Finance Indaba 2016: Creditinfo is a data-driven solutions pioneer

"Credit bureaus have always played an important role within the financial sector providing information, solutions and services that ensure that creditors have the information and technology needed to make informed decisions." says Agata Szydlowska, Head of Financial Inclusion and CRB Awareness at Credit Info, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

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In the coming weeks and months, we will be chatting to all the Indaba partners, asking them why they are joining the event and what their most important message for finance professionals is.

Do you want to hear how Creditinfo can help improve your credit risk management processes? Do you want to be informed about the latest and greatest in finance? Then don't miss the Finance Indaba Africa 2016.

Why will you be present at the Finance Indaba?
"Creditinfo Group is committed to its presence in Africa with offices in 11 countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Togo and Guinea Bissau), specialized projects in additional 3 (Zimbabwe, Sudan, South Sudan) and network of our partner company Compuscan in six (South Africa, Uganda, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Zambia) - we cover overall 20 countries and we want to stay relevant to the changing environment of the financial sector on this continent. Finance Indaba is the biggest annual expo and conference for the financial world in Africa and for us it is a place where we can show case our latest technology innovations, share experience from developing markets and interact with our clients and potential partners.

"As a leading credit risk management solutions provider, we are here to learn more how we can continue to develop our solutions in line with the latest technology and trends to support Fintech companies with the automation of their business process accompanied by the smart usage of data analytics. We consider Creditinfo to be more than just a traditional credit bureau - we strongly believe that we are a pioneer of the solutions based on data analytics for the financial sector and especially for Fintech companies. That's why Finance Indaba is of great interest to us, since it is combined with the Africa Fintech Awards. Creditinfo Group is expanding in numerous African markets and we would welcome Fintech companies to expand with us in the region, therefore we welcome the opportunity at Finance Indaba 2016 to meet such potential partners."

What will you be talking about?
"We will be introducing and discussing our latest technology innovations for automated application processing and express our vision towards the future in terms of empowering financial inclusion by using new technology, alternative non-traditional data, psychometrics, all contributing to the growth and expansion of Fintech companies."

The title of our presentation is: The importance of Innovative Credit Bureau Solutions for New and Emerging Financial Technology Services.

"Credit bureaus have always played an important role within the financial sector providing information, solutions and services that ensure that creditors have the information and technology needed to make informed decisions. New financial technology for retail banking, peer to peer lending and other credit related services have presented new opportunities and challenges not only for the Credit Bureaus but for the whole financial sector.

"Representatives from Creditinfo will share their views on opportunities and challenges for financial institutions and Fintech companies from a credit bureau perspective, focusing on new and alternative data sources. Furthermore how automated solutions can make the financial services provided by these sectors more efficient.

"The presentation will be very interactive and showcase our experiences from the countries where we are present. In our presentation we will introduce why it is necessary to collect and consolidate data from multiple sources ranging from traditional Credit Data to new ways of identifying opportunities and preventing risk by using alternative and non-existing credit data. Furthermore, we will present the value and importance of analytical services, products and solutions that enable the automation and processing of these different types of data sources throughout the customer lifecycle from customer acquisition to collections."

What are the challenges you can help finance professionals/firms with in 2016?
"We believe that our technology innovations, analytical support and new data acquisition will be an essential part to support the future growth of the financial sectors. A credit bureau will continue to be a vital part for understanding behavioural changes of new and existing clients within the financial sectors. Furthermore the financial sector will need to have the analytical tools, support and products to manage Big Data. As part of these challenges Creditinfo will showcase a suite of products to maximize the value of traditional banking data in combination of alternative and big data. These solutions include application processing solutions, business evaluation engines, portfolio screening, benchmarking monitoring and MSME blended score card development to name a few."

Tell us about the Credit Info Academy.
Creditinfo Academy was established with the purpose to assist the development of sustainable financial and credit management, assisting businesses with increasing their efficiency through innovative technologies. The objective is to offer diversified range of training which will help organizations as well as customers to enhance their financial responsibility. Creditinfo Academy mission is to stipulate responsible lending practices through involving with financial literacy programs. We believe that Creditinfo Academy through its courses can influence the development towards more sustainable and financial inclusive economy.

"Creditinfo Academy is a skills development and training provider that delivers generic and customized training services. Our focus at Creditinfo Academy is to provide training for clients wanting to develop their skills to improve operational efficiency and overall business performance; as well as train consumers and assist public sector in their quest for financial inclusion.

"We offer various seminars e.g. "Improving your Credit Risk Management practices"; "Fraud Risk Management " series of workshops or " Advance Credit Scoring" to mention a few. In October we conduct a three-day specialized seminar on advanced credit scoring - one will be held in Nairobi 12-14 October and the second one in Dar es Salaam on 19-21 October. More info can be found on our websites."

What is your view of the standard of credit risk management practices in Africa?
"The credit risk management industry has been changing over the last decade in Africa, and needs to adapt quickly to the latest innovations coming from the Fintech world. Credit Management practices need to cater for the new era of digitalized payments, loans and new data coming from various sources like mobile money.

"Technological advances are assisting financial sector to find new ways of doing more business at lower costs and expand its client base; this combined with fintech developments is transforming the financial services industry landscape on the African continent. All this is happening at a very fast paste and not leaving the financial institutions much choice rather than adapt their process rapidly. Financial institutions are changing ways of doing business, especially when it comes to gathering, transmitting and analyzing data, which often comes from mobile based solutions.

"This, of course, presents the main challenge from credit risk management perspective - how to make processes of digital lending sustainable, how to find capacity to analyze Big Data? The answer is simple - involve more with innovative products of credit bureaus. At Creditinfo Group, we specialize at analysis of the big data and developing processes which will cater for those challenges. We can offer outsourcing of credit scoring of new clients, as well as work together with FIs to build their internal credit scores. Adopting new technologies when it comes to acquiring new clients, requires the same approach on the credit risk management side in order to maximize on profits. Everything becomes driven by data and financial sector needs to respond by working with data experts.

"Creditinfo Group has capacity and expertise to analyze new data formats and data coming from mobile, social media, new loan products.

"Another challenge, which is related to the same issue of new technological developments and fintech innovations is ensuring that the staff managing those new products and digitalized loans possess relevant set of skills. The conservative approach towards credit control and monitoring won't work in this case.

"Credit officers are no longer dealing with Excel spreadsheets and direct interviews with clients. They have to be apt with new technologies, understand the latest products, and understand the trends as well as the new risks which come with it. This is why we established Creditinfo Academy - to assist those professionals with such challenges. Credit Risk management is not only about analyzing credit applications, and overlooking loan portfolios, it starts with acquiring the client through various new means, managing and monitoring to the follow ups. There is also lot of new types of fraud which comes up together with digitalization of financial services and credit industry needs to be prepared for this as well."