The Credit Reference Center of the People’s Bank of China (中国人民银行征信中心) (CRC) is the directly administered credit information agency of the Chinese central bank, being the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).
CRC was first established in March 2006 with the approval of the State Commission Office for Republic Sector Reform, as a legal person entity that is directly subordinate to PBOC.
In 1997 PBOC commenced preparations to establish a bank loan registration inquiry system, which became the predecessor of its enterprise credit system.
During the period from 2004 to 2006 PBOC worked with domestic financial institutions to establish a nationwide, centralised enterprise and personal credit system.
CRC’s chief responsibility is the establishment, operation and management of an enterprise and personal credit system and a movable property financial registration notification system in accordance with both China’s national laws and regulations and PBOC’s articles.
CRC’s enterprise and personal credit system is officially referred to as a “financial credit information foundational data base” (金融信用信息基础数据库).
On 1 October 2007 CRC established the accounts receivable pledge registration system and commenced the provision of services externally.
In May 2008 CRC’s sign-unveiling ceremony was held in Shanghai, at its registered headquarters in Shanghai’s Pudong New District.
The “Credit Sector Administrative Regulations” (征信业管理条例) promulgated on 15 March 2013 served to clarify CRC’s status as a “state-founded financial credit information foundational database.”
According to its official website CRC has established sub-branches in 31 provinces and five municipalities.
In June 2019 PBOC officials announced that CRC had become the world’s largest credit information system in terms of population and data coverage, providing standardised credit files for every single person or company in China that engages in credit-related activities.
As of June 2019 PBOC’s credit system had collected information on 990 million natural persons and 25.91 million enterprises and other institutions, while each day the system was used to make approximately 5.5 million inquiries on the credit standing of individuals and 300,000 inquiries on enterprises.
In 2018 alone 21 nationwide Chinese banking institutions made use of the credit system to refuse 911.7 billion yuan in loan applications from high-risk customers, as well as issue advance warnings on 1.3028 trillion yuan in outstanding high-risk loans, and clear up 159.4 billion yuan in non-performing loans.
In early September 2019 PBOC announced the launch of measures to incorporate all peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in China into CRC.
The second generation personal inquiry function of PBOC’s credit system was launched on 19 January 2020.
The second generation credit system provides additional information that the first generation system failed to cover, including:
- Revolving loans,
- Large-sum credit card instalment payments,
- Joint borrowers,
- Enterprises providing guarantees for individuals,
- Individuals providing guarantees for enterprises,
- Repayment information after falling into arrears.
- Personal repayment information for the past five years.
As of the end December 2020 CRC had collected data on over 1.1 billion natural people, as well as 60.92 million enterprises and other organisations, according to data released by CRC chair Zhang Zihong (张子红) at a press conference held on 25 January 2021.