Thu, 04 Mar 2010

From: The Jakarta Globe

By Ardian Wibisono
Domestic lenders are planning to establish an independent credit bureau to help target retail customers and small companies, a senior PT Bank Danamon executive said on Wednesday.

To speed up the loan-application process, the credit bureau would be designed to offer lenders more up-to-date and detailed information about existing debtors and about potential new customers who lack a traditional credit history, said Joseph Luhukay, Bank Danamon’s vice president director.

Bank Indonesia operates a credit bureau, but private bankers said it does little to help them expand credit rapidly. The data provided by the central bank’s bureau, for example, is often out of date and only includes people with a traditional credit history, bankers say.

“The industry wants to set up an independent credit bureau that would also provide data on potential customers and those who do not have a credit history. The database will come from payment histories on such things as electricity, taxes and phone bills, so it will be easier for lenders such as banks and finance companies to judge a customer’s bankability and speed up the process,” Joseph said.

He said the banks hoped to open the credit bureau within three years, after they obtain the required approval of the House of Representatives. Bank Indonesia and the Capital Market and Financial Institutions Supervisory Agency (Bapepam-LK) had already agreed to the idea in principle, Joseph said, adding that Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand had already created such credit bureaus. Most domestic lenders are expected to participate, Joseph said.

Sigit Pramono, chairman of the Indonesian Banks Association (Perbanas), said bankers would discuss the credit bureau further in April at the 2010 Apconex annual banking conference.

“The credit bureau will ease loan [disbursement] for retail customers. It would be like a self-regulatory body and its shares would be owned by players in the industry,” Sigit said.

Indonesian lenders are trying to expand their reach in the retail market, partly by reaching non-traditional customers. Last month, the industry launched a savings product called Tabunganku, or My Savings, that requires only a small initial deposit and waives administrative fees for account holders. It is expected to attract more than 50 million people who lack access to banking services.

Darmin Nasution, the acting governor of Bank Indonesia, said the product would be a starting point for providing loans to non-traditional customers.