Credit database set to expand

By Zhan Lisheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-10 06:48

GUANGZHOU: South China's Guangdong Province is extending its credit database for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to give them better access to bank loans.

The Guangzhou branch of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), which is in charge of the work, said it will input the credit information of 360,000 SMEs - two-thirds of the province's total - into the database by the end of the year.

The figure does not include firms in Shenzhen, which are not covered by the Guangzhou branch.

Xu Nuojin, the branch's vice-governor said the companies to be included are those that have been officially registered but not yet been involved in a credit relationship with a commercial bank.

Their basic information, legal status, business details and financial status will be recorded on the database.

Information about their tax payments and utility fees will be added later, he said.

"SMEs often have difficulty raising funds. The aim of the database is to serve as a credit archive so firms can get easier access to bank loans," Xu said.

"In turn, the banks will be able to get a clearer picture of the firms applying for loans, so the whole process can be speeded up."

Xu said all credit information will be kept strictly confidential and only authorized institutions with a valid requirement will be able to access it.

"Banks will be subject to varying penalties if they inquire about information illegally and use it for any other purpose than that which is authorized," he said.

Li Qingqing, an associate professor with South China Normal University's economics department, said the credit database will be equally beneficial to SMEs and banks.

"It will be easier for SMEs with good credit records to raise funds and it will be easier for commercial banks to spot potential customers," she said.

As one of the nation's 17 pilot provinces and cities selected to set up an SME credit database, Guangdong inputted information on 11,203 SMEs in 2006.

Since then, 1,508 have been approved for credit extension loans, while a further 336 have actually received funds.

(China Daily 07/10/2007 page4)

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