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COSTA MESA, Calif. – In a deal finalized Aug.31, Experian Information Solutions, Inc.’s purchase of Baker Hill Corp. could mean opening up a wider entry into the small business market. Experian’s relationship with credit unions goes back nearly five years when the company created its Credit Union Solutions division in 2000. Specifically tailored and bundled exclusively for credit unions, the program is a suite of list services, prescreen programs, collections and risk/fraud management tools developed to address all stages of the member life cycle. Prior to that, the company had partnered with several credit unions to offer a plethora of services including evaluating credit applications and risk management solutions. This latest deal will see deepening of the coverage of Experian’s Small Business Credit ShareSM program and the continued investment in Baker Hill Advisorr, the next generation of the organization’s OnePointr solution. OnePoint was among the first customer relationship management solutions designed specifically for the business banking team. It consists of individual modules that handle specific tasks such as sales automation; collateral and exception management; credit risk management, and profitability and pricing. “Baker Hill fits perfectly into our long-term business strategy. By integrating its software solutions with our data assets and analytics, we are able to provide our clients with a more comprehensive information platform that is single-sourced and unmatched in the industry,” said Mark Zablan, president, Experian’s Business Information Solutions. Experian said Carmel, Ind.-based Baker Hill will operate as a business unit within Experian’s Business Information Solutions division and will be known as Baker Hill, an Experian company. Experian employs 12,000 people in 28 countries and supports clients in more than 60 countries, providing information, analytics, decision-making solutions and processing services. The company will continue operations in Indiana, and the 180 current management and employees will remain in their positions. Baker Hill, which provides services to more than 1,100 banking, credit union and financial services clients with installations across the United States, has been offering integrated solutions that address business process needs for the more than 20 years. The company said it introduced the first integrated relationship management solution for bankers, and was the first to offer common platforms for loan origination across the lending process. “Our unwavering focus on the banking industry, dedication to proven solutions, commitment to client success, and our no-excuses philosophy of doing business will prove to be a real asset to Experian,” said Mark Hill, president of Baker Hill, who will continue on in that role. For its part, Experian certainly knows the small business owner’s personal and commercial credit scores are a likely predictor of success. Earlier this year, the company released the findings of a survey (see sidebar) sampled of more than one million small business owners culled from its databases. Small business owners were defined as the CEO, president or proprietor of a business having 25 or fewer employees. Analysis of this data showed that small-business owners possess unique characteristics that set them apart from the rest of the consumer population. For instance, a blended scoring approach could offer companies a more predictive view of a small business’ creditworthiness and risk, helping them to make important lending, financing and marketing decisions. Positive changes in one score frequently are associated with positive changes in the other score. Conversely, negative changes in one score frequently are associated with negative changes in the other score. The survey also found that small business owners have a 21% higher income than the general population, and are more likely to reside in higher-value homes. They are also slightly younger then the overall national average, and have longer lengths of residence. Forty-two percent of small business owners are more likely to be married than the national average while 20% are more likely to live in male-headed households, with 25% more likely to have children and 11% more likely to be homeowners. Zablan said Experian has had discussions “on and off” for two years with Baker Hill to buy it but the company wasn’t ready to make a move. Experian liked Baker Hill’s relationships with small to mid-size banks, a client market the financial information services provider had yet to fully tap, he added. Over the last six months, the discussions became more concrete. Neither company disclosed financial terms of the deal. Experian plans to double the size of Baker Hill over the next three years, Zablan said. [email protected]

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