The Cook Islands is entering a new stage in the Financial Sector with the launch of the countries first Credit Bureau, the Cook Islands Credit Bureau Limited.
The Credit Bureau has been established by Paulina & Damien Beddoes, in collaboration with the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, Cook Islands, the Bank of the Cook Islands, the Bank of South Pacific, Cook Islands, and supported by the Cook Islands Government through the Business Trade and Investment Board, with international support from the Asian Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group.
A Credit Bureau is an information database where members can access the credit history and identify details of their customers. A Credit Bureau also assists members with debt collection when defaulting debtors are listed on the Credit Bureau database.
Managing Director Paulina Beddoes explained “The Cook Islands Credit Bureau operates solely in the Cook Islands providing information to our members through a sophisticated but user friendly software system, accessed through the internet”. The Credit Bureau will also provide international services to support members with debtors that have departed the Cook Islands.
Beddoes continued to explain “While providing a comprehensive database to members, we are mindful that the data we retain is confidential and personal. Our software providers have put in place a highly secured database with the same security setup as those in the e-banking industry, and as applied across other Credit Bureaus in New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific. This software is supported with warehousing, security, and technical support. Our users are identified and given a password to allow them access to the information and an audit trail is kept of their access. Through our Code of Conduct, our members are required to obtain authorisation from a consumer before a search is carried out”.
The new service is expected to make significant improvements to the time processing credit checks between the Banks, enabling much faster and more informed decisions to applications for accounts and terms of credit.
Whilst the system is currently being launched with the Banks, the service will be extended to other finance, hire purchase, utility, and providers of credit terms.
The official launch date for the service is 1 November 2017.