Open access to credit profiles can make advertising more intrusive

In a letter addressed to the central bank, the Russian banking community has made a proposal that banks in some cases be allowed to request a credit check on customers without having to obtain their consent.

Bankers suggest the credit history act should be updated so that such consent, once obtained, must be deemed permanent. Additionally, bankers suggest to revoke the need to obtain the credit check consent fr om individuals who are already in the customer base.

Indeed, it sometimes is suitable for banks to have access to credit profiles so that custom-tailored offers can be made. In such cases, loans could be granted as promptly as possible. However, there is a risk of sending credit proposals to customers who have no interest whatsoever in taking out a loan.

Generally, if a person applies for a bank loan, the person allows instantly the bank to check his credit profile. Therefore, on the face of it, it seems that no more changes are needed at all. However, the consent may legally stay in force for two months from the date of consent or until termination of credit agreement, if any. Theoretically, revocation of the lim it may also simplify lending to customers whose loan request was previously turned down for various reasons. For example, a customer applied for a bank loan but refused to take it because of unsuitable terms of credit. The bank may provide a suitable offer a few months down the line, in which case it would be appropriate if the customer’s consent remained in force and the bank could have an opportunity to provide new offers within certain periods of time.

Perhaps, all the situations in which the consent may stay in force should be specified in a special list. This at least will avoid situations in which good borrowers receive lots of offers from all the banks operating in the country.

Mikhail Khromov, Director of the Structural Research Center