Makati City, Philippines:  Credit Information Corporation (CIC), the state-run public credit registry and central repository of Filipinos’ credit information, officially welcomed UnionBank of the Philippines (UnionBank) as the first universal bank to gain paid access to the Credit Information System (CIS).

CIC President and CEO Jaime Casto Jose P. Garchitorena expressed high hopes for the milestone partnership between the credit registry and the country’s leading digital bank: “We welcome UnionBank as our first accessing entity among universal banks. As a bank that prides itself in its innovations to serve the constantly changing needs of Filipino consumers, the decision to access credit reports from the CIC puts it first in line to deal with the financial impacts of COVID-19 on its borrowers.”

In its Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), the CIC authorized UnionBank to access its database either directly from the credit registry or through its accredited credit bureaus.

“This move is part of our commitment to deliver superior customer experience and promote inclusive prosperity in the country. Now that we are officially accessing the CIC database, we will gain a balanced view of an individual’s and micro, small, and medium enterprises’ (MSME) creditworthiness and grant them with the opportunity to be properly evaluated when availing our loans and other services,” Ms. Rahni R. Svenningsen, UnionBank’s Head of Retail & SME Credit Risk and authorized representative with CIC, shared.

CIC Senior Vice President for Business Development and Communications, Atty. Aileen L. Amor-Bautista, also commended UnionBank for their dedication to comply with the requirements for access: “We recognize the challenges of seeing CIC not just as a regulatory entity but as an actual solutions partner. The CIC has always espoused looking beyond the compliance nature of engaging with a state-run enterprise and we are grateful that despite the logistical and technological challenges brought about by community quarantine, UnionBank made this engagement a priority.”

UnionBank has just recently been ranked by the BankQuality Consumer Survey on Retail Banks as the second most helpful bank in Asia-Pacific during the COVID-19 pandemic and the only Philippine bank in the top 20 list.

Registration as Accessing Entity since the CIC opened the registration for paid phase access in July 2019, there has been an increasing number of requests across the country to become an accessing entity.

Application as an accessing entity is open to all submitting entities in production or those financial institutions that are already submitting live or actual basic credit data of their borrowers to the CIC database, with at least six months’ continuous submission reckoned from the start date of access.
As part of its vision to become 100% contactless in the delivery of its services—to improve customer experience and meet the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) requirements—the CIC recently issued access guidelines enabling electronic submission and launched the web-based application system called Covered Entity Portal where UnionBank was able to register, update, and submit documents online including MOA, Accessing Entity Information Sheet (AEIS), and Secretary’s Certificate or Board Resolution.

The CIC earlier assured its accredited credit bureaus and accessing entities that its services would still be available to them nationwide amid the community quarantine, and that their access to the CIC database remains available 24/7 with no disruptions.  PCEO Garchitorena also cited that CIC Credit Reports are available to accessing entities at P10 per inquiry until December 2020, “making it the most affordable, complete credit report available”for financial institutions.

COVID-19 and increased demand for credit reports As of 30 March 2020, the CIC database contains 11.3 million unique individuals and 83,000 companies/proprietors, with 73.5 million contract data—52.8 million of which are installment transactions, 19.9 million are credit cards,and 767,177 are non-installment.

The CIC PCEO added that these data will help financial institutions make better credit decisions, especially in the areas of restructuring: “If there’s any negative sentiment about new loan growth, then the focus will be on restructuring loans to maintain clients by working out new terms and conditions to prevent them from going into default. This will require not just a broad portfolio review across all risk segments but also a wider view of their client’s exposure.”

UnionBank’s President and Chief Executive Officer Edwin R. Bautista likewise expressed the bank’s commitment to support the economy and its customers—individuals and firms—by ensuring unhampered access to financial services amid the crisis. “With our digital platforms in full swing and with the recent grant of access to the CIC database, I believe that Unionbank is all geared up to expand its loan portfolio and client reach, especially to MSMEs that have been adversely affected by the pandemic,” the UnionBank PCEO added.

Closing the conversation on a high note, Garchitorena commented: “I think it will be a natural first response for all financial institutions to use data to start protecting their client base by restructuring—when feasible—as the main near-term activity. But the next phase will be tapping the unserved and underserved markets. The CIC hopes that onboarding more data from non-traditional markets will provide lenders with confidence to give lending opportunities to a broader range of clients.”

As the country strives to establish a ‘new normal’ with the gradual easing of restrictions, the CIC wishes to contribute in helping the economy get back on its feet by being part of the conversation between the borrower and the lender and giving both sides a better chance at mutually beneficial arrangements using the CIC data.

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The Credit Information Corporation (CIC), a government owned and controlled corporation, was created by Republic Act No. 9510, otherwise known as the Credit Information System Act (CISA). The primary mandate of CIC is to establish a comprehensive and centralized credit information system for the collection and dissemination of fair and accurate information relevant to, or arising from, credit and credit-related activities of all entities participating in the ecosystem.

The Credit Information Corporation (CIC) is member of BIIA