This blog post was republished by Westlaw Today.

On September 26, Representative French Hill (R-AR) introduced new legislation, H.R. 8985, also known as the Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2022, to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act and allow payment information for utility bills and phone payments to be furnished to credit reporting agencies to help consumers raise their credit scores. This is an effort to address an issue highlighted by the CFPB Office of Research that estimated 26 million Americans are “credit invisible,” meaning they do not have a credit history with any of the three national credit reporting agencies.

In a press release, Representative Hill harkened back to his roots to explain the need for the proposed legislation. “As a former community banker, I understand how access to credit can open doors to opportunities like homeownership, yet too many central Arkansans are denied affordable credit opportunities because they don’t have a traditional credit payment history. My bill levels the playing field by allowing for additional data, such as utility and phone payments, to be reported to determine credit worthiness so that millions of hardworking Americans get credit for bills they are already paying.”

H.R. 8985 has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services for consideration. A companion bill, S.2417, has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).

The Mortgage Bankers Association indicated its support for the bill, stating: “MBA applauds Representative French Hill for the introduction of the Credit Access and Inclusion Act which would promote the use of rental, utility, and telecommunications data to supplement traditional data provided to consumer reporting agencies. Underserved borrowers often have less experience using traditional financial products, creating barriers to entry for many consumers during the home purchase application process. The responsible utilization of alternative data, such as rental, utility, and telecommunications payment histories, will help safely expand access to credit to underserved borrowers.” The bill is also supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of REALTORS, and The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

We will continue to track H.R. 8985 as it moves through the legislative process.