Realtor supports Credit Act
7 May, 2016, 12:00 am
The recent passing of the Fair Reporting of Credit Act has stirred debate on the ability of financial institutions and hire-purchase providers to access the credit history of consumers, and while notions vary, one veteran realtor has lauded the new Act.
Titus Narayan of Titus Real Estate described the new development as a sigh of relief to consumers whose names were loaded on to the credit Data Bureau for defaulting on monthly repayments to credit providers.
“I have been given to understand the names of defaulters supplied by the credit providers are not properly vetted by credit Data Bureau and the whole process is wrong in the manner in which its system operates,” he said.
The Act toughens up legislative structures on the reporting of customer information for credit purposes, and follows years of consumer complaints and allegations of unverified information against Data Bureau Ltd, Fiji’s sole credit reporting agency.
“I have a client, in a real estate matter, who due to unforeseen circumstance was unable to make a full monthly repayment. He was threatened with a most un-businesslike demand notice that warned of being listed ont o the Data Bureau and consequently not being able to access credit from financial institutions,” Mr Narayan said.
He said a better solution to addressing defaulting payments would be friendly reminders, home visits and counselling, more education on budgeting income, and less advertisements that lured customers.
“A typical example are those ads stating ‘No Deposit’ or $1 deposit for current customers and low deposit for new customers.”
He said only commercial banks providing soft loans should be given the privilege to recover its debts through an easy process because of its lack of surety from consumers who sometimes found themselves in desperate situations.
Specifically, Mr Narayan believes the new Act will not affect the real estate market extensively if carried out in an honest, professional manner, noting that legal firms handled all transactions.
“No doubt, it may affect rental properties to some extent as far as residential properties are concerned. There are a lot of tenants out there who are not honest in their dealings. In a desperate situation they are given houses or flats to rent but in return they turn their back on the landlords and run away after finding cheaper flats and tell a pack of lies when the owner tries to recover his rent legally.”
Mr Narayan said Government had eradicated a lot of shabby, primitive dealings which had been overlooked by previous governments.
“Thank you the Honourable Attorney-General and Minster for Finance, Public Enterprises, Civil Service and Communications for your quick action which was long overdue.
“The consumers who wore a ‘black blanket’ under the roof of the Data Bureau can now wear a ‘green blanket’.”