In the News


Credit history to decide your loan future soon

Credit history to decide your loan future soon

20 Feb 2011
The Economic Times

Edition: Mumbai


WHAT is your credit history? A question often posed to most borrowers may as well be the driving focus over the next couple of years in determining the future course of the borrowing market. The current scenario in which borrowers seek loans on the same rate regardless of their payment record and financial history is unfair for those who are diligent with their payments. In fact, it will be increasingly more and more difficult for consumers to borrow unless they have a sound credit history across a range of products. 

Capturing of relevant and timely information by credit bureaus and its effective sharing with financial institutions will have important ramifications in driving the efficacy of the whole lending industry. Last year, the RBI made concrete moves in widening the field for credit bureaus by issuing licenses to three new credit bureaus. From then on, these credit bureaus have been steadily building their presence in India amid the burgeoning number of Indians who use financial products. The presence of multiple bureaus augurs well in improving lending decision making. It makes for the availability of a wide range of data, and value-added products that help interpret the value of that data, thereby improving decision making quality.

Most credit rating bureaus operate as joint ventures between banks. In many ways, this is a mutually beneficial relationship—facilitating data sharing between banks and bureaus, and the subsequent access to reports. We are also seeing many banks following the testcompare- adopt model with credit bureaus. Thus in a competitive market the multi-bureau system is well appreciated. Active portfolio management of accounts will be the next important step that lenders will undertake. Typically, banks do not actively track customer activities after the sanctioning of loans, unless the customer defaults or delays a payment.

Customer profiles are fast changing with a new penchant for multiple credit cards and loans. A once-diligent customer is likely to go overboard and over-leverage after taking the first loan, and may even turn delinquent. Active portfolio management will help track customers constant efforts at leveraging themselves. Credit bureaus will play a key role in the implementation of active portfolio management. Thanks to modeling and monitoring tools like these, lenders can actively manage their loan portfolios to ensure an efficient risk/reward ratio and sufficient diversification of loans— much as they would in an investment portfolio.

The scope of offerings by credit bureaus in the Indian market is likely to get more sophisticated. Personal credit reports will play a key role in empowering borrowers to begin negotiating interest rates based on their credit history. This assumes special significance in an environment marked by both high interest rates and spiraling cost of living. The time is not far off when consumers with good credit history will be in the driver’s seat while going to their banks of choice and negotiating better rates for themselves.

A multi bureau set up implies this will be done sooner than later, making it a win-win for both consumers and lenders.