CFPB Issues Credit Reporting Guidance During COVID-19

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau yesterday issued guidance reminding furnishers that they should be accurately reporting any changes to payment plans or loan terms that are being made in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“During this time of uncertainty, we are providing clarity to ensure the consumer reporting industry can continue to function,” said Kathleen Kraninger the CFPB’s Director, in a statement. “Consumers rely on their credit report to purchase a new car, their new home, or to finance their college education. An effective consumer reporting system is critical in promoting fair and efficient access to credit in the consumer financial services market.”

The CFPB also reminded furnishers about the changes to credit reporting that were passed under the CARES Act, which requires lenders report that consumers are current on their loans if those consumers have sought relief because they have been affected by COVID-19. The guidance also supported the efforts from lenders and furnishers to offer voluntary relief to individuals who have been affected by the pandemic.

Among the provisions of the guidance published by the CFPB are:

  • The deadline to investigate disputes can be extended to 45 days, from 30 days, “if the consumer provides additional information that is relevant to the investigation during the 30-day period.”
  • The CFPB said it would not cite in an examination or bring forth an enforcement action against a lender or furnisher that is “making good faith efforts” to investigate disputes as quickly as possible.
  • The CFPB “encourages” lenders and furnishers to continue reporting to the credit bureaus, because providing accurate information to consumer reporting agencies produces substantial benefits for consumers, users of consumer reports, and the economy as a whole.”

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