news release

More than 10,000 social housing tenants in Solihull could receive boost to their credit scores

Solihull Community Housing signs up to the Rental Exchange

Nottingham, UK, 17 March 2014 – Solihull Community Housing, which runs the housing service on behalf of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, has signed up to sharing rental payment information with the Rental Exchange1, a partnership between Experian and Big Issue Invest.

By sharing information on how its tenants pay their rent, Solihull Community Housing will be able to play a key role in potentially strengthening the credit histories of over 10,000 tenants, helping them gain access to more affordable credit.  It will also enable tenants to prove their identity easily and quickly online to help them, for example, access current accounts and insurance. 

As part of the move, the Solihull Community Housing will be undertaking an education programme to help their tenants fully understand the positive impact the Rental Exchange could have on their lives.  An initial survey of their tenants revealed that a healthy majority were already keen to have their rent payment history included in their credit reports to help strengthen their credit scores. This was particularly true for the younger generations - 76 per cent of 18 to 45 year olds. 

Chris Deery, Head of ICT at Solihull Community Housing, said: “As well as often having to make do with the more expensive credit options, so many housing tenants currently struggle to access a range of basic services, such as opening a bank account or taking out insurance, simply because organisations cannot identify them electronically.

“The majority of our tenants pay their rent regularly and on time, and there is currently no recognition for paying this major commitment.  We wanted to make sure our tenants were given the credit they deserve for fulfilling this commitment every month.”

Jonathan Westley, Managing Director of Consumer Information Services at Experian UK & Ireland, comments: “The social housing sector can make a real difference to tenants suffering from social and economic hardship by sharing information on their rent payments.  The inclusion of rental information in future credit reports will significantly improve the level of insight available to help credit providers assess affordability and help social housing tenants more easily demonstrate their creditworthiness.”

Solihull Community Housing is one of 185 housing providers now engaged with the Rental Exchange, an Experian and Big Issue Invest initiative to help boost tenants’ credit ratings.  Social housing tenants are notified by their housing providers before the information is shared and must also give consent for the information to be accessed, for example, when they apply for credit. Any access to the data will comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). Experian and Big Issue Invest have been in discussion with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to ensure sharing of rental payments is fair and fully compliant.

The news comes as Big Issue Invest wins the ‘Communities in Partnership’ award category at the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards.  The award, which celebrates partnerships that have improved access to finance, is based on BII’s work with Experian on the Rental Exchange.  The judges described BII as using ‘pioneering methods to tackle poverty and inequality by enabling social housing tenants to improve their credit rating.”

For further information about the Rental Exchange or get involved, please visit: http://www.experian.co.uk/rental-exchange/contact-us-form.html

ENDS

Contact:
Maddy Morgan Williams / Sarah Muir
Lansons Communications
020 7490 8828
maddymw@lansons.com / sarahm@lansons.com 

1The Rental Exchange is a partnership between Experian and Big Issue Invest (the investment arm of The Big Issue) helping the social housing sector address the financial, digital and social exclusion challenges faced by many social housing tenants. 

*Survey carried out by Solihull Community Housing – data available on request.

About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2013 was US$4.7 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.

About Big Issue Invest
Big Issue Invest is the social investment arm of The Big Issue, run “by social entrepreneurs for social entrepreneurs”. We help scale up social enterprises and trading arms of charities by providing finance from £50,000 to £1,000,000. We work with enterprises that have a track record, as well as a plan to increase trading income and deliver high social impact. We are also involved in social innovation to tackle pressing problems in partnership with corporates.  Our partnership with Experian is a flagship social innovation project.

For more information, visit http://www.bigissueinvest.com/

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