How CRC Credit Bureau Limited revolutionalized access to credit in Nigeria


Even as efforts are now geared towards improving credit penetration in Nigeria, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the CRC Credit Bureau Limited, Dr. ‘Tunde Popoola has taken time to enumerate the steps taken so far by the establishment to increase access to credit especially for consumers and small businesses in Nigeria since its inception 13 years ago.

Speaking in his welcome address at a Webinar held recently by the CRC Credit Bureau Limited in association with Duns & Bradstreet tagged “You & Credit 7.0” with the theme, “Improving Access To Credit In Nigeria: The Role of Fintech Companies”, Popoola observed that the CRC Credit Bureau Limited has improved credit to private sector in Nigeria.

He recalled that in 2009 when they started, total credit to the private sector could be around N12 trillion adding that today, it is over N36 trillion even as he posited that the rate of non performing load which was about 30% in 2009 is less than 5% as at today.

“So, Bureau has really assisted the economy. It has been playing its role as an engine of growth, as an institution that accelerate access to credit, as an institution that people very mindful of their contractual obligations and it has also stimulated product development in the financial institutions.

“Now, virtually every banking institution has SME desk, they do retail loan, they do consumer loan and so on and it also improve debt collection, risk pricing of various products and services. It has also helped Nigerians to to be able to move up the ladder when it comes to ease of doing business ranking by the World Bank”, he stated.

Dr. Popoola explained that CRC Credit Bureau is the leading credit bureau in Nigeria with a group structure made up of the CRC Credit Bureau as the operating holdco and then, the CRC Data and Analytics simply called CDAL which focuses on other data and analytics in the country.

He disclosed that the establishment obtained its license as Credit Bureau in 2009 and commenced life operation the same year adding that “we are an award winning institution, winning various awards virtually every year.”

“We are a data company and as a data company, our mandate is to help our country Nigeria to witness increase access to credit especially for consumers and small businesses and we do this by providing data and relevant information to lenders and creditors generally in Nigeria and our clients are basically a lot of financial institutions.

“As we speak today, there are about 2,000 institutions that use the services of the CRC Credit Bureau, all the banks in Nigeria actually, all the licensed institutions by the Central Bank of Nigeria but others are in Fintechs, Real Estate, Telcos, Discos, Oil and Gas, pharmaceuticals, multinationals and so on. To our credit, there are over 60 million credit files sitting on our database as we speak today”, he added.

The GMD/CEO informed that major role of the CRC Credit Bureau Limited is not only to provide information to credit grantors but also to maintain accurate database of borrowers in the Nigerian economy even as he maintained that all of these are to stimulate access to credit, to improve access to credit especially for small businesses and for consumers.

He continued, “As a Bureau, we collect, analyse and disclose demographic and regulated information about individuals and companies and there is no limit to the amount we take on, from one Kobo to trillions once it is a loan or once it is a receivable, this information comes through the Bureau.

“We have developed about 16 products towards supporting our customers and these 16 products and services are driven into the value chains of access to credit. So, we have products that help our customers to identify who they should be doing business with, we have products that help them profile customers who have applied to them for credit or to buy on credit, we have products that help them to be able to monitor once they are granted the credit and we also have products that help them to be able to make collections and manage the debt especially when it’s going into default.

“Out of the 16 products, let me just talk about 3 that are very recent that we have developed. Basically, the products of the Credit Bureau are Credit report and credit scores. So, that is Germaine, that is basic to all credit bureaus.

“Now, for us, we recently, during the course of COVID-19, developed a product called Financial Resilience or Delayed Propensity Score. We realized that Covid has a significant implications on the performance of loans of those who are very dutiful to the repayment of their loans. So, this product was developed to anticipate and know who among the customers will go on default as a result of Covid even though they have been performing very well before Covid.

“And now that Covid is going, we now have accelerated the product to now look at the economy generally and still help our customers to decipher who among their very good customers who are never in default before are likely to go on default because of some circumstances looking at the next 60 to 90 days.

“So, if you are a lender in Nigeria today, this is a product that you can really look at that can help you determine who is likely to go into default among your good customers. We are not talking about bad customers, we talk about customers that are likely to experience difficulty in repayment of their loans who are currently very good customers in the last twelve months.

“Now, the CRC Returnex is a very good tool for managing relationships especially for loans. It’s built based on analytics and artificial intelligence. The whole essence of this product called CRC Returnex is to enable institutions to know who among their customers who are currently borrowing from them are likely to still borrow when they end the tenure of their current loan and if they are going to borrow, it’s to enable them to predict whether they will still want to borrow from their own institution or they are likely to borrow somewhere else.

“So, once you use this product, you are likely to know whether that customer that you have today will still want to renew or want to take a new loan and if he’s going to take a new loan, whether he’s likely to take it with you or go to somewhere else. So, it helps in relationship management to know once you anticipate that someone is going to go into another place, you can then know how to fashion out your relationship management to ensure that you cater for him.

“The CRC Risk Calculator, as the name implies is a calculator that determines how risky a borrower is in relation to paying back loans. So, these are the three new products that were developed in the last two years. The Delayed Propensity came into the market during the Covid and the CRC Returnex and the CRC Risk Calculator came into being in the last twelve months.”

On how to access the services being offered by CRC Credit Bureau Limited, Dr. Popoola said that although their services can be accessed through their website, individuals who want to check their credit report may go through the website as well as use their telephone.

“You can download our App which can be downloaded on Apple Store or Google play. So, whether it’s IOS or Android, you can download it and then, once you download the App, you can use it to have access to your credit report or credit score. And for institutions who want to join us or those who are already using us, we have developed APIs and the whole essence is to move away from manual checking through website so you can benefit from seamless automation of your services. This helps you to submit data and download the credit report or other products that you want to get from us among the 16 products that I have mentioned.

“So, the API is very useful and it helps customers to be able to automate, it helps them to do life connection, it helps them to improve the number of transactions that they can attend to and it can help them to even submit data very regularly. Now we have customers who are submitting data every day. But there are also those who want to batch, they have thousands and millions of transactions they want to check, these can be batched to us and they can even do the batch by themselves and use that to download information”, he explained.

He further highlighted that CRC Credit Bureau Limited is in the business of data to get institutions to know their customers, their profile, who they give money to and to help challenge the issue of lending in the dark in Nigeria.

Speaking on the relevance of the Webinar, the GMD/CEO said, “This programme has been put together under our CSR initiative called You & Credit. Our You & Credit platform is a vehicle we designed to support financial education to the generality of Nigerians with focus basically on credit education and financial education in genera.

“We have through this platform been collaborating with a lot of institutions including the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Bank of Industry, Faith Foundation and so many other institutions to talk about the concept and the issue of responsible borrowing and the evil of poor loan management.

“As your Chief Host today, I am so glad that a lot of people have shown interest in what we are trying to do today. As I speak now, over nine hundred people have joined the Webinar and we are looking forward that not less than 3,000 people will join us at this session today and that suggests to you the importance of what we are trying to discuss today.”

Photo: Dr. ‘Tunde Popoola, GMD/CEO, CRC Credit Bureau Limited.

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