Credit bureau a sign of Papua New Guinea’s growing consumer market


When it comes to enforcing contracts, Papua New Guinea ranks 166 out of 185 in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ survey. Small wonder the country’s only credit bureau is growing fast.

CDB's Bruce Mackinlay (left) with Michael Kaiser of founding member, Teachers Savings & Loan. Credit: CDB

CDB’s Bruce Mackinlay (left) with Michael Koisen of founding member, Teachers Savings & Loan Society. Credit: CDB

Credit & Data Bureau (CDB) provides credit histories on almost 150,000 Papua New Guineans and more than 16,000 local businesses to a membership that includes the country’s major financial institutions.

‘The number of individual credit histories on our database is increasing on a daily basis, and now covers around 150 million kina (US$71 million) in listed debt,’ says Bruce Mackinlay, CDB’s Managing Director.

The Bureau has been in operation since 2008 and has already has helped members recover more than 35 million kina (US$16.7 million), much of it from consumers who have found it hard to get further credit until existing debts are settled.

‘Consumers now have an incentive to have a clean credit record. It’s put a stop to a lot of scams. Also important, although harder to measure, are the savings our members make when they turn away someone with a bad credit history,’ says Mackinlay.

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While the majority of Papua New Guineans still exist outside the formal economy, Mackinlay feels that, with microfinance and mobile phone banking expanding, the need for reliable information on consumer credit can only increase in the future.

‘The sky’s the limit here,’ he says.