Metropol Uganda Unveils Platform to Help Borrowers Assess Creditworthiness

Samuel Umukoko, the CEO of Metropol Credit Reference Bureau speaking on Wednesday.

Metropol Credit Reference Bureau has Wednesday launched its new product delivery platform named Metropol Crystobol which will allow borrowers have control of their credit information by having direct and convenient access to Bureau products at their disposal via their mobile phones.

Customers will gain access to the service by dialing *243# and following the message prompts. A customer needs to key in their financial card number in order to proceed and register on Crystobol. Upon registration, one is entitled to a free annual credit report.

Samuel Umukoko, the CEO of Metropol Credit Reference Bureau, said Metropol Crystobol will empower borrowers to take control of their credit worthiness by allowing them easy access to affordable credit. He added that the product also puts the borrower in a position where they are able to negotiate favorable credit terms with the lending institutions such as banks.

This way, they get to choose their preferred lender.

“When you need a loan, most banks will ask you to run an account for say 6 months, so they can be able to assess your patterns of withdraws and deposits. But this information (credit reports) already exists. With the mobile tool, customers can move it from one bank to another,” Umukoko explained.

The individual (potential borrower’s) credit information is condensed into a credit score which then becomes a measure for assessment of whether or not they are creditworthy.

“We think if we are to develop a vibrant credit sharing system, clients must access their bureau profiles directly, to interrogate them and highlight changes where necessary”.

He said that despite the fact that Credit Reference Bureaus (CRBs) have been operational in Uganda for over a decade, a majority of Ugandans remain ignorant on the relevance of these bureaus and what credit reports actually mean.

“In recent days, we have been sending out SMS messages to people who acquired loans and who were assessed using credit information. But they are ignorant of the fact that the banks which loaned them the money actually used credit profiles from a CRB,” he said.

He stressed, it is important that the industry in Uganda moves from relying on credit reports to using credit scores which he said are less voluminous and preferred by the lenders.

The Metropol Score measures one’s creditworthiness and the likelihood that the individual will meet their financial obligations. It ranges between 200 to 900, with 450 being the middle mark. Customers that score below 450 have Marginal to poor credit quality while those that score above 450 have good excellent credit quality.

Metropol is the second Credit Reference Bureau to be licensed in Uganda (in 2015) by the Central Bank. It receives credit data on a monthly basis from all the Bank of Uganda licensed financial institutions and processes this data into credit reports and other value added solutions necessary for making sound credit decisions.

According to the chief executive, the company processes over 2 billion records of 29 million individuals and 1.2m businesses.

Metropol is a subsidiary of Metropol Corporation Limited, a data driven entrepreneurial company based in Nairobi, Kenya and which has been in existence for the last 23 years.

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