Credit Bureaus & Rating Agencies in the US Industry Market Research Report Now Available from IBISWorld

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Tightened credit and a drop in credit applications hurt the industry during the recession. Over the next five years, the industry will enter a period of significant growth. As the economy improves and unemployment drops, more people will be eligible to borrow money. The resulting rise in credit applications will boost demand for credit bureaus and credit rating agencies. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has added a report on the Credit Bureaus & Rating Agencies industry to its growing industry report collection.

IBISWorld Market Research

IBISWorld Market Research

The industry will grow as lending standards soften and the economy rebounds

The US Credit Bureaus and Credit Rating Agencies industry manages information for hundreds of millions of consumers and businesses. The industry is responsible for mitigating risk, regulating activity and standardizing information for clients, including investors, credit issuers, investment banks, broker-dealers, governments and consumers. The industry is categorized into two groups: credit bureaus and credit rating agencies (CRAs). Credit bureaus help lenders assess the creditworthiness of prospective customers by collecting information on consumer borrowing and repayment histories. In contrast, CRAs are in the business of evaluating risk and assigning ratings to various credit issuers and debt instruments.
Before the subprime crisis, revenue for the Credit Bureaus and Rating Agencies industry surged due to weak lending standards and low interest rates. During this period, consumers funded spending through credit card debt, mortgage financing and home equity loans. Industry growth reversed quickly in late 2007, when the subprime mortgage crisis erupted. As credit markets froze, lending standards increased and the United States spiraled into a recession. In turn, the demand for credit rating services declined as investors lost their appetite for debt instruments. According to IBISWorld industry analyst Eben Jose, the demand for consumer credit reports also faltered because higher lending standards decimated the volume of credit applications. In 2010, this trend began to reverse as lending standards softened and the economy returned to growth. Growth accelerated in 2011, with industry revenue growing 8.3%. Revenue is expected to continue growing at a high rate, increasing an estimated 13.4% to $10.5 billion in 2012. As a result, industry revenue is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 3.0% in the five years to 2012.
The US Credit Bureaus and Rating Agencies industry is moderately concentrated. The top players include Experian Group, Equifax Inc., Moody’s Corporation, The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. and Trans union LLC. Credit bureaus and CRAs benefit from economies of scale and high barriers to entry. Larger CRAs also tend to have strong brand recognition, which is important in a reputation-based industry. Credit bureaus also benefit from government regulations, such as the FACT Act, which allows consumers to request and obtain a free credit report once every twelve months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies (i.e. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). This arrangement has supported growth because companies are allowed to offer additional products and services to individuals who request free credit reports. Industry growth is expected to pick up speed over the next five years as the economic recovery turns the corner. The financial sector is expected to stabilize, and banks are expected to lower their lending standards, says Jose. The national unemployment rate is also projected to decrease. As a result, businesses and consumers will increase lending activity, which will increase demand for credit reports and rating services. In the five years to 2017, industry revenue is projected to increase. Profit margins are also expected to increase over the period due to the development of new technology and automation of services, which will improve productivity and increase product offerings. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Credit Bureaus and Rating Agencies report in the US industry page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

This industry comprises firms that provide information, opinions and ratings on the creditworthiness of particular companies, individuals, securities or financial obligations. The industry can be divided into two primary groups: credit bureaus and credit rating agencies (CRAs). Credit bureaus provide services related to consumer information, while CRAs generally focus on businesses, governments, securities and the financial markets.

Industry Performance
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Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
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Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
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Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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