Blow to UK liquidity as ex-directory figure hits 58%

 Published: Tuesday February 1, 2011

 Written by GBG News on News

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London - 01 February 2011 – The number of people electing to go ex-directory in the UK have surged beyond the 50% mark to reach an all-time high, presenting major concerns for debt collection companies and the UK economy. With a rise in the number of people choosing to exit the phone book, the UK’s personal debt is set to soar as debt collecting agencies are facing increasing difficulties identifying and verifying individuals.

The ex-directory figure currently stands at 58% of people registered with the UK Telephone Number Database (an extract from BT OSIS). With the total UK personal debt flirting with the £1 trillion mark, and expected to hit £10 trillion by 2015 according to PwC in a recent article in The Telegraph , more and more people are struggling with debt, leaving companies with a huge problem in tracking down outstanding debtors and securing payment. Furthermore, these companies could also face problems meeting Principle 4 of the Data Protection Act, which states personal data shall be accurate and up-to-date.

GB Group, a leader in tracing technology for the debt collection sector, has the broadest source of accurate UK population data (including names, addresses and telephone numbers) currently available in the market. Its solution, GB Accelerator e-Trace V4 , has now been implemented in the majority of the top debt collection agencies – via software or bureau – across the UK; as they realise the value of the consented numbers.

GB Accelerator e-Trace V4 delves into the largest pool of landline and mobile telephone numbers available, sourced from a range of previously unavailable datasources and following close consultation with the Information Commissioners Office. 

“The biggest problem currently facing debt collection agencies is recovering bad debt quickly and with the surge in ex-directory numbers, it is now becoming an economical issue,” says David Green, business development director at GB Group. “A further problem is that the majority of people today use mobile phones, which are not listed in the telephone directory, making it increasingly difficult for companies to reach their customers. It is this data that GB Group has access to – in which cases individuals have provided lawful consent for their telephone number data to be accessed for specific purposes.”

GB Group’s Consented Telephone Number Database contains 50.9m telephone numbers, which includes 14.2m mobile telephone numbers. To demonstrate the value this will bring to a client, GB Group took a random sample of names and addresses from this database and completed a teleappend exercise against the UK Telephone Number Database (an extract from BT OSIS). The results showed that 56.6% of these records existed on the UK Telephone Number Database (an extract from BT OSIS), with 34.8% returning a telephone number and 21.8% being ex-directory/DQR. GB Group was therefore able to provide an additional 65.2% telephone numbers from its consented sources.  What’s more, GB Group can validate both landline and mobile numbers are live in real-time, so clients can have confidence the number they are calling is active.

GB Accelerator e-Trace V4 also includes over 20 years of historic electoral roll data, deceased information, gone-away data, insolvency and bankruptcy data. 

Note to editors: 
GB Group was the first to market with telephone numbers sourced over and above UK Telephone Number Database (an extract from BT OSIS), by introducing the GB Telephone Number Database in October 2008. The company continues to source additional telephone data, with exclusive supply to GB Group and in September last year it added 2 more suppliers. Today it has the most detailed database available for our customers, with approximately 37m landline telephone numbers and 14m mobile numbers, all updated monthly.

GB Accelerator e-Trace offers sub-second search and retrieval of almost 1 billion records, presented in a single screen view.  GBGroup only provides data to companies that have a lawful reason to contact individuals and work with the Information Commission to ensure all relevant privacy standards are met.

In November 2010 one of GB Group’s clients, Zinc Group , scooped the award for DCA of the Year under 2m at a Debt Collections Awards. The Debt Collection Awards is the only awards scheme aimed at celebrating the achievements of professionals working in debt collection enforcement, debt purchase and tracing. Together with their excellent financial performance and business strategy, e-Trace was a contributing factor in Zinc Group winning this award, as it sped up Zinc Group’s tracing processes and has helped to achieve increased contact rates of 37%, driving quicker collections.

About GB Group plc 
GB Group is the UK’s leading Identity Management business. It helps organisations recognise and verify all elements of an individual’s identity at every interaction. Through the application of our proprietary technology, we enable organisations to connect, communicate and transact with people safely, responsibly and profitably.  In doing so, we help businesses like Baines & Ernst , GE Money , O2, Laura Ashley, HMRC, HBoS, LloydsTSB, , Virgin Games , PartyGaming , Betfair and Ladbrokes understand their customers better to create more meaningful customer interactions – and reduce costs across the business.

GB Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange (GBG).