There is such a wide variety of regtech offerings today which can help banks slash the cost of compliance and better deliver for their customers. Data scientists at financial institutions now have access to technology which can incorporate including utility data, psychometric profiles, SME financials and smartphone data to create intelligent risk assessments that enable informed credit and lending decisions to be made in fractions of seconds. This not only offers them enhanced security at a low cost but can also help bring billions of ‘unbanked’ adults across the planet into the financial system.
Paul Randall was appointed group CEO of Creditinfo in 2021 to lead the credit and decision analytics company through its next phase of growth under new a new shareholder structure, having held senior roles at the company for 14 years, most recently as Executive Director.
Within Creditinfo, Paul was known for introducing and developing a high-quality decision analytics team and culture. He was exposed to different markets and technologies during his previous roles at the company and through this experience he has gained a global perspective on Creditinfo’s solution and market sophistication.
What has been Creditinfo’s response to financial technology innovations?
Creditinfo has adapted to changes in the credit and lending ecosystem much better than the market as a whole, which has given us a strong foundation for our future growth. For us, operating in territories with different cultures, social norms, and that use different technologies gives Creditinfo an edge that will play to our benefit in the long run. The experience of working in these diverse markets and understanding their different needs, means the company has a broader perspective and more ‘global’ expertise than many of our competitors.
The fintech industry in West Africa and Kenya is different from fintech in the Nordics, which as an example is a niche and small market but with a high data density. There is a lot that can be learned from these differences and applied throughout the business. It’s in our DNA to a be very adaptable company, in fact we often do workshops with our clients to fuel innovation driven by real market needs.”
How has this changed over the past few years?
The global perspective Creditinfo’s operations provide, allows us to see trends develop in key markets and get an early sense of how that pattern will play out on a more macro level globally. One such example is the growth of online lending, and more recently ‘buy now pay later’ which is a development we have witnessed spreading globally. Having seen it emerge in Europe we are supporting this growth in many countries in which we operate. Another great example is Kenya, a country which is a catalyst of innovation where mobile wallets and mobile lending is leading the way for West Africa.
Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company?
As Creditinfo’s new CEO, I am putting in place new structures and processes to help us realise our ambitious growth goals. These will help us shape better conversations with customers and prospects, but also act as a mean for improving product development. In recent months I have overseen a change in shareholder structure, with private equity firm, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP) taking a majority stake in the business. LLCP will help us to keep expanding operations and support financial institutions with a full suite of best-in-class credit risk management tools. This is a significant milestone in our growth journey, as a world leader in providing decision analytics and risk mitigation solutions to lenders, central banks and SMEs.
What fintech ideas have been implemented?
In recent years we have been using technology to fuse the idea of traditional and alternative data. We have gone beyond fintech and identified new data sources. By using these sources and blending with traditional data to maximise we have been able to gather more information than ever before to aid credit decisions. #
We have just launched a blended scorecard in Kenya to facilitate access to finance for SMEs, which have been historically underserved but are the backbone of many economies, not only in emerging markets but also in more mature markets where innovation needs funding.
What benefits have these brought?
I think a good example is mobile banking. Some time ago we saw this really taking off in parts of East Africa, and now we are noticing a lot of demand for mobile wallets in West Africa – enabling consumers to convert their payments and transactions to support credit decisions.
In many developing markets we’re seeing a shift as lots of people move from rural areas to big cities seeking better-paid jobs. As these people earned more money, they found they needed some way to transfer it to their families, many of whom were still based back in those rural communities. Most of these people didn’t have a banking account as banks were avoiding such customers, viewing them as high risk/low profit. In such circumstances a person wishing to transfer money to their family would have to find a bus driver, going to his home village, and ask him to carry cash to his family. Not the most fast, convenient and secure way to commit a financial transaction.
Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?
The wealth of data available right now is overwhelming for lenders and our clients sometimes struggle to make the best use of this. Our aim is to provide intelligence on top of data sources to make the best use of the right data at the right time and become a one-stop-shop for our clients’ needs.”
Can these challenges be aided by fintech?
Taking your KYC data, and feeding through into whatever transaction monitoring system you use intelligently, is probably the best approach to take. But we must sell one idea to all our customers. The idea that KYC is not an ordeal we have to put the customer through. It is the most important thing we can do to protect them.
Ultimately, I think it’s our duty as an organisation, to lead in the most ethical way possible. On one hand we need to fuel innovation by being on the lookout for new data sources and technology but at the same time protect the interests of individuals whilst still working to facilitate responsible lending.
When looking at data sources we still need to make sure that we have consent. We have a duty of responsibility and care to use only data that we know has been ethically sourced.