Evolution of customer onboarding and risk assessment 

This year, Creditinfo celebrated its 25-year anniversary, so I decided to look back on how the landscape in effective credit risk management has evolved. 

While it was a little before my time, I’m sure there are still many people today who remember that the only way to open a bank account, apply for a loan or to be considered for a mortgage was to visit your local branch and sit with a loan officer. Though, this is still the case in many emerging markets even today, there will be some small differences on the data used and the risk assessment criteria that is in place.  

Historically, a visit to the branch would involve meeting a loan officer who would then try to understand your circumstances before making an approval. If there was a past relationship or a connection (family member, friend, etc) with the loan officer, this would usually work in your favor. It was a direct relationship that usually lasted a lifetime. The loan officer would know or at least try to understand as much personal information on your employment, income, and expenses as possible and then would make a personal judgement to provide you with a form of credit. All of this was most likely completed and documented on papers and filed into a filing system for record.  

 Fast forward a few decades and not only are local branches disappearing, but also the idea of sharing personal information with a “stranger”, along with any supporting documents that validate your circumstances are a thing of the past. In a world of smartphones, tablets, and access to the internet 24/7, we have moved to a new wave of digital lending.   

Lenders are implementing new strategies today to meet the end needs of customers by enabling access to credit instantly at their fingertips. Digitalization has become the new norm in lending and to succeed today, lenders need to adjust and transform their platforms. It is now a thing of the past to fill in an application form on paper when we have a smartphone in our pockets that can allow us to fill in the same information into a mobile application within a few minutes. As part of the loan onboarding, we can now validate our identity through biometric authentication options – fingerprint analysis, selfie/face recognition and document validation, etc. eliminating the need to do human to human verification.  

 The challenges from old-fashioned lending methods, i.e. understanding family ties or seeking information on employment and income would typically result in an unfair and inaccurate risk assessment. With the vast amount of information available today, either traditional or non-traditional, we can accurately assess everyone, even customers with limited credit history – “thin files”. These are often rejected due to the lack of evidence on how risk-tolerant or risk-averse they are. Usually, the absence of traditional information for these customers creates a challenge for them to receive the financial support they need. With the introduction of psychometric data, e-wallet data or open banking solutions, lenders can combine credit scoring methods with traditional models to provide accurate and reliable risk assessment.   

The benefits and success of this digital transformation and innovative approach to lending is not just about delivering quick-fix money solutions. Instead, it is about empowering individuals, facilitating access to credit and growing our global economies.    

If you are interested to reach the top and win the digital race with a state-of-the-art digital lending platform then reach out to Gary Brown, Commercial Director, Creditinfo Group.  

Visit www.creditinfo.com for more information.

How to build an impeccable credit history

Within the first days of our lives, we are all issued a birth certificate which becomes the first document of the pile that we are to collect during our lifetime. Birth certificates are followed by passports, then graduation certificates, college or university diplomas. Reaching the age of majority entails, among other things, responsibility not only for one‘s professional career, but also for financial decisions which are reflected in the credit history. In other words, credit history is a yearbook of one‘s financial obligations, which is read by banks, leasing companies or other institutions in order to assign you to the categories of either reliable or less reliable clients and decide whether they are willing to accept you for credit.

No Credit Without Credit History

According to the surveys, more than half of the adult population of Lithuania are active users of credits to finance purchase of the real estate, vehicles, household appliances, furniture, PCs, phones, etc.

To get a credit, you apply to the banks or leasing companies. They first look into your credit history which shows how well you performed our financial obligations in the past, including consistency of timely payments for electricity, telecommunication services or garbage removal, also timely repayment of other credits and any overdue debts.

A good or bad credit history determines whether you will be accepted for credit to buy a new refrigerator instead of an old broken one, whether sellers will agree to sell you a new phone just after signing an agreement on payment in installments over the next two years. If the credit history is sound, you can expect the most favorable conditions and trust of the seller. A poor credit record means that you may have to pay the entire amount at once.

A History of Amounts and Discipline

The credit history reflects two types of information. The first one is an account of financial obligations, credits in the banks, consumer loans from credit institutions or peer-to-peer lending platforms, leasing, etc. Lenders use this information to assess the client‘s budget sufficiency, i.e., the percentage of income spent for servicing the existing debts. The second type of information is the track record of repayment of debts indicating the discipline of making payments for credits, mobile phone, internet, cable TV and other bills.

Banks Favor Positive Rather than Empty Credit History

The staff of the credit bureau is often asked what a good credit history is. One may think that lenders favor those who never had a loan, leasing or credit card, and never delayed payments to service providers, hence their credit history is empty. Yet the lenders‘ approach is different. On the one hand, an empty credit record may indicate that you had no need to borrow or to buy on lease in the past. On the other hand, who is more trustworthy: a client who repaid his lease or loan in time, or a person who never had any financial obligations? A survey conducted by “Mano Creditinfo“ revealed that banks tend to be more favorable towards clients who had financial obligations in the past as they are more predictable.

Financial institutions tend to trust clients with good credit history and offer them better conditions, such as a lower down payment, lower interest rate and more flexible repayment terms. For instance, Swedbank‘s Institute of Finances earlier advertised that good credit history may save up to several thousand euros in interest on home loans. Good credit history will save you up to EUR 500 on a loan for a EUR 5,000 worth car, or up to EUR 1,700 on a EUR 10,000 worth car lease.

Can You Fix a Bad Credit History? 

Yes, you can, but it will take time and effort. There are several factors that determine a bad credit history, including high financial obligations, excessive and unreasonable borrowing, borrowing to service outstanding debts, delayed payments and other. If your credit history contains any such events, you have to brace yourself for a hard time, as cosmetic adjustments will not erase or eliminate them. If you tend to assume too many financial obligations, you will have to reduce their number and curb your appetite for borrowing for some time at least. If you have any overdue payments, you are recommended to make the payments as soon as possible and never delay them again.

Financial institutions usually analyze the credit history of the recent 2 or 3 years, and the negative impact of the sins of the past gradually fades away over time. Thus, if you have a poor credit history and decide to change your approach towards your financial obligations today, financial institutions may still have questions about your past financial behaviour for a couple more years to come.

Mistakes to be Avoided

Information about the financial relations and obligations will accompany you throughout your entire life telling a story of either a high financial discipline or lack of it. If you decide to borrow, you must carefully assess your ability to cover the debt and think about the ways to ensure the repayment even if you lose your income. Negative records appear in your credit history very quickly, within a month from the day the payment was due. Erasing this record from your credit history will take years, though.

Aurimas Kačinskas,

CEO – Creditinfo Lietuva.

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

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