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US credit firm forays into Kenyan Market

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 28 – American credit management firm TransUnion has acquired an 85 percent stake in Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) Holdings Limited, as it seeks to expand its footprint in Africa.

With an existing presence in five African countries, TransUnion Africa Region Chief Executive Grant Phillips said the firm intends to broaden and strengthen its offerings in other African markets especially in dealing with unregulated credit.

“TransUnion has a proven track record around the world of providing products and services that create informed credit decision environments. The benefit of that can be reflected in a number of economies particularly in the emerging environment where unregulated credit provides a major issue both around delinquencies and fraud,” he said.

The acquisition, CRB Africa CEO Wachira Ndege said, will not only establish growth in the Kenyan credit market, but also elevate local services to international standards in the areas of consumer-based and data-based analysis.

“TransUnion is a global leader in terms of credit resolutions. They are very good in analytics and creating credit scores. Our intention is to introduce those tools into the market. This should allow banks and users of credit information to move beyond just reading what your credit history is, and use scores and analytics,” he said.

A major challenge for the CRB Africa has been a lack of data quality as far as accuracy of information obtained from financial institutions, which Ndege said will be improved by the use of analytics.

Access to credit abroad, he revealed, should be much easier for consumers seeking to purchase property in more advanced economies.

Through the agreement, consumers in Africa will have the opportunity to carry their credit history information to the 23 countries that TransUnion operates in around the world.

With Africa’s population growing to almost a billion, the continent has been a magnet for both local and international commercial interest and investments.

Kenya within the last year has attracted several multinationals looking to set up shop in the country.

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“The beauty of this is that the large entities are familiar with TransUnion, so if they come into Kenya and see that it is actually operating here, they will be reassured in terms of the quality of credit risk information they can access in the market,” Ndege said.

CRB Africa, primarily known as a supplier for credit referencing and debt management in the region, will be integrated into TransUnion once the agreement receives regulatory approval.

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