Credit Bureau Asia launches Myanmar's first credit bureau

Investigations of the Russian illegal marketplace started in August 2021. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Credit Bureau Asia (CBA) on Wednesday (Dec 30) launched Myanmar's first credit bureau.

The bureau is a 60:40 joint venture between MB Investment, a company formed by members of the Myanmar Banks Association, and CBA's wholly-owned subsidiary NSP Asia Investment Holding.

The new Myanmar Credit Bureau will support financial institutions and consumers in Myanmar by implementing a credit reporting system to promote responsible lending, CBA said in a news release.

The bureau, which currently has financial institutions on its membership roll, will progressively widen membership to microfinance institutions, non-bank financial institutions and non-bank credit providers.

Information collected from members include borrowers' personal and contact information, credit accounts and repayment history, as well as any information on loan collaterals.

The bureau does not collect data on borrowers' net worth, assets or bank deposits, nor does it make lending decisions for, or on behalf of, financial institutions.

By providing access to credit reporting, the bureau will make Myanmar's lending market more secure, said CBA.

"Borrowers can also expect more competitive services from lenders, since credit assessment checks are efficiently supported by (the bureau)," it added.

The bureau will also provide credit monitoring services for risk management services and to guard against fraud. Over the next two years, it will expand its product and service offerings to include scores and data analytics reports.

The bureau will also provide members with industry analyses to help them improve lending strategies, benchmark their performance against the industry, and facilitate credit access for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Mr Zaw Lin Aung, chairman of the new Myanmar Credit Bureau, said the bureau's formation is a significant milestone in the country's economic development, noting that enhancing transparency of the financial sector will expand financial access for everyday consumers as well as small businesses.

"For the first time in the country's history, we can ensure that customer borrowing risk is properly managed through credit-information sharing between financial institutions," he said.

CBA chief executive and executive chairman Kevin Koo said the company sees "enormous growth potential" in Myanmar, noting that real national income per capita is expected to grow at CAGR of 5 per cent between 2019 and 2024.

CBA, which made a solid debut on the Singapore Exchange's mainboard early this month, also operates the sole credit bureau in Cambodia.

The company's shares closed up 5.4 per cent to $1.17, before the announcement.

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