Saturday 23 March 2019

Q&A: Why is this being introduced and who can access it?

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Q: What will the database contain?

A: It will detail all debts taken out above €500, such as credit card debts, overdrafts, mortgages and personal loans. You can request your credit report at any time free of charge (subject to fair usage).

No other person such as your spouse/partner, friend, relative, employer or landlord can obtain your credit report without your consent.

Lenders will be able to request a credit report when:

  • You have made an application for a new loan;
  • You have applied to have your existing loan restructured;
  • You have arrears on your existing loan.

The Central Credit Register will not produce a credit score or credit rating, but information on the register - at - will be used by lenders to help assess the creditworthiness of people seeking loans.

Initially, details of car loans and hire-purchase agreements will be excluded, but these will be added at a later stage. Local authority, moneylender and business loans will be included from the end of this month.

Banks and credit unions have been supplying the Central Bank with credit details on millions of customers for months now.

The new register comes in despite the existence of the Irish Credit Bureau (ICB), which is a credit ratings agency.

The main difference is the new central credit register has been established under the Credit Reporting Act 2013 and lenders are obliged to comply in making borrowers' information available.

Q: Who is overseeing the register?

A: The Central Credit Register is owned by the Central Bank of Ireland. The Government developed the Central Credit Register to collect and centralise personal and credit information on loans. This was agreed as part of the EU/IMF bailout.

The International Monetary Fund was concerned lenders were unaware of different loans given to developers, in particular, during the boom as not all loans were registered with the ICB.

Q: Why is a new register being introduced?

A: The new central credit register is intended to help lenders, consumers and the Central Bank in its role of safeguarding stability and protecting consumers.

The register does not rate a borrower's performance.

Instead, it lists their loans along with details of missed payments.

Once the register is fully up and running the information will be available to over 500 lenders and firms that have acquired loan books from Irish banks.

Individual borrowers will be able to request their credit report at any time free of charge.

Q: How far back does the information go?

A: Loan information has been added to the register by 300-plus lenders, mainly banks and credit unions, that are currently in force. But your payment records on these will only be captured since last June.

So if you have a mortgage for 10 years it will be detailed on the register. But how that is performing will only be captured since last June.

Q: Does my lender have to look up the register?

A: Lenders and borrowers can look up the register from this week. But from September it will be mandatory for lenders to access the credit reports when someone is seeking to borrow €2,000 or more.

Q: What personal information will be included on it?

A: The register will contain factual personal credit information only.

This will include your name, current and previous addresses, Eircode, date of birth, your personal public service number, your gender and telephone number.

Q: Who owns the register?

A: The Central Bank owns the information and is data controller under the Data Protection Acts.

Q: Will the register include details on mortgages taken over by vulture funds?

A: Yes. Unregulated funds, and regulated funds that bought mortgages here, will have details of mortgages recorded.

Q: Who has access to it?

A: Lenders will be able to access your credit report, when you apply for a new loan, or you have applied to have your existing loan restructured, or you have arrears on your existing loan or have breached the limit of a credit card or overdraft.

You will be able to request your own credit report at any time.

Irish Independent

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