Two of the largest banks, Chase and Bank of America, have finally agreed to update consumers’ credit reports within the next three months to properly depict debts as being discharged in bankruptcy. This long overdue move is a win for Oregon debtors whose have been living with inaccurate credit reports, sometimes for years after bankruptcy.
While this change is obviously welcome, it hardly arose out of the kindness of the banks’ hearts. Both banks along with Citigroup, GE Capital and Synchrony are in litigation right now with plaintiff debtors accusing them of purposefully ignoring bankruptcy discharges in order to make more money when they sell off pools of debt to third parties.
Litigation initiated by private parties is not the only impetus for the banks’ credit reporting policy change. Attorneys with the United States Trustee Program, a branch of the Justice Department, charged with policing the bankruptcy law violations, are apparently investigating the banks to determine whether the banks are deliberately violating federal bankruptcy law. Seems difficult to imagine that they are not doing so, but, hey, maybe I am a little biased.