CIC set to charge financial firms for accessing credit information

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By Karl Angelo N. Vidal

STATE-RUN Credit Information Corp. (CIC) is set to charge financial institutions for their access to its credit information database following a one-year data cleansing phase.

In an interview, CIC President and Chief Executive Officer Jaime Casto Jose P. Garchitorena said the country’s sole public credit registry will now start the “paid” phase of its credit information system, inviting select and qualified financial companies to access the database for a fee.

“Within this month, we’re sending invitations to approximately 90 financial institutions that we’re entering into paid phase,” Mr. Garchitorena told BusinessWorld in a phone interview Friday. “We’ve identified 90 financial institutions that have been qualified to access the data moving forward.

The credit registry’s database has been live since last year, receiving over three million requests for credit reports from financial firms such as banks, credit card companies, and lending institutions. These companies were allowed to request for credit information as the CIC was populating the system and improving its data quality.

“This time, we are still live, but we’re going to start charging them because we believe there’s a commercial value to the product,” Mr. Garchitorena added.

Starting this month, the CIC will start sending invitations to 90 qualified firms to access the database, provided these firms are submitting credit data consistently and of quality.

Mr. Garchitorena added that once CIC sends out the invitations to apply as accessing entities, financial firms will have about 30 days to submit documents for application.

“It will require some approval from their board that they will be accessing entities, especially now there’s payment. The board should know they’re onboarding a facility for gathering information,” he said.

Republic Act No. 9510 or the Credit Information System Act mandates the establishment of a comprehensive and centralized credit information system, with CIC tasked to consolidate the data.

The law also states that submitting entities, which are the lenders, are required to submit and provide all credit data of their borrowers in their database to CIC.

The CIC is confident most financial firms invited will apply to become accessing entities since the improved credit data can now be used to assess clients’ creditworthiness.

“Once they start accessing the CIC database, then it will prompt others who are currently dillydallying on their submission or failing to see the investment need to qualify for CIC access. Hopefully, they’ll be pushed to compliance as well,” Mr. Garchitorena said.

About 1,600 financial institutions are currently registered with the CIC, with 396 of them regularly submitting credit data. The credit registry’s database has records of around seven million people coming from 5.3 million files with complete information in 2018.

Apart from financial firms, CIC has four credit bureaus — namely CIBI Information, Inc., Compuscan, CRIF S.p.A, and TransUnion Information Solutions, Inc. — accredited as special accessing entities.