A Natural Disaster Rehabilitation Facility has been reactivated by Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Ariff Ali, following the effects of Tropical Cyclone Josie last week.
“The Reserve Bank has allocated $40 million for the Facility and businesses may apply for funding of up to $0.5 million at a maximum interest rate of 5 percent per annum, while affected homeowners can apply for funding of up to $5,000 at a maximum interest rate of 4.50 percent per annum,” the bank confirmed.
The facility is effective until 30 June 2018 through all commercial banks, the Fiji Development Bank and licensed credit institutions (LCSs), with eligible borrowers needing to meet the credit criteria set by the respective lending institutions, the RBF highlighted.
The Reserve Bank has also recently granted a license to Credit Information Reporting Agency Pte Limited (CIRA), a newly established company owned by local investors to conduct business as a credit reporting agency.
CIRA is the first credit reporting agency to be licensed under the Fair Reporting of Credit Act 2016 and was issued its licenses on March 29 following a comprehensive assessment. It had applied for a license to operate as a credit reporting agency in July 2017.
“The establishment of credit reporting agencies in Fiji is governed by the Fair Reporting of Credit Act 2016 (“Act”) and its accompanying Fair Reporting of Credit Regulations 2016 (“Regulations”), which empower the Reserve Bank to licence and supervise credit reporting agencies, and register credit information providers and credit report recipients, in Fiji.”
The RBF Governor noted that credit reporting benefits both lenders and borrowers and in turn increases economic activity.
“It is therefore important that the business of credit reporting operates within a framework that realises these benefits. The framework therefore is through the Act and Regulations, and supervision by the Reserve Bank of Fiji.”
And with the absence of a credit reporting agency in the country for the past 22 months, Ali said CIRA’s entry would again service an important necessity of lending institutions with credit information-sharing reducing information asymmetry between lenders and prospective borrowers. He said this would also assist borrowers who could use their good credit history to enhance their borrowing capacities.
“On a broader level, CIRA’s business compliments the role of the Reserve Bank in maintaining financial stability, and assisting the ease of doing business in Fiji. With the licensing of CIRA, interested credit information providers and credit report recipients will be advised of the appropriate time to submit their applications to the Reserve Bank of Fiji, for registration, as required under the Act.”
The Fair Reporting of Credit Act was effected in 2016 after the removal of all credit history by Data Bureau Limited.