On July 11, the House Financial Services Committee held a markup for a series of bills designed to reform the credit reporting system and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). Each bill passed on a party-line vote. The associated hearing was titled “Who’s Keeping Score? Holding Credit Bureaus Accountable and Repairing a Broken System.”
In her opening statement, Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) stated her belief that “our credit reporting system is deeply broken.” She added that “[c]onsumers make more complaints about the credit reporting process to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau than any other issue,” and that it “is exceedingly common that credit reports are filled with errors.”
The Committee considered the following credit reporting reform bills, each introduced by a Democratic member:
- The Restricting Use of Credit Checks for Employment Decisions Act, which would ban the use of consumer report information for most employment decisions.
- The Free Credit Scores for Consumers Act of 2019, which would expand consumer disclosure rights. In particular, nationwide consumer reporting agencies (“CRAs”) would be required to disclose consumer credit scores annually upon request. Further, any CRA would be required to disclose to consumers their full file and credit score when that consumer obtains a fraud alert or security freeze, or has disputed information on the credit report.
- The Restoring Unfairly Impaired Credit and Protecting Consumers Act, which would require CRAs to remove adverse information from consumer reports after four (rather than the current seven) years.
- The Improving Credit Reporting for All Consumers Act, which would reform the dispute process in several ways, including by providing consumers the right to appeal disputes.
The bills can now be considered by the full House of Representatives. Were they to pass the full House, the lack of Republican supports suggests they would face significant challenges in the Senate.