜欢交易外汇,我们估计日本大约有1亿活跃外汇投资者。

但剩下的日本人则是保守投资者。尽管政府努力说服这部分人为退休做金融准备,但多年来日本人的金融素养仍然不足。

市场借贷中现有投资者虽然是早期接受者,但仍十分谨慎。纵观所有众筹平台,三年间几乎没有一家损失本金,而且8%的年利率相当高。我们预计未来几个月里,有一些基金可能会损失一些本金,这不是某些投资者熟悉的事件,这些人可能会因损失本金而反应激动。

随着平台成熟,众筹平台在管理预期、客户支持、信息公开披露上都能够做得更好。我们相信在我们Crowdport的服务下,能够帮助市场保持透明。

众筹平台经济学

基于我们的研究,日本众筹平台的年平均利率差幅(即利润)为4%到5%。具有代表性的众筹平台借款利率为13%,投资利率为8%。根据这一利润数据,为了实现收支平衡,一家众筹平台需要卖出5000万美元到1亿美元的投资服务。然而根据现有市场发展状况,仅有为数不多的众筹平台达到这一规模,许多平台将在运营1到3年后达到这一规模。

我们也注意到有些企业从别的领域进入商业借贷领域。对某些房地产公司来说,市场借贷能够成为卖出投资型房产的绝佳潜在客户开发流程。

除了发展中国家的小额信贷基金,几乎所有的借款人都是企业。日本有一类公司采用一种被称为“sala-kin”(salarymen(工薪族)+“kinyu”(日语“金融”))的复杂模式,这种公司和银行早已占据了日本消费者借贷市场,我们并没有看到消费者借贷P2P平台有太多发展空间。

房地产项目的夹层贷款包含了约50%的初始金额。我们预期房地产价格增长开始放慢时,资产多样化将增加。

2009年发布的《借贷业法案》限制利率不能超过15%,导致传统借贷业大规模缩减。实际上,七年间商业贷款总额从巅峰的2000亿美元降至1000亿美元。改革原本想要遏制消费高利贷者,却也影响了商业借贷。如今商业借贷主要来自银行,灵活性很低,但随着银行未满足的需求,市场借贷逐步发展起来。

法规管理缺失

如今还没有法律来管理市场借贷。保护投资者的《证券法》与保护借款者的《借贷业法案》相互冲突。《借贷业法案》禁止公开可能指向借款人身份的特征或信息,但《证券法》要求投资风险信息要透明公开。因此众筹平台处在一种信息透明标准模糊的运营状态下。

日本最近爆出一件新闻,有个家公司利用这种冲突的规定误导投资者。最终,这家公司3月被当局处罚,但很难证明这家公司是否故意这样做。明确的管理制度将促进这一行业更加健康发展,最终有利于日本经济。

结论

日本市场借贷业正在发展中,因投资收益高、银行贷款供应不足,行业潜力巨大。日本现在缺少专项法律,阻碍了产业透明;市场借贷成为金融产品主流,需要引导消费者了解市场借贷。

In this guest post we get an overview of the Japanese marketplace lending market.

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Yo Shibata, a serial entrepreneur that has sold three businesses. In 2016, he co-founded Crowdport, a “Bloomberg for marketplace lending in Japan”. He is also a partner at an angel investment fund, Tokyo Founders Fund. His previous service Smapo, later acquired by Rakuten, provides users with loyalty points as they enter participating stores by pairing a mobile application with his proprietary ultrasonic based micro-location technology. Prior to founding startups, he worked for McKinsey & Company as a consultant.

Growing market

Marketplace lending growth in Japan has been slow compared to the U.S., Europe and China but that has started to change in the past three years. The market has been almost doubling each year and we expect this trend to continue through 2017. Investment volume was $140 million in 2014, $310 million in 2015 and $530 million in 2016. We estimate it to reach $1 billion this year.

Marketplace lending, also commonly referred as “social lending” in Japan, started as p2p lending around 2008 but struggled due to high default rates, which sometimes reached 30%. Since Japanese lending law prohibits interest rates above 15% in most cases, a 30% default rate was not sustainable for those businesses.

Around 2011, marketplace lending players, which at the time was just three or four companies, started to shift their focus to business loans, specifically in real estate and clean energy where there is valuable collateral behind the loan. As those players started to prove the new model was working, new companies entered the market. The number of crowdfunding platforms increased from less than 10 to 21 in two years. There are now many more companies looking to enter the market.

Rising APRs

The industry average APR increased to 8.4% from 5.7% in two years, mainly due to newer entrants that were charging higher APRs. Default rates in the past three years have been close to zero due to platforms being more selective on who they lend money to. As a result, marketplace lending as an asset class became very attractive to investors.

From a macroeconomic point of view, Japan is famous for zero or negative interest rates. Yields for Japan’s 10-year government bond are a mere 0.06% and the 5-year bond yield is -0.07%. Average APRs for savings accounts at banks is 0.4%. Average consumers are pessimistic on Japan’s economy in the long term, due to an aging and decreasing population which is a hard trend to reverse.

Financial literacy

So why aren’t Japanese people rushing into marketplace lending where APRs are 200 times better than savings account? Are they conservative? No they are not.

When you look at the bitcoin prices and the hype around bitcoin in the past three months (March 2017 – May 2017), it’s mainly been driven by the Japanese. JPY-based bitcoin transaction volume often exceeds USD-based transaction volume, which may be surprising. It is well known that Japan has the biggest ForEx trading volume in the world. A portion of the Japanese population do like trading and we estimate there are about 100 million active ForEx investors in Japan.

However the rest of the population are conservative investors. Despite the effort by the government to convince the population to financially prepare for their retirement, financial literacy among the Japanese population has been low for many years.

Current investors in marketplace lending are early adopters but are also cautious. There has been almost no loss of principal for three years across all crowdfunding platforms, and an 8% APR is very high. We predict that some funds will have principal losses in the coming months and some investors will react emotionally to the loss of principal since this isn’t something they are used to.

Crowdfunding platforms can do better at managing expectations, customer support, information disclosure and publicity as the platforms mature. We believe our service, Crowdport can add value to maintain transparency in the market.

Economics for Crowdfunding Platforms

Based on our research, average spread (i.e. margin) for crowdfunding platforms in Japan is 4%-5% annually. Typically crowdfunding platforms are lending at 13% and funding at 8%. Based on this margin, a crowdfunding platform needs to service portfolio of between $50 – $100 million to be break-even. Only a few crowdfunding platforms have reached this scale, however given the current market growth, many players will achieve this volume after 1-3 years of being in business.

We are also seeing some companies getting into marketplace lending from different industries. For some real estate companies, marketplace lending can be good lead generation to sell investment properties.

Almost all borrowers are businesses, with the exception of microfinance funds in developing countries. Since consumer lending in Japan is already dominated by sophisticated players known as sala-kin (salarymen + “kinyu” (meaning “finance” in Japanese)) and banks, we do not see much room for consumer lending p2p platforms.

Mezzanine loans for real estate projects consist of around 50% of origination volumes. We anticipate the variety of assets will increase as real estate prices begin slowing down.

The Lending Business Act in 2009 which limited the interest rate to 15% resulted in a massive shrink in traditional lending. In fact, the loan volume for businesses went down from $200 billion at its peak to $100 billion in seven years. The reform intended to regulate the consumer lending loan sharks but also affected business lending as well. Today, business loans are mainly lent by banks, who have less flexibility, but marketplace lenders are growing due to the unmet needs by banks.

Regulation

There are no laws that govern marketplace lending. The Securities Act which secures investors and the Lending Business Act which secures borrowers conflict with each other. The Lending Business Act prohibits disclosing identity or information that might lead to the identity of borrowers while the Securities Act demands transparency on providing information on investment risks. Thus, crowdfunding platforms are operating under a vague criteria of transparency.


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