Brokers call for direct access to credit reports

Brokers are calling for direct access to clients’ credit reports to help them recommend suitable lenders and products.

One broker tells Mortgage Strategy: “Many clients don’t know their credit details, so access to reports would help brokers find the most suitable lender and products.

“Though brokers can apply to access information via the client, this can take up to two weeks which is to the ultimate disadvantage of the client.”

Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at John Charcol, agrees that the public data available to brokers is not adequate and that direct access, if possible, would make the intermediary’s job easier.

But he adds that general access to shared data could be used by firms to target products at individuals.

Currently organisations only have access to shared data when they enter into a contractual commitment with one or more of the credit reference agencies – Experian CAIS database, the Equifax Insight database or the Callcredit Share database – to supply data relating to their own customers. This “commercial arrangement”, as one broker describes it, means that unless the rules of data sharing change, brokers will continue to have to apply for information indirectly through their clients or a lender.

Geoff Cave, chairman of the Steering Committee on Reciprocity, which oversees the sharing of personal credit performance, says that to protect the decisions of lenders and stick to the Data Protection Act, only members that submit data are able withdraw it.

The governing principle of SCOR is that ‘data is shared only for the prevention of over-commitment, bad debt, fraud and money laundering, and to support debt recovery and debtor tracing with the aim of promoting responsible lending’.

Neil Munroe, director of external affairs at Equifax, says: “Allowing brokers access to shared data has been looked into but the principles of SCOR are not compatible with it.”