The Creditinfo Chronicle
Letshego Kenya launches “Letsgo Cash” in partnership with Creditinfo Kenya to take financial inclusion to a higher level.
· Minimum loan amount of KES 1,000 and a maximum of KES 100,000 and a loan repayment period of 30 days.
· LetsGo Cash increases access and supports customers who need quick and easy access to funds for emergency purposes.
· LetsGo Cash supports digital financial inclusion and enables the underserved and informal sector players to build their own credit records.
Nairobi, Kenya, 3rd May 2023 – Letshego Kenya Limited, a subsidiary of Letshego Holdings Limited (Letshego Group), has partnered with Creditinfo Kenya to launch LetsGo Cash, a self-service and short-term instant loan that gives customers access to KES 1,000 up to KES 100,000.
LetsGo Cash is payable in 30 days and geared towards consumers who need quick and easy access to funds for emergency purposes, including family emergencies, medical needs, home repairs, car breakdowns or funds to support entrepreneurs and small businesses. Creditinfo Kenya’s team brings decades of experience and practical knowledge in credit risk management to support the delivery of LetsGo Cash.
Letshego Kenya’s Chief Executive Officer, Adam Kasaine said: “LetsGo Cash is another way we are increasing access to product funds for more Kenyans. This is inclusive finance in action – it’s quick and hassle-free cash at a competitive price, accessible via your phone or web.”
The innovative LetsGo Cash is a potential game-changer, as it is accessible anytime, anywhere and is more competitive than traditional short-term cash advance providers, providing customers with immediate financial relief and the opportunity to participate in the digital economy in a sustainable and responsible manner.
Creditinfo’s Regional Manager for East Africa, Kamau Kunyiha added: “Creditinfo is proud to support LetsGo Cash assist customers who need quick and easy access to emergency funds the most, while also helping the underserved to build their own credit scores at the same time. Customers’ applications are submitted with a few swipes on a mobile phone, and the time to cash can be as short as a few minutes.”
LetsGo Cash provides a convenient, safe and affordable financial service to the underserved and informal sector players thereby helping to increase financial inclusion. It also helps them build their own credit record, since the better they manage their loan, the better their credit record, and the more cash they have access to going forward. This ensures that more people can access the service, including first-time borrowers who can now enjoy the benefits of a secure, regulated lending solution. Once approved, the money is disbursed directly into the customer’s mobile wallet. It can then be used as the customer desires, including for emergencies, such as purchasing prepaid electricity and water, paying bills, or sending money to friends and family.
LetsGo Cash can be accessed on Letshego’s LetsGo Digital Mall and downloadable via Android and Apple Play Store, or with one click, clicking on www.letsgo.letshego.com as well as via the USSD *435# on their mobile phone.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
About Letshego Kenya Limited
Letshego Kenya Limited is the largest credit-only microfinance institution in Kenya and a licensed financial services provider in Kenya, providing loans to individuals across both the public and private sectors, as well as supporting Micro and Small Entrepreneurs (MSE). Since the conclusion of the successful acquisition by Letshego Holdings Ltd in February 2012, Micro Africa Group became a wholly owned subsidiary of Botswana-based Letshego Holdings Limited – an inclusive finance group with more than 21 years’ experience in Africa, and a current footprint of 11 Sub-Saharan Markets. Its contribution to the group has been to leverage the microfinance banking competencies and existing customer base, expand Letshego’s geographic coverage, and diversify its solution offering.
The company is founded on, and continues to strive towards, the principle of finding the most effective way to implement microfinance banking in an African context and transform the livelihoods of customers who carry out viable economic activity. Letshego Kenya Limited has a staff compliment of over 150 employees, spread across 25 branches. The company provides loans to over 20,000 customers who enjoy an expanded access through strategic partnerships, innovative technology and digital delivery channels. For more information on Letshego, please visit www.letshego.com/kenya
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 decision analytics solutions.
With more than 30 credit bureaus running today, Creditinfo has the most considerable global presence in the field of credit risk management. 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 on Creditinfo, please visit www.creditinfo.com
Estonia, 9th May 2023 – Creditinfo Group, a global service provider for credit information and risk management solutions, today announces the appointment of Elari Tammenurm as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of its Estonian branch. Elari will support and maintain Creditinfo’s legacy as a leading partner for business and risk management decision making and drive the sustainable growth of AS Creditinfo Eesti.
Elari joined Creditinfo in 2019 as Director IT in the Baltics, progressing to Management Board member and Head of IT Baltics. Now as CEO, Elari will be responsible for the largest and oldest credit bureau in Estonia.
In his role, Elari will work with various internal and external stakeholders to ensure the company’s approach to strategy and growth remains first class in terms of meeting customers’ expectations and needs.
Elari Tammenurm, CEO of AS Creditinfo Eesti said: “Today everyone has access to vast amounts of data; however, the abundance of data can make it more difficult to make well-informed business decisions in an ever-changing business environment. In my new role, it’s my goal to further ensure the facilitation of this process through delivering world class solutions to the Estonian market including various new Decision Analytics and Scoring related products. This will allow us to continue driving valuable and positive outcomes for our clients and enable greater access to finance and economic growth in Estonia.”
Paul Randall, CEO of Creditinfo Group, said: “With roots in financial services and IT strategy, Elari knows how to solve our clients’ unique business challenges. His knowledge of the company, our people, our industry, and our clients is a huge advantage for AS Creditinfo Eesti’s innovation and growth as we continue to expand in the Estonian market. We’re proud to have Elari leading the way.”
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 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.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in credit scoring is revolutionizing the lending industry. By leveraging vast amounts of data and advanced algorithms, lenders are able to more accurately predict credit risk, improve operational efficiency, and expand access to credit for underbanked individuals and small businesses. This white paper explores the benefits and challenges of AI and ML credit scoring, and provides guidance for lenders on how to successfully integrate these technologies into their lending processes.
Traditional credit scoring models rely on a limited set of data points, such as payment history, outstanding debt, and length of credit history, to assess creditworthiness. These models are effective for many borrowers, but they can be limiting for individuals with thin credit files or non-traditional sources of income. AI and ML credit scoring models, on the other hand, can analyze a vast array of data points, including non-traditional data sources, to develop a more accurate and comprehensive picture of a borrower’s creditworthiness.
Benefits of AI and ML Credit Scoring:
1. Improved accuracy: AI and ML algorithms can analyze a wide range of data points, including non-traditional data sources such as social media activity and utility bill payments, to develop a more accurate picture of a borrower’s creditworthiness. This can result in more accurate credit scores and better loan decisions.
2. Expanded access to credit: Traditional credit scoring models can be limiting for individuals with thin credit files or non-traditional sources of income. By analyzing a broader range of data points, AI and ML credit scoring models can expand access to credit for underbanked individuals and small businesses.
3. Increased efficiency: AI and ML credit scoring models can automate many aspects of the lending process, reducing the need for manual underwriting and improving operational efficiency. This can result in faster loan decisions and a better borrower experience.
Challenges of AI and ML Credit Scoring:
1. Data privacy and security: As AI and ML credit scoring models rely on vast amounts of data, data privacy and security are critical concerns. Lenders must ensure that they are collecting and using data in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and that they have robust cybersecurity measures in place to protect sensitive borrower data.
2. Bias and discrimination: AI and ML algorithms are only as good as the data they are trained on, and if that data is biased, the algorithms can perpetuate that bias. Lenders must be mindful of potential biases in their data and take steps to mitigate any potential discrimination in their lending decisions.
3. Explainability: AI and ML algorithms can be complex and difficult to interpret, which can make it challenging for lenders to explain their lending decisions to borrowers. Lenders must be able to provide clear explanations of their credit scoring models and lending decisions to borrowers.
AI and ML credit scoring has the potential to revolutionize the lending industry, providing more accurate credit scores, expanding access to credit, and improving operational efficiency. However, lenders must be mindful of the potential challenges, including data privacy and security, bias and discrimination, and explainability, and take steps to mitigate these risks. By investing in AI and ML technologies and developing robust risk management practices, lenders can successfully integrate these technologies into their lending processes and provide better loan decisions and a better borrower experience.
Director of Direct Marekts, Creditinfo Group.
As the world grapples with environmental and social challenges such as climate change, social inequality, and governance failures, the importance of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations has never been more apparent. For banks, ESG is becoming an increasingly important aspect of doing business, as it can help to manage risks, enhance reputation, meet regulatory requirements, drive innovation and increase access to capital. In this blog post, we’ll explore each of these points in more detail.
- Risk management: ESG risks are significant and multifaceted, ranging from physical risks such as climate change-related natural disasters to transition risks stemming from legal and policy risks from greenhouse gas emissions and governance or social issues such as human rights abuses. By integrating ESG considerations into their risk management frameworks, banks can better anticipate and manage these risks, which can have a positive impact on their financial performance. For example, banks that fail to properly assess and manage climate-related risks could face stranded assets or lawsuits, which could impact their bottom line. Regulatory frameworks in Europe have taken note of this and the European Banking Authority now requires banks to disclose multiple data-points regarding ESG risks in their risk reports (Pillar III).
- Reputation: ESG is increasingly important to customers, investors, and other stakeholders who want to see banks acting as responsible corporate citizens. Banks that take ESG seriously and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility are more likely to attract and retain customers, as well as to access funding from ESG-focused investors. For example, a bank that invests in renewable energy projects or supports social programs in its local community is likely to be viewed more favorably than a bank that does not prioritize ESG. Mismanaging ESG factors to increase reputation may have negative effects, which became evident in some high-profile cases in 2022, both in the EU and US.
- Regulatory pressure: Regulators around the world are increasingly focusing on ESG issues and requiring banks to integrate these considerations into their business practices. For example, the European Union has introduced regulations such as the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and the Taxonomy Regulation, which require banks to disclose ESG-related information and align their investments with environmental objectives. Banks that fail to comply with these regulations could face fines or other penalties, which could impact their financial performance, reputation, and limit access to capital.
- Innovation: Banks that prioritize ESG are more likely to drive innovation and develop new products and services that address environmental and social challenges. By supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy and promoting social inclusion, banks can help to create a more sustainable and equitable future. For example, a bank that issues green bonds or sustainable investment products can help to finance renewable energy projects or other environmentally beneficial initiatives, potentially at better rates. Similarly, a bank that offers financial services to underserved communities can help to promote financial inclusion and social equality.
- Green bond issuance offers several benefits for banks, such as accessing a growing pool of socially responsible investors, improving their reputation as sustainable financial institutions, and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. The growth of the green bond market has been impressive, with a record-high issuance of $269.5 billion in 2021, up 4.6% from 2020. The cumulative issuance from 2007 to 2021 surpassed $1.5 trillion, with the US, China, and France being the largest issuers. The increase in green bond issuance is driven by investor demand and regulatory measures promoting sustainable finance.
In conclusion, ESG considerations are becoming increasingly important to the banking industry to manage risk, enhance reputation, meet regulatory requirements, and drive innovation. Banks that prioritize ESG are likely to be better positioned for long-term success, as they can help to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all stakeholders. As individuals, we can also play a role in promoting ESG considerations by supporting banks and financial institutions that prioritize sustainability and social responsibility. By working together, we can help to build a more resilient and sustainable global economy.
This may be one of the most important feature of ESG in banking, where the green bond space has grown exponentially over the last years.
By Gary Brown
Head of Commercial Development – Creditinfo Group.
Register and join Jekaterina Rojaka, COO Creditinfo Lietuva , as she hosts another session on the Baltic market overview.
During this session, you will get the latest updates on the following:
- Improving sentiments – will it strengthen economic growth?
- Rising interest rates – what is the impact on the market?
- Sectoral perspective – losers and winners
Please complete the registration form below to receive the event link. The session will be in English – http://ow.ly/MSjh50NHVVX
According to Creditinfo Lithuania’s latest analysis, Lithuanian debts have increased by €6.8 million since the beginning of the year, reaching a total of €364.8 million.
Of this amount, male’s debts stand at €261.8 million, while female’s debts are at €103 million. This is almost €6.8 million more than at the beginning of this year (€358 million). The total number of borrowers has also risen by 5,000 in the first quarter of this year, with the current total standing at almost 201,000.
Creditinfo Lithuania has recorded almost 201,000 debtors in its systems for March, with a total of 235,300 individuals having 235,300 debts in Lithuania.
After a more detailed examination of the debtor data, it was found that over 129,000 males and 72,000 females are currently in debt, making up 64% and 36% of all debtors respectively. Additionally, 32,500 males and almost 20,000 females have multiple debts, with 25.3% of male debtors and 27.7% of female debtors holding two or more debts.
On average, males owe €2,029, which is 30% more than the average debt owed by females (€1,435). This trend, coupled with the higher number of male debtors, results in men holding 78% of the total debt amount, while women hold only 22%.
During the first quarter, an additional 5,000 individuals in Lithuania fell into debt.
In March, the total number of individuals in debt amounted to 201,000, marking an increase of 5,000 from January’s 196,000. The total value of debt owed by all debtors also rose from €358 million to €364.8 million, with the total number of debts recorded in the credit bureau system increasing by 5,300. The largest number of new debts to households registered in the first quarter of this year, after debts to the financial sector, were for utilities and energy, with a total of 1,518 debts (12%).
“The analysis suggests that the majority of new debts recorded this year can be attributed to the energy and heat price crisis. Rising fuel costs have resulted in increased indebtedness, with people seeking short-term financing in order to balance consumption and expenses,” explains Aurimas Kačinskas, the Head of Creditinfo Lithuania. “Not everyone has had sufficient time to alter their financial habits, which has resulted in the growing number and value of debts.”
Men aged between 35 and 45 are considered to be the most high-risk debtors
Despite fluctuations in the number of borrowers and their levels of indebtedness, the typical borrower profile has remained consistent in recent years. Men aged 35-45 are the riskiest debtors, with debts amounting to €75 million, accounting for almost 29% of the total amount owed by men. The second riskiest group is men aged 45-55, with €61 million in debt, representing 23.3% of the total amount owed by men. In third place are men aged 25-35, who hold €55 million in debt, accounting for 21% of the total amount owed by men. Men aged 55-65 hold €43 million in debt, while those over 65 hold €17 million. Men under 25 hold the lowest amount of debt at almost €15 million.
Among female debtors, the under-25 age group has the lowest amount of debt, while other age groups have the following distribution: €29 million (45-55), €26 million (35-45), €20 million (55-65), and €17 million each (25-35 and over 65).
According to Mr Kačinskas, it is important for citizens to assume their financial obligations responsibly and meet them on time to maintain a positive credit history, which determines their access to financial services, loans, credit cards and payment provisions.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are increasingly becoming a key consideration for investors, stakeholders, and companies. These factors help measure the sustainability and societal impact of a business, and ESG data is crucial for decision-making in the investment and corporate world. However, the availability, quality, and accessibility of ESG data have been major challenges, making it difficult to obtain accurate and reliable insights. This is increasingly becoming a problem for small and medium sized businesses that do not have the resources available to access and produce accurate and reliable ESG data.
To address this growing need for ESG data services Creditinfo Iceland recently launched Vera, a new ESG data platform, for customers in Iceland. With Vera companies can access data about their customers and/or suppliers in an accessible way. The platform contains diverse sustainability information for all active companies in Iceland including data directly reported by companies as well as external sources such as media coverage, judicial information, and supply chain operations. Companies can easily update their own sustainability information through MyCreditinfo to ensure an accurate portrayal of information such as emissions, ESG ratings, and other relevant data.
What are the features Vera has to offer?
- Who can update sustainability information?
One of Vera characteristics is that much the data can be updated to increase accuracy. If a company has a dedicated in-house sustainability officer, this person can be given access to Vera to update its info. This is done through MyCreditinfo where anyone inside the company with edit access can forward the access to a relevant employee. The sustainability officer can then provide the needed input.
- Contact person
Sometimes it is difficult to reach the relevant person within companies regarding sustainability. This can happen during supplier assessments or during other processes where sustainability data is needed. It can also be time consuming to figure out who is responsible for this subject within companies. Vera helps with this process by offering companies to clarify who is the responsible person for sustainability related matters. This makes all communications easier and data flow quicker.
- Greenhouse gas emissions
Most companies are accountable for greenhouse gas emissions, either directly or indirectly. Some companies know how much is emitted and where. Vera can estimate the greenhouse gas emissions from company operations if she knows the industry companies operate in and their revenue. This data must be in place in order for Vera to run its calculations. If companies know however their emissions, they can update their profile to provide better information to the market.
- Emission intensity
Absolute greenhouse gas emissions tell a certain story regarding company operations. However, companies can emit the same amount of greenhouse gases while their size may differ. So understanding how much is emitted per revenue provides a better understanding of the sector. Emission intensity of the sector is therefore also a very relevant metric. Vera provides its users with an overview of the carbon intensity of the sector companies operate in. Sector emission intensity can initiate an interesting conversation between a lender/investor and the company where the company may want to demonstrate a better performance than the sector as a whole. Vera provides the sector carbon intensity on a scale which is easy to read and understand.
- Sustainability risks and opportunities
Sustainability risks vary between sectors. Material sustainability factors are those who may have financial implications on companies if mismanaged. Sustainability accounting standards board (SASB) which is now a part of the IFRS has defined which sustainability factors are material within sectors and why. Such an overview is important for companies in order to manage material factors instead of using resources to provide data on non-material factors.
Vera uses data from SASB to provide its users with an overview of material factors for individual companies and if the factors are considered climate risks. If a sustainability risk is classified as climate risk, Vera indicates the type of climate risk. This can be physical or transitional. Physical risks appear for example through extreme weather, ocean acidification etc. Transition risks appear through policy and legal risks. Vera provides an understanding regarding which sustainability risks companies are exposed to in a convenient manner.
- Sustainability in the value chain
Using public data it is possible to map out the international supply chain of sectors. Vera provides such overview but is clear regarding the pitfalls of the data as the sector does not represent individual companies. Companies can therefore update their supply chain data. By updating the data in Vera, companies gain a deeper insight into various sustainability related matter in their value chain.
Users of Vera can click on the value chain countries and redirect to the UN SDG website where even more detailed data is provided. In this way, the users of Vera and the reporting companies get a much better overview of the possible risk factors in the supply chain.
- Sustainability media information
Creditinfo maintains a media monitoring service in many of its markets. Using the data from Creditinfo, it is possible to monitor ESG related news articles involving individual companies. The ESG media monitor only monitors ESG related articles. Vera therefore utilizes the media quite effectively as a watchdog. Vera also provides ESG related media coverage regarding companies within the same sector.
- Sustainability media information in the supply chain
Vera understands which countries the sector mostly does business with. Using this data, Vera can monitor ESG related matters in the countries the company mostly does business with. If a company provides better data regarding its value chain, they have the possibility to understand better on a macro level the operating conditions in those countries. Such data can be used for decision making and supplier assessments.
- Sustainability documents
Companies often publish reports and documents related to sustainability. This data is often dispersed around their website and is time consuming to maintain in a single place. Companies may also have various certifications in place which they may want to put forward. Such reports can be uploaded to Vera, which makes their access easier. If a company does not upload its reports to Vera, Creditinfo staff manually gathers the data and uploads to Vera.
- Court cases
Vera provides an overview of court cases the company appears in for all court levels. It is possible to see the case abstract only or navigate to the official court document online. Vera also shows court cases for parent companies and subsidiaries. The ratio of ownership has to be 10% or more in both directions for Vera to show the cases. Vera therefore provides a better insight into related cases than the courts themselves.
- Diversity information
Diversity in management and staff is an important component of successful companies. Studies have shown that gender diversity in staff has a positive impact on companies. Vera offers information about gender ratios for employees, board members and executives for a company. This information can be updated via MyCreditinfo.
For more information visit www.creditinfo.com
Creditinfo Group, the leading global service provider for credit information and risk management solutions, today announces a multi-market partnership with VisionFund International to provide analytics and automation solutions throughout their global Microfinance Network.
Creditinfo’s credit risk analytics and automation solution will help VisionFund to expand their customer base whilst controlling costs. This will enable VisionFund to increase financial inclusion and improve economic conditions for lower income clients around the world.
Creditinfo will draw upon its global and regional experts to support the implementation of these solutions over a three-year period. Initially, Creditinfo will provide its solutions to six of VisionFund’s markets with a view to extending them to additional VisionFund’s markets in due course.
Paul Randall, CEO at Creditinfo said: “We are delighted to have been selected by VisionFund International to provide IDM Decision Automation solution to their global network of MFIs (Microfinance institutions). Our understanding and experience of working across over 20 markets is strongly aligned with VisionFund’s experience as one of the largest multinational networks of MFIs with its operations spanning 28 countries and reaching over 1 million active customers. We are excited about the journey ahead and helping VisionFund realize its goal of enabling clients to grow their livelihoods and secure their futures.”
Karen Lewin, Director of Credit Risk at Vision Fund International said: “With Creditinfo’s solution, we will increase our outreach, and improve both lending efficiency and our credit risk assessment capabilities, to better meet the needs of all our customers. Creditinfo’s team of global and local experts will provide us with the level of support we need to achieve these goals and increase financial inclusion in the markets where we operate.”
For information visit www.creditinfo.com
Kredītinformācijas Birojs and Citadel Bank Sign an Agreement to make It easier for Ukrainian citizens to receive Financial Services
It has already been reported that last year the “Credit Information Bureau” of Latvia (KIB) concluded an agreement with the “International Credit Information Bureau” in Ukraine ( Мидрождение бюро кредитних історий ) on the exchange of credit history data of Ukrainian nationals.
The profitability of some companies is almost half their revenues, very few go bankrupt.
Vilnius, Lithuania 06/02/2023. Although most dental businesses are small and usually employ fewer than 10 people, this is one of the most stable businesses in Lithuania. Profitability often exceeds one-third of income and only a few become insolvent. Dental businesses are 7 times less likely to go bankrupt than the average insolvency across all other businesses, according to an analysis conducted by Creditinfo Lithuania.
According to data from January 2023, there are currently almost 2,000 dental businesses in Lithuania employing 9,500 people. The number of companies and their employees is growing year on year. Dental businesses are generally small, with more than half of them employing fewer than 10 people. Only 12 organisations have created more than 50 jobs, while the largest dental service companies are Vilnius University Hospital (293), SB Dental Clinic (168), Denticija (153), Smile Academy (126), Smile Laboratory (124), Vilnius Implantology Centre Clinic (93), Panevėžys City Dental Clinic (72), Laudenta (71), Pasirink (66) and Žvėrynas Dental Clinic (59).
Revenues grow year on year, profitability remains high
Despite the pandemic’s restrictions on the medical services sector between 2020 and 2021, the total revenue of dental companies has grown consistently year on year, reaching €294.6 million in 2021, an increase of 39.8% compared to 2020 (€210.7 million), which in turn is an increase of 76% compared to 2019 (€167 million).
The top 10 companies with the most revenue in 2021 are SB Dental Clinic (€8.2 million), Vilnius Implantology Centre Clinic (~€7 million), Denticija (€3.2 million), Smile Academy (€3.1 million), Prodenta (€3.1 million), Žvėrynas Dental Clinic (€3 million), Sveikatos Gija (€2.9 million), Šiauliai Implantology Centre (€2.8 million), Laudenta (€2.6 million) and Dental Harmony (€2.6 million).
Dental service companies are characterised by relatively high profitability, reaching up to 45%. The top ten companies with the highest profits in 2021 are Laudenta (€922 thousand), SB Dental Clinic (€917 thousand), Implantera (€739 thousand), Šiauliai Implantology Centre (€713 thousand), Smile Design (€688 thousand), Vilnius Implantology Centre Clinic (€644 thousand), Klaipėda Orthodontics Centre (€592 thousand), Dantima (€556 thousand), Donatas Jurgaicis Odontology Clinic (€529 thousand) and Teeth Centre (€512 thousand).
“The dental services business has advantages – patients usually pay for services immediately, which speeds up the turnover of funds. In addition, some dental services are subject to significant VAT exemptions, which reduces the tax burden and increases the profitability of the companies,” says Jekaterina Rojaka, Head of Business Development and Strategy at Creditinfo Lithuania.
However, not all companies were profitable, with 148 dental service providers declaring a loss in 2021, compared to 128 in pandemic year 2020 and 133 in pre-pandemic year 2019.
Dentists 7 times less likely to go bankrupt
The dental services sector has a particularly low risk of bankruptcy compared to all other sectors, with 1% of firms currently at high risk of bankruptcy and 0% at the highest risk. The high and highest risk classes for late payment are 3% and 2% of companies, respectively. The riskiness of dental firms was slightly higher at the beginning of 2021, with 4% of firms in the high bankruptcy risk class (none in the highest) and 11% in the high and highest delayed payment risk classes.
No dental companies went bankrupt in 2021 or 2022, while 26 firms have become insolvent since 2003, an average of 1-2 per year.
The dental business is characterised by a low level of debt. As of January 2023, there were 98 registered debts in the credit bureau’s system, totalling €95 thousand. The average debt was €971.
Compared to companies operating in other sectors in Lithuania, dental service companies are 7 times less risky. For example, in January this year, 1.3% of dental businesses were classified as high and highest risk, compared to an average of 9.5% for all other businesses in Lithuania. In terms of the risk of late payment, 4.5% of firms were in the high and highest risk classes, while the average for all other firms was 17.2%.
Almost a fifth of dental businesses (359) have not yet submitted their financial statements for 2021.
Jekaterina Rojaka, Head of Business Development and Strategy, Creditinfo Lithuania (email@example.com)
Revenues doubled in a year but remained three times lower than before the pandemic.
Vilnius, Lithuania, 24/01/2023. Travel agencies in Lithuania that declared their income in 2021 earned almost twice as much as in the previous year. However, compared to income in 2019, they earned almost three times less, according to an analysis carried out by the credit bureau Creditinfo Lietuva. Almost 100 tourism companies were loss-making. With the increase in travel flows, the number of debts increases and their average size grows.
There are currently 783 companies in Lithuania for which tour organisation is the main activity. In 2021, travel agencies declaring revenues collectively earned more than €171 million, almost double (82%) the pandemic year 2020 (~€94 million). However, travel agencies are still a long way from a real recovery – for example, in 2019, their revenues were almost €474 million, but fell more than fivefold in the aftermath of the pandemic.
According to 2021 data, the largest annual revenue was earned by the following companies: Novaturas (€108,995 million), Tez Tour (~€60 million), Itaka Lietuva (€12.5 million), Coral Travel Lithuania (€9.5 million), Kidy Tour (€8.9 million), Estravel Vilnius (€6.3 million), Estekspress (€4 million), Traveldeals LT (€4 million), Glotera (€3.6 million) and ZIP Travel (€2.9 million).
The top ten most profitable travel agencies are Novaturas (€909 thousand), Baltic Tours Group (€633 thousand), Vestekspress (€530 thousand), Glotera (€336 thousand), Traveldeals LT (€307 thousand), Baltic Clipper (€288 thousand), Baltic Travel Service (€271 thousand), TEZ Tour (€215 thousand), Estravel Vilnius (€158 thousand), Riviera Tours (€148 thousand) and ZIP Travel (€123 thousand).
Staff numbers shrink by a quarter
In total, travel agencies currently employ almost 2,000 employees (1,850). While the number of enterprises has remained almost constant over the past few years (776 in 2019, 787 in 2021), the number of employees has fallen by almost a quarter since 2019, from 2,426 to 1,850.
Travel agencies are more often headed by women, accounting for almost 56% of all managers. The average age of a travel agency manager is 49 years and the average age of a travel agency is over 15 years.
In the travel sector, men’s salaries are higher than women’s – as of November 2022, the average salary for men was €2,659 per month, while for women it was €2,014 per month. At the start of 2022, the average salary for women was €2,053 per month and for men was €2,364 per month.
State support has prevented more bankruptcies
Since 2004, a total of 94 travel agencies have gone bankrupt in Lithuania, with the highest number of bankruptcies recorded in 2009 (10) and in 2015 (12). In 2022, there were 5 travel agency bankruptcies, while there were 3 in 2021 and 4 in 2019. No travel agency bankruptcy was recorded in pandemic year 2020.
“The travel sector was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, along with hotels and restaurants. During the pandemic, when revenues from tour operators dropped fivefold, it was state support that saved the sector from bankruptcy,” explains Aurimas Kačinskas. But the challenges of the pandemic were replaced last year by new challenges – the war in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia have exacerbated the energy crisis, fuel prices have risen and many travel routes have been disrupted. The slower-than-expected recovery of the air transport sector, with a sharp increase in fares, is having a negative impact on the business of tour operators, preventing them from recovering faster.
According to the head of the credit bureau, it was state support that determined the stability of the number of enterprises and the discipline of submitting financial statements – compared to other sectors, only 90 travel agencies did not submit their financial statements for 2021, making them ineligible for state support.
However, a risk analysis of travel agencies shows that there have been both positive and worrying signs in the recent period. For example, as of January this year, 9% of companies were in the high and highest classes of bankruptcy, compared with 12% a year ago. In terms of delayed payments, 17% of companies are currently in the high and highest risk classes, down from 21% last year.
Compared to 2020 and 2021, the recent increase in debt is slightly higher and the average amount of debt per person is growing. At present, 306 debts have been registered in the credit bureau system, amounting to more than €349 thousand, with an average debt of €1,141. A year ago, the number of debts was 316, amounting to €351 thousand, with an average debt of €1,112. In January 2020, 255 debts amounting to €203 thousand were registered, with an average debt of €798. 335 travel agencies mostly owe money to Sodra (€3 million). The debt of 158 travel agencies to telecommunications companies amounts to €222 thousand. 8 travel agencies owe €74 thousand to financial companies.
“The tour operator business is recovering, but revenue growth is slower than expected in the wake of the pandemic due to the many geopolitical and economic shocks around the world. The tourism sector is currently encompassed by a number of risks, so it is advisable to keep a close eye on the changing financial indicators of partners organising the trips,” concludes the head of the credit bureau.
Aurimas Kačinskas, CEO of Creditinfo Lithuania (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ms. Ege Metsandi, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board for Creditinfo Estonia is leaving her position at the company. During the next 6 months, Ms. Metsandi will be working closely with the interim Chairman and CEO, Mr. Elari Tammenurm, currently the Head of IT – Baltics, along with the Estonian team to ensure a seamless handover continues until a replacement is found.
Paul Randall, Group CEO for Creditinfo, advised, “During her 6 years of tenure, Ege has successfully developed the company, both financially and commercially. I want to personally thank Ege for her efforts, utilizing her experience and great insight in risk management to build the Creditinfo brand in Estonia.
Everyone at Creditinfo wishes Ege well for her future.” Ege added, “I leave a very strong and talented team behind at Creditinfo. I look forward to making certain of a smooth transition to keep up the positive momentum that we have established together over the last 6 years.” Established in 1997, Creditinfo Group provides credit information and automated risk management services around the world.
On June 1, 2022, a conference on the current topics in the financial market took place in Prague. This conference was organized by SOLUS, SID, and Creditinfo. The attendees, primarily from the banking, payday lender, telco, and utility sectors were able to get insights into areas of Ukrainian Cross-border reports exchange, the new Consumer Credit Directive, PSD2/Open banking services including transactional scoring, new trends in Device Fraud mitigation, and many more from international speakers who frequently used case studies and demos of solutions created by Creditinfo, SID and its partners to address particular risk management and sales expansion challenges.
Let us provide you with insights gained from the presented topics. As readers of our newsletter are from many markets, we have selected topics which are valid for the financial services community and not limited only to particular geographies:
Key trends in the financial and credit bureau industry
Seth Marks, Managing Director, Creditinfo Central & Southern Europe and Head of Affiliated Markets in his intro focused on financial inclusion and Creditinfo’s mission to improve access to credit to more than 2 billion financially excluded people worldwide. He also described 5 trends which are common themes from Creditinfo’s experiences gained from running credit bureaus in more than 30 markets:
· The growing Importance of Data and Data-driven insights
· Analytics and Decisioning
· Portfolio Management
· KYC and Fraud mitigation
Digital Corridors Initiative of IFC and Ukrainian cross-border report exchange
Fabrizio Fraboni, Global Specialist from IFC/World Bank together with Kateryna Danylchenko, CEO of Creditinfo Ukraine addressed the topic of how to support the financial inclusion of millions of Ukrainian refugees by providing access to their identification and credit histories via Creditinfo’s newly-established Cross-border Reports Exchange Service, a part of IFC’s Digital Data Corridors initiative. Mr. Fraboni also spoke about IFC’s global challenges around access to finance for consumers and SMEs, including World Bank Group’s global engagement in building Credit Infrastructure together with strategic industry partners (such as Creditinfo). Ms. Danylchenko then gave an overview of Creditinfo’s Credit Bureau in Ukraine (IBCH), which is part of the Digital Data Corridors initiative and covers more than 75% of the credit active population of Ukraine.
The live version of the Cross-border Reports Platform was also presented at the conference. The service is now available in 7 markets, in collaboration with local credit bureaus.
Power of Open Banking in Risk Assessment
Marc Gaudart, an independent consultant formerly of Experian and McKinsey & co, presented the power of Open Banking in credit risk assessment. He addressed the main
benefits which the EU PSD2 directive and national regulations enable, such as greater transparency, security, innovation, and market competition. He referred to consumer lending as one of the main use cases for Open Banking, where customers can gain better access to credit when sharing their data. He demonstrated how Open Banking can transform lending decisions using examples in consumer, business, mortgage lending, debt consolidation, and Buy Now Pay Later services. He also demonstrated Open Banking data as being powerful predictors of credit risk, providing an example of the performance of a scorecard developed on Open Banking data. ‘Given the granularity of income and outgoing transactions information available, Open Banking provide a precise, accurate and up to date affordability measure’ said Gaudart.
Aleš Černý, Head of Retail Risk at AIR BANK, topic by sharing his experience in building transactional scores based on Open Banking Data for the Peer-to-Peer lending platform Zonky. He demonstrated that the best performance is via the enrichment of credit bureau scoring models with transactional data sourced from Open Banking. Such an approach is also recommended by Creditinfo scoring experts and Creditinfo itself has long-time expertise in building such models. Černý also mentioned his ambition and interest to build and promote a ‘Personal Score’ in the Czech Republic, following similar approaches from the US and UK markets.’
Trends in digital fraud mitigation
Jürgen Brandt, VP of Business Development, and Lars Schumann, Anti-Fraud Consultant from Creditinfo partner RISK.IDENT, a leading German device fraud mitigation provider, addressed current trends in the digital fraud area supported by case studies from the German telco and e-commerce segment. They covered three areas:
i) area of Account takeover (ATO) in the Telco Sector where fraudsters steal credentials of existing customers, change passwords and shipment addresses or arrange contract renewal/extension and then order new hardware, with ATO-specific scoring model based on the collection of device fingerprint date as solution helping to mitigate such risk.
ii) areas focused on the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) and E-commerce Sector, where the challenge sits in fraudsters using stolen identities with good credit ratings, creating a new account, buying goods using BNPL then picking and reselling. Such challenges can be addressed by Data enrichment and linkages (Credit agency data combined with Device fingerprinting).
iii) area of Refund Fraud, where fraudsters buy goods and pay them, then complain about a non-existing problem to launch a return process during which they redirect the return address to a fake one and steal goods. Device fingerprinting with monitoring of the value chain will help to reveal and prevent such challenges.
If you want to get more insights about mentioned conference and topic please email: email@example.com
The acronym KYC stands for three very simple and understandable words – Know Your Customer. But the meaning of the processes and expectations behind those three letters are most often not so simple and straightforward, as whoever must deal with this today already well-known acronym, knows that the world and the industry behind this magical acronym, is already vast and growing every day.
KYC in very essence means that you must have understanding and information of the background of your customer. Often this information is divided into three basic categories:
- Identification of the persons connected or operating behalf the customer.
- The field of activity or daily business including the understanding of the origin of the customers funds.
- The understanding if customer possesses certain risks while having any business relationships with him.
Mainly this sort of detective work is required in the purpose of mitigation the risks in anti-money-laundering/fight against terrorism financing (AML/CTF) but it is also relevant in the process of imposing international sanctions as sanctioned persons are interested that their business interest would remain undiscovered.
Even companies that are not subject to AML regulation need to ensure that they stay out of trouble caused by risks that are risen because of partners or clients with fraudulent, criminal, or sanctioned background, as this may result with loss of revenues/funds, bad business reputation or fines by authorities.
So therefore, it is essential for market entities to trust their business affiliates and therefore they need to verify that everything is OK with their customers and threat of the damage caused by realization of different risks, is minimized.
What is happening in Europe to strike this conversation now?
One very practical side for knowing your customer is to be sure that you’re not violating any sanctioning regime in force. Sanctions and sanctioning regimes may not be familiar to all of us who we just are involved our day-to-day business, but this obligation is something we all must know and follow. International sanctions are seen as sort of political means for influencing certain group of entities, jurisdictions, or organizations to behave in line to accordance with the international human rights, rules of law and territorial integrity. Sanctions are imposed in a way that all private and legal entities are obliged to fulfill them, authorities who are imposing them are usually international organizations (EU, UN) or state governments.
As Russia launched massive war campaign in Ukraine in February 2022 and has performed several actions against Ukraine’s territorial integrity already from year 2014 this kind of behavior has naturally found a reflection from EU by imposing sanctions. As from 2014 there was already two regimes in force (regulations EU No 269/2014 and No 833/2014) it was easy on 2022 to EU to add several sanctioning updates (altogether by 8 packets) against Russia (and Belarus).
As the conflict remains in Ukraine and also as there are several war crimes discovered performed by Russian troops during the occupation of Ukraine, we can be more than certain that EU will impose more updates to Russian sanctioning regimes. This only intensifies the need for market entities to have a clear understanding on what are the situation regarding the restrictive measures in force and where to find that information.
How is CREDITINFO playing a role in this?
Mitigating the risks is always the question of having updated and trustworthy information that person must have for making decisions and enforcing correct procedures. Regarding risk mitigation and imposing enforced sanctioning regimes clients often face themselves in front of different questions –
- What exactly do they have to do?
- How do they do it?
- Where can they find help and trustful partner for this?
- Are the solutions for doing it comfortable and simple to use?
- How expensive is it?
Providing both, the trustworthy information from respectful sources and the solution for being compliant in the regards to that obligation (by using Creditinfo-offered solution) is one of the ways of building up successful client relationship in KYC sector (obligations in KYC area may differ depending on the AML/TFC and imposing sanctions viewpoint). KYC procedures regarding sanctions can be divided into two different service blocks:
- Identifying the persons behind and connected to legal entity.
- Easy to use, reliable screening solution for determining whether there are imposed sanctions or not.
It is important to have flexible products in place for meeting the needs for most of the market entities as clients tend to prefer to order all the solutions from one place. For example, clients may have the need only for determining certain persons connected with legal entities (like UBO’s), other clients may only need data sources for setting up internal screening procedures for their inter-company use, while others are just willing to outsource everything (analysis, data and screening).
Lastly, instead of being in the last mile lets be the first! As already mentioned, there are different market entities who are operating in KYC business, and they are all seeking for cost efficient and trusted data sources for providing best data quality with best price to their customers. Creditinfo Group’s presence in several different countries, with the direct access to local state registry information or other base data source in those countries therefore makes us one of the trusted partners for well-known global companies.
KYC products are in process of continuous development and as the needs for our clients change, we need to align our services accordingly. If there are ideas, proposals, or questions, please feel free to reach me via email – firstname.lastname@example.org
KYC & Fraud Global Product Manager
Reykjavík / London, 20th October 2022 – Creditinfo Group, the leading global service provider for credit information and risk management solutions, has today announced the launch of VERA, a new environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) data platform. The pioneering platform will provide financial services with a standardised overview of their ESG performance, helping them comply with ESG regulation, and will also create a way for other organisations to easily provide sustainability data to the financial sector.
VERA is a centralised platform that congregates information from a range of sources, including data directly reported by companies as well as external sources such as media coverage, judicial information, and supply chain operations. The information is then automatically standardised to allow organisations across financial services to obtain a holistic overview of ESG factors and performance, and easily establish how best to comply with regulation.
Initially being rolled out in Iceland, with other regions to follow globally, the platform can also be used by non-financial corporations when conducting supplier assessments to determine the ESG performance of their supply chains, and to provide sustainability data in a standardised way to the financial sector, helping to attract investment.
Reynir Smári Atlason, Director of sustainability at Creditinfo said: “Providing ESG information to financial services strengthens the presence and engagement of financial institutions – especially in markets where sustainability data is generally limited. It’s not only an ethical decision but a practical one – various markets don’t have the regulations in place to hold companies to account, yet ESG data is needed if they’re going to attract investment through sustainable financing. We’re really proud of how this platform levels the playing field and makes this information accessible and digestible.”
The VERA platform comes on the heels of Creditinfo’s own sustainability policy as the next step in its overall ESG strategy. Creditinfo’s aim to facilitate better decision making in financial services and enable greater access to finance for underserved SMEs, companies and individuals without credit ratings means it plays a vital role in social sustainability globally, and transparency in its environmental and social dealings across its regions must be a fundamental part of this.The next step will see the company publish its inaugural sustainability report evaluating performance areas against its sustainability policy in 2023.
Paul Randall, CEO at Creditinfo said: “Our ESG data platform and sustainability policy are just the first steps in understanding and addressing our wider external impact and helping others to do the same. Not only do we need to make sure we comply with regulation in this area, but the responsibility also lies with individual companies to be proactive when it comes to innovating in a sustainable and responsible way. We’re ready to lead by example here and I’m very excited by our ESG data platform and sustainability policy to ensure Creditinfo and other financial services are on track and compliant with regulation.”
Creditinfo’s sustainability policy can be found in full here.
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 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