By Nicole D. Prysby, J.D.
Attorneys general from 22 jurisdictions sent a letter to the three major CRAs, informing them that the states will continue to enforce all Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements during the COVID-19 crisis, even if the CFPB does not.
A coalition of state attorneys general sent a letter to the three major credit reporting agencies—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax—warning them that the states plan to enforce consumer credit safeguards during the COVID-19 crisis. The letter was prompted in part by an announcement from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that it will not enforce the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s 30- or 45-day deadline to investigate consumer disputes during the COVID-19 crisis. The coalition explained that the CRAs are required to comply with the FCRA, state laws governing credit reporting, and the AGs’ agreements with the CRAs. The AGs will continue to enforce all federal and state requirements, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) amendments to the FCRA that enable consumers to obtain CARES Act relief without incurring lasting harm to their credit scores.
Attorneys General from New York and Pennsylvania announced on April 28 that they led a letter from a coalition of state attorneys general, warning CRAs that the states plan to enforce safeguards for consumer credit during the COVID-19 public health crisis. New York Attorney General Letitia James explained in her announcement that the Trump administration has failed to enforce FCRA requirements and therefore the states will take charge of ensuring consumer credit protection requirements are met. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro echoed those statements and explained that during this time of economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever that CRAs meet their obligations under the law to protect consumers against incorrect information in their credit reports. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra also issued an announcement about the letter, stating that it is "the worst time for the federal government to take the cop off the consumer protection beat" and that the state AGs will continue to perform oversight and enforcement of the credit reporting bureaus.
The state AGs plan to monitor furnishers to ensure that they do not improperly report negative credit information, and to monitor CRAs to ensure that the CRAs timely and meaningfully investigate disputes arising from improper reporting by furnishers. The letter was signed by the Attorneys General of New York, Pennsylvania, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
The coalition’s letter follows a letter sent by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) to the three major CRAs, urging them to ensure that consumers’ credit scores are not affected if they take advantage of relief under the CARES Act (see Banking and Finance Law Daily, April 28, 2020).
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