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Bank of Thailand issues new rules for digital loans

Bank of Thailand issues new rules for digital loans

Thailand's central bank has published new measures for the growing digital personal loan market that will allow lenders to use a wider range of alternative data sources when making credit decisions.

The Bank of Thailand issued a circular to businesses looking to apply for digital loan business licences that approved the use of alternative data which includes utility bills and online shopping information. 

According to central bank governor Veerathai Santiprabhob, greater use of alternative data will help service providers to analyse the ability and willingness of borrowers' debt payment based on information-based lending.

It will also pave the way for the unbanked to get access to personal loans, stated the governor. "Digital personal loans will help people, particularly those who do not have fixed salaries, cannot provide proof of income and have no asset-backed collateral, to better access loans in the formal financial system."

The central bank has also recommended that loan providers apply more digital technology for operational processes such as loan offering, debt repayment and information disclosure such as interest rates, fees and penalties.

The use of alternative data for lending has been a source of debate around the world, particularly the use of non-financial data such as a borrower's educational institution or qualification. 

Back in Janaury 2019, a number of fintechs called for more clarification on the use of alternative data for loan origination. Menawhile the US Government Accountabilty Office outlined the potential risk of unfair credit decisions if rules over the use of alternative data are not clearly articulated by regulators.

"The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) and federal banking regulators have monitored fintech lenders’ use of alternative data by collecting information and developing reports on alternative data," observes the GAO. "But they have not provided lenders and banks with specific guidance on using the data in underwriting. For example, BCFP’s fair lending examination procedures and the banking regulators’ third-party guidance on risk do not clearly communicate the agencies’ views on the appropriate use of alternative data."

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