Credit Reporting as the Foundation of Credit Infrastructure, Lagos, Nigeria.

AGA-Africa in collaboration with the Lagos Business School (LBS) and the Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria (CBAN) hosted a two-day workshop on Credit Reporting as the Foundation of Credit Infrastructure on the 10th – 11th, December 2018 at the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, Nigeria.

The workshop brought together financial industry regulators, banks, other financial institutions, credit bureaus, as well as credit consumers, judges, attorneys general, legislators, lawyers and the general public to raise lively discourse on this topic, creating more awareness, project the core and invaluable benefits of a strong credit infrastructure founded on a solid credit reporting system, and also engender the necessary law reforms in the area of credit reporting in Nigeria.

The workshop was officially opened by Hon. Joseph Abang- AG Cross River State. He commenced by stating the importance of Credit reporting in Nigeria and advocated for proper governance to be put in place to ensure accountability. He stated that he hoped that the two-day workshop will lead to discussions that will continue the required progress and development in the sector.

Mr. Markus Green ESQ – AGA-Africa Board Member in his opening remarks acknowledged the importance of Credit Reporting awareness as a crucial aspect. He lauded the Nigerian Government and the financial sector for supporting such forums.

“Good and efficient accounting and reporting are conducive to financial sector development and private sector development, which in turn spur economic growth.”

Speaking on behalf of the Dean of the Lagos Business School, Prof. Olawale Ajai welcomed everyone to the School and proceeded to give a brief background on the School and its objectives. He called for total involvement of all participants to ensure accountability in public administration and in diverse areas of practice.

Chief Anthony Idigbe, SAN – Senior Partner at Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors facilitated a session on Review of the Legal Framework for Credit Reporting in Nigeria. He said that the Nigerian Government recognizes the need to empower the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (“MSME”) and facilitation of accurate and reliable credit information sharing.

““Faithful implementation of the law will help reduce the incidence of bad loans as the Act enables financial institutions to determine an individual’s creditworthiness before making the credit decision.”

Representing the Central Bank of Nigeria, Hassan Mahmud of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department delivered a goodwill message during the workshop on behalf of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

  1. Robert Sola – Founding Member Robert S. Sola, P.C facilitated a session on History of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Coverage. He noted that the FCRA has been amended many times to make it stronger and increase its coverage to Liability for Furnishers, Specific Procedures for Handling Dispute, Protection for Victims of Identity Theft and Statutory Damages.

“There is a need to ensure that consumer reporting agencies exercise their critical responsibilities with fairness, impartiality, and a respect for the consumer’s right to privacy.”

Mr. John Ukegbu – Senior Staff Attorney, Northeast New Jersey Legal Services, Inc Facilitated a session on Liability and Enforcement.

He said that Consumer lawsuits are the primary means of enforcement of the FCRA as a consumer can sue a CRA, furnisher or user for violation of the FCRA and that the liability and damages will be decided by a jury.

During another  session, he emphasized on Privacy and Consumer Access to Information that FCRA gives a consumer the right to know the information in the consumer’s file and that CRA shall clearly and accurately disclose upon request of a consumer.

Mr. Ukegbu added that CRA shall also provide the sources of the information; Identification of each person who procured a consumer report for employment purposes within 2 years, and for any other purpose within one year and a record of all inquiries received within the previous year that identified the consumer in connection with a transaction that was not initiated by the consumer.

Persons that obtain or use a consumer report for purposes that are not permitted are subject to liability.”