Avia Collinder, Business Reporter
Although Jamaica has nearly 100 microfinanciers, very few of them will be tapped immediately as providers of credit data, as only those lenders with exemptions under the Money Lending Act are permitted by law to share information.
Robert Gordon, head of operations for credit bureau CRIF NM Credit Assure Limited, said that while the company will be collecting data from the microfinance institution or MFI sector, this will be done with caveats.
To qualify as a credit information supplier, the credit reporting law requires the MFI to apply to the financial secretary in the Ministry of Finance for an exemption from the provisions of the Money Lending Act, said Gordon.
"Once the exemption has been granted, they may then begin the process of signing an agreement with CRIF NM and begin the process of supplying data," he said.
CRIF NM is one of two local credit bureaus which have been licensed by the Bank of Jamaica to collect data and generate credit reports.
Information providers signed by CRIF NM up to June, said Gordon, include Scotiabank Jamaica, National Commercial Bank Jamaica, RBC Royal Bank Jamaica, Sagicor Bank Jamaica; credit unions First Heritage, COK Sodality, C&WJCCU and Montego Cooperative; and insurance companies Jamaica International Insurance Company, JN General Insurance and Guardian Life.
The others, said Gordon, are yet to place their notices in the press as required and so will not be disclosed.
Nineteen MFIs are listed by the finance ministry as having applied for exemptions. The list, dated June 2013, shows that some have had their licences renewed, but pending for others. Exemption is granted for a period of one year only, and must be renewed annually.
Those with renewals or new licences include Bull Investment Limited, Aim Financial Corporation, Kris N Charles Limited, and JN Finance Limited.