Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3621, the Comprehensive Credit Reporting Enhancement, Disclosure, Innovation, and Transparency Act of 2020 (“Comprehensive CREDIT Act”), legislation sponsored by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), by a vote of 221 to 189.
H.R. 3621 would overhaul the credit reporting system by empowering consumers with more control of their data and requiring consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) like Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, to better ensure that the information on consumer credit reports is accurate and complete.
See below for Chairwoman Waters’ floor statement on the bill.
As Prepared for Delivery
Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 3621, the Comprehensive Credit Reporting Enhancement, Disclosure, Innovation, and Transparency Act, legislation sponsored by Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. This package of bills builds upon reforms that Members of the Financial Services Committee have been developing for several Congresses.
Mr. Chairman, credit reporting is unlike any other business. Consumers are not customers of credit reporting agencies—they are the product. Credit reporting agencies package up consumers’ data to sell to lenders, employers and other businesses.
Unfortunately, our system of consumer credit reporting is badly broken, and consumers have little recourse. It is typical for credit reports to be filled with unacceptable errors that are difficult for consumers to correct. A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study found that 1 in 5 consumers have verified errors in their credit reports, and 1 in 20 consumers have errors so serious that they would be denied credit or need to pay more for it. This means about 42 million consumers have errors in their credit reports, and 10 million have errors that can be life altering.
Consumers are frustrated with the current system. In 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received 126,300 consumer complaints on credit reporting, which was more than one-third of all complaints submitted. The Consumer Bureau received more complaints about credit reporting than any other issue.
This legislative package makes critical reforms to help consumers by addressing problems with the credit reporting system.
The legislation includes H.R. 3642, the Improving Credit Reporting for All Consumers Act, a bill sponsored by Representative Alma Adams, which would address burdens consumers experience when trying to remove errors from their consumer reports, including by providing a new right to appeal the results of initial reviews about the accuracy or completeness of disputed items on the report.
The package also includes H.R. 3622, the Restoring Unfairly Impaired Credit and Protecting Consumers Act, a bill sponsored by Representative Rashida Tlaib. This part of the bill would limit how long adverse credit information stays on consumer reports, and it would protect consumer victims by removing adverse information relating to predatory, discriminatory or otherwise unlawful loans made by a financial institution. It would also prohibit reporting debt relating to medically-necessary procedures and delay reporting by one year for other medical debt.
In addition, the package includes H.R. 3614, the Restricting Use of Credit Checks for Employment Decisions Act, a bill sponsored by Representative Al Lawson. This part of the bill would prohibit employers from using credit reports for employment decisions, except when a credit report is otherwise required to conduct a background check by Federal, state or local law or for a national security clearance.
H.R. 3621, the Student Borrower Credit Improvement Act, a bill sponsored by Representative Pressley, is also included in the legislation. This part of the bill would help student borrowers who may have been delinquent on paying their private student loans to repair their credit after they demonstrate a history of timely loan repayments for these loans, similar to how the credit reports of borrowers with Federal student loans can be rehabilitated.
Another key measure included in this package is H.R. 3629, the Clarity in Credit Score Formation Act sponsored by Representative Stephen Lynch. This legislation would direct the CFPB to provide oversight and set standards for validating the accuracy and predictive value of credit scoring models, and it would promote innovation by requiring a study on how the use of non-traditional data might impact the availability and affordability of credit for consumers with limited or no traditional credit histories.
Finally, the package includes H.R. 3618, the Free Credit Scores for Consumers Act sponsored by Representative Joyce Beatty, which would direct the nationwide CRAs to give consumers free copies of their credit scores that are used by creditors in making credit decisions, as determined by the CFPB, whenever consumers obtain their free annual consumer reports.
I am pleased that this bill also includes a provision that I have worked on with a range of other members that excludes from credit reports any adverse information about a federal employee and others who are affected by a government shutdown.
I urge all Members to support these commonsense reforms to improve the nation’s consumer reporting system and benefit hardworking American consumers
Chairwoman Waters and Committee Democrats have worked tirelessly on solutions to repair the nation’s broken credit reporting system.
In July 2019, the Committee passed critical legislation to reform credit reporting, credit scores and the credit reporting agencies.
In February 2019, Chairwoman Waters convened a full Committee hearing entitled, “Who's Keeping Score? Holding Credit Bureaus Accountable and Repairing a Broken System,” with the Chief Executive Officers of Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
In October 2017, Committee Democrats, led by then-Ranking Member Waters, convened a minority day hearing on ensuring the integrity of our country’s consumer reporting system and safeguarding consumer data. The CEOs of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion each declined Waters’ invitation to testify.