The Deputy Governor of The People’s Bank of China, Su Ning announced on January 16, in a press conference:  “The personal credit information database, with a network covering all commercial banks and technically ready rural credit cooperatives throughout China, has officially started its operation nationwide since January this year, after being on trial operation for about one year”.  Deputy Governor Su Ning stressed the importance of building a credit registry system: “a credit registry system can be regarded as the cornerstone of a modern financial system and the basis of financial stability. It is of far-reaching significance for building a credit society”.  The State Council of China had entrusted the People’s Bank of China with the responsibility of establishing a Credit Information Systems Bureau consisting of a national individual information database and a corporate (enterprise) information database. 

  • China:  National Individual Credit Information Database Goes Online                      As of January 2006 over 16 state-owned commercial banks, 115 city commercial banks, 12 provincial associations of rural credit cooperatives, 55 municipal associations and 56 urban credit cooperatives are covered by the individual credit information system.  The system currently contains records of 340,000,000 natural persons, 35 million of which have credit records appended with aggregated individual credit balances of RMB 2.2 trillion Yuan, which was 97.5% of national individual credit balance.
  • China:  National Commercial Credit Information Database Goes Online                           In December 2005 the corporate credit database was connected with all major commercial banks and started its trial operation.  The corporate information system contains 4.52 million enterprises with RMB loans outstanding of 17.36 trillion Yuan or 90% of total loan portfolio held by Chinese banks. 

What are the Implications for the Business Information Industry?

Unfortunately the Deputy Governor did not elaborate about future private sector information involvement.  China has decided to keep the management of personal and corporate credit information originating from lending institutions in the public domain.  Privacy and bank secrecy issues seem to be some of the reasons behind the move of keeping credit information bureau operations under the control of the State.  The People’s Bank therefore maintains a dual role of being a regulator as well as the operator.  For the business information industry this is a sad development indeed.

BIIA Newsletter March – 2006 Issue