The National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP) was implemented by NCRAs such as Experian, Equifax, and Transunion last year in trying to enhance standards placed on credit bureaus reporting public record information from third parties. This plan called for the NCRAs to remove all civil judgments and the have the majority of tax lien information removed from consumer credit reports effective July 2017.
Since the implementation, Transunion has continued to monitor tax lien information being reported by third parties. Transunion had decided to remove all remaining tax lien information from consumer credit reports to ensure compliance with the standards set forth in the NCAP and resolve pending litigation. Transunion anticipates removing all tax lien information by April 16, 2018. Equifax and Experian have announced that they will take similar action in April 2018. Bankruptcies public records will continue to be reported on consumer credit reports.
How This Change Affects Employment Background Checks
Employers that hire for positions in the financial industry (or if the position itself has financial and/or fiduciary responsibilities) should ask a copy of the potential hire’s credit report. Employers are encouraged to gauge how financially responsible their candidate is and if there are any “red flags” that could pose potential risks if hired. Certain public records such as bankruptcy, civil judgement, tax liens, and unlawful detainers would be stored on consumer credit reports. From there, employers would take a careful look at and decide if these public records could have adverse action with their candidacy for employment with the organization.
Organizations that utilize credit reports in making a hiring decision for key positions should include a matrix in their policy that identifies potential risks:
Employer Requirements under FCRA When Utilizing Consumer Credit Reports
It is pertinent for employers to understand the requirements under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when utilizing consumer credit reports. Employment credit history checks are conducted in full compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and all applicable county, state, and federal laws. This FCRA compliant background check is recommended for any applicant that will be handling cash. Examples of cash-handling applicants include point-of-sale (POS) cashiers and accounts payable/receivables clerks that will have access to organization credit card information or client credit card information.
We also recommend running this search on anyone that has access to sensitive information such as social security numbers (SSN), date of birth, or client login information. A pre-employment credit report that a prospective employer receives is much different than one seen by a creditor. The type of inquiry made by prospective employers is considered a “soft” inquiry which will not have any bearing on the applicant’s FICO score.
Please note that the FCRA requires that a signed release and disclosure form be completed by the applicant prior to when a credit history report can be ordered.
Other industries like debt collectors or collection agencies may be impacted by the new reporting laws. This is while taking into consideration that inaccuracies identified by the credit bureaus are from furnishers of information such as mortgage servicers, banks, and the debt collectors. The philosophy behind this change of having tax lien information removed is to improve accuracy involving consumer credit information.