PRESS RELEASE

Memorandum of Understanding on the exchange of information among credit registers for the benefit of reporting institutions

10 March 2003

The European Central Bank (ECB) is today publishing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that has been signed by the governors of all the EU central banks operating central credit registers (Nationale Bank van België/Banque Nationale de Belgique, Deutsche Bundesbank, Banco de España, Banque de France, Banca d'Italia, Oesterreichische Nationalbank and Banco de Portugal). The MoU contains the principles for an exchange of information among central credit registers whereby each register is able to further extend its coverage of credit relationships originating outside national borders. As financial market integration increases within the EU and cross-border lending grows in importance, the MoU will enable reporting institutions to access more comprehensive information on the indebtedness of a borrower. The MoU is intended to support credit registers in continuing to aid reporting institutions' credit risk analysis, as well as to provide additional information for the supervisory assessment of reporting institutions, thereby contributing towards financial stability.

The exchange of information among credit registers will begin within the next two years after a testing phase, during which technical preparations for data exchange and possible information system adaptations will be finalised. At present, two credit registers (in Austria and France) are not able to participate in the information exchange because of restrictions in their national legislation. Steps are being taken in these countries to remove these barriers.

The MoU can be downloaded from the "Publications" section of the ECB's website. Printed copies are also available free of charge from the ECB's Press and Information Division (fax: +49 69 1344 7404).

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