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Círculo de Crédito Helps An Additional 20 Million Mexicans Access Credit Using FICO Scores

Fastest-growing credit bureau in Mexico wins FICO Decisions Award for Decision Management Innovation

Highlights:

  • Círculo de Crédito has helped an additional 20 million Mexicans access credit using innovative household data
  • The bureau’s solutions have seen banks make 200 million credit decisions, equivalent to 3 times the size of the Mexican active adult population
  • Over 3,500 lenders in Mexico have access to Círculo’s solutions and over 7 years have issued loans for USD$110B: an amount equivalent to 10 percent of Mexico’s GDP
  • Círculo de Crédito won a 2022 FICO® Decisions Award for Decision Management Innovation

Círculo de Crédito, the fastest-growing credit bureau in Mexico, has used unique credit risk scores from FICO to boost financial inclusion and help an additional 20 million Mexicans access credit. Since introduced, the FICO Score and FICO Extended Score have been used by Mexican banks to make more than 200 million credit decisions and originate more than USD$110B in loans: an amount equivalent to 10 percent of Mexico’s GDP.

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With around 10 million Mexicans lacking enough credit history to calculate a risk score, Círculo de Crédito worked with FICO to develop FICO® Extended Score, which analyzes information on a credit applicant’s household credit history, to score people with no credit history who might otherwise find it hard to get credit.

“Mexico’s regulatory environment allows lenders to use the credit history of the people in a credit applicant’s household to score them,” said Alejandro Cardini, chief product officer at Círculo de Crédito. “Using this alternative data in the FICO Extended Score allows millions of people, such as students and homemakers, to access credit for the first time. The score was built on the information of 70 million Mexicans, using 700 million credit data points and allows Círculo to assess 96 percent of applicants. As a result, lenders have seen significant gains as they now have access to stronger analytic tools for their onboarding, account management and collection activities.”

The underbanked population in Mexico varies from extreme poverty to middle class which means that access to credit can have a significant social impact and change lives by enabling citizens to run businesses, afford education and purchase housing.

From the perspective of the country’s banks, there was a large opportunity to bring this underserved market into the credit mainstream. Solving the credit evaluation problem would ensure that loans could be underwritten more quickly and with appropriate risk assessments.

“The credit-to-GDP ratio in Mexico is around 34 percent, which is still quite low when compared to other countries in the region,” said Cardini. “The partnership with FICO has helped us to democratize access to world-class analytics for over 3,500 financial institutions in Mexico, empowering them to extend over USD$22B in loans to millions of citizens who were previously outside the financial system.”

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The fast growth in usage of the FICO® Extended Score matches the growing use of the standard FICO® Score in Mexico. The FICO Score was introduced in Mexico by Círculo de Crédito in 2014, and sales have grown by an average of 39 percent each year from 2014 to 2018. Lenders trust the FICO Score and use it for their credit origination — 90 percent of Círculo’s credit reports now include a FICO Score. To date, Círculo de Crédito has sold 200 million FICO® Scores, which are used by banks, finance companies, fintech companies, retailers, insurers and other credit grantors to make lending decisions on credit cards, auto loans, personal loans, purchase financing and mortgages.

“Having the support of a world-class company such as FICO is pivotal to our success,” said Cardini. “Círculo de Crédito is positioning itself for the next growth phase as it delivers innovation to serve a wider range of lenders and empower them to drive inclusion and profitability. The incredible growth of the Mexican fintech scene, open banking and embedded finance are all trends we are looking to serve as we become a hub for pioneering companies to solve their business challenges.”

“Financial access remains a top priority for Mexico as a way to reduce poverty and expand the economy,” said Nikhil Behl, chief marketing officer at FICO. “We are proud of the impact our partnership with Círculo de Crédito has had to meet the challenge of broadening financial inclusion through analytic innovation of new FICO Scores to help lenders and consumer.”

For its achievements, Círculo de Crédito won a 2022 FICO Decisions Award for Decision Management Innovation.

“The judges were really impressed with the innovative approach by Círculo and FICO,” said Sibulelo Ncamani, head of operational risk and governance at Absa Bank and one of the FICO Decisions Awards judges. “By looking for the predictive options available and adapting new data, Círculo has developed a credit scoring approach which would no doubt be of interest in other markets.”

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