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Data Suppression (14)
Dr. Michael Turner published an op-ed, Credit Reporting & COVID-19 – It’s Not a Sophie’s Choice, that appeared in Inside Sources. Turner returned to an ongoing theme about the dangers of suppression of credit reporting. When companies stop reporting accurate information to credit bureaus, credit reports will become less reliable and financial institutions will be making riskier loans and credit extensions. “Balancing consumer protections with concerns over systemic safety and soundness involves difficult choices. One senior regulator said, “It’s like juggling steak knives while wearing a blindfold.” Turner added that “[w]ith less accurate data, banks will make more lending mistakes. Consequently, lenders will respond to degraded credit data by raising minimum credit score requirements, decreasing the amount of credit available, and raising the price of credit to reflect a higher risk premium.”
In urging opposition to credit reporting suppression, some of the largest organizations representing the financial services community sent a letter to U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Banking Committee. The August 2020 letter noted that “[p]ending legislative proposals to prohibit the reporting of credit information during the COVID-19 crisis would revers[e] policymakers’ historical commitment to the reporting of accurate credit information.” The letter added that “[s]uch a change would harm consumers – especially low and moderate-income consumers. Positive consumer credit decisions, with responsible payment suspension followed by repayment arrangements or approved payment deferrals, would be removed from the reports altogether. The removal of multiple records simultaneously could disrupt the ability to generate any report or scores at all, to the detriment of the consumer. With no credit score, credit analysis by lenders is more difficult, increasing the risk of inconsistency in credit decisions. Insufficient conservative credit decisions, which would result in fewer loans, reducing overall access to credit nationwide.” The letter was signed by the American Bankers Association, American Financial Services Association, Consumer Bankers Association, Housing Policy Council, Independent Community Bankers of America, Mortgage Bankers Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.