While the CFPB Made it Easier to Complain to Credit Bureaus, the House Attacked the CFPB

by Jeff Sovern

The CFPB announced yesterday that the big three credit bureaus have added a function to their web sites to enable consumers to upload documents supporting claims of errors–police reports, copies of correspondence, etc–in credit reports.  That shouldn't be a big deal in 2014, but in the world of credit bureaus, where the incentive is to accommodate the creditors who provide the bulk of both the information the credit bureaus sell and the revenue they receive (see here), everything that aids consumers is a step forward. Until last year, as noted in the NCLC report Automated Injustice: How a Mechanized Dispute System Frustrates Consumers Seeking to Fix Errors in Their Credit Reports (2009), consumer complaints to credit reports were typically reduced to codes, often of only two digits, and forwarded to creditors without any supporting documents.  Now the credit bureaus will be able to forward those documents more readily and consumers will have an easier time supplying them to credit bureaus.  As NCLC's Chi Chi Wu was quoted in the Times:

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was able to get the bureaus to do something that years of advocacy and litigation had been unable to achieve,” said Chi Chi Wu, a lawyer at the National Consumer Law Center. “Step by step, they are trying to fix this terribly broken system and they are making decent progress considering how old they are.”

These seemingly small steps, which for affected consumers may turn out to be big steps, are just another reason why we need an effective CFPB so much.  Which is in turn another reason yesterday's vote in the House to undermine the Bureau is so disappointing (see the Washington Post story here). (HT: Ed Mierzwinski)