On December 11, 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a major change related to its monitoring of furnishers involved in credit reporting. The CFPB introduced a new requirement that “major credit reporting companies,” as part of ongoing examinations, must now provide regular reports concerning the accuracy of the furnishers providing them with consumer data. This new procedure reflects an update to the CFPB’s 2012 Procedures for Examinations of Consumer Reporting Agencies.
As CFPB Director Richard Cordray put it during the December 11, 2014 hearing on the topic: “We will now require the largest credit reporting companies to provide us with regular, standardized accuracy reports as part of our ongoing examinations about key risk areas for consumers.” Through these new accuracy reports, the CFPB is seeking to monitor the frequency of consumer disputes on both a furnisher and industry-wide basis. The accuracy reports will include data concerning, inter alia, which furnishers have the most overall consumer disputes, which industries have the most disputes, and which furnishers have a particularly high number of disputes relative to their peers.
Adding what appears to be a potentially major, but as yet undefined, additional obligation, Director Cordray added that the CFPB expects these consumer reporting agencies to also undertake follow-up actions related to these accuracy reports: “If a credit reporting company has a furnisher that continuously experiences an outsized rate of consumer disputes relative to its peers, we expect the company to do something about it. We expect it to investigate the source of the disputes, identify any problems, and take necessary action.” These necessary actions, he noted, “may include declining to accept information from the troubled furnisher where that step is justified.”