Over-indebtedness: the return of the positive file
The “positive file” is a little Arlesienne credit. Announced for several years, the system was almost introduced in 2014 in the wake of the Hamon law before being rejected by the Constitutional Council. The subject is once again on the news following the recent publication of a report by the Court of Auditors.
The positive file, Mesilo?
Positive file, Hamon law, Constitutional Council, Court of Auditors… Let’s pick up the pieces.
What is known as a positive file is actually a register made available to the lending institutions listing the credits signed by households. This document must make it possible to know if households requesting a consumer loan do not already have one or more other credits signed with different banks. The goal is clear: fight against overindebtedness.
The file then had to be part of a package of measures in favor of consumers. But that was before the Constitutional Council put a stop to it and censored the device. The reason invoked by the Sages? The risk of infringing the ” right to respect for private life which can not be regarded as proportionate to the aim pursued “.
Earlier this week, the Court of Auditors published a report on ” banking inclusion and the prevention of over-indebtedness “. The document weighs 205 pages and proposes 10 recommendations. The 9th provides for the establishment of ” an alert file on consumer credit in ways ” in accordance with the requirements of the Constitutional Council…
Positive file modalities: the recommendations of the Court of Auditors
” Banking inclusion ” ? This is a set of banking provisions for financially frail people : right to the account, basic banking services, access to microcredit…
Concerning the alert file, the Court of Auditors wants it to focus on ” holding multiple consumer loans “. On the finding that over-indebted households accumulate loans from different lenders, such a file would make it possible to ” know all the credits held by an underwriter [and] to achieve a quantitative and qualitative jump in the prevention of over-indebtedness “.
The Court of Auditors also recalls that most European countries have this type of file: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Spain… But all do not meet the same needs.
At the same time, the Sages recommend the obligation for ” the borrower to provide the lender, especially at the point of sale, with his last three bank statements “.
What about the Constitutional Council?
Because if this type of file is instituted, it must be consistent with the opinion of the Constitutional Council published in 2014. ” It is important that the law more strictly controls the operation of the register to better comply [the file] the “IT and freedoms” legislation and the constitutional requirement of respect for privacy recalled in the aforementioned decision of 13 March 2014 “.
For this purpose, the institution recommends:
reduce the range of information in the file;
restrict the reasons for viewing the file;
limit the list of people who can access file.
Haro on the over-indebtedness
The fight against over-indebtedness is a major challenge. Although the number of debt distress cases fell by 11% last year according to the Banque de France, 194,194 cases were filed in 2016.
For the record, ” over-indebtedness carries risks in terms of social exclusion for debtors, and even risks to their health, ” recalls the Court of Auditors.
Before switching to over-indebtedness, the repurchase of credit can constitute a solution to reduce its level of indebtedness and to find a new capacity of investment.