Jamaica gets first credit bureau
The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has issued a licence for CreditInfo to operate the first credit bureau in Jamaica.
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday March 15, 2012 – An Iceland-based group has been given a license to open the first credit bureau in Jamaica within a year.
Permission was granted for the new CreditInfo Jamaica Ltd (CJL) by Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Peter Phillips last week.
“I signed the first licence under the Credit Reporting Act…and we hope overtime, that this will help to improve the quality of the loan portfolio of the banks,” Dr Phillips disclosed as he officially opened the GraceKennedy Financial Centre located downtown Kingston.
CJL’s application for licence is one of four that has reportedly been received by the ministry.
CJL is majority owned by Creditinfo Group, a company incorporated in Iceland, which offers credit information and related value-added services in several central and eastern European jurisdictions.
The new firm has 12 months within which to commence operations under the license. During this period it is anticipated that the credit bureau will establish reporting relationships with eligible credit information providers and complete the set-up of operations.
The passage of the Credit Reporting Act and related Regulations between 2010 and 2011, provides the legal framework for the establishment of credit bureaus in Jamaica, and the sharing of credit information between specified bodies.
This would enable lenders to better assess the credit worthiness of customers and to offer more competitively priced credit facilities with more efficient processing times.
A credit bureau system would allow banks to better understand their customers in order to price their loans to reflect the risk of the individual. This should have the effect of differential interest rates reflecting the credit ratings of a loan applicant.
Consumers will also know how they are rated and will be able to monitor the information held about them, and take the appropriate steps to improve their ratings where necessary.
Eligible credit information providers include commercial banks, merchant banks, building societies, credit unions, insurance companies, the Students’ Loan Bureau, hire purchase companies, among other lending entities prescribed under the Credit Reporting Act.