Equifax’s roots go back to 1898 when the Retail Credit Company was founded by a Tennessee grocer called Cator Woolford and his brother Guy. The original offering was a list of credit worthy customers based in their locale.
In the first phase of growth the company expanded its product development into the insurance market and in 1913 it went international.
Like any data company as its business grew its product became exponentially more complex. The Retail Credit Company converted its data storage and retrieval operations from index cards to electronic data systems and in 1979 it renamed itself Equifax, the name captured the company’s aim to provide the market with equitable and factual information.
Today Equifax offers personal and company credit information which is delivered in 19 countries across the world. In 2013 Equifax was ranked 24 in the Bloomberg Business Week’s Top 50 performing US businesses.
Over the last 4 years the Atlanta based organisation has been investing in innovative new solutions and products. In 2013 CEO Richard Smith told Bloomberg business that part of Equifax’s strategy was to invest in data analytics, anti-fraud technology and identity management.
The Irish Angle
In January this year, Equifax, announced a new R&D centre in Dublin. It’s chief function is to develop solutions supporting the company’s global operations. This latest investment has created 100 new tech roles in Dublin. Irishman, Paul O’Dwyer, who is a veteran of the financial software industry, with both international and domestic experience, is heading up the new Dublin centre.
At the announcement last month, O’Dwyer said that he made a bet on Dublin because he had confidence in the strength of the city’s engineering talent pool.
The Equifax Offering
One of the core products offered by Equifax is the personal credit report: a consumer can purchase a report that can be used by creditors to assess the their own credit risk. It’s based on the subject’s credit history and pulls in data from a wide array of sources including credit card companies, banks, retailers, mortgage companies as well as public records and collections agencies.
The other main product, possibly the core product for Equifax, is the small business credit report. Businesses can maintain their crucial creditworthiness and reputation using this reporting tool. The Business Risk Indicator Report can help small businesses to be mindful of credit issues and resolve them before any reputational damage is done.
The report can alert the user to any items that might cause a creditor concern. It gives a credit risk assessment with a 12 month forecast and a way of verifying that the business in question is a going concern.
Equifax’s announcement last month is the latest in a series of high value foreign direct investments in Dublin. Not too long ago Ireland was the destination for US sales and marketing bridgeheads in EMEA. But in this current phase of FDI, Dublin is gaining recognition as the destination of choice for international software engineering hubs.