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Interview with Managing Director of Compuscan CRB – an Experian Company

Compuscan CRB was the first credit reference bureau to enter Uganda and celebrated many years’ success in partnership with the Ugandan government, the Bank of Uganda, various governing bodies and clients. In April 2019, the acquisition of Compuscan by Experian came into effect. One year on, we caught up with Mark Mwanje, the Managing Director of Compuscan CRB (an Experian company) to find out how the integration of the two companies is progressing.

In Uganda, how is Compuscan CRB experiencing the integration of the two companies post the acquisition by Experian in April 2019?

The Experian acquisition and integration of Compuscan have been smooth. Experian has been very supportive and engaging, which has created a swift transition for employees and our clients. The information and analytics reports provided and their involvement with Compuscan CRB has been vital in terms of understanding Experian’s capabilities and the growth plans for the region.

What opportunities do you see following the acquisition?

Through the power of convergence, we envision opportunities of increased innovation and extended product offerings, data analytics and decisioning solutions for our market. Using Experian’s global expertise, we are able to advise the regulator on new regulations applicable to our business and be the first to market on new data-driven initiatives.

Experian’s global technology capabilities, software, depth of data, and analytics will allow us to offer clients in Uganda and Africa a more extensive range of solutions.

Taking into consideration the effect Compuscan CRB had on Uganda, where do you see the country, its businesses and its people going in the future?

Compuscan CRB has a good reputation for having a positive impact on the Ugandan economy in the last 12 years of our existence here by pioneering CRB services in the county. Registered credit-visible consumers have grown to over 900 000 in 2020 from 150 000 in 2009. We have also seen a positive change in borrower behaviour towards credit. Borrowers have become more sensitive about their credit profiles, and the lenders are now more confident about their customers. The information gap between lenders and borrowers has been significantly reduced within the participating institutions’ markets.

We hope to see accelerated growth in the credit sector due to the increased use of digital innovations within the credit environment. More lenders are increasingly seeking digital delivery channels as well as more advanced credit analytics, scoring and decisioning tools. Alternative data collection and usage in our analytical models presents a great growth opportunity for Experian Uganda in the coming years.

What part do you think Experian will play in this?

Experian is committed to driving financial inclusion across the African region, improving access to credit, driving accelerated innovation and enhancing our data assets. To do so, Experian will bring improved infrastructure and data platforms for increasing and aiding financial inclusion and market development in the country. Additionally, Compuscan CRB and, by extension, Experian are positioned as strong regulatory advisors on credit information services in Uganda, thereby helping our clients to lend more responsibly.

Under the current pandemic, how important is a having a credit bureau like Compuscan CRB to the Ugandan economy?

The role of the credit bureaus like ours in Uganda has been to guide the regulator and other policy stakeholders on credit information services. The bureau provides meaningful credit insights to both lenders and policymakers to facilitate quick decisioning for inclusive growth. For borrowers who wish to benefit from the relief measures currently being undertaken by the lenders with support of the regulator, their credit profile has been useful in aiding decision making.

To quote the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report: “In Uganda, the credit bureau expanded borrower coverage, improving access to credit information.” According to the Uganda Consumer Credit statistics, there has been a sharp increase in consumer credit granted from 2008. During the same period, we can observe a similar increase in the country’s GDP growth from the services sector.

As part of Experian, we hope to see a continued trend in increased financial inclusion and services sector contribution to the Ugandan GDP growth as well as maximised opportunities for our clients in the country. And as a trusted partner to clients and consumers, we are here to help them navigate the current turbulence of this uncertain time.