Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has called for moneylenders to be banned from using social media as a means of deciding on the credit worthiness of applicants.
MacManus was commenting after a major European report singled out a specific Irish moneylender for using this practice. The report from Finance Watch quotes Provident’s own website as stating “ As part of our ongoing commitment to understanding our customers better, we sometimes research comments and opinions made public on social media sites. We sometimes also match information on these sites with the data we hold to undertake behavioral analysis and assist with credit decisioning.”
“It is shocking that a moneylender can openly admit to using social media as a means of deciding on credit worthiness. Unfortunately, as the report points out a lack of detail in EU legislation in this area means they can get away with this.
“The use of social media in assessing credit worthiness raises many issues of data protection. There is of course a question of basic ethics here.
“Furthermore, it also suggests that the decision making process is not adhering to any rational and accountable factors. In short, relying on social media can and will lead to bad credit decisions and consequent difficulties for borrowers.
“I support the report’s call for “detailed rules in the CCD (Consumer Credit Directive) concerning which specific information that should be used to perform a creditworthiness assessment. The assessment should be based only on information needed to allow for an adequate personal budget analysis (data on income and expenditures), including all on-going credit and debts.”
“I will be raising this issue with the Central Bank and the EU Commission immediately. Sinn Féin is championing legislation to cap moneylenders’ rates but as this European report show that is only one of the problems with how moneylenders operate in Ireland. Change at state and EU level will help ordinary workers get fair credit at a fair price.”
Sinn Féin MEP challenges Von Der Leyen on “lack of engagement” over Article 16 shambles
Today in the European Parliament, Ireland’s Midlands Northwest MEP Chris MacManus questioned the Commission on its “Outrageous” attempt to use Article 16 of the Irish Protocol.
Speaking from the floor of Parliament MacManus said, “It is unacceptable that the Commission didn’t see the potential of destabilising the Withdrawal Agreement and the Good Friday Agreement by proposing the use of Article 16 of the Irish Protocol. We must ensure that the fiasco isn’t repeated.”
The Sinn Féin MEP also used his speaking time to call for an openness in communication between Brussels, Dublin and Belfast on all such matters, requesting a “structural commitment with the north of Ireland at all levels, recognising its special status as defined in the Protocol.”
MacManus concluded the address by urging “consistent dialogue with the Joint First Ministers” and for an EU understanding of their responsibilities to Irish Citizens in the six counties. “There needs to be a systemic engagement with citizens, communities and their elected representatives. We must find a way to ensure that EU decisions that directly affect nearly two million north of Ireland citizens – currently without their input – is addressed and resolved. There must be no democratic deficit.”
Speaking immediately after the debate MEP MacManus said “In my opinion it is deeply concerning that the EU did not see the potential for destabilisation of the agreement. This cannot happen again, and you can be sure that we will be working with colleagues across Parliament to ensure it never does!
MacManus concluded by expressing concern on how the Commission are handling the situation. “The silence we’ve witnessed today from President Von Der Leyen and the Commission despite numerous questions regarding the Article 16 debacle is nothing short of unacceptable. It is certainly a cause for grave concern. During many questions from Irish MEPs and others during the course of debate, we saw notable absences and a complete silence in terms of our search for answers to the Commission’s mishandling of the crisis.”