01 Jan 2013

EQUIFAX URGES MORTGAGE LENDERS TO STAY VIGILANT FOR FIRST PARTY FRAUD

EQUIFAX URGES MORTGAGE LENDERS TO STAY VIGILANT FOR FIRST PARTY FRAUD

www.equifax.co.uk

London, January 2013 – As the Bank of England reports a significant increase in lending on property, leading credit information and analytics expert, Equifax, is urging mortgage providers to stay vigilant to the risk of first party fraud.

According to the Bank of England’s latest Credit Conditions Survey, lenders said the availability of credit secured on property had increased significantly in the last three months of 2012, largely as a result of the Funding for Lending Scheme. “Clearly this is really positive news” explained Laurence Hamilton, Marketing & Performance Director of Equifax. “But it’s important that a desire for market growth does not come at the cost of higher levels of fraud.”

The correlation between increased financial pressure and the incidence of fraud has been well proven and with little sign of a significant overall economic upturn, Equifax believes there’s every chance that the incidence of first party fraud could increase in 2013 and beyond. It’s important, therefore, that lenders take all appropriate steps to reduce this threat.

“The Mortgage Market Review put the spotlight on the importance of verifying income data for responsible lending”, continued Laurence Hamilton. “Income verification is also absolutely crucial to reduce the risk of fraud and bad debt risk.

“An individual’s income is, undoubtedly, a key component in understanding their ability to manage both existing and new credit for which they apply. Yet it is also one of the most likely pieces of information that will be inaccurate on an application. Our own analysis of declared incomes on new credit applications identified that approximately 40% had overstated their income by £2,000 or more.

“The majority of providers in the mortgage market already follow best practice in collecting and reviewing income data. But they may not be taking all the steps necessary to verify the information they are receiving.”

Equifax is working with all sectors of the consumer finance industry to enable sharing of declared and verified income, making it accessible as an integrated component of application and customer management processes, eliminating the need for additional income proof.

“Our new suite of Equifax Financial Stability products enables organisations to improve lending performance, whilst complying with new regulations. Having this data integrated into risk management processes means lenders can meet market demand for new credit without increasing the risk of first party fraud.”

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For further press information, please contact: Wendy Harrison, Cecile Stearn, Jenny Thorneywork or Clare Watson at HSL on 020 8977 9132 / Fax: 020 8977 5200 or Email:equifaxbtobteam@harrisonsadler.com

About Equifax

Equifax is a global leader in consumer, commercial and workforce information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 500 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 18 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. For more information, please visit www.equifax.com.