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Censorship of the positive file: what consequences for the over-indebtedness – Debt Consolidation

The government, as part of the large consumer bill defended by Good Finance, wanted to put in place measures to fight more effectively against over-indebtedness and against the situation of quasi-banking monopoly. Unfortunately the Constitutional Council has censored part of this law: why?

What is the positive file?

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The National Register of Credit to Individuals, more commonly called “positive file” was a record that was to identify all consumer credit granted to individuals.

What is it used for ?

The creation of such a file aimed to fight against over-indebtedness by making available to banks and credit institutions a wide range of personal information (salary, income, expenses, credit …) on French borrowers.

In Europe, the positive file has already existed in Belgium since 2003, in Germany, Italy and Spain. In Belgium, it seems to have borne fruit since the number of over-indebtedness fell by nearly a quarter between 2002 and 2008. In 2011, it had 319,092 defaulting borrowers (11 million contracts managed) against 780,000 in France.

Who is against?

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On this file, the opinions of borrower associations, credit institutions or parliamentarians differ greatly.

They talk about non-respect of privacy, raise the risks associated with the control of data and their use as well as the cost of this device.

Good Finance strongly supported this device as a good way to fight against the over-indebtedness upstream. Yet, critics argue that credit abuse is the cause of over-indebtedness in only 13% of cases. Most often, it is the result of accidents of life (accidents, unemployment, illness) against which the positive file will be able nothing.

Why did the constitutional council censor it?

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Thursday, March 13, the constitutional council that had been seized by the UMP deputies censored the “positive file”. The latter considered that it violated individual freedoms and the right to respect for private life.

It would have given all credit institutions access to personal data of more than 12 million French, an oversized device relative to the number of over-indebtedness by institution. The argument of the significant cost of the device (between 15 and 20 million euros) compared to the surplus value in terms of general interest was also advanced.

What consequences for the banks?

The “positive file” would have enabled the banks and credit institutions to know the exact financial situation (number of credits in progress) of the applicant for credit and thus avoid granting “credit too much” to already fragile individuals and which multiplies the loans.

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