- In a special edition of its Supervisory Report [Winter 2017], the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) provided guidance on issues it was encountering at the CRAs, and specifically the ongoing monitoring of data furnishers to ensure compliance and the accuracy of the data they were receiving from data furnishers, certification processes for furnishers, and support to provide them (click here to view the full report).
- In May 2017, the FTC provided guidance on compliance of FCRA disclosure and authorization responsibilities (click here to view a summary of their suggestions).
- In 2015, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion agreed to significant changes in which data is reported, when it is reported and new requirements for data provided by furnishers. Major changes include:
- Collection agencies must furnish the name of the original creditor and the “code” attached that characterizes the debt with each account or item reported;
- The CRAs are required to identify collection agencies that consistently misreport or misuse the creditor code Codes; and to take corrective action against these agencies;
- Collection agencies can no longer report any debts that were not the result of a contract or agreement to pay. This includes certain fines, tickets, parking citations, etc. Furthermore, CRAs were required to remove from their databases any existing data reported by collection agencies that were not the result of a contract or agreement to pay;
- The CRAs will require the collection agencies to regularly reconcile data relating to accounts in collection that have not been paid in full, and remove accounts that have not been updated by the agency within the last six months;
- The CRAs must provide revised training materials and instruct collection agencies on how to accurately report and delete accounts that are sold, transferred, or no longer managed by the reporting entity.
- The agreement prohibits data furnishers from reporting authorized user accounts unless they include a name, address, social security number, and/or date of birth (using month and year) on new accounts.
- The CRAs must also make sure data furnishers are aware of this mandatory reporting requirement on additions and/or newly opened accounts, and reject any submitted data that does not comply.
- The CRAs are requiring all data furnishers to use the more advanced, comprehensive Metro 2® reporting format and are no longer accepting any data provided in the previous, and more limited, Metro 1® format.
- The CRAs will no longer include medical debts identified and furnished by collection agencies when the date of the first delinquency is less than 180 days before the day the account was reported to the CRAs.
- The CRAs are required to instruct collection agencies on the use of special codes introduced in the Metro 2® reporting format. Collection agencies were required to remove or not report medical accounts reported as “paid by insurance” or “being paid by insurance” if the accounts were eventually paid in full. They also implemented initiatives to ensure similar accounts within their databases were deleted or not reported.
The agreement also required the CRAs to implement reforms, including:
- how the CRAs handle consumer disputes that are submitted directly to them;
- how they more effectively process escalated disputes regarding mixed consumer files, fraud or identity theft; and