Senior House Republican proposes credit reporting changes

WASHINGTON — A senior House Republican is proposing to give the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau supervision and examination authority over large credit reporting firms.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, has proposed several reforms to the credit reporting industry aimed at improving consumers’ access to credit. McHenry is touting his bill as a bipartisan approach to reforming the credit reporting industry, yet the bill had no co-sponsors as of Friday morning.

“While Republicans and Democrats agree it’s time for change, my colleagues across the aisle have taken a one-sided approach, which will ultimately decrease Americans’ access to credit,” McHenry said in a press release. “Instead, my legislation combines bipartisan solutions that provide thoughtful oversight and examination of this industry, helping achieve our goal: protecting American families.”

The legislation comes roughly two years after Equifax disclosed a data breach that compromised the personal information of roughly 148 million Americans.

McHenry’s bill would give the CFPB authority to oversee the cybersecurity efforts of credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. It would also bar credit reporting agencies from using Social Security numbers to verify consumers.

If a court finds that a consumer's credit profile was damaged because of a predatory loan or some other financial abuse, McHenry's bill would require that the information be removed from the individual's credit report.

The bill would also remove paid, nonelective medical debt from credit reports.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.