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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB reports on consumer reporting companies' compliance violations

Federal Issues CFPB Consumer Reporting Consumer Reporting Agency FCRA Regulation V

Federal Issues

On April 8, the CFPB released its Supervisory Highlights on consumer reporting companies (CRC) and furnishers from April to December 2023. With respect to CRCs, the CFPB found deficiencies related to (i) placing identity theft blocks on consumer reports, (ii) blocking adverse items identified by a consumer as the result of human trafficking, and (iii) the accuracy of information in consumer reports.

For identity theft, the CFPB noted that some CRCs automatically declined to implement identity theft blocks based on overly broad, disqualifying criteria that did not support a reasonable determination, in violation of the FCRA. CRCs also failed to properly notify these customers that they declined these identity blocks. 

Regulation V required CRCs to block adverse items of information identified by a consumer from human trafficking. While CRCs must block these items within four business days of such request, the CFPB found CRCs either failed to timely block these items or that CRCs blocked some, but not all such items. 

In failing to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of consumer reports, the CFPB found that CRCs (i) inadequately monitored dispute metrics that may suggest a furnisher would not a reliable source of information about consumers, and (ii) failed to implement procedures to ensure the accuracy of information provided by unreliable furnishers and continued to include such information in reports.

With respect to furnishers, the CFPB similarly found deficiencies in accuracy, dispute investigation, and identity theft requirements. Specifically, CFPB examiners found that furnishers reported incomplete or inaccurate information for several months or even years after determining the information was incomplete or inaccurate. Additionally, furnishers that received direct disputes both continued to report such information and failed to notify CRCs of the disputed information. The report also noted that furnishers who received proper identity theft reports continued to furnish information regarding the consumer before confirming the accuracy of the information with the consumer.