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Twenty Years of the Credit Bureau of the Association of Serbian Banks

10 Million Credit Reports, Zero Interruptions

The servers of the ASB Credit Bureau generate reports in just two seconds, making it the world’s fastest credit bureau

The Credit Bureau of the Association of Serbian Banks, which is now celebrating its 20th anniversary, has not only marked a significant milestone, but has also revolutionised banking practices. Over the course of the two decades of its existence, it has delivered nearly 10 million credit history reports without a single major security incident.

Reflecting on the past, it’s hard to fathom the era before the establishment of the Credit Bureau. Prior to 2004, banks struggled to maintain independent records of their clients’ creditworthiness, leading to lengthy approval processes and higher interest rates for diligent payers. The lack of valid credit history data posed a significant risk to banks.

The heart of the Credit Bureau now resides in the Zelendata [Greendata] Centre in Vršac, Serbia’s pioneering ecological data centre. This state-of-the-art facility houses data for as many as 5.2 million citizens and nearly half a million registered businesses and entrepreneurs, using servers that are physically small, yet extremely powerful. The innovative immersion cooling technology submerges the servers deep in mineral oil, creating an efficient cooling system. This results in annual energy savings of up to 800,000 euros compared to other cooling systems, while extending the lifespan and enhancing the performance of these invaluable devices.

In an era of heightened concern over citizens’ data, the Credit Bureau employs one of the most advanced and secure methods. Each bank has a private space on the server that it uses to store clients’ data. These data do not belong to other banks or the Credit Bureau itself, and it is only with the formal consent of the account holder that the Credit Bureau app can access specific data and make them available to the bank or the client in the form of a report.

High security requirements do not negatively impact the speed of operations. Indeed, on the contrary, the Credit Bureau generates a requested report within two seconds and, considering the communication time between the bank and the Credit Bureau, a total of approximately five seconds is required for the report to be delivered. This makes the Credit Bureau of the Association of Serbian Banks the world’s fastest credit bureau.

Such systems are targets of cyberattacks worldwide, and our Credit Bureau is no exception. The fact that all such attacks so far have been repelled speaks volumes about how the Bureau’s security is protected.

However, cybersecurity success to date cannot be taken for granted. The Financial CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) – which also operates under the auspices of the Association of Serbian Banks – is continuously engaged in enhancing the security of the banking system and the financial sector as a whole.

CERT experts work in multiple directions with various interested groups. One of these efforts is a continuous campaign to educate citizens. Through traditional and new media, clients are informed about new cyber risks and given helpful advice on avoiding dangers.

CERT connects with all relevant authorities, institutions, and experts in the country and around the region. Permanent cooperation has been established with the Special Prosecutor’s Office for High-Tech Crime in the exchange of data in the field of cybersecurity. Training sessions have been organised with leading experts on cryptocurrencies and potential fraud, while a meeting has also been held with the Montenegrin Cyber Incident Response Team in order to exchange experiences and achievements.

The development of the Credit Bureau of the Association of Serbian Banks has benefited everyone. Banks can enter into credit transactions with reduced risk and can more easily introduce new services. Clients can quickly meet their financing needs and benefit from their clean banking history. A diligent client is now clearly distinguished from one that fails to fulfil their obligations on time.

It is for all these reasons that the Association of Serbian Banks has every reason to be proud of the achievements of the Credit Bureau, which will continue to enhance the quality of its services.

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