Credit-Report Firms to Face Scrutiny

On July 21st, the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) took over a range of consumer-product regulatory functions from bank regulators. In addition to mortgages and other credit products, the CFPB also is now responsible for the oversight of the three major consumer credit-reporting companies, Equifax, Experian PLC, and TransUnion. In spite of this new level of fresh oversight, presumably to do something about the high rate of errors in credit reporting, my advice still holds: It is wise to request a copy of your credit report at least once a year to make sure that a mistake isn’t damaging your credit score and resulting in your having to pay high interest rates.  You can go to AnnualCreditReport.com to request a copy of your credit report.

It will be interesting to see whether this new agency will be able to do anything about the high rate of credit report errors. I would hope that the credit reporting companies would have to open up their own books and processes for thorough examinations.

July 21st was also the year anniversary of the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act. And Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Mary Schapiro, speaking before Congress, used the occasion to warn that the SEC needs “significant additional resources” in order to fully address their new responsibilities under Dodd-Frank. “There’s only so much you can achieve by wringing funds out of the existing budget,” she said. Over time, she says, “full implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act will require a total of approximately 770 new staff,” including experts in derivatives, hedge funds, data analytics, and credit ratings. She also noted that the SEC “also will need to invest in technology to facilitate the registration of additional entities and capture and analyze data on these new markets.”

Let’s hope the SEC gets the resources it needs to fulfill its broader responsibilities under Dodd-Frank.

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