The Consumer Data Industry Association, on behalf of its member companies, announced today that there is long-standing policy to assist consumers who are impacted by the current coronavirus public health situation.

“The nationwide credit reporting companies have long had systems in place to minimize the impact of disasters and other singular situations on consumers’ credit standing,” said Francis Creighton, President and CEO of the Consumer Data Industry Association.  “This guidance is available in the current situation to help consumers work with their banks and other creditors if they are impacted—directly or indirectly—by the virus,” he added.

In a joint statement on March 9, 2020, all five federal banking agencies and the state bank supervisors association issued a joint statement to “encourage financial institutions to meet the financial needs of customers and members affected by the coronavirus.”  These five agencies (the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors) “recognize the potential impact of the coronavirus on [consumers].”  These agencies encourage “financial institutions [to] work constructively with borrowers and other customers in affected communities. Prudent efforts that are consistent with safe and sound lending practices should not be subject to examiner criticism.”

The guidance to financial institutions has been available for many years and is designed to be flexible to accommodate the many different ways creditors help their customers. Consumers who are facing challenges as a result of the virus should contact their lender for help. Creditors will work with their customers according to their internal guidance, as governed by their regulators. The help they provide can be accommodated by the flexible guidance that is being reissued today.

The guidance to banks and other creditors can be found by clicking here.