Callcredit Supports Industry Call For Triggers

The Treasury Select Committee report on 'Credit Card Charges and Marketing' (published 4th February 2005) says that the credit card providers should improve data sharing and examine a system of trigger points to look for signs that their customer might be having financial difficulty, not only with their organisation, but across their finances as a whole.

Credit reference agency Callcredit supports this view. Director of industry relations Melanie Mitchley commented:

"Individual banks may be monitoring their own exposure to a consumer, but many people now have several credit cards spread across a number of lenders so there is a need for a more integrated approach"

Callcredit was the first agency to offers lenders a daily trigger service alerting them to changes in their customers' credit risk profiles.

The service, known as CallMonitor, triggers alerts to lenders on a daily basis whenever consumer files register events such as missed payments, significant balance changes, new CCJs, bankruptcies and CIFAS filings. The frequency of this alert service is important as these events are often early warning signs of over-indebtedness or potential fraud.

Lenders who share their data in Callcredit's closed user SHARE database receive alerts relating to changes in accounts that their customers may have with other SHARE members, which means they gain a more complete insight into their customers' credit profiles.

The Treasury Select Committee Report says the current system of data sharing is inadequate and contributes to cases of over-commitment. It urges lenders to share full information regarding credit card accounts and to assess ability to repay using full credit data and an examination of the consumer's full credit commitments in relation to income.

"Callcredit welcomes this wholeheartedly,"

added Melanie Mitchley.

"Seeing the full picture is essential if organisations are to lend responsibly. We are continually working with our clients to improve the data received. In addition to encouraging more data sharing, we try to add value by making better use of data that is already available. For example, SHARE uniquely gives lenders access to historical balance and credit limit data, which can be used to identify trends in indebtedness.

"There remains a long way to go but we have been encouraged by the great strides made by the industry in using and sharing data more effectively over the last 12 months. Callcredit will continue to support lenders' efforts in every way we can."