Ng: Online credit check

I WENT to the opening ceremonies of the International Contact Center Conference and Expo at the Shangri-la’s Mactan Island Resort and saw close to a thousand delegates, including many from Asian countries.

The whole conference mood was quite upbeat and many projected that by 2016 or 2017, the industry would be employing over a million full-time employees and earn more than $16 billion. That is growth going up by 15 to 20 percent every year.

However, while we are a favorite destination of many call centers, we still lag behind India in several segments, like software development, application services, remote infrastructure management, back office, help desk, and various industry-specific solutions that include healthcare and telecommunications services. It does seem, though, that for voice, we are leading.

So overall, we are still doing roughly $11 billion in business process outsourcing, while India is already way over $60 billion. India, though, is much bigger with a population 12 times bigger than ours.

One of the things going in India’s favor is the depreciation of its currency, which drastically lowered the labor costs of Indian programmers compared to those in the Philippines.

Most analysts agree that Philippines is now roughly 15 to 25 percent more expensive in voice services compared to India. It is noteworthy that despite this, the Philippines continues to grow in this segment, an indication that companies around the world generally regard us as the excellent destination for voice services.

At the conference, I bumped into my friend, Anthony Noel, who is with a company called Lenddo. This is one of the Philippine startups that is doing a great job worldwide.

It has not only gotten investors from the US, but is already in many countries. They are a micro-lending company, but instead of screening applicants through traditional metrics, they do it on the strength of the social networking accounts like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

They have often been mentioned in the international press. In fact, an article in Digital Trends, warned that if you are planning to borrow money, you should keep an eye on people you add and interact with in Facebook, as it may become part of a lending firm’s creditworthiness assessment.

They have special software that will analyze your interactions and friends. If any of your friends are delinquent debt payers, they might affect your chances of getting a loan.

This is something new, and why not? A quick look at Facebook can yield lots of information, more than an average credit check. Status updates that you have just bought shoes instead of paying your rent, might result in a negative mark in your fiscal management. So be careful, because your social network posts may affect more than your credit eligibility. You certainly give a negative impression if you tweet, for example, about drug use, booze bingeing or unsafe driving.

I'm sure it will only be a matter of time when there will be analytic software that will tell people about your employability or trustworthiness based on your activities online. So be careful what you post. It seems every month, there are more and more people getting caught or losing their jobs based on what they post online.
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