Banks misreported thousands of customers' credit histories to credit body

Wednesday 03 October 2012 23.30
The Data Commissioner undertook the audit after AIB admitted to misreporting 12,000 customers' credit histories
The Data Commissioner undertook the audit after AIB admitted to misreporting 12,000 customers' credit histories

Data audits at some of the country's banks have revealed that the credit histories of thousands of customers have been misreported to the Irish Credit Bureau.

RTÉ News has learned that the problems have been identified by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in customer credit records at more than one financial institution, including Permanent TSB.

The audits followed last August’s admission by AIB that, due to a systems error, it had over a six year period misreported the credit histories of 12,000 of its customers to the ICB.

The ICB is a private company owned by banks and financial institutions here, which collates customer credit histories on behalf of those banks.

The error at AIB involved the State-owned bank sending incorrect details about customers’ missed repayments to the ICB, which resulted in their credit histories looking worse than they actually were.

This, in turn, may have impacted on the ability of the customers involved to access fresh credit.

The ICB and the bank have since worked together to correct all the wrong data.

AIB's admission prompted the Data Commissioner to begin a trawl of credit reporting systems at the country’s other main banks.

The commissioner’s office would not comment on the detail of its findings so far but a spokesman confirmed preliminary results indicate a need for a number of financial institutions to inform some customers that they have had their credit records categorised incorrectly by the ICB.

It is understood that several thousand customers are involved.

In a statement to RTÉ News Permanent TSB has revealed that, following the revelations at AIB but prior to the Data Commissioner’s audit, it initiated its own preliminary investigation which identified some errors in data supplied to the ICB.

The error involved incorrect reporting of missed repayments on certain loans which were being repaid weekly or fortnightly as opposed to monthly.

The bank said that, on becoming aware of the issue, it immediately notified the relevant regulators including the Central Bank, the Data Commissioner and the ICB and initiated a review which is now underway.

A spokesman for the bank said it apologised unreservedly for the problem and was taking immediate steps to resolve this issue and rectify the matter.

The spokesman would not reveal how many customers were affected.

It is understood other institutions where audits have been completed by the Data Commissioner include Bank of Ireland and National Irish Bank.

An NIB spokesman confirmed it had been audited last week but no results have been received yet.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for Bank of Ireland would not comment on the matter as it was also awaiting the Data Commissioner’s report.

However sources at the bank said at this stage it appears no issues have been identified.

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