Government unveils bill to create long-awaited consolidated debt registry

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chile's government will send to congress in the coming days a bill that seeks to create a consolidated debt registry for financial service customers, a press release from the finance ministry reads.

Finance minister Felipe Larraín said consumers' credit history will come from all lenders, including banks, retail groups, and savings and loans institutions, among others. The retail sector has long been opposed to such a registry, claiming it would benefit banks more than its own sector.

Larraín said the project would address two aspects - first, the protection of consumers' personal information, particularly those with debts, as opposed to the current negative credit system.

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"Before [this bill], we only had negative-only information (delinquency and no-payment registry), and [with this bill] we will also have a positive-information system, one with the approval of consumers and which recognizes consumers with a positive credit history," Larraín said.

Secondly, if a consumer falls into default and enters the country's negative credit bureau, locally known as Dicom, the new law would ensure a quicker exit from the "black list" if the debtor manages to clean up his or her credit record.

Larraín added that the project guarantees that personal credit information will be used for credit-only purposes, thus prohibiting other uses, such as when people apply for a job or certain healthcare plans.

Banking regulator SBIF will be in charge of overseeing credit bureau agencies, and consumer protection agency Sernac will be in charge of handling consumer complaints.