Rwanda last month hosted the second Transform Africa Summit after the inaugural one held in 2013. At least 10 African heads of state, leaders of government and heads of international corporations were among the participants at the Kigali summit, charting ways Information Communication Technologies can be used to improve service delivery.
Hope Magazine caught up with TransUnion Rwanda’s (formerly Credit Reference Bureau) Country Manager, Aimable Nkuranga after the summit to explain how at Transunion Rwanda they were leveraging on ICTs to provide the best credit reference services in Rwanda. Below are the excerpts;
How is TransUnion leveraging on ICTs to provide the best credit reference services in Rwanda?
Nkuranga: We are a trusted provider of global information solutions for assessing and managing risk. We are driven by a belief that information can help advance our industry, facilitate commerce and ultimately increase the standard of living for consumers around the world.
Small changes in the way that people see information can have a big impact. Earlier this year we completed the rebrand of our local operation and we are now known as TransUnion Rwanda. With the transition we added new capabilities that enable banks, lenders, retailers and others to bring new opportunities to more people. We’re not just a credit bureau, we’re an information company and we’re helping people to use information for good.
TransUnion is a registered credit bureau and a repository of credit information on consumers and businesses. In other words, we store information on how consumers pay their accounts – as it is provided by credit and service providers – on time in regular installments, or not.
TransUnion enables lenders to make fast and informed, reliable and objective lending decisions. This makes it possible for them to approve loans and credit for consumers. We have a strong development focus on the credit infrastructure of East Africa and an integral part of this is creating greater access to information.
Recently, Transunion introduced a new credit score system to Rwanda. How are you using ICT to come up with accurate and informative credit scores that lenders can use before issuing credit?
Nkuranga: The TransUnionCredit Score solution provides lenders with insight into the potential credit-risk of consumers by providing a snap-shot of their credit report at any given time. It’s an objective risk measurement that allows lenders to make efficient, equitable decisions about whether to extend credit and on what terms; lowering the risk of granting credit.
We believe that it is imperative that the Rwandan people understand what credit is, what your credit score is and how you can use the knowledge to better your score. We will be launching a direct to consumer solution called Nipashe, this gives consumers accurate, up-to-date information about their credit status in real-time, depending on whether their status is ‘good’ or ‘default’ they will have the opportunity to request a clearance certificate which they can use at credit providers to get credit, or their full credit report.
How is the use of ICT by Transunion going to bring about efficient loan disbursement and debt recovery procedures in Rwanda?
Nkuranga: As a responsible lender, you need to know about the financial position of a prospective consumer if, for example, they are considering opening an account or enquiring about a loan. Through real time and online access to the necessary information that lenders require to make informed lending decisions, we enable enhanced and real time customer risk assessment.
Through the use of credit risk assessment tools, such as the TransUnion Credit Risk Score, lenders can assess the probability of a consumer defaulting against their financial commitments. Credit Scoring enables the lender to make decisions about opening accounts and granting credit by using statistical techniques to measure, i.e. the likelihood that a consumer applying for credit will be an acceptable credit risk. Consequently credit scoring enables lenders to assess risk during the account origination process, manage an effective originations strategy to onboard the right customers, evaluate their debtors’ risk in conjunction with their expected performance, manage their existing debtors’ credit limits and collection obligations and rank debtors by their relative credit risk.
What are Transunion Rwanda’s plans for the coming future especially in terms of investing in technology?
Nkuranga: We are in the midst of overhauling our current website, which will serve as an information hub for Rwandan consumers, enabling greater access to information credit basics and providing the necessary steps to become credit savvy and manage their financial future sustainably.
We believe that it is imperative that the Rwandan people understand what credit is, what a good credit standing is and how they can use this information to improve how lenders view their ability to repay loans. We will be launching a direct to consumer mobile solution that gives consumers accurate, up-to-date information about their credit status in real-time.
We also endeavor to provide more complete and multidimensional information to help our customers make more informed decisions and as such we will be embarking on numerous data enhancement efforts that will increase our data density and quality as well as the delivery thereof through improved channels. This will allow us to utilise additional proactive analytics to provide further insight into the information that we house.
Thanks to Transunion and the use of ICT, borrowers will soon be able to receive their credit information even from their mobile phones. What are the advantages all stakeholders going to benefit from this in terms of faster and efficient service delivery?
Nkuranga: Coming soon, we will be launching a direct to consumer mobile solution that enables consumers to have constant anytime, anywhere access to their information. Being able to access this information in a simple and easy-to-use way empowers consumers to manage their own credit information so that they can act with confidence.