STATE-RUN Credit Information Corp. (CIC) is on track to get the country’s centralized credit information system up and running by January next year, albeit noting that several system issues may delay the process.

CIC President and Chief Executive Officer Jaime P. Garchitorena

The CIC said its January 2018 target for the database to go live may be pushed back should the firm experience issues in the system primarily involving security measures.

“I think so, the only thing that might possibly delay it is if we encounter any major connectivity issue or any security issues,” CIC President and Chief Executive Officer Jaime P. Garchitorena told BusinessWorld in an interview when asked if they are on track to make the database live by January.

Mr. Garchitorena added CIC could face these types of issues amid constant reports of hacking, but noted the firm remains keen on keeping to its schedule.

To recall, in June, technology troubles hit some of the country’s biggest banks, namely Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and BDO Unibank, Inc. (BDO), which the central bank said likely dealt a “reputational” blow to these lenders.

BPI said the incorrect account balances that occurred early last month due to human error after a programmer made a mistake in posting debit and credit transactions that doubled amounts deposited or withdrawn. Some 1.5 million BPI clients were affected by the data processing error that saw about P46 million mistakenly withdrawn from bank accounts.

Meanwhile, Sy-led BDO Unibank, Inc. in June said it recorded at least 95 cases of card fraud after seven automated teller machines were reportedly tapped into using skimming devices that stole client data and passwords.

“So we’re committed to the January or early 2018 live launch but we’re constantly monitoring the environment for any changes in the security [or] any changes in connectivity,” Mr. Garchitorena noted.

Early this year, the CIC said it expects the country’s centralized national credit information system to go live by January or even earlier should the database’s nine-month pilot phase — which began on May 8 — run smoothly.

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 the CIC.

“Of course, this is not a ‘launch or die’ kind of thing. If you recall, the thing that we protect the most is the data… The National Privacy Commission also has some influence on how the data is used,” Mr. Garchitorena said.

“I can guarantee that the system will be ready but if the environment is not ready for whatever reason, then we’ll delay,” he said. “So let’s just say the probability of us launching in January is very high, but…what we’re saying is that we would never sacrifice the integrity of the data if there is a circumstance that will require us not to launch in January.”

To date, the CIC has recruited 104 financial entities to join the testing phase of its database. The system has two current users: the special accessing entities (SAEs) or credit bureaus and the submitting financial institutions, such as banks, cooperatives, lending firms, to name some.

The CIC has said the pilot database will be used by financial firms and SAEs solely for review purposes and not meant for any decision-making involving credit.

Currently, there are four official SAEs namely local firm CIBI Information, Inc., South Africa’s Compuscan, Italy’s CRIF S.p.A, and United State’s TransUnion Information Solutions, Inc.

The law has defined an SAE as a duly accredited private corporation engaged primarily in the business of providing credit reports, ratings and other similar credit information products and services. — Janine Marie D. Soliman