World-Wide Reach - Strong Local Presence!

Operation HOPE Global Forums Annual Meeting

CFPB logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 11, 2017

CONTACT:
Office of Communications
Tel: (202) 435-7170

Prepared Remarks of Richard Cordray

Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 

Operation HOPE Global Forums Annual Meeting

Atlanta, Ga.

April 11, 2017

Thank you John for your kind words. I am glad to be back in Atlanta for the HOPE Global Forum. It is great to be here with you and to know you share similar goals and ideals for our society. The thread that links the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to Operation HOPE is the hard and important mission of empowering the economically vulnerable among us.

We are all aware that it is expensive to be poor. Even those who do have a job can work long hours for low wages and still not make enough to get by. And those shut out of the mainstream financial system may have to pay a big chunk of their income before they can even have the use of their own money.

Many of these same people are also blocked from access to credit. Our research shows that 45 million people do not have credit records that can be scored, and thus can be regarded as “credit invisibles.” Together, they make up almost one in five adults in this country, and are more likely to be African-American or Hispanic and to live in low-income neighborhoods.

A limited credit history also makes it harder to withstand financial shocks and achieve financial stability. When people face an emergency and have to borrow without access to traditional credit products, they may use higher cost alternatives to bridge the gap.

These things weigh heavily on people’s lives. The emotional cost is unknowable, but it no doubt produces mounting feelings of frustration and helplessness. The doctrines of equality that mark the aspirations of our political life in America can ring quite hollow in the economic realm.

Our country is founded on the principle of equal opportunity and the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We are nurtured by the promise of upward mobility and the notion that our society has done away with any formal class or caste system. We like to suppose that anyone, regardless of their beginnings in life, can climb the economic ladder through merit and hard work. As Horatio Alger described it in his “rags to riches” stories, we want to believe that with some “luck and pluck,” we can all hope to “strive and succeed.”

But in the non-fiction world, for too many people the concept of upward mobility is more of a tantalizing taunt than a tangible prospect. Economic injustices too often deny opportunity, drain wealth, and damage communities. They prolong and heighten the racial disparities that already exist in America.  For white households, median income is $60,000; for African-American households, it is $35,000. White households in America have an average net worth of $134,000, but African-American households average just $11,000. Home ownership and home values show similar patterns. We know how much Operation HOPE does to empower underserved communities across the country, and we thank you for your work.

At the Consumer Bureau, we too are working on behalf of the economically vulnerable and the financially disempowered. We embrace the principle of individual responsibility, yet we know it is not easy to climb the economic ladder if you have to start near the bottom. It helps greatly to have someone who is willing to hold the ladder steady. We can take on that important role, and help make sure it is as safe as possible to undertake that climb.

***

Today, I want to talk to you about the credit reporting market, which exerts a tremendous influence over people’s financial lives. Credit reports, also known as consumer reports, can make or break whether someone gets a car loan, a credit card, a bank account, or a mortgage – and the interest rate they have to pay. They can also affect whether someone can rent an apartment or get a job.

Credit reports and credit scores form a key foundation of people’s financial options, but they are not very transparent and often are poorly understood. We do not control our own fates, since we cannot vote with our feet by choosing another credit reporting company. Instead, it is mostly a business-to-business ecosystem where people have had little power to insist on better practices or fair treatment. Because of how credit reports affect our lives, we all need this industry to operate at the highest levels of quality and performance.

Five years ago, the Consumer Bureau became the first government agency to supervise the nationwide credit reporting companies. This means we can oversee all sides of the market, from the companies that collect our information to those that furnish it to them. So now we can hold the key parties responsible for their performance and ignore any finger pointing among them.

We are focused on improving data accuracy and the handling of consumer disputes. In the past, despite a statutory duty to produce accurate credit reports, industry practices produced an unacceptable number of errors. A Federal Trade Commission study found that millions of people had an error on at least one of their credit reports that was serious enough to materially affect their credit score.

Consumers also find it hard to get errors corrected, and may have little recourse if things go wrong. I recall the stories I heard in Ohio when we were working on credit freeze legislation. People told us it took them a long time to get any help, and some got none. They brought in shoeboxes full of records documenting the efforts they had made to seek help. Of course, some errors may be unavoidable even in the best of systems, but consumers should not have to jump through hoops to get their problems fixed.

When we first started supervising the credit reporting companies, we held a public field hearing in Detroit, and we set aside time to hear from witnesses about their own experiences. An elderly woman stood up and told us she had a problem. What was her problem? She told us, “the credit reporting companies think I am dead.” Although she had tried and tried to convince them otherwise, making repeated calls and sending in documentation, they continued to write her off.

Aside from the obvious absurdity of the situation, the basic “moral” of her story was striking: the whole situation was a profound affront to her dignity. As she spoke, she made clear her thought that if she were viewed as “somebody,” this would not be happening. Only by assuming that the companies viewed her as “nobody,” and as counting for nothing, could she explain to herself their stubborn indifference to her plight.

Let me tell you another story to show the kinds of problems people have with their credit reports. Jorge, in New York, submitted a complaint with our consumer response team. He had owned a small business in Miami, suffered unexpected financial setbacks, and filed for bankruptcy. He knew the bankruptcy would stay on his credit report for 10 years. But when the time was up, and he tried to rent an apartment, the information was still on his credit report. When he contacted the company, they gave him the runaround and told him he had to wait yet another year to get it changed. Like the elderly woman from Detroit, he felt invisible, as if he did not matter. These stories are keen reminders of why the work we are doing is so crucial.

***

Over the last five years, we have been scrutinizing the credit reporting companies to make sure they are obeying the law and to assess whether their practices pose risks to consumers. We have learned a great deal, but most importantly, we are working to correct the many problems we have found and to resolve matters that harmed consumers. We monitor and examine them the same ways we monitor and examine the biggest banks. This is a much more systematic approach than they have ever experienced before.

Our approach is comprehensive, also covering those that supply the credit reporting companies with people’s financial information. Disputes about the accuracy of information have gotten our attention. So we published a bulletin emphasizing that we will hold furnishers accountable for their duty to investigate disputes. We also made clear that they must review all relevant information they have about the dispute, including documents from consumers. This may sound obvious, but we published the bulletin because we found it was not the normal practice.

Recently, we released a report on how our work is moving the needle in a positive direction. It describes how we are pushing the credit reporting companies and the furnishers to fix data accuracy and dispute handling. Let me describe some of the work we have been doing.

First, we have pressed the companies to improve their quality control systems, which we found were either rudimentary or non-existent. Improvements include testing to identify whether credit reports are being produced for the wrong consumers or contain mixed-up files. Companies are also taking more systematic approaches to correct errors, to prevent them from happening again.

Second, we have made it easier for consumers to dispute errors on their credit reports. We had found some serious failures in this process. Although the law requires companies to notify consumers about the results of dispute investigations, the notification letters did not clearly explain the changes made as a result of the dispute. That is totally unacceptable. We also found, shockingly, that companies were failing to consider the documentation people provided to support their side of the story. Our directives are making them do a better job of investigating disputes and providing more complete responses to consumers.

Third, we are cleaning up the information the credit reporting companies receive in the first place. Our examinations found widespread problems with the ways that banks and financial companies furnish this information, including errors and inadequate processes for fixing errors when they are disputed. The companies are making specific changes and devoting more resources to address these issues.

When our examiners find violations of law, they direct the companies to fix things for the consumers by correcting the errors and getting back money they lost. They also direct the companies to change things for the future. In some cases, as appropriate, this leads to enforcement actions. Recently, for example, we brought enforcement actions against each of the three largest credit reporting companies for deceiving consumers about the actual cost and the uses made of the credit scores sold to them. We also took an enforcement action against Wells Fargo for failing to update or correct inaccurate, negative information reported to the credit reporting companies about student loans.

So we are closely focused on the important issues of data accuracy and dispute handling. Our work here is far from done, but the importance of what we are doing for consumers is enormous.

***

Another way to help improve the credit reporting market is to get consumers more directly involved. People are generally in the best position to know whether the information that is collected and sold about them is accurate and complete. So we are working to improve the market by working to empower consumers. We continue to educate people about the importance of checking their credit reports, their right to a free annual report, and how to dispute errors in their reports. If people are better able to monitor their information for accuracy, then both the credit reporting companies and the furnishers will become more responsive and responsible to the public. This means turning the established “business-to-business model” of credit reporting to focus more squarely on the needs and rights of consumers.

To help people access their credit scores, we have championed the Open Credit Score initiative and related measures that are making credit scores more readily available to consumers at no cost. More than a decade ago, people were given the legal right to a free credit report from each of the three largest credit reporting companies and others every year, but usually they still had to pay to get their credit scores. The Open Credit Score initiative is now making free credit scores regularly available to tens of millions of Americans, and the number is growing fast. And when people notice an unexpected change in their score, they are likely to try to find out why and to learn more about what steps they can take to improve their score, including disputing any errors. This puts consumers in a better position to stand up for themselves in all of these ways.

We are also informing consumers about the availability of free credit scores. We are doing this by publishing a list of companies that have informed the Bureau that they offer their credit card customers free and ready access to one or more of their credit scores. Some have gone further and now offer this same service to all consumers, whether or not they are existing customers. The Open Credit Score Company List is available on our website at consumerfinance.gov. If other companies are providing this service and wish to be added to the list, we will do so.

We recognize that consumers who do not have credit cards also need better access to their credit scores. So we have worked to ensure that nonprofit financial and credit counseling agencies can share the credit reports they purchase on behalf of their clients directly with their clients as well.

***

Our ultimate vision is a credit reporting market based on highly accurate information, where consumers who dispute erroneous information can get their disputes resolved timely and effectively. Making it easier for people to monitor their own credit reports and credit scores to strengthen their financial foundation is a key part of that vision, as is making sure they are treated fairly when they seek credit to improve their lives. We and you share this vision.

As John Hope Bryant has told me many times, these goals help people achieve the American dream of prosperity for themselves and their families and give a leg up to the next generation. Access to affordable, responsible credit is essential to put us on the pathway to success.

We are helping Americans climb the economic ladder by working to fix the systems that make it unsteady. Government has a vital role in making sure these systems are working properly, where individual citizens cannot do so on their own. People who are underserved or having financial problems deserve fair opportunities to move forward in life. Our ultimate goal is to recognize the dignity and worth of every American and make sure every consumer counts. This is entirely in harmony with the important work that Operation HOPE does each day to help people improve their credit reports and raise their credit scores. Much more remains to be done, but now we can do it together, which makes a very big difference. Thank you.

###

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit consumerfinance.gov.

Subscribe!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,740 other subscribers

Upcoming Live Music

No shows booked at the moment.

Featured: Guitarist Gloria Estrada & Viento Callejero

Susie Garcia & Las Colibri

Follow me on Twitter

RSS Alexa Blog

  • How to Optimize Your Content for B2B Lead Generation
    Website content is one of the most powerful tools for B2B lead generation. Digital content drives audiences to a webpage, informs and engages them, and converts them into qualified leads. Every page on a website should be created with lead generation in mind. Even if an individual piece of content does not include a lead […]
  • The Best Tactics for Long-Term SEO Results
    When it comes to long-term SEO strategies, there are so many tactics to consider. As outlined in a recent Alexa post, there are dozens of powerful marketing strategies to consider, and each comes with its own set of investments, risks, and rewards. With so many options, many brands and marketers are left to ask: What […]
  • Here Are 10 Buyer Persona Examples to Help You Create Your Own
    In a recent post, we looked at how you can create a buyer persona to help you get to know your audience, improve your marketing strategies, and create better content. We also offered a PDF buyer persona template you could use to develop your ideal customer profile. Now, we are going to dive deeper into […]
  • This Buyer Persona Template Will Help You Make Top-Quality Content
    While there are many best practices for creating content, there is one rule that will always be the most important: Know your audience. If you don’t know whom you’re talking to, it’s almost impossible to create powerful, targeted content that connects with readers and compels them to take action. The most effective strategic content is […]
  • The Complete Guide to Marketing Strategies: Risks, Rewards, and Investments
    When you sit down to create a marketing plan, it can be a little overwhelming. With so many marketing strategies to choose from, it can be difficult to pick the tactics that are right for your business. On top of that, not all marketing tactics are created equal. Some strategies require more investment, meaning [...] […]

RSS Search Engine Watch

  • Smart shopping season checklists: Mobile and desktop, content and SEO
    Constantly changing consumer behaviors and the demand for more personalized, meaningful experiences have retailers facing huge challenges this year. Competition in the ... read more
  • Black Friday SEO: Last-minute tips for the holiday season
    Black Friday kicks off a shopping season that lasts through Christmas each year, with online retailers vying for the profitable attention of consumers. With spending expected to rise by 47% this year, competition will be fierce. Some final tweaks to your SEO can make the difference between rising to the top of results and languishing […]
  • What factors should you consider before choosing a web crawler tool?
    SEO is a many-headed beast. From off-page elements to on-page elements, covering all aspects of SEO can easily become a Herculean task, especially when dealing with large websites. That is why a tool that crawls your website on a regular basis and brings back reports on what needs to be fixed is a must-have. What […]
  • Image optimization 101: How to rank higher in image search
    Optimizing images to rank well in search is a must for an increasingly visual web: a good logo or some eye-catching graphics can be as effective at attracting visitors to your website as your written content. But even if you're highly familiar with optimizing written content for search, you may not know where to begin […]
  • The ultimate guide to choosing keywords for ROI
    Keyword research is not easy. Every SEO has done it, but few will ever master it completely. In this guide we go beyond raw search volume data to metrics that will help you choose the keywords that deliver the best ROI for you right now.

RSS Search Engine Land

  • Search in Pics: Android candy dispenser, Google Jiu Jitsu shirt & Bing partner plaque
    In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more. Happy Thanksgiving cupcakes: Source: Instagram Android candy dispenser:... Please visit Search Engine Land for the full […]
  • 2-step methodology for dealing with PPC performance downturns
    What happens when your paid search campaigns are experiencing a sudden and unexpected performance drop? Columnist Jeff Baum shows how to handle this situation -- without losing your clients' trust. The post 2-step methodology for dealing with PPC performance downturns appeared first on Search... Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
  • Coming to terms with fake reviews
    In the same way that Google considers some forms of SEO to be unacceptable, they and other review sites dislike any reviews that aren’t organic -- yet fake reviews are still prevalent. Columnist Kevin Lee discusses the scope of the problem and why you should resist the temptation to solicit fake... Please visit Search Engine […]
  • Thanksgiving Google doodle turkey pardons itself & takes leave from any dinner traditions
    “Unlike his domesticated brethren," writes Google, "the Turkey in today’s Doodle is taking flight…from the Thanksgiving table.” The post Thanksgiving Google doodle turkey pardons itself & takes leave from any dinner traditions appeared first on Search Engine Land. Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
  • SearchCap: Google printed materials, SEO migrations & development servers
    Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. The post SearchCap: Google printed materials, SEO migrations & development servers appeared first on Search Engine Land. Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

RSS Local Business Locator Blog

  • Did Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer Murder His Lieutenant?
      Did Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer Murder His Police Lieutenant – Jose Moralez?     Updated: November 2, 2017 after receiving new information. Official documents and evidence soon to be published on this site. More evidence and testimony set aside and reserved; NOT published herein.   Why do people believe that FRESNO POLICE CHIEF […]
  • CHAM (“Baby Cham”) in Association with Sevilla Local Media – “Money Wine” Release
        Sevilla Local Media, LLC (951) 289-1710 sevillalocalmedia@gmail.com www.sevillalocalmedia.com   For Immediate Release: Sevilla Local Media, a Riverside, California, based Digital Marketing & SEO Company that also manages and promotes a select stable of recording artists, announces an official association with CHAM (Damian Beckett), more famously known as BABY CHAM, specific to marketing, promotion […]
  • Richard Martinez of RISE PROGRAMS: True Love
      RISE PROGRAMS: www.riseprograms.com Featuring Richard Martinez LOVE SUFFERS LONG I have search and read many definitions of LOVE but the Bible to me has the best description of what love looks like. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. […]
  • SEO Services – NO CONTRACT
    www.sevillalocalmedia.comMonthly SEO Services – NO CONTRACT – Affordable and Guaranteed ResultsSevilla Local Media Fact SheetA few facts about us:We operate on the following business philosophies: a. CUSTOMERS FOR LIFE (our client retention rate is above 95%) – we currently have SEO clients that have been with us since 2009 (Lu Granite + Roley’s Tree Care) […]
  • Help Support This Team – Donations Needed: Norte Vista High School Girls Golf Team
    GREAT CIGAR EVENTS Supports the Norte Vista High School Girls Golf Team!    The Norte Vista (“Novi”) Girls Golf Team is in their 2nd year of existence and self-supportive. They must pay for their gear, practices, league matches and all that is necessary to compete! Help take the burden off of these outstanding female student-athletes […]

RSS LBL Blogspot Feed

RSS Music Connection

  • Ringo Starr at Prudential Hall in Newark, NJ November 24, 2017
    Ringo Starr and his All-Starr band played the final show of their month-long tour at Prudential Hall (Newark, NJ) on Nov 16. This has been Starr’s longest running band which first toured in 2012. The band is selected and there is no audition process. The only requirement is to have had at least 3 hit […]
  • Lori Bell & Ron Satterfield - blue(s) (8/10) November 23, 2017
    Celebrating a 25-year partnership that has run parallel to their multi-faceted solo careers, veteran SoCal jazz greats Lori Bell (flute) and Ron Satterfield (guitar, vocals) apply their virtuosity to an intimate and soulful, rhythmically diverse and improvisation-rich landscape grounded in the blues. Satterfield’s acoustic lines and Al Jarreau-like voicings provide perfect harmony and counterpoint to Bell’s often graceful, always dynamic and joyfully […]
  • Signing Story: Sara Serena November 23, 2017
    Nineteen-year-old Spaniard Sara Serena began her sojourn to stardom two years ago when she auditioned online for Aim2Fame, a web-based singing competition. The show was not unlike a combination of American Idol meets Big Brother. When Serena’s audition video made the top sixteen, a spark was ignited. But when she went on to win, that […]
  • Peter Manning Robinson at the Vortex Dome in Los Angeles, CA November 22, 2017
    Avant-garde pianist/composer, Emmy award-winning composer, and instrument inventor Peter Manning Robinson played the Vortex Dome in Downtown L.A. on Nov. 11.  The award Winning set and project designer, and UCLA alum Hana Kim collaborated with Robinson on the visuals. Photos and Text by Alex Kluft The post Peter Manning Robinson at the Vortex Dome in Los […]
  • IAMA Finalist Jeff Gutt becomes new lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots November 22, 2017
    Jeff Gutt, a finalist at the 9th Annual IAMA and runner-up on X-Factor USA, has just been confirmed as the new lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots. The group, which scaled the heights of stardom in the 1990s, has seen its fair share of internal strife -- particularly the firing of frontman Scott Weiland in […]

RSS Political News

  • Woman Sits Down for Tea, Looks Out Window, Sees Freak Invasion of Own Town November 24, 2017
    A 61-year-old grandmother was enjoying her Sunday morning with a cup of tea when she looked out the window and saw that dozens of cows had completely taken over her town. According to U.K.’s Metro, Janis Wilson said she saw 30 to 40 of the bovine beasts roaming around the streets in her town of Bollington,… […]
  • Former Jihadist Scorches Islamists With 1 Suggestion for Their Everyday Lives November 24, 2017
    This is a message from a former jihadist that terrorists around the world should have been listening to. According to Fox News Insider, former radical jihadist Mubin Shaikh appeared on Fox and Friends in August 2017 after the 2017 terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, that killed 13 innocent people and injured more than 100 others. When… […]
  • Woman Who Attacked Bus Driver With Disgusting Bodily Fluid Just Got Bad News November 24, 2017
    A woman who threw a cup of her own urine on a Washington, D.C., bus driver now faces jail time. According to The Washington Post, Opal Brown pleaded guilty in early November to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to 120 days in jail along with three years probation. This all stems from an incident that took… […]
  • Trump Thanks God, the One Word Obama Refused to Say November 24, 2017
    For many years, Thanksgiving Day has seen the sitting president of the United States issue a “National Day of Thanksgiving Proclamation” marking the holiday. This year was no exception. President Donald Trump issued his Thanksgiving proclamation, but there was a big difference between his and President Barack Obama’s 2016 proclamation, Myra Adams wrote for BizPac… […]
  • Marine Helicopter Touches Down in Soccer Field After Phone Turns Up Missing November 24, 2017
    The Marines made an epic retrieval after one of them left his phone at a Bar Harbor, Maine, restaurant on Saturday. As the tale goes, according to the Mount Desert Islander, six Marines ate lunch at the Thirsty Whale that afternoon. Later on in the day, server Jess Witherell says she got a call with the ID… […]
Please wait...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Want to be notified when our article is published? Enter your email address and name below to be the first to know.
%d bloggers like this: