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CFPB issues CARES Act credit reporting FAQs

Federal Issues CFPB CARES Act Covid-19 Consumer Reporting FCRA

Federal Issues

On June 16, the CFPB released a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) concerning the Bureau’s previously issued policy statement addressing consumer reporting agencies’ (CRAs) and furnishers’ credit reporting responsibilities under the CARES Act amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The policy statement also emphasized that the Bureau is taking a “flexible supervisory and enforcement approach during this pandemic regarding compliance with the [FCRA] and Regulation V,” including refraining from citing in examinations or bringing enforcement action against CRAs or furnishers acting in good faith. (Covered by InfoBytes here.)

Addressed within the FAQs are topics for furnishers to consider when complying with the CARES Act requirements. These include: (i) reporting as current certain accounts for consumers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic; (ii) citing or suing furnishers that violate the FCRA by failing to investigate disputes; (iii) defining an “accommodation” for purposes of the FCRA amendments, and clarifying whether furnishers are required to provide accommodations to impacted consumers, and if so, what their consumer reporting obligations will be; (iv) clarifying that “using a special comment code to report a natural or declared disaster or forbearance” is not a substitute for complying with the CARES Act credit reporting requirements; (v) warning that reporting forbearances on accounts that are not delinquent, or for which a consumer has not requested a forbearance, “increases the risks of inaccurate reporting and consumer confusion”; and (vi) specifying account status reporting requirements after a CARES Act accommodation ends.