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Ben O'Brien

Managing Director

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News & Views / Reflections on Credit Week 2024
02 July 2024

Reflections on Credit Week 2024

It was an exceptional 3 days at the Credit Strategy Credit Week event at Celtic Manor. Many of the great and the good from the credit industry were there, and it was lovely to reconnect with familiar faces and meet a lot of new ones too. Overall, it was a hugely informative time – from both the formal sessions where we heard from fantastic speakers from across the sector, and more informally in the break-out sessions where we were able to discuss the hot topics for us all right now.  

One aspect that was very clear is that there is a passion in the industry to better serve customers. With that in mind, we have compiled our take on the dominant themes in the industry at the moment: 

- Not surprisingly gaining competitive advantage through innovative application Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) was a theme that cut through the whole conference. There were discussions around the challenges in operationalising how the technology is used and managed, policy and strategy decisions around AI adoption, maintaining explainability, and critically, the risks of not using AI / ML in areas like fraud – where we know we’re all up against extremely sophisticated fraud operations who will be early adopters of any new technology themselves to gain an advantage.  

- Affordability, vulnerability, and Consumer Duty regulation were possibly the most talked about topics, and in particular, how lenders can deliver against principle of fairness, whilst also meeting regulatory requirements and delivering shareholder value. The ongoing challenge of identifying vulnerable customers and then ensuring the correct actions are taken for that customer and the lender was a theme that cut across the conference. 

- Supporting unserved customers was also a key theme highlighted – whether that’s consumers with historic credit performance that doesn’t necessarily reflect what their future performance will be, or the millions of consumers who through disability, mental illness or similar are unable to access and make good use of credit, particularly for key services like Energy, or consumers (e.g. Renters) who fall foul of the principle that you have to have had credit to get credit, where bureau data may be limited and alternatives to this to support decisioning will be required.   

- Always fascinating are new and emerging fraud trends. Discussions around how the ‘Cost of living’ crisis has led to more consumers and small businesses committing fraud was the dominant fraud topic. Those in financial stress are being tempted into fraudulent acts to reduce the cost of credit and avoid utilities and subscription fees. Education and communication were identified as key measures to not only advise vulnerable customers against perpetrating fraud but help them to identify and evade falling victim to scams. 

There were so many other key topics which we will be expanding on in due course and adding our thoughts to, watch this space!

Nevan McBride, Risk Practice Director and Ben O'Brien, MD accepting the Excellence in Fraud award.

Beyond the above, the cherry on the cake for us was the recognition of a panel of experts and peers when we collected the ‘Excellence in Fraud’ award at the Credit Awards event, particularly as the shortlist of other nominees was exceptional. Our entry was the result of a major project which helped deliver significant operational and financial benefit using our AI-based approach to fraud, combined with our team of incredibly talented people – who we know are the best in the business. So, to win this was an affirmation to them that the work they are doing is making a real difference. 
And finally huge thanks also to Credit Strategy for a fabulous event, all of our peers and competitors who help keep us honest and focussed, all of the key sponsors who help make an event like this possible, and Matt Lucas for amusing us all on the middle night – a memorable few days and we’ll definitely be back.