Editor’s comment: Credit rate crashes put printers in A&E

Darryl Danielli
Monday, October 13, 2014

If cash is the lifeblood of a business, then its credit rating could probably be best described as the heart monitor. And if your business’s ECG read-out flatlines, then it can be disconcerting to say the least.

And for some businesses, in theory, it could be life-threatening, if their credit lines are tightened or even cut altogether as a result.

In August, one of the most popular UK credit rating services, Creditsafe, changed its algorithm, the upshot being that a large number of printers seem to have been impacted by significantly downgraded ratings.

Creditsafe, like any credit agency, stresses that its ratings shouldn’t be taken in isolation and I’m sure that most industry suppliers are aware of the pitfalls and use credit scores as just one element in their decision-making, also relying on industry knowledge, relationships with the specific customer and a whole host of other measures that when combined offer a far more complete picture.

But the problem is that in a ‘computer says no’ situation, where instant decisions are made based on instantly available information like, surprisingly enough, credit scores – then a downgrade can be seriously damaging.

Of course, relying on anecdotal evidence is dangerous, after all the printers most likely to be up in arms over a change in their credit rating are those that have been downgraded.

So we checked the ratings of 20 randomly selected print businesses of varying sizes and while two had marginally improved, the average across the board was a significant drop of almost 30 points on scores out of 0-100.

So it’s hardly surprising that a fair few print bosses’ heart rates have been skyrocketing since the new Creditsafe ratings went live.


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