House lawmaker proposes new restrictions on credit bureaus

WASHINGTON — The top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee is sponsoring legislation that would remove certain negative details from consumers’ credit reports.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., on Thursday reintroduced the Protecting Consumer Access to Credit Act. The bill would expand the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s authority over credit reporting agencies and require them to leave out information regarding certain debts that may have an adverse effect on consumers, among other things.

“These commonsense reforms to the 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,” McHenry said in a press release, referring to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Specifically, the legislation would require credit reporting agencies to remove all paid, nonelective medical debt from a consumer’s credit report. Consumers that are targeted by predatory lenders for a mortgage or student loan may have information related to those debts excluded from their credit reports as determined by a court.

The bill also would subject credit reporting agencies to cybersecurity oversight by the CFPB and prohibits them from using consumers’ Social Security numbers for verification purposes.

The bill also requires the CFPB to study the use of nontraditional data in credit reports and issue a report to Congress within 18 months.

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