Students Loan Defaulters Added To BoG Credit Reference System
Students who are loaned monies under the Social Security and National Investment Trust (SSNIT) Students Loan Trust (SLT) will now be profiled by the Credit Reference System at the Bank of Ghana (BoG).
The Credit Reference System is an integrated platform that details the identity and credit history of borrowers across any and all financial institutions. The database is thus shared by all registered financial institutions in Ghana.
Adding the SLT to the reference system is seen as an attempt to boost the rate of recovering loans as well as to discourage defaulting on loans.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SLT Fund, Nana Kwaku Agyei Yeboah, the decision, which was taken by the BoG, will boost the fund’s loan recovery efforts.
“The BoG adding us as a Credit Reference System institution is in fact a big boost in our loans recovery efforts,” the CEO was quoted by the Daily Graphic.
Yeboah also insisted that the decision was connected to making loans available to other students as well.
He also explained that “[u]nderstanding the borrower’s credit history helps us prescribe the right collection strategies for them. For instance, at the Students Loan Trust Fund we have facilities like forbearance payment, deferment and interest rate reduction or wavers”.
With this new development, Yeboah believes that it has become necessary to teach younger Ghanaians that “the way Ghana is going, it is better to guide your credit history.”
Meanwhile, the SLT Fund has indicated it will soon implement a non-guarantor policy for borrowers.
Under existing arrangements, students in tertiary institutions who wish to access periodic loans need their applications guaranteed by a SSNIT-registered Ghanaian in good standing.
However, now, the SLT Fund hopes unifying SSNIT’s database with that of the National Identification Authority (GhanaCard) will eliminate the need for guarantors.
“Now the GhanaCard will help us to identify the borrowers and track them better than the guarantor because in the past we were only working with the SSNIT database.
“The GhanaCard is synchronised with all other cards, so now we have access to more database that we can track the student from. So that would help us track the borrowers more alongside the CRS than we used to do with the guarantor,” Yeboah added.
Earlier this year, SSNIT announced that there will be no need to issue a unique identity number, rather, the GhanaCard number will be enough.
The ambition, as stated by Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia, is to vest the GhanaCard with all the needs of identification by a Ghanaian.
The vice-president, who has announced and largely overseen this government’s efforts to compile correct information about inhabitants in the country as well as synchronise their identifications, continues to tout the merits of the Ghana Card.
The NIA was set up in 2003 for the very purpose that has taken nearly two decades, cost huge sums of money and troubled a lot of well-meaning Ghanaians. But as it appears, progress is slowly being made on this front.