Some of the excessive lending that went on in the “boom” might not have happened if there had been a central register of all loans and loan applications. There was no obligation to register credit applications or agreements and there was no central comprehensive statutory register. The IMF were very keen to see a credit register in Ireland in order to “align its practices with those adopted in well-developed financial markets”.
The Credit Reporting Bill 2012 aimed to put in place a Central Credit Register.
It was finally implemented in 2017. It should now help to stop loans being given to people who then can’t (or won’t) repay them .
Credit report requests by consumers are free and you have the right to request your own credit report at any time and check your credit rating. (See www.centralcreditregister.ie ).
This will be a database of credit applications and credit agreements which will help lenders to make informed lending decisions and to protect borrowers from excessive debt.
The Central Credit Register is maintained by the Central Bank .
Lenders will be obliged to report to the Central Bank, for inclusion in the register, credit information and personal information about loan applications and loan agreements that involve more than €500
Lenders will be required to check the register before approving credit applications of over €2,000 and they may also apply to check the register in cases involving less than this.
The information from the register may be used by the lender only for the purposes of:
· Verifying the information you provided for your credit application
· Evaluating the risk of lending to you
· Monitoring defaults in credit agreements by you
· Evaluating whether to make any debt proposal or arrangement that you have asked for
Lenders will be required to keep information about their access to the register for five years after such access.
The costs of the register will be met by a levy on the lenders. Lenders may also have to pay a fee for access to the information on the register.
Borrowers’ rights in relation to the register
Members of the public will be entitled to get a free copy of their own record once a year. There will be provisions for people to apply to have inaccurate information removed or changed.
The Central Bank is required to keep a record for five years of all occasions on which access to the register was granted. You may ask the Central Bank for a report detailing each occasion access has been given to information about you in the previous five years, who applied for access and the dates on which these applications were made. If required to do so by the Central Bank, a lender must tell you on any occasion when the lender was given access to your information on the register.
Credit reports that include business loans such a loans to companies, partnerships, clubs and associations will be available to lenders and borrowers from 21 January 2019.
This means that credit reports are now available for both consumer borrowing (credit cards, mortgages, overdrafts and personal loans), with information backdated to 30 June 2017, and business borrowing with information backdated to 31 March 2018.