Every 2 to 3 years, ACCIS carries out a survey of its members. The survey highlights the main business indicators and characteristics of credit referencing agencies (CRAs), and the types and quality of the data held by ACCIS member organisations, specifically its depth and breadth and the extent to which it may be used by granters of credit. The survey also looks at the competitive landscape and regulatory framework in which CRAs operate.

We have introduced a few new questions in the latest survey, to cover emerging developments that are relevant to our industry, in particular how information related to the granting of COVID-19-related loan moratoria across many European countries has been processed in credit databases

In 2020, 39 of 42 ACCIS members completed the survey. These members operate in 28 countries, of which 16 are in the EU. About in two-thirds of these countries there is a single CRA member of ACCIS.

Countries covered by ACCIS members that responded to the survey

Accis Report 2021 Figure 2

Respondents 39 Covered Countries 28 Countries with a single CRA 19

Executive Summary from the 2020 ACCIS Membership Survey Report

Market overview
  • The large majority of the ACCIS members completed the survey (39 of 42 CRAs), which means that the survey is representative for the ACCIS members.
  • It also provides a good representation of the CRAs in Europe. In total the CRAs that responded to this survey are active in 28 European countries, including 16 of the 27 EU Member States.
  • There are large differences among the CRAs in terms of their business models. The large majority of the CRAs are for profit organisations, while a minority is non-for profit.
  • There is a large variety in ownership ranging from foundations and governments, to credit associations and a group of banks, to listed and non-listed companies.
  • The coverage of the CRAs also varies significantly. In general, those CRAs that collect a larger range of positive and negative data based on a specific law cover more borrowers.
Data collection, analysis and supply
  • Most CRAs hold and collect information on mortgages, consumer loans, credit and store cards, and borrowing on a current account.
  • Consistently with the results of the 2012, 2015 and 2017 surveys, the depth of the data on ‘mainstream’ lending products covered by members, such as consumer loans, credit and store cards, mortgages, and overdrafts, is the highest in terms of both negative and positive data.
  • CRAs on average obtain and supply more negative and positive data across all types of services than in 2017.
  • Credit application, portfolio monitoring, and identity checking are the most frequently used services by clients of CRAs.
  • Banks, leasing companies, credit card and retail credit suppliers as well as mortgage providers and credit unions are the most common users of CRAs services.
  • More than half of the CRAs provide educational materials to help borrowers improve their ‘financial health’.
Legal environment and access to data
  • Nearly half of the lenders have a legal obligation to consult CRAs.
  • A majority of CRAs reported that the access to public/court data collected by CRAs is permitted, whereas a minority of CRAs highlighted that it is required by national legislation.
  • About half of the CRAs are subject to specific legal/regulatory schemes for entering the market. A substantial minority of the CRAs are further subject to specific provisions governing them.
  • More than one-third of the CRAs are subject to direct supervision by a national supervisory authority.
  • Most of the CRAs process data based on the legitimate interests. But specific laws also form an important ground for CRAs to process data. In some cases, consent is required for the processing of processing of positive data.
  • Consumers have the right to access their data with CRAs.
  • Consumers have the right to dispute their data with CRAs, yet less than one-fifth of the CRAs give consumers the right to add comments to their file.
Cross-border data flows
  • More than one-quarter of the CRAs share data across borders and have access to data from CRAs in other ountries.
  • Only a minority of CRAs share data directly with financial institutions in other countries.
Covid-19 impact
  • In about two-thirds of the countries, payment holidays have been implemented in response to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The majority of the CRAs with payment holiday schemes did not make any provisions in their data, while about one-third introduced a special indicator and one-tenth uses other provisions.
  • Moratoria on consumer, mortgage and company loans increased significantly between the outbreak in Europe and June 2020.
  • NPL ratios for consumer and mortgage loans seem stable, while for companies they decreased. This is most likely due to the various measures that CRAs, financers, supervisors and governments took in response to COVID-19. The NPLs might thus well rise when these mitigating measures are phased-out.
  • Despite the lockdowns and other measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic only a small minority of the CRAs experienced interruptions in their data provision.
  • More than one-third of the members indicate that some sectors have changed in a significant way the use of the information provided. Nevertheless, a minority of the CRAs expect that COVID-19 will lead to structural changes for their business.

2020 ACCIS Survey Report Flipbook

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ACCIS is the voice of organisations responsibly managing data to assess the financial credibility of consumers and businesses. Established as an association in 1990, ACCIS brings together more than 40 members from countries all over Europe as well as associates and affiliates across the globe.

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