New Zealand's adoption of a more comprehensive credit reporting regime in six weeks' time will boost bank lending and drive economic growth, says an international expert.

From April 1, amendments to the Credit Reporting Privacy Code will allow reporting agencies Veda and Dun & Bradstreet to collect positive information on consumers' credit histories. The agencies are currently only able to collect negative data such as late payments, defaults and bankruptcies.

The changes, which also allow agencies to store up to 24 months of consumers' histories, will bring this country in line with most developed nations, including the United States and Britain.

Michael Turner, president and chief executive of North Carolina's Policy & Economic Research Council, said a negative only regime was "far and away the least forgiving credit risk assessment system on earth".


He said his organisation's research showed 36 per cent of ethnic minority loan applicants who qualified for credit under a comprehensive system in the US would be denied credit under a negative-only regime.

He said the April 1 changes could prompt a 27 per cent increase in loan approvals.

And enabling financial institutions to lend more to the private sector boosted economic activity, Turner added.

He said more comprehensive credit reporting allowed banks to fine-tune lending rates based on the risk profiles of individual consumers.

"You'll see many more borrowers getting much more competitive rates."