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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB report on credit bureaus hints at rulemaking

Federal Issues Credit Reporting Agency CFPB Consumer Finance Credit Report FCRA

Federal Issues

On January 3, the CFPB released its annual report, pursuant to Section 611(e)(5) of the FCRA, on information gathered by the Bureau regarding certain consumer complaints on the three largest nationwide consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). According to the report, the Bureau received 488,000 consumer complaints about the CRAs from October 2021 through September 2022. The Bureau’s analysis revealed that 93 percent of consumers reported having previously attempted to fix their problem with the company. The report also noted that the use of problematic response types has decreased, and most complaints now receive “more substantive and tailored” responses. The report found that most responses from the CRAs describe the outcomes of consumers’ complaints. The Bureau highlighted areas that the CRAs should prioritize given the “challenges facing market participants and policy makers,” including: (i) considering consumer burden when implementing automated processes; (ii) recognizing how current processes will need to evolve in light of new technologies that can generate similar-sounding complaints that are in fact unique; and (iii) considering how to transition the market from control and surveillance to consumer participation. According to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra, the Bureau “will be exploring new rules to ensure that [the CRAs] are following the law, rather than cutting corners to fuel their profit model.”