Chinese group Ant shares credit data with central bank | National / Global News

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BEIJING (AP) – China’s central bank will soon have access to the private credit information of hundreds of millions of users of Ant Group’s online lending service, a sign of greater regulatory oversight of the fintech industry.

Huabei, Ant Group’s credit department, said in a statement that the consumer credit data it collected will be included in the People’s Bank of China Financial Credit Information Database.

“Inclusion of Huabei’s credit information in the credit report system will help users’ credit information to be more complete,” the statement from Huabei said.

Consumers who do not allow credit data sharing with the central bank will not be able to use Huabei’s service.

The move is part of various stricter regulations for Ant, which has been ordered to end its monopoly on information and behave more like a bank.

Ant Group, the financial arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba, operates a number of digital payment, investment and insurance services and has more than one billion users worldwide. In China, around 500 million people use its online credit and consumer lending services.

Financial regulators are increasingly concerned about Ant’s financial services business, abruptly halting its expected $ 34.5 billion listing just days before it goes public.

Previously, Ant Group’s private credit scoring system assessed a user’s creditworthiness. People deemed sufficiently trustworthy could use Ant’s credit and lending services, including Huabei, who was popular among consumers because it gave them access to online credit in a country where it is difficult to obtain credit. credit card.

Ant Group would connect creditworthy users with the banks that provided the credit, while reducing the costs of the process. The banks therefore found themselves assuming most of the credit risk.

Ant’s wealth of customer data has long been viewed as a significant business benefit, enabling it to design financial products tailored to its users.

Regulators accused the company of anti-competitive behavior, defying regulatory compliance requirements and engaging in regulatory arbitrage. Ant Group has been ordered to hold minimum capital requirements as part of the risk management measures.

According to Huabei’s statement, data such as a user’s credit lines, amount of credit used, repayment statuses and account creation dates will be shared with the central bank, while information such as individual purchases and transactions will remain private.

Huabei said he will strictly follow regulatory requirements.

“The credit rating system is the foundation of the country’s financial sector. As the company progresses and improves, more and more users will come into contact and understand credit reports better, ”he said.

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