The Creditinfo Chronicle

Paving the way for a brighter future through SME lending  

Developing modern solutions and removing barriers, paves the way for a brighter future through SME lending

SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) are known as one of the biggest business sectors in each economy, being important contributors to job creation and global economic development. They create more than 50% of employment worldwide.

SMEs have gained importance in developing economies. Although SMEs have some weaknesses, they are less affected by economic crises due to their flexibility and ability to keep up with changing conditions. SMEs are vital establishments to create an effective innovation ecosystemThis is shown by recent studies that SME’s can contribute to over 55% of GDP and over 50% of total employment.

SMEs can find it increasingly difficult to borrow money from traditional banks because of strict requirements. It is often seen that SMEs are riskier than large institutions as it is difficult for banks to evaluate them in the same way since they often do not have solid accounting systems. This difficulty in assessing their creditworthiness often impacts the bank’s ability to provide affordable credit. As a result, many SMEs are forced to look at alternative solutions such as expensive credit lines charging high interest rates or offering costly collateral. Neither of these options are sustainable for small businesses.

SMEs need fast decisions and a more agile, digital approach. This is where Creditinfo and local Fintechs are working in collaboration to support the sector. Together, we specialize in using technology to quickly assess each SME’s entire data footprint and then provide tailored financial solutions. Based on our experience in Africa, we can assess the credit risk an SME poses by using real-time data from multiple sources, including e-wallets, credit bureaus and credit scores. The traditional method, consisting of manual processes and hard copies, is now an outdated approach in the digital world.

Digital SME finance, using alternative data, offers an extraordinary opportunity for addressing some of the challenges. Every time SMEs and their customers use digital services, conduct banking transactions, make or accept digital payments, use their mobile phones, or manage their receivables and payables through a digital platform, they create alternative data. This real-time and verified data can be analyzed to determine both capacity and willingness to repay loans.

Specific SME assessment methodology can also be applied. For example, small companies tend to have a greater level of owner centricity. Therefore, blending business and personal data can enable the development of highly predictive blended scorecards that utilize the payment behaviour of business owners and managers and company credit data to produce a more comprehensive risk assessment.

Help is also needed from Central Banks to continue to support this sector. We are seeing reforms happening globally where Central Banks are implementing mandates for all banks to lend a set percentage of their credit portfolios to SMEs. Boosting the availability of finance for the SME sector, the reforms aim to ease the flow and reduce the high cost of credit to a sector that is considered an engine of growth for the future.

SME lending is rapidly growing, and by putting the customer needs first and using new solutions and data, we can begin to shift the status quo. Globally there is a shift toward digital lending solutions, which can support a level playing field for SMEs. By transforming this lending sector as a whole, we can make it more accessible for small businesses to grow and continue making a difference.

Joe Bowerbank – Business/Commercial Development, Creditinfo Group.

www.creditinfo.com

Angola’s first licensed credit bureau in partnership with Creditinfo to provide millions with access to finance

  • Private credit bureau will support responsible lending and economic growth
  • Millions of unbanked citizens and small businesses to gain access to lending for the first time

Luanda/London, 16th May 2022 – Creditinfo Group, the leading global service provider for credit information and risk management solutions, today announces plans to open Angola’s first licensed credit bureau, with Bureau Central Privada de Informação de Crédito SA (Bureau). This long-term strategic partnership, represents a vote of confidence and major investment into Angola’s buoyant economy, unlocking access to credit for millions of micro-to-medium sized businesses and citizens – many of whom are currently unbanked.

To deliver a world-leading private credit bureau solution, Creditinfo will combine Bureau‘s local knowledge with its own extensive experience delivering private credit bureau solutions in developing markets – including across Sub-Saharan Africa. The project’s initial remit will include Creditinfo’s most popular products and services, including CBS. Based on market appetite, further value-added products will be introduced.

Samúel White, Regional Director at Creditinfo said: “Accessing credit has long been a challenge across Sub-Saharan Africa. By opening Angola’s first private credit bureau, we’ll enable banks and other lenders to extend credit to citizens and businesses, helping to build and develop its already thriving economy. Supporting the unbanked to access finance requires a specific set of experiences and insights which Creditinfo has honed over decades of working across the region. We’re proud to be a leader in this space and can’t wait to open for another dynamic market together with our strategic partners.”

Cristiano Monnerat, Director at Bureau Central Privada de Informação de Crédito S.A. added: “Boasting significant untapped opportunities for wealth creation and a young, dynamic population, Angola represents an attractive investment for us. As such, we’re excited to be able to draw on Creditinfo’s global expertise to build a private credit bureau that’s run by local people, for local people. All in all, this marks a major step forward for Angola’s growing economy.”

-ENDS-

 

About Creditinfo

Established in 1997 and headquartered in Reykjavík, Iceland, Creditinfo is a provider of credit information and risk management solutions worldwide. As one of the fastest-growing companies in its field, Creditinfo facilitates access to finance, through intelligent information, software and decision analytics solutions.

With more than 30 credit bureaus running today, Creditinfo has the most considerable global presence in this field of credit risk management, with a significantly greater footprint than competitors. For

decades it has provided business information, risk management and credit bureau solutions to some of the largest, lenders, governments and central banks globally to increase financial inclusion and generate economic growth by allowing credit access for SMEs and individuals. For more information, please visit www.creditinfo.com

About Bureau Central Privada de Informação de Crédito S.A.

Established in 2021, the Bureau Central Privada de Informação de Crédito S.A. (Bureau) supports access to finance in Angola – with a focus on underserved segments of society with no formal access to credit facilities. Bureau is led by a highly qualified team of Brazilian advisors based in Angola. In February 2022, the Bureau received its operational license from the Central Bank of Angola, fulfilling all of the legislative and regulatory requirements.

The long-term strategic partnership with Creditinfo Group will provide Bureau with the necessary insights and industry best practices from similar markets to increase economic growth and improve financial inclusion across Angola.

Media Contacts:

Jack Benda

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry for Creditinfo Group creditinfo@rlyl.com

+44 (0)7760 291 679

Opening Banking in the MENA region

We recently sat down with the Commercial Director at Creditinfo Group, Gary Brown, where he highlighted his thoughts on Open Banking in  the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. These were some of his insights:

What is Open Banking?

Open Banking is a service that provides third-party financial service providers open access to consumer banking transactional data from banks and financial institutions using application programming interfaces (APIs). Open Banking is growing with popularity globally and in the MENA and could soon become the latest source of FinTech to shape the banking industry.

Delivered through open banking, banks allow access and control of customers personal and financial data to third-party service providers. Of course, customers are required to grant consent to allow the bank access and permission to share. Lenders are then able to use customers data and transaction history to drive insights such as spending habits and regular payments. This will enable more competition and innovation to financial services which will lead to better products to help consumers manage their money.

What are the benefits to Open Banking?

Open Banking allows lenders to add an additional layer of data and complete a more accurate and comprehensive picture of a customer’s financial situation to offer more competitive and profitable loan products. It can also benefit the consumer and help them manage their own expenses and accounts. An open Banking application can display all the consumers banking accounts in one place and display their spending habits and behaviors.

Open Banking is a straight-forward solutions with low integration costs that can greatly benefit large and established banks, small banks and digital banks. It can reduce operational costs and provide a wider customer outreach through digital channels, hugely important in the MENA with such a high percentage of the population with access to a digital smartphone. This new technology can strengthen customer relationships and customer retention by helping consumers manage their expenses and connect with them through digitalization.

How will Open Banking improve the customer experience in the MENA?

With such high smartphone usage across MENA, Open Banking will provide consumers the ability to have full control over their finances under one view, as well provide them with a better range of products and services personalized to their financial situation. Consumers across the MENA are requesting more flexible and forward-looking systems that support fintech innovation. Open Banking allows consumers to be in control and empowers them and small businesses by creating a simple platform for accessing, controlling, and sharing their data so they can benefit from it. With connected accounts across the financial services landscape, consumers and small businesses can put their data to work, whether it’s for one specific purpose or across multiple apps and services.

Data exchange is crucial across any financial ecosystem and Open Banking plays a vital role by providing a new additional layer of data. Enabling a secure and safe flow of data across accounts and apps efficiently will fuel innovation for banks and provide many new benefits across the industry, such as improving financial literacy and extend financial inclusion to the underserved.

Can you explain the differences between Open Banking and Open Finance?

Open Banking and Open Finance are the latest buzz topics when it comes to fintechs and innovations in the Banking industry. Open Finance has been developed from Open Banking and will provide an extra layer of data available to consumers and organizations, Open Finance will include other financial data, such as mortgages, savings, pensions, insurance, utilities, etc. This will enable consumers to provide access to their entire financial footprint and provide them with an even better customer experience.

To better serve the unbanked or underserved, Open Finance will further level the playing field and make it easier for these consumers to have access to affordable and sustainable credit, providing everyone access to the services they require and deserve. With more access to finance, we can expect to see better economic growth across MENA.

Paul Randall marks 15 years at Creditinfo Group

We recently sat down with our CEO, Paul Randall and asked him 15 questions to mark his 15 years at Creditinfo Group. Get to know a little more about Paul as he celebrates this milestone:

  1. Describe yourself in 3 words? Competitive. Curious. Optimistic.
  2. What was your first job? JD Williams in Manchester -a clothing retail outlet that sold clothes on credit.
  3. How many countries have you worked in? Over 50 countries and counting.
  4. How long have you worked in the credit industry? Over 35 years; not only just the credit industry, but also in telcos, retail, and utilities. 
  5. What has been your most shocking discovery working in this industry so far? I think some of the practices on collections. I feel that collections processes need to be more humane. There is also the fact that there are additional costs to customers particularly those who are borrowing short term. There is a place for short term lending, which has a higher cost than low risk lending, however this needs to be done fairly.  
  6. What has been your highest moment working at Creditinfo Group? Meetings with central banks particularly in West Africa in Senegal. The BCEAO is very prestigious organization, which is very well respected, and for us to demonstrate that we could provide meaningful services to that region, was very important. Other great moments were winning major tenders with organizations such as Pefindo and Safaricom. 
  7. Out of all the markets we are present in, which one intrigues you the most and why? So many markets intrigue me in different ways. I think the variety is what intrigues me the most – working from SME’s, business lending, all the way to trade credit, and everything in between.
  8. Working at Creditinfo opens doors to meeting a lot of personalities to look up to. Who have you met so far that has influenced your career? There are a number of personalities in the in industry that I’ve met and worked with. I have been lucky to have had a lot of good leaders. I have also learnt from team members, that gave me important feedback. When I was in banking, I had a risk management director Caroline Hendra, who was really inspiring as she went into a very male dominated banking environment in the 90’s, and through her intelligence, she transformed the business. Graham Platts, was also a big influence in terms of understanding of risk management and credit scoring. When I was at Experian, Mark Gaudart made it clear that it’s not only about having knowledge, but also how you communicate that information that is critical to ensuring that the message is passed. I have also learnt a lot from Reynir Grétarsson on being entrepreneurial, taking risks and having emotional intelligence when it comes to negotiation.
  9. How do you as Paul maintain the equilibrium between work and life? I spend my spare time on sporting activities (practicing and watching). I also make time for my family and friends, and this to me brings balance. 
  10. As our Group CEO, how can you say this role has transformed you? I’ve learned a lot about business; understanding the appropriated strategy and how to make that happen; dynamics of people within the business and I have also been so impressed by the quality of the teams that we have and how hard they work.
  11. What has been your greatest motivation? Seeing the success of team members will always continue to motivate me. Witnessing their growth in different stages is always something that pushes me as well so that we all excel in the end.
  12. What are you currently reading? True History of the Kelly Gang – Winner 2001 Man Booker Prize (UK).
  13. What is your morning routine? Training in the morning – through zoom videos while overlooking the sea at 7:00 o’clock in the morning as the sun is rising is quite fantastic!
  14. What fun fact can you share that we don’t know about Paul Randall? As you can see from the countries I have been in, I am curious and always learning about new cultures and trying out different cuisines (anything with seafood always a favorite!)
  15. Parting shot? Give us a quote in Paul’s words. I like the phrase – “It is better to have fought and lost than to have never fought at all.” But I like to win!

Closing the lending gender gap

To make our economy truly financially inclusive, there are many things we need to address – from ensuring people are paid equally to removing biases from the financial ecosystem. One of those biases that urgently needs to be tackled is in the lending market, to ensure that women are not disproportionately prevented from accessing credit and financing products.

Women are key contributors to the economy, making up 40 percent of the world’s workforce – particularly in developing economies. Not only are women typically responsible for the bulk of household purchasing, but their employment falls in sectors that are crucial for economic growth and development.

That said, we often find that women’s involvement in the flow of capital around the economy to be less than we might expect – with reasons stemming from cultural barriers to participation to structural issues in the financial ecosystem. While cultural issues may be more difficult to overcome, there are things we can be doing to address these structural issues holding back the female economy.

The credit industry, from regulators to lenders and to credit bureau all contribute to make changes.  In this article, we discuss some of the challenges of the current situation to some of the potential solutions.

In some markets, the gender pay gap is particularly pronounced – a Creditinfo analysis of the Lithuanian market found that of the 81 sectors into which economic activity breaks down, men are paid more than women in 72, and average pay for men often exceeds women by 30-50 percent. In some sectors, such as air transport, gaming, and gambling, men’s pay can be up to 127 percent above their female colleagues. Closing this gap is going to be key to rebalancing the economy and realising a more financially inclusive world.  There is work being done as part of the ESG initiatives (ESG = Environmental, social and corporate governance) that is starting to make salary gaps more transparent, as well as representation of women on company boards.  Credit bureau, such as Creditinfo Lithuania, are providing specific segments on credit reports to ease access to this information.

However, even outside of pay issues, there are significant problems in the lending markets – and here data can help provide a way forward.

Creditinfo analysis of the lending market in Kenya yielded some very interesting findings. Despite women having higher average credit scores than men (628 vs 623), they have significantly smaller credit footprints (41% vs 59%) and utilisation (82.2% vs 93.9%). This is quite a marked difference and can have a widespread adverse impact.

If women are not able to access financing on a personal level, then their spending power is diminished and their non-participation in the economy will be felt. If they are not able to access financing on a professional level too, the effects are compounded – and the economic imbalance will continue to hold back economic growth and development.

Many other developing economies are experiencing the same issues. In Morocco, for example, the lending market similarly favours men, with women only making up 31% of the active borrowing market.

This needs to change.

To make our world fairer and our economy work for everyone, we need to remove these structural barriers to financing.  In general moving to digital lending and minimising subjective human intervention in lending vastly improves the equality.  Credit scores will reflect the actual risk of individuals based on actual data.  It is important that historic bias is not built into algorithms, model developers need to be aware of the potential of this and remain vigilant.

Regulators have a role as well, over dependence on DTI (debt to income) in their supervisory rules can build in a strong gender bias.  The evidence has already been shown that women are lower paid.  With DTI rules, large proportions of women can be forced to high interest rate lending or pushed out of formal market to the informal credit market without legal protection.

We see the evidence from Latvia where the credit score (fig 1) is highly predictive of future non-payment and should be a significant element of credit decision, it is proven to be predictive at all income levels.  DTI ( Fig 2) is much less predictive and would eliminate many lower income women from formal credit where strict rules around DTI exist.

The best way to start making changes is by using data, whether ESG information or credit scoring. If we can understand the situation clearly and how the picture needs to change, we can begin to address it. We can also measure and manage progress against key performance indicators.

For lenders, this can be a significant opportunity – that a whole section of the economy, with good credit scores and low credit utilisation has been continually underserved, means they can be very targeted with new products and services that cater to that nascent market and generate new revenue streams while tackling financial inclusion.

This is something we believe very strongly in and are working with partners to help address. If we can help de-risk the lending ecosystem, we can make the economy fairer for all and reap the significant benefits that unlocks.

Visit www.creditinfo.com for more information.

Emma Camilleri,

HR Director, Creditinfo Group.

Top trends that will shape banking in 2022 

We sat down with our Direct Markets Director at Creditinfo Group, Samuel White, to discuss some of the key trends that will shape banking in the MENA and Asia region. These were some of his thoughts:

New market players from non-traditional lenders such as telco or payment providers

We are seeing an increasingly number of non-banks entering the markets. There has been a clear sign that these companies have a wealth of internal data through their platforms and usually e-wallet transactions. It has been proven that this data is extremely valuable during the risk assessment process.

SME finance

SMEs are playing an instrumental role in local economies but still struggle to receive the access to banking products in a timely fashion. In the region every country is looking at how better to serve these customers and provide them with the solutions they require.

Digital Banks, Neo Banks, Born Digital Banks

Many of the traditional lenders are based on legacy technologies and we have seen an accelerated approach to digital transformation over the last 2 years. We have also seen some banks create new digital arms to their organization setup with new technology away from legacy portfolios. These Born Digital Banks are increasing in the region, and anybody left behind can expect to lose some market share in the future.

BNPL

Buy Now Pay Later (or as some are calling it Save now pay later) is not a new concept but there is no doubt it is growing with popularity. The demand for flexible payment offerings is at an all-time high. Typically, these smaller value loans are based on impulse buying so lenders must make sure they have the process in place to offer instant decisioning.

We also asked him how Creditinfo is playing a role in shaping these trends:

How is Creditinfo helping banks lead in the digital era? 

At Creditinfo we are focusing on helping banks streamline and improve the credit process across the full credit lifecycle, from origination through scoring, risk, decisioning and portfolio management. We are offering enhanced digital channels to meet the customer demands and reach the underserved or unbanked segments. We recognize it has become more accessible for individuals and SMEs to make use of digital financial services and by working with Banks we can develop software and applications to deliver services that are more transparent and automated.

What is Creditinfo’s business model and how do you see this model shaping the banking industry?

Creditinfo is a provider of credit information and risk management solutions worldwide, one of our primary goals is to help facilitate access to finance. We have built credit bureaus globally and across different markets, giving us key insights and knowledge into best practices. Creditinfo has a vision to create successful partnerships with lenders, governments, central banks to help increase financial inclusion and generate economic growth by allowing credit access for individuals and SMEs.

Creditinfo wants to continue building products and working with partners to add further solutions and data to enable lenders to further lend in a responsible fashion. Lenders are shifting their attitude towards FinTechs to keep pace with change and remain competitive. There is a huge variety of FinTech offerings available today using wide range of data that’s delivered through applications to provide lending decisions in only a few seconds.

Internet safety tips

Safer Internet Day this year is being celebrated on 8th February 2022, and it is already the 19th edition, since its introduction on 6th February 2004. The first one was celebrated in 13 EU countries and Australia, and today in approximately 200 countries worldwide. As the name suggests, the purpose of this campaign is to spread awareness and make the internet a safer place for its users.

In recent years, the awareness on cyber security, hackers, and the need to secure your digital identity have grown significantly but there is still a lot that goes unnoticed. Social networking, inappropriate content and finally, cyberbullying are still a threat to many non-vigilant users. Among the people who are the most vulnerable online there are children and the elderly. These are the groups I would suggest families to focus on.

Talk to your kids and elderly about the risks they can face on the internet and social media and explain to them for the start that:

  • There is a reason for privacy and security settings so do set those up properly on browsers and social media
  • If something is personal, keep it that way. Don’t post pictures of your kids, your holiday schedule, full address, or phone number, remember: “Once posted, always posted”
  • You never know who is watching, check your privacy setting often and just share your news with a trusted group of people
  • Make sure you know the people you are in contact with online
  • Your online reputation is important also for your future career or business venture, so think before you post

If you happen to come across something disturbing, most countries have Safer Internet Centers where you can report any inappropriate content (https://www.saferinternetday.org/en-GB/in-your-country), do not hesitate to do so. There may be some case where authorities or police should be involved as well.

For further insights on how social media and algorithms use your information online, I suggest you watch the Netflix documentary “Social Dilemma” and acknowledge the impact of your actions online.

There is a lot happening in the cyber environment daily, so always stay vigilant. I wish you safe browsing and safe online interactions.

Jakub Burian,

Chief Security Officer, Creditinfo Group.

Creditinfo Lithuania invests 1 Million Euros in new Credit Bureau System

The credit bureau is carrying out strategical changes and gathering resources inside of the group of companies.

In implementation of the development plans and presentation of new services, the credit bureau “Creditinfo Lietuva“ informs having invested one million euro into a new information system of the credit bureau and that it is going to introduce several innovative products soon. The credit bureau is implementing strategical changes – it is gathering all the data resources and processes inside the group of companies “Creditinfo Lietuva“ for more effective administration.

Last March, “Levine Leichtman Capital Partners” (LLCP) became the new main shareholder of the group of companies “Creditinfo”. It announced its plans to grow and to expand the activities of credit bureaus in the international market and to invest into development of new data-based solutions. The investor with solid international business management experience focuses on the information technologies and automated solutions.

“We have a good possibility to start providing more new services in Lithuania (as in other advanced financial markets), to start providing more new services that would enable the creditors to make faster and more accurate decisions, and the consumers to receive financing more expeditiously, – says Mr. Aurimas Kačinskas, CEO of “Creditinfo Lietuva“. – The services of credit information, risk management and data analysis that we are providing demand for bigger collection of the resources in one place, thus, we have invested into development of the credit bureau’s system of a new generation, and we have expanded the available IT platform. This allows controlling quality of the services better, providing them continuously, and expanding the suggest scope of services by innovative products.”

Automated solutions and artificial intellect data services will be introduced

The services of “Creditinfo Lietuva“ that will be launched soon will help the clients to use more automated solutions and products of the credit bureau not only in Lithuania, but also in other countries, and to evaluate creditworthiness of borrowers, and to control the financing risks. It is planned to introduce the innovations in the first quarter of this year already.

The pending changes are the part of strategy of the new main shareholder of the group of companies “Creditinfo”, LLCP – to apply the international business management experience for the activities of credit bureaus in more than 30 countries. The company of private capital, “Levine Leichtman Capital Partners” operating for 38 years, is managing 14 investment funds and has invested into 90 companies in the United States of America (USA) and Europe.

The international group of companies “Creditinfo“ includes the credit bureau operating in Lithuania, “Creditinfo Lietuva“, that was established in 2000. The credit bureau has been collecting and managing the biggest data system on creditworthiness of the Lithuanian companies and residents, and providing services of credit risk management, rating creation and modelling for more than 20 years. The company has 43 employees and its annual income in 2020 amounted to 5,6 million euro.

More information:

Aurimas Kačinskas, CEO of “Creditinfo Lietuva”

Aurimas.Kacinskas@creditinfo.lt

Tel: +370 618 10110

Creditinfo Gulf and Tech Access Strategic Partnership

Creditinfo Gulf and Tech Access joined forces and announced a strategic partnership to enhance risk assessment and facilitate access to finance in the MENA region.

Both companies will help Lenders and Tech firms streamline the risk assessment process and increase credit quality, earnings and growth while mitigating credit risk.

Creditinfo is a leading service provider for credit information and risk management solutions worldwide. It has established more than 33 credit bureaus in mature and emerging markets over 4 continents, thus tangibly contributing to growing and strengthening economies.

Tech Access has become an acknowledged industry leader in the ICT enterprise distribution market in the MENA region. Providing technology solutions to large Govt., private and public corporations across UAE, KSA, Pakistan, Levant & Africa regions.

“Our partnership, comprised with Creditinfo Gulf, is to enhance our local and regional coverage on credit information and fintech service provider across the globe, offering cutting-edge analytical tools and software solutions for the financial industry for efficient credit risk and strategic decision making” commented Jawwad Rehman, CEO Tech Access.

“This announcement marks another significant milestone, and we are excited to start this new partnership with Tech Access to provide full potential of intelligent information, software and analytics solutions. Supported by international know-how and local market support, setting a remarkable high bar in the MENA region. We look forward to working with Tech Access and Financial Lenders to deliver these capabilities.” commented Gary Brown, Managing Director Creditinfo Gulf

Ends.

Creditinfo awarded contract as the service provider for the Credit Information System of Seychelles

Creditinfo to establish a new Credit Information System for the country.

London, UK – 11th January 2022: Creditinfo Group, the leading global credit information and decision analytics solutions provider, today announced that it has signed a contract to design, implement and support a new Credit Information System (CIS) for the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS).

The contract – which will see Creditinfo’s solution rolled out over the next 12 months – makes CBS the 10th central bank to procure a credit information solution from the company.

At the end of 2020, the Seychelles population stood at 98,963, out of which there were approximately 20,099 active retail credit consumers. Seven commercial banks, all licensed and regulated by CBS, are currently the main institutions granting credit facilities to customers. A local credit union and two micro-finance institutions, also supervised by CBS, are the other major providers of credit facilities.

One of the recommendations in Seychelles’ Financial Sector Development Implementation Plan adopted in 2014 was the need to enhance the effectiveness of the existing CIS operated by CBS, inclusive of broadening the scope for the capture of information across all relevant credit providers. In this context, CBS initiated a tender process in April 2021, inviting credit information solutions providers to submit proposals to develop and implement a new CIS. The contract has ultimately been awarded to Creditinfo.

The solution will include scoring, benchmarking, and the implementation of external data sources. Creditinfo will also provide training, consultancy and ongoing support services for the management of the system over the next five years to ensure that CBS employees, local lenders and data providers have the necessary knowledge to make the new CIS a successful endeavor.

Once established, the new CIS will support existing lenders and, over time, onboard other credit data providers, including fintech companies, state-owned enterprises, hire purchase providers, credit sales and financial leasing companies, insurance companies, amongst others. Hence, the new and expanded CIS will support the incorporation of additional data to supplement traditional sources and ultimately provide more individuals and businesses with the financing needed to realize their goals and grow the economy. In addition, the enhanced system will assist the overall mitigation of credit risk.

Samuel White, Regional Director at Creditinfo commented: “While the Central Bank of Seychelles currently has a credit information system in place, it doesn’t meet the market needs of today, and certainly doesn’t enable it to realize the future ambitions of the country and its economy. We’re delighted to win this tender to put in place the technology and knowledge base to help open doors for individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises by increasing access to credit.

We see huge untapped potential in the market, and we are excited to work with our 10th central bank customer to establish a credit information system fit for the future. Once operational, this new system will enable more responsible lending by empowering local credit providers with the data they need to ensure they manage lending risks appropriately, ultimately boosting access to finance for individuals and small businesses.”

Caroline Abel, Governor, Central Bank of Seychelles, said: “Seychelles has a vibrant financial services ecosystem, and access to credit is an important aspect as we look to boost financial inclusion in the market and look at ways to grow our economy. At the same time, lenders should have access to appropriate data to have a better overview of the creditworthiness of borrowers, be able to assess credit risks and make sound financial decisions. Information collected through such a system can also be used for analysis and monitoring in the areas of financial inclusion and stability.   

The CBS is therefore looking forward to the collaboration with Creditinfo over the next five years to have a modern credit information system that is in line with industry standards, ultimately assisting the development of the credit environment and overall financial sector.”

Paul Randall, CEO of Creditinfo Group added: “Creditinfo has been effective in strengthening the financial infrastructure in numerous countries across the world, and working with central banks to create a robust and fair way to assess risk and credit affordability. We are looking forward to supporting the Central Bank of Seychelles with their implementation of a future-looking credit information solution and widening access to the information and financing that will be key to future business and economic growth in the country.”

-ENDS-

About Creditinfo

Established in 1997 and headquartered in London, UK, Creditinfo is a provider of credit information and risk management solutions worldwide. As one of the fastest-growing companies in its field, Creditinfo facilitates access to finance, through intelligent information, software and analytics solutions.

With more than 30 credit bureaus running today, Creditinfo has the largest global presence in the field of credit risk management, with a significantly greater footprint than competitors. For decades it has provided business information, risk management and credit bureau solutions to some of the largest lenders, governments and central banks globally – all with the aim of increasing financial inclusion and generating economic growth by allowing credit access for SMEs and individuals.

For more information, please visit www.creditinfo.com

Media Contacts:

Matt Silver

Babel PR for Creditinfo Group

Creditinfo@babelpr.com

+44 (0)20 7199 3997

Creditinfo awarded license to become Malta’s first Credit Bureau

Creditinfo Malta will help local credit providers take a more intelligent approach to risk and boost financial inclusion.

London, UK – 21st December 2021: Creditinfo Group, the leading global credit information and decision analytics solutions provider, today announced that its Maltese business has been granted the license to act as a Credit Reference Agency, officially recognizing the Creditinfo Malta as the first licensed credit bureau in Malta.

This license will enable the company to launch a credit scoring system for Malta, and collaborate with local banks and lenders to create dedicated scoring products and strategies, tailored to their needs and risk appetite.

Consumers and SMEs in smaller markets like Malta are less likely to obtain financing than those in larger market with more established financial infrastructure, due to lack of information about their credit history. A credit reporting system – like the one Creditinfo is putting in place – helps to provide the information on borrowers and their financial situation lenders need to derisk the system and give them the confidence to widen access to financing.

The deal, which will see Creditinfo play an increasingly important role in the Maltese market, strengthens the company’s relationships with two key local authorities, the Malta Business Registry and the Malta Financial Services Authority, who are equally invested in growing the Maltese economy and boosting financial inclusion.

Clifford Debono, Country Manager of Creditinfo Malta commented: “A formalized credit reporting system in Malta should help open doors for small and medium-sized enterprises that have long been closed, by increasing access to credit. That will in turn enable them to grow, create jobs and benefit the overall economy.

“We see huge untapped potential in Malta, and we’re excited to establish the country’s first ever credit bureau, which will be a key driver of digitalization in Maltese financial services., ultimately boosting access to finance for individuals and small businesses.”

Paul Randall, CEO of Creditinfo Group added: “Creditinfo has been effective in strengthening the financial infrastructure in numerous countries across the world. We’re looking forward to seeing how the local lending landscape develops as we roll out our market leading credit bureau solution in Malta, derisking the financial system and widening access to the financing that will be key to future business and economic growth in the country.”

Ends

About Creditinfo

Established in 1997 and headquartered in London, UK, Creditinfo is a provider of credit information and risk management solutions worldwide. As one of the fastest growing companies in its field, Creditinfo facilitates access to finance, through intelligent information, software and analytics solutions.

With more than 30 credit bureaus running today, Creditinfo has the largest global presence in the field of credit risk management, with a significantly greater footprint than competitors. For decades it has provided business information, risk management and credit bureau solutions to some of the largest, lenders, governments and central banks globally – all with the aim of increasing financial inclusion and generating economic growth by allowing credit access for SMEs and individuals. For more information, please visit www.creditinfo.com

Media Contacts:

Matt Silver

Babel PR for Creditinfo Group Creditinfo@babelpr.com

+44 (0)20 7199 3997

New Creditinfo Jamaica Country Manager encourages Jamaicans to be proactive

Christopher R. Brown who was appointed as the new Country Manager for Creditinfo Jamaica on August 11, 2021, is encouraging Jamaicans to “be vigilant in guarding their credit history and their credit data and in managing them” to ensure there are no surprises when individuals or businesses seek to access services which require a credit report.

Brown, in an interview with the Jamaica Observer, reminded Jamaicans that they are entitled to one free copy of their credit report each year by law. He said Jamaicans should go to any of the credit bureaus and request their credit report each year and scrutinise it for “errors or outdated information” and where these are found, “they can then lodge a formal dispute after which it is the responsibility by law for the institution that they have lodged the complaint against, to investigate and correct it, once it is proven that it is an inaccurate record that is kept for that individual”.

He said errors can occur in the case where people may “have closed an account and completed payments on a loan account or a mortgage account, or a hire purchase agreement, and unfortunately it is not updated in the system and it is negatively impacting their credit score. So even after you have closed an account or some contract, or some credit cards or loans that you have paid, it is good to check to ensure those information are updated in the system so that your credit report is always current and up to date, because managing your credit is very essential in these days where credit is king and so fundamental to economic livelihood and, by extension, economic growth.”

He told Sunday Finance that if the entity against which the error complaint is brought, investigates and validates that there was an error, the law requires an updated credit report to be generated and dispatched to the institution which the individual had sought to do business with in the last six months. Whether terms or conditions of any agreements change after the updated information is then to be negotiated with the entity with which the individual is doing business. He stressed the importance of having the records updated because entries stay on the report for seven years.

Brown said getting Jamaicans to be vigilant in guarding their credit data is the message Credit Info Jamaica is pushing.

Credit Info Jamaica is the first credit bureau that was established in the country following the passage of the Credit Reporting Act in 2010. The company, which started its Jamaica operation in 2011, is part of a global network which has operations in Europe, Africa and sections of the Caribbean. In the region it also has facilities in Barbados, Guyana and the Eastern Caribbean.

“We see ourselves as an important part of the local financial infrastructure…part of the push for economic growth,” he outlined. Credit bureaus “have been a fundamental part of the whole improvement in how individuals and institutions now manage their risk in an integrated way. Whereas in the past, institutions would have to take the information that is given to them either by the client and other sources that they have to use intelligence to gather, now they can get it instantly, automated and at the click of a button, they can have the information of a customer sitting infront of them. It makes the application process more efficient and faster. It allows institutions to know how and who they can market their products to and what type of products they can market to individuals. It allows them to determine the credit terms that they will offer based on the credit history associated with the individual,” he added. He indicated that this has seen Jamaicans being more responsible because the list of institutions which credit bureaus collect information from to create a credit profile on an individual is extensive.

Article was originally published on the Jamaica Observer

Edwin Urasa appointed new CEO of Creditinfo Tanzania

New CEO Creditinfo Tanzania

Press Release

London, UK.

30/11/2021

Creditinfo Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Edwin Urasa as new CEO and Executive Director of Creditinfo Tanzania effective 01st November 2021. He is replacing Mr. Van Reynders whose tenure ended in April 2021.

Edwin brings 10 years of experience from the local banking industry having spent significant time around credit and risk management, recently before joining he was responsible for the Retail and Micro-SME segment at NBC Bank as Head of Retail Credit.

“I am especially excited to join Creditinfo Tanzania, which has been in operation for the last 9 years and has over the years continued to grow rapidly enabling small to large organizations effectively manage risk and support the government and banking community providing responsible lending in Tanzania. I am looking forward to expanding the companies’ product portfolio and services through application of best practices while leveraging Creditinfo global knowledge and expertise”.

“We are very excited to have Edwin Urasa join us as the new Creditinfo Tanzania CEO. With his vast knowledge and experience in the Tanzanian banking and credit industry, we have no doubt that he will lead Creditinfo Tanzania to greater heights and move the company’s journey forward in pushing our innovative solutions to the Tanzania market as well as pushing one of our core pillars – financial literacy, to the public at large”, says Paul Randall, CEO of Creditinfo Group.

Edwin holds a Bachelor Degree in Commerce (Hons), Majoring in Finance from the University of Dar es Salaam, an MBA from Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University-UK and has also several certifications namely, a Mortgage advisor (CeMAP)-UK, Modules in Commercial Credit from Moody’s Analytics-USA, and Risk Management from City University -UK.

ENDS.

PR contacts:

Marketing Manager/ PR for East Africa

Phidi Mwatibo

Email: Phidi.mwatibo@creditinfo.com

Creditinfo Group, TASDEEQ, PACRA and APL partner with Pakistan Banks’ Association to facilitate wider access to housing finance

Consortium will develop a market-level application scorecard and income estimation model to boost financial inclusion in Pakistan

LONDON, UK, 21st October 2021 – Pakistan Banks’ Association (PBA) recently announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with a consortium of leading financial services and technology businesses to improve access to finance for low-income segments of the population currently excluded from traditional housing finance.

The consortium, comprised of Creditinfo Group, a global credit information and fintech service provider; TASDEEQ, Pakistan’s first SBP Licensed Credit bureau, offering cutting-edge reports, statistical scores, and analytical tools for the financial industry for efficient credit risk and strategic decision making; Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) and Analytics Pvt Ltd, a leading Artificial Intelligence, Business Analytics, Big Data Analytics and Data Sciences solutions provider, will work together to develop for PBA a market-level application scorecard and income estimation model aimed at streamlining risk assessments and enabling a wider pool of applicants to access financing for their housing needs.

The consortium brings together industry-leading credit risk analytics knowledge, alongside extensive experience in Pakistan and emerging markets globally. The development and deployment of the automated income estimation & credit assessment methodology will be overseen through the PBA platform.

This project is being managed by the PBA Technology Working Group, comprising CEOs and members of Bank Alfalah, HBL and Faysal Bank as well as the CEO of PBA and a senior official of State Bank of Pakistan. This is a novel and unique project, and the first of its kind in Pakistan, where a scorecard will be developed using an alternative source of data.

The scorecard project will support the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme (NPHP), a government-backed initiative providing low-cost, affordable housing to deserving individuals in Pakistan that is expected to be a catalyst to accelerated economic activity and increased job opportunities in the region following the negative impact of Covid-19.

Mr. Tawfiq Husain, CEO, PBA stated, “We are very excited with the transformational impact this project can have on our members’ consumer lending and credit initiation and risk management capabilities. Starting with Low Cost Housing Financing, we hope to be able to put this model to use for other products in consumer lending.”

Mr. Omar Khalid, COO TASDEEQ commented: “TASDEEQ, PACRA and Analytics together bring a diverse array of expertise to the project. This synergy coupled with Creditinfo’s comprehensive global experience will be vital in development of low-cost housing credit scoring and income estimation models for the existing as well as new-to-bank customers utilizing alternative data sources. We are excited to be working with PBA to provide the banks with tools for quick and accurate risk decision making and working towards a more financially inclusive Pakistan.”

Mr. Samuel White, Regional Director, Creditinfo, commented on the partnership: “Our unique global experience will be complemented by the consortium partners’ local market knowledge to develop a robust credit risk and affordability solution in Pakistan. The project will provide PBA members with the required tools to make accurate risk decisions on underserved segments of the population, which is fundamental to increasing access to housing finance. Creditinfo is excited to work with the PBA to support the expansion of financial inclusion in Pakistan and help drive economic activity in the region”.

-ENDS-

 

About Creditinfo

Established in 1997 and headquartered in London, UK, Creditinfo is a provider of credit information and risk management solutions worldwide. As one of the fastest growing companies in its field, Creditinfo facilitates access to finance, through intelligent information, software and analytics solutions.

With more than 30 credit bureaus running today, Creditinfo has the largest global presence in the field of credit risk management, with a significantly greater footprint than competitors. For decades it has provided business information, risk management and credit bureau solutions to some of the largest, lenders, governments and central banks globally – all with the aim of increasing financial inclusion and generating economic growth by allowing credit access for SMEs and individuals.

For more information, please visit www.creditinfo.com

 

About TADSDEEQ

TASDEEQ is Pakistan’s first SBP Licensed Credit bureau and a leading credit information services company that leverages data analytics, technology, and industry knowledge to enable financial and non-financial institutions achieve their strategic goals with minimizing their credit risk and help consumers secure their future.

For more information, please visit www.tasdeeq.com

 

About PACRA

PACRA is, transforming both the rating business and the industry in line with the best practices. Today PACRA has more than 450 opinions outstanding and covering 60+ sectors and sub-sectors of economy.

Since inception, PACRA has over 8,000 rating opinion a testament of PACRA’s expertise, exceptional command, market leadership, and the confidence reposed in its opinions. PACRA rates more than 40% of KSE-100 index companies and 25% of the private sector debt, translating into a rating opinion on every 4th Rupee of debt raised in Pakistan.

The same trust and confidence have also been reposed by foreign regulators in PACRA’s ability and expertise as a CRA. PACRA has entered into a Technical Collaboration Agreements for the formation and operations of CRAs in Bangladesh (National Credit Ratings) and Sri Lanka (Lanka Rating Agency).

For more information, please visit www.pacra.com

 

About APL

Analytics (branded as Tenx.ai in North America) is a leading Artificial Intelligence, Business Analytics, Big Data Analytics and Data Sciences solutions provider. Having customers in the United States, Middle East and Pakistan, the company has accomplished a proven track record of successfully delivering high impact and complex projects.

For more information, please visit www.analytics.com.pk

 

About PBA

Pakistan Banks’ Association is a private limited company incorporated under the Companies Act 1913, (now the Companies Act 2017). The principal activity of the Association is to promote, advance and protect rights, privileges and interests of member banks/ financial institutions. Currently, it has 44 members on all Pakistan basis.

For more information, please visit www.pakistanbanks.org.pk

 

Media Contacts:

Matt Silver

Babel PR for Creditinfo

E: matt.silver@babelpr.com

T: +44 (0)207 199 3977

Average pay for women grows in Lithuania

The average pay for women has grown in 56 sectors after starting releasing information on gender pay gap. Within a matter of three months women’s average monthly pay increased by EUR 20, compared against an EUR 15 increase for men.

After Sodra (Lithuanian Social Security Authority) started publishing sectoral data on average gender pay gap, women’s average pay has grown in 56 sectors out of 81 within the past three months. Women’s monthly average pay increased from EUR 2 to EUR 325 in various sectors. In 13 sectors women’s pay grew by over 10% despite some economic activities where gender pay gap continued to grow for men, these are: insurance, re-insurance, pension accumulation companies, power generation, gas and air conditioning companies, and the pharmaceutical industry.  

According to the analysis conducted by Creditinfo Lithuania, from April to July women’s average pay grew from 0.1% to 36.1%, or from EUR 2 to EUR 325 per month. In thirteen business sectors, women’s pay increased by over 10%, with the most remarkable growth reported in accommodation (16.8%), catering and supply of beverages (21.6%), gambling or betting industry (36.1%).

An increase from 10 to 14% in women’s average pay was reported in leather production and water transport, postal and courier activities, organisation of travels, sports activities, and events management, as well as several other sectors, manufacturing of coke and refined petrochemicals, cinema and television programme production, wastewater treatment, programme production and broadcasting, manufacturing of chemicals, extraction of oil and gas.

However, from the already listed sectors only in two of them (postal and courier services, oil and gas extraction) women’s average pay is higher than men’s amounting to EUR 1,856 (cf. men’s pay of EUR 1,552) and EUR 2,851 (cf. men’s pay of EUR 2,248), respectively; whereas in all the other sectors men earn more than women on average.

An average men’s pay is EUR 185 higher than women’s, but the gender gap has been narrowing

Despite the narrowing gender pay gap reported from April to July, in Lithuania men used to earn EUR 185 more than women: men’s average pay currently stands at EUR 1,596 against EUR 1,411 for women. Last April the gap reached EUR 190, with men’s average pay standing at EUR 1,581 against women’s EUR 1,391.

Aurimas Kačinskas, CEO of Creditinfo Lithuania, notes that in the absence of a more in-depth analysis, it is not feasible to assess gender pay gap; examination must be made into the types of positions held by men and women in order to identify the reasons behind differences in salaries.

“Publication of average pay is yet another indicator which can be used by future employees or partners to assess companies; knowledge of this information encourages a better understanding and awareness of the specificities of every company”, A. Kačinskas said.

The gap continues to grow in insurance, reinsurance, financial and telecommunication services, and pharmaceutical industry

Against the background of growing women’s average pay in most of the sectors, in 22 economic sectors the gender pay gap is widening. An average women’s pay dropped by 17.9% in insurance, reinsurance, and pension accumulation sector, where men earned EUR 3,179 per month on average compared to EUR 2,284 earned by women. A gender pay gap widened further from 11.1 to 11.5% in research and technical activities, pharmaceutical industry, power and gas supply, and air conditioning.

Gender pay gap continues to enlarge in the beverages’ industry, immovable property, construction of buildings, telecommunications, and financial sectors.

For instance, in telecommunications an average monthly women’s pay in July stood at EUR 1,602 compared against EUR 2,154 for men, in the financial sector these figures were EUR 2,433 and EUR 3,620, respectively.

The yawning gender pay gap is reported in air transport, where men earn EUR 3,932 per month on average, compared with women’s average monthly pay of EUR 2,385. Human resource management experts put this gap down to a higher number of men engaged in the aviation sector in better paid positions of pilots, whereas women work as flight attendants.

Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that over three months the number of economic sectors with women earning more than men grew from 9 to 11. The sectors of education, libraries, land transport and transport via pipelines, social work, care services, furniture production, postal and courier services, tobacco and metal production were recently joined by fisheries and aquaculture companies, and motor vehicle manufacturing.

Earlier last June it was reported that, as of last April, out of 81 economic sectors in as many as 72 men receive higher pay than women.

For more information please contact:
Aurimas Kačinskas, CEO of Creditinfo Lithuania, (aurimas.kacinskas@creditinfo.lt; +37061810110).