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Cochran co-sponsors credit-score bill

WASHINGTON — Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has announced his support for legislation that would give consumers free access to their credit scores, information that is useful for the management of personal finances.

Cochran is cosponsoring the Fair Access to Credit Scores Act (S.3247), which would require credit reporting companies to provide a free annual credit score to consumers.

“More Americans need to have a better understanding of their personal finances, and this legislation would allow consumers to receive one free credit score report each year,” Cochran said. “Being aware of one’s credit score is useful to know when you’re attempting to determine whether you can afford a home or car. The fees now levied to obtain a credit score keep many people from gaining this important information.”

Current law allows consumers to receive annual access to a free credit report, but it does not require credit reporting firms to provide a credit score. Most consumers now pay to receive their credit scores.

Introduced by senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the credit score measure is endorsed by the Consumer Federation of America and the Consumers Union. It has also been offered as an amendment with Cochran as a cosponsor to the financial regulatory reform legislation (S.3217) that is currently being debated by the Senate.

While supportive of credit score legislation, Cochran has expressed his growing concern about the scope of the broader Democratic financial regulatory reform bill, which, he says, ” is a 1,400 page measure that would go far beyond restricting the Wall Street trading practices that led to the economic recession.

“Many Mississippians have expressed their fear that this legislation would extend the reach of federal regulation into the day-to-day decision making at the local level by small businesses, farmers and community lenders. I think the bill’s sponsors are trying to do too much with this legislation.” I believe this regulatory reform bill has some very serious flaws and it will require serious improvements before I could ever embrace it.”

Last month, Cochran opposed legislation approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee to overhaul the over-the-counter derivatives market, which was then incorporated into S.3217. He has also been critical of provisions that would remove congressional oversight and annual appropriations authority over the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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