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Tuesday 08 March 2005

Herald Sun

Clash over credit reports

Publication: Herald Sun (032,Tue 08 Mar 2005)
Edition: 1 - FIRST
Keywords: credit (3),reporting (3),Dun (2),Bradstreet (2)

A STOUSH is brewing between consumer advocates and credit providers over the availability of personal financial information to lenders, as households drown in debt.

At present, credit providers are able to obtain only ``negative'' information, such as missed payments and defaults, not the whole picture of a would-be borrower's debts and capacity to pay them off.

The industry has warned of the looming danger of growing delinquencies, arguing that greater access to personal financial information would allow more sensible lending practices.

Consumer groups say the finance industry has so far demonstrated itself incapable of running a fair and accurate limited credit reporting regime.

Each year, thousands of Australian consumers are denied credit on the basis of errors in their credit report but face impossible obstacles in having inaccuracies redressed.

Consumer groups say full-file credit reporting is likely to lead to an explosion in lending, with more defaults rather than fewer.

Dun & Bradstreet Australia chief executive Christine Christian has been lobbying all sides of politics for a parliamentary inquiry to reform the country's negative credit reporting system.

Dun & Bradstreet wants to see all Australian credit reports include the name of a credit provider, the type of account opened, when opened and what limit, but not the balance.

But Nicola Howell at Griffith University's Centre for Credit and Consumer Law said the introduction of more information would lead to more lending, not less.

``Lenders already do have a lot of information about their customers and they choose not to use it or ask for it,'' she said.

Headline: Clash over credit reports
  Edition: 1 - FIRST
 Section: BUSINESS

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