On February 19, Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, addressed the agency’s Consumer Advisory Board. In this speech, he highlighted the CFPB’s ongoing oversight of the credit reporting industry. He noted first that the three biggest credit reporting agencies maintain files on over 200 million consumers. These credit reports and scores influence the terms of individuals’ mortgages, whether they qualify for auto loans, or if they are eligible for various credit cards. Due to the significance of this information, Cordray confirmed that it was the CFPB’s continued priority to monitor the performance of the credit reporting industry.
Cordray specifically addressed the progress of the CFPB’s “open credit score initiative,” intended to encourage credit card companies to make credit scoring information more easily and regularly available to consumers at no cost. When the initiative launched last year, only a few year credit card issuers made their scores available to consumers, either through their billing statements or by other means. Now, more than a dozen issuers – including a significant share of the largest issuers – are doing so. The CFPB estimates that over 50 million consumers already have the opportunity to see their credit score in this way.
Cordray concluded his remarks by forecasting how the CFPB would wield its regulatory authority in this arena in the near future. The agency will, for instance, be requiring the largest credit reporting companies to provide it with regular, standardized accuracy reports as part of the agency’s ongoing examinations about key risk areas for consumers. These reports will, among other things, specify the number of instances consumers dispute information on their credit reports. The agency will continue monitoring the reporting of medical debt in collection actions because of concerns that some reported information may be untrustworthy.