The Creditinfo Chronicle

Can KYC Bring Opportunity For Business Growth?

For many, due diligence checks and Know Your Customer (KYC) processes are simply seen as compliance requirements imposed by regulators that can add friction and cost to their business, but that is a flawed assessment. In fact, KYC has many advantages for business and can act as the differentiator needed for your business to survive and thrive in the increasingly digital, global economy.

In a market full of uncertainty, true understanding is a valuable commodity. Today, many organizations have been forced to re-evaluate what they need to do to ensure not just their longevity, but their continued success. Knowing the pressures that customers and prospects face, being able to support them through their challenges and shield your own business from unnecessary risk is key.

However, there are still too many treating KYC compliance like a tick box exercise, and not the competitive point of difference it can be.

The potential and possibilities that arise from a well-conceived and resourced compliance organization is remarkable. Whether it’s through the use of better data, fusing local data with global intelligence, or understanding the emerging threats from organized, financial criminal groups and working to counter them, good compliance can help businesses avoid the most damaging risks and seize the most lucrative opportunities.

At Creditinfo, we’ve long understood this. Our customers know that the combination of our decision analytics technology and access to a wide range of traditional and alternative data provides them with the tools they need to better understand their customers and take the appropriate steps to capitalize on the opportunities on their doorstep.

These opportunities are only ever going to increase, and those that become complacent on compliance, will begin to fall behind.

Tomorrow, on May 11th, we are hosting a webinar with leading experts on the regulatory environment and financial crime to delve into just this. Our panel of experts will discuss what organizations need to do to de-risk their operations and how they can set themselves up for future success.

This virtual panel will include speakers from PwC, Lexis Nexis, and The Dark Money Files, and will cover compliance technology, regulatory trends, and the ever-evolving threat landscape, to help you understand what you need to do to protect your organization from financial crime, and the opportunities better KYC processes can bring to your business.

To hear more about the benefits better KYC compliance could create for your business, register your attendance today.

You can also follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #CreditinfoKYC.

Credit Post-Covid

Historically, every time that there was a crisis, lessons were learnt. The Authorities, be they political or financial, rushed in to introduce and implement corrective regulations and legislation to either block legislative loop-holes or correct oversights that permitted players in their respective fields, but especially in the financial sector, to take advantage of same for their own individual benefit with little regard for the rest.

The lessons and improvements implemented by regulators and financial institutions since the  from the last financial have stood the banks and financial services in stronger position when facing the financial crisis which is following the health crisis.  Banks are reacting by using data insights through monitoring and early warning solutions to address problem debts before they escalate.

A few years later, with the introduction of strict regulatory measures, the requisite confidence and stability in financial markets was gradually established. Central banks are now closely monitoring these, issuing directives on a regular basis to further stabilize and impose tighter controls to prevent a repeat. Regulating banks is difficult, unfortunately, and there is always the risk that a similar crisis raises its head again.

This is a very simplistic reference to the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009, which forced changes and tighter controls on the global financial markets.

Changing the scenario to the present day, COVID-19 pandemic, although different, in that it is more of a medical beast, has impacted the global population and, as a result, the global economy has turned out to be messier than the Financial Crisis of 2007-09.  Individuals who own and control both global economic and non-economic practices are the victims this time. Through its secondary effects, the pandemic, may also be considered as a financial crisis. The policies put in place to control and ultimately curtail the pandemic, have so far had limited success in curbing the spread, but they did manage to create havoc with the global economies.  Some industries, such as food distribution, benefited from rising demand, while others, such as telecommunications and pharmaceuticals, were unaffected and continued their operations, although maybe at a slower pace but certain sectors took a heavy beating.

The airline, travel, hospitality, leisure, and entertainment sectors have been hit the hardest with dramatic reduction in activity and with closures being the norm.

The airline industry, on its own, according to a KMPG report, estimate a revenue loss worth USD200 billion in 2020 and to prevent a total collapse, government assistance, worth USD200 billion is being considered.

However, the airline industry is just the beginning.  One has also to consider other businesses that are directly and indirectly linked.  Millions of individuals are affected – loss of jobs or reduced hours of work translate into less consumer spending, higher risks, defaults and similar. At this point, the Great Depression comes to mind, but the true impact of the pandemic will be gauged towards the end of 2021 and throughout 2022.

In these turbulent times, with losses expecting to continue until 2022 and possible, even beyond, risk management is crucial and extremely critical for all industry players. Despite, corporate bankruptcies still being rather low, further pandemic waves with the relative lockdown and restrictive policies would deplete remaining cash reserves and eventually increase bankruptcies.

The new normal will set in at different speeds as lockdowns are lifted, but this will also depend on the recession in each country and on the effect of restrictions on demand and supply.  Recoveries may vary by sectors, but severe economic necessities may induce Governments to loosen their restrictive policies in an effort to kick-start certain activities, in particular, the airline industry and travel, which indirectly would also re-activate the hospitality, leisure and entertainment sectors.

It is now more critical than ever that financial institutions and other market participants, recognize the value of using tools like a Credit Bureau. These credit bureaux deliver insights in the data such as credit scoring and financial transparency, that can identify riskier projects/individuals/businesses, and thus prevent defaults to the benefit of the lender and national stability, in general.

Now is the time to gain a better understanding of our local marketplace, and the speed in which information changes. We have to comprehend how our local marketplace will perform in the post COVID era. It is better to be informed than to continue blindly as the future is changing and businesses and individuals must adjust and act accordingly.

In the immediate future, credit risk assessments, will be based on real-time monitoring of sectoral and sub-sectoral situations, making historical data in previous known environments less important – COVID has taught us a tough lesson

Remy Damato,

Credit Reporting Manager, Creditinfo Malta.

In boosting businesses, we could spurt like Ferraris, but we’re moving at Turtle speed

The analysis of the use of funds and current tendencies in the country’s economy leads to the obvious conclusion that we use the available financial resources in Lithuania in a too conservative way, and, instead of the opportunity to exploit the situation and spurt at the capacity of Ferrari, we choose a safe but a very slow growth at the speed of a Turtle.

From a psychological point of view, the situation is understandable, since along with the usual risks – commercial, technological and many others, business today faces the biggest challenge of regulation.

Recalling the lessons of 2009-2011 crisis, both business companies and banks more often ground the management of their economic situation on risk minimization.  In other words, for reasons of caution, they would rather not grant a loan than allot time for a more thorough analysis of the situation.

However, a qualified and comprehensive risk management provide opportunities for business development, especially now, when we have a sufficient number of automated management tools based on data.

Several weeks ago, a survey carried out by the Bank of Lithuania (LB) showed that at the present moment, a more careful consideration should be given to hotels, restaurants, and part of real estate companies. However, the significantly reduced or discontinued funding has had a negative effect on an absolute majority of business sectors whose situation during the pandemic has not gotten worse and has even improved.

Capital adequacy is good, but a reluctance to lend money remains

Responsible lending constitutes the backbone of any economy, and Lithuanian business has learned to take a responsible attitude to loan repayments. For example, Lithuania is marked out among other countries of the European Union (EU) by the smallest – only 3% of all loan portfolio – part of business enterprises which have made use of a moratorium on loans declared in the spring of 2020.

In addition, according to the Bank of Lithuania, part of non-performing loans has been regularly decreasing and now has reached the lowest historical level of 1.5%. In other words, in their concern about high credit ratings and a good financial reputation, the enterprises are doing their utmost to repay both loans and interest on time.

With full knowledge of the aforementioned facts, what surprises, is a particularly prudent financing of business or strict conditions of granting loans, especially taking into account the fact that the population’s and enterprises’ deposits have reached record heights on a global scale. In Lithuania, the capital adequacy ratio of the bank sector having reached the highest bar of 25% in 2015, has remained at the top and currently fluctuates at around 22%.

The situation is changing dynamically, but every company must be evaluated separately

On the other hand, the analysis of the financial situation of enterprises warns that the situation in the market is changing dynamically. For example, if in 2020, 11% of enterprises entered the highest and high classes of bankruptcy risk, this year there are 17% of such enterprises. There is a greater probability that part of enterprises may fall behind on their payments. For example, in 2020 a high and the highest risk of payment delays was attributed to 18% of companies, however, this year the number of such enterprises has increased by 31%.

And still, the analysis of separate sectors provides more clarity. For example, the number of construction companies of high and the highest classes of risk has risen over the year from 19 % in (2020) to 23% in (2021). And in the transport sector from 15% to 23% respectively. A greater emphasis should be laid on the situation of trading companies. The companies of this sector have split into two blocs – companies whose activity was restricted and the financial situation was getting worse, and the ones whose situation was changing for the better.

Unfortunately, in the catering sector the situation is still the worst. Last year 30% of these companies were classified as having high or the highest risk, and this year this figure reached 45%. However, it is believed that a gradual loosening of business restrictions would enable the recovering of this sector.

The services sector is now doing well, – part of its enterprises of high and highest risk remains moderate, although it has increased by 6% to 9%. Every enterprise must be evaluated individually, and if the financial position and discipline are strong, there are no reasons for the discontinuation of financing such businesses.

We are living in many-speed economic conditions. When some enterprises are made to stop their activity, others experience a boom and have successfully moved their business to digital space. The EU business support measures have deferred the declaration of bankruptcy for part of enterprises. However, the situation can change even more dynamically when the states‘ support is withdrawn. This aspect makes one carefully supervise one‘s business partners, require quarterly financial reports, a record of the quality of transparent property and its declaration.

What rules would I most recommend to comply with? The enterprises which have the experience of assessing their partners, know that information in credit bureau systems which is updated every day, includes tens of various indicators, and algorithms which calculate creditworthiness and risk, evaluate more than 100 different parameters. However, at present, in evaluating the new partners‘ financial statements, activities or shareholders‘ business relationships, I would suggest paying particular attention to negative information. Check if there are no court actions, if the number of employees has not drastically decreased, and if there are no recorded arrears. Under the conditions of big flow of information your business could be assisted by an early warning system which would allow to see the threatening changes and thus, react immediately.

We have a sufficient number of tools of risk management, it is time to make a more efficient use of capital

Current technological innovations make it possible to both disclose and find information about the buyer‘s or partner‘s debts during a few seconds. Normally, the essential information about overdue payments is freely available. Therefore, I would urge again that every granting of credit should be considered separately. Evaluating the aforementioned figures, it becomes obvious that we have not used great possibilities to help economy recover as soon as possible. Guarding ourselves against a very small part of unreliable debtors, we punish a far bigger part of disciplined businesses.

An operative exchange of information about debtors could assist us and others in making more precise and quicker decisions as well as preventing a domino effect, when the debt of one enterprise establishes the whole chain of overdue payments.

Let us go back to strategies of a Turtle or Ferrari. There are different tools of risk management. It is possible to insure oneself against taking on any risk. In this case the enterprise will grow slowly.

Or, on the contrary, one can use all the capacities and possibilities of Ferrari. This car has not only fast acceleration and high speed, but also a well-operating brake system which in business, is analogous to data-based risk management.

There is no doubt that crediting must be responsible and take into consideration all the risks. However, at present there are enough reliable tools which assist in making optimal decisions. Therefore we can better employ capital, promote the country‘s business and stimulate its economy.

Jekaterina Rojaka,

Chief Commercial Officer,

Creditinfo Lithuania

Creditinfo Group enters collaboration with Společnost pro Informační Databáze (SID) in Czech Republic

Czech Republic, Prague, April 22nd 2021- Creditinfo Group, the leading global credit information and decision analytics provider, and Společnost pro informační databáze (SID), service provider of SOLUS Credit bureau, have agreed to partner in the areas of data transformation, decisioning engines, data analytics and scorecards development. The agreed partnership enables  SID to use the global credit risk management expertise of Creditinfo Group as well as its solutions and analytical capabilities to better service members of SOLUS Credit bureau, one of the two largest credit bureaus in the Czech market.

“We are proud to have been chosen by SID as it’s partner for members of the SOLUS credit bureau and are looking forward to leverage our global experience as well as presence of our group IT development, global data analytics, and consultancy centre in Prague for Czech banks and financial services players, members of the SOLUS credit bureau” says Seth Marks, Regional Director of Creditinfo Group.

“With Creditinfo Group we materially strengthen our portfolio of software, decisioning and analytical solutions available for both SOLUS members and for the wider Czech financial sector. Connecting its global experience with our strong local presence in the Czech market enables our existing and new customers to further increase efficiency and including improved credit risk decisioning speed, says Ján Hurný, CEO of SID.

 – 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 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 SID

SID is an exclusive service partner and facilitator of SOLUS credit bureau, one of the two largest credit bureaus in the Czech Republic with more than 50 members from banks and financial services. SID enables efficient data exchange among bureau members thus strengthening their insights and decisioning capabilities. More information are available on www.sid.cz and www.solus.cz

Creditinfo Group Awarded World Bank Tender

São Tomé and Príncipe, São Tomé, 19th, April 2021 – Creditinfo Group, the leading global credit information and decision analytics provider, today announces that it was awarded a tender by the Central Bank of São Tomé – represented by AFAP (Agencia Fiduciaria de Administracao de Projectos) who will be handling a project on the delivery and support of Public Credit Registry, financed by the World Bank.

Sao Tome is working with the World Bank with the aim of improving the financial infrastructure in the market, increase access to finance and enhance market stability.  Creditinfo has already supported many markets in achieving this goal and was identified as a trusted and reliable partner.

Creditinfo will provide CBS (Credit Bureau Solutions), including Value-Added Products such as the Statistical Score, MyCreditinfo, Benchmarking and Monitoring – the latest and modern cutting-edge products and services in the credit industry, to help the Central Bank of São Tomé in implementing the Public Credit Registry.

Samúel Ásgeir White, Director of Direct Markets, Creditinfo Group is excited about this opportunity. “The important part is the knowledge transfer and our active approach – direct help to the Central Bank of São Tomé, with the whole implementation process of our modern services in São Tomé and Príncipe, since we have years of experience from the Central Banks around the world that we provide the same products and services to,” he said.

The competition was organized by AFAP as a fiduciary agency responsible for the management of the World Bank’s financial support, in favor of the Central Bank of São Tomé and Príncipe as a borrower, with Creditinfo being elected as winner, among 4 bidders.

On behalf of AFAP, Carlos Bonfim, technical advisor, intervened to congratulate on the conclusion of the contract with Creditinfo, a company whose references allow the prospect of a satisfactory result regarding the updating of the credit risk center of the Central Bank of São Tomé and Príncipe. He ended by expressing the wish that the quality of the partnership between all stakeholders will continue, in order to create a favorable cooperation climate for the implementation of the project.

-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 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 AFAP

AFAP was created in 2004 with the aim of managing funds made available by the technical and financial partners of the Government of São Tomé and Príncipe, of which the World Bank stands out in particular. It has an effective and motivated team and is respectful of the best practices for regulating tenders, and today has a portfolio of projects and partners in constant growth. Within the framework of its performance, the main projects such as the installation of fiber optics in Sao Tome Principe to provide high-speed internet services, education and health for all, improvement of the energy system can be cited as an example of success. electricity, namely hydrocentrals, introduction of alternative energies as well as rehabilitation of main roads, etc.

For more information, the following AFAP website can be viewed: www.afap.st

How Creditinfo supports Fintechs

The COVID-19 crisis had a profound financial and social impact across the globe, with several different industry sectors impacted.  Curfews limited the effective utilization of physical branches, forcing financial services firms to turn to online channels.  Few organizations were ready to make the transition to ‘digital lending’ smoothly, but this is where the Fintechs excelled.  Capitalizing on their technical competencies, agility, and focus on specific niches they triggered substantial advances in online lending – ranging from streamlined, friction free customer experience to KYC processes.

Instead of focusing on internal operational efficiencies like traditional banks, Fintechs driving digital lending started to construct an ecosystem of services that evolved around their customers.  Regulators, who have been observing the significant growth of digital lending started to weigh in; either requiring compliance with existing regulations or developing new regulations to be met.  These steps had a wide-ranging impact from data quality to having a prudent credit risk management framework, including analytics, risk management tools, policy and procedures.

Creditinfo is well positioned to support Fintechs, helping them remain focused on providing an outstanding customer digital lending experiences, while ensuring a proven credit risk management framework.  Our approach consists of 4 key services:

  1. Data: the first step to perform a credit risk assessment is done by collecting all relevant  Depending on circumstances, this can be traditional (Credit Bureau) or non-traditional (transactional) data.  Data quality checks need to be performed to derive the maximum insight from it.  Operating in 45 countries and providing Credit Bureau services in 23 of them, we define industry standards on data quality.  We know how to combine traditional and non-traditional data to be used in decisioning that meets your risk appetite.
  2. Analytics: deriving insight from data is our expertise.  Our highly predictive models underpin objective, prudent credit risk decisions.  By combining non-traditional and traditional, we are able to improve predictive power by over 50%.
  3. Decisioning: implement your scorecards with ease in our decisioning system. Streamline and eliminate manual processes to ensure quick and consistent decisions to your customers, providing you a competitive edge.
  4. Business know-how: we know how to adapt global best practices within your local environment. We are ready to discuss with you how we have improved lending for one of our customers by over 20% or reduced non-performing loans by 15%.

Please get in touch with us to discuss how we can make a positive step change in your business.

Burak Kilicoglu,
Director of Global Markets, Creditinfo Group.

Creditinfo granted AISP license, launches intermediary service

Ege Metsandi - CEO and board member of Creditinfo Estonia

On Monday, April 5th, the Financial Supervision Authority issued AS CREDITINFO EESTI with an account information service provider (AISP) license. This license allows the company – which has a strong history of more than 25 years mediating credit and business data – to act as an intermediary between institutions, providing read-only access to bank account information in order to enable the delivery of mutually beneficial services to account holders.

Creditinfo now has the ability to provide bank account owners in Estonia with access to new, enhanced services from authorized companies, such as those providing loans or payment-by-installment options, by sharing information from their account statement.

This sharing of balance and transaction data takes place in an automated form that makes the process of applying for credit or payment-by-installment significantly easier and faster for both the owner of the account and the service provider.

“We are always looking for opportunities to expand our business and better serve our customers in order to remain the most reliable, strong and innovative business partner to both individuals and companies in this fast-evolving field,“ Ege Metsandi, CEO of Creditinfo Estonia explained. “The whole area of assessing creditworthiness and solvency is moving toward automation, so credit decisions can be made as quickly and reliably as possible. The greatest added value here can be created by combining high quality data and the best technological solutions. Creditinfo with its long history and international network is leading the way in both of these areas. With this new AISP license, we can be an even better partner to our customers by helping to further de-risk lending and provide better access to appropriate financing for their specific needs“ Metsandi added.

Law firm WALLESS advised Creditinfo throughout the application process for the AISP license.

AS Creditinfo Eesti is the largest company providing business information and risk management services in Estonia. First founded in 1993, the company has been an affiliate of Creditinfo Group since 2016.

Additional information:

Ege Metsandi
CEO and board member of Creditinfo Estonia , Email: ege.metsandi@creditinfo.ee
Tel: (+372) 5078172

Creditinfo appoints Global Sales Leader

Creditinfo appoints former Experian consultant as global sales leader

Decision analytics leader welcomes Burak Kilicoglu to growth-focused senior role

LONDON, UK, 30th March 2021Creditinfo Group, the leading global credit information and decision analytics provider, today announces that it has appointed Burak Kilicoglu as its new Director of Global Markets to guide Creditinfo’s global sales teams strategically and operationally through the company’s next phase of growth.

Burak joins Creditinfo following 15 years at Experian where he provided strategic risk management consultancy on debt management, customer management and originations for retail banking as well as telecommunications sectors. In his new role he will be based out of the company’s Monaco office and set and execute a strategic vision and roadmap for sales in collaboration with other Creditinfo executives and key stakeholders.

With over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, Burak will act as a key liaison between all business unit leaders to grow the global sales team’s capabilities, keeping pace with the ever-growing and changing needs of the business.

“Creditinfo continues to grow and develop as we realize our ambitions to enable corporates, SMEs and individuals be active players in the economy” commented Paul Randall, CEO at Creditinfo Group. “We’re delighted to bring Burak onboard to help us push forward as a business and further our ability to facilitate access to finance while also reducing risk for banks. Burak has a wealth of knowledge and experience that will make him a valuable asset to our business as we embark on our next phase of growth. His appointment, coupled with our new shareholder structure, brings fresh energy, thinking and impetus to our operations and will help us to capitalize on our unique position in the market.”

Burak Kilicoglu, Director of Global Markets at Creditinfo, commented, “I’m excited to be joining Creditinfo at such an important part of its growth journey. This is a company with significant growth potential and incredible products and technology to take to market. As the fintech industry continues to grow in global markets there is a huge opportunity to help organizations gauge their risk appetite and make informed and intelligent lending decisions based on a wide range of data source and market leading analytics technology. I’m very much looking forward to leading that charge and working with Creditinfo’s sales team and senior leaders to work towards expanding our market penetration and helping our clients make informed decisions with confidence.” 

Prior to joining Experian, Burak was a VP in the European Card Services team at Bank of America, and before that held portfolio management roles at Discover Financial Services and Transamerica Retail Finance. He attended the University of Notre Dame – Mendoza College where he graduated with an MBA.  He also has a MS in Industrial Engineering from the Istanbul Technical University.

This appointment follows the announcement of a new shareholder structure, with private equity firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners as majority shareholders, and the appointment of Paul Randall as Group CEO to lead Creditinfo through a period of development and global expansion.

-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

Media Contacts:

Matt Silver

Babel Agency for Creditinfo Group

creditinfo@babelpr.com

+44 (0)7769 266 452

Creditinfo Group becomes majority shareholder of Kredītinformācijas Birojs (KIB)

LONDON, UK, March 25th, 2021 – Today, Creditinfo Group – the leading global credit information and decision analytics provider – announced that is has increased its stake in JSC “Kredītinformācijas Birojs” (KIB) to 51%, becoming the majority shareholder.  

Earlier this month, the US private equity fund Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP) became the majority shareholder of Creditinfo Group. As the result of that transaction, the share capital of the KIB joint stock company was increased, with ABLV Bank selling its shares.

The other shareholders of the company, including the leading Latvian commercial banks; AS Swedbank, AS SEB banka, AS Luminor Bank, and AS Citadele banka will remain unchanged and will continue to support KIB by serving on the Supervisory Board of the joint stock company.

Jānis Timmermanis, Chairman of the Board of KIB: “This investment is an important confirmation of the company’s potential to continue to grow despite being a relatively young entity and offer lenders throughout the Baltic region modern solutions with scoring and decision capabilities while also enabling prevention of money laundering.”

Brynja Baldursdóttir, Director of Global Markets Creditinfo Nordics: “This announcement marks a significant milestone for Creditinfo and consolidates our presence in the Baltics as a leader in providing Decision-as-a-service solutions – a key component of the Credit Bureau system. With international knowledge and local market support, Creditinfo solutions are setting a high bar wherever they are implemented.”

KIB was founded in May 2013 and is the first licensed credit information bureau in Latvia. KIB helps banks and financial institutions to manage credit risk and apply best practices in risk management and credit operations. Its activities in the field of data processing are licensed and supervised by the State Data Inspectorate.

Ends.

 

About Creditinfo

Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Reykjavik, Iceland, Creditinfo is a global provider of credit information and risk management solutions. As one of the fastest growing companies in its field, Creditinfo facilitates access to finance through intelligent information, software and analysis solutions.

With more than 33 credit bureaus today, Creditinfo has the largest presence in credit risk management worldwide, with significantly greater influence than competitors. For decades, it has provided business information, risk management and credit bureau solutions to major lenders, governments and central banks around the world to increase financial inclusion and create economic growth by giving SMEs and individuals access to credit.

Media Contact:

Matt Silver

Babel Agency for Creditinfo Group creditinfo@babelpr.com

+44 (0)7769 266 452

Creditinfo Group announces new majority shareholder

Creditinfo welcomes Levine Leichtman Capital Partners as new majority investor

LONDON, UK, 8 March 2021 – Creditinfo Group, the leading global credit information and decision analytics provider, today announces that the private equity firm, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP) has become its new majority shareholder. The firm will help Creditinfo Group to keep expanding operations and support financial institutions with a full suite of best-in-class credit risk management tools.

The announcement marks another significant milestone in Creditinfo’s growth journey, as world leader in providing decision analytics and risk mitigation solutions to lenders, central banks and SMEs continues to expand. The company’s combination of international know-how and local market support, continues to fuel demand for Creditinfo’s decision analytics solutions, which use traditional and evolving data sets to help customers take an intelligent and informed approach to risk and lending decisions.

This new shareholder composition brings new impetus and direction to the company’s growth plans while also maintaining continuity for the business, with Creditinfo founder Reynir Grétarsson retaining his board seat and a significant minority shareholding.

Well-respected industry veteran, Paul Randall – who joined Creditinfo in 2007 – will lead the company through its next phase of growth as the newly appointed Group CEO, working closely with Reynir Grétarsson and LLCP.

“This investment shows Creditinfo’s potential and commitment to enable corporates, SMEs and individuals be active players in the economy” commented Paul Randall, CEO at Creditinfo Group. “We now have a new, eager and dynamic investor on board that will help us increase market penetration and expansion. They also bring a wealth of corporate experience running international businesses that will help us further strengthen our contribution to the credit risk and fintech industry. Our unique position in both advanced and emerging markets and the mix of technology our solution can incorporate give us great hopes for the future with considerable growth potential.”

Erik Nobel, Managing Director at LLCP, commented, “We are excited to support Creditinfo’s expansion and growth through this investment. LLCP’s significant experience investing in companies around the world will enable Creditinfo to further establish its leadership in the credit risk and fintech industry and support to its international client base.”

David Cowan, Senior Managing Director at LLCP, added, “We are thrilled to partner with the Creditinfo team and look forward to supporting the Company’s strategic growth plans. We believe that Creditinfo holds a unique position within their market and are confident in their continued success.”

-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

Media Contacts:

Matt Silver

Babel Agency for Creditinfo Group creditinfo@babelpr.com

+44 (0)7769 266 452

 

About Levine Leichtman Capital Partners

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, LLCP is a middle-market private equity firm with a 37-year track record of investing across various targeted sectors, including franchising, professional services, education and engineered products. Since inception, LLCP has managed approximately $11.7 billion of institutional capital across 14 investment funds and has invested in over 90 portfolio companies. LLCP utilizes a differentiated Structured Private Equity investment strategy, combining debt and equity capital investments in portfolio companies.

LLCP’s global team of dedicated investment professionals is led by seven partners who have worked at LLCP for an average of 21 years. The firm currently manages approximately $7.8 billion of assets – including its most recent flagship fund, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners VI, L.P., which closed in 2018 with $2.5 billion of committed capital, and its most recent European fund, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners Europe II SCSp, which closed in 2020 with €463 million of committed capital. LLCP has offices in Los Angeles, London, The Hague, Stockholm, New York, Chicago, Charlotte and Miami.

Media Contacts:

Mark Semer or Ross Lovern Kekst

CNC +1 (917) 439-3507 or +1 (917) 842-7205

More needs to be done to achieve gender parity

Independent analysis done by Creditinfo using its vast data assets showed that gender balance in the workplace is far from being achieved. Companies need to keep this top of mind when it comes to creating leadership opportunities for women as the world moves towards closing the gap on gender parity.

Analysis by Creditinfo Iceland showed that last year, women were only appointed CEOs in a quarter of new hires in Iceland. Women accounted for 25% of new hires for the position of CEO, although this was an improvement on the 20% average over the last five years. Today, women hold around 18% of the CEO positions in the 6,000 active companies, but only about 13% of them are CEOs of the 1,000 higher-turnover companies.

The FKA (Women’s Association in Business) in Iceland, has a set a goal in their “Gender Balance Scale” project that by 2027 the gender ratio will be at least 40/60 in the executive boards in Iceland. The project was established in 2017 and has helped to promote diversity and balance through greater gender equality in management positions.

If we look at the rate of change of last 10 years, it is clear that the goal will not be achieved until 2061. If the share of women in CEO positions is to reach 40% before then, the proportion of women in new hires should be between 58% and 70% by 2027. The analysis also highlights an interesting statistic; a woman is more likely to take over the CEO position if her predecessor was also a woman. That is some food for thought for the gentlemen!

Brynja Baldursdóttir, Managing Director of Creditinfo Iceland has clear views on how to drive change, she says “Given the current proportion of women in new hires, it is clear that the goal of women being at least 40% of CEOs In Iceland by 2027 will not be achieved. It may be more encouraging to focus on raising the proportion of women in new employment to at least 50% in all sectors by 2027. Managers can thus make an immediate impact and help tip the scales.”

In Lithuania gender equality still seems a remote concept according to an analysis recently conducted by Creditinfo Lithuania. At the beginning of March 2021, there were almost 100,000 company managers in Lithuania, of these, only 30% were women. Probably unsurprising the biggest gap is in the construction, manufacturing, mining and quarrying, transport and agriculture sectors. Whereas the smallest gap is in the services, hotel and restaurant businesses. Men start managing companies at just a slightly younger age than women: the average age of female managers is 47 years, and male – 46 years of age. According to the data, a total of 98,127 people worked in the position of corporate managers in Lithuania at the beginning of March, out of which 30% were women, showing the sorry state of affairs.

It is often believed that more women than men are employed in trade, but businesses in this sector are almost three times more likely to be managed by men: 27% women and 73% men.

“Although there is a bias in historically male employee dominated industries the female employee dominated industries are still majority led by males, so the logic does not hold. Across all industries the focus must be on executive management selection on merit alone,” says Jekaterina Rojaka, Creditinfo Lithunaia‘s COO.

According to a report done by the United Nations, women remain significantly underrepresented in all aspects of decision-making, and violence against women in public life is widespread. The attitude that women should not have public roles, enduring norms about gender roles and legal discrimination compound these challenges and devalue women’s contributions to decision-making, threatening sustainable development. The report recommends that in order reach equality in participation and decision-making in public life, it is necessary to implement international and national commitments and norms, including through temporary special measures, create more enabling environments and institutional systems, reduce violence against women in political life and strengthen the voices of women, who face multiple forms of discrimination.

According to another report by the UN Women, women are at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19, as front-line and health sector workers, as scientists, doctors and caregivers, yet they get paid 11 per cent less globally than their male counterparts. An analysis of COVID-19 task teams from 87 countries found only 3.5 per cent of them had gender parity. As a result, this year’s International Women’s Day is a rallying cry for Generation Equality, to act for an equal future for all.

Creditinfo Group

Creditinfo has a rich diversity of talent within the company. In each of our offices we have a mix of nationalities, genders, ages, cultures, sexual orientation, education among others. These differences within the Creditinfo enable the company to thrive and help us to embrace our company values of respect, innovation and no nonsense and ultimately, we create greater trust, internally and with our clients.

We strive to achieve a balance of genders within each of our 30+ markets, however we still see today a lower number of female applicants for certain roles during the recruitment process, often IT and analytical roles, which limits our options when hiring. Globally, we have 34% females and 66% male, and those percentages are also mirrored in management positions worldwide with approximately 63% male and 37% female.

With focus on International Women’s Day, we asked the Group HR & Operations Support at Creditinfo Group for her views on closing in on the gender gap.

“International Women’s Day has given us an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women worldwide and to also give thought to those women who are not so fortunate. I consider myself lucky to have worked for companies throughout my career that largely support women’s equality, Creditinfo being one of those, where we celebrate and recognize efforts by the women in our company. Recently, our General Manager from Ukraine, Kateryna Danylchenko was recognized as one of the top-50 most influential women of Ukrainian Fintech and these are among some of the achievements we are always proud of. It’d be great to see a more equal split since women’s full and effective participation and leadership in of all areas of life drives progress for everyone”, states Emma Camilleri, Group HR & Operations Support at Creditinfo Group.

#GenerationEquality #IWD2021

Creditinfo’s new KYC tool allows affordable background checks of international business partners

Creditinfo is the first company in Estonia to bring the shared KYC utility “Know Your Client” to the market. The tool gathers the data an entrepreneur needs to know about clients and business partners from both Estonia and international reliable databases covering the whole world.

According to the rules of the fight against money-laundering and financing of terrorism, each company is responsible for ensuring that every business transaction and cooperation agreement complies with the terms stated in the anti-money laundering law (the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act). In essence, it is the duty of a company to know their clients and business partners in case of both single transactions and longer business relationships.

“Every entrepreneur needs to check the background of the business partner because when the transaction reaches the bank, it may already be too late. The accounts may be frozen and you could end up losing the money,“ Jaanus Leemets, head of Creditinfo’s product development unit explained. “One questionable transaction, no matter how great or small sums are involved, may significantly increase the overall risk rating of the entrepreneur.”

The background checks of companies and individuals operating in Estonia has been a widely available service for years, but checking the background of international partners has been a great challenge for small and medium-sized companies. Access to reliable international databases is very expensive, and the offered solutions are often not suitable for checking single transactions or compiling detailed reports of the parties involved.

“Banks spend millions of euros a year on anti-money laundering background checks, leaving  entrepreneurs stranded since they have no resources to afford these services. The results of public search portals are also often not reliable, extensive nor up-to-date enough in their content, especially with international companies, as well as also domestic inquiries. We therefore created a tool that makes inquiries from dozens of different reliable, international databases. The new tool is affordable to small businesses as well and it is also simple to use for single inquiries.“ Leemets added.

To get the entrepreneurs started, Creditinfo offers consultations on the correct implementation of the background check and its proficiency. There is also the option of joining the KYC business school in order to understand the essence of KYC regulations, the precise duties, everyday needs of their companies, and all available options to regularly check the background of clients and business partners without spending too much time.

Media contact:

Rain Resmeldt Uusen

Marketing Manager, Creditinfo Estonia

Email: rain@creditinfo.ee

Better information for customer due diligence in Iceland

According to the International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Profileration, Financial institutions are required to conduct due diligence on their customers. They have a special obligation to verify customer information. Financial institutions need to examine in detail the relationship between individuals and companies and whether the individuals in question are politically exposed.

The process of obtaining this information can be complex and time consuming, but with the help of Creditinfo it is possible to significantly ease the process so that employees can focus on more demanding tasks. Creditinfo in Iceland have a number of solutions available that can assist financial institutions with due diligence:

Company registration information

According to the guidelines from the Icelandic government against money laundering and terrorist financing, it must be verified that the individuals acting on behalf of a company are specifically authorized to act on its behalf. Using Creditinfo, it is possible to get a detailed overview of the managers of the company, its purpose, registered capital and information about board members.

Beneficial Owners

When conducting due diligence, financial institutions need to investigate the beneficial ownership of their customers. It is common for individuals to own companies through other companies. Such relationships can be complex and it can be difficult to find out exactly who the individual owners are and their individual stake at the company in question. Creditinfo can assist in obtaining detailed information about the individuals who actually own companies and how large their share is. The beneficial ownership report also contains information from the register of limited companies. Now there is also information about the beneficial owners according to the Icelandic Revenue and Customs office in the Beneficial owners report.

Monitoring

It is not sufficient to examine customer information only at the start of a business relationship. It is equally important to maintain regular monitoring of customers and their relationships. With the help of Creditinfo it is possible to monitor changes that take place in information about specific companies, e.g. submission of new annual reports, changes in the company’s board of directors or changes in ownership. Such information is necessary to keep a close eye on your customers. Now it is possible to monitor changes in beneficial owners who own more than 25% of the company in question.

Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) – Coming Soon!

Creditinfo has begun preparing a database that will include information on Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) to assist companies in meeting anti-money laundering requirements. In processing the information, Creditinfo consults with the Data Protection Authority in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act. Individuals who will be registered in the database will have good access to the information and will be notified of its processing.

Find out about the subscription options available at Creditinfo Iceland. Visit www.creditinfo.is for more information about our solutions and services.

This article was originally posted in Icelandic on the Creditinfo Iceland blog.

Icelandic Media in 2020 – Creditinfo Iceland

2020 was, to say the least, an eventful year. The highlight of the year was the COVID-19 epidemic, which revolutionized the entire world this year and continues to affect 2021. The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Wuhan, China at the end of December 2019 and the first confirmed death related to the virus was confirmed on January 11th 2020. News of the virus began to increase in Iceland as the number of infections outside China increased.

Specific mentions of the word COVID-19 was not not mentioned until the end of February last year. When the first infection was diagnosed in Iceland on 28 February, Icelandic media coverage of the virus increased significantly and reached a certain peak in mid-March, shortly after the World Health Organization declared that the spread of COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic. After that, the number of news items began to increase significantly, but at its peak, 372 news items were broadcast about COVID-19 on March 20, 2020. A total of 41,492 news items containing the word COVID were broadcast this year.

Institutions and companies in the news in 2020

As in previous years, political parties in Iceland were the institutions that received the most mentions in the Icelandic media in 2020. A total of more than 14,000 news items were broadcast about the Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn) in the past year and about 12,000 news items were broadcast about the Left Greens (Vinstri-Grænir). The effect of COVID-19 can be seen when looking at the high-jumpers on the list of the institutions that were most frequently mentioned in the Icelandic media in 2020. The Directorate of Health was in third place this year among the institutions that were most in the news in 2020 but were in 37th place in 2019. The National Police Commissioners Office was in fourth place in 2020 but was in 45th place in 2019 with a total of over 11,000 news items.

When the list is narrowed down to companies it is clear that one company was particularly popular among the press. A total of 6,000 news items were broadcast about Icelandair this year, followed by Decode Genetics with about 3,100 news items. After them, it was the three commercial banks Íslandsbanki, Landsbankinn and Arion Bank that were most covered in the Icelandic media in 2020.

Would you like further information about media monitoring solutions from Creditinfo Iceland? Please contact us.

 

This article was originally posted in Icelandic on the Creditinfo Iceland blog.

Creditinfo Cookbook

Creditinfo_We_are_family

 

Cooking is the basis for relationships. 

For many, family mealtime has been lost in our over-scheduled lives. Family meals provide an opportunity to come together, strengthen ties and build better relationships. They are an opportunity to reconnect and handle the stresses of daily life – build a sense of belonging.  

Food confers the status and identity with which we distinguish ourselves from others and at the same time gives us the sense of community we seek. Those who eat as we do have a connection with us; they are as we are. 

Let’s gather around the table or on the mat and eat together this season. This book is a glimpse of the different forms of communal dining in our Creditinfo ecosystem. Whether in Iceland or Guyana – “Dinner is served!”. 

We’re about to eat, so drop what you are doing and join us. 

Download the whole Creditinfo Cookbook for offline viewing here.