CFPB Seeks Comment on Proposed Rule Prohibiting Adverse Information on Credit Reports in Cases of Human Trafficking

Comments on the proposed credit reports rule, which would implement amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, are due May 9.

04/08/2022 1:15 P.M.

2.5 minute read

The CFPB has issued a proposed rule that would prohibit consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) from providing consumer credit reports containing adverse information about a consumer that resulted from a severe form of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking, according to news release from the bureau.

The CFPB is issuing the proposed rule under Regulation V to implement a recent amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The proposed rule would protect survivors of human trafficking by preventing CRAs from including negative information resulting from abuse. Congress required the CFPB to issue rules as part of the recently enacted Debt Bondage Repair Act.

“The CFPB’s proposal will help ensure that survivors can work to rebuild their lives, including accessing credit, opening a bank account, and finding a job,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra in the news release.

In December 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Debt Bondage Repair Act into law. The act prohibits CRAs from providing consumer reports that contain any negative item of information about a survivor of trafficking from any period the survivor was being trafficked. Congress required the CFPB to use its rulemaking authorities to implement the act through rule changes to Regulation V, which ensures consumers’ credit information is fairly reported by CRAs.

Human trafficking exists across the U.S. and affects hundreds of thousands of victims and families. While being trafficked, many victims suffer from financial abuse, which is a common tactic used by traffickers to further exploit victims, according to the CFPB.

The consequences of financial abuse often follow survivors as they attempt to rebuild their financial lives. Specific consequences include unemployment, costly insurance, limited housing options, bills, charges, and expensive credit lines, the bureau reports.

The CFPB is proposing a rule that, if enacted, will include guidelines to:

  • Help survivors know how to report their status as having experienced a form of trafficking.
  • Require CRAs to block adverse information on consumer reports.
  • Make the rules applicable to all CRAs.

To submit comments, identified by Docket No. CFPB-2022-0023 or RIN 3170-AB12, use any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Email: [email protected]. Include Docket No. CFPB-2022-0023 or RIN 3170-AB12 in the subject line of the message.
  • Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier: Comment Intake—FCRA Trafficking, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552. Please note that due to circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the bureau discourages the submission of comments by hand delivery, mail, or courier.

The public comment period closes May 9, 2022.

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