Quantify your portfolio risk

How well do you really know your applicants?
In life, you encounter many people you want to spend time getting to know in the hopes you will develop a meaningful relationship. Whether it’s a friendship, a working relationship or dating, people tend to be on their best behavior during those first few encounters. You walk away from those early interactions feeling like you know exactly who this person is, but sometimes the initial perception of this person was inaccurate.

For many organizations, courting their applicant base can be very similar. The organizations enter into their strategy planning feeling confident that they know their applicant pool — where they live, their general demographic information and their type of credit behavior. Organizations spend a great deal of time and resources developing and marketing products to the applicant base they think they know only to find the relationship has not met their expectations.

One client felt that it knew exactly what type of applicant it was attracting. The applicant was 18 to 24 years old and very tech-savvy. The typical applicant was single with a high income, or if the applicant was married, he or she was a DINK (Dual Income No Kids). The person purchasing its products had prime credit and presented little credit risk. This organization spent a great deal of effort designing products and marketing campaigns to reach that target audience. When the client did not experience the expected results, it wanted to understand why.

The client wanted to understand who the applicant really was and where it had gone wrong. Through a Business Intelligence engagement with Experian, the client learned that it had developed its marketing campaigns, credit criteria, and to some extent its product offerings for an applicant base that was not its own. Instead, the client was attracting an applicant base in their early to mid 30s who had children and primarily were renting. The applicants had little credit, were emerging or had subprime credit. This analysis allowed the client to gain a better understanding of its true market. The client was forced to develop a new strategy, new marketing campaigns and new lending criteria. However, the client experienced a much higher degree of success after gaining the correct perspective into its market.

There are several ways to gain a better understanding of applicants:

  • Use attributes available through your own data or third-party data to perform some analysis. This type of analysis not only allows clients to understand the demographics and credit risk of applicants, but also to use this information to help redevelop decision strategies including pricing tiers and collections strategies.
  • Obtain portfolio rescores to understand portfolio changes over time. This information will allow you to track the migration of the risk in your portfolio to help you better strategize your collections and create more accurate forecasting.
  • Employ prescreening tools. The tools allow you to market to your chosen demographic and target audience, and they provide insight on the limited or large applicant base available within these parameters.
  • Redesigning educational programs for your applicant base. If you discover that a large portion of your portfolio is emerging and has limited credit, you can offer an educational program to educate them on positive credit behavior.

Truly understanding applicants will help an organization’s bottom line by shaping targeting efforts. You can design products, programs and campaigns to best meet your applicants’ needs and build successful relationships for the future.


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