The National Bank of Rwanda has launched a mass awareness campaign dubbed “Step FORWARD: I have a clean credit record. Do you?” which is aimed at enhancing the importance of Credit Reference Information.
The campaign, which is slated to last for the whole of March, will basically educate the public on the merits of maintaining a clean debt repayment record, that is to say, timely and complete payment of any outstanding loans one may have.
In an online briefing posted on the National Bank of Rwanda website and endorsed by Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Vice-Governor of the Central Bank, it is purported that the credit reference services, unbeknownst to many, started in Rwanda in 2010, as a result of an initiative of various stakeholders in the financial sector including associations of banks, microfinance and insurance companies.
The communiqué further states that apart from the potential role of Credit Reference Services to instill financial discipline in the populace, it also aims to provide an opportunity to bridge the existent information gap regarding borrowers who have poor credit history, and those who have no credit history at all, by providing accurate and timely information on the borrowers.
This represents a new avenue through which Rwandans can access loan services, since people with good records of payment can ‘borrow on the strength of their good name,’ also known as “reputation collateral”.
The National Bank of Rwanda has so far licensed only one company, CRBAfrica Ltd, in 2010 to carry out CRS in the country.
As of December 2012, CRS coverage stood at 12.7% of the total Rwandan adult population and is expected to grow further this year.