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1.4.6 The Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996

On September 30, 1996, culminating years of deliberation, Congress passed the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996 (the “1996 Reform Act”),181 which revised nearly every section of the FCRA.

As discussed above, efforts at reform began in 1973, only a few years after the original enactment of the FCRA, although no sweeping changes were enacted. Starting in 1989, major efforts to reform the FCRA were made in Congress every year. In September 1996, Congress approved a modified version of Senate Bill 709, a bill proposed by Senator Bryan which was attached by the Senate Banking Committee to Senate Bill 650, the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, a draconian rollback of consumer laws. House Bill 561, similar to Senate Bill 709, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Gonzalez and Joseph Kennedy II, but no committee action was ever taken. In the end, the congressional consensus, that had formed in 1994 and earlier, allowed the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996 to be added without public debate as a small part of House Bill 3610; the so-called Continuing Budget Resolution182 was adopted in the last hours of the fiscal year.183

The twin problems of consumer report inaccuracies and difficulties in fixing them were the primary motivation for reforming the FCRA. The Federal Trade Commission reported that errors in consumer credit reports were the number one item of complaint.184 Forty-eight percent of the consumer reports studied by Consumers Union had errors, twenty percent had errors serious enough to cause credit to be denied.185 Senators also cited the frustration of consumers who tried to correct inaccurate entries.186 A 1991 study by US PIRG found that consumers who had filed complaints with the FTC had already complained to a CRA for an average of twenty-three weeks, and sixty-three percent of the consumers had contacted the agency five times or more before contacting the FTC.187

Some attributed the accuracy problems to the increased use of computers to store and transfer consumer information, and the increased volume of that information.188 Information that had once been kept on handwritten file cards was now stored on computer tapes that were updated daily, adding billions of entries each month.189 Computers were also blamed for one of the most vexing issues of accuracy: the reinsertion of old, inaccurate information into a corrected consumer report. As explained in a statement before the House, the clerk in the office of the offending furnisher who processed the correction was not usually the same person who ran the data processing operation, so the inaccurate information was never removed from the magnetic tape before the furnisher resubmitted to the agency.190

Both the House and the Senate heard numerous horror stories from consumers regarding erroneous reports and the damage they caused.191 Representative Sanders related in detail the continuing catastrophes caused by TRW (now Experian) when it listed every property taxpayer in Norwich, Vermont as delinquent and subsequently failed to respond to efforts to clear up the mess.192 The core problem, according to one industry expert, was that few market incentives exist to motivate the credit reporting industry to voluntarily correct accuracy problems, because consumers are not the credit bureaus’ paying customers.193

Most of the major changes to the FCRA by the 1996 Reform Act addressed, in some form, this issue of accuracy. Among the proposals finally enacted were those establishing obligations on furnishers,194 a thirty-day deadline (with a conditional fifteen-day extension) on an agency’s reinvestigation of information disputed by a consumer,195 and protections against the reinsertion of previously deleted material.196

The thirty-day reinvestigation limit, described by one senator as the “single most important consumer protection provision” in the 1996 Reform Act,197 did not raise much industry ire; one retailers’ representative acknowledged it was “realistic.”198 However, a provision in Senate Bill 783 that would have required a CRA to accept the consumer’s version of disputed information, and to correct or delete it if the consumer provided confirming documentation from the source of the information, was kept out of the final bill.199

In contrast to the reinvestigation deadline, the provisions prescribing furnisher obligations and liability for failing those obligations caused great consternation. Creditor representatives argued vehemently against imposing any liability on furnishers, fearing a dramatic increase in litigation.200 They contended that the proposed liability provisions would lead them to refuse to provide information to CRAs, which would in turn hurt consumers seeking credit because their reports would not fully reflect their credit histories.201

The bill as passed compromised two main issues in favor of furnishers. First, while the 1996 Reform Act imposed obligations on furnishers, consumers were given the right to sue furnishers only after the furnisher has had an opportunity to reinvestigate and fix any mistakes after consumers have complained to the CRA.202 Consumers cannot privately enforce the provisions requiring furnishers to initially provide accurate information, to correct and update information, or to notify CRAs of certain information about consumer accounts,203 and even administrative enforcement of these provisions is greatly constricted.204

The second compromised issue concerned the level of furnisher responsibility. Proposals that were rejected include the following: requiring furnishers to follow reasonable procedures to “assure the maximum possible accuracy” of any information furnished,205 prohibiting them from furnishing information that the furnisher has “reasonable cause to believe is incomplete or inaccurate,”206 prohibiting them from furnishing information if the consumer has notified the furnisher that the information is incomplete or inaccurate,207 and requiring furnishers who furnish consumer information to CRAs to notify consumers of that fact in writing before furnishing such information.208 Even without these stricter provisions, however, the final version kept a privately enforceable obligation on furnishers to reinvestigate disputed information, and the Committee Report analyzing that version emphasized this responsibility:

[T]he Committee does intend to impose an affirmative obligation on furnishers of information to establish, at a minimum, procedures through which an employee, who, in the ordinary course of business . . . determines that information furnished to a consumer reporting agency is not complete or accurate, can ensure that the results of this determination are communicated to the appropriate consumer reporting agencies.209

Furnishers’ concerns about litigation were further assuaged with a provision requiring a party who, in bad faith, files an unsuccessful pleading, motion, or other paper in a liability action to pay the opposing party’s attorney fees.210

The issue of free consumer reports also drove much debate. The right to a free consumer report every year was seen by consumer advocates as vital to the issue of maintaining accuracy.211 It was also seen as unacceptable by the consumer reporting industry, which feared not just the cost of the free reports, but also the anticipated increase in workload to respond to consumers’ concerns arising from their review of their reports.212 House Bills 194 and 3596 would have allowed consumers one free report annually,213 while Senate Bill 2776 would have allowed one free report biannually.214 By contrast, Senate Bill 783 simply raised the cap on the cost of a report to three dollars,215 then House Bill 1015 raised it to eight dollars.216 The eight dollar cap was adopted in the final bill, with a provision that the FTC was to increase it each year in proportion to increases in the Consumer Price Index.217

The ultimate result was a loss for consumers and for the promotion of accuracy. A consumer who did not fall within an exception may have had to pay twenty-four dollars (more in subsequent years) to obtain a report from each of the “Big Three” CRAs218 in order to check the information in their files. This remained the situation until the passage of the FACTA amendments in 2003, discussed at § 1.4.9, infra.

Some proposed reform bills had sought a compromise, offering free reports to consumers whose files were found to have contained inaccurate information. House Bill 561 and one version of House Bill 1015 would have allowed one free report within twelve months after inaccurate or unverifiable information was deleted pursuant to a reinvestigation,219 while another version would have required a CRA to refund any charge for a report furnished to a consumer if that consumer then requested a reinvestigation that turned up inaccurate information.220 A provision of Senate Bill 783 would have allowed a consumer to order one free report for a prior recipient designated by the consumer pursuant to section 1681i(d) following the deletion of inaccurate material;221 as passed, the 1996 Reform Act allowed the CRA to charge whatever it would otherwise charge the report’s recipient, so long as the CRA notified the consumer ahead of time.222 None of these free report provisions were enacted by the 1996 Reform Act despite their obvious incentive to promote accuracy—if the consumer’s report was accurate, the agency would not be out the cost of the report.

The 1996 Reform Act did allow consumers free reports in limited circumstances. A consumer is not charged for a report requested within sixty days of receiving notice that a user of the report has taken an adverse action based on that report.223 A consumer may also request a free report once a year if the consumer certifies that the consumer is unemployed and seeking employment, on welfare, or has reason to believe that the consumer’s file contains inaccurate information due to fraud.224

Assorted other provisions relating to accuracy concerns were proposed, but never enacted. House Bill 1015 and Senate Bill 783 would have required persons using a consumer report for employment purposes to provide the consumer, along with a copy of the report (which is now required),225 a reasonable opportunity to respond to any disputed information before taking any adverse action.226 House Bills 1751 and 630 would have required a CRA to disclose to a consumer any piece of adverse information received by the agency within thirty days.227 While such disclosures would have been very useful to consumers seeking to maintain accurate files, it was likely seen as too burdensome on agencies, given the amount of data processed each day.

Though accuracy issues dominated, another set of issues yielding much difference of opinion revolved around privacy, including issues of prescreening lists, credit scores, use of reports by affiliates, and users’ purposes for procuring reports.

In prescreening, a creditor asks a CRA for a list of people who meet specified credit-granting criteria, though these people have not initiated a transaction with the creditor.228 Under the 1996 Reform Act, such prescreening reports may be furnished only if the consumer authorizes the furnishing, or if the transaction “consists of a firm offer of credit or insurance”229 and the agency complies with a provision allowing consumers to exclude themselves from prescreening lists.230 Two early versions of the 1996 Reform Act would have prohibited prescreening entirely.231 Retail representatives argued against the prohibition, claiming that consumers benefit from the abbreviated application process prescreening allows.232 While “firm offer” prescreening prevailed, the definition of firm offer is fairly weak. In addition, while the 1996 Reform Act did provide consumers the right to opt out of prescreening through a toll-free telephone notification system, it limited the effect of the opt-out to two years unless the consumer submitted a signed notice of election.233 Earlier versions of the bill would not have limited the opt-out’s duration.234 Earlier versions of the bill also would have prohibited235 or limited236 the use of consumer reports for direct marketing; these provisions were left out of the final bill.

House Bill 3596 would have required CRAs that provide credit scores or ratings to explain the score and the credit scoring process;237 the 1996 Reform Act expressly exempted CRAs from having to disclose that information.238

Consumers lost another privacy battle when the 1996 Reform Act excluded from the scope of the FCRA information shared by entities related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control.239 Under prior law, when affiliates shared information, the information qualified as a consumer report and the sharer a consumer reporting agency, triggering FCRA requirements and consumer protections.240 The 1996 Reform Act allowed affiliates to share information among themselves without FCRA protections, even to the extent of establishing in-house reporting agencies.241 Only weak disclosure and a limited opt-out right are required.242 This loophole was added in the process of passing House Bill 1015 and Senate Bill 783 and affects millions of consumers, as financial institutions continue to merge and branch into other activities, and as other retail conglomerates expand. One pro-consumer provision, imposing disclosure duties on persons who take adverse actions based on consumer information provided by an affiliate, did survive.243

Consumer advocates also sought to increase privacy by limiting the use of consumer reports for employment purposes. Early versions of the 1996 Reform Act would have allowed the furnishing of a report for employment purposes only where the consumer authorized the furnishing and the employment would require the employee to do one of the following: get a federal agency’s security clearance, be covered by a fidelity bond, handle substantial amounts of cash or other valuables as part of normal duties, or engage in conduct with respect to which the employee has a fiduciary duty.244 Though these provisions ultimately did not pass, the 1996 Reform Act does require users to obtain a consumer’s written consent before procuring a report for employment purposes.245

Under prior versions of the 1996 Reform Act, consumers would have been entitled to know the reason users procured their reports. House Bills 1015 and 3596 would have required CRAs not only to keep detailed records of the certified purpose for each report request, but to disclose the purpose to the consumer upon request.246 House Bill 561 would also have required CRAs to disclose the purpose, by category, for which each person procured a consumer report.247

Other proposed privacy provisions concerned obsolete information. House Bill 194 would have limited the report of chapter 13 bankruptcy cases to those within the last seven years, as opposed to ten.248 That bill and House Bill 670 also proposed graduated periods for the reporting of overdue payments, such that payments that were not more than thirty days overdue would not be reported after three years; more than thirty days, but not more than sixty, after four years; and more than sixty days, but not more than ninety, after five years.249 House Bills 561 and 1015 would have prohibited maintaining or furnishing any information as to a consumer’s failure to make any payment during receipt of federal disaster aid or unemployment benefits, if the consumer so requested and if the consumer maintained the account current for a year following the request.250 Senator Simon proposed an amendment to Senate Bill 783 that would have added a Privacy Protection Act to the bill, but that failed also.251

The last group of controversial issues concerned the force of the FCRA, in terms of its power to preempt state law and the FTC’s power to enforce and strengthen it. Dispute over whether the FCRA should preempt all state laws governing consumer reporting prevented earlier passage.252 The 1996 Reform Act preempted state laws which differ from certain FCRA language, but only until 2004 (this sunset was eliminated by the FACTA amendments), and grandfathered other state law provisions.253 To balance this preemption, Senate Bill 783 would have allowed the FTC to promulgate regulations imposing more stringent requirements in the areas of reinvestigation time periods, adverse action disclosures, prescreening disclosures, and certain consumer notices.254 This provision, and one that would have enhanced the FTC’s enforcement authority and allowed it to impose civil penalties for initial violations,255 were not enacted.

Footnotes

  • 181 {181} The Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996).

  • 182 {182} Subtitle D, Chapter 1, of the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996).

  • 183 {183} Id.

  • 184 {184} “Historically, credit bureaus have led the pack in terms of the number of the complaints that the agency receives.” Hearing before the Subcomm. on Consumer Affairs and Coinage of the H. Comm. on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, 102d Cong. 44 (1991) (statement of Ms. Noonan, Associate Director for Credit Practices, FTC). See also 142 Cong. Rec. S11869 (daily ed. Sept. 30, 1996) (“[e]rrors in credit reports have been the No. 1 item of complaint at the Federal Trade Commission and States attorneys general have experienced similar levels of complaint”) (statement of Sen. Bryan, sponsor of S. 783); S. Rep. No. 102-925, at 3 (1992) (statement of Hon. Del Papa, Attorney General, State of Nevada, stating that consumer complaints against CRAs almost always concerned inaccuracies and the agencies’ refusal to fix the problems).

  • 185 {185} Hearing before the Subcomm. on Consumer Affairs and Coinage of the H. Comm. on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, 102d Cong. 12 (1991) (Serial No. 102-45).

  • 186 {186} 141 Cong. Rec. S5449 (daily ed. Apr. 6, 1995) (comments of Sen. Bond and Sen. Bryan on S. 709).

  • 187 {187} Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, The Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1994, S. Rep. No. 103-209, at 5 (1993) (to accompany S. 783).

  • 188 {188} 141 Cong. Rec. E121 (daily ed. Jan. 18, 1995) (comments of Rep. Gonzalez in introducing H.R. 561).

  • 189 {189} 140 Cong. Rec. S4973 (daily ed. May 2, 1994) (comments of Sen. Bryan regarding S. 783). See also H. Rep. No. 102-194, at 11 (1991) (“[w]hen the [FCRA] was first drafted, no one envisioned the impact computer technology would have on the distribution of information”).

  • 190 {190} Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Consumer Affairs and Coinage of the H. Comm. on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, 102d Cong. 63 (1991) (Serial No. 102-45; statement of Mr. Holstein, on behalf of Bank Card Holders of America).

  • 191 {191} See generally Hearing before the Subcomm. on Consumer Affairs and Coinage of the H. Comm. on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, 102d Cong. 44 (1991) (Serial No. 102-45; hearings on H.R. 194, H.R. 670, and H.R. 1751); S. Rep. No. 103-209 (1993) (hearings on S. 783).

  • 192 {192} H. Rep. No. 102-79, at 5 (hearings on H. 3596).

  • 193 {193} Hearing before the Subcomm. on Consumer Affairs and Coinage of the H. Comm. on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, 102d Cong. 60–61 (1991) (Serial No. 102-45; statement of Dr. Culnan, Georgetown University School of Business Administration).

  • 194 {194} See Ch. 6, infra.

  • 195 {195} See § 4.5.5, infra.

  • 196 {196} See § 4.7, infra.

  • 197 {197} 141 Cong. Rec. S5449 (daily ed. Apr. 6, 1995) (statement of Sen. Bond).

  • 198 {198} Hearing before the Subcomm. on Consumer Affairs and Coinage of the H. Comm. on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, 102d Cong. 70 (1991) (Serial No. 102-45; statement of Mr. Skinner, on behalf of the National Retail Federation).

  • 199 {199} S. 783, 103d Cong. § 107 (1st Sess. 1993).

  • 200 {200} See, e.g., Hearing before the Subcomm. on Consumer Affairs and Coinage of the H. Comm. on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, 102d Cong. 84, 86 (1991) (Serial No. 102-45).

  • 201 {201} Id.

  • 202 {202} 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(e), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996). See § 6.10, infra.

  • 203 {203} 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2, as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996). See § 6.1.2, infra.

  • 204 {204} See §§ 13.3.4, 13.7.2, infra.

  • 205 {205} H.R. 3596, 102d Cong. § 12 (1st Sess. 1991); H.R. 1015, 103d Cong. § 112 (1st Sess. 1993) (as introduced).

  • 206 {206} Id. As passed, § 1681s-2(a)(1) only prohibited the furnishing of information that the furnisher “knows or consciously avoids knowing” is inaccurate. 15 U.S.C. § 1623s-2(a)(1), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996). A similar standard, but requiring that the information is actually inaccurate, was subsequently amended by the FACTA amendments of 2003 to prohibit furnishing of information that the furnisher “knows or has reasonable cause to believe is inaccurate.” Pub. L. No. 108-159, § 312(b) (2003). See § 6.4.2.2, infra.

  • 207 {207} S. 783, 103d Cong. § 113 (1st Sess. 1993). This standard was subsequently added by the FACTA amendments of 2003. Pub. L. No. 108-159, § 312(b) (2003). See § 6.4.2.3, infra.

  • 208 {208} Id. The provision would have applied only to furnishers who furnish information in the ordinary course of business and on a routine basis.

  • 209 {209} S. Rep. No. 103-486, at 50 (1993). The Committee also stated that “[t]hese provisions are aimed at enhancing the quality and accuracy of the information provided to consumer reporting agencies and ensuring that furnishers of information respond in a reasonable and timely manner to consumer disputes about the accuracy and completeness of information in their credit files.” Id. at 49.

  • 210 {210} 15 U.S.C. § 1681n(c), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996). See S. Rep. No. 103-209, at 24 (1992) (“[t]he Committee intends this provision to apply to both plaintiffs and defendants”). See also § 12.1.1, infra.

  • 211 {211} See, e.g., Hearing before the Subcomm. on Consumer Affairs and Coinage of the H. Comm. on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, 102d Cong. 63 (1991) (Serial No. 102-45); H. Rep. No. 102-79, at 6–7 (1991) (statement of Hon. Morales, Attorney General, State of Texas); id. at 9 (statement of Hon. Amestoy, Attorney General, State of Vermont).

  • 212 {212} Hearing before the Subcomm. on Consumer Affairs and Coinage of the H. Comm. on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, 102d Cong. 79 (1991) (Serial No. 102-45).

  • 213 {213} H.R. 194, 102d Cong. § 107 (1993); H.R. 3596, 102d Cong. § 8 (1993).

  • 214 {214} S. 2776, 102d Cong. § 108 (1992).

  • 215 {215} S. 783, 103d Cong. § 108 (1993). See also H.R. 561, 104th Cong. § 11 (1995) ($3).

  • 216 {216} H.R. 1015, 103d Cong. § 109 (1993).

  • 217 {217} 15 U.S.C. § 1681j(a)(1), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996). See § 3.3.10.2, infra.

  • 218 {218} Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian (formerly TRW).

  • 219 {219} H.R. 561, 104th Cong. § 109 (1995); H.R. 1015, 103d Cong. § 109 (1993).

  • 220 {220} H.R. 1015, 103d Cong. § 109 (1993). The Committee Report on H.R. 1015 linked this provision to the reinsertion problem, stating that “[t]his report will benefit consumers faced with recurring errors in their consumer reports because it will provide them with an opportunity to ensure that errors, previously deleted from their consumer report, have not reappeared during the 12 month period following deletion.” H. Rep. No. 103-486, at 44 (1994).

  • 221 {221} S. 783, 103d Cong. § 108 (1993).

  • 222 {222} 15 U.S.C. § 1681j(a)(1)(B), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996).

  • 223 {223} 15 U.S.C. § 1681j(a)(2), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996). A consumer is also allowed a free report within sixty days of notice from a debt collection agency affiliated with the CRA that the consumer’s credit rating may be or has been adversely affected. Id. See § 3.3.7, infra.

  • 224 {224} 15 U.S.C. § 1681j(a)(3), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996). See §§ 3.3.5, 3.3.8, infra.

  • 225 {225} See § 8.11.3, infra.

  • 226 {226} H.R. 1015, 103d Cong. § 103 (1993); S. 783, 103d Cong. § 102 (1993).

  • 227 {227} H.R. 1751, 102d Cong. § 2 (1991); H.R. 630, 103d Cong. § 2 (1991).

  • 228 {228} See § 7.3.3, infra.

  • 229 {229} 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(c), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996). See § 7.3.3, infra.

  • 230 {230} 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(e), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996).

  • 231 {231} H.R. 421, 102d Cong. § 3 (1991); H.R. 670, 102d Cong. § 3 (1991).

  • 232 {232} Hearing before the Subcomm. on Consumer Affairs and Coinage of the H. Comm. on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, 102d Cong. 86 (1991) (Serial No. 102-45; comments of representative for the National Retail Federation).

  • 233 {233} 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(e), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996). The FACTA amendments extended the time period to five years for telephone opt-outs. See § 7.3.3.4, infra.

  • 234 {234} See, e.g., H.R. 1015, 103d Cong. § 104 (1993); S. 783, 103d Cong. § 103 (1993).

  • 235 {235} H. 561, 104th Cong. § 104 (1995); H.R. 1015, 103d Cong. § 104 (1993).

  • 236 {236} S. 709, 104th Cong. § 104 (1992); S. 783, 103d Cong. § 103 (1993).

  • 237 {237} Id. H.R. 1015 would have required, in the case of an adverse action based in whole or in part on a credit score or predictor, that the user provide to the consumer notice that the predictor was used and the principal factors used to determine that predictor, if required by the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. H.R. 1015, 103d Cong. § 111 (1993) (as introduced). A version of this provision was adopted as part of the Dodd-Frank Act amendments to the FCRA. See §§ 8.5.2.4, 8.7.3, infra.

  • 238 {238} 15 U.S.C. § 1681g(a), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996).

  • 239 {239} See § 2.4.3, infra.

  • 240 {240} 15 U.S.C. § 1681a (1994).

  • 241 {241} See § 2.4.3, infra.

  • 242 {242} 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(d)(2), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996). See § 2.4.3, infra.

  • 243 {243} 15 U.S.C. § 1681m(b)(2), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996).

  • 244 {244} H.R. 561, 104th Cong. § 103 (1995) (with exception for consumers to be employed in an executive or administrative position); H.R. 1015, 103d Cong. § 103 (1993); H.R. 3596, 102d Cong. § 3 (1991) (no such exception).

  • 245 {245} 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(2), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996). See § 7.2.4.3.2, infra. The 1996 Reform Act also excludes from the definition of consumer report certain communications made by employment agencies, if the consumer gives permission and receives certain disclosures from the agency. 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681a(d)(2)(D), 1681a(o), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996). See also § 2.4.4, infra.

  • 246 {246} H.R. 1015, 103d Cong. § 108 (1993) (as passed); H.R. 3596, 102d Cong. § 7 (1991). H.R. 421, 102d Cong. § 2 (1991) and H.R. 633, 102d Cong. § 2 (1991) also would have required agencies to keep, with regard to every inquiry into a consumer’s file, a record of the date of the inquiry, the identity of the inquirer and the nature of the inquiry.

  • 247 {247} H.R. 561, 104th Cong. § 108 (1995). Under the 1996 Reform Act, a procurer of a consumer report must certify, through “a general or specific certification,” the purpose for procuring the report; but the CRA need not disclose the certified purpose to the consumer. 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681b(f), 1681g(a)(3), as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-208 (1996).

  • 248 {248} H.R. 194, 102d Cong. § 103 (1991).

  • 249 {249} Id.; H.R. 670, 102d Cong. § 4 (1991). Two other bills would have prohibited the reporting of certain payments late due to a bank holiday. H.R. 1197, 103d Cong. § 1 (1993); H.R. 5859, 102d Cong. § 1 (1991).

  • 250 {250} H.R. 561, 104th Cong. § 106 (1995); H.R. 1015, 103d Cong. § 6 (1993) (as passed).

  • 251 {251} 140 Cong. Rec. S5195 (daily ed. May 4, 1994).

  • 252 {252} Preemption of state law was characterized as “essential” by a banking industry representative. H. Rep. 79, 102d Cong. 40 (1991) (comments of Ms. Brinkley). See also id. at 64 (statement of Mr. Kurth, complaining that H. 3596 lacked a sufficiently strong preemption provision).

  • 253 {253} See § 10.4, infra. The preemption periods “should provide adequate time to demonstrate whether these Federal standards are sufficient.” 140 Cong. Rec. S4973 (daily ed. May 2, 1994) (comments of Sen. Bryan on introducing S. 783).

  • 254 {254} S. 783, 103d Cong. § 116 (1993).

  • 255 {255} S. 783, 103d Cong. § 113 (1993).