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Letter to Barney Frank, House Financial Services Committee Chairman and Chris Dodd, Senate Banking Committee Chairman - Credit Score Language

Dear Chairman Dodd and Chairman Frank:

We are writing you to express our strong support for free credit score language adopted in the Senate passed version of HR 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (S. 3217). This language requires lenders to disclose consumers' credit scores for free any time they are denied a loan or charged a higher interest rate due to their credit history.

As the recent financial crisis has shown, Americans can and should be more diligent about both their spending habits and their financial futures. Too often consumers took on loans they could not afford or were misled by deceptive financial products. While Congress has made great strides to improve consumer financial protection laws such as the Credit CARD Act of 2009, we need to ensure consumers have the tools they need to monitor their finances and use those tools to make educated decisions about their investments and loans.

Inclusion of the free credit score language would enhance two existing consumer notices currently mandated by federal law by requiring them to include a consumer's credit score. As the law stands today, lenders are required to send an adverse action notice to advise consumers if they have been denied credit or insurance based on their credit report. Lenders are also required to send a risk-based pricing notice to consumers when they are quoted higher interest rates based on the information in their credit report. The language would simply require lenders to disclose the consumer's credit score that was used to reject their loan application or charge them a higher interest rate.

While the consumers can access their credit reports for free through AnnualCreditReport.com, they normally must pay to see their actual credit score. If this language is included in the final financial regulatory reform legislation, consumers will be able to obtain their credit score for free at which point they can also request their free annual credit report from the three credits reporting agencies. Consumers will be able to get the whole picture of their financial standing and potentially contest incorrect information or work towards bettering their credit score. Financial literacy is the key to making smart informed decisions about spending and borrowing practices and this language will give Americans the tools they need to monitor their financial habits and plan for the future. We urge you to include this language in your conference negotiations.

Sincerely,

Betsy Markey
U.S. Representative

Madeleine Bordallo
U.S. Representative

Christopher Carney
U.S. Representative

Joe Courtney
U.S. Representative

Ben Ray Luján
U.S. Representative

Michael Michaud
U.S. Representative
Adam Schiff
U.S. Representative

Peter Visclosky
U.S. Representative


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