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Chairwoman Waters Vows to Hold Equifax Accountable for Repeatedly Harming Consumers
Following recent news that Equifax sent lenders inaccurate credit scores on millions of consumers, potentially resulting in consumer harm, such as being charged higher interest rates or wrongly having their credit applications denied, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to Equifax and a letter to the CEOs of the nation’s largest commercial banks, demanding answers as to how the delivery of erroneous credit scores occurred, the scale of consumers affected, and the steps 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 plans to introduce legislation soon in response to these events and sent a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra, urging the agency to investigate and use its tools to ensure all harmed consumers are made whole and to impose a moratorium on Equifax providing any credit scores to financial institutions until it cleans up its act.
“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.