By Andy Sambidge
Al Etihad Credit Bureau will provide financial institutions with customer data in bid to limit credit bubble risks
The UAE's long-awaited federal credit bureau will start work in September after a number of false starts, it was announced on Tuesday.
Al Etihad Credit Bureau said it will begin to issue consumer credit reports to financial institutions from the beginning of September, having previously been scheduled to start operations last year and then earlier this year.
The credit reports will include records about consumers' debt levels, financial obligations, credit payments, history of default payments and late payments.
To date, Al Etihad Credit Bureau said it has completed the process of uploading six months of credit data and information collected from banks and financial institutions to its credit reporting system.
Banks and financial institutions will have access to their customers' up-to-date credit reports and will be able to evaluate them before making any lending or financial decisions, a statement said.
Until now, banks in the UAE have often been unable to access data on consumers at other financial institutions when making lending decisions. Borrowers could obtain money from many lenders and run up debts they sometimes could not repay.
Marwan Ahmad Lutfi, CEO of Al Etihad Credit Bureau, said: "The strategic objectives of Al Etihad Credit will be achieved through a multiphase process.
"The first phase, which will be launched in September, will allow banks and financial institutions to access and purchase existing and potential customers' credit reports electronically after submitting all the necessary documents. Customers will also have access to their credit reports through our soon-to-be-launched customer service centres."
He added: "The issuance of credit reports to banks and financial institutions is an important step in reducing credit losses resulting from non-performing loans and will in turn help individuals and companies to have a deeper understanding of their financial obligations and debt levels."
Al Etihad Credit Bureau said it will continue to collaborate with its partners to upload customers' credit information for the past 24 months, in addition to individuals' Emirates ID details.
A total of 5.2 million credit facilities of individuals residing in the UAE have been added to the Bureau's credit reporting system.
Will margin lending also be monitored? Is there a way for brokerage firms to provide data?