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EXPERIAN AND OPEN BANKING REPORTING COLLABORATION TO HELP COMMERCIAL LENDERS SUPPORT BUSINESSES IN POST-LOCKDOWN RECOVERY

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New financial and risk management solution to provide actionable insight for SMEs to thrive

 

Experian has partnered with Open Banking Reporting (OBR), a data-driven risk management fintech, to enable UK lenders to provide crucial business support as they look to bounce back from the impact of COVID-19.

OBR’s solution OpenRep uses advanced analytics and robotic automation, connecting the SME’s accounting software and banking transactions with commercial credit and macro-economic data to deliver real time monitoring, proactive alerts, and actionable insights to both the lender and the SME.

OpenRep allows lenders to provide a highly personalised approach to risk assessments through the monitoring of financial trends within a business’ performance; identifying opportunities to support the SME and the insight to act when access to finance is needed most.

The OpenRep solution is powered by Experian’s full range of business information and macro-economic datasets, which provides a far deeper understanding of a business’ financial circumstances.

 

Eddie Curran, CEO of Open Banking Reporting, said: “We are very proud of our flagship product OpenRep and the positive impact it has for both SMEs and lenders.

“By linking real time financial data with advanced analytics and robotic automation we have developed an early-warning system that can help SME owners and lenders identify risks and opportunities. As we continue in a period of economic uncertainty, it is even more important that SMEs and lenders access not just the most up-to-date data, but the tools and technology that turn it into actionable insight.

“OpenRep helps business owners achieve their strategic goals and allows lenders to provide a more proactive and personalised service.”

 

James McGarva, Managing Director of Business Information Services at Experian, said: “Although lockdown has come to an end, it still remains a critical time for small UK businesses, so having access to the right support to help them on their road to recovery is essential. This is why our partnership with OBR is an important one.

“By providing a far more comprehensive view of an SME’s circumstances, it allows lenders to understand how they can better support their customers and help them thrive and survive in this challenging business environment. We’re excited to be playing a key role in this process.”

Experian will also act as a reseller of OpenRep, which further enhances its open data solution Acumen – a set of capabilities enabling lenders to make more accurate and faster lending decisions.

 

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Protean and Fino Payments Bank tie-up to expand PAN card issuance services in India

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Fino Payments Bank has tied up with Protean eGov Technologies (formerly NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited), a market leader in universal, citizen centric and population scale e-governance solutions, to expand PAN card issuance services in India, especially in rural areas.

The association makes Fino the first payments bank to act as PAN Service Agency (PSA) of Protean and facilitate paperless PAN issuance services. The tie-up allows Protean to expand its reach in the interiors of the country through Fino Bank’s  phygital network of over 12.2 lakh merchant points.

At Fino Bank points people can apply for PAN card through Aadhaar based authentication, without the need to submit or upload any documents.

Further, applicants have the option to choose PAN card either in digital or physical form. The digital version or e-PAN, introduced recently, will be sent within a few hours of applying to the applicant’s email id. It is admissible as actual PAN card. Those opting for physical will receive their PAN cards at their Aadhaar mentioned address within 4-5 working days.

Mr. Rishi Gupta, MD & CEO, Fino Payments Bank said, “The association is a reiteration of our commitment to provide all financial related services under one roof. Our extensive pan India distribution network is best placed to provide efficient near doorstep delivery of G2C services. We are already facilitating disbursal of direct benefit transfer payments of various Government schemes and providing last mile access to banking services. We are pleased to partner with Protean towards their efforts to expand PAN coverage across the country and in the process ensure our objective of making every citizen financially secure is achieved.”

Mr. Suresh Sethi, Managing Director and CEO, Protean eGov Technologies, said, “We are delighted to partner with Fino Payments Bank as part of our strategy to contribute to a financial ecosystem that offers socio-economic benefits across all strata of the society. Our partnership will help to advance our shared vision of an inclusive and empowered India. This initiative is aligned with our mission to leave no citizen behind and bring the digitally excluded into the fold of formal financial economy.”

Since inception in 2017 Fino Payments Bank has been transforming the rural banking landscape with its extensive distribution network of over a million points. The convenience offered by the neighbourhood banking outlets has led to increased banking adoption and usage with more than 25 million customers visiting the points every month. With its innovative asset light model the transactions focused bank is profitable and as of today the only listed entity in its space.

Protean, which accepts and processes PAN applications on behalf of the Income Tax Department, Government of India, has played a pioneering role in laying down the basic e-governance infrastructure for the nation and providing citizen-centric services to the masses over the course of the last 25 years. Access and inclusion lie at the heart of any e-governance initiative and towards that the company has adopted and established a “Phygital” (Physical+Digital) model to ensure a truly inclusive service delivery paradigm.

As per Ministry of Finance, more than 43.34 crore Permanent Account Numbers (PANs) have been linked with Aadhaar till January 2022. That is around 36% of India’s population has Aadhaar linked PAN card. With more than 131 crore Aadhaar cards issued, there is immense scope for PAN card penetration, especially within those falling in income tax bracket.

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Cost of living: How to identify vulnerable customers

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Ellie Engley is account director at REaD Group

 

In the current climate, the cost of living crisis is a real challenge for financial services companies who need to be able to support their vulnerable customers. One in six (17%) of UK households (4.4 million) are now in ‘serious financial difficulties’, compared to one in ten (2.8 million) in October 2021 – an additional 1.6 million households – according to research from Bristol University, while it was recently reported that one in five adults across the UK – nearly 11 million people – have fallen behind with at least one household bill payment.

As a financial services provider, it has never been more important to be able to identify and communicate appropriately with vulnerable customers; those who, due to their personal circumstances, are especially susceptible to detriment. Not only that, but there are three different levels of poverty to be aware of: ranging from income below minimum income standard, not enough income and destitution.

As a financial service provider, then, it has never been more important to communicate sensitively to customers, price products appropriately and protect customers from fraud.

Identifying vulnerable customers

As a responsible brand, the first step is to proactively identify vulnerable customers to exclude from particular direct marketing campaigns, where additional credit or non-essential purchases could increase the pressure on their personal circumstances. This is an ethical approach to direct marketing which also sees companies increase ROI and improve campaign success.

Using both internal first party and third party data, it is possible to build up a detailed picture of customers in order to identify the existing vulnerable groups, as well as the emerging vulnerable groups within your customer base.

This data can identify vulnerable and potentially vulnerable segments of consumers, including self-declared vulnerability or that shared by a first party, such as a bank, on behalf of the consumer, along with high-cost short term credit applications; houses of multiple occupation (HMO data); and consumer vulnerability metrics. This latter employs a segmentation model which takes into account census data to provide information on demographics, such as age, income, housing, education, financial products, affluence measures; transient states such as health; market forces acting on the consumer and their susceptibility to those forces; and the individual’s market preferences.

Taken together this data will provide a rich and detailed understanding or levels and types of vulnerability so brands are able to work with their customers responsibly. Gaining a better understanding of differing vulnerable segments in a customer base helps drive effective communication strategies, while simultaneously ensuring fair treatment.

Other warning signs

Changes in transactions and behaviour are another way to identify vulnerability in customers. It may be necessary to identify different segments or groups of customers who are classed as vulnerable for different reasons. Those consumers who were once deemed ‘financially stable’ now feel financially stretched and are at greater risk of financial vulnerability through increased cost of living and rise in inflation.

The use of third party datasets can also support the identification of these groups which provide information on changes in personal circumstances, short-term finance requirements, loss of income or employment and changes to relationship or residential status.

Using external data variables helps companies make data-driven decisions on how to price products, reduce fraud, identify vulnerable customers and ultimately make more personalised decisions using data. Data can be used across different teams, including marketing, fraud and pricing, for multiple purposes and projects.

Being able to supplement the data they hold on a customer can help marketing teams to not only help identify risk but help define what their need state actually is, whether that’s saving, moving house or having children. Enhancing customer data helps companies make better informed decisions.

Keep it clean

On top of this, every financial services provider should be keeping their consumer data clean and accurate. Data that is up to date will help businesses make more informed and responsible decisions about how they communicate with customers and prospects.

Above all, financial service providers should be mindful of the many more people who are now vulnerable, and communicating with care should be a brand’s mantra for the foreseeable future.

 

Ellie Engley is account director at REaD Group, a Sagacity company, which uses its data products, insight and expertise to help its clients get closer to their customers.

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