Belize to implement a Credit Report System

Belize is establishing its first credit report system that when completed, financial institutions will be able to share credit information and improve on lending risks. The Central Bank is with support of the Canadian International Development Agency. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.


Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The International Finance Corporation is assisting Belize to develop a Credit Reporting System which the Central Bank of Belize says will increase access to finance. Members of the financial sector gathered for a seminar chaired by the IFC and the Central Bank of Belize.


Marilyn Gardiner Usher, Deputy Governor, Central Bank

“The credit reporting act, which is in draft stage, and licensing of a credit bureau are targeted for completion by the last quarter of 2013. A credit reporting system is key to development of a sound economy. It helps to reduce risk for financial institutions and often leads to lower interest rates—making loans more affordable and more widely available.”


Jun Zhang

The system is being developed in collaboration with Jun Zhang, IFC’s senior manager, who represents fourteen Caribbean countries including Belize.


Jun Zhang, IFC Senior Manager Caribbean Region

“The credit bureau is a critical instrument especially for small business owners and for consumers to access credit which in turn would facilitate a more stronger, a more diversified economic growth. Since 2001, IFC has helped thirty-two countries to create credit bureau legislations. We have hosted about one hundred and fifty such type of conferences in about nineteen countries.”


Phil Westman

Phil Westman, Liaison Officer, Canadian International Development Agency

“In the whole area of economic development, we have been supporting programs administered through World Bank and IMF. And in this case, a branch of the World Bank known as the IFC, in this credit reporting and access the finance project which you heard bout in much detail. So that’s a little bit of the background and I want to say that we are very pleased to be able to participate in this event and to support IFC in the work.”


But who will provide the data for the report and how will the system address privacy issues?


Marilyn Gardiner Usher

“In regards to the data-providers, the source of the data, we expect the data to come from financial and non-financial providers like the utility, insurance companies. So we plan to broaden the source of data providers as far as possible so that this can actually have the impact of bringing individual and small and medium enterprise; who don’t normally holds an account and have a relationship with bank to have access through their reputation and collateral to the formal financial system.”


Jose Sanchez

“But is the information going to be…is this something that is going to start on current data from the providers or are you looking at maybe from someone’s history with that provider over ten years five years. Or is this going to be something starting from whenever it is the project starts?”


Marilyn Gardiner Usher

“We are still working those details out, but we are…I think we plan to go back two years. Of course that is not final as yet because all this is still in…we are still discussing these policy issues.”


Jose Sanchez

“You are aware that people might not be happy to know that their information, their credit history will be widely available. Have you discussed maybe legal ramifications or challenges?”


Marilyn Gardiner Usher

Marilyn Gardiner Usher

“Actually we do have a legal and regulatory working group and we are also getting help from the IFC to develop a draft law. That law is already in draft state. We are looking at how we address confidentially of data, the protection of data and community rights and remedies. What we will be required to share; any information would be the consent of the borrower.”


Jun Zhang

“The credit bureau it’s an essential financial infrastr4ucture that facilitates oddly transactions, and the borrowers where the money is needed. And that would give the financial institution that makes the lending decisions, good information in terms of who they are lendign money too. What we have seen worldwide; when there is a lack of information then there is a severe constraint on the access to finance. This is particularly true for small businesses.”


The system will be a reality. Sixty participants from commercial banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other agencies attended the seminar. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.