Ahmed ‘Tunde Popoola, CRC Credit Bureau: Nigerian Firm Well-Established — and There for the Long Haul

Managing Director of Nigeria’s CRC Credit Bureau Ltd: Dr Ahmed 'Tunde Popoola

Group Managing Director/CEO of Nigeria’s CRC Credit Bureau Ltd: Dr Ahmed ‘Tunde Popoola

When Ahmed ‘Tunde Popoola became pioneer Managing Director of Nigeria’s CRC Credit Bureau Ltd in 2008, he identified a gap in the market.

A lack of credit information and reporting was impeding growth in the Nigerian economy and preventing lenders from making informed decisions on small businesses’ creditworthiness.

Now, the company’s database covers 95 percent of the Nigerian credit industry, including commercial and micro-finance banks, non-bank institutions, retailers and utility service providers. The firm has set the benchmark for financial empowerment and information-sharing.

After academic stints in Nigeria and South Africa, Popoola dedicated himself to developing SMEs, first in the banking industry, then as CEO of the Abuja Enterprise Agency, where he nurtured start-ups, stimulated entrepreneurship, and fostered business growth in the capital, Abuja.

He was the perfect fit to lead CRC Credit Bureau, created by 10 leading Nigerian banks and the global risk-management solutions company Dun & Bradstreet. From the word go, he identified innovation and efficiency as keys to success.

Popoola’s mission has always been to transform the credit market in Nigeria, and more widely in Africa. The goal is to help young businesses to thrive and contribute to the country’s economy. He and the CRC Credit Bureau team have introduced many products and services to meet their partners’ needs — with full transparency to instil confidence and provide a smoother lending process. This, in turn, provides credit seekers, especially MSMEs with much-needed working capital and leads to lower prices, benefitting not just the companies concerned, but consumers as well.

Always seeking to live up to its goal of helping its clients for advanced insight and to take informed decisions, the company offers data-analysis products. This allows companies to identify customers in three ways: those who would come back for further loans, those who wouldn’t, and those who would go to competitors.

In 2022, the company, under a group structure, created a new subsidiary, CRC Data and Analytics Ltd, with a mission to accelerate data-driven outcomes across lines of businesses, develop faster results, deeper insights, enable better decisions and drive business development.

Dr. Popoola, known to everyone as “Tunde”, believes that the value of this new structure goes beyond credit reporting. “We are now able to go past our previous limits to play a deeper role in unlocking hidden avenues by creating additional insights that enable our customers optimise business operations, achieving customer loyalty, incremental revenue, optimised costs, and free cashflows for businesses,” he says.

The team has also developed a product to deliver a 360-degree view of its customers. This was developed as a response to the effects of the pandemic and now enhanced to identify the probability of default due to events that may occur. The firm looked at previously good credit customers (i.e. non-defaulters) and enabling lenders and credit granters approach them to renew or restructure payments.

CRC Credit Bureau deployed APIs to enhance report-generation and assessments, making it easier for customers to supply data and support institutions with technical services.

For Popoola, developing and enhancing the skills of customers to be more creative in identifying credit risks and for consumers in using their loans is essential for sustained growth. Training courses at the CRC Financial Education Centre (CFEC) build in-depth knowledge of credit assessments. The training arm of the credit bureau organises and delivers value-adding, capacity building, and bespoke financial courses.

Popoola pledges that his company will continue to develop new products to support its customers — and the wider economy.

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