Experts call for better credit management

Ragavan Rengachariar

The fast-evolving digital technology and increasing use of online resources to conduct business and share information pose a serious threat to privacy, a top official of the New Zealand government has said.

Breaching Privacy

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said that commercial and not-for-profit organisations must comply with privacy issues and incorporate them in their systems and culture.

While transparency and accountability are important aspects of good governance, the need for security, access, correction and discretion of information should be emphasised.

Citing the recent case of Equifax, a global consumer credit reporting agency, Mr Edwards said that hackers breached its website application software with the potential to affect the information of 143 million consumers worldwide. Fortunately, the credit information of New Zealanders was not affected because Equifax New Zealand stores its data on servers hosted in New Zealand, not in the Cloud, he said.

NZCFI Conference

Mr Edwards was speaking the biennial Conference of the New Zealand Credit and Finance Insitute (NZCFI), the country’s sole organisation of professionals employed in credit and finance sectors, held on October 12 and 13, 2017 at Pullman Hotel in Auckland.

The two-day Conference, held under the theme, ‘Credit Management and Collections in an Ever-Changing Business World,’ was attended by top executives of government agencies, national and multinational organisations, lawyers, credit managers, finance professionals and others.

Galaxy of Speakers

Among the other speakers at the Conference were NZCFI National President and Oceania Health Care Credit Manager Michael Wright, Spark Managing Director and Chief Executive Simon Moutter, Centrix Executive Director Mark Rowley, Commerce Commission Senior Legal Counsel Dot Benson, Anthony Harper Senior Associate Lynne Van, Buddle Findlay Partner David Broadmore,  The Skills Organisation Commercial Head Eileen Oliver-Free, Euler Hermes Country Manager, Creditworks Funder & Chief Executive Ronnie Tan, KiwiBank Economist Zoe Wallis; PricewaterhouseCoopers Wellington Managing Partner John Fisk, Laurie Brennsell Credit Consultant Limited Chief Executive Laurie Brennsell, Meredith Connell Law firm Principal Kathleen Morrison and Partner Paul Murray, Calderglen Associates Limited Director Peter Degerholm and Genesis Energy Executive Genera Manager (Technology & Digital) Jennifer Cherrington-Mowat.

Changes to Risk Assessment

Mark Rowley (Centrix) called for change of parameters to risk assessment of individuals.

The changing times warrant use of psychometrics for risk assessment to ensure that there is a distinction between defaults by those who did not want to have them in the first place, those willing to pay and those needing time to pay, compared to habitual defaulters with no intention to pay, he said.

“This should help in more credit approvals than rejections, using a credit score cut off point strategy,” he said.

Mr Rowley also talked about technology improvements for online credit applications where the photographs of customers could be analysed through facial recognition for positive identification and compare details for ID and address verification purposes.

“This would help in proper assessment and approval process. The data obtained will also help in complying with the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLC) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism Act (CFT),” Mr Rowley said.

The Spark Challenge

Simon Moutter (Spark) suggested that NZCFI should engage more with its members and adopt digital technology, in consonance with the growing trend.

Changing the name of ‘Telecom’ to ‘Spark’ was a challenge but it reflected the changing trend in communication technology and the direction in which the business was moving.

Spark is aiming to adopt the latest trends and cater to the needs of customers in the best possible manner and is able to assess and adopt changes to offer high standards of service to customers, Mr Moutter said.

Credit Professional of the Year

NZCFI relaunched its Awards Programme after a lapse of few years.

Awards were presented at the Awards Night Dinner held on October 12, 2017.

After shortlisting applications based on eligibility criteria and personal interviews, the panel of judges declared Kristen Smith, Senior Credit Controller at Mutual Credit Finance Limited as the winner of the prestigious ‘Credit Professional of the Year 2017 Award.’

As well as winning the Trophy, Ms Smith has the option of undertaking a professional development course by Rapid Results and/or Skills, up to Level 5 (NZQA Diploma).

Among the others honoured at the Ceremony were Chris Nunes (Peter Win Memorial Scholarship), Wendy Somerville, Peter Duckworth, Ravi Dwivedi and Rose Easter (Fellow Membership Award), Bruce Johnston and David Young (Life Membership Award).

About NZCFI

The New Zealand Credit and Finance Insitute aims to unite and promote professional and ethical standards among institutions and individuals in the credit and finance industry, encourage career advancement of its members and recognise and reward achievers.

It caters for Credit Managers, Credit Controllers, insolvency professions such as liquidators, legal firms handling related matters and other industry professionals.

NZCFI Chapters in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Ragavan Rengachariar is President, Auckland Executive Committee of the New Zealand Credit and Finance Institute, which hosted the two-day Conference. He is also an Indian Newslink Columnist.

Photo Caption:

  1. NZCFI National President Michael Wright speaking at the conference
  2. Spark Managing Director & Chief Executive Simon Moutter
  3. Kristen Smith with her Credit Professional of the Year Award

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