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Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The best way to im­prove your credit his­tory sim­plest way – just pay your in­stal­ments on time.

This is what Artemis Bank In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems, the con­sumer credit bureau es­tab­lished in 2009 and owned by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Cyprus Banks, has been tasked to mon­i­tor with about 70% of the eco­nom­i­cally ac­tive pop­u­la­tion of Cyprus on its data­base.

How­ever, although the banks-mem­bers of the As­so­ci­a­tion are the company’s share­hold­ers, there is a clear dis­tinc­tion of the roles of Artemis and the banks that sup­ply the in­for­ma­tion re­lated to in­di­vid­ual and cor­po­rate clients.

In an in­ter­view with the Fi­an­n­cial Mir­ror, Achilleas Amvro­siou, Gen­eral Man­ager of Artemis Bank In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems Ltd., ex­plained that “con­sumer credit bu­reaus, such as Artemis, re­ceive in­for­ma­tion for free, pri­mar­ily from cred­i­tors and pub­lic sources in a stan­dard­ised for­mat and then match, cross-check, and merge such data.”

“Once the bu­reaus an­a­lyse and in­ter­pret the data in the form of a credit re­port which con­sti­tutes the bor­rower’s pro­file, they sell it back to the lenders. His­tor­i­cally, this model was ap­plied to con­sumer re­port­ing but now, in­creas­ingly, credit bu­reaus also in­clude in­for­ma­tion on small-size loans to com­pa­nies.”

In ad­di­tion, Amvro­siou said that based on the is­suance of the Cen­tral Bank’s Di­rec­tive “for the Op­er­a­tion of a Sys­tem or a Mech­a­nism for the Ex­change, Col­lec­tion and Pro­vi­sion of

is also the data be­tween the Au­tho­rised Credit In­sti­tu­tions and the credit in­sti­tu­tions” Artemis, and Aiantas (the equiv­a­lent data ex­change mech­a­nism rep­re­sent­ing Co-ops), to­gether, cover 100% of the bank­ing in­dus­try.

Part of the Artemis data­base is the is­suers of dis­hon­oured cheques, aka “bounced cheques”. This in­for­ma­tion is re­ceived from the Cen­tral Bank of Cyprus’ Cen­tral In­for­ma­tion Reg­istry (CIR).

As re­gards con­duct­ing a “dou­ble check” of mort­gage hold­ers, Amvro­siou said that “credit his­tory is com­piled for both phys­i­cal per­sons (in­di­vid­u­als) and le­gal per­sons (com­pa­nies, or­gan­i­sa­tions, etc.). A bank par­tic­i­pat­ing in Artemis is obliged by the Cen­tral Bank Di­rec­tive to re­port monthly all their credit fa­cil­i­ties along with their sta­tus (e.g. per­form­ing, non-per­form­ing, ter­mi­nated and le­gal cases). The data in the Artemis data­base is purely sup­port­ive. Artemis does not make its own eval­u­a­tions, judge­ments or any other form of as­sess­ment of the in­for­ma­tion. Eval­u­a­tion is per­formed ex­clu­sively by the re­cip­i­ent of the in­for­ma­tion,” (ie. the banks).

In the present state of credit crunch, surely, the vast majority of peo­ple would have a “poor” credit his­tory, we asked Amvro­siou.

“Credit his­tory of a per­son can be im­proved by pay­ing his in­stal­ments on time,” was the straight-for­ward an­swer we got.

The Artemis data­base is a snap­shot of the lat­est pic­ture of the fa­cil­i­ties, in­de­pen­dent of their sta­tus (per­form­ing, non­per­form­ing, ter­mi­nated, law­suit, court decision).

“From the mo­ment an obli­ga­tion to­wards a bank is still ac­tive, this in­for­ma­tion re­mains in the sys­tem in­def­i­nitely. When a non-per­form­ing fa­cil­ity, law­suit or court decision is set­tled by a cus­tomer, then this in­for­ma­tion re­mains on the data­base for five years and then it is deleted.”

“Since 1st Oc­to­ber 2014, all the cus­tomers of all banks hav­ing a credit fa­cil­ity or an obli­ga­tion re­sult­ing from a past credit fa­cil­ity (law­suits and court de­ci­sions) are listed in our data­base. We es­ti­mate that 70% of the eco­nom­i­cally ac­tive pop­u­la­tion of Cyprus is on our data­base,” Amvro­siou said.

But de­spite all the fears and mis­con­cep­tions about credit his­tory and its abuse by bankers, Amvro­siou said this was a good thing that would be to the con­sumer’s ben­e­fit.

“Hav­ing a good credit his­tory is pos­i­tive for an in­di­vid­ual. To have a loan within your ca­pa­bil­i­ties, i.e. pro­por­tion­ate to your in­come and pay the in­stal­ments on time, this is very pos­i­tive,” he con­cluded.

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