GCC credit bureaus in prospect

20 September 2002

Moves towards the establishment of credit bureaus in key GCC markets are gathering pace, delegates at MEED's inaugural Retail Banking Conference, held in Dubai, heard on 17 September.

'A delegation from the board of Ci-Net[ Credit Information Network Company] will be meeting with the Central Bank of Kuwait next week to ask for permission to launch,' said Eyad al-Serri, general manager of the consumer banking group at Burgan Bank and a board member of Ci-Net. 'If we get approval the system can go live almost immediately. We have finished testing, the user IDs have been issued and the PCs are installed.'

Ci-Net is the credit bureau company established in Kuwait in 1999 through the expansion of the Share Electronic Banking Services Company (KNET). Its owners are all local banks and a number of other local financial institutions. 'Only 70 per cent of the members are ready, so we will not be going live with full capacity, but it will greatly improve the retail operations of financial institutions in Kuwait,' said Al-Serri.

Progress is also being made in Saudi Arabia. Responding to a question from the floor of the conference, Abdulhadi Shayif, general manager of TheNational Commercial Bank,said that a consulting company had been contracted to help with the project, and that the board of the credit bureau was looking for a chief executive. 'You will see something next year,' said Shayif. 'But not necessarily at the beginning of the year.'

All 10 Saudi banks are on the board of the proposed credit bureau company (Saudi Banking, MEED Special Report, 3:5:02). It is understood that Accentureis acting as a consultant on the initiative. No technology partner has been appointed for the Saudi credit bureau as yet.

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