Credit Reporting Legislation to Support an Advanced and Fair Credit Reporting System in St. Kitts and Nevis

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, September 6, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, led the debate on the Credit Reporting Bill, 2018, that seeks to establish a regulatory and supervisory framework to support an advanced and fair credit reporting system in St. Kitts and Nevis, and by extension the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

“The Bill will help to improve the quality of credit information provided to lenders and overall efficiency in the distribution of credit in the Currency Union and St Kitts and Nevis in particular. It will help to reduce credit risks, processing times, the costs and over reliance on collateral to back credit,” Prime Minister Harris said, while commenting on the significance of the Bill to the Federation.

The Credit Reporting Bill, 2018, which had its first reading in the National Assembly on March, 28, was passed unanimously in the National Assembly today, Thursday, September 6.

Prime Minister Harris, who was the mover of the Bill, indicated that similar legislation will be implemented in all member states of the ECCU with the aim of developing a credit reporting system for OECS.

“We are attempting Mr. Speaker to add to the efficiency and efficacy of lending within the Currency Union and this Bill, by and large, will take us into modernity in relation to the management of credit within our jurisdictions,” Dr. Harris said.

The Minister of Finance assured members of the public that the Act, as well as the accompanying regulations, would provide the necessary safeguards to protect the interest of consumers.

“The legislative drafters have ensured that in this Bill certain consumer protection principles are embedded,” the prime minister added. “The Bill provides principles for accuracy, confidentiality, and the proper use of credit information. It also addresses other pertinent matters such as the licensing of persons who wish to offer credit reporting services because this now becomes a business activity in which entities will engage and sell services; persons who can request a credit report and credit information providers; it also provides for accessibility by customers to their credit information and general offenses in relation to the providing of false information and handling of customer complaints.”

The Credit Reporting legislation also supports the establishment of a credit bureau to improve the collection and sharing of credit information across the ECCU. The credit bureau would be responsible for collecting information from creditors, other relevant credit information sources and available public sources, such as the Court of Justice, on a borrower’s credit history.

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