IRISH CREDIT BUREAU – INFORMATION FOR MEMBERS
Please read this information carefully, it has been compiled to save you time and to answer the most frequently asked questions.
What is the Irish Credit Bureau?
The Irish Credit Bureau (ICB) is the principal credit reference agency in Ireland and was established in 1965 by a number of financial institutions. The objectives of ICB are:
- To assist in lowering the cost of credit
- To enable faster decision making in the provision of credit
- Aid in the avoidance of over-indebtedness of its members’ customers.
Over 40 financial institutions, mostly banks, building societies and finance companies are members of ICB. Credit Unions were granted membership in June 2004.
Why has the Credit Union joined ICB?
The Board of Directors has a responsibility under Credit Union and Consumer Credit legislation to safeguard the assets of the Credit Union and to ensure that members do not become over-indebted. This means minimising bad debts and other costs of credit and ensuring that as much information as possible is obtained to assess a member’s ability to repay a loan.
What information does ICB hold?
Most lenders in Ireland send information about borrowers and their repayments to a central agency, ICB. The ICB holds information about borrowers and their loans for 5 years after the loan is cleared. This information is held in an individual credit record that is kept by ICB about each borrower. Each credit record includes:-
- your name, date of birth and address
- the names of lenders and account numbers of loans currently held, or that were active within the last 5 years
- repayments made or missed for each month on each loan
- the failure to clear off any loan
- loans that were settled for less than the amount owed
- legal actions taken by a lender
So, the ICB reflects a full picture of a person’s credit history, good or bad.
Is my lender allowed to check my credit record?
When you sign a mortgage or loan application, you will be asked to sign a Consent Form. This form gives the lender permission to seek information about your credit history from ICB and to send information about you to the ICB.
What type of lenders send information to the ICB?
Lenders send information about borrowers who have mortgages, car loans, personal loans, credit cards, leasing and hire purchase agreements.
What information is available to the Credit Union from ICB?
Details of current borrowings and loans that have been repaid or closed in the last 5 years for all ICB members are shown in response to an ICB enquiry. Details include the loan amount, category and repayment history. The database also shows details of enquiries made by ICB members in the previous 12 months.
What information is available to ICB from the Credit Union?
The Credit Union provides the same information to ICB as other ICB members. This does not extend to loans taken out or repayment histories prior to the Credit Union becoming a member of ICB. However, where a loan incorporates an existing loan (i.e. a top-up), the new balance is the figure disclosed to ICB. Confidentiality and disclosure of your personal information is subject to the Data Protection Acts 1988 – 2003 and the Credit Union Act 1997.
Will ICB affect my ability to get a loan?
The main factor in determining whether a loan is granted is your borrowing and repayment history with the Credit Union. In common with other lenders, the Credit Union may request information about your income, employment status, living costs and existing loan repayments to help decide whether you can afford to repay a loan. An ICB enquiry is another source of information relevant to a lending decision.
A loan cannot be considered without ICB consent.
How do I see my credit history?
You can get a copy of your credit history by completing and signing an application form which is sent to ICB, with a fee of €6 payable by bank draft or postal order only. One form should be completed per person and contain a contact telephone number. Please refer to Credit Union staff for application forms.