Credit Reference Agencies

What is the Central Credit Register (CCR)?

Central Bank of Malta Directive No. 14 obliges credit institutions (banks) licensed by the Malta Financial Services Authority to provide information on any existing client who has an end-of-month balance of exposures exceeding €5,000. This non-anonymised information on borrowers and their credit exposures is securely stored in the Bank’s CCR. The borrowers comprise both legal and natural persons but exclude credit institutions. More information on the Bank’s CCR can be found here.

What are Credit Reference Agencies?

Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) issue credit scores on request by natural and legal persons, including credit institutions. The Central Bank of Malta’s (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Bank’) Directive No.15 lists a number of obligations imposed by the Bank, as the supervisory authority, on CRAs having access to the Bank’s Central Credit Register data (hereinafter referred to as “CCR data”) for the issuance of credit scores.  

Apart from assembling and evaluating credit information and offering related credit and risk management services, CRAs may carry out other related tasks.

The licensing regime and procedures to be following by companies and legal organisations applying to become CRAs were established by amendments to the Trade Licensing Act (Cap 441) – Trade Licences Regulation, 2018 (S.L. 441.07) as published in the Government of Malta Gazette 20,022 in July 2018.

The application to operate as a CRA in Malta shall be determined and assessed by the Commerce Department’s Trade Licensing Unit in terms of Regulation 47A of the Trading Licences Regulations, in consultation with the Bank. Various conditions apply.

What is the role of the Bank with regards to the supervision and operations of CRAs?

Following a public consultation in early 2019, new Central Bank of Malta Directive No. 15, entitled ‘Supervision of Credit Reference Agencies’, was issued in conjunction with the amendments to the Central Bank of Malta Act (Chapter 204 of the Laws of Malta). The final document, following the public consultation process, can be found here.

These documents establish the Central Bank of Malta as the Supervisory Authority of licensed CRAs. 

The Central Bank of Malta keeps a register with details of all the licensed CRAs, which can be found here.

To enable the licensed CRAs to issue credit scores, the Bank will share with them Central Credit Register data.

The application process to become a Credit Reference Agency

To apply for a licence, all interested companies or legal organisations are to fill in an:

  • Application Form: Form K ‘Credit Reference Agency’ of the Department of Commerce containing the following sections to be filled by the applicant: (a) Details of the applicant; (b) Details on the principal place of business; (c) Check-list of documents to be presented, and (d) Declaration.
  • Annex I: Detailed Application:  The form, to be completed on behalf of the applicant entity, is divided in six (6) sections: (a) The applicant; (b) or (c) as applicable, Particulars of the applicant company/legal organisations; (d) Persons who effectively direct the business and operations of the applicant; (e) Operations; and (f) Declaration.
  • Annex II: Fit and Proper Questionnaire:  The Questionnaire should be completed by natural persons to be appointed: (a) As qualifying shareholders; (b) To effectively direct the business and the operations of the Credit Reference Agency (chairman, executive and non-executive directors, chief executive officers, general managers or similar positions); (c) To occupy certain positions of trust, within a company or legal organisation which has applied to be licensed as a  CRA); and (d) As council members.
  • Annex III: CRA - Corporate Questionnaire: This Questionnaire should be completed on behalf of any legal persons to be appointed as qualifying shareholders within a company or legal organisation which has applied to be licensed as a CRA. The applicant should submit one Questionnaire for each legal person to be appointed as a qualifying shareholder.

Applicants are requested to complete and sign the Application Form and the Fit and Proper Questionnaire prior to submitting them in duplicate to the Trading Licensing Unit in accordance with Article 47A of the Trading Licences (Amended) Regulations. The application shall be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of five hundred euro (€500). More instructions can be found in the mentioned documents.

Data are being collected in terms of the Central Bank of Malta Act (Cap. 204 of the Laws of Malta) as part of the Licensing Procedure of Credit Reference Agencies as specified in the Directive No. 15. Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the requirements of local and EU legislation in force at the time of the data processing, including the General Data Protection Regulation - GDPR (Regulation (EU) 2016/679). 

Schemas and Sample Files

Licensed CRAs will be able to request and download CCR data from the Bank’s ‘CCR Portal’ as per schemas and sample files below:

Operator's Demo Files

System operators from licensed CRAs can consult the files listed below, guiding them on how to request and download data from the ‘CCR Portal’:

For more information, kindly contact the Central Bank of Malta either through this link or by calling on tel. no. (+356) 2550 4414.