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Attorney General Josh Stein Calls on CFPB To Protect Consumers’ Credit During COVID-19 Pandemic

For Immediate Release:
Monday, April 13, 2020

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today called on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to enforce the CARES Act and require credit reporting agencies to follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) during the COVID-19 crisis. The CFPB’s recent announcement that they would not enforce the law would leave consumers at the mercy of unresponsive credit agencies in a pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is causing economic burdens for North Carolinians all across our state,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “The CFPB needs to do everything in its power to enforce the law and protect consumers so that they don’t suffer damage to their credit or finances in this crisis – anything less would be gravely irresponsible.”

The CFPB recently announced that it would not enforce an FCRA amendment that requires lenders to report as current any loans that are affected by a COVID-19-related accommodation and that it would not take action against consumer reporting agencies that violate the FCRA’s 30-day deadline to investigate consumer disputes.

The attorneys general note in their letter that, “In addition to its enormous health toll, the COVID-19 global pandemic is causing significant economic disruption as well. Businesses are closed and millions of workers have already filed claims for unemployment compensation. If we hope to have a quick economic recovery when this crisis is over, American consumers must be fully equipped to reenter the market. The status of Americans’ credit reports will be vital to ensuring strong participation in the economy. The importance of protecting consumers’ credit is even greater during this crisis.”

The attorneys general outline three areas of opposition to the CFPB’s announcement:

  • The CFPB’s announcement that it will not enforce the CARES Act’s requirements could discourage consumers from taking advantage of the accommodations that lenders are either required to offer under the CARES Act or are offering voluntarily.
  • The CFPB’s announcement it will not require consumer reporting agencies to investigate consumer disputes within 30 days puts consumers at risk.
  • Consumer reporting agencies must be vigilant about accurately reporting consumer credit, which can only be done by following the requirements established by the FCRA and amended by the CARES Act.

Attorney General Stein is joined in sending today’s letter by the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the letter is available here.

More on Attorney General Stein’s work to protect North Carolinians during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

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