We Signed A Letter In 2014 But That Doesn’t Mean We Support The Bank Lobbyist Act

Why would we support an amendment to make a bad bill worse? We wouldn't. Here's our explainer on how our signature on a 2014 letter should not have been used to somehow imply we supported an amendment to S2155 on credit scoring favoring Equifax and the other Big 3 credit bureaus.

We recently became aware of misleading information and materials that were circulated on Capitol Hill to suggest U.S. PIRG supports the Credit Score Competition Act (S. 1685) and its inclusion (Section 310) in the final version of S2155, which was passed by the Senate last night in a 67-31 vote count (Public Interest Vote = No).

U.S. PIRG is appalled that we were used in a misleading attempt to garner Congressional support for S2155, a bill that exposes consumers to bad mortgages and racial discrimination, puts our economy at risk, and gives breaks to Equifax and the other credit bureaus.

Among the circulated materials was a list of consumer groups, including U.S. PIRG, that had signed a 2014 letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt in general support of competition in the credit scoring market. We believe the purpose of including the list was presumably to imply U.S. PIRG supports S. 1685, and therefore its inclusion in S2155 as Section 310.

While we do generally support competition in the credit scoring marketplace, we do not support Section 310 because it upends the FHFA’s current process already underway for encouraging competition. In fact, that process was put in place after we signed that 2014 letter so why pass Section 310 now? That provision appears intended to help the Big 3 credit bureaus take over — not compete in — the credit scoring marketplace.

11 other advocacy organizations joined us on a group letter to the Senate explaining that our general support for competition as implied in that 2014 letter to Mel Watt does not mean any of us support Section 310’s inclusion in S2155.


Mike Litt

Director, Consumer Campaign, PIRG

Mike directs U.S. PIRG’s national campaign to protect consumers on Wall Street and in the financial marketplace by defending the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and works for stronger privacy protections and corporate accountability in the wake of the Equifax data breach. Mike lives in Washington, D.C.