On April 8, 2014, Senate Democrats introduced a bill that addresses a laundry list of frequent criticisms by federal and state regulators of the consumer reporting industry. The legislation, titled the Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting (SECURE) Act, is aimed at increasing the accuracy of consumer reports and assisting consumers who have information misreported on their credit report.
The legislation would require credit reporting agencies (CRAs”) to improve procedures for correcting errors on credit reports and would give consumers access to a free credit score report once a year. It would also require firms to provide consumers with a free credit report if a consumer is turned down for a loan. The bill also increases governmental oversight over the credit reporting process. It requires firms to report the number of complaints received and steps taken to resolve the complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
This bill may reflect a continuation and intensification of a trend of increased oversight over consumer reporting by government regulators. While the bill is focused on CRAs, regulators have a broad set of concerns extending to the many companies that report information to the CRAs. This bill is another reminder if any is needed that any business participating in any way in consumer reporting is in an area of top regulator concern.