Trinidad and Tobago: Bringing credit reform to the Caribbean

Author: Camille Ramos
Publication: Celebrating Reforms 2009
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Before Trinidad and Tobago launched its fully automated credit bureau in 2004, getting comprehensive credit information was a challenge for the islands’ lending institutions. But the Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago saw an opportunity to innovate and create the first fully automated credit bureau in all of the Caribbean. Infolink Services Limited—a joint venture equally owned by 4 local banks—and the national Chamber of Industry and Commerce joined forces with the Bankers Association for the project.

In July 2004, Trinidad and Tobago’s credit bureau officially began its operations. This case study follows the process and looks to the credit reform’s next steps—such as pending legislation for a supportive legal framework.

Main Findings

  • Trinidad and Tobago’s credit bureau, Credit Reporting Services Limited (CRSL), enabled consumers to retrieve and interpret the contents of their own credit histories for the first time in the Caribbean.
  • Consumers could even initiate corrections where necessary—although these corrections are not guaranteed by law.
  • Initially, the CRSL database included 180,000 consumers with 300,000 trade lines provided by its 4 founding banks describing credit cards, personal loans, checking account overdrafts and mortgages.
  • CRSL currently has 68 institutional subscribers—including all 8 banks in the Bankers Association (where 65% of the data come from)—as well as retailers, mortgage lenders, car rental agencies, insurers, telecoms, and others. It contains over 1 million trade lines and has credit history files on over 440,000 credit lines.