Compuscan CRB Ltd has been active in Uganda since 2006, after the Bank of Uganda selected the company to establish the first credit reference bureau in the country. In addition to this, Compuscan Uganda also introduced a biometric identity smart card system to the credit industry. This marked the first formalised identification system for Uganda, which provided a more secure lending environment.
From the capital city of Kampala, Compuscan Uganda offers various products and solutions to the credit industry. These include:
- Credit Bureau Services: A centralized database of credit-active customers’ credit history and activities.
- The Financial Card System (FCS): A unique card used to verify a customer’s identity, using biometric technology to store identification data.
- Compuscore: Predict both customer and commercial credit behaviour and the probability of default throughout the credit life cycle.
- Codix: Automate the decision-making process and have the assurance to uphold your business strategy.
- Risk Rater: A risk-based analysis comparing the exposure of a client’s bank portfolio against their exposure in outside markets.
- Credit Alert Monitoring (CAM): Use the credit bureau database to monitor borrowers’ movements within the credit industry, and be alerted of their actions.
Compuscan Uganda was managed for a little over 10 years by its Managing Director, Mike Malan. As the Head of Africa Region, he is responsible for building and developing credit bureaus and risk solutions in emerging markets.
After living and working in Uganda for 10 years, Mike recently relocated back to South Africa. He is now based in Johannesburg, from where he will continue to fill his role as Regional Executive: Africa. Mike’s successor for the position of Compuscan Uganda’s Managing Director is Mark Charles Mwanje.
Mark Charles Mwanje
Mark joined Compuscan in 2017 as the Managing Director of Compuscan Uganda. With him, he brings over 16 years of experience in Commercial and Micro Finance Banking, over 9 years in Credit Management and over 7 years in Risk and Compliance Management. Positions Mark has held throughout his career include Head of Risk for Finance Trust Bank, and Country Head of Compliance at Diamond Trust Bank.
Mark is currently a member of the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services (UIBFS), the Institute of Corporate Governance in Uganda (ICGU), the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), the Professional Risk Manager’s International Association (PRMIA) as well as the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).
Academically, Mark received a Grade A Certificate in Financial Risk Management from the London School of Economics (LSE). He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Uganda Martyrs University (Nkozi) and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Rural economy from Makerere University in Kampala. He has also obtained an International Certificate in Banking Risk and Regulation from the Global Association of Risk Professionals.
Uganda has seen quite a few changes in the credit industry this year. Some of these include the new credit market expansion, the introduction of a national ID in Uganda, the arrival of competition in the country, and the implementation of nano credit, or mobile lending.
New credit market expansion
The regulations on market expansion are currently being deliberated by Uganda’s Parliament, and they will most likely be in operation before the end of 2017. However, the uptake and inclusion of new market players will only take full effect during the first half of 2018, which means that Uganda can look forward to full-scale market expansion between Q3 and Q4 of 2018.
Once the credit market has expanded, each new market player will be vetted and cleared by the Bank of Uganda. The market player would then choose its preferred credit bureau for enquiries and other business services, at which point Compuscan Uganda will engage each market player for business, and sign service level agreements with them.
The introduction of a national ID
One of Compuscan Uganda’s key strengths has been the introduction of the Financial Card System, or FCS. However, the country is now rolling out its National ID system, which will have a direct influence on this product. The FCS will eventually be replaced by the National ID as an acceptable form of identification on the bureau.
Compuscan Uganda is fully supportive of the government’s initiative to roll out the National ID, and, via the Bank of Uganda, has shared all of its FCS biometric data with the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA). This has enabled NIRA to match the FCS numbers with their National Identification Numbers (NINs). Both Compuscan Uganda and NIRA have been using ‘mega matcher’ software, which allows for easy matching of biometrics.
Once this initial phase of the migration process from the FCS to the National ID has been completed, a validation process will be conducted. In the interim, Compuscan Uganda will continue to support the FCS system, to allow for the stabilisation of the National ID as acceptable bureau identification.
The FCS system will continue to operate in a supportive role to the National ID, and will also be adapted to fulfil similar needs in other countries, which have experienced problems similar to those that Uganda faced several years ago.
The arrival of competition
In 2015, another credit reference bureau entered the credit industry alongside Compuscan, as the Bank of Uganda began its consideration of licensing more credit bureaus in the country in order to increase competition. Metropol Credit Reference Bureau (CRB), a subsidiary of a Metropol CRB based in Kenya, has now entered the market.
Management at Compuscan Uganda is of the opinion that having more credit reference bureaus can only benefit the country, as this will assist both customers and credit providers to practice responsible credit management, which is a common goal across bureaus.
The implementation of nano credit/mobile lending
Nano credit, or mobile lending, has recently been introduced in Uganda by both banks and telecommunications companies. The main obstacle to this type of credit is the lack of regulation. Mobile lending platforms and methodologies do not all conform to the current regulatory requirements and regime, which makes it quite expensive for banks to engage in mobile lending. This in turn heightens the cost of compliance for such institutions.
Many borrowers in the nano credit market also do not have a credit history, thereby increasing the asymmetry of information between lenders and borrowers, which increases credit risk.
“The future of banking is digital; mobile is one of the most utilised delivery channels in this digital age”, says Mark Mwanje.
Mark says that Uganda, like many East African countries, is a cash economy. The introduction of mobile banking has provided a vehicle for migration from cash to electronic-payment systems.
Therefore, Mark believes, “Mobile lending will become the major source of credit for the market, and it is becoming the ‘credit card’ for these economies as more people embrace new technologies through this channel”.
Promising times lie ahead for the customers and credit providers of Uganda, and we look forward to seeing what the country brings in the next year.