October 31, 2022
Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 207-2832
Washington D.C.— The National Consumers League applauds Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Sandra Thompson’s recent decision to validate updated credit scores for the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). By allowing the use of updated innovative, more predictive scores like FICO10T which reduce the impact of unpaid medical debt and include alternative data sources like rental housing payment information, more consumers will be able to get scored and have access to the market.
However, we are disappointed that FHFA will require the use of VantageScore 4.0 Our concern is prompted by the fact that VantageScore, the company that created VantageScore 4.0, is owned by the credit bureaus, who have proven themselves to be careless with consumer credit data and consumer protection laws over the years.
In fact, over the past few months, congressional leaders like Housing Banking Chair Maxine Waters and House Majority Leader James Clyburn have raised significant concerns about the anti-consumer activities of the credit bureaus. In August, Chair Waters called on the CFPB to put a moratorium on Equifax after it reported faulty credit scores for millions of consumers. On October 14, Leader Clyburn requested that the CFPB investigate and review the nation’s largest credit bureaus for possible violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
In July of 2021, NCL joined with other consumer groups in sending a letter to the CFPB and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking them to update a 2012 study about the accuracy of financial data at the credit bureaus.
In addition to our concerns about data accuracy and anti-consumer anti-competitive behavior by the credit bureaus and the score that they own, NCL is also concerned about the potential cost burdens for consumers that will result from transitioning to this two-score system. Back in our 2018 comments, we asked FHFA to consider what the impact would be for the FHFA, the GSEs, mortgage companies, banks, and most importantly for taxpayers and consumers.
As FHFA works to implement this decision over the next year, we hope they keep the concerns of consumers first and foremost. The housing economy is struggling and we need to ensure consumers aren’t left paying the cost of this transition in increased fees and hidden payments. We also need to make sure FHFA listens to the concerns of Congress and the consumer community when it comes to the credit bureaus. There is much work to be done and we stand ready to help in any way that we can.
About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit https://nclnet.org.