Intro: Credit Reference Rureau (CRB) company licenced by Central Bank of Kenya to collect, store and collate credit information on individuals and companies from different sources and provide the information in form of a credit report upon the request of a lender. So anytime you borrow money from a bank or any other institution, your information if gathered and stored in CRBs centralised database.
The information at CRBs, can either have a positive or negative impact on your future developments, either when seeking for employment or borrowing a loan , not forgetting, even qualifying for a mortgage.
The following scenario will give you life hacks to guide you on how you can keep your records at CRB updated and avoid mistakes that can affect your fortunes in future.
HOW ADVERSE LISTING CAN COST YOU A FORTUNE
A fortnight ago, Franklin* received a demand letter from his SACCOsacco instructing him to clear an outstanding debt he had defaulted within a month lest he would be adversely listed into a credit reference bureau for sharing amongst lenders.
Meanwhile Franklin who was already servicing a loan facility he had secured from a local commercial banks, was quite confident that any adverse listing by his SACCO into the credit bureau subsequently would not affect him nevertheless as he had no future intention to secure any facility. He therefore decided not to bother.
Certainly this is not a strange scene. Many defaulters both from commercial entities and bank loans are no longer moved by threats for blacklisting in the credit reference bureau which facilitates the sharing of data on non performing loans amongst banks.
The explanation for this is quite simple. Most defaulters are quite aware that because of their adverse listing stored in the credit bureau, they can no longer get any credit facility from any lending institution accessible to their data based in the bureau.
However, the consequences for adverse listing could be quite numerous that perceived. Below are some of the ways an adverse listing could cost you a fortune;
Review of credit terms of a running facility
Each time you apply for a credit facility from a commercial bank, the bank would first place an inquiry with the credit reference bureau to ascertain your credit history as stored in your credit report stored in the bureau.
Whether your credit report has a positive listing or adverse listing, the bank will tag your report with the bureau for any update that would be received thereafter. This means that anytime an update would be posted in your credit report stored in the bureau, the bank would receive an alert of the same even if you had secured a facility and already servicing.
For instance in the case of Franklin who is already servicing loan facilities from a commercial bank but had defaulted elsewhere, anytime the credit bureau receives the update, the same would be communicated to the lending bank inform of an alert.
Such an alert would prompt the bank to check the credit report and review its lending terms. If the update is an adverse listing from elsewhere, the bank would review the lending terms either by shortening the repayment period or increasing the repayment amount.
Such an adverse listing update would serve to the bank as an hint of future default risk or deterioration financial health of the borrower, something which would warrant a tighter lending terms.
Contesting for a Public office job
In cognizance of the provisions of Article 73(2)(a) of the Kenyan Constitution as well as Section 20(3) of the Public Officer Ethics Act, Cap 183 of the Laws of Kenya which stresses on leadership and integrity, a certificate of reference from credit reference bureaus amongst other clearances has ratified as part of integrity clearance for those applying for jobs in the public service.
As part of the requirements, the short listed candidates are often required to present their certificate of reference from the credit reference bureau during the interview to enable the interview panel to ascertain their credit background as an indicator of their integrity in honoring their debt obligations.
Consequently, if you had an adverse listing in your credit report arising from a default, the certificate will be able to reveal this and subsequently the same will be viewed by your interview panel for their sound decision.
Although the credit bureau information does not make decision in public serve recruitment employers, the credit background checks serves promote public confidence in the integrity of public officers and eliminate any potential risk of employee fraud.
Similar to public service, most employers in the private sector are already ratifying credit background checks as a requirement for recruitment as a way to ascertain the credit worthiness of their job applicants before considering them for recruitment.
This arrangement serves to assist employers to recruit credit worthy and productive employees as well as enable you them to eliminate any potential risk of employee fraud.
This is because research has proved that a financially distressed employee not only experiences personal loss of productivity due to distraction from personal financial difficulties, but can also serve as a distraction to fellow employees as well as engage in fraudulent activities in the workplace.
Though there are restrictions in accessing the job applicant’s data held in the credit reference bureau directly, to ascertain the credit history of their job applicants, the employers often do request the applicants to obtain their certificate of reference from credit bureaus as a requirement for employment consideration.
This underscores the need for you to ascertain what is contained in your credit report beforehand or at all time.
To ask; When did you last check your credit report with the credit reference bureau? Or could you be waiting until you are ready to apply for a loan facility or applying for a public officer in order to check your credit report?
Many people opine that it is futile to obtain a copy of their credit report from the bureau especially in a case where they have never secured or taken a loan facility from any commercial bank. This is a misconception.
Just like any formal document, credit reports sometimes may have inaccuracies that if not checked prior to application may give a wrong picture of you before a potential lender or employer.
To get any update posted in your credit report, you can subscribe to a credit reference bureau perhaps annually to get alerts either via email or through your mobile phone anytime there is any change in your credit report. ↑AD (NB: Franklin* is a fictitious character in the article)
☞To Request for Credit Reports and CRB Certificates, SMS Your Name to: 21272.