Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has expressed serious concern about the ongoing delay in the introduction of a Central Credit Register.
A parliamentary reply indicates further slippage in the timetable for getting the register up and running. It now appears likely that the register will not be accessible for consumer related queries until well in to 2017 with business loans not covered for some time after that.
Deputy McGrath commented, “At the time the Credit Reporting Bill was being debated in 2013, I noted concerns that the register would not be up and running until 2016. I stated clearly that such a lead in time would not be acceptable and a much quicker timetable was needed. It now turns out that even that date will be missed.
“I have been questioning the Minister for Finance on this subject on an ongoing basis. In January I was told the register would be available from early 2017, now he states “Enquiries by lenders against the CCR data are expected to commence in 2017 once data quality has been assured.” This leads me to conclude there has been a further slippage in the timetable and that it will be well into 2017 before it is operational.
“The need for a Central Credit Register operated by the Central Bank was highlighted in a number of reports over the years including those from the Law Reform Commission, the Expert Group on Mortgage Arrears, and the Central Bank itself. It was clear that the lack of centralised source of credit data was a significant factor in some of the disastrous lending decisions by Ireland’s banks and financial institutions in respect of individuals and companies.
“The system of privately operated credit registers and the lack of obligation on financial institutions to cross check outstanding financial commitments contributed to the credit bubble. Many people took out loans and credit cards across a number of financial institutions which they are still struggling to repay.
“It seems as if the technical challenges associated with developing a Central Credit Register have been massively underestimated. We have entered a new credit cycle as the economy recovers. The fact that the timetable for the consumer register has slipped back again gives rise to concern that lending decisions will take place without full information being available to banks.
“This is potentially bad for both customers themselves and financial institutions. The Minister needs to give a clear explanation of the reason for these delays and how he plans to get a grip on the project and ensure the continued slippage in the timetable is halted.”