Federal Reserve Board and FTC Issues Fair Credit Rule

February 19, 2004

The Federal Reserve Board (Board) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued interim rules for the provision in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act.

As detailed in the notice the Board and the FTC are jointly responsible for implementing certain provisions of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) , which was signed by the President in December 2003. FACTA, which amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), requires nationwide CRAs to provide consumers with one free file disclosure ? commonly known as a credit report ? each year. Congress has directed the Commission to develop a rule to ensure nationwide CRAs will not attempt to circumvent this and other FCRA requirements.

Accordingly, the Federal Register notice presents an interim final rule prohibiting circumvention of nationwide CRA obligations and providing several illustrations of the types of conduct that would constitute circumvention. In addition, the interim final rule would offer a safe harbor to nationwide consumer reporting agencies that continue to comply with all FCRA obligations of nationwide CRAs.

The interim final rule, which will become effective on March 3, 2004, is subject to public comment until April 23, 2004, after which the Commission will determine whether it will modify the final rule. Information for consumers wishing to comment is provided in the notice.