CREDIT REPORTING ACT

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

   1   Short title

   2   Interpretation, objects and application

 

PART I
Licensing of Credit Bureaus

   3   Restriction on disclosure of credit information

   4   Licensing of credit bureaus

   5   Responsibilities of credit bureaus re licence

   6   Revocation, suspension or cancellation of licences

   7   Reports

 

PART II
Obtaining and disclosing credit information

   8   Credit information providers

   9   Register of credit information providers

   10   Prohibition of provision of credit information

   11   Disclosure of credit information

   12   Form and content of credit information

   13   Confidentiality of credit information

   14   Duty to disclose source of credit information

   15   Duty of disclosure to consumer

   16   Correction of information

   17   Investigation of complaints

 

PART III
General

   18   Appeal Tribunal

   19   Regulations

   20   Offences

   21   Liability of directors, etc

   22   Functions of supervising authority under this Act

   23   Special audit or examination of credit bureau

   24   Amalgamation and transfer

   25   Vesting of assets on sale of credit bureau

   26   Co-operation with supervising authority

   27   Investigations

   28   Indemnity

   29   Power of the Minister to amend penalties by order

   30   Amendments to other Acts

      SCHEDULES

 

THE CREDIT REPORTING ACT

[Date of Commencement: 1st October, 2010]

Act 27 of 2010.

1   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Credit Reporting Act.

2   Interpretation, objects and application

   (1) In this Act-

   "authorised officer" means an officer of the supervising authority, an officer of the Financial Investigation Division of the Ministry of Finance or a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and any person acting in and of such officer or member;

   "company" means a body corporate incorporated under the law of, and having its principal office in, Jamaica;

   "connected person" has the meaning assigned to it by section 2 of the Income Tax Act;

   "consumer" means any person or body, whether corporate or not;

   "credit bureau" means a company duly licensed under this Act;

   "credit information" means the information referred to in section 8(3);

   "credit information provider" means a credit information provider referred to in section 8(2);

   "licence" means a licence granted under this Act to operate as a credit bureau;

   "personal information" means any information about a consumer, other than-

   (a)   credit information;

   (b)   the consumer's name, present and past addresses, taxpayer registration number or other numerical reference, cataloguing or reference scheme used for identification purposes; and

   (c)   any other relevant information about the consumer which is reasonably required in order to enable the credit information to be utilised for the purposes of this Act;

   "supervising authority" means the Bank of Jamaica or such other entity as may be designated by the Minister by notice published in the Gazette.

   (2) The object of this Act is to ensure that credit reporting is done through reasonable procedures that meet the needs of commerce for credit information in a manner that is fair and equitable to the consumer, having regard to the confidentiality, accuracy, relevance and proper utilization of such information in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

   (3) This Act applies to the disclosure-

   (a)   of credit information by an entity in Jamaica to another entity in or outside Jamaica;

   (b)   by any entity outside Jamaica, of credit information relating to any transaction that takes place, in whole or in part, in Jamaica.

   (4) A company that discloses credit information in any other country, in return for monetary payment or other reward, shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to have made such disclosure in Jamaica.

PART I
Licensing of Credit Bureaus

3   Restriction on disclosure of credit information

   (1) Except as provided in this section, a person who discloses credit information about a consumer in return for monetary payment or other reward or as part of any business or undertaking, whether for profit or otherwise, commits an offence.

   (2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to the disclosure of credit information-

   (a)   by a credit bureau or credit information provider in accordance with the provisions of this Act;

   (b)   by a credit information provider to another credit information provider, subject to the provisions of this Act;

   (c)   by a company to another company that is-

         (i)   a holding company or subsidiary of the company making the disclosure; or

         (ii)   a subsidiary of the same holding company as the company making the disclosure,

if the credit information is in respect of a customer of either company.

   (3) Where a Resident Magistrate is satisfied upon information given by an authorised officer that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that an offence under subsection (1) has been, or is being, committed by any person and that evidence of the commission of the offence is to be found on any premises specified in the information, the Resident Magistrate may grant a search warrant to the authorised officer in accordance with subsection (4).

   (4) The warrant referred to in subsection (3) shall permit the authorised officer-

   (a)   to enter (with or without a constable) the premises named in the warrant for the purpose of inspecting and making copies of such books, accounts, records and other documents, cheques and securities (in this subsection referred to as the relevant documents) as may be found on those premises and which may reasonably constitute evidence of the commission of an offence under subsection (1); or

   (b)   to seize and detain the relevant documents for a period not exceeding thirty days.

   (5) An order under subsection (4)(b) shall not be made in respect of accounting records used in the ordinary business of banking (including ledgers, daybooks, cash books and account books).

   (6) For the purposes of subsection (4), the relevant documents include documents that are stored electronically and are accessible from those premises.

   (7) An authorised officer may make copies of any document seized under subsection (4)(b).

   (8) Any person who hinders or obstructs an authorised officer in the performance of his duties under subsection (4) commits an offence.

   (9) An authorised officer shall-

   (a)   before entering any premises pursuant to a warrant under this section and if requested to do so by the owner or occupant of the premises, produce evidence of his authority to enter the premises and evidence of his identity; and

   (b)   give a receipt for any item that the officer removes from the premises.

4   Licensing of credit bureaus

   (1) A company may apply for a licence under this Act by submitting an application to the Minister in such form as may be prescribed, along with the prescribed application fee and such other particulars as may be prescribed.

   (2) The Minister may, in his discretion, grant or refuse an application for a licence, and-

   (a)   where the Minister thinks necessary, he may require an applicant for a licence to furnish additional information;

   (b)   where the Minister intends to refuse an application, he shall first afford the applicant an opportunity to be heard; and

   (c)   where the application is refused, the Minister shall notify the applicant in writing of the refusal and the reasons for the refusal.

   (3) A licence shall not be granted to any company unless the supervising authority indicates in writing to the Minister that it is satisfied that-

   (a)   every person who is a director of the company or who is to perform corporate management functions in the company or who is a shareholder holding (whether in his own right or when counted with the holding of a connected person) ten per cent or more of the voting shares of the company, is a fit and proper person for that purpose;

   (b)   adequate systems and arrangements have been put in place by the company so as to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Act; and

   (c)   the company meets such capital requirements as may be prescribed by the Minister on the recommendation of the supervising authority.

   (4) For the purposes of subsection (3)(a), a person is a lit and proper person if-

   (a)   he has not been convicted in Jamaica or elsewhere, of an offence involving dishonesty;

   (b)   he is not an undischarged bankrupt;

   (c)   his employment record does not give the supervising authority reasonable cause to believe that the person has carried out any act involving dishonesty or any act involving impropriety in the handling of financial business;

   (d)   in the opinion of the supervising authority-

         (i)   he is a person of sound probity;

         (ii)   he is able to exercise competence, diligence and sound judgment in fulfilling his responsibilities in relation to the credit bureau; and

         (iii)   his relationship with the credit bureau will not threaten the interests of consumers,

and for the purposes of this paragraph, the supervising authority shall have regard to any evidence that the person has-

   (A)   engaged in any business practices appearing to the supervising authority to be deceitful or oppressive or otherwise improper, which reflect discredit to the person's method of conducting business; or

   (B)   contravened any provision of any enactment designed for the protection of the public against financial loss due to dishonesty, incompetence or malpractice by persons concerned in the provision of credit information, banking, insurance, investment or other financial services, or in the management of companies or due to bankruptcy.

   (5) A licence may be granted subject to such terms and conditions as the Minister my specify in the licence and shall be issued to the applicant on payment of the prescribed licence fee.

   (6) A person commits an offence if that person, in making any application under this section or in any information required to be furnished under subsection (2)-

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