Business Recorder Sunday, July 16, 2006, Pact Inked with DataCheck

IFC to support credit bureau services development

KARACHI: The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will assist DataCheck (Pvt.) Limited, a private sector credit bureau, in developing credit bureau services, including credit scoring, application processing, fraud prevention services and asset databases

Under an agreement signed between IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank, and DataCheck (Pvt) Ltd. here on Thursday, the new developments are intended to build on DataCheck’s existing credit information services in order to provide local lending institutions with the latest tools to manage credit risk.

IFC will provide advisory services to DataCheck, through its technical assistance facility the Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa (Pep-Mena).

Welcoming the agreement, Peer Stein, head of IFC’s Global Credit Bureau Programme, said: “These services will allow lenders to make better judgments about the creditworthiness of industrialists and small businesses, thus minimizing the risk of non-performing loans and, at the same time, preventing customers from becoming over-indebted.”

Michael Essex, Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan highlighted the importance of bureaus for the country. “ In recent years there has been unprecedented growth in both the demand and the supply of consumer credit products in Pakistan and it is, therefore essential that the market has timely and accurate information to help it make more informed consumer credit decisions and adopt proven lending practices.”

Tariq Jan, DataCheck Managing Director, said: “The performance history data accumulated in DataCheck’s files over the past five years represents an invaluable and unique source of predictive information about consumer payment behavior. These new services will unlock this power and add considerable value to DataCheck’s customer offering. We welcome the support of IFC in recognizing the valuable role of the private sector in helping reduce the information asymmetry between lenders and borrowers.”

Pep-Mena is IFC’s technical assistance facility that supports private sector development in the Middle East and North Africa. It focuses on improving the business enabling and regulatory environment; strengthening the financial sector: promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises and their support services, such as business organizations and consulting firms; helping restructure and privatize state-owned enterprise, and developing viable private sector partnership projects especially in infrastructure.

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