[Interview] Paul Randall, Executive Director, Creditinfo
Paul Randall is the Executive Director of Creditinfo, a credit information and risk management solutions provider in Africa and other countries across the globe. ,
Would you please introduce your company?
Established in 1997, Creditinfo is a provider of credit information and risk management solutions worldwide. As one of the fastest growing companies in its field, Creditinfo facilitates access to finance, through intelligent information, software and analytics solutions. With 33 credit bureaus running today, Creditinfo has the largest global presence in the field of credit risk management, with a significantly greater footprint than competitors.
Creditinfo has a track record of building credit bureaus and the required infrastructure to support them from the ground up. The company first build a credit bureau in Iceland in the 1990s, followed by expansion into the Baltics and Eastern Europe in the 2000s, and then Africa and the Caribbean from 2010 onwards. At the moment, Creditinfo is the leading provider in those four regions — Iceland, Baltics, Africa and Caribbean. Creditinfo has also created the only credit bureau that runs a single solution across eight countries in a single currency area — The West African Monetary Union. Creditinfo has the vision and the proven solutions to move into new credit bureau markets and create successful partnerships with lenders, governments, central banks and the people required to deliver an infrastructure, which will increase financial inclusion and generate economic growth by allowing credit access for SMEs and individuals.
What would you say gives your company the competitive edge?
Through its multiple subsidiaries, Creditinfo has developed numerous products and services from official and customer information sources to facilitate best practice decision-making in credit risk management. It has been the preferred partner of local credit bureaus since its inception.
Credit info’s portfolio can be broken down into the following areas:
Information services and sharing
Creditinfo operates its own credit bureaus, harnessing its proprietary IT solutions and expertise, and also provides solutions, consultancy and expertise to third parties, including other credit bureau operators. The core software – called CBS5 – is a modular solution, which enables credit bureaus to grow at unprecedented speeds. Creditinfo’s numerous VAPS (Value Added Products) include scoring, monitoring, decisioning, benchmarking, COREMETRIX and other additional services.
Business solutions and SMEs
In the field of credit risk management, Creditinfo supplies customers with application/bureau/mobile loans/instant loans scoring, AI analytics, Instant Decision, risk management consultancy, COREMETRIX etc. These solutions are mainly provided to Telcos, banks, microfinance institutions and online lenders.
Creditinfo’s consumer solutions focus on facilitating access to finance through the increase of financial literacy and financial inclusion.
Who are your clients?
Banks, National Banks, SMEs, Utilities, Insurance Companies, Leasing Companies, Lenders, Credit Providers.
What are the ambitions of the company going forward?
CreditInfo wants to continue to serve its customers, the population and improve the economy of the countries they operate in to add further solutions and data, to enable lenders further lend in a more responsible fashion. We have set up a lot of businesses so we want to make sure that we see them fully serving the countries. Often data needs to be improved to gather more information so we will continue to worth with the other stakeholders, governments and central banks to ensure responsible access to finance particularly across Africa.
How has the market responded to your products?
We have been overwhelmed with the success of the new products that enable lenders to start taking multiple data sources such as the instant data solution which they can use to make decisions and to also be able to refine those decisions for certain groups of customers as they learn in a constant feedback loop. We have seen that although Kenya where CreditInfo came in as the third CRB in the market we believe that we are providing innovative and advanced solutions that really support what the market needs at the moment.
One of the biggest challenges of risk management is inefficient data management. The inability to access the right data when it’s needed causes problematic delays. How do you manage and handle this?
This is a critical element for good decisions and so what we like to ensure is that the right data is available at the right time and bringing in information from different sources online at the moment is really critical and Instant decisioning is at the heart of this; taking information from the Credit Bureaus and mobile wallet information, and assessing this at the same time through complex algorithms. We also believe that now its important for Credit Bureaus to be updated as quickly as possible and we have moved to real-time uploads in the near future.
What are some of the best practices in credit risk management that Creditinfo has put in place?
What we ensure is that lenders need to have a 360-degree perspective on their customers. If a lender is assessing a loan, they need to understand whether that person or business has other loans, what amount those loans are and how they are repaying those loans. We then help the lenders – through providing experts to help them to understand how to assess this information. We bring together this information through credit scores. We have differentiated our credit scoring offering for a mobile score and a traditional lending score so w can enable lenders to really understand the importance of all that data through a simple score card – which is simple to use but complex to develop. We also understand that the lending decision is a component of multiple factors: we have the score card that predicts the probability of repayments, we also need to respect the banks policy, so we would recommend a number of policy rules, which can be driven at the highest level, whether to decline or refer for further information or investigation. We also realize that the third step of the process is to calculate the ability pay and what should be the relevant payment amount. So introducing income factors and looking at those in respect to the probability of payment and combining that information for instant decisioning in a responsible manner, so using the probability of payment and the ability to pay.
What are some of the benefits of using your services?
One of the biggest benefits would be responsible lending by understanding the customers, we also enable to support to lenders reduce bad debt, also through the scoring we enable lenders to price for risk – a very important aspect that has been highlighted by the central bank recently, so with our scores we know the risk for any portfolio. We also enable for decisions to be made more quickly; using the data we have confidence in making automated decisions in a moment. For new startups and existing lenders who want to create a mobile lending offering, we have been able to integrate the mobile lending platform into the instant decisioning, into the credit reference bureau and immediately, they can with confidence be able to make good sound decisions. This is usually done in a few months for the platforms to be up and running.
What is the latest news from your company?
We have recently launched a new product called advisor. When you think about a lender, Most of them have a significant existing portfolio and they need to be able to understand the dynamics of that portfolio and how to manage it. Lenders are able to know at what point their customers will need to be offered extended or additional products; when customers miss a payment, what is the appropriate action for example did they miss a payment for a few days because they were away and unable to repay on time, or do they have serious financial issues – therefore a collection process should click into place and a repayment schedule should be created. Advisor, therefore, enables customers to make informed decisions across the whole portfolio- be it 10,000 or 500,000 customers, Advisor is able to run that portfolio through the vast information we have at CreditInfo, segment these customers and advise on the appropriate action.
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