RELEASE: Rep. Hill Introduces Bill to Help Arkansans Gain Access to Affordable Credit
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 29, 2022
Rep. French Hill (AR-02) introduced H.R. 8985, the Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2022. The bill will allow public housing authorities, utility, and telecommunications companies to furnish payment information for things like utility bills and phone payments to credit reporting agencies to help consumers enhance their credit scores. Currently, it’s estimated that 26 million Americans are “credit invisible,” meaning they do not have a credit history with any of the three national credit reporting agencies.
“As a former community banker, I understand how access to credit can open doors to opportunities like homeownership, yet too many central Arkansans are denied affordable credit opportunities because they don’t have a traditional credit payment history,” said Rep. Hill. “My bill levels the playing field by allowing for additional data, such as utility and phone payments, to be reported to determine credit worthiness so that millions of hardworking Americans get credit for bills they are already paying.”
The Mortgage Bankers Association outlined their support for the bill, stating, “MBA applauds Representative French Hill for the introduction of the Credit Access and Inclusion Act which would promote the use of rental, utility, and telecommunications data to supplement traditional data provided to consumer reporting agencies. Underserved borrowers often have less experience using traditional financial products, creating barriers to entry for many consumers during the home purchase application process. The responsible utilization of alternative data, such as rental, utility, and telecommunications payment histories, will help safely expand access to credit to underserved borrowers.”
Bill Hulse, Vice President, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, added, “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports the Credit Access and Inclusion Act. We are grateful to Congressman French Hill for sponsoring legislation that would help consumers build positive credit histories and increase their chances of accessing more affordable credit terms by clarifying that alternative data, such as utility and rent payments, can be reported to credit reporting agencies.”
TransUnion added, “This legislation is designed to uplift tens of millions of credit-invisible and credit-disadvantaged individuals with limited access to the financial system, and it comes at an important time for the country.”
The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals also expressed their support, commenting, “[W]e write to express support for the Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2022, allowing utility, telecommunication companies, and public housing authorities to report alternative payment data, helping enhance consumer credit scores. Latinos, on average, rely more readily on cash than credit to pay for expenses. Traditional credit scoring models make demonstrating creditworthiness more difficult for some Latino consumers.”
“We support innovative solutions that look to expand the credit box in a responsible fashion, giving consumers credit for many of the responsible credit decisions they’ve made for years. H.R. 8985 is an important step to modernizing credit scores and providing access to communities who have been historically left behind,” added the National Association of REALTORS.
Experian stated, “Experian believes consumers should have access to fair and affordable credit. The Credit Access and Inclusion Act can help expand the number of Americans who could benefit from the reporting of their on-time payments for cable, utilities, and phone service. This legislation will facilitate access to credit for those who are credit invisible or lack a robust credit history by removing regulatory barriers to reporting this on-time payment information. Experian appreciates Congressman French Hill’s leadership in advancing this solution for consumers.”
Further Background:A companion bill, S.2417, has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). The Credit Access and Inclusion Act previously unanimously passed in the House in the 115th Congress by voice vote. Rep. Tom Emmer (MN-06), Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-06), Rep. Young Kim (CA-39), Rep. Byron Donalds (FL-19), Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-48), and Rep. Maria Salazar (FL-27) are all original co-sponsors of the bill.