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Several companies agree to share credit info

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds addressing the gathering at the launch of Credit Info Bureau (GINA photo)

A number of financial institutions and utility companies are among the first to have agreed to share information with Guyana’s first credit-rating agency that experts hope will be a boost for businesses here.

They are Citizens Bank, Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, Republic Bank, Scotia Bank, Guyana Water Inc, Institute of Private Enterprise Development and Hand in Hand Trust Company.

Chief Executive Officer of the local branch, Judy Semple-Joseph said several other companies have committed to signing on to the credit rating entity and others have begun sharing information although they have not yet subscribed. CreditInfo’s operations are governed by the Credit Burea Act 2010.

Essentially, this means that those entities are now part of a system that can help determine whether individuals and businesses have a good payment-record and should be given loans and credit and possibly at what rates.

Licensed in July by the Bank of Guyana, CreditInfo (Guyana) Inc, assured that information-sharing complies with international standards. “All of the CreditInfo core services comply with the European Union directive on the handling and transmitting of personal information and for us…this has been one of the key considerations that we are required to take note of in establishing our system that is the security and confidentiality of the information that we collect,” said Semple-Joseph.

Canada’s High Commissioner to Guyana, Nicole Giles called the establishment of the credit bureau “a significant milestone in the development of Guyana’s financial sector.” She expects the bureau will guarantee good-performing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) access to loans at better rates and seek more competitive terms. “A good credit rating can help a Small or Medium-size Enterprise to access faster and cheaper credit for its venture. It can also leverage this rating to get better terms from other lenders than its traditional creditor,” she said.

Canada, through the World Bank’s International Financial Corporation (IFC), has been assisting Guyana, Jamaica and several member-nations of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in establishing the frameworks for credit bureaus.

Deputy Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr. Gobin Ganga said the Iceland-headquartered CreditInfo was selected from among four credit reporting agencies that had responded to invitations to submit expressions of interest.