Rep. McHenry Introduces Credit Reporting Bill in Wake of Equifax Breach

As the fallout continues from the Equifax data breach, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) yesterday introduced a bill making several changes to federal regulation of “large consumer reporting agencies” like Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The bill requires the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council to subject large credit bureaus to cybersecurity supervision and exams by a designated FFIEC agency.

McHenry’s bill would target the practice of using Social Security numbers to verify identity by prohibiting large consumer reporting agencies from making credit reports with SSNs or using them for identification purposes.

The bill would also require credit bureaus to place security freezes on consumers’ credit files within five days of a consumer’s request. Bureaus may charge no more than $5 for placing, lifting or removing a freeze, and no fee may be assessed for identity theft victims, minors, seniors or active-duty service members. It includes provisions on temporary lifting of these freezes. Under the bill, if a lender requests access to a credit report in connection with an application for credit and the file is frozen, the loan application may be treated as incomplete.