House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Introduces Protecting Consumer Access to Credit Act
Earlier this month, Representative Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who serves as Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC), once again introduced the Protecting Consumer Access to Credit Act (H.R. 1645). The legislation would reform the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to guarantee secure and accurate credit profiles to aid in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My legislation would remove certain adverse credit information incurred at no fault of the consumer, including paid, non-elective medical debt,” McHenry said. “H.R. 1645 would also secure Americans’ most personal information at a time when cybersecurity risks are at an all-time high. These commonsense reforms to FCRA are needed now more than ever as we exit the pandemic and work to ensure all Americans can take part in our nation’s recovery.”
Requiring credit reporting agencies to omit information about certain consumer debts can help those with mortgage or student loans, as American Banker highlighted in an article covering the legislation.
The bill would also subject credit reporting agencies to cybersecurity oversight by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It would also prohibit them from using Social Security numbers for verification purposes.
Under the legislation, the CFPB would be required to study the use of nontraditional data in credit reports and submit a report to Congress within 18 months. Additionally, the bill addresses the ineffective process used by credit reporting agencies for parents to request a security freeze of their child’s credit.
“Access to credit can make the difference between being able to purchase a home, car, or send a child to college ⎯and not. An accurate and secure credit profile is the best way to ensure Americans can achieve these goals,” McHenry said.