Data Protection Commissioner urges bank customers to check credit records

Thursday 04 October 2012 17.25
Billy Hawkes said he was surprised at how long practice had continued
Billy Hawkes said he was surprised at how long practice had continued

The Data Protection Commissioner has urged bank customers to check their credit records, after it emerged that AIB was not the only financial institution to misreport credit histories.

After the discovery of AIB's misreporting to the Irish Credit Bureau over a period of six years, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner carried out an audit of other banks.

The audit has yet to be completed, but Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes said that a similar problem had been found in at least one other financial institution, Permanent TSB.

Mr Hawkes said that although the banks had undertaken to correct the errors, he would urge people to check their records themselves.

"It's very easy to get it, you pay €6 to ICB and you get a copy of your record within three or four days."

He said it is important that people check their credit record is accurate, because it can have very negative impacts on people.

Mr Hawkes also said he was surprised at how widespread the practice of misreporting credit histories was among financial institutions, and also surprised at how long the practice had continued.

He said he was disturbed by the banks' misreporting because it had affected so many people who were already having financial difficulties.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner expects its investigation into all major financial institutions to be completed within a month.

The Irish Credit Bureau is a private company owned by the banks and financial institutions, which collates customer credit histories on behalf of those banks. It is due to become a statutory body.

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