General Motors Co. will move the marketing support for subvented auto loans in the US from Ally Financial to its GM Financial lending unit, the latest move to bolster the auto makers internal financing arm and increase customer loyalty.



LONDON Oct 1 Banks are pushing ahead with plans to raise around 200 million euros ($223.12 million) to finance German lift components maker Witturs merger with Italys Sematic Group despite volatile markets and concern about Witturs exposure to China, bankers said on Wednesday.

Credit Suisse is leading the underwritten debt financing with Barclays and Deutsche Bank, which is currently being pre-marketed to a small group of loan investors.

The three banks are trying to raise as much of the financing in the leveraged loan market as possible to avoid tapping the high-yield bond market, which remains all but closed after Septembers global market volatility pushed prices wider.

Wittur, its private equity owners and the arranging banks may have to pay up to issue the new loan as the companys existing loans and bonds are trading at a significant discount in the secondary markets.

The debt is trading low, so any new debt will have to be attractive to buy, otherwise you can buy it cheaper on the secondary market, one of the sources said.

Witturs 195 million euro term loan B was quoted at 96.25 percent of face value in Europes secondary loan market on October 1, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.

Witturs 225 million euro senior notes were quoted at around 88.5 percent of face value on the secondary market, sources said.

Witturs private equity owner Bain Capital and Sematics joint owners, Carlyle and the Zappa family agreed to transfer a controlling interest in Sematic to Wittur in August.

Carlyle and Zappa have retained a stake in the combined company.

Witturs year-to-date revenue was 393.6 million euros in August 2015, up 17.5 percent on the same period of 2014. Earnings also grew 17.5 percent to 58.8 million euros in the same time, thanks to solid business in Asia and growth in Europe, the company said on September 30.

Wittur could struggle to match 2014 full year sales of 521.9 million euros and EBITDA of 75.5 million euros as Chinas slowing economy is hitting the construction sector, bankers said.

On Wednesday, the company reiterated previous guidance that sales and adjusted EBITDA will be above 2014 levels.

ADDITIONAL INCENTIVES?

Low secondary trading prices mean that the arranging banks could have to offer incentives to investors to make the paper more attractive than current secondary levels, including discounts or higher pricing, bankers said.

As the loan has been underwritten, the arranging banks are on the hook to give the full amount of debt to Wittur.

Loans typically include flex language to cover changes to a deal but significant changes can potentially reduce or wipe out banks returns.

If the new debt is going to be in line with existing debt, it will have to be sold at quite a big discount, a second source said.

Some investors are calling for Witturs private equity owners to put more equity into the deal to reduce the size of the debt and cut leverage to make the deal more attractive to investors, the sources said.

Witturs acquisition of Sematic, which has a strong presence in Europe, is also expected to dilute and diversify its Chinese exposure, giving a stronger credit story.

The Sematic acquisition will result in a more balanced regional diversification based on the higher share of European business, thereby substantially reducing the China/Asia share of revenues, Yara Kes, Wittur spokesperson, said.

Greater awareness of merger synergies could also boost Witturs secondary trading price, some bankers said, although others remain unconvinced.

Carlyle was not immediately available to comment. Bain and Credit Suisse declined to comment. ($1 = 0.8921 euros) ($1 = 0.8964 euros) (Editing by Tessa Walsh)



Newly introduced legislation provides a chance to refinance college student loan debt.

West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito is a co-sponsor.

The bill provides college graduates the opportunity to restructure their loans the same way they can refinance home, car or small business loans.

West Virginia has one of the highest default rates, Sen. Capito says. So this uses the private sector, financial institutions to allow those good student loan borrowers to refinance their debt to get it under better control.

Sen. Capito says even if federal interest rates rise, theyll still likely be well below rates of seven per cent or more on typical college loans.

As of 2013, the average student loan debt in West Virginia was more than $27,000.

The bill was introduced Wednesday.



This has been a very busy 24 hours in the online lending space. First came word late yesterday that Avant had raised $325 million in new equity funding at around a $2 billion valuation, from such firms as General Atlantic and JP Morgan JPM . Just a few hours ago, Lending Club LC submitted comments and recommendations about its industry to the US Treasury Department, which had put out a request for information back in July. And then there was Credible, a new platform for borrowing and refinancing student loans, raising $10 million in funding led by Lending Club co-founder Soul Htite.

Now, SoFi is announcing that it has raised $1 billion in Series E funding led by SoftBank. It is believed to be the largest-ever equity funding in the financial technology space. The company says it has been profitable for nearly two years, and expects to increase its headcount from 400 to at least 500 by year-end.

San Francisco-based SoFi focuses primarily on student loan refinancing, and says it has loaned over $4 billion to date (including some mortgages and consumer loans). It previously raised $365 million in equity funding, including a $200 million Series D round earlier this year led by Dan Loebs Third Point Ventures at a valuation of around $1.5 billion.

Third Point returned for this deal, as did other existing shareholders like Wellington Management, Institutional Venture Partners, RenRen, Baseline Ventures and DCM Ventures.

We had just done that round of fundraising in January but were growing ahead of expectations so wanted some incremental capital to support a higher pace of growth, says SoFi co-founder and CEO Mike Cagney, who expects the new funding will delay SoFis IPO plans. Ive known [SoftBank founder] Masayoshi Son from a couple of years back and, in classic Masa fashion, he agreed we could use some incremental capital but told me we should take $1 billion. At first we thought it was too much dilution but, we went back to see how acretive this could be by accelerating our expansion plans, that we ultimately felt it made sense. Well do nearly $5 billion in loans this year, and we want to double it next year.

Cagney adds that while approximately 60% of SoFis current loans are for refinancing student debt, he expects new origination in mortgages and consumer loans to top student debt refinancing by December.

SoFi recently announced that it had added former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt as an advisor, and former Pinterest executive Joanne Bradford as chief operating officer.

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If you have a strong small business, going into debt may seem counterintuitive.

But the reality is, you may need to borrow at some point to help your small business get stronger and more stable. You might refinance existing debt or invest in a business opportunity, for example.

Needless to say, when borrowing, you need to know what you're doing. You have to pick the right kind of financing based on your small business' needs. That's not always easy to do, given the many choices you have for small-business loans.

Below are some online small-business lenders that can help strengthen your finances. To compare all your options, check out our list of best small-business loans, based on factors including lender trustworthiness and user experience.

For businesses that want a safety cushion: DealStruck, Lending Club

DealStruck offers term loans of up to $250,000 with an APR of 11% to 28% and terms of up to four years. You only have to have been in business for a year, unlike some lenders that require at least two years in operation.