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Central Bank Sets up Credit Reference Bureau

Jul 31, 2008, 5:18 AM

Central Bank Sets up Credit Reference Bureau

According to a press release dated 28th July 2008 and made available to this paper, Central Bank of The Gambia has set up a Credit Reference Bureau as an integral part of its Financial Supervision Department. The bureau, the release states, will seek to facilitate the mutual sharing of consumer credit information by commercial banks with a view to making for "accurate evaluation of credit risks." The full text of the release is reproduced below:

As part of its continuing efforts to further strengthen the Financial Sector, the Central Bank of The Gambia is pleased to announce to the general public of the setting-up of a Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) within its Financial Supervision Department. The raison d'etre of the bureau is to enable commercial banks share consumer credit information reciprocally thereby ensuring a more accurate evaluation of credit risks.

The CRB is established to provide a platform for the financial institutions to strengthen their credit appraisal procedures with a view to enhancing credit quality and responsible Credit behaviour in the Gambian financial system.

The CRB is established with the objective of enabling the financial institutions to identify borrowers who default in servicing the credit facilities extended to them by other lenders with a view to preventing such customers from enjoying any new facilities from any other bank until they made good their outstanding delinquent credits in the former bank(s). It is also hoped that good debtors can enjoy concessionary rates from the banks for being rated low risk.

In order to facilitate the successful implementation of the CRB, Tax Identification Number (TIN) is an integral part. In that regard, all banks have been informed that henceforth, no account should be opened without a Tax Identification Number (TIN) as this is the main driver of the CRB. In addition, no new Credit facility should be granted or extended without a TIN.

The Central Bank wishes to assure the general public of the full confidentiality of the information on the CRB which shall not be disclosed to any other party except to banks which are members of the Bureau for the purpose of processing requests for credits.