St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN); The Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union has given the thumbs up for the establishment of a regional credit reporting system, where banks and other financial institutions can access the credit history of potential borrowers.
Antigua and Barbuda prime Minister Gaston Browne, Head of the Monetary Council, addressing the media following the 87th meeting of the Council in St. Kitts on Thursday (Mar 2):
“The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group is in the process of developing a credit reporting system for Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. A credit reporting system in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union will improve citizens’ access to loans from financial institutions and is expected to assist in the reduction in lending rates and the development and operationalization of a credit bureau within the single financial and economic space.
“The ECCB has engaged relevant stakeholders across the ECCU to craft the harmonized credit reporting bill and regulations. Council approved the proposed credit reporting bill and regulations and agreed to urge member governments to ensure the credit reporting bill and regulations are enforced by September 2017.”
Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Timothy Antoine said the credit bureau would provide credit scores for persons which banks, credit unions, utility companies, hire purchase companies and others businesses can access when determining qualification for credit.
“We have a situation in the Currency Union now where there are people who have good ideas, want to access loans which would help with creating jobs and growing the economy, but there’s little or no information on their credit history, their track record.
“If you go to a bank with track record, with no history, very often the answer is no, and of course, we need credit expansion to grow our economies and create jobs. The Council first of all approving and having the governments usher it through their parliaments, it gives us an opportunity to give the banks additional capacity to access requests for loans and to make decisions about that.
“Essentially what will happen is that the credit bureau will allow people to have credit scores which can be used by financial institutions to assist them with making a decision about loans.”
Governor Antoine told WINN FM that assuming the relevant laws get passed by September of this year, at the earliest, the regional credit bureau would likely come on stream in 2018.