Virginia Bill Could Affect Commercial Credit Reports

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The current version of a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates, HB 2198, would require commercial credit reporting agencies to identify their sources of "negative information" when they provide a copy of a report to its subject. This would mean that Virginia buyers would know the identities of the sellers that shared any of their negative payment history with a commercial credit reporting agency should they choose to dispute the information on their report.

However, according to the office of Delegate Michael Watson (R-James City/York Counties), the bill's chief patron, and other industry sources, an amendment to the bill that would eliminate this requirement is forthcoming. The text of such an amendment has yet to be made public.

Still, the bill would also require agencies to provide Virginia businesses access to a free annual credit report and would allow the subject of a commercial report to dispute parts of their report that they believe are inaccurate. After receiving the subject's complaint, the commercial credit reporting agency would have 30 days to either delete the statement or include a note in the report saying that the subject of the report has disputed a particular piece of information.

The bill originated from a series of meetings held between Virginia Delegates and the Virginia business community, wherein business owners complained about a lack of access to credit. Many companies raised their concerns about negative information in their commercial credit reports and their inability to view and amend their report without agreeing to purchase a credit report monitoring service for an annual fee. Virginia delegates responded with HB 2198.

Currently the bill has been referred to subcommittee #2 of the Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Commerce and Labor. In addition to Delegate Watson and the bill's co-chief patron, Delegate Christopher Head (R-Botetourt/Roanoke Counties), HB 2198 has 13 other Republican patrons and one Democrat patron.

Stay tuned to NACM's blog and NACM's eNews for updates on this legislation. If you have questions about the bill, please send an email to jakeb@nacm.org.

- Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer

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