Monday 24 October 2016

Central Bank looks for views on new debt records agency

Published 18/04/2015 | 02:30

The Central Bank is looking for views on a new agency which will register people’s debts
The Central Bank is looking for views on a new agency which will register people’s debts

A public consultation into the operation of a new State-backed debt records agency has been launched by the Central Bank.

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Legislation mandating the Central Bank to set up a central credit register to store information on the debts of businesses and consumers was passed in 2013 but implementation has long been delayed.

The lack of good quality information about Irish borrowers was identified early on as a contribution factor to the scale of the Irish credit crisis - notably allowing a handful of borrowers to rack up debts and guarantees amounting to billions of euros each without regulators being aware of the scale of borrowings involved.

A contract to operate the new system was won by Italian firm CRIF last year.

The Government says the long-delayed regime will be introduced on a phased basis starting this year.

Yesterday, the Central Bank said it was opening a public consultation and called for submissions on how the new register will work - including details about how long personal information is held, collection of historic data and how best to identify and collect data on individual borrowers.

The details of how the system will be operated are already laid down in law.

Issues around accuracy, data protection, privacy and accuracy are likely to be to the fore of any concerns in relation to the new register.

Mistakes in collecting such data can have huge consequences. Britain's equivalent faces a legal bill estimated at £9m (€12.5m) after it caused the demise of a Welsh engineering firm after mistakenly recording that the company has been wound up.

Irish Independent

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