Written By Digital Content Editor Thomas Ahearn

The United States Congress is considering a bill titled “Credit Reporting Accuracy After a Legal Name Change Act of 2022” (H.R.8478) that would amend the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to require nationwide consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) to use a consumer’s current legal name on consumer reports upon request.

Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (Democrat-Massachusetts-7th District) in July 2022, the “Credit Reporting Accuracy After a Legal Name Change Act of 2022”  would require Section 605(a) of the FCRA to be amended by adding the following to the end:

“(9) With respect to a consumer reporting agency described in section 603(p), any prior name of the consumer about whom the report relates, other than the consumer’s current legal name, after receiving a request from the consumer to use only the consumer’s current legal name on all consumer reports.”

The Act states: “Consumer reports are significant to the ability of American consumers to access credit, housing, and employment. Fragmented files created by the credit reporting industry lead to inaccuracies on the consumer reports of transgender and gender nonconforming consumers after a legal name change.”

The Act explains that transgender and gender nonconforming consumers face a myriad of problems in terms of consumer reporting problems after they change their names, including that their credit report fragments into two or more unconnected files that do not reflect their name change and any credit actions that follow.

The Act states that transgender adults experienced unemployment at twice the rate of the general population, one in five transgender adults reported having been refused a home or apartment because of their gender identity, and 90 percent reported experiencing harassment, discrimination, or mistreatment in the workplace. 

“Transgender consumers face severe adverse effects from having their former name reflected on their credit report. The disclosure of a transgender person’s prior name in a consumer report to a creditor, employer, or lessor can expose those consumers to unlawful discrimination on the basis of that consumer’s gender identity.”

The Act explains that inaccurate consumer reports create additional burdens and barriers for these consumers and impair their ability to access credit, housing, and employment. As of 2017, approximately 1.4 million adults identify as transgender, and as of 2021, approximately 1.2 million adults identify as nonbinary, the Act states.

The FCRA 15 U.S.C § 1681 was enacted by Congress in 1970 to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of CRAs, and to protect consumers from the willful and/or negligent inclusion of inaccurate information in their consumer reports, including credit reports.

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