Jan 19, 2021

TransUnion and Fincheck streamline credit applications

Transunion
Fincheck
Credit check
Experian
William Girling
2 min
TransUnion and Fincheck streamline credit applications
The South African branch of TransUnion has partnered with the country’s largest financial marketplace, Fincheck...

The South African branch of TransUnion has partnered with the country’s largest financial marketplace, Fincheck.

The joint endeavour is designed to make credit application processes “easier and less frustrating” for customers than their current incarnation. 

Combining Fincheck’s comprehensive understanding of domestic financial institutions and TransUnion’s market-leading credit information, the two hope to marry the right individual to the right bank, insurer or lender at an expedited pace. 

Furthermore, TransUnion has made a free credit report available via Fincheck so that customers can understand their situation, plan and take action in a more informed manner.

Increasing access to credit

“The TransUnion/Fincheck partnership will assist consumers in managing their finances, especially during these challenging times,” said Hans Zachar, Director of Emerging Markets at TransUnion Africa. “By working with Fincheck we’re helping to increase financial awareness and access to credit.”

Fincheck reports that a rise in consumer interest regarding credit checks occurred simultaneously with the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic. It became obvious that consumers were concerned about unexpected expenditures and how they would pay for them. 

Michael Bowren, CEO of Fincheck, stated that the collaboration would help address these concerns:

“Being able to access affordable credit and valuable information in the same place will help South African consumers during these challenging times. Checking the information held on you is accurate before making an application can be an invaluable tool that can help you understand your financial options more clearly. 

“Ultimately, we aim to assist the user with their financial choices and move them toward financial freedom.”

Credit: A changing industry

The credit industry is changing; as new technologies, ecosystems and partnerships combine to make lending easier and more accessible to the general population, a great ‘levelling’ of financial access is taking place.

“Improving financial access for thin-file and credit invisible consumers will play an integral role in our road to economic recovery,” said Alpa Lally, Vice President, Data Business, Consumer Information Services at Experian North America.

“While it is difficult to predict when the economy will return to pre-COVID-19 levels, it has never been more important to protect consumers’ financial health and maintain the integrity and accessibility of the credit economy. 

“Combining traditional credit data with alternative data to access consumer creditworthiness plays a critical role in achieving this. Doing so will help determine a consumer’s stability, ability and willingness to repay during the current financial landscape and beyond.”

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Jun 24, 2021

Islamic fintech Wahed plans UK expansion: Hires expert GM

wahed
islamicfinance
Fintech
Sharia
4 min
The world’s leading Islamic fintech company has hired top industry expert Umer Suleman to oversee Wahed Inc’s UK-wide expansion plans

Wahed Inc has hired a leading industry expert to take Islamic finance forward in the UK marketplace. 

Umer Suleman has been appointed as General Manager of UK operations for Wahed Inc.. His role will include overseeing Wahed Invest’s nationwide growth strategy and strengthening the firm’s position as a leading provider of ethically focused investment services. 

Suleman’s track record includes over 15 years of regulatory, risk, and strategy consultancy roles, as well as advisory positions across a variety of businesses and sectors including positions at UKIFC, Daiwa Capital Management, and Ernst & Young (EY).

He also spent seven years at HSBC as Head of KYC Risk globally within their Global Banking and Markets business, Head of Business and Conduct Risk for MENA within Retail Banking, and headed up the CCO function for Digital (GLCM) within the UK with a global remit.

Wahed and the growing role of Islamic finance

The startup fintech was founded in 2017 and is an American company based in New York City. Since its inception,  it has grown from strength to strength and in July 2019, launched the first exchange-traded fund in the US that was compliant with Sharia law. 

Islamic finance typically refers to the way businesses and individuals raise capital in accordance with Sharia, or Islamic law. It also refers to the types of investments that are permissible under Islam. 

Wahed currently operates in 130 countries and has offices in Washington D.C, New York, London and Dubai. It has also developed an easily accessible digital platform that balances ethical finance with modern investments, attracting over 200,000 active clients from around the world with features such as free portfolio recommendations and no hidden fees.

Wahed UK expansion plans

According to reports, the UK is highly receptive to services in the Islamic finance sector and is also one of the fastest-growing markets globally.  It has a three million-strong Muslim population and one of the most developed Islamic finance sectors outside of the traditional Muslim regions, with global population figures projected to double over the next forty years. 

It is hoped Suleman’s leadership of Wahed will address the underbanked needs of the Muslim community while also serving the increasing number of retail investors currently seeking ethical alternatives to wealth creation. 

Speaking about the new role, Wahed CEO, Junaid Wahedna, explained  “Mr. Suleman’s appointment reaffirms our commitment to providing innovative and outstanding ethically driven financial services to a market that, historically, has been underserved.

“We’re delighted to welcome Umer to the team and firmly believe that with him at the helm, our operations in the UK will continue to go from strength to strength and provide customers seeking ethical investments with accessible, trustworthy and innovative solutions.”

The appointment follows on from Wahed’s recent investment round and its acquisition of the UK-based fintech Niyah.

These events will support the company in its plans to build an Islamic marketplace that meets growing demand for socially conscious investors – and not just those of Islamic faith. 

The fintech firm also plans to utilise the UK’s position as a leading hub for Islamic finance as a springboard into other European cities, and believes it has a central role to play in providing Shariah-compliant services that address inclusion and inequality.

The Islamic finance industry is currently valued at around US$2.4trn and is expected to grow steadily by 10-12% over 2021 and 2022, having experienced rapid growth in recent years.

THREE reasons why Islamic finance is a growing sector

  1. The UK Muslim population is growing - and has been traditionally underserved by incumbent banks. The Muslim population is growing twice as fast the world’s non-Muslim population and Islamic finance address this group’s needfor  Shariah compliant financial products.
  2. It encourages financial inclusion. According to the World Bank, financial inclusion is defined as individuals and businesses having access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.
  3. It supports Sharia compliant products. Transactions that work with industries forbidden in Islam (gambling, usury and speculation) are forbidden. Islamic banking only works with businesses that adhere to their ethical and moral standards.

 

Image credit: Wahed Inc team

 

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