By Karl Angelo N. Vidal, Reporter
STATE-RUN Credit Information Corp. (CIC) is reluctant to accredit more credit bureaus as Filipinos’ access to formal lending institutions remains low.
In a recent interview, CIC President and Chief Executive Officer Jaime P. Garchitorena said the national credit information registry is not keen to accept more credit bureaus or special accessing entities (SAE) at this time.
“At the moment, no,” Mr. Garchitorena said in an interview with BusinessWorld. “Although the population size is good, a hundred million, the [number of people who have] access to credit is still fairly low.”
He added that the credit registry has an estimated 10-15 million in credit information from banks, insurers, cooperatives and other financial institutions.
“Right now we have four credit bureaus. The four of them should be able to handle the market well,” Mr. Garchitorena added.
Currently, there are four official SAEs namely local firm CIBI Information, Inc., South Africa’s Compuscan, Italy’s CRIF S.p.A, and United States’ TransUnion Information Solutions, Inc.
CIC added that some credit bureaus are inquiring if the state-led company is going to open its accreditation for credit bureaus.
“You have to understand that there are so many small-player credit bureaus in the Philippines. But because of the stringent rules of the [Securities and Exchange Commission] such as P60 million paid-up capital and expertise of the bureau, it will be difficult for the small time players should we open our accreditation,” CIC Senior Vice-President Aileen L. Amor-Bautista said.
The credit registry will also look into the ability of its existing credit bureaus to serve the market.
“If we realize that one of them is not performing and is merely holding on to the license, then the CIC is fully authorized to pull any accreditation that it has given,” Mr. Garchitorena said, adding the bureau may retain the number of its credit bureaus or hire another in replacement of the removed company.
“We take accreditation very seriously because once you get accredited, you’ll have access to the single largest financial database in the Philippines.”
Republic Act No. 9510 or the Credit Information System Act mandates the establishment of a comprehensive and centralized credit information system, with CIC tasked to consolidate the data.
The credit registry said the country’s centralized credit information system is expected to go live this quarter, well beyond an earlier January target, as it is still ensuring the quality and safety of data.