Gov. Cuomo Calls for Action to Protect Credit Scores of Sandy Victims

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on the credit scoring and reporting agencies “to stop the lowering of credit scores” for Hurricane Sandy victims.

On behalf of Cuomo’s administration superintendent of financial services Benjamin Lawsky sent letters to FICO, TransUnion, Experian, Equifax and the Consumer Data Industry Association.

Lawsky is requesting immediate action to protect thousands of Sandy victims who could face higher costs for home, auto and business loans.

The administration has demanded credit bureaus to take the following four actions: Ensure credit scores are not lowered, reset any scores that were already lowered, work with banks and other lenders to red flag any negative information that comes from disaster victims, and establish procedures that will not allow credit scoring blemishes on future natural disaster victims.

State officials are also requesting to meet with senior executives from these agencies at the New York State Department of Financial Services as soon as possible.

“An unfair black mark on their credit scores would add insult to injury,” Cuomo said, because the credit score can impact everything from the rate one pays for a mortgage to prospects for getting a new job, and for reasons that are unrelated to their creditworthiness.

For example, many homeowners missed mortgage paymentsdue to Sandy, were forced to seek forbearance of their mortgage payments to be able to make recovery-related expenses, while others were unable to pay rent while they were forced to pay for alternative housing. Business owners also had to take out loans to rebuild.