House bill would reform credit reporting agencies

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Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week seeks to reform the supervision of credit reporting agencies.

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The bill, introduced by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), is designed to ensure that credit files are accurate and transparent and personally identifiable information is protected.

“The credit reporting industry is ripe for reform,” McHenry said. “Credit reporting agencies have failed to protect consumers’ most sensitive, personal information and have been allowed to operate as an oligopoly. While Republicans and Democrats agree it’s time for change, my colleagues across the aisle have taken a one-sided approach, which will ultimately decrease Americans’ access to credit. Instead, my legislation combines bipartisan solutions that provide thoughtful oversight and examination of this industry, helping achieve our goal: protecting American families.”

Specifically, the bill would address the process used by credit reporting agencies for a parent to request a security freeze of their child’s credit. It also ensures that a consumer that has been hit by a predatory mortgage, student lending, or financial abuse will have the negative information removed from their consumer report. Additionally, the bill would eliminate all paid, non-elective medical debt from a credit report. The legislation would also prevent credit reporting agencies from using Social Security numbers for verification purposes. Finally, it would grant the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) authority to oversee the cybersecurity efforts of the credit reporting agencies.

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