Credit Bureaus Between Risk-Management, Creditworthiness Assessment and Prudential Supervision

43 Pages Posted: 26 May 2015

See all articles by Federico Ferretti

Federico Ferretti

Brunel University London - Brunel Law School

Date Written: 2015


This paper discusses the role and operations of consumer Credit Bureaus in the European Union in the context of the economic theories, policies and law within which they work. Across Europe there is no common practice of sharing the credit data of consumers which can be used for several purposes. Mostly, they are used by the lending industry as a practice of creditworthiness assessment or as a risk-management tool to underwrite borrowing decisions or price risk. However, the type, breath, and depth of information differ greatly from country to country. In some Member States, consumer data are part of a broader information centralisation system for the prudential supervision of banks and the financial system as a whole. Despite EU rules on credit to consumers for the creation of the internal market, the underlying consumer data infrastructure remains fragmented at national level, failing to achieve univocal, common, or defined policy objectives under a harmonised legal framework. Likewise, the establishment of the Banking Union and the prudential supervision of the Euro area demand standardisation and convergence of the data used to measure debt levels, arrears, and delinquencies. The many functions and usages of credit data suggest that the policy goals to be achieved should inform the legal and institutional framework of Credit Bureaus, as well as the design and use of the databases. This is also because fundamental rights and consumer protection concerns arise from the sharing of credit data and their expanding use.

Keywords: Consumers; Credit data; Over-indebtedness; Creditworthiness; Prudential supervision

Suggested Citation

Ferretti, Federico, Credit Bureaus Between Risk-Management, Creditworthiness Assessment and Prudential Supervision (2015). EUI Department of Law Research Paper No. 2015/20, Available at SSRN: or

Federico Ferretti (Contact Author)

Brunel University London - Brunel Law School ( email )

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