In a policy statement released on April 1, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) stated that it will take a “flexible supervisory and enforcement approach” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Policy Statement emphasizes the importance for furnishers to continue to report accurate information to the consumer reporting agencies during this crisis. The CFPB’s position is that the accurate credit reports will be important for the economy moving forward.
The CFPB’s Policy Statement highlights two areas where it will have flexibility: (1) Furnishing Consumer Information Impacted by COVID-19 and (2) Disputes.
Making clear that it expects furnishers to comply with the amendments to FCRA by the CARES Act, the CFPB reiterated its support for furnishers’ efforts to work with consumers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CFPB will not cite in examination or take enforcement actions against furnishers who are accurately reporting the payment relief measures being afforded to borrowers during this crisis.
In addition, the CFPB recognizes that CRAs and furnishers may be facing “significant operational disruptions” which will make it difficult to timely respond to a consumer’s dispute in the 30-day time frame provided by FCRA. To that end, the CFPB’s Policy Statement states that it will take into account the entity’s individual circumstances and does not intend to take enforcement action so long as the entity is making a “good faith effort” to respond to disputes, even if the response is untimely.
Finally, the CFPB’s Policy Statements reminds the CRAs and furnishers that they do not need to investigate disputes submitted by credit repair organizations or disputes that they “reasonably determine to be frivolous or irrelevant.”