Financial Protection

“Trigger leads” led to the 2008 housing collapse; industry and consumer groups agree: “not again!”

“Trigger leads” sold by the “BIG 3” credit bureaus helped “lead”  to the 2008 housing collapse; they lit the fuse, or “triggered” the collapse of the economy. This year, industry and consumer groups agree: “not again!”  In 2023, relief from misguided “trigger lists” sold by credit bureaus may soon occur as Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) have proposed a ban, S 3502, the Homebuyers Privacy Protection Act. An identical House bill, H.R. 7297, is sponsored by Representatives John Rose (R-TN) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY). Coalition letter in support.

We and the National Consumer Law Center have strongly supported this idea to stop this long-standing abuse of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by the credit bureaus.  The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing today on the bill. This time, we’re backed by a strong consumer-industry housing coalition with the American Bankers Association and others in support.

My colleague Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy and I  exposed trigger lists as abusive in a New York Times  story on the development of internet or E-scores, by privacy reporter Natasha Singer.

We followed it up with a law review article. The Internet has only made the collection and use of our data — without true consent — worse; but it all started with the credit bureaus and trigger lists.

This blog explains the whole sordid history of Trigger Lists and the Big 3 credit bureaus, including pioneering work on trigger fees by the late Washington Post writer Ken Harney.

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