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Middle East Credit Reporting Association convenes to strengthen development of regional credit bureaus.

Members of the Middle East Credit Reporting Association (MECRA) convened at the Association's inaugural meeting today in Dubai to review its strategy of promoting the credit reporting industry in the region, supporting the development of credit bureaus through the exchange of knowledge, and to discuss best practices in order to establish industry standards for this region.

The meeting, organised by Emcredit, was attended by all the founding members of MECRA, and included two new members: i-Score from Egypt and Experian from Morocco.

Established in November last year, MECRA aims to create awareness and promote the credit reporting industry in the region. The association will explore initiatives for the exchange of credit information on individuals and commercial entities between its members within the guidelines of each bureau, as well as the local laws and regulations of each country. Further, it serves as a platform to share knowledge on credit bureau operations and data sharing best practices.

"The dynamic nature of the region's resident population and interconnected business environment calls for greater cooperation between regional credit bureaus," said Ali Ibrahim, Managing Director of Emcredit -- one of the founding members of MECRA. "As economies across the region move towards a period of sustained recovery and long-term stability, we are confident that a knowledge based economy created by credit bureaus will ensure sound recovery. MECRA will greatly benefit the development of credit bureaus in the region."

Mohammad Refaat, Managing Director, i-Score Egypt, said: "We are extremely pleased to have recently joined MECRA; an association we know will shape credit and borrowing trends in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. i-Score has received a fantastic response in Egypt and we currently have support from leading lending institutions, including the Central Bank of Egypt and other information centres in the country. We believe that MECRA will enhance the role of credit bureaus in the entire MENA region and our membership will further strengthen the role of credit bureaus in Egypt."

Jamal Rahal, Managing Director, Experian Morocco, also shared his thoughts on his first MECRA meeting. "The demand for fast and accurate information to support decision making is growing rapidly in financial markets around the world, and Morocco is no exception," he said. "Experian global know-how and technology and the Central Bank of Morocco strong commitment have proven key in meeting challenges successfully in a short timeframe. Today all Banks and Finance Houses in Morocco contribute data and interrogate the Credit Bureau. We believe sharing the experience gained in implementing the "Morocco Model" will help in accelerating Credit Bureau growth in the MENA region."

Nabil Mowais, Executive Director, Credit Chex, said, "The first official meeting of the members of MECRA was extremely fruitful, as members examined recent trends, challenges and opportunities for the association's role in boosting regional credit information services, where credit bureaus will support the regional economic growth. We encourage other regional credit bureaus to join the association that is set to become the unified voice for all credit reporting agencies in the region."

Robin Watson, Head of the Credit Bureau operated by The Benefit Company hoped the establishment of the Association will encourage other countries to speed up the start up of their bureaus. The founding members of the association have a wealth of experience between them and are available for assistance.

Membership to MECRA is open to all public and private entities in the region that are involved in the collection and distribution of credit information. The association offers full membership as well as associate membership. 2010 Al Bawaba (

2009 Al Bawaba (

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Date:Mar 22, 2010
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