AN INDUSTRY LEADER: LINDY MBATHA

CrossCheck is a boutique credit and information bureau in accordance with the National Credit Act 2005 and operates within the National Credit Regulator. Lindy Mbatha, the only black female CEO in the credit bureau industry, shares how the company has successfully mastered the art of leveraging its experience and unique data sets to benefit clients across industry sectors.

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Please tell us more about the company’s history, formation and the importance of its role?

CrossCheck Information Bureau (Pty) Ltd was established in 1997 under the name Micro Lenders Credit Bureau (Pty) Ltd. Since then, the introduction of new management and improved processes led to the increase in competitive value, making CrossCheck an industry leader. Crosscheck primarily focuses on data analytics, which services the public and private sectors. Our role is very important as we impact strategic decisions through business intelligence reports. The niche was to extend far beyond the traditional data bureau functionalities.

What is the company’s vision as well as its mandate and how does it strive towards successfully achieving both?

Our vision is to be clearly distinguishable from our competitors through unique service offerings, hosting capabilities and targeted clientele. Our main objective is to become a partner of choice in addressing public sector data challenges.

We aim to enhance our customer’s decision process from account acquisition, account management and collection stages, by providing the reliable information through various delivery mechanisms.

CrossCheck will design and develop decision solutions that meet sector-specific needs. Above all, we value being part of the solution to many data-related challenges in the public sector as well as related sectors.

How has CrossCheck built its solid reputation as a leading public sector data analytics specialist?

CrossCheck has built a reputation on consistency and the ability to do huge projects within budget and with minimal hustle. Our focus is on doing all the things we are good at, and doing them well. We have a unique ability to analyse and extract information over multiple platforms and data sources to create a singular view of customer information inclusive of property information, business interest, employer information, full contact information and possible relatives etc.

We also maintain a culture of learning, which allows us to evolve and meet our clients at all levels.

What are your core service offerings and in which ways do they serve as a value-add to your clients?

Our core service offering is data analytics in so far as it assists with strategic decision-making. Data enrichment is the backbone of what we do.

The most immediate value-add is ensuring that our clients look at data as it impacts compliance, service delivery and supports the overall performance of the finance department in a municipality.

CrossCheck’s services include the development of customised reports, designed to simplify the speedy interpretation and analysis of large datasets. This, in turn, delivers improved revenue enhancement as a result of informed decision-making, based on relevant and improved data.

We believe in listening to our clients and customising reports to suit their needs. Our services include indigent management, supply chain management risk, compliance and advisory, revenue enhancement, training and assessing the status quo of the municipalities.

What would you regard your competitive advantage to be within the industry?

Our in-depth knowledge of the local government as well as our years of experience working with municipalities from the small rural areas to metros in the big city has certainly given us an edge over our competitors.

When CrossCheck was formed, it positioned itself as the only bureau in the country to specialise in assisting municipalities with optimising their revenue recovery through purified data.

Please could you tell us about some of the sector-specific software applications your company develops and applies?

Our software is customised to meet the specific needs of the industry. It is web-based, which makes it easy to integrate into any existing system used by the client.We have developed tracing tools, which allow our customers to trace debtors without an ID number/company registration number. We continuously strive to bring about incremental advances in technology and the processes of our clients to maximise our product potential and client potential.

Tell us more about your educational and career history—what set you on your current path? And which aspects of your role as CEO do you most enjoy?

My career journey started at Nedbank Corporate. I then moved to Nedbank Retail where I was responsible for stakeholder management. After working at Nedbank for a number of years, I left the banking industry in 2011 in order to challenge myself. I joined VVM Attorneys, a debt collection firm, where I was responsible for client relationship management. I then moved to CrossCheck as a Sales Manager and was later appointed as Sales Director. I am now a shareholder and the CEO of the company.

What I enjoy most is being at the forefront and determining the strategic direction of the company.

I enjoy learning from the members of the board and shareholders. I have a unique opportunity to take CrossCheck to even greater heights and I intend to do just that.

What were some of the greatest challenges you faced during the course of your career, particularly in terms of being a woman in a position of leadership?

The stereotype that women face as leaders is still a reality in 2018. Women experience this on a daily basis in various forms and on various scales. Yes, there needs to be a paradigm shift of epic proportions.

But since becoming a leader myself, I realise that the battle has to be won internally first. It’s very difficult to convince the world of your worth when you don’t understand it. I now know that I do not need to lead like a man to be respected, I do not need to be masculine in my approach in order to be perceived as being effective. I now know that I need to be present, inspire, account and represent but most importantly, get results. I’m not here to change the world but rather be an influencer and a motivation to those around me.

Hopefully, if enough women influence and motivate, the world will change their view of women leaders.

What would you regard as some of your greatest triumphs and successes?

My greatest triumph has been in finetuning our offerings for the market. We are excellent at what we do and this is the reputation I have managed to entrench.

We operate in a highly regulated environment and our clients do not always comprehend the impact of changes in legislation, for example, to their status quo.

This is where we come in.

Also, one of my notable successes has also been ensuring the consistent quality of our services, despite changes in various elements, both internally and externally. Our customer confidence remains the same.

What do you regard as good, effective leadership and what does it take to be a great leader?

Leadership is effective when the team you lead is motivated, inspired, loyal and understands the vision, and is buying into it effortlessly because they each know they are critical and their contribution to the overall success of the organisation is appreciated.

A good leader needs to have an ability to bring out the talent in others and unleash their utmost potential. I believe in a quiet, strong and grounded leadership.

What are some of the most crucial leadership lessons you have learnt during the course of your career?

I have learnt that in order to be truly successful at something, you must love what you do, you must obsess over it and let it consume you. Lead by example and never be satisfied with the mediocre. You must constantly push for bigger and better.

I’ve learnt the importance of surrounding myself with the right calibre of people.

People who are prepared to challenge me and demand the best from their leader because they offer her their very best.

I have also learnt to lead with passion rather than fear. This is the only way that trust is created and confidence is inspired in my team. 

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