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CFPB Lays Out Law For Consumer Report 'Furnishers'
WASHINGTON (9/5/13)--Companies including financial institutions such as credit unions that supply information to credit rating companies are being reminded by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of their legal responsibilities when it comes to consumer disputes.
The CFPB announced Wednesday that it is issuing a bulletin targeted at these companies, called furnishers, making it clear that they are responsible for investigating consumer disputes forwarded by the consumer reporting companies.
The Credit Union National Association is talking with the CFPB about the bulletin and how associated regulatory burdens for credit unions can be minimized. 
Furnishers are also responsible for reviewing all relevant information provided with the disputes, including documents submitted by consumers, the CFPB bulletin points out.
The bulletin is a follow up to a December 2012 CFPB report on an electronic system, known as "e-OSCAR," used by the three largest nationwide consumer reporting companies.
Equifax Information Services LLC, TransUnion LLC, and Experian Information Solutions, Inc. use e-OSCAR to send information relating to consumer disputes to furnishers. The CFPB report, however, highlighted the fact that the system did not provide a means for credit reporting companies to forward to furnishers any documents submitted by consumers.
The CFPB says that since its report, the electronic system has been upgraded so that the three companies can now send furnishers any relevant dispute documents mailed in by consumers. The CFPB pledges to continue to work to see that the capacity of the system is expanded further "in the near future."
The bulletin released yesterday notes that the CFPB expects each furnisher to fulfill its legal obligations by:
  • Receiving information and investigating disputes: When a consumer files a dispute about a credit report item, companies need to be able to receive information about the dispute and must investigate the consumer's concerns;
  • Providing investigation results: Furnishers must report the results of the investigation to the consumer reporting company that sent the dispute originally; and
  • Correcting inaccurate information: Furnishers are required to report the results of the investigation to nationwide consumer reporting companies if those companies may have received inaccurate or incomplete credit information. Furnishers also have to modify, delete, or permanently block disputed information that is incomplete, inaccurate, or cannot be verified.
If the CFPB determines that a furnisher has engaged in any acts or practices that violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act or other federal consumer financial laws, it will take appropriate supervisory and enforcement actions to address violations and seek all appropriate corrective measures, possibly including restitution to harmed consumers. The CFPB will continue to review furnishers' compliance with these requirements.

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