The role of data in post-pandemic recovery
Insights to Inspire By Pia Arellano, TransUnion Philippines President and CEO
Insights to Inspire aims to spark ideas that empower businesses to pursue bigger goals through data and information. Read our insights on current issues and learn new ways to make an impact in your industry.
With the world still dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over a year after it started, we conducted a Consumer Pulse study to quantify its financial impact on Filipino consumers. The goal is to better understand the phenomenon to inform consumers, businesses, and government decisions during these unprecedented times.
Topline results showed that 93% of those we surveyed had seen their household income negatively impacted by the pandemic, and 49% said they expected it to be negatively impacted in the future. Our GDP hence contracted by 9.5% YoY in 2020, the worst since 1947 after World War II.
We’re now in the middle of another world-defining moment as financial hardship due to the pandemic is broadly felt across all markets we surveyed. The task of charting a recovery is upon us, and we must use every resource available to succeed. Our solution? Data! In this age of accelerated digital transformation, harnessing the power of information might just be our best weapon.
Since data is constantly generated and processed, it delivers timely and accurate insights that reveal patterns and opportunities. Data allows us to make more informed decisions and forms a reliable basis for trust. In an uncertain environment such as this, trust is important to successfully manage risk especially for businesses, the key to our recovery.
The data that TransUnion stewards has infinite uses, but there are at least three things that businesses can learn that will allow you to improve operational efficiency, address your customers’ pain points, and still manage risk. Let’s look at them in the context of our survey’s results:
Of the 93% who reported their household income was negatively impacted by the pandemic, 65% is currently being negatively impacted while 28% had been negatively impacted but not currently. Data can help businesses segmentize customers and determine whom to trust, allowing you to prioritize areas of growth and support that can deliver results both for you and the consumers you serve. It’s not just about attracting new customers but helping and offering new opportunities to the ones you already have while also safeguarding against fraud.
A large number of respondents said they were concerned about their ability to pay their current bills and loans in full in the next four weeks, specifically their mortgage (47% of those financially impacted) and auto lease (41%). In addition, there were those who had or would need to seek financial accommodation such as deferral, forbearance, or a payment holiday. These are distressed customers who could use some consideration from businesses as they tide the impact of the pandemic on their finances. By using data, lenders can not only suggest possible options for them but also identify those that might soon be in financial stress and reach out to them proactively.
Affected consumers reported they had made changes in their approach to savings and debts. Some cut back on discretionary spending, canceled/reduced services, and saved more for emergency funds. These insights allow you to tailor offerings in response to the current realities of your customers.
Data essentially gives businesses the confidence to pursue growth again for eventual recovery. Beyond finding the right business-consumer fit, our data can be used to solve issues of national scale such as financial inclusion and even fight fraud. It’s just a matter of finding solutions that benefit everyone based on their own specific circumstances, especially during difficult times like these.
Pia Arellano is a seasoned financial services leader with over 25 years of industry experience across banking, payment solutions, telecommunications, and remittance services. She is instrumental in establishing TransUnion as a risk management and data solutions and insights partner of financial institutions in the Philippines.
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