CFPB Reaffirms That Name-Only Matching Violates FCRA

On November 4, 2021, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (the “Bureau”) issued an advisory opinion reaffirming its stance that a consumer reporting agency (“CRA”) using name-only matching procedures violates 15 U.S.C. § 1681e of FCRA.  The advisory opinion is an interpretive rule and became effective upon publication in the Federal Register, on November 10, 2021.

The majority of the opinion provides background on the dangers of inaccurate reporting—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic—and the consequences inaccurate reporting can have on consumers.  The Bureau highlights that since 1970 Congress has been involved in regulating consumer reporting and underscores the expansions Congress has made to FCRA since 2003.  According to the Bureau, data has shown that complaints from consumers concerning the reporting of inaccurate information has skyrocketed and “[i]n 2020 alone, companies provided responses to more than 191,000 such complaints, which represents approximately 68 percent of credit or consumer reporting complaints responded to by companies that year.”