Virginia Small Business Commission Schedules New Hearing on Commercial Credit Reporting Bill

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The Virginia Small Business Commission scheduled another meeting later this month to discuss the future of House Bill 2198, which could affect the exchange of commercial credit information on businesses in the commonwealth.

According to the Commission's website, the next meeting will take place on August 29 in Richmond, VA. While no agenda has been made available to the public as yet, NACM has been in contact with Commission staff members who have made it clear that the meeting will consist of the HB 2198 workgroup, a group of proponents and opponents of the bill that was informally established at the Commission's last meeting in June.

NACM has opposed HB 2198 since its introduction and will attend the hearing on August 29 to continue to ensure that the interests of unsecured trade credit grantors are considered by Virginia legislators. The results of the workgroup's efforts in August will be presented to the full Small Business Commission at their next meeting on September 10.

The provision of HB 2198 causing the most concern would require commercial credit reporting agencies to make the source of a certain piece of information on a commercial credit report known to the subject of that report, if the information was considered "negative," which is a term the bill fails to define. Other provisions of the bill aim to more closely regulate commercial credit reports, and bear close consideration as well.

At the June meeting, the Commission made no recommendation about whether to endorse or reject the legislation, instead urging both sides of the debate to work together on a more agreeable measure. Commission members were especially receptive to testimony, provided by Richmond-area NACM member and Credit Manager Doug Strobel and NACM South Atlantic COO Anton Goddard, that illuminated the importance of the free and open exchange of trade credit information, including the facilitating effect that anonymity can have on this process, as well as how any measures jeopardizing that could affect the speed and accuracy of the credit decision process.

NACM will continue monitoring the bill in all its forms throughout and opposing any provisions that could restrict the free and open exchange of credit information. If you have any questions or comments about HB 2198, contact Jacob Barron, CICP at jakeb@nacm.org.

- Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer

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