Public credit registries are public establishments supervised by central banks that provide credit reporting information to financial institutions for large amounts of loans. Credit registries also collect information on a wider scale for financial regulation to mitigate risks in the financial structure of a country.
According to the World Bank Doing Business Project, "Public credit registry coverage reports the number of individuals and firms listed in a public credit registry with current information on repayment history, unpaid debts, or credit outstanding. The number is expressed as a percentage of the adult population."
Portugal heads the list of countries with the highest shares of adults with public credit registry coverage at 100.0%. The country’s high debt burden continues to affect its public and private sectors. Although its economy is on a steady growth, its public debt ratio is at 129% of its 2015 year's end Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Public financing to small and medium enterprises (SME) is done through the IAPMEI agency for innovation and start-ups. European Union-backed loans, Enterprise Europe Network, YourEurope, and EIB loans all provide financial access for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Belgium, with a 96.3% share of adults with public credit registry coverage, ranks second on the list. Public access to credit and finance in the country is allowed only with sufficient ownership equity. Otherwise, public credit institutions and Chambers of Commerce also finance interested parties or individuals who want to start businesses. Belgium has a wealthy economy but its public debt ratio remains high. Although the government expects to keep its fiscal deficits down yearly.
Kosovo has around 95.2% of its adults with public credit registry coverage, and ranks third on the list. It is one of the four countries to experience a yearly economic growth since the global financial crisis in 2008. Foreign parent banks and non-bank financial institutions remain as the public’s main access to credit and finance in the country. Multi Bank Framework Financing Facility (SME Credit Line) and the EAR/World Bank SME credit line also give credit access to SMEs in the country.
China, with a 89.5% share of adults with public credit registry coverage, ranks fourth in the list. China’s SMEs have difficulty in accessing public credit and finance due to the high requirements from banks. Most start-up capital comes from self-accumulated money, private loans, and non-bank financial loans. Structural limitations have prevented rural and city cooperatives from fulfilling this need. Appropriate collateral to banks is a sure way to get a loan for small and medium-size enterprises.
In Uruguay, 84.1% of all adults have public credit registry coverage, which ranks the country fifth on the list. Its credit market has recently been in a high degree of financial dollarization as a result of the country’s bank savings in US Dollars. This is a further result of Uruguay’s consistent high inflation and currency devaluation. Banks, non-bank financial institutions, and non-deposit taking lenders all account for public access to credit and finance in the country. The agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial sectors were the main borrowers of US Dollars in the country.
Downsides of High Public Debt
The following countries also have a major percentage of their respective adult populations with public credit registry coverage. Mauritius has 82.6%, Latvia has 80.8%, Turkey has 74.9%, Belarus has 66.9%, and Bulgaria has 64.7% share of its adults with public credit registry coverage. Since the global financial crisis in 2008, most countries have had financial market difficulties that have affected their economies and credit markets leading to public access to credit and finance have also been affected. Although most countries are in steady recovery, they continue to face high public debt burdens in relation to their respective GDPs.