Entities lending to Irish resident consumers or businesses will be required to report information relating to certain loans of €500 or more to the Central Bank of Ireland.

The Credit Reporting Act 2013 establishes a central credit register, to be operated by the Central Bank of Ireland, in which personal and credit information relating to both consumer and business borrowers and guarantors will be recorded for qualifying loans of €500 or more. The Act will only apply where the borrower is resident in Ireland at the time of the credit application or where the credit application/agreement is governed by Irish law.

What are lenders obliged to do?

On 22 September 2016, the Central Bank published regulations governing the operation of the register. These regulations set out the legal obligations for lenders to report personal and credit information related to borrowers and guarantors for qualifying loans. Personal information includes information such as name, date of birth, address, personal public service number, telephone number etc. Credit information includes product type, approved credit amount, outstanding balance, and payment data. Lenders will also have ongoing reporting requirements such as any changes to the credit agreement, the performance of the credit and details of any restructuring arrangements.

Once up and running, lenders will be obliged to consult the register in advance of providing credit of more than €2000 and can do so if they wish for amounts below this. Borrowers also have a right to access the information held about them at any time and the information can only be held for a period of 5 years after the last loan has been discharged.

Which lenders are covered?

The scope of the Act is very wide and the requirements will apply to both regulated financial services providers and unregulated entities or natural persons who provide credit. “Credit” is broadly defined in the Act. It includes any loan, deferred payment or other forms of financial accommodation, but excludes: (a) interbank credit; (b) credit to any government; (c) related party credit; (d) employee credit; (e) utility/service credit; (f) credit for purchase of goods; or (e) interest-free credit.

Which borrowers are covered?

Classified as “credit information subjects” (CIS), in-scope borrowers include consumers, individuals, sole traders, companies and other entities resident in the State at the time of making the credit application. Guarantors are also in-scope.

Some key dates include:

Obligation

Deadline

Lenders (other than local authorities or moneylenders) to report personal and credit information relating to consumers

31 December 2017

Lenders (who are local authorities or moneylenders) to report personal and credit information relating to consumers

30 September 2018

Lenders to report personal and credit information relating to guarantors

30 September 2019

Lenders to report personal and credit information relating to all other CIS (including corporate borrowers)

Before 30 September 2018

Conclusion

While the register will be a useful tool, by generating a single borrower view of all credit exposures for any one borrower, the Act is very far-reaching and applies to a broad range of entities that may not have been subject to any reporting requirements before now. All providers of credit should assess any obligations they may have under the Act and put in place the necessary mechanisms to ensure compliance with the Act.