Credit reporting remains a complicated and highly nuanced component of the ARM industry, and recent changes to how, when, and what is reported is making it even more complex, according to a panel of compliance experts, speaking during a webinar last week.
The webinar, which was sponsored by The Bedard Law Group, aimed to highlight some recent changes to credit reporting guidelines and answer questions about the intricacies associated with credit reporting. For many collection agencies, whether to report delinquent or unpaid debts to the credit bureaus is a decision that is thrust upon them by their clients, and the benefits of reporting is often unquantifiable. But an increased focus on credit reporting, originating from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is shining a larger spotlight on the practice.
“The CFPB is laser focused,” on credit reporting, said John Bedard from The Bedard Law Group during the webinar. “We’ve all just assumed that all debt obligations are worthy of being reported. But we may need to take a step back and determine if some types of debt are less or more important.”
The panelists, which included Nicole Strickler from the law firm of Messer Strickler, shared a number of insightful tips to help agencies who do report to the bureaus to do so in an efficient — and compliant — manner.
For example, all three of the major credit bureaus offer reports that allow customers to see tradelines exactly how individuals see them, to verify information and keep customers from having to research account histories, said Lexi Knight, the chief compliance officer at Investment Retrievers.
Those who participated in the webinar had many questions about Compliance Condition Codes, or dispute codes, which have been published by the Consumer Data Industry Association. These are the codes that furnishers — such as collection agencies reporting on delinquent or unpaid debts — use when an account is being disputed by an individual. The participants had many questions — and the panelists had answers — for different scenarios involving condition codes and how they should be applied or changed based on changes to the consumer’s account.
To download a recording of the webinar, including the Q&A portion of the discussion about dispute codes, and the tips section on areas of credit reporting that are most often overlooked, please click here.