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IFC Helps Tonga Launch Credit Information Bureau to Increase Access to Finance

Nuku’alofa , Tonga, August 9, 2012 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has helped Tonga set up its first credit bureau that allows banks to share credit information and better manage lending risks, thereby lowering their credit defaults and in turn expanding access to finance for individuals and small businesses.
IFC partnered with Data Bureau Ltd., a Fijian-owned credit information company, to establish the Tongan branch, Data Bureau (Tonga) Ltd. Over the past year, the bureau has developed a database that has 3,000 public notices and the credit histories of more than 700 companies out of a total of 2,884 registered businesses in Tonga.
“The bureau is about ensuring that customer risk is properly managed through credit-information sharing,” said IFC’s Regional Manager for the Pacific Gavin Murray. “Based on other existing programs, individuals and small businesses will have greater access to credit at reduced lending rates, which will help them grow and expand their activities.”
IFC helped train staff members from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Westpac Bank, Tonga Development Bank, and MBf Bank in using the database. A code of conduct, a training guide, membership agreements, and customer flyers have been developed to assist with the roll out of the bureau.
Our services not only benefit financiers and credit providers in the country, but also the people,” said Delores Elliot, manager of Data Bureau Ltd. “The bureau will greatly encourage people to be responsible in their financial commitments. It’s a win-win situation for both parties in the long term.”
IFC has been supporting Tonga’s financial sector to create a private credit bureau since 2010. IFC is also supporting South Pacific Business Development, a regional microfinance provider, in expanding access to finance to women entrepreneurs across Tonga. IFC’s advisory services are carried out in partnership with Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit .
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