When I first learned of this recently passed Act, I felt nothing but sadness that this act is needed. I have been in the credit and lending business for more than 30 years and I never once considered how credit damage would impact a survivor of human trafficking. I applaud congress for creating this Act to help these survivors.
I expect these survivors already face many issues with getting their lives back on track. It is nice to see that negative, derogatory credit reporting would not be a hurdle for them too. By having their negative credit reporting removed, a human trafficking survivor will have a much better chance to build a solid credit history, one that they alone are responsible for, and have greater financial opportunities. Better credit allows for more financial security and opportunities including employment opportunities, rental housing and future lending.
The CFPB, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is in the process of finalizing a proposed a rule change that will have a major credit reporting impact for a certain group of consumers.
The proposed rule change will apply to survivors of human trafficking. The rule change will require the Consumer Reporting Agencies, also known as Credit Reporting Agencies, not to report any negative information on a survivor’s credit reports during the period they were trafficked. The CFPB is proposing this rule change to implement the requirements set by Congress based on the recently enacted Debt Bondage Repair Act. Changes to the credit reporting system like the this proposed one are very rare.
At this time, the CFPB just concluded accepting public comments on this proposed rule. They are now working out the details for what documentation survivors will need to submit to the Credit Reporting Agencies. The Credit Reporting Agencies will be required to mask, or block, any negative reporting that occurred during the period the survivor was trafficked.
This Rule will apply to all the Consumer Reporting Agencies. Most consumers think of the “Big 3”, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, as the only Credit Reporting Agencies. This is not the case as there are many Consumer Reporting Agencies that house and sell consumers’ data. It is important that survivors work with all the Consumer Reporting Agencies to ensure their consumer files are cleared of any negative data during the time they were trafficked.
As a father, husband, and friend to many, I have been blessed to not have this heinous crime impact me or my loved ones. I can only imagine that anyone who is evil enough to enslave another human would also abuse their finances in every way possible. My thoughts go out to anyone who is or has been part of any human trafficking and I hope they can find the freedom, safety, security and happiness they deserve.
If your credit needs help, take action. There are a lot of resources available on steps to improve your credit. You can get free information from the FTC or contact a professional credit repair company like CureMyScore.com for help. By taking action to improve your credit, you may qualify for the home of your dreams or a new auto while paying less in interest charges.
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