Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), has vowed to hold credit bureau Equifax accountable for "repeated slights" against American Consumers in an open letter published Aug. 10.
The letter follows recent news that Equifax sent inaccurate credit scores to lenders, potentially resulting in consumer harm by way of higher rates or denial of credit.
Chairwoman Waters also sent an open letter to the CEOs of the nation’s largest commercial banks soliciting answers as to how the delivery of erroneous credit scores occurred, the number of consumers affected, and what steps, if any, these institutions are taking to remediate harm to customers and ensure accurate credit reporting moving forward.
“I am alarmed at recent news reporting that for potentially millions of consumers, your company provided inaccurate credit scores to numerous financial institutions relating to their credit applications,” wrote Chairwoman Waters. “…this incident comes five years after your company announced one of the largest data breaches in the history of our country, exposing the personal information of more than 147 million individuals, which I invited you to testify before the House Financial Services Committee in 2019 to discuss. That incident, along with this recent episode and a litany of research, studies, and testimony demonstrating how broken our consumer credit reporting system is, all underscore the urgent need for CFPB and Congress to strengthen consumer protections in this area.”
Chairwoman Waters also announced that she would be authoring new legislation in the upcoming days in response to these events and urged Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra to use its investigative tools to ensure all consumers adversely affected by Equifax’s actions are made whole.
“I intend to utilize all tools available to me as Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee to ensure harmed consumers are promptly made whole and to protect consumers from our broken consumer credit reporting system going forward. I urge you to do the same,” wrote Chairwoman Waters. “I urge you … to utilize your authority as Director to impose a moratorium on Equifax providing any credit scores to financial institutions until they can demonstrate to your satisfaction that they have the necessary systems and controls to ensure each credit score they provide on millions of consumers is verified to be accurate before distributing them to financial institutions.”
See the full text of the letter to Equifax here.
See the full text of the letter to the CEOs of the nation’s largest commercial banks here.
See the full text of the letter to the CFPB here.