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cb108n8Of late, the expression 'financial inclusion' has become a leitmotif in the communications of the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of India. Far from being rhetoric, it captures the essence of a large mission. The idea behind it is to expand the reach of commercial banking so that it is accessible to the last person eligible to secure credit.

To begin with, the government has ushered Micro Finance to realise the purpose of financial inclusion and freedom. Subsequently, programmes such as AADHAR, which are facilitating 'identity management', have also emerged and proved to be resourceful in collecting the information of each borrower from the tier-three and tier-four cities / towns.  It is here credit bureaus like Highmark come into picture. 

Highmark has a database of credit information of individuals belonging to tier-three and tier-four cities / town. It provides key insights to these individuals, which belong to a vast and untapped market. Beside this, the credit bureau can cross sell its in-depth collation of information of individuals of these markets to entities other than financial services. For example, telecommunication companies can use this data to offer customised post-paid plans to select pre-paid customers.

Highmark is compliant to ISO 27001:2005 standards for information security. It offers risk management tools such as credit information report and credit scores to its member institutions. It provides portfolio review and services. This helps the lenders to assess the portfolio risks and take informed decisions for improving the quality of portfolio and business returns. The lenders can focus on customers with certain risk profiles. 

Highmark is headquartered in Mumbai. The company is a joint venture between State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Citi Bank, SIDBI, Edelweiss and Shriram City. Global players such as CBC Innovis, CRIF and FICO are the technology partners in this credit bureau. It received certificate of registration on 25th November 2010.

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