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Missourians Speak Up About Credit Report Issues to New Agency

PHOTO: Missourians are making good use of the tools that are available to help resolve issues with their credit reports, according to a new study. Photo credit: freestockphotos.com.
PHOTO: Missourians are making good use of the tools that are available to help resolve issues with their credit reports, according to a new study. Photo credit: freestockphotos.com.
November 20, 2013

ST. LOUIS - Much about life's major financial decisions hinges on the all-important credit report, and a study shows that Missourians are taking advantage of a new tool to help hold credit bureaus accountable.

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created to help resolve problems with financial institutions - and, according to a new report, that's exactly what Missourians are doing.

Alec Sprague, Midwest federal advocate for MoPIRG, the Missouri Public Interest Research Group Foundation, analyzed the data collected by the bureau on credit reporting agencies in the past year. Sprague said Missouri consumers are speaking out and getting results.

"If consumers are not able to actually solve the problem with the credit reporting agency themselves, they can go to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and file a complaint," he said. "About one-third of all of those complaints are being resolved."

Missouri ranks 30th in the nation for the number of complaints, with Experian being the agency most complained about. Incorrect information on credit reports accounted for 65 percent of the complaints.

Sprague said the high number of complaints underscores the importance of people carefully reviewing their own credit report, and not just assuming that all the information on it is correct.

"Millions of Americans have serious errors on their credit reports," he said, "and errors can severely impact someone's ability to get a loan, rent an apartment or even find a job."

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three main credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

The report is online at mopirgfoundation.org.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO