Database of credit information to be introduced

Minister for Finance says it will help lenders and borrowers

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: “The current system does not allow the Central Bank of Ireland to see the overall borrowing situation in this country. This may lead to lenders being unable to assess total borrower exposure properly.’’  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: “The current system does not allow the Central Bank of Ireland to see the overall borrowing situation in this country. This may lead to lenders being unable to assess total borrower exposure properly.’’ Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Thu, Mar 28, 2013, 20:51

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said a new register would be a database of credit information based on applications and agreements.

“It assists lenders in making informed lending decisions and protecting higher-risk borrowers from excessive debt.’’

Introducing the Credit Reporting Bill, setting up the register, Mr Noonan said reports produced in recent years by the Law Reform Commission, the expert group on mortgage arrears, the Central Bank and the Government’s banking inquiry had illustrated the weaknesses in the Irish reporting system and highlighted the potential benefit of having an effective credit-reporting system.

Mr Noonan said some privately-run credit bureaus were operating in Ireland, but there was no central repository of credit data on a statutory basis.

He said the register would be maintained and operated by the Central Bank and create a statutory credit-reporting system under which lenders would be obliged to report information regarding loan applications and agreements which reached a threshold in excess of €500. Lenders would be required to check the register when considering giving approval to credit applications of over €2,000.

The register, said Mr Noonan, would support the financial services industry by providing greater understanding of a consumer’s total indebtedness. The consumer benefited by being able to keep track of his or her creditworthiness.

Inaccurate information
He said a mechanism had been provided in the Bill to allow a consumer to apply for inaccurate information to be removed, amended or supplemented.

Fianna Fáil spokesman Michael McGrath said moneylenders should be required to ensure they had trained staff to properly assess information in order, for example, to identify signs of possible over-indebtedness such as multiple short-term loans with different lender.

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the Bill was a positive contribution to the restoration of confidence in the banking system.