Senators Call on CFPB to Investigate, Reform Credit Reporting Process

A number of leading Senate Democrats are calling on Rohit Chopra and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to “take concrete steps to reform the credit reporting industry,” including improving the accuracy of credit reports and streamlining the dispute resolution process.

The Senators, including. Sen. Sherrod Brown [D-Ohio], the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Elizabeth Warren [D-Mass.], and Sen. Chris Van Hollen [D-Md.], among others, sent a letter to Chopra, the Director of the CFPB yesterday.

Asking Chopra to “take immediate action to protect consumers and introduce much-needed accountability into the credit reporting system,” the Senators laid out a series of recommendations that they would like to see enacted by the CFPB to address their concerns. Among their recommendations are:

  • Evaluate persistent errors in credit reporting and how [credit reporting agencies] CRAs consistently fail to resolve these errors, especially by failing to devote sufficient personnel and resources for dispute resolution — a shortcoming the CFPB could use its supervisory authority to remedy.
  • Create an ombudsperson position at the CFPB to facilitate the dispute resolution process and help ensure accuracy.
  • Require nationwide CRAs to perform periodic accuracy audits on information furnishers.
  • Codify provisions of the nationwide CRAs’ settlement with state attorneys general that delayed reporting of medical debt for six months and removed debts paid by insurance.
  • Address concerns related to algorithmic bias which presents a risk of amplifying racial disparities in credit reporting, and a failure to provide reports in Spanish and other languages, which can impact consumers with limited English proficiency.

“In an industry that affects all Americans so directly, even a small error rate means tens of millions of people can be denied jobs or housing through no fault of their own,” the Senators wrote. “As a result of simple mistakes, consumers may pay more for credit or be denied loans altogether; they might face obstacles applying for a job, getting a mortgage, or renting an apartment. These impacts can persist for years, putting innocent people in positions that are nearly impossible to resolve. … Accordingly, we request you take immediate action to protect consumers and introduce much-needed accountability into the credit reporting system.”

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