The launch of the long-awaited Al Etihad Credit Bureau has been pushed back again. After a federal law was passed in 2010, a strong push has been made in the last few months to finally roll out the first phase of the credit bureau. A key aspect of this was UAE banks sharing information on their clients; specifically, their detailed credit history over the last 24 months.

A statement released by Al Etihad Credit Bureau last week stated that National Bank of Fujairah was the only institution to properly adhere to the Bureau’s request of information disclosure. In other words, only one out of forty-six UAE banks complied with the disclosure requirements.

This news was in direct contrast to a statement released just a few weeks earlier by the Bureau stating that “the majority of banks had supplied it with credit information that exceeded international data quality standards.” A report released at the end of March stated that 25 institutions, who account for approximately 96% of retail lending, had disclosed their consumer data.

Al Etihad Bureau commented on the matter at a meeting on April 23rd by saying, “Despite the continued efforts made by banks to provide their credit data, a large number of them have not yet fully completed the process of providing the past 24 months of credit data. The comprehensiveness of the bureau’s credit reports relies upon the banks’ submission of credit data within the stipulated time frame.” The Bureau also urged all UAE banks and financial institutions to submit their customers’ credit data for the past 24 months, including Emirates ID details.

One can only guess why two conflicting reports were issued in such a short time. A key issue could be that many financial institutions are not keeping client data in a structured manner, meaning it can not easily be shared or analyzed. Furthermore, the use of the Emirates ID for identifying clients can be a major issue, as long-time account holders may not have provided this information to their banks.

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