You May Have More Than One Credit File

At any given time, the national consumer reporting agencies maintain hundreds of millions of consumer "credit files" in their databases. According to some estimates these files relate to approximately 250 million credit active consumers across the United States. This means that many consumers have more than one file in a consumer reporting agency's system. Having more than one file on any one consumer serves as a catalyst to incomplete and inaccurate data being relied upon in the creation of a consumer report (commonly known as a “credit report”).

Numerous credit files may exists on a single consumer for the following reasons:

  • Consumer reporting agencies may not have enough information to say with the highest degree of certainty that each of the credit files should "merge."
  • The various creditors' records do not always identify an individual consumer in the same way.
  • Consumers may use two or more names in their credit activities (such as nick names, maiden and married names, names with and without generational suffixes).
  • Consumers may have two or more addresses (such as home/school, work/home or vacation or second homes).
  • Creditor's records may misspell or invert letters in names, street addresses, or social security numbers.

Consumer Reporting Agencies Subject to Increased Federal Supervision

Earlier this week, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), Richard Cordray, spoke at a field hearing were he discussed the CFPB’s new authority to supervise consumer reporting agencies. Starting this September, the CFPB will have the authority to supervise 94% of the credit reporting industry. Until now, consumer reporting agencies (commonly referred to as “credit reporting agencies” or “credit bureaus”), the largest of which are Equifax (including credit files owned by CSC Credit Services), Experian, and Trans Union, have never been subject to like supervision. From conducting on-site examinations to seeking better comprehension of policies and procedures, the CFPB’s supervisory authority will seek to ensure that the consumer financial laws are being followed.

The creation of the consumer bureau, the CFPB, was done so in response to the recent financial crisis experienced by the United States.

How Long Will a Withdrawn or Dismissed Bankruptcy Stay on Your Credit Report?

A bankruptcy can end in a number of ways prior to discharge; for example, a bankruptcy can be subsequently withdrawn at the request of the debtor or dismissed by the court for a variety of reasons. There are several reasons a debtor may file bankruptcy just as there are several reasons why a debtor may decide to seek withdrawal of that bankruptcy.  Because bankruptcy filings are public record those filings will eventually be picked up by the third party public information vendors which consumer reporting agencies use to collect public record information or directly by the consumer reporting agencies through the electronic PACER court reporting service.

Federal law requires that consumer reporting agencies that choose to report a bankruptcy must also report the type of bankruptcy filed (e.g. Chapter 7, Chapter 13, etc.) and, in the case of a withdrawn bankruptcy, that the bankruptcy has been withdrawn.  The current practice of the consumer reporting agencies is to report a bankruptcy, including a withdrawn or dismissed bankruptcy, on a debtor’s credit report for up to 10 years.

Second Circuit Holds FCRA Preempts State Tort Claims

Macpherson v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, NA

Consumer alleged that Chase provided false information about his finances to Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency. Chase removed the case to federal court and moved for dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 12(b)(6), on the grounds that the consumer's claims were preempted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681t(b)(1)(F). Consumer appealed from the district court's dismissal of his state common law tort claims. The Second Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court and held that the FCRA preempted consumer's state law claims against Chase.

Macpherson v. JPMorgan Chase