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Thu 24 Apr 2014 11:02 AM

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Just 1 bank sent client data in last 2yrs - UAE credit bureau

Al Etihad Credit Bureau says 'large number' of banks have failed to supply important information about customers

Just 1 bank sent client data in last 2yrs - UAE credit bureau
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

A UAE government platform that will allow financial
institutions to check consumers’ creditworthiness before lending to them has reported
that just one of the country's 46 banks has submitted data on its clients’
credit history over the last two years and urged the remaining lenders “to follow suit”.

Al Etihad Credit Bureau (AECB), a federal
government company specialised in providing UAE-based credit reports and other
financial information, said a "large number of banks" have not yet
completed the process even though the AECB is ready to launch.

At a meeting, the Bureau's board of directors
stressed the need for all UAE banks and financial institutions to submit their
customers' credit data for the past 24 months, including Emirates ID details.

“The Board of Directors expressed its thanks to the
National Bank of Fujairah for its support and cooperation, as it is the only
bank to submit accurate and reliable credit data for the past two years. The
Board of Directors has urged remaining banks to follow suit and provide their
credit data as soon as possible,” a statement cited by news agency WAM said.

"Despite the continued efforts made by banks
to provide their credit data, a large number of them have not yet fully
completed the process of providing the past 24 months of credit data,” it

Last month, the Bureau announced it was ready to
start operations - after a planned launch last year was delayed.

As part of its operational readiness, the Bureau
said it has successfully fulfilled all of the requirements for issuing credit
reports, including establishing secure links with all financial institutions,
and completing internal and external risk assessments.

Until now, banks in the UAE have been unable to
access data on consumers at other financial institutions when making a lending
decision. This has created a situation where some have borrowed from many
lenders and run up huge personal debts which proved impossible to repay.

Defaulting on debt is deemed a criminal, rather
than a civil, offence in the UAE, with those unable to meet repayments facing
jail sentences.

According to the UAE Central Bank there are 46 commercial
banks registered in the emirates, while nine have representative offices.

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