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Sun 8 Nov 2009 05:26 PM

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Credit bureaus combine to form regional group

New association aims to improve risk management practices amid rise in 'skips'.

Credit bureaus combine to form regional group
CREDIT GROUP: Credit bureaus have joined forces to form a regional association. (Getty Images)

Credit bureaus in the UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Pakistan have come together to form a new regional credit reporting association, it was officially announced on Sunday.

The Middle East Credit Reporting Association (MECRA) is a new non-profit association of credit information suppliers in the Middle East and comes at a time when banks in the UAE have reported higher rates of customers leaving the country without paying off their credit card bills.

MECRA aims to “facilitate the exchange of credit information on individuals and commercial entities between its members within the guidelines of each bureau and the local laws and regulations of each country,” it said in a statement.

The new association’s founding members include UAE-based Emcredit, BENEFIT Company in Bahrain, the National Bureau of Commercial Information in Muscat and Credit Chex in Pakistan.

“The challenges resulting from the global financial crisis have highlighted the need for stronger risk management practices,” said Ali Ibrahim, managing director of Emcredit.

Nabil Mweis of Credit Chex, Pakistan, added that “Pakistan has long-standing ties with the Gulf. With a large Pakistani population residing in the GCC, and various business and trade relations with the region... this also paves the way for facilitating future cross-border data sharing agreements”.

This official announcement coincides with the workshop on Developing Credit Bureaus in the Arab World, which takes place in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Mashreq said last month that the number of people leaving the UAE without paying off their credit card bills was above expectations, following an “unprecedented” number of delinquencies in the first half of the year.

“It’s higher than our expectations and it’s been an increasing feature of our industry during the first six months of the year,” the bank’s head of retail banking, Douglas Beckett, told Arabian Business on the sidelines of a press conference.

Job losses, reduced salaries and concerns about the regulatory environment have resulted in “a level of skip here that’s unprecedented in our industry experience”, he said.

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Sergei Kuk 10 years ago

including Countries like Egypt in it ?. It surely should be MENACRA not simply MECRA ?. Why not make it MENA rather than simply Middle East ?