On Head Injuries and the CFPB

by. Henry Meier

It’s Football Season people!  In addition to loving the game, the legal and compliance geek in me loves to see what the new points of emphasis will be for the referees this year.  For example, a couple of years ago, they decided to really crack down on those great, open-field bone crushing tackles with which safeties love to cripple wide receivers.  This year, the NFL continues to reform itself having concluded after much medical research and recent legal threats that football is actually bad for your health and that blows to the head can actually damage someone.  Now they are going to try to crack down on blows to the heads of running backs.  Is flag football far off?

Now, I’m not trying to diminish the dangers posed by playing football but it is an intrinsically violent game and no matter how hard we try, it is going to stay that way.  This brings me to a recent guidance by the CFPB.  One of the great points of emphasis of the Bureau since taking over as the nation’s consumer watch dog has been improving the accuracy of information in credit reports.  It has even created quite a stir by suggesting that large numbers of Americans are being denied credit as a result of inaccuracies in credit reports maintained by the national credit reporting agencies.

In a 2012 report, the Bureau was critical of the inability of the major reporting agencies to retain and forward all the documentation that a consumer has brought to their attention regarding an alleged inaccuracy.  In yesterday’s guidance, the CFPB emphasized that it “expects furnishers to have reasonable systems and technology in place to receive and process notices of disputes and information regarding disputes, including information forwarded to them by CRAs.”  Remember that if you report information to the credit bureau, you are a furnisher.

This dictate is a follow-up on the CFPB’s efforts to get the CRA’s to improve their technology so that they coul better retain consumer complaint information.  I would hope that our good friends at the CRAs will be willing to provide a guidance to furnishers explaining what technological baselines furnishers will have to have in order to comply with the CFPB’s wishes.  As someone who has had to read consumer complaints about alleged violations in their credit reports, I have serious doubts that what we need is the ability to read one more letter from an irate consumer with a perfectly good explanation as to why they haven’t paid their bills in the last three months.  Remember that with or without this guidance, you’ll still have an obligation to research discrepancies and correct errors where they exist.

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