Today I testified before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services. Many important questions were asked: Are we doing enough to ensure the accuracy and security of consumer data? What are we doing to help promote financial inclusion so that millions of American consumers can finally gain access to the credit they deserve and need?
On behalf of everyone at Experian, I was proud to share with the committee that financial inclusion is part of our sense of purpose. This sense of purpose is what drove us to create game-changing initiatives like Experian Boost, which will help millions of Americans instantly increase their credit scores and gain access to better financial opportunities. I also commented to the committee that nothing was more important to us than ensuring the security and accuracy of consumer data, and our mobile-optimized online dispute resolution service is evidence of that ongoing commitment.
You can read the full text of my written testimony here. However, the issues discussed today need to be part of a larger and ongoing dialogue. Credit is vital to buying a place to live, a car to drive and paying for everyday expenses.
We know we have a special responsibility to play in what is arguably one of the most effective credit ecosystems in the world. We take that responsibility very seriously. But we also know that winning the trust of consumers is something we need to consistently earn. We hold ourselves accountable for doing that every day and agree with committee members that everyone involved in consumer credit should do the same.
We are proud of what we have accomplished so far, but we know we can and must go further. We need to constantly strive to reinvent what is possible by leveraging new technologies and innovative solutions. Today’s consumers and even our lending customers should expect nothing less from us.
And Congress has an important role to play, too. We strongly support legislative initiatives like the Credit Access and Inclusion Act, which would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act and allow positive consumer credit information, such as on-time payment histories, to be shared with consumer reporting agencies. This proposed legislation would also remove barriers to financial inclusion, such as state and local laws that prevent public utilities from sharing positive customer payment data.
While many voices need to contribute to a robust dialogue on the future of the credit economy, it seems clear that the most effective solutions will stem from consumer demand and not legislation or regulation.
There are over 100 million American consumers who don’t have access to credit today, either because their credit scores are too low, or because they don’t have enough credit history. Most of these individuals have never heard of Experian and have little if any idea of what we do. That’s ok. We know the struggles they face and we have some ideas on how we can help make a difference. In many ways we already are and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves to do even more in the future. Millions are counting on us.