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Strict credit bureau regulations

Expressing her joy over the recent gazetting of the credit bureau regulations, Minister of Finance, Hon. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila is of the opinion that it would allow consumers greater financial freedom and ease their access to credit.
She said: “I am pleased to announce that the credit bureau regulations have now been gazetted.
The coming into force of these credit bureau regulations [now compels] all existing credit bureaus in Namibia to be registered.
Their consumer credit information collection and management activities will now be regulated by the Bank of Namibia.”
The Minister of Finance this week reported on the progress made on the implementation of the financial sector strategy. She used the event also to announce that the much-anticipated credit bureau regulations were gazetted, paving the way for the Bank of Namibia to in effect, to regulate, monitor and control all the existing credit bureaus in Namibia.
The minister also gave indications that a first review on the implementation of Regulation 29 and the recently amended Regulation 15, and Regulation 28 was due at the end of year.
Describing the limitations placed on the credit bureaus, she added “legal obligations are now placed on credit bureaus by giving consumers the right to access their data through provision of a free copy of the natural person’s credit report once every twelve months in a format to be agreed upon by the consumer and the credit bureau.
 Embrace this initiative. [It] should incentivize you to gain access to credit.”
The minister said credit bureaus must now explicitly inform consumers of their rights to challenge information contained in the credit bureau database.
Said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, “Credit bureaus are required to protect the confidentiality of consumer information through restrictions on the use of credit performance information.
[A] legal obligation is also placed on every credit provider to submit both negative and positive credit performance information to all registered credit bureaus that meet the legal requirements.”

Commenting on the matter, Bank of Namibia Governor, Ipumbu Shiimi said that the central bank would in the interim regulate credit bureaus while the minister added that the Bank of Namibia would administer the Credit Bureau Act.
Supplementing the gazetting of credit bureau regulations, the creation of a Financial Ombudsman is currently being undertaken added Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.  She said “The Financial Services Bill has been drafted and is [currently] being refined. Once enacted it will create a platform for consumers of financial services to lodge their complaints.  Work to determine the optimal framework for consumer protection has started, aimed at creating an improved and comprehensive legal framework that will protect consumers of financial services,” The establishment of a Central Security Depository according to Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, was being explored. She said, “Once established it will better facilitate the recording and trading of all securities in Namibia and hence deepen capital market infrastructure.”

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