The Fair Reporting of Credit Bill, No 27 of 2016 was passed under urgency by the Fiji Parliament on Wednesday 27 April 2016. The Bill is expected to be enacted shortly and published in the Fiji Government Gazette.
On commencement of the Fair Reporting of Credit Act, (on a date to be appointed by the Minister of Finance), if a lender or supplier of goods or services on credit uses any credit information already provided to it by Data Bureau Limited in making a decision on a loan or credit application it will be committing an offence. [s.19(6)].
The penalties for a contravention of s. 19(6) are severe. If convicted, the lender is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 of imprisonment for 5 years or both. In addition, each director, executive officer, secretary or employee directly or indirectly concerned in or a party to the commission of the offence is also guilty of the offence [s. 18(5)] if the offence was committed by a body corporate.
Further, a credit information provider or credit information recipient is required to register with the Reserve Bank of Fiji for that respective purpose. A lender may need to register for each category and we await regulations to determine the qualifications and specifications that a person must meet for registration.
Lenders and suppliers of credit should urgently review their lending policies and how consumer information is collected, stored and disseminated to ensure compliance with the Act.
A copy of the Bill is available here.
The information and opinions in this Legal Alert are for general information purposes only. They are not intended as specific legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice. Munro Leys can accept no responsibility for any loss arising from reliance on the general information contained in this Legal Alert.