Taiyuan branch of China’s central bank suspends finance firm’s credit system inquiry permit over customer insult
Published: May 25, 2021 03:57 PM
A file photo shows a pedestrian walks past the headquarters building of the People's Bank of China in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua)

A file photo shows a pedestrian walks past the headquarters building of the People's Bank of China in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua)

The credit system inquiry permit of Jinshang Consumer Finance, headquartered in North China's Shanxi Province, has been suspended, and internal rectification was required by The Taiyuan branch of the People's Bank of China on Wednesday, after the agency referred to a customer in a credit report as a "prostitute."

The bank summoned a staff member from the agency on Tuesday after the controversy provoked heated discussions among the public.

The company deleted insulting comments on a customer's credit report after calling her "a 10-year professional sex worker" in the report's job description column, according to the People's Daily on Monday.

The report said that a loan relationship still exists between the customer, surnamed Fang, and the company.

The People's Bank of China's Taiyuan branch summoned the company on Tuesday, reiterating the need for rectification, according to a statement published on the branch's website on Tuesday. 

As a next step, the bank will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and handle it properly in line with the law and regulations.

Fang, the customer, said that she signed a personal consumption loan contract of 162,000 yuan ($25,000) with a loan term of 36 months with the company in 2018, and still needs to repay the principal and interest of more than 70,000 yuan  to the company as of press time after she proposed postponing the repayment due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, according to the report.

Tan Xiaohui, a Nanjing-based lawyer, said in the report that Fang can file a lawsuit in court for infringement of reputation if degrading content indeed appeared in the personal credit report.

Tan said that customer's personal information such as name, the loan amount and overdue time should be updated in customer's credit reports, but the company cannot write down "whatever they want" concerning their customers' personal information, according to the report.

Fang reported the issue to People's Bank of China (PBOC), the bank in charge of the costumers' credit management, in early April after she found the insulting content on the report when she was making an inquiry about her credit in a bank branch in Nantong.

Jiang Wenhua, chief of the credit management at the central branch of PBOC in Nantong, said that all customers' credit information is on an online platform where the data is transmitted by the finance institutions, such as Jinshang Customer Finance, that the bank cooperates with.

Jiang asked Fang to go through the complaint procedure if she is still not satisfied with the results, said the report.

This is not the first time that a bank's credit business was revealed to have a problem, as several banks have been fined for violating credit service regulations, according to media reports, which said that the credit business is the epicenter of customers' complaints among banks' businesses.

The PBOC issued the largest fine in history, ordering Pengyuan Credit Service Co, an established credit company in China, to pay nearly 20 million yuan ($3,113,240) for engaging in personal credit business activities without approval, according toYicai News in January.

Pengyuan became the first credit agency to be punished for engaging in the relevant business without authorization, according to the report.