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Top 5 SPARKs

Equifax Canada SPARK 2019 offered up lots of hot ideas in the realm of data, analytics and technology.


Here are 5 top takeaways.



Is data the new oil, with analytics the refinery? Ajay Handa, Chief Data Officer Equifax Canada, one of the breakout session leaders on alternative data, argues that isn’t the case. Oil’s value is driven by scarcity whereas data is everywhere. He says analytics is more like mining for diamonds.



There are just over half a million new people that arrive in Canada every year and the first thing they need is access to credit – a phone, a credit card and being able to rent or buy a new home. Helping these people will come from greater information sharing between lenders and borrowers. There’s more to a person than their credit file.



In fact it’s here. Companies like Quebec-based Flinks and London, U.K-based AccountScore already offer bank account information services and the like to give consumers – like the credit invisible -  greater ability to share information about their financial health to service providers. “We were open banking before open banking,” says Emma Steeley, CEO Account Score.



Immigration puts a floor under the housing market, according to Doug Porter, BMO Chief Economist and keynote speaker at the Spark event. “We’re not bearish on this market,” he says. While affordability being an issue in larger urban centres like Vancouver and Toronto, there’s growth in smaller cities like London, Chatham, Windsor, Ottawa and Montreal.



Online pre-qualification services can streamline mortgage lending and offer new entrants the opportunity to enter this very competitive market. As market share shifts towards alternate lenders, asserts Kathy Catsiliras, who heads up the Analytics Consulting team, more traditional lenders should focus on retention as well as develop the ability to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to better predict the potential for switching providers.


© 2019 Equifax Canada Co. Opinions expressed are those of the authors only, are provided for informational purposes only, and do not necessarily represent those of Equifax Canada. Nothing in this blog post should be interpreted as legal advice.