We Need Credit and Debt Protections in COVID-19 Relief

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    We Need Credit and Debt Protections in COVID-19 Relief

    No Negative Credit Reporting!

    COVID-19 sheds light on the lack of communal health and economic infrastructure and societal investment. The cost of inadequate systems and investment will be worsened by flawed economic policy. And the indirect damage the virus causes through economic ripple effects will be large as households strive to balance credit obligations. 

    Individuals and families affected by this crisis should not be punished for any unexpected hardship resulting from this outbreak. With a directive to remain at home and practice physical distancing, many people face significant burdens of covering living expenses, including housing, groceries, and medicine. With households living paycheck to paycheck coupled with unprecedented unemployment, the sudden nature of coronavirus has further interfered with people's ability to financially respond to the pandemic. Congress needs to enact broad-based, efficient, and effective relief that goes far beyond any stimulus package to protect people’s homes, cars, bank accounts, income, and benefits so that they can weather this crisis. The absence of it can have a cratering effect on access to credit.

    Credit inequality contributes to the racial wealth gap. Since the 2008 economic downturn, many Americans have had an easier time accessing credit. Restrictions have eased, and that has allowed millions to buy homes and start businesses. The recovery has worked well for Americans generally — except Black people. Black families have ten times less wealth than white families and credit is a byproduct of why. As the wealth gap continues to widen, suspending negative credit reporting during and after the Coronavirus pandemic would help limit the financial harming Black families face.

    Prevention of negative credit reporting, as well as an increase in the wealth gap, requires the following measures:

    • Imposing a moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions for the duration of the pandemic.
    • Stopping termination of utility services.
    • Halting all debt collection activity.
    • Preventing bank and lending fees and compounding interests.
    • And a permanent moratorium on all negative credit reporting.
    Here is the Petition:

    Our message:

    Through no fault of their own, communities are facing immediate hardship in making timely payments on debts such as mortgages, student loans, car loans, business loans, or credit cards, particularly if they do not have paid leave at their disposal. Not meeting the aforementioned obligations can reflect negatively on a consumer report. Debt collection and negative credit reporting have a profound disparate impact on Black and other underserved communities. Study after study shows Black Americans report having worse credit scores than counterparts. 

    Once negative information is reported to credit agencies, impacted consumers are likely to see a reduction in their credit scores, which may limit credit access in the future. The effects can last seven to ten years. Black and marginalized communities are already disproportionately affected by credit scoring and face a heightened sense of vulnerability at this time. Negative credit scoring pushes an already underserved community to seek nontraditional or less than prime alternatives in order to access credit.  Black and underserved consumers will encounter the rippling effects of financial insecurity as uncertainty looms. And deserve not to have their credit history suffer as a result.

    As the country takes all measures necessary to preserve life and health, these financial protections will better enable the millions of people suffering economic hardship to get through the pandemic as safely as possible and provide them the opportunity to rebuild once the emergency is over. We call on you to suspend negative credit reporting and debt collection at this time.