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WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz (HI) and Sherrod Brown (OH), both members of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced new legislation Tuesday to minimize the adverse impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on Americans’ credit reports. The Disaster Protection For Workers’ Credit Act, (S3508) would institute an immediate four-month moratorium on all negative credit reporting, with extended protections for people who face lasting financial hardship from the outbreak. It will also provide free unlimited credit reports and credit scores for a year after the end of the crisis, and would extend the same protections to people impacted by future major disasters.
Ed Mierzwinski, senior director for U.S. PIRG’s Federal Consumer Programs, issued the following statement in response:
“Beyond being a major public health crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is wreaking havoc on Americans’ financial lives, too. With entire industries shutting down, many people will run out of money to pay their rent, mortgages and car loans -- not to mention to buy food for themselves and their kids.
“As a result, many consumers are running up their credit card balances and will pay their bills late. This is already happening, and it is not consumers’ fault. The credit bureaus could help by not reporting negative information during this outbreak and the recovery, so consumers will have a chance to rebuild their financial lives. But knowing that the credit bureaus won’t do it voluntarily, Congress must act.
“We commend Sens. Schatz and Brown for introducing this bill, which will do three key things: stop lenders from reporting negative information to credit bureaus, prohibit the credit bureaus from placing negative information on credit reports, and require the bureaus to remove such information if it appears.”
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