Clay Legislation Would Force Availability of Credit Scores to Consumers
WASHINGTON - Missouri Congressman William "Lacy" Clay Jr. (D) plans to sponsor a companion bill to the Senate's "Consumer Credit Disclosure Act of 2001", sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) that would allow consumers access to their credit score and information on the factors that determined the score. Clay made his announcement on May 13 as part of a speech he gave at the 2003 midyear legislative meeting of the National Association of Realtors on "Consumer Reports: What You Don't Know Could Affect Your Closings. "Technology is simplifying the buying process and making it easier and more uniform to obtain mortgage credit. However, that same information technology begs the need for disclosure to homebuyers of their credit scores, or transparency," said Clay in a copy of his draft speech obtained by Credit Union Times. "Without disclosure of the `scores,' the potential homebuyer may not know the `why' behind receiving either prime or subprime status.Access to their scores would prevent abuse by moneylenders trying to gouge borrwers unfairly," he stated. The congressman called attention to the increasing importance of credit scores that are used not only to approve consumers' mortgage applications, but also applications for homeowner's insurance. "No longer is traditional insurance risk the only gauge. In addition to the loss and a client's claim history, insurance companies are not using credit history as a factor for writing policies. Potentially, a buyer could qualify to buy a home and be disqualified from insuring it.," he said. As the primary sponsor of the "Consumer Credit Scoring Bill of 2003" in the House of Representatives, Clay said he hopes "to significantly influence mortgage credit availability and definitions of credit worthiness. I am convinced that an informed consumer becomes a more marketable client." Clay said he expects his bill to pass out of the House this year. "To not do so, continues to deny many thousands of American families the ability to improve their lives through home ownership.Through my legislation, I hope Congress can level the playing field and help consumers who care about and try to improve their credit rating or scoring," he said."