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Topics addressed on August 22, 2007:
It is wrong for a lender to change accurate, negative information
Is it wrong for a lender to change information in a person's credit report (remove delinquencies or defaults) to make it look better and encourage another lender to buy or refinance a bad loan?
A credit history serves as a person’s financial references. Lenders rely on that history to help them make sound, safe lending decisions. If lenders were to manipulate the information as you suggest, it would make a credit report useless as a tool in making lending decisions. And that is the whole purpose of credit reports.
Credit reporting is voluntary. Businesses do not have to report information at all. They do because they know that participating in the credit reporting process is crucial to their business success. Accurate, complete credit reports are critical to making loans to people who will pay them back on time and as agreed.
There are very strict laws governing what a business must do if it reports information to a credit reporting company. If a business were to intentionally do what you describe, it likely would be in violation of those laws.
Doing so also would be a violation of their contract with Experian and grounds for cancelling the business’s ability to report or receive information. Legal issues notwithstanding, the foundation of credit reporting in the U.S. is essentially the honor system.
Participants in the credit reporting system rely on one another to report information as accurately as possible. Accurate credit reporting not only helps lenders make sound decisions, it creates greater opportunity for consumers and contributes tremendously to the U.S. economy.
So, while in theory a lender could do what you suggest it would be a very isolated instance. Reputable lenders won’t do so because there is simply too much to lose for them, for consumers and even for the economy as a whole.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team