The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has issued guidelines for private credit bureaus, asking them to ensure rapid response time to customers, including individuals, corporate and financial institutions.
According to the guidelines “Dispute Resolution Mechanism for Licensed Credit Bureaus,” the acknowledgment must be sent to customers within 48 hours of receipt of the dispute/complaint.
The final reply must be sent to the customer within 10 working days from the date of receipt of the dispute/complaint. If the matter requires detailed scrutiny, an interim reply should be sent to customers after 10 working days.
However, in the case where detailed investigations are required, the final reply may take up to 30 working days from the date of receipt of the dispute.
The customers, on payment of a prescribed fee, should have access to their credit information in the form of a Credit Information Report (CIR).
However, credit bureaus must ensure that the borrowers should not be charged for correcting any information in the CIR that is inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading. The relevant credit bureau shall provide a rectified copy of CIR to the consumer without charging any fee, the guidelines stated.
SBP has devised guidelines on a dispute resolution mechanism to provide affordable, accessible, fair, accountable, and efficient grievance redressal to the customers of licensed credit bureaus.
Dispute Resolution Mechanism
A Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM) encompasses an institution’s philosophy to address its customers’ complaints through a well-designed, effective, transparent and impartial system.
An effective dispute resolution mechanism at credit bureaus (CB) provides its customers an opportunity to resolve their disputes/complaints promptly, which resultantly strengthens their confidence regarding the credibility of their credit information.
The customers’ disputes/complaints data helps the credit bureaus in highlighting the deficiencies in their existing system/procedures and other reporting issues originating from the data submitted through member financial institutions (FI) or credit information furnishers (CIF), etc.
In cases where disputes are not resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, credit bureaus must include in their reply that the complainant may approach the SBP as an alternate grievance redressal forum for redressal of their complaints.
The guidelines will be effective from October 1, 2021. The licensed credit bureaus are required to comply with the instructions in letter and spirit and submit the complaints data on formats given in the guidelines. The first reporting in this respect will start from January 2022.
There are three companies in the banking industry, which are private credit bureaus – Datacheck, News-VIS CIB, and ICIL/PakBizInfo.
The very objective of the establishment of credit bureaus in the private sector is to enhance the scope of credit information, provision of value-added services to the financial sector, bring efficiency, and provide general public access to their credit information.