• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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FirstCentral underscores strategies for navigating financial landscape during credit conference

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FirstCentral Credit Bureau Limited, Nigeria’s only independent and first licensed Credit Bureau, well-known for its commitment to designing and deploying solutions that turn data into strategic tools for information and risk management, recently organized a webinar titled: ‘Navigating the Financial Landscape in 2024’ which had financial experts unveil strategies for navigating Nigeria’s financial landscape in 2024 at FirstCentral Credit Bureau’s credit conferencing webinar.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FirstCentral, Deji Peters, stated that due to the advent of development economics, almost all the countries in the world subscribed to the idea of crediting, and it was rather unusual not to have a credit system.

“No nation in the world can survive without credit. It allows individuals to lend money for survival and invest to add value, and that is why most countries in the world subscribe to the idea of crediting,” he said.

Edmund Otaigbe, Group Head, Credit Documentation and Administration and Governance of Access Bank PLC, advised individuals, corporate bodies and lending institutions to adopt good debt management strategies which would in turn promote financial stability, improve cash flow, enhance creditworthiness, lower default rates and increase profitability.

“In terms of lending, your level of openness determines the level of support you get from financial institutions. How you communicate your situation to your financial institution, and make your lending partner in sync with you is extremely important,” he stated.

He listed some of the Debt management strategies as: “Assess Your Income & Expenses, set realistic financial goals, utilize budgeting applications, allocate funds for debt repayment, Cash flow forecasting and contingency, and Risk Assessment”.

Olubunmi Peters, Executive Vice-Chairman of North-South Power, said that maintaining a good credit score as a lifestyle would promote a more credible financial sector, and afford individuals and businesses access to credit.

“Maintaining a good credit score is making credibility a lifestyle. I got my American Express Card in 1980, and forty-three years today, I’ve maintained my American Express in a credible way with other credits.
“After my experience, I realised that someone is always watching you, and I understood that credibility is to be borne by you, not someone else,” he said.

He also said that some of the reasons for the establishment of Credit Bureaus in Nigeria were to regulate credit referencing, curb defaults and encourage discipline.

“At that time, I witnessed scenarios of loans being obtained from four or five banks by the same individuals, without the banks having any prior knowledge of the dubious patterns of these people subsequently, stopped offsetting the loans as there were no tools, data/records which could be deployed to hold them accountable.

“In essence, when you build credibility for yourself, your growth is unlimited. You can walk anywhere, and the impression of your credit score would be lasting on the loan you may get,” he said.

Owing to the naira devaluation, inflation rate and global crisis, Ikemefula Nwachukwu, Head of Personal Banking at First Bank Nigeria said that there would be an increase in loan defaults. Adding that trends like: Data, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG), Cyber Security, and Open banking would shape the financial services space in a few years, he stated.

“Open banking has revolutionised lending because financial data becomes accessible, and therefore underwriting credit disbursement collections can be done seamlessly. It has also empowered the customers’ control as banks must obtain customers’ consent before sharing their data,” he said.

Open banking has also lent some credibility to the financial sector in terms of lending and credit scoring, he stated. In his words, “Open banking gives credit bureaus extensive data sets that are aggregated in nature and which helps them provide lenders very clean and detailed credit scoring, and profiling of individuals or businesses who request for credit. This will lead to optimal creditors’ decision,” he said.

In her speech, the GM Marketing & Business Development unit of FirstCentral Credit Bureau Mrs Mary Ohalete-Uwaoma stated that as a risk and information management company, FirstCentral compiles information on individuals’ and businesses’ credit information, repayment behaviour, collateral details and history of types of loans to prepare a credit report for the benefit of lending institutions. She also said that the risk management approach of the company supported by the CBN is a two-legged structure where the lenders first conduct a pre-assessment of the potential borrowers using any of the reports below while the second leg involves the lender remitting the data of all successful loans disbursed. This second leg is beneficial to the lender as a security of the capital, beneficial to the borrower as it helps him/her to build a quality credit history for credit score and report. Data rendition is also beneficial to the CBN for credit allocation and finally to the lending ecosystem for easy decision-making during loan processing. The company also offers a wide range of products ranging from Financial Reporting, Data Integration and Financial Intelligence. Mrs Mary listed some of the credit reports like: Dud Cheque, Detailed Credit, Basic Credit, X-Score and others, with Services like: Trainings on Credit & Financial Literacy, Directorship Credit Reporting, Data Analytics also being offered. She finally stated that individuals should not wait until they are rejected for a loan or position before they check their credit score and report.

For more information, kindly visit the website: https://firstcentralcreditbureau.com/