According to Ofcom, 72% of UK smartphone users pay for their devices via a monthly service contract13. As the market for handset finance evolves to enable device ownership over the contract term, it’s interesting to note that foundations for this model were being laid here in Leeds over 30 years ago.
In 1988, long before Apple ‘reinvented’ the phone, and Steve Jobs was busy with the release of the NeXT computer, loan administration software company, Pancredit, was established. Fast forward to today and, following an acquisition by national-brand, Equiniti, and a merger with Harrogate-based, Nostrum, Equiniti Credit Services (EQCS) has become the UK’s leading loans management and credit technology company, currently managing more than £20bn in credit assets.
This includes contracts with the telecommunications sector, where EQCS has recently secured its fourth major win, and now collectively represents the majority of the consumer and commercial handset finance market. Put another way, most of us now have a connection with the firm.
In fact, anyone with a personal loan or consumer credit agreement for a car, store card, new kitchen or household furnishings and appliances is likely to have had their application - and potentially the whole life cycle of the loan process - managed by Equiniti Credit Services. Its loans management technology is integrated into the systems and infrastructure of a wide range of major lenders, and used by many household-name banks (challengers and mainstream alike), independent lenders, brokers and brands in the consumer lending markets.
The rise of Equiniti Credit Services has contributed significantly to Leeds’ position as the Northern centre for fintech and, more specifically, lendtech.
The ease and simplicity by which consumers are able to access digital borrowing services, together with the capacity for lenders to deliver on-demand loan decision making, is thanks to the tech developed by Equiniti Credit Services. In telecoms, EQCS’ clever technology provides live data and scalability capabilities to enable the continuous management of credit applications, especially important during peak periods, like new handset release dates.
The rise of Equiniti Credit Services has contributed significantly to Leeds’ position as the Northern centre for fintech and, more specifically, lendtech. Acting as a visible symbol of Leeds’ fintech and lendtech profile is the opening of the Equiniti Northern Tech Hub in April 2018. The company invested in a 14,000 sq ft premises in Lawnswood to establish a dedicated centre of excellence. In line with this vision, over the past year the business has significantly increased its headcount across software development, finance, compliance and helpdesk support functions.
It continues to invest, too. Recruitment continues, particularly in platform development where the Yorkshire skills economy, whilst buoyant, is proving increasingly competitive due to the new presence of major tech players attracted to the region. From its Northern Tech Hub, the company is progressing its strategy to develop products and technology solutions for larger scale projects and to expand into new markets and sectors. This will continue to create economic value and jobs growth for Yorkshire and help to drive digital fintech innovation and expertise across the North.
Leeds City region fintech ecosystem report 2019-2020