The National Association of Credit Management (NACM) reiterated its opposition to Virginia House Bill 2198 this week as policymakers in the Commonwealth continue to consider the bill's ramifications ahead of the next legislative session in 2014.
Most recently the Virginia Small Business Commission received a preliminary report from an ad hoc committee formed specifically to study HB 2198. The committee requested that any other input from interested parties, such as NACM, be submitted to the committee by October 25. Once all this information is collected, it will be compiled into a final report from the committee after their next work group meeting on November 14, the results of which will be presented to the full Small Business Commission at their next meeting in December.
The Small Business Commission can then make a recommendation either in support of or in opposition to the bill, or it can offer no recommendation at all. However, the Commission's actions are not binding on the bill, and HB 2198 is expected to be part of the Virginia Legislature's agenda in the coming session.
NACM continues to oppose HB 2198 on the grounds that it would make it harder for commercial credit managers to get the information they need to make decisions on potential customers, and that the bill represents a fundamental misunderstanding about the way credit professionals use credit reports not as a reason to deny a company credit, but as a tool that lets them find out more about the customer so that they can find ways to sell to companies despite their adverse credit history.
Specifically, HB 2198's identification provisions that would require commercial credit reporting agencies to identify to the subject of a commercial credit report the source of so-called "negative information" would lead to a severe reduction in the amount of information available on Virginia businesses. "This would make it harder for these companies to access, on credit, the necessary goods and services that they require to grow their business, and would cool commerce in the Commonwealth in the long term," NACM said in its most recent letter. "Furthermore, for Virginia to enact HB 2198 and take this approach to commercial credit reporting regulation on its own, at a state rather than a federal level, would greatly disadvantage Virginia businesses. Companies operating in other states would have an advantage over companies in Virginia because accurate and reliable credit information on businesses would be easier to access in every state other than Virginia, should HB 2198 become law."
Stay tuned to NACM's eNews for future updates on the legislation. If you have more questions about HB 2198, please contact NACM Government Affairs Liaison Jacob Barron, CICP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer