Open Banking Solutions at Creditinfo

In 2020 Creditinfo Group decided to be part of the Open Banking initiative by starting to investigate the options of using customers’ bank account statements in their offering. The account information service is based on the PSD2 directive. For known reasons, it is not possible and acceptable to have access to customer bank account data without consent.

Creditinfo have tackled the opportunity in two different ways. In the Baltics and Iceland, the chosen route was to apply for an FSA licence to offer end-to-end customer account statements transfer from their home bank to a third party, from whom the customer applies for credit , e.g. car loan. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia namely due to the long and cost-intensive process of “passporting” CI’s Estonian license, the chosen route was collaboration with a local technical partner called Sokordia Tech.

A little bit more about above-mentioned two ways to offer Open Banking solutions in Creditinfo Group.

In 2021 Spring, Creditinfo Estonia received permission from the Financial Supervision Authority to start offering account information services in Estonia, which later in Autumn expanded to the markets of Latvia and Lithuania. Today, Creditinfo has been offering the account information service in the Baltic market for almost three years. Creditinfo have real-time access to the transaction data of customers of banks and financial institutions using a secure data transmission channel and customer consent.

In Spring 2024, Creditinfo Estonia finalised the Iceland licence application process from Estonian FSA and can officially offer account information service in Iceland.

Beside regulative and compliance part, Creditinfo also has full technical integration and capability in developing categorization when offering account informatoin service. With opportunity to access customers bank account data, the aim is to offer more transparent credit risk evaluation to customers and third parties, who find high value from the knowledge of their customers account information to make data-driven, intelligent credit and business decisions.

As mentioned above, Creditinfo also have Open Banking cooperation and partnership in the Czech Republic and Slovakia with fintech company Sokordia Tech, teaming up to capitalize on Creditinfo’s market position  whilst leveraging Sokordia Tech’s AISP and PISP licenses and Open Banking services platform to provide PSD2/Open Banking services to several financial services clients in the market.

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia market, Creditinfo currently has 5 customers utilizing the Open Banking platform, processing more than 1.2 million open banking transactions per month. Depending on the specific requirements, pain points, and use case of the Client, Creditinfo  has developed a “Categorization In-a-Box” , Multi-Service platform called Transaction Analysis Service replete with 40,000 pre-installed business rules that can sit atop and work with any Open Banking Open APIs in any country. The service is comprised of 6 unique methods/services (AIS+CIS+PIS) & PDF tools via one API as detailed below:

  1. PSD2parser: extracting raw data from PSD2 bank statements
  2. PSD2tags: tag each bank transaction with one to N identifying tags
  3. PDFparser: Extracting raw data from PDF bank statements
  4. PDFtags: Tag each bank transaction with one to N identification tags
  5. 1UnitPay: Verification PSD2 payment (the advantage is that the payment is made in one step with statement extraction)
  6. Bank Account Views: Repeated viewing of bank accounts without the need for customer re-authentication

Together with our partner Sokordia Tech, we currently have Open Banking APIs and are able to provide all these services under one single API for the following countries: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Poland.

Development work on the 3rd generation of the Transaction Analysis Service is currently in development, highlighted by:

  • Deeper AI involvement in processes & rules & analysis
  • Expansion of new online data inputs into transactional analytics
  • Multi-language analytical tools
  • GUI for clients to manage and report transactional analytics themselves

For more information, please visit: www.creditinfo.com

Authors:

Seth Marks – Regional Director Central, Eastern & Southern Europe, Creditinfo Group

Ivo Vallau – Open Banking Product Manager, Creditinfo Group

 

Creditinfo appoints TransUnion veteran as new Global Chief Commercial Officer

Seasoned commercial leader, John Cannon, looks to use wealth of financial and executive leadership experience in new role to unlock new value for customers and drive Creditinfo’s international growth

London – 18 April 2024: Creditinfo, a global service provider for credit information and risk management solutions, has today announced the appointment of John Cannon as its Global Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). With over 25 years of experience in finance and credit bureaus, John will spearhead the strategy and execution behind Creditinfo’s solutions and products for all 30 of its credit bureaus, which are spread across 50 different countries.

John brings almost three decades of experience in leading top-performing teams, delivering pioneering solutions, and galvanising high-value market leading companies within the global financial community. A reputable industry expert, John led Transunion’s GFS business for international regions and has spent the last couple of years as an advisor to Private Equity firms in addition to helping scale early stage technology companies, most recently Xapien.

As CCO of Creditinfo, John will draw on his extensive sector knowledge and experience to leverage Creditinfo’s technology and data to push innovation forward and ensure it meets customer expectations and needs. He will play a key part in promoting financial inclusion globally and in doing so bolster Creditinfo’s international growth. In his new role, John will also be responsible for delivering the right products and services to Creditinfo’s customers to maximise value, as well as identifying new business opportunities. 

John Cannon, newly appointed Global Chief Commercial Officer at Creditinfo said: “I’m delighted to join Creditinfo, a company that is committed to enriching people’s lives through unlocking access to financial inclusion. This, and its international culture, is what drew me to the company. I look forward to working with the remarkable Creditinfo team to support the next phase of its growth journey.”

Satrajit Saha, Global CEO at Creditinfo said: “With firm roots in the global financial industry and a strong track record as a senior executive leader, John is an excellent addition to our senior leadership team. As we look to expand our global footprint and facilitate access to finance for millions of consumers and businesses worldwide, having John on board is a huge advantage, not only for our own innovation and growth but also for our customers as they turn to us to provide worldclass and transformative solutions and products.”

John will report directly to Satrajit Saha, Creditinfo’s Global CEO.

 

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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

Overview: Creditinfo Estonia’s Payment Default Registry in 2023

Creditinfo Estonia’s Payment Default Register was established in 2001 by Estonian banks, being the largest and oldest register in Estonia that gathers consistent and high-quality debt information. The register of payment defaults helps Estonian entrepreneurs make the right credit decisions and enables the application of the principle of responsible lending.

The largest contributors of payment defaults continue to be from the financial sector

In 2023, a total of over 700 companies entered payment defaults in the register. The TOP entrants by activity were:

  • Credit institutions
  • Financial service providers
  •  Collection service providers
  • Telecom companies

During the entire year, more than 100,000 new payment defaults were added to the register by companies, of which 91% were private payment defaults. Payment defaults of legal entities were published in a total of nearly 9,200 cases. 

There are tens of thousands of people with payment defaults in Estonia

As of the end of 2023, there were nearly 57,000 individuals with active payment defaults.

During the liquidation of the debt, the current default is marked as closed – in 2023, there were 111,000 private individuals with a closed payment default. A closed payment default indicates that the debt has been paid, but at the same time it warns the creditor that the person has had problems paying bills in the past and this allows for a more accurate assessment of his creditworthiness. NB! In the case of private individuals, closed payment defaults are published for up to 5 years after the payment default has ended.

As of the end of 2023, there were almost 20,000 legal entities or companies-institutions with active payment defaults.

There were nearly 33,000 legal entities with closed payment defaults. NB! In the case of companies, the information provided will be published for another 7 years after the end of the default.

 There are more than 150 thousand active payment defaults in the register

By the end of 2023, there were nearly 130,000 active payment defaults in the Payment Default Register by individuals with payment defaults. The average payment default amount, or debt, of a private person is €2,514. There were almost 363,000 private individuals with payment defaults that were closed.

At the end of 2023, there were approximately 40,000 active defaults of legal entities. There were almost 65,000 closed defaults of legal entities. 

The number of valid payment defaults has increased

In total, there were nearly 171,000 active payment defaults published in the Payment Default Register. If we add to this the information on payment defaults in the closed and disputed status, the total number of payment defaults in the Payment Default Register is 600,697, which has increased by approx. 9% compared to 2022.

At the same time, the effectiveness of the Payment Failure Register is maintained. Of all payment defaults that have reached publication, one in four, or 26%, is paid immediately within the first month, and half (47%) within the first three months after publication.

The disclosure has the greatest impact on the debts of the financial sector – 36% of all defaults disclosed by banks and leasing companies are paid already within the first month and almost 63% within the first three months.

Visit www.creditinfo.ee for more information.

ICRA and Creditinfo Tanzania launch first credit rating agency for Tanzania institutions

Dar Es Salaam, 24th January 2024 – Creditinfo Tanzania, provider of credit information and risk management solutions, and ICRA (International Credit Rating Agency) have partnered to launch the ICRA Rating Agency, the first credit rating agency locally based in Tanzania.

The joint venture will provide credit rating and evaluation services to Tanzanian financial institutions, creating for the financial industry. Combined, ICRA and Creditinfo’s Tanzania team bring decades of experience and practical knowledge in credit risk management and analysis to support and improve credit assessment in Tanzania.

Adv Hassan Mansur, Local Director of ICRA Rating Agency Limited said: “We are delighted to launch Tanzania’s first credit rating agency that is fully geared towards strengthening the economy through providing credit rating services that are tailored to the African market. Our partnership with Creditinfo will provide ample opportunities and offer a competitive edge for various institutions, most especially the Tanzanian institutions in the International Market.”

Edwin Urasa, CEO of CreditInfo Tanzania said: “At Creditinfo, we are committed to sustainably growing our business and identifying ideal opportunities to build strong and profitable credit rating agencies, while helping more local citizens and businesses access finance. Our partnership with ICRA marks an important milestone for us and gives us the opportunity to improve the standards of credit assessment. Tanzania is an optimal market for us to introduce this service because of its tremendous promise for inclusive financial services. This venture will set a new standard in credit rating and promote financial health and empowerment across Tanzania.”

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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 tz.creditinfo.com

www.creditinfo.com

 

About ICRA Rating Agency

ICRA Rating Agency Limited has been accredited for being the First Ever Credit Rating Agency approved by Bank of Tanzania (Central Bank of Tanzania) to which we are the only regional central bank approved credit rating agency offering credit rating services. Our organisation also gets the special status of ecai (external credit assessment institution).

ICRA has an expert team with a combined experience of more than 25 years in Audit, Inspection, Financial Analysis, Credit Research, Banking, Compliance, AML and Certification. Our ratings significantly influence corporate and financial institutions to achieve better market standing. ICRA ratings aim to help various corporations and institutions demonstrate their financial capability.

For more information, please visit www.icrallc.com

An excellent Account Information Service is based on the accuracy of the categorization of transactions

In 2021, Creditinfo Estonia received permission from the Financial Supervision Authority to start offering account information services in Estonia, which later expanded to the markets of Latvia and Lithuania. Today, we have been offering the account information service on the market for almost two years. The account information service is based on the PSD2 directive. We have access to the transaction data of customers of banks and financial institutions using a secure data transmission channel and customer consent.

Account information categorization is the first and most trivial account data processing that creates customer value. In addition to the primary value, categorization is also an input for all subsequent, significantly more value-creating services (for example, debt risk assessment). Without categorization, each time finding, analyzing and displaying value from account information becomes too resource-intensive, so the end user would have to wait a relatively long time to get a result from their data.

Unfortunately, categorization is worthless if the accuracy and quality of the categories are low. Of course, every transaction on a bank account is not an input for assessing a person’s credit risk. When determining credit risk, it is critically important that the accuracy of the categorization of transactions required for analysis is as high as possible. This is to prevent credit losses for companies and overdue debts for private individuals, directly affecting both interest groups’ reputations.

The main input from categorization is related to income

 

The primary input from the account information for credit risk assessment is salary/income and the volume of financial obligations (loans, installment payments, leases, etc.) per month. In addition, various red and green indicators affect a person’s credit risk. For example, casino visits and bailiff payments can be classified under red and insurance charges under green.
To ensure the accuracy of the categorization, Creditinfo has given the first priority to categorizing transactions important for credit risk assessment across the Baltics. However, today, we can state that the overall accuracy of categorizing the account information service offered by Creditinfo across the Baltics exceeds 90%.
 
A more accurate percentage value can only be estimated by looking at the categorization of a specific bank account since the accuracy of the categorization is directly related to the transactions that the bank account reflects.
 
Accurate categorization of account information is also essential for ensuring know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) rules for all companies to which KYC and AML rules apply to a greater or lesser extent. For example, too much cash mobility in an account can mean potential money laundering. There is not, and should not be, a definite rule as to what amount constitutes money laundering in the case of a large amount of cash in the account. Many companies operate in a sector where a lot of cash moves. However, this does not make these entrepreneurs suspects of money laundering. If the cash movement is justified, then the doubt is also grounded.
 
In summary, it can be said that the bank statement is a valuable new data collection that helps to assess a person’s credit risk better. The basis for a more accurate evaluation is categorizing bank account transactions of excellent quality. At the same time, it must be remembered that achieving 100% categorization accuracy is impossible. Service providers are constantly changing; people go on trips, new companies are born, older companies disappear, purchases are made in various domestic and foreign online stores, etc. These are all reasons why there are always companies whose payment transaction categories cannot be specified as soon as possible.

Visit creditinfo.ee/en for more information.

Ivo Vallau

Open Banking Product Manager, Ceditinfo Estonia.

Access to customer bank transaction data provides a basis for more intelligent business decisions

In 2021, Creditinfo Estonia received permission from the Financial Supervision Authority to start offering account information services in Estonia, which later expanded to the markets of Latvia and Lithuania. Today, they have been offering the account information service on the market for almost two years. The PSD2 directive regulates the account information service, that grants account information service provider (Creditinfo) access to the transaction data of end-customers of banks and financial institutions, using a secure data transmission channel and customer consent.

Intelligent business decisions can only be made when decision-makers have enough information when making the decision. Decisions made without comprehensive information may remain superficial or rely too much on intuition. A joint decision becomes smart by including relevant, up-to-date, appropriate and verified data for decision-making, analyzing it and drawing conclusions from it.

Companies that want to be competitive in the market and, at the same time, grow faster than the market must act consciously and operatively to take advantage of the exponentially increasing amount of data and to navigate the diverse data landscape. The word “action” means the application of well-thought-out multiple technologies, the careful selection of primary data and adaptation to large, innovative data sets that provide the company with necessary data inquiries and detail-specific analyses. The actions mentioned in the previous sentence are based on the data value chain – a framework for managing data from collection to decision-making.

Access to bank transaction data gives the financial sector and several other sectors an unlimited opportunity to use innovative data sets to improve their business processes. Data (including account data) collection, analysis, targeted use and data-driven decision-making directly relate to Creditinfo’s core business. Creditinfo has invested a lot of time and knowledge to ensure and support its customers in successfully using the account information data. Remember that the customer does not have to invest resources in implementing the necessary specific technologies and data analysis in addition to their core business to filter and acquire value from bank transaction data.

Creditinfo adds value to account data with information from other sources

Bank transaction data helps to make more intelligent and more informed decisions regarding the products, services and conditions offered to the end customer. Figuratively speaking, credit bureau data enlighten one corner of the room of a person’s financial behavior, and the information obtained from account transactions enlightens the other corner of the room of a person’s financial behaviour.

Account information, besides evaluating financial behavior, provides information about a person’s daily habits, experiences, preferences, hobbies and much more.

In summary, access to the data of the end customer’s bank transactions provides a foundation for making business decisions based on an even more extensive and significantly more diverse data set, in other words, making decisions even smarter. As a universal, comprehensive solution provider throughout the Baltics, Creditinfo is the only partner for its customers with access to credit bureau data, global KYC data, and bank account data.

Visit creditinfo.ee/en for more information.

Ivo Vallau

Open Banking Product Manager, Ceditinfo Estonia.

Creditinfo appoints Satrajit Saha as new Global CEO

Former CEO of TransUnion Europe – Satrajit Saha – brings his expertise to Creditinfo, planning to drive growth across its credit bureaus globally.

London – 29th November 2023: Creditinfo, a global service provider for credit information and risk management solutions, has today announced the appointment of Satrajit Saha as its Global Chief Executive Officer (CEO). With over 20 years of experience in banking and credit bureau, Satrajit will drive the growth of Creditinfo and the maturity of its credit bureaus globally. He joins the company from TransUnion Europe, where he held the position of CEO for the last five years.

In his role, Satrajit will lead Creditinfo in advancing its strategic initiatives, with a particular focus on promoting financial inclusion worldwide. Drawing on his rich background in the credit information industry, spread across Asia, Africa, and Europe, he will lead the next phase of Creditinfo’s growth on a global level as it strives to become a truly global bureau and the leader for facilitating access to finance in both developed and emerging markets.

As an experienced strategic leader, Satrajit has an impressive reputation in the financial services space. At TransUnion Europe, he led the board of all TransUnion’s European owned entities. Before joining TransUnion Europe, he was Chief Business Officer at TransUnion India, where he was responsible for crafting and executing TransUnion’s CIBIL’s market strategy. He was also Cards Head, Africa Region, at Barclays Bank.

Satrajit Saha, newly appointed Global CEO at Creditinfo said: “I am honored to take on the role of Global CEO at Creditinfo, a company that is at the forefront of promoting financial inclusion. Together with the talented team at Creditinfo, we will continue to leverage innovative data sets and solutions to bridge information gaps and create opportunities to facilitate access to finance for individuals and businesses globally.”

Monty Ismail, Director at Levine Leichtman Capital Partners and Creditinfo Group Board member said: “We are delighted to welcome Satrajit “Satty” Saha as our new Global Chief Executive Officer. He is an accomplished executive with successful leadership experience relevant to our business, including his time as CEO of TransUnion UK. Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Creditinfo, and we are excited to see Satty, with extensive knowledge of our key markets, take over as CEO. We are looking forward to working with Satty in continuing to expand our global footprint and unlock access to finance for millions of consumers and businesses worldwide. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Paul Randall for his important contribution as CEO. He has been key to our success, and we are all grateful for his leadership and dedication.”

He will begin his new role as Creditinfo CEO on 1st January 2024 and will report directly to the Creditinfo Group Board.

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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

How are sanctions created? Overview on the example of the European Union 

On the surface of recent developments in Estonia, there is again reason to talk about sanctions. Namely, law enforcement bodies have recently carried out procedural actions regarding the economic activities of at least one company, suspecting a violation of international sanctions. This shows that without knowing exactly what is allowed and what is not – as well as without knowing the background and connections of one’s business partners when carrying out one’s business activities – there is still a risk of violating established sanction regimes, and as a result one has to deal with supervisory or law enforcement authorities.

Even if it turns out later in the proceedings that you have behaved correctly, it is in no way reasonable to attract such negative media coverage; as well as experiencing the stress and resource consumption inevitably associated with such procedures. Therefore, it is always wise to prevent problems and look for solutions to mitigate such risks as early as possible, which AS Creditinfo Eesti can always help you with.

However, how are restrictive measures established, who is responsible for the fact that the EU can put someone on its lists at all, and is it inevitable to be on the sanctions lists or is it possible to get out of there somehow? Let’s take a closer look at this process here.

Initiation of sanctions in the European Union

The European Union is an association of independent countries operating on the basis of its founding treaty(s). One of the important principles is that the European Union has a common foreign and security policy, one of the important parts of which is, among other things, the imposition of sanctions in situations where it is desired :

  • protect EU values, fundamental interests and security
  • keep the peace
  • consolidate and support democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the principles of international law
  • prevent conflicts and strengthen international security

We have already covered the nature of sanctions and their relevance in relation to the situation in Ukraine in more detail on the Creditinfo channels beforehand, so we would currently only look at the process of how the idea of ​​sanctioning at the EU level results in a mandatory legal act for all persons operating on the territory of the Community.

The creation of legislation necessary for the implementation of sanctions can be viewed at the EU level in three different aspects :

  • Legislation to take over UN sanctions is being created
  • Legislation is being created to implement UN sanctions in an expanded form
  • Legislation to establish autonomous EU sanctions regimes.

The European Foreign Service (institutionally part of the European Union Commission) is responsible for the implementation of EU sanctions policy , whose responsibility is to prepare drafts for establishing or changing sanctions regimes.

Of course, this is done in close cooperation with the member states, for example it is very important to get input regarding the identifying data of sanctioned persons, which information is often available to national specialists, and including it in the legislation establishing the sanction (or its annex) will help to significantly reduce the number of false positive responses arising from the implementation of the legislation in the future.

Since all member states must give their consent to the imposed sanctions, the draft sanctions move to the institution with the member states’ representation, i.e. the Council of the EU. The next instance is therefore the corresponding working group of the Council of the European Union (RELEX) , where the specialists of the member states cooperate to reach an agreement on the text of the legislation.

If agreement is not reached, the agreement will continue in the working group formed by the permanent representatives of the member states at the EU (COREPER) , from there the draft will go to the General Assembly of the Council of the EU (forum of heads of government), where it will be adopted and the text of the legislation will be agreed upon. For mandatory compliance, the legislation will be in the EU gazette after its publication.

Ending sanctions 

Existing EU autonomous sanctions legislation is reviewed regularly, but no less often than once every 12 months.

Since the EU follows the principles of the rule of law (Rule of Law), it is of course also possible for persons under sanctions to get rid of the status of a sanctioned person through legal processes.

There are two main options for this – to publish a motivated statement of wish to this effect directly to the Council of the EU, which will then process the corresponding application and make a decision regarding whether to leave the sanctions list or to remove it from it, or another, more widely used option, to turn to the General Court of the European Union ( General Court of the European Union).

For example, at this point it is perhaps even appropriate to bring up the most talked about decision of recent times about the victory achieved by Violetta Prigozhin, the mother of the late Yevgeni Prigozhin, regarding her delisting .

AS Creditinfo Eesti has continued to take on the concern of providing the necessary support to market participants in the implementation of international sanctions, and we are ready to help with various issues, both with advice and force. We believe that in this way, in cooperation with our customers, we can best contribute to the achievement of the common foreign and security policy goals of the EU.

Visit: creditinfo.ee

One in five construction companies on the brink of bankruptcy in Lithuania

As shown in a recent analysis of the construction sector conducted by Creditinfo Lietuva, almost a fifth (18%) of construction companies1 are currently on the brink of bankruptcy, while almost a third (31%) are at risk of defaulting on their payments. According to publicly available data2, construction companies, as a whole, exhibit shorter operating histories and offer lower wages compared to other sectors. Financial experts are therefore advising caution when engaging with construction firms.

There are currently 19,167 construction companies in Lithuania, employing almost 108,000 people. The numbers of construction companies and their employees have shown consistent growth since 2020. In 2020, there were 16,144 construction companies with an employee count of nearly 102,000. By 2021, the numbers had risen to 17,171 companies and over 102,000 employees, and at the beginning of 2022, the sector boasted 18,512 companies, employing in excess of 106,000 people.

The average age of a construction company CEO is  about 46 years, with a striking 87.5% of these leaders being male. Compared to other sectors, construction companies have a comparatively shorter average lifespan in the market, standing at 10 years, in contrast to the national average of over 13 years.

Despite witnessing among the fastest growth in the current year, salaries for construction workers still lag behind the Lithuanian average. According to data from Sodra, construction worker wages surged by 22% year-on-year in the second quarter, reaching EUR 1,300 before tax (EUR 880 net), while the average earnings of full-time workers across Lithuania rose by 12.3% year-on-year, amounting to EUR 1,980 before tax.

The risk of bankruptcy among construction companies is twice as high as the national average

Currently, 18% of construction firms fall into the high and highest bankruptcy risk categories, compared to 20% at the beginning of this year and 19% at the beginning of 2022. The high and highest risk classes of late payment now account for 31% of construction companies, up from 37% at the beginning of 2023 and 34% at the beginning of last year.

For all companies in Lithuania, excluding the construction sector, 9% of all companies in the country were in the high and highest bankruptcy risk classes at the beginning of 2023, compared to 12% at the beginning of 2022. At the beginning of this year, 17% of all Lithuanian companies belonged to the high and highest risk classes of late payment, with 21% at the beginning of 2022.

“Although the construction sector has experienced a period of growth in recent years, it is particularly sensitive to borrowing conditions, fluctuations in demand and geopolitical changes. During the pandemic, builders experienced a boom in demand – with many people deciding to improve their homes – low energy prices and relatively cheap borrowing. Subsequently, the construction sector encountered a number of challenges stemming from disrupted supply chains and the need to withdraw from cooperation with sanctioned countries,” explains Ekaterina Rojaka, Head of Business Strategy and Development at Creditinfo Lithuania. “In recent months, with the European Central Bank raising its base interest rates, borrowing has become a more costly affair, reducing people’s ability to borrow, and homes built with credit have been slower to sell.”

This year, bankruptcy proceedings were initiated for 136 construction companies

Since 2007, a total of 44,256 construction companies have been declared bankrupt in Lithuania. The highest number of bankruptcies occurred in 2009 (445), 2016 (351) and 2017 (367). Only in 2007 was the number of bankruptcies below 100, with a total of 67. In Lithuania, 163 construction companies faced insolvency in 2020, 131 in 2021 and 237 in 2022. In the first 8 months of this year alone, 136 construction companies in Lithuania have declared bankruptcy.

As of the beginning of September this year, there were 11,512 construction company debts on record, collectively burdened with nearly EUR 90 million in debts, with 962 new debts registered in the first 8 months of the year, according to the credit bureau systems. The average size of a single debt is EUR 7,800.

“When entering into contracts with construction companies, it is advisable to pay more attention to their risk assessment and to clearly negotiate payment terms,” Rojaka commented.

According to data provided to the Centre of Registers, the top 10 construction companies with the highest revenues last year are: YIT Lietuva (EUR 140.6 million), AB Kauno Tiltai (EUR 134.4 million), Conres LT (EUR 100.1 million), Autokausta (EUR 83.2 million), Tetas (EUR 79 million), Staticus (EUR 75.9 million), Merko Statyba (EUR 70.4 million), Žilinskis ir Co (EUR 68.7 million) and INGUS (EUR 63.9 million).

Almost one-fifth (19%) of companies in this sector have not yet submitted their financial statements for 2022.

According to Rojaka, state orders and building modernisation programmes will support the construction sector’s activity in the near future, as demand for real estate slows down. However, falling demand has only a limited impact on the final prices of construction services, as cheaper building materials do not compensate for the sector’s rapidly rising wages, which account for more than a quarter of total construction costs. As a result, construction continues to become more expensive, with a 3.7% year-on-year increase in construction costs in July, with the fastest increase in building repair costs, which rose by 9.2%.

More information:
Jekaterina Rojaka, Head of Business Strategy and Development at Creditinfo Lithuania (jekaterina.rojaka@creditinfo.com)

Or visit: lt.creditinfo.com/en

Notes:

1 In this report, construction companies are defined as companies that have publicly declared to the State Data Agency (SDA) the activity codes of Section F (41-43) of NACE2 as the company’s main activity.

2 The data in this press release is based on information publicly provided by the State Enterprise Centre of Registers, SODRA, the State Data Agency (VDA), and other sources.

Creditinfo: “The BIC reform will make it possible to take a big step towards financial inclusion.”

Reform of BICs, impact of inflation on solvency, feedback from the Checkinfo service – an overview with Sidimohamed Abouchikhi, Regional Director for Francophone Africa of Creditinfo Group, and Director of the Board of Directors of Checkinfo.

Finance News Hebdo: In this inflationary context, what assessment do you make of individuals’ and businesses’ insolvency risks?

Sidimohamed Abouchikhi: Inflation first impacted the distribution of loans after the successive increases in the critical rate (+150 bps), partially passed on to the interest rates applied by credit institutions (+53 bps). If we compare the first six months of the year 2023, we see a virtual stagnation in requests for the granting of credit, whereas usually, we have an increase between 5 and 8% (minimum), or even more than the part of individuals. For businesses, the decline in demand is mitigated when government support programs are included. To come back to your question, inflation naturally induces a reduction in purchasing power and impacts payment habits. We see this with the increase in non-payments which is undoubtedly significant but less than that observed internationally. The evolution of unpaid debts in number is more marked among individuals, whereas in terms of outstanding, the majority is among companies. All in all, we are on a return to normative levels of due payments. Not at the same level as 2019, but improving in 2020 and 2021.
FNH: After a long wait, the government has finally adopted the bill dedicated to Credit Information Bureaux. What are the main contributions of this reform?
 
Sidimohamed: The long-awaited reform of the Credit Information Bureaux (BIC) will allow better control of systemic risks and better accessibility to financing. It will also make it possible to take a big step towards financial inclusion and ensure that the BICs collect other sources of information besides traditional data. This so-called alternative data from major billers, such as telecom operators, water and electricity suppliers, insurance companies and others, will compensate for the lack of historical information on unbanked customers. The availability of this information will allow financing institutions to open up, with less apprehension, to new customers (individuals and VSMEs) who do not have a banking history but justify good payment habits. And this while reducing the use of guarantees. I remind you that of the 53% of the population with a bank account, less than 30% have access to credit. Therefore, this reform aims to widen access to financing for this population outside the circuit.
FNH: What are Creditinfo Group’s priorities in Morocco and West Africa in the short to medium term?
 
Sidimohamed: With more than 30 active credit bureaus, Creditinfo now has the most robust global presence in this sector. For over 25 years, we’ve provided credit bureau and risk management solutions and trusted business information to some of the world’s largest lenders, governments and central banks. The objective is to increase financial inclusion and generate economic growth by allowing access to credit for SMEs and individuals. Creditinfo is the industry leader in Africa, with a presence in 18 countries. The company which continues to be strengthened with two new acquisitions dating back barely a month, in Uganda and Namibia.
FNH: Checkinfo, Bank Al-Maghrib’s delegate for managing the irregular check centralization service, started its activities in April 2021. What is your experience feedback to date?
 
Sidimohamed: After two years of activity, and according to the feedback from our users, we can say that Checkinfo has a significant positive impact on their cash flow and the hassles associated with collection. Indeed, it should be known that 84% of the checks checked and posted irregularly come from accounts in prohibited banking. Therefore, these people are already in banking irregularity because of bad checks or other, and continue to issue checks which, of course, will be returned unpaid. Today, Checkinfo allows its users to protect themselves against these frauds. Moreover, the efficiency rate of the service is 99.6%. Also, you should know that out of all the checks that are checked, 13% are irregular.
Article translated in English as first seen on Finance News Hebdo 

For more inofmormation visit: www.checkinfo.ma