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CREDIT REPORTING INDUSTRY URGES CONGRESS TO PASS FCRA AMENDMENTS

CREDIT REPORTING INDUSTRY URGES CONGRESS TO PASS FCRA AMENDMENTS
 /ADVANCE/ WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- "The Consumer Reporting Reform Act of 1992 is a consumer bill, pure and simple, and that's why we support it," stated Walter R. Kurth, president of Associated Credit Bureaus, Inc. He emphasized his point by noting, "it has over 45 different consumer protection provisions which would update credit reporting. Yet a few in Congress and some consumer groups are working very hard to defeat this bill." He thought it was ironic that those who claim to look out for the interests of consumers are, instead, working against this legislation.
 Congress has been considering legislation to update the federal law that regulates the credit reporting industry. H.R. 3596, the Consumer Reporting Reform Act of 1992, is a result of four congressional hearings held over two years and many months of discussion. Kurth says he believes Congress has fashioned a bill which is an excellent approach to amending the FCRA.
 Credit granting and credit reporting have become interstate businesses, Kurth noted. Today, consumers enjoy the benefits of our credit-driven society that enable them to apply for, obtain and use credit. They carry credit cards from banks in distant states, have mortgages with companies thousands of miles away from home and use retail charge accounts issued with national companies. The competitive national credit system in the United States allows consumers to get lower interest rates, waived annual fees and differing payment options. In short, he stated, it lets consumers shop for the best credit opportunity available in the marketplace.
 Expanding on his consumer theme, Kurth emphasized, "the Consumer Reporting Reform Act contains over 45 consumer protection provisions and is significantly stronger than any state credit reporting legislation currently in effect. It would update the existing law passed 21 years ago before technology and the marketplace changed the industry dramatically. Nothing supports the need for one uniform federal statute more than the fact that the credit reporting has gone from 2,200 local credit bureaus 10 years ago to 800 bureaus, many of which are supported by three nationwide credit reporting systems which maintain files on more than 150 million credit active Americans from Maine to California."
 Despite this fact, the industry says, some members of Congress and consumer groups are attempting to kill the bill because it contains a provision which would prevent the passage of conflicting state fair credit reporting laws. These critics say it weakens state consumer protection laws. However, the credit reporting industry points out that H.R. 3596 specifically gives state attorneys general the power to enforce the FCRA -- powers they do not currently have.
 The industry also notes that there are many instances where federal law takes precedence over state laws, especially with respect to protecting consumer rights during the process of conducting interstate commerce. For instance, federal laws dealing with credit billing, debt collection, product safety and warranties have pre-emptive provisions.
 "Federal pre-emption is good for consumer and that's the reason the majority of the House Banking Committee members has seen fit to include this provision in H.R. 3596," added Kurth. "Both credit granters and the credit reporting industry support this bill as passed by the House Banking Committee. If the critics of H.R. 3596 succeed in killing the bill, consumers once again have lost out to those who pursue their own special interests at the expense of everyone else," he concluded.
 -0- 9/8/92
 /NOTE: For additional information on credit reporting and H.R. 3596, call the contact below./
 /CONTACT: Norm Magnuson, director of Public Affairs, Associated Credit Bureaus, 202-408-7406/ CO: Associated Credit Bureaus ST: District of Columbia IN: FIN SU: LEG


TW -- DC013 -- 6964 09/04/92 13:41 EDT
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Date:Sep 4, 1992
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