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CREDIT BUREAUS TESTIFY COMPLAINTS DROPPED BY 85 PERCENT IN 1992

 WASHINGTON, May 27 /PRNewswire/ -- "We feel it is very important that Congress and the media be provided with an accurate picture of the credit reporting industry," stated D. Barry Connelly, executive vice president of Associated Credit Bureaus, Inc. Connelly briefed the Senate Banking Committee on a study which showed consumer complaints and inquiries received by the Federal Trade Commission had been reduced from 10,000 in 1991 to 1,492 complaints in 1992, a drop of over 85 percent. Connelly was testifying before the committee on S. 783, a bill to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
 "ACB members were very concerned about a statement made during a congressional hearing last year that the Federal Trade Commission received 10,000 complaints and inquiries about credit reporting in 1991," Connelly stated. For this reason, ACB filed a Freedom of Information Act request for FTC complaints for the first quarter of 1992. "Using the most generous definition of a credit bureau complaint, we found 373 legitimate consumer complaints about credit bureaus," Connelly noted. He added this works out to a total of 1,492 complaints annually.
 Connelly remarked: "Mr. Chairman, I think this goes a long way toward substantiating what credit bureaus have been saying in the past few years. We are doing a better job of serving consumers. We're making credit reports easier to read; we're hiring more people to answer consumers' questions. We're training people to deal specifically with the issues of fraud and to give special treatment to those consumers who have been victims of fraud. We're adopting initiatives that exceed any state or federal laws dealing with credit reporting."
 Addressing the provisions of S. 783, Connelly noted that many of the proposed amendments are already a reality in the marketplace. For instance, credit bureaus currently have a policy of completing a reinvestigation of a consumer dispute within 30 days. Credit bureaus also consider relevant written information from consumers about the data in their credit file. Additionally, provisions in S. 783 dealing with employment reports and direct marketing are current standard operating policy within the credit reporting industry.
 Because of this, Connelly questioned the need for legislation. He stated: "We realize these credit reporting industry policy initiatives do not have the force of law. They may not be perfect, and they may need additional changes, but we can make those changes without needing to change law," he concluded.
 Connelly noted one important provision missing from S. 783 which has to do with pre-emption of state laws. "We believe that uniformity is a pro-consumer position," Connelly said. He added that the FCRA in conjunction with current credit reporting industry policies far exceeds the level of consumer credit reporting protection in almost every state. Connelly called lack of a pre-emptive section in S. 783, "a major flaw in the bill."
 Associated Credit Bureaus is an international trade association that represents over 1,200 credit reporting, mortgage reporting and collection agencies. Their role includes state and federal government affairs, education and public affairs functions.
 -0- 5/27/93
 /CONTACT: Norm Magnuson, director of public affairs, Associated Credit Bureaus, 202-408-7406/


CO: Associated Credit Bureaus, Inc. ST: District of Columbia IN: FIN SU: LEG

DC-TW -- DC026 -- 3035 05/27/93 14:45 EDT
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Date:May 27, 1993
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