CFPB Report Details How the Nation’s Largest Credit Bureaus Manage Consumer Data

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Credit Cards Dominate Consumer Reports; Debt Collection Tops Disputes

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report on the consumer experience with the three largest nationwide credit reporting companies: Equifax Information Services, LLC; Experian Information Solutions Inc.; and TransUnion LLC. Among the key takeaways in the report, which is one of the most comprehensive studies of credit reporting to date, are that credit card history dominates the information in consumer reports and that debt collection items generate the highest rate of disputes.

“Today’s study is another step toward bringing more clarity to the confusing world of credit reports. It will help educate regulators and consumers about how this important industry works,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “If consumers know how these companies handle their credit histories, they can make better decisions on how to handle their financial lives.”

Credit reporting companies, also called credit bureaus, are businesses that track a consumer’s credit history. The credit reports they generate – and the three-digit credit scores that are based on those reports – play an increasingly important role in the lives of American consumers. Most decisions to grant credit and set interest rates for loans are made using information contained in credit reports as a key decision factor.

Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion each have more than 200 million files on consumers. In a typical month, they receive updates from approximately 10,000 information “furnishers,” which are the entities that supply data on consumers. The furnishers do this on more than 1.3 billion “trade lines,” which are individual information sources on a consumer report such as a consumer’s accounts for a car loan, mortgage loan, or credit card.

The report is the result of the CFPB analyzing U.S. information from 2011, including information submitted by TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Among the key takeaways in the report:

  • More than half of the trade lines in the credit bureau databases are supplied by the credit card industry: Credit reporting companies get their information from a variety of industries but more than half of the account information is supplied by credit card companies. Specifically, 40 percent comes from bank cards, such as general credit cards, and 18 percent comes from retail credit cards. Only 7 percent comes from mortgage lenders or servicers, and only 4 percent comes from auto lenders.
  • More than a third of disputes have to do with collections: In 2011, consumers reached out to the credit reporting companies roughly 8 million times, resulting in disputes of 32 to 38 million items in their credit files. Almost 40 percent of the disputes relate to debt in collections, and debt in collections is five times more likely to be disputed than mortgage information. According to the industry, some of this may have to do with consumers’ incentive to dispute any negative information on their reports.
  • Fewer than one in five people obtain copies of their credit report each year: The most effective way for consumers to identify errors in their reports is to obtain copies and review them. But only about 44 million consumers per year, or about one in five, obtain copies of their files.
  • Most information contained in credit reports comes from a few large companies: Most information contained in credit files comes from a small number of large banks and other financial institutions. In fact, the top 10 data furnishers provide 57 percent of the trade lines coming into the credit reporting companies. The top 50 furnishers provide 72 percent. And the top 100 furnishers provide 76 percent.
  • Most complaints are forwarded to the furnishers that provided the original information: The credit reporting companies resolve an average of 15 percent of consumer disputed items internally, without getting the data furnishers involved. The remaining 85 percent are passed on to the furnishers. Today’s report, however, found that the documentation consumers mail in to support their cases may not be getting passed on to the data furnishers for them to properly investigate and report back to the credit reporting company.

The report, “Key Dimensions and Processes in the U.S. Credit Reporting System: A review of how the nation’s largest credit bureaus manage consumer data” is available at: https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201212_cfpb_credit-reporting-white-paper.pdf

The CFPB is the first federal government agency that supervises both consumer reporting companies and those that provide consumer reporting companies with consumers’ credit information, such as large banks and many types of nonbanks. In July, the CFPB adopted a rule to extend its supervision authority to cover larger consumer reporting agencies, and in September, it released the examination procedures it will use to examine these companies. Previously, these companies were not supervised at the federal level.

In September, the CFPB released a study examining credit scores that compared credit scores sold to creditors and those sold to consumers. It found that while credit scores sold by credit bureaus to consumers were generally highly correlated with credit scores used by lenders, about one in five consumers would likely receive a score that could be materially different from what a lender would see.

In October, the CFPB began accepting individual complaints about credit reporting companies. If a consumer files a complaint with a credit reporting company and is dissatisfied with the resolution, the CFPB is available to assist. Consumers can find out more at: https://help.consumerfinance.gov/app/creditreporting/ask

The CFPB also published a Consumer Advisory about credit reports earlier this year at: https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201207_cfpb_consumer-advisory_check-your-credit-score-every-year.pdf

Official news published at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/consumer-financial-protection-bureau-report-details-how-the-nations-largest-credit-bureaus-manage-consumer-data/

Images courtesy of PixaBay

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Chef Ann Foundation Signs a Cooperative Agreement With the USDA to Help Create a More Resilient, Equitable, and Nutritious School Food System

Part of USDA's Healthy Meals Incentives, these sub-grants are designed to increase K-12 schools' procurement of local, higher-quality food items and scratch cooking

Chef Ann Foundation (CAF) has signed a cooperative agreement with the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) as part of the Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative.  An allocation of $7.8 million is provided to CAF as part of The School Food System Transformation Challenge. These funds will be used to build a sub-grant program to incentivize innovative partnerships between school districts, food producers, suppliers, distributors, and community partners to strengthen the availability and access to nutritious food products in the K-12 school food. 

"The pandemic shed light on the cracks in our food system, and school food teams have been burdened with supply chain issues. We need to help our schools and their regional food communities work together to empower local food production and distribution," said Mara Fleishman, CEO of Chef Ann Foundation.

In partnership with USDA FNS, CAF partnered with Gretchen Swanson Center for NutritionKitchen Sync Strategies, and the National Farm to School Network. These partners will ensure that the sub-grants will increase the offering of healthier food products in the K-12 school food marketplace; leverage innovative partnerships between School Food Authorities (SFA) and key stakeholders in their local food systems; expand SFA procurement capacity at the local and regional levels; and increase market opportunities for local growers and producers. The sub-grants will be developed with an eye towards cultivating equity, nourishing students, fostering a resilient supply chain, and creating scalable and sustainable change for SFAs across the country.

"Procurement, in particular, remains one of the most complex processes within school food service departments. SFAs are required to navigate sourcing ingredients that fulfill the mission of serving fresh, local foods while working within limited budgets, under-resourced producers, and strained supply chains," says Elliott Smith, co-founder of Kitchen Sync Strategies.

In order to effectively meet current standards, in addition to upcoming changes that align with the USDA Dietary Guidelines, school districts must be equipped with the network and resources necessary to achieve such requirements. Realistically, no SFA or individual business is capable of accomplishing such a complex universal goal without multiple strategic partnerships with other organizations, businesses, and agencies in their food economy. The sub-grants support the development of the hard and soft infrastructures needed to successfully increase access to nutritious and appealing foods for kids.

"USDA is taking a holistic approach to supporting school meal programs, which includes strengthening the food supply chain that supports them," said Stacy Dean, deputy under secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. "We're hopeful that these grants will accelerate and expand innovation in the school food marketplace, so that schools - and ultimately our children - have better access to healthier food products."

These initiatives are part of the Biden-Harris Administration's National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The National Strategy provides a roadmap of actions the federal government will take to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases by 2030 - all while reducing disparities. The National Strategy was released in conjunction with the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in over 50 years, hosted by President Biden in September 2022.

About Chef Ann Foundation

Chef Ann Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to ensure that school food professionals have the resources, funding and support they need to provide fresh, healthy, delicious, scratch cooked meals that support the health of children and our planet. To date, the organization has reached more than 14,000 schools and 3.4 million kids with healthy school programming. Learn more at chefannfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition

The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition (GSCN) is a nonprofit research institute providing expertise in measurement and evaluation to help develop and enhance programs focused on healthy eating and active living, food security, and local food systems. With expertise in public health nutrition, GSCN is dedicated to building measurement strategies to assess the impact of innovative health-related programs, which advance health equity. GSCN was founded in 1973, is headquartered in Omaha, NE, and has 44 team members across 24 states. 

About Kitchen Sync Strategies

The Kitchen Sync Strategies Collaborative (KSSC) is a team of consulting and brokerage companies that brings a combined 25+ years of farm-to-school and school food procurement experience. The members of KSSC - which include Kitchen Sync Strategies, Supply Change, and Shared Plate Strategies - have supported over 250 SFAs nationwide to procure food from socially disadvantaged producers and meaningfully impact the racial and economic equity in their region.

About National Farm to School Network

National Farm to School Network has a vision of a strong and just food system for all, and we seek deep transformation toward this vision through farm to school - the way kids eat, grow, and learn about food in schools and early care and education settings.

About USDA

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America's food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

About USDA Food and Nutrition Service

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through a suite of more than 15 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC and SNAP. Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. FNS's report, "Leveraging the White House Conference to Promote and Elevate Nutrition Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service," highlights ways the agency will support the Biden-Harris Administration's National Strategy, released in conjunction with the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September 2022. To learn more about FNS, visit www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.

Contact Information:
Danielle Chandler
Senior Marketing Coordinator
danielle.chandler@chefannfoundation.org
410-812-2948


Original Source: Chef Ann Foundation Signs a Cooperative Agreement With the USDA to Help Create a More Resilient, Equitable, and Nutritious School Food System
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