Congresswoman Maxine Waters (File photo)

As Chairwoman of the powerful Financial Services Committee, she calls for the a moratorium on Equifax for wrongfully reporting consumer credit 

Your credit score is one of the most powerful or harmful tools any consumer has within the financial arsenal.

So when the credit bureau makes a error and wrongfully reports your score to banks, lending institutions, businesses or other entities checking on your credit worthiness, the results can be catastrophic.  This error can cause consumers to pay higher interest rates, reduce the amount of money you can qualify to borrow, can affect your ability to get either a job or housing etc.

Thoughts of this scenario incensed Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, when she discovered that Equifax, one of the nation’s three consumer reporting agencies, sent lenders inaccurate credit scores on millions of consumers, potentially resulting in damage to customers and possibly causing some consumers to be denied credit at all.  Naturally, Congresswoman Waters demanded action to right these wrongs.

The Congresswoman has sent a letter to both Equifax and to many of the nation’s largest banks and financial institutions demanding answers as to how receiving inaccurate, and in some cases false, credit reports happened, how many consumers have been affected and what steps will these agencies take to correct the harm done to the numerous individuals affected by this error.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, (File Photo)

The Congresswoman, in an exclusive interview with the Los Angeles Sentinel, said she does not know how many individuals have been affected by this mistake, but that she has asked that question and is expecting an answer.

“Equifax provided inaccurate credit scores to financial institutions impacting millions of our consumers who have now been charged a higher interest rate or had their credit application denied,” stated Chairwoman Waters.

“We want to know who these customers are that have been affected and we want to know the extent of the erroneous credit scores that were give out.”

Waters says that Equifax has not been transparent about this error, and she stressed that the firm’s action is unacceptable. Equifax responded that “we have not tried to harm our consumers in anyway.”

But Chairwoman Waters said, “What they have not done is come up with any real response to tell us how they plan to correct this problem.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (Courtesy Photo)

Also, she plans to introduce legislation soon in response to these events and sent a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra, urging the agency to investigate and use its tools to ensure all harmed consumers are made whole and to impose a moratorium on Equifax providing any credit scores to financial institutions until it cleans up its act.

“I have asked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to place a moratorium on Equifax so that they cannot do anymore credit service business until the issue is corrected,” said Waters, especially since she says that she wants more than Equifax simply just having to pay a fine for this error.

She firmly believes that making a large corporation like Equifax simply pay a fine would lead to the company considering its callous behavior as simply a part of doing business and it would not have any impact in convincing Equifax to correct their error or hold them accountable.

In a letter she sent to the Chairman of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Waters said, “I intend to utilize all tools available to me as Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee to ensure harmed consumers are promptly made whole and to protect consumers from our broken consumer credit reporting system going forward. I urge you to do the same.

“I urge you to utilize your authority as Director to impose a moratorium on Equifax providing any credit scores to financial institutions until they can demonstrate to your satisfaction that they have the necessary systems and controls to ensure each credit score they provide on millions of consumers is verified to be accurate before distributing them to financial institutions.”

Chairwoman Waters believes that far too many people have been harmed to just allow Equifax to continue doing “business as usual” and the impact of this error has been dramatically felt by an incredibly wide swath of people.

She strongly believes that everyone from students applying for loans to consumers trying to buy homes have been impacted by this mistake and she has vowed to use all of her power and influence to make these consumers whole.