Nova Credit, the fintech unlocking opportunities for those historically excluded from the credit system and companies looking to serve them, has announced the company’s expansion into Europe. The company will focus initially on the UK with the ambition to serve the whole European market. Nova Credit Co-Founder Nicky Goulimis will serve as the Executive Director of Nova Credit UK, Collin Galster will oversee strategic operations as VP of International and Director of Nova Credit UK, and Matt Davies (1), who is based in the UK and has extensive experience in consumer credit, joins Nova Credit as Head of UK Market Development.
San Francisco-founded Nova Credit is a cross-border credit bureau that’s on a mission to accelerate financial inclusion for millions of creditworthy individuals who immigrate to new countries every year. Upon arrival, these individuals are without any credit history that lenders in their destination country can evaluate. Subsequently, they struggle to access fairly priced credit-based products like credit cards, car finance, or phone contracts and must pay as much as six months’ rent upfront or find a guarantor to secure an apartment.
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Blending deep relationships with consumer credit bureaus around the world, API-driven credit risk technology, and a vast understanding of the regulatory landscape for consumer credit, the Nova Passport™ capability pulls newcomers’ established credit data from their country of origin and converts it into an equivalent score and report suitable for use by lenders and financial services providers in their new host country.
Since launching in 2016, Nova Credit has developed partnerships with credit bureaus in over 20 countries globally to take their data and standardise it into a format readily accepted by U.S. lenders and financial services providers. To date, Nova Credit has helped unlock consumer-permissioned access to over 2 billion credit profiles. This data enables lenders, credit card providers, telecom businesses, and tenant screening companies across the U.S. to underwrite products for people who would have otherwise been excluded from obtaining financial access. The company’s U.S. customers include American Express, Verizon, and SoFi.
Collin Galster, VP International at Nova Credit & Director of Nova Credit UK, comments: “Millions of immigrants cross borders every year to work, study and establish new lives for themselves and their families. In doing so, they leave years of credit history behind them, ‘stuck’ in the countries they’ve left. The majority of these individuals are creditworthy, yet underserved. Without access to their past credit history, lenders have no choice but to automatically decline their applications for new finance.
“The global credit reporting system was built within national silos that fail to meet the needs of an increasingly globalised and integrated world. Newcomers lack access to funds they need to finance new homes, cars, education, or phone contracts and must spend years rebuilding their credit scores from scratch. Likewise, lenders want to be able to serve this vast market of creditworthy individuals, but lack the tools to do so. We’re thrilled to finally bring our cross-border capabilities to serve migrant corridors destined for and within Europe.”
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Nova Credit’s expansion into Europe unlocks similar opportunities for immigrants into the UK. Of the 10 million immigrants living in the UK today, 3.5 million are relative newcomers who have little or no UK credit history but who, based on the historic credit data in their country of origin, could be categorised by UK lenders as creditworthy borrowers.(2)
Matt Davies, Head of UK Market Development at Nova Credit, comments: “By 2035, 100% of the UK’s annual net population growth is expected to come from immigration.(3) Creating financial services that work for these people – the majority of whom are highly skilled and educated – from day one of their arrival is essential. We’re excited to bring the knowledge, experience and relationships that Nova Credit has built over several years to enable UK and European lenders and financial services providers gain access to this deserving but massively underserved, untapped market.”
More than 1.3 million immigrants were granted visas to the UK last year.(4) Eighty percent of foreign-born residents remain in the UK for at least five years(5) and the same proportion are between 18 and 44 years old(6). Additionally, the mean income of a foreign-born individual working in the UK is higher than that of a UK-born national,(7) further highlighting the attractiveness to credit providers of accessing this community of potential long-term credit customers.
Nova Credit offers good coverage to UK lenders and financial services businesses for the majority of newcomers entering the UK each year. From its UK base, the startup will build partnerships with more credit bureaus throughout Europe and the rest of the world, particularly in regions where UK lenders’ demand for cross-border access to credit data is high.
Nicky Goulimis, Nova Credit Co-Founder & Executive Director of Nova Credit UK, concludes: “Until Nova Credit, there’s been no standardised way for lenders to communicate with credit bureaus around the world. In a world where so much is instinctively interconnected and internationally available with one-click ease, Nova Credit is creating a new world order for global credit data management that makes relocating between countries more frictionless than ever.”
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