The UAE's Federal Credit Bureau will not sanction the disclosure of financial data related to individuals or companies to any party outside the country, the Bureau's vice-chairman told The National's Arabic-language sister paper in an interview published on Tuesday.
The Bureau is set to start providing detailed and comprehensive data about individual debtors in the country during the third quarter of this year.
Younis Al Khouri, the Bureau's vice-chairman and undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, said the confidentiality of financial data at the Bureau is protected by statute, which limits the Bureau's geographical area of activity to the UAE.
"This means prohibiting the disclosure of any data related to the financial situation of any individual or company in the UAE to any foreign institution or entity," Mr Al Khouri was quoted as saying.
The disclosure of credit information within the UAE is itself conditional on a written approval from the party whose financial data is requested, Mr Al Khouri noted.
Banks will be legally bound to provide the Bureau with customer information, "but they will not be compelled to request the reports or the database of the Federal Credit Bureau", the official said, adding that the Bureau will not interfere with the lenders' decisions.
At an initial stage, the Bureau will compile a comprehensive database of individual borrowers, allowing it to provide their credit information for the preceding 24 months, with a mention of any defaults that might have occurred over the preceding five years, according to Al Ittihad.
In the second stage, the Bureau will compile another comprehensive database of all commercial companies operating in the local marketplace, including joint-stock companies. Financial information on borrowing government companies will also be included in this database.
In the third and final stage, the Bureau will be able to provide a rating for customers, individuals and companies, according to an in-house risk-weighting system.
As to the fees due in return for its services, the Bureau's board will arrange them into two categories, one for banks and companies, and the other for individuals.
Two working groups have already been set up representing the Bureau, the Central Bank, 12 UAE-based banks and the local Banks Federation with a task to standardise terminologies and the data forms that the Bureau will be issuing.
"There is no integrated database of bank customers as yet, and we have a list of terms to be standardised between us and the banks, and there is also the standardisation of data forms," Mr Al Khouri said.
* Th National Staff