Banks ask how Brexit will affect customers by David Grier (Chief Technology Officer)

Martin Lewis is stumped. His recent post for moneysavingexpert.com on 25 need-to-knows about Brexit saw him a little at sea. On the question of what’s going to happen with mortgage, loans and savings rates, he is holding up his hands. He says, with admirable honesty:

“Mortgage, loans and savings rates could, er, rise or fall. This is a really tricky one.”

Indeed it is. And there’s a general sense that consumers are having to work things out for themselves, reading Brexit commentators and pundits like never before, whilst keeping a careful eye on their expenditure.

However, for the UK’s banks, it’s a different matter. They can’t just suck it and see. They need to able to look at the potential risks in the market of a variety of Brexit scenarios and model how these scenarios would play out across their customer base. It is imperative for them to have a handle on exactly how a rise or fall in mortgage, loans and savings rates might play out – right across their customer base – from the most secure customer to the most fragile.

Financial IQ

Never before has Castlight’s Financial IQ tool, or FIQ Insights, been more invaluable.

FIQ Insights is one of a suite of tools developed by Castlight Financial using Open Banking technology and our categorisation engine CaaS, currently the most powerful of its kind in the UK. Built into the software is not only the functionality for categorisation of income and expenditure but also a capability to track financial behaviours and predict vulnerabilities.

If we add into this the economic forecasting data from our colleagues at Experian – the UK’s leading economic forecasting group – then you have a strong set of data for which to understand you and your customer’s exposure to an economic downturn.
FIQ Insights broadly positions every customer across a bank’s portfolio in one of 5 categories, based on an analysis of their committed, discretionary and essential spending:

1. Secure
2. Comfortable
3. Ticking Over
4. Stretched
5. Distressed

Then, with customers across the portfolio allocated an FIQ spending category, a bank or other lending organisation can model for a range of scenarios . For instance, what if a no-deal Brexit caused a 2% spike in inflation or a 1% rise in interest rates? How would this affect the “stretched” customers? Would it tip them into the “distressed” category? Could it even tip some “ticking over” customers into the “distressed” category. And if so, how many?

Of course, FIQ Insights can do so much more, drilling down into the granular data in portfolios, IQ categories and accounts.

However, for now, with the Brexit deadline looming, it’s the Brexit features that are exciting credit risk experts. I can almost smell the smoke as they fire figures, data, models and Brexit scenarios into FIQ Insights to see how best to protect their customers for both the foreseen and unforeseen.

Not so tricky really Martin Lewis – if you have the right technology!

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