On April 1, 2020, the CFPB issued its Statement on Supervisory and Enforcement Practices Regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Regulation V in Light of the CARES Act.
The Bureau issued the policy statement to highlight furnishers’ responsibilities under the CARES Act and inform consumer reporting agencies and furnishers of the Bureau’s flexible supervisory and enforcement approach during this pandemic regarding compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Regulation V.
Below are examples of the flexibility the Bureau intends to provide in the consumer reporting system.
Furnishing Consumer Information Impacted by COVID-19:
Many furnishers are or will be offering consumers affected by COVID-19 various forms of payment flexibility, including allowing consumers to defer or skip payments, as required by the CARES Act or voluntarily. Such payment accommodations will avoid the reporting of delinquencies resulting from the effects of COVID-19. The Bureau supports furnishers’ voluntary efforts to provide payment relief, and it does not intend to cite in examinations or take enforcement actions against those who furnish information to consumer reporting agencies that accurately reflects the payment relief measures they are employing.
Disputes: The FCRA generally requires that consumer reporting agencies and furnishers investigate disputes within 30 days of receipt of the consumer’s dispute. The 30-day period may be extended to 45 days if the consumer provides additional information that is relevant to the investigation during the 30-day period.
In evaluating compliance with the FCRA as a result of the pandemic, the Bureau will consider a consumer reporting agency’s or furnisher’s individual circumstances and does not intend to cite in an examination or bring an enforcement action against a consumer reporting agency or furnisher making good faith efforts to investigate disputes as quickly as possible, even if dispute investigations take longer than the statutory timeframe.
On April 3, 2020 in a Policy Statement, the CFPB clarified that the agencies do not intend to take supervisory or enforcement action against mortgage servicers for delays in sending certain early intervention and loss mitigation notices and taking certain actions related to loss mitigation providing that the servicers are making good faith efforts to provide these notices and take these actions within a reasonable time.
Mortgage servicers offering short term payment forbearance programs on short term repayment plans will not have to provide an acknowledgement notice within 5 days of receipt of an incomplete application, provided the servicer sends the acknowledgement notice before the end of the forbearance or repayment period.
Finally, the agencies do not intend to take supervisory or enforcement action against mortgage servicers for delays in sending annual escrow statements, provided that servicers are making good faith efforts to provide these statements within a reasonable time.