ATM :: Be careful of your CIBIL score if you are a loan guarantor

Harshala Chandorkar of CIBIL discusses on the need to be careful before signing as a guarantor for anyone else’s loan. She stresses on how defaults on loan repayment by that person may affect the guarantor’s CIBIL credit score.
Harshala Chandorkar, Sr VP- Consumer Relations| Jul 15, 2013, 06.09 PM IST|

‘A friend in need is a friend in deed’ goes the age-old saying. Many of us believe this notion when a friend asks for help. But in today’s day and age, what one doesn’t realize is that these ideas have to be taken with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to financial transactions.

Take for example the case of 29-year old Rohit Kumar, hailing from Saharanpur, who dreams of buying a house in Powai. Rohit works with a private equity firm and earns a good six-digit salary. On immaculately collating all the requisite documents and having an impressive salary certificate attached to his loan application, Rohit was confident of getting the credit sanction within days.

However, to his shock, he was informed by the bank that his loan application was not sanctioned owing to his credit history and credit score.  This fact surprised Rohit since he has never borrowed before and holds only two credit cards on which he diligently makes sure to pay his EMIs on time. His credit card statements have been regularly showing no outstanding amount and no days past due, month-on-month.

On further probing with the bank, he was advised to get a copy of his credit history from CIBIL.  Rohit did some research and found out that CIBIL is India’s pioneer credit bureau that collects and maintains records of an individual’s payments pertaining to loans and credit cards.

These records are submitted to the CIBIL by banks and other lenders, on a monthly basis.  This information is then used to create Credit Reports which is provided to lenders in order to help evaluate and approve loan applications.

On getting a copy of his Credit Report from CIBIL, Rohit saw that the discrepancy in his credit history & credit score had nothing to do with his own credit behavior. It was due to the defaulting of the EMIs on a loan taken by his friend, that Rohit’s Credit Report showed a negative impact…. Still wondering why? Because Rohit was the guarantor on this friend’s home loan, taken two years back!

It was then Rohit realized that by pledging as a guarantor on the loan of his friend, he was also legally responsible towards the timely repayment of the loan and his credit history and credit score gets impacted because of this loan.

It is important to understand that as a guarantor on any form of loan, one is equally responsible to ensure the repayment of the loan. A guarantor pledges to repay a loan on behalf of a third party who has taken the loan. Hence, he provides a guarantee to the lender, that he will honour the obligation, in case the principal applicant (in this case, Rohit’s friend) is unable to do so.

Also, on the other hand, a guarantor’s credit score may be checked by banks depending on their credit sanctioning policies. However it is always a prudent practice to have a guarantor who has a higher credit score to guarantee your loan facility.

Since Rohit was not under any financial liability, his friend’s loan was sanctioned immediately. But his friend’s default on the loan repayment hit Rohit’s Credit Report and credit score negatively.

Information on the default of such payments appears in the “Accounts” section of the guarantor’s Report Hence, it’s imperative that the guarantor on the loan should ensure that the borrower pays the EMIs regularly on the due date, month on month.

But surely, all’s not lost yet.  By ensuring that his friend pays all his dues to the bank and regularly starts paying the loan EMIs, Rohit can rebuild both his friends and his own credit history and score.

He can then re-apply for the loan and fulfill the aspiration of his own home. Financial discipline coupled with prudent credit management will ensure that Rohit and his friend enjoy all the benefits associated with having and building a good credit history and credit score.

The author is a senior vice president- consumer relations, communications & CIC compliance at CIBIL.



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