In late January, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its 2022 “List of Consumer Reporting Companies.” This list purports to give consumers “the details [they] need to take action” against companies that collect consumer information and prepare consumer reports. According to the CFPB’s accompanying press release, the list is intended to allow consumers to “exercise their right to see what information these firms have, dispute inaccuracies, and file lawsuits if the firms are violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”

In announcing the annual list, the CFPB asserted that the list is crucial for families recovering from the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and seeking new jobs and places to live. CFPB Director Rohit Chopra remarked that “Americans have limited legal rights they can use to keep tabs on these surveillance companies,” and touted this list as a tool for holding consumer reporting companies accountable. Overall, the press release incorporates a negative tone regarding consumer reporting and data collection companies, without reference to the benefits provided and interests served by these companies to enable affordable and efficient consumer transactions. The press release conveys the CFPB’s concern that not enough Americans are aware of or enabled to enforce their rights under the FCRA, despite the fact that FCRA filings have seen a steady increase year after year, even outpacing other consumer protection statutes.

The list includes the three nationwide consumer reporting companies, as well as many other companies that provide consumer reporting, background screening, and other consumer information services across a wide variety of industries. Although it is labeled a list of “consumer reporting companies,” the list contains more than just traditional consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) and included resellers and other companies that collect consumer data to assist companies in providing various financial and identification verification services.

For each company listed, the CFPB provides a description of their activities, information on how to obtain a copy of the consumer’s information maintained by the company, and the company’s contact information. The list shows which companies provide copies of consumer information for free and categorizes companies by specific markets, including employment, tenant, insurance, and medical.

Troutman Pepper will continue to monitor CFPB activity and other important updates within the consumer financial services industry.