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Cleaning, vetting credit information

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Recently, Credit Data Limited (CRB), FDH Bank and Malawi Posts Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance the process of cleaning up data on credit history of Malawians submitted to CRB for scrutiny. The promotion has been dubbed, ‘Konzeratu.’ We caught up with CRB Managing Director, PATRICIA MWASE to shed more light;

First of all, what is Konzeratu and how does it speed up the loan application process?

It is a campaign aimed to encourage all borrowers and prospective borrowers to vet their own credit history records held by Credit Data.

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Why the campaign?

Experience has shown that borrowers have the potential of being delayed to access credit when they need the credit urgently because some of the records are not correct or up-to-date.

Who wins in this campaign?

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Malawians who intend to access credit from FDH Bank. The bank will also benefit as it will have a chance to use cleaned and up-to-date records thereby servicing Malawians better and faster than was before. The Posts Corporation is also an important stakeholder as we will make use of their fast delivery services. CRB is also a beneficiary as we will now keep vetted, up-to-date and cleaned up credit records of borrowers.

What will the process involve?

Any prospective FDH Bank borrower will have the chance to request their own report from Credit Data before lodging a credit application. Upon request, the report will be sent as registered mail through Malawi Post Offices.

The borrower will collect their report from any post office of their choice upon production of an identity card indicated by the bureau. The borrower will then have a chance to question, query or ask for an update of any record on the report by filling a form.

Whose initiated this initiative?

It was CRB’s initiative and we shared the idea to the financial services’ sector and FDH responded immediately.

Why the initiative?

Some banks have started pulling reports from our bureau but a lot of banks were complaining about the speed of accessing reports from our bureau, which was affecting their service delivery and inconveniencing customers.

Why was there a delay?

At CRB, we do not rush to give out inaccurate information. We take time and care to make sure we are giving out reports to help the user make informed credit decisions. Unfortunately, only 103,000 of the 613,000 data received from the banking industry is clean hence requiring us to do more work on the data.

Is FDH Bank the only bank that will participate?

No. We are in discussions with two other banks that have shown willingness to join and also another insurance entity.

Is Credit Data Credit Reference Bureau a blacklisting agency?

No. A credit reference bureau is an entity that collects, processes and stores details of both positive and negative credit records on individuals and institutions.

Where does the bureau get its information?

Financial institutions, including banks, microfinance institutions, service providers, government institutions and traders share credit information about their creditors with Credit Data. We also collect information from public sources. We have no access to any other personal information such as criminal records, political persuasion et cetera.

How do you identify a person?

Malawi currently uses the passport, driving license and electoral card as the legal identification instruments while waiting to finalise the national identification card.

There are, however, other identifiable instruments that supplement the above. That is what Credit Data uses to identify a person.

How do you identify a company? And why use the information?

By verifying the registration number. Currently, the amended CRB Act of 2015 requires that any lending transaction instituted by financial institutions should first undergo credit vetting process. No individual is allowed to access information from us.

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