We would like to present you the next interview in a series of interviews with our clients so we can learn more about their successful enterprises, future plans, motivation and their cooperation with SEDLAKOVA LEGAL. We have discovered that their stories are full of excitement, unexpected twists and victories, as well as our own. We would like to share the inspirational ideas and principles of our clients with you.
Today we would like to present you an interview with Mr. Seth H. Marks, the managing director for Central & Eastern Europe subsidiary of Icelandic company Creditinfo Group. Creditinfo specializes in in the field of credit risk management.
SEDLAKOVA LEGAL: Please, could you tell us about Creditinfo Group and what is your company’s main business activity?
SETH H. MARKS: Creditinfo is a leading service provider of credit information and risk management solutions worldwide. It has established more than 25 credit bureaus in both developed and emerging markets over 4 continents. Our goal in these economies is to provide intelligent information, software and analytic solutions to facilitate access to finance.
SEDLAKOVA LEGAL: When did Creditinfo Group expand in the Czech Republic?
SETH H. MARKS: Creditinfo has been in the Czech Republic for a number of years, essentially from the early 2000’s starting when our founder purchased a small IT company based in Prague to support the development of Creditinfo’s very first credit bureaus. Since then the Prague office has assumed various responsibilities within Creditinfo Group and today is essentially the global excellence center
for Creditinfo Group in the areas of IT, Data Science & Analytics, Consultancy, and IT Customer Support.
SEDLAKOVA LEGAL: To whom do you provide your services – who can become your client?
SETH H. MARKS: Our primary customers are banks, microfinance institutions, and non-bank digital and mobile lenders. But in essence anyone looking for support in areas of automation, predictive analytics, and improved decisioning using myriad data points can become a client.
SEDLAKOVA LEGAL: What does the work of managing director look like and what is your role in the company?
SETH H. MARKS: I wear a few hats actually, one of which is the Managing Director of the legal entity in the Czech Republic, which essentially serves as the sort of ‘headquarters’ or ‘competence center’ for Creditinfo Group in terms of IT, Project and Product Management, Analytics and Consultancy. My role here is essentially to ensure that the operations in Prague work and that we create and maintain an environment that ensures alignment across all these stakeholders. My Regional Director role is really ‘market ownership’, both from a P&L standpoint as well as from a customer standpoint.
SEDLAKOVA LEGAL: How was your career in Creditinfo and why did you choose to work with this company?
SETH H. MARKS: I’ve been in Creditinfo about 7 years and a lot has changed. It has been a very dynamic environment, constantly new challenges which I think has been the real ‘stimulator’ for me. Creditinfo has really gone from a small, entrepreneurial environment when I started to what I would call a small corporate today – all in the space of about 7 years. It’s really a small span of time for such a big jump in the ‘life’ of the company so lots of interesting challenges and opportunities along the way.
SEDLAKOVA LEGAL: How does a normal day in Creditinfo look like for you and your team?
SETH H. MARKS: Wow, tough one. Maybe that goes back to the previous question. So much is developing and changing as we speak that no single day is the same. We are in over 30 countries now, constantly innovating, modifying our products and solutions, bringing in new ones, looking at new verticals to penetrate in these many markets that indeed no day is the same.
SEDLAKOVA LEGAL: What makes your company different from others doing business in the same field?
SETH H. MARKS: In many ways we are an “old” fintech – in the sense that our traditional, flagship solution is the credit bureau platform which, in today’s age of big data and the like can be perceived as a sort of ‘dinosaur’ concept. But we put a fintech twist on things with innovative data analytics and information solutions tools that help lenders make highly informed decisions. I don’t think our competition brings such a ‘two-pronged’ approach to things.
SEDLAKOVA LEGAL: Often, successful people have different views on what is most important in managing a large and successful company. What do you think is key to your success?
SETH H. MARKS: Honesty and integrity in everything you do. With that, the rest will fall into place.
SEDLAKOVA LEGAL: Do clients in Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) vary across the region you are managing? Are there any different approaches to cooperation? Since Creditinfo Group is widespread around the world, does CEE show any different features compared to the rest of the world?
SETH H. MARKS: Generally, the financial services space in CEE and certainly in the Czech Republic is a very conservative industry. So, references, case studies, track record, and the like are very important. In some other markets where we operate, clients are more willing to be ‘first-movers’, to innovate if they are convinced it will lead to competitive advantage.
SEDLAKOVA LEGAL: What are you currently working on and what business plans do you have in the future?
SETH H. MARKS: There is a lot happening as you might have guessed across Creditinfo Group. I think in general we are very much focusing on growing the markets that we are in – rather than continuing to actively seek new, greenfield opportunities. We are also very focused on innovation in order to continuously find ways to help lenders make better and better decisions as more and more data points becomes accessible.
SEDLAKOVA LEGAL: What motivates you the most in your work?
SETH H. MARKS: Facilitating access to finance in markets where formal financial inclusion is still extremely low is a very rewarding part of this job.
SEDLAKOVA LEGAL: How would you evaluate the cooperation with our law ﬁrm?
SETH H. MARKS: I think Sedlakova Legal shares a lot of the same core ‘character’ traits of Creditinfo – namely pro-actively working with us not just to find problems but to automatically and actively suggest possible solutions to the problems. This is highly appreciated in a high-pace working environment.