CFPB issues final rule on credit reporting protections for human trafficking survivors

The CFPB today issued a final rule implementing the Debt Bondage Repair Act, which was included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act that was passed last December. The bill prohibits credit reporting agencies from providing credit reports that contain any negative item of information about a survivor of trafficking that resulted from the trafficking. Today’s final rule updates the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s implementing regulation to ensure it meets DBRA’s credit reporting requirements and that survivors’ credit information is reported fairly.

Specifically, the final rule provides guidance to survivors on the documentation they need to provide to consumer reporting agencies (including credit reporting agencies), in addition to how to report their status as having experienced a form of trafficking. The rule also requires consumer reporting agencies to block adverse information in credit reports. Agencies will have four business days to block adverse information once it is reported to them and 25 business days to make a final determination as to the completeness of the documentation.

Consumer reporting agencies may only decline to or rescind a block if the identity of the survivor cannot be confirmed, the survivor cannot provide proof of a victim determination or the adverse items cannot be identified.

In its comment letter in May, ABA supported the concept of deleting information resulting from human trafficking as an important way to help victims establish independence and financial stability and escape their abusers. ABA also urged CFPB to balance that need with the potential for abuse by people who are not trafficking victims and the resulting degradation and unreliability of consumer reports.

CFPB will post the final rule to its website on June 24.