Credit referencing activities grew by 7% to a little over 2.8 million in 2019, the Bank of Ghana’s latest 2019 Credit Referencing Bureau report has revealed.

The consistent increase in the use of credit bureau services, the Central Bank, said reaffirms the importance of the credit referencing system in the credit administration processes of lenders.

The year under review witnessed a surge in the number of complaints received by the Bank of Ghana and financial institutions in relation to credit reports on customers credit history issued by credit bureaus.

These complaints the report said is related to customers of defunct financial institutions who had adverse information on their credit reports, either due to nonpayment of previous loans or reports not updated by respective defunct institutions.

The complaints the report further said are an indication of effective use of the credit referencing system by lenders as affected customers were denied new credit facilities by lenders for having adverse reports.

The increasing number of complaints may also be due to increased awareness of the credit referencing system by the general public.

The report noted that the Bank of Ghana in collaboration with the Receivers of the defunct lenders resolved complaints relating to the incomplete credit reports.

The increased complaints also resulted in some affected customers settling their previous indebtedness with the Receivers.

Credit Bureaus

The report said all three licensed credit bureaus participated in the collection of data from lenders and provided various credit referencing products and services to lenders.

These products and services were patronized by financial institutions in their credit appraisal and management processes, KYC and credit recovery procedures.

This which was in line with the requirement of the Credit Reporting Act, 2007 (ACT 726) which compels all financial institutions licensed by the Bank of Ghana to submit credit data and obtain credit reports from licensed credit bureaus before approval or refusal of credit facilities to prospective borrowers.

The report also noted that credit bureaus also improved upon their data collection efforts and played key roles in improving the quality of data obtained from lenders.

Financial institutions complying with BoG guidelines

The report said all banks submitted data consistently to all credit bureaus in 2019.

There were however recorded instances of delayed submission which has a potential of creating disputes.

The requirement for submission of data to all credit bureaus at same time was also breached by some banks, the report added.

Meanwhile, an average of 43 Savings and Loans Companies and Finance Houses submitted data consistently to credit bureaus. This is an improvement over previous years.

Rural and Community Banks that consistently submitted data and used the services of credit bureaus also improved compared to the previous year.

48 RCBs submitted data consistently compared to twenty-seven in 2018.