Getting Credit Methodology
Doing Business measures the legal rights of borrowers and lenders with respect to secured transactions through one set of indicators and the sharing of credit information through another. The first set of indicators measures whether certain features that facilitate lending exist within the applicable collateral and bankruptcy laws. The second set measures the coverage, scope and accessibility of credit information available through public credit registries and private credit bureaus (figure 1). The ranking on the ease of getting credit is based on the percentile rankings on the sum of its component indicators: the depth of credit information index and the strength of legal rights index (figure A.1).
The data on the legal rights of borrowers and lenders are gathered through a survey of financial lawyers and verified through analysis of laws and regulations as well as public sources of information on collateral and bankruptcy laws. Survey responses are verified through several rounds of follow-up communication with respondents as well as by contacting third parties and consulting public sources. The survey data are confirmed through teleconference calls or on-site visits in all economies.
Strength of legal rights index
The strength of legal rights index measures the degree to which collateral and bankruptcy laws protect the rights of borrowers and lenders and thus facilitate lending (table A.1). Two case scenarios, case A and case B, are used to determine the scope of the secured transactions system. The case scenarios involve a secured borrower, the company ABC, and a secured lender, BizBank. In some economies the legal framework for secured transactions will allow only case A or case B to apply (not both). Both cases examine the same set of legal provisions relating to the use of movable collateral.
Several assumptions about the secured borrower and lender are used:
- ABC is a domestic, limited liability company.
- The company has 100 employees.
- ABC has its headquarters and only base of operations in the economy’s largest business city.
- Both ABC and BizBank are 100% domestically owned.
The case scenarios also involve assumptions. In case A, as collateral for the loan, ABC grants BizBank a nonpossessory security interest in one category of movable assets, for example, its machinery or its inventory. ABC wants to keep both possession and ownership of the collateral. In economies where the law does not allow nonpossessory security interests in movable property, ABC and BizBank use a fiduciary transfer-of-title arrangement (or a similar substitute for nonpossessory security interests). The strength of legal rights index does not cover functional equivalents to security over movable assets (for example, leasing or reservation of title).
In case B, ABC grants BizBank a business charge, enterprise charge, floating charge or any charge that gives BizBank a security interest over ABC’s combined movable assets (or as much of ABC’s movable assets as possible). ABC keeps ownership and possession of the assets.
The strength of legal rights index includes 8 aspects related to legal rights in collateral law and 2 aspects in bankruptcy law. A score of 1 is assigned for each of the following features of the laws:
- Any business may use movable assets as collateral while keeping possession of the assets, and any financial institution may accept such assets as collateral.
- The law allows a business to grant a nonpossessory security right in a single category of movable assets (such as accounts receivable or inventory), without requiring a specific description of the collateral.
- The law allows a business to grant a nonpossessory security right in substantially all its movable assets, without requiring a specific description of the collateral.
- A security right may extend to future or after-acquired assets and may extend automatically to the products, proceeds or replacements of the original assets.
- A general description of debts and obligations is permitted in the collateral agreement and in registration documents; all types of debts and obligations can be secured between the parties, and the collateral agreement can include a maximum amount for which the assets are encumbered.
- A collateral registry or registration institution for security interests over movable property is in operation, unified geographically and by asset type, with an electronic database indexed by debtors’ names.
- Secured creditors are paid first (for example, before general tax claims and employee claims) when a debtor defaults outside an insolvency procedure.
- Secured creditors are paid first (for example, before general tax claims and employee claims) when a business is liquidated.
- Secured creditors either are not subject to an automatic stay or moratorium on enforcement procedures when a debtor enters a court-supervised reorganization procedure, or the law provides secured creditors with grounds for relief from an automatic stay or moratorium (for example, if the movable property is in danger) or sets a time limit for the automatic stay.
- The law allows parties to agree in a collateral agreement that the lender may enforce its security right out of court.
The index ranges from 0 to 10, with higher scores indicating that collateral and bankruptcy laws are better designed to expand access to credit.
The data on credit information sharing are built in 2 stages. First, banking supervision authorities and public information sources are surveyed to confirm the presence of a public credit registry or private credit bureau. Second, when applicable, a detailed survey on the public credit registry’s or private credit bureau’s structure, laws and associated rules is administered to the entity itself. Survey responses are verified through several rounds of follow-up communication with respondents as well as by contacting third parties and consulting public sources. The survey data are confirmed through teleconference calls or on-site visits in all economies.
Depth of credit information index
The depth of credit information index measures rules and practices affecting the coverage, scope and accessibility of credit information available through either a public credit registry or a private credit bureau. A score of 1 is assigned for each of the following 6 features of the public credit registry or private credit bureau (or both):
- Data on both firms and individuals are distributed.
- Both positive credit information (for example, outstanding loan amounts and pattern of on-time repayments) and negative information (for example, late payments and the number and amount of defaults and bankruptcies) are distributed.
- Data from retailers and utility companies as well as financial institutions are distributed.
- More than 2 years of historical data are distributed. Credit registries and bureaus that erase data on defaults as soon as they are repaid obtain a score of 0 for this indicator.
- Data on loan amounts below 1% of income per capita are distributed. Note that a credit registry or bureau must have a minimum coverage of 1% of the adult population to score a 1 on this indicator.
- By law, borrowers have the right to access their data in the largest credit registry or bureau in the economy.
The index ranges from 0 to 6, with higher values indicating the availability of more credit information, from either a public credit registry or a private credit bureau, to facilitate lending decisions. If the credit registry or bureau is not operational or has a coverage of less than 0.1% of the adult population, the score on the depth of credit information index is 0.
In Lithuania, for example, both a public credit registry and a private credit bureau operate. Both distribute positive and negative information (a score of 1). Both distribute data on firms and individuals (a score of 1). Both distribute more than 2 years of historical data (a score of 1). Although the public credit registry does not distribute data from retailers or utilities, the private credit bureau does do so (a score of 1). Although the public credit registry has a threshold of 1,000 litai, the private credit bureau distributes data on loans of any value (a score of 1). Borrowers have the right to access their data in both the public credit registry and the private credit bureau (a score of 1). Summing across the indicators gives Lithuania a total score of 6.
Public credit registry coverage
The public credit registry coverage indicator reports the number of individuals and firms listed in a public credit registry with information on their borrowing history from the past 5 years. The number is expressed as a percentage of the adult population (the population age 15 and above in 2011 according to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators). A public credit registry is defined as a database managed by the public sector, usually by the central bank or the superintendent of banks, that collects information on the creditworthiness of borrowers (individuals or firms) in the financial system and facilitates the exchange of credit information among banks and other regulated financial institutions. If no public registry operates, the coverage value is 0.
Private credit bureau coverage
The private credit bureau coverage indicator reports the number of individuals and firms listed by a private credit bureau with information on their borrowing history from the past 5 years. The number is expressed as a percentage of the adult population (the population age 15 and above in 2011 according to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators). A private credit bureau is defined as a private firm or nonprofit organization that maintains a database on the creditworthiness of borrowers (individuals or firms) in the financial system and facilitates the exchange of credit information among creditors. Credit investigative bureaus and credit reporting firms that do not directly facilitate information exchange among banks and other financial institutions are not considered. If no private bureau operates, the coverage value is 0.
This methodology was developed in Djankov, McLiesh and Shleifer (2007) and is adopted here with minor changes.