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Banks Turn down 10% of Home Loan Requests
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Commercial banks in Shanghai knocked back 10 percent of housing loan applications received in May because of bad credit records, the Shanghai headquarters of the People's Bank of China said yesterday.


The banks early this year began using the country's nationwide individual credit database to check applicants for mortgages and other forms of credit, the central bank said.


The Shanghai banks made 856,500 checks through the system in May.


China in January started full operation of the nationwide credit database, which tracks pooled information on individuals' accounts, deposits, credit cards and collateral to help banks assess clients' credit qualifications and cut credit risks.


Shanghai has more than 7 million credit-card users with a combined credit line of 60 billion yuan (US$7.59 billion) and more than 1.6 million mortgage holders with a total credit line of 42 billion yuan, according to the database.


"The nationwide credit database is a must for commercial banks to turn to when they are considering personal lending," the central bank said.


The database tracked more than 520 million individuals in the country, 52 million of whom have borrowed from banks. The outstanding value of individual loans has topped 2.5 trillion yuan.


The central bank will add more information, including data on the public housing fund, social security, and any legal information from the courts, the central bank said, without giving a specific timeframe.


The system, which has been operating on a trial basis for the past few years, is playing an increasingly important role in reducing loan risks.


The database, which protects individuals' privacy, can be used only to complete credit card and loan approvals by banks.


The central bank is also gearing up to set up a credit system for small firms, which have no history of borrowing, to get them a credit rating. Central bank officials were not available for comment.


(Shanghai Daily September 27, 2006)


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