Trove of consumer data pledged in new credit bureau product

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Equifax has introduced a software product that gives lenders instant access to all of its consumer data in a single platform.

The new product, Equifax Ignite, pulls together 3 terabytes of data, including its own proprietary data culled from clients plus data from alternative sources such as social media and utility payment records, said Prasanna Dhore, chief data and analytics officer. Ignite also includes analytical tools for risk management, marketing and fraud prevention.

“A 360-degree view of the consumer … has been the holy grail of banks for ages,” says Prasanna Dhore, chief data and analytics officer at Equifax.“This gives you a 360-degree view of the consumer, which has been the holy grail of banks for ages,” Dhore said.

If Ignite lives up to billing, it would be an extremely significant new product in the market for providing consumer data to lenders, said Manav Patnaik, an analyst at Barclays. Patnaik has not yet seen the Equifax product nor is he involved with it.

“This is the ultimate goal for a lot of companies out there,” Patnaik said. “It’s something any company in the world would love to do. It’s a very simple concept; it’s just been tough to do technologically.”

The credit reporting business is undergoing disruption like the rest of financial services. Traditional rivals such as TransUnion, Experian and Fair Isaac are battling it out while facing increasing challenges from other data services such as Dun & Bradstreet, LexisNexis and FactSet Research Systems and alternative credit reporting bureaus like Clarity Services and MicroBilt.

Ignite will allow Equifax to deliver customer data to its clients much faster, and to create customized products for a specific lender’s data needs, Dhore said.

“It used to be that we gave the same product to everyone,” Dhore said. “Now we can give the perfect fit to each customer.”

Ignite helps Equifax continue its longstanding goal of diversifying beyond its traditional business of credit reporting, which once made up 80% of its revenue, Dhore said. Now, credit reporting is about 30%, and the rest comes from data analytics.

The new product was officially introduced this week, although some banks and other lenders used it in the development phase. Equifax is selling Ignite to lenders in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom now and will add Australia in the fall.

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