CFPB Addresses Obligations of Furnishers Under FCRA to Review "All Relevant Information" Received In Connection With a Dispute
Recent actions taken by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") reflect that ensuring the accuracy and completeness of information furnished to Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) will be an area of emphasis. On that point, CFPB issued Bulletin 2013-09 emphasizing the Fair Credit Reporting Act's ("FCRA") requirement that CRAs notify a furnisher of information when a consumer disputes the accuracy or completeness of information provided by the furnisher to the CRA. In addition, the CRA is required to promptly provide the furnisher "all relevant information" regarding the dispute that the CRA received from the consumer. On the furnisher's end, it must conduct an investigation of the disputed information, review "all relevant information" provided by the CRA, and provide a response based on the investigation results. Of significance, the Bulletin highlights a furnisher's obligation to review "all relevant information" received in connection with disputes forward by CRAs. In connection with the requirement to review "all relevant information," the CFPB provided five elements that it expects furnishers to comply with as to disputes received from CRAs:
- Maintain a system reasonably capable of receiving information from CRAs regarding disputes (including supporting documentation);
- Conduct an investigation of the disputed information including reviewing: (a) "all relevant information" forwarded by the CRA, and (b) the furnisher's own information with respect to the dispute;
- Reporting the results of investigations of the CRA that sent the dispute;
- Providing correct information to every nationwide CRA that received information if the information is inaccurate or incomplete; and
- Modifying or deleting the disputed information, or permanently blocking the reporting of the information if the information is incomplete or inaccurate, or cannot be verified.
The CFPB Bulletin makes clear that any furnisher not currently maintaining a process that meets the elements above should take immediate steps to comply. Also, the CFPB's past actions demonstrate that it will take supervisory and enforcement actions to address violations and will seek all corrective measures. The complete text of Bulletin 2013-09 can be found here
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