Bill Would Help Prevent Deadnaming and Improve Accuracy in Credit Reporting, Housing Opportunities, and Employment
Bill Introduced on Transgender Day of Visibility
WASHINGTON – Today, on Transgender Day of Visibility, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, unveiled the Name Accuracy in Credit Reporting Act, legislation to make our credit reporting system more inclusive and address credit issues and discrimination faced by trans and nonbinary people who legally change their names.
“Our broken credit reporting system has perpetuated inequities and pushed our most vulnerable consumers—including the trans and nonbinary community—further to the margins, risking their livelihoods and economic pursuits,” said Rep. Pressley. “The Name Accuracy in Credit Reporting Act is a legislative fix that will help prevent the financial discrimination of trans and nonbinary people and improve accuracy in consumer reporting. Passing this bill would be a meaningful step as we work towards long-overdue economic justice for the trans community. I’m proud to introduce this legislation on Transgender Day of Visibility and I’m grateful to our partners in this work.”
Transgender and nonbinary people disproportionately face significant hurdles obtaining accurate credit reports and scores after legally changing their names. The Name Accuracy in Credit Reporting Act would help address these adverse effects by prohibiting the nationwide credit reporting agencies from including a consumer’s former name on their credit report following a legal name change.
- Consumer reports are significant to the ability for American consumers to access credit, housing, and employment.
- Fragmented files created by the credit reporting industry lead to inaccuracies on the consumer reports of transgender and gender nonconforming consumers after a legal name change. Inaccurate consumer reports create additional burdens and barriers for these consumers and impair their ability to access credit, housing, and employment.
- As of 2017, there were approximately 1.4 million adults who identify as transgender, according to the Williams Institute report, “Age of Individuals Who Identify as Transgender in the United States”, and as of 2021, approximately 1.2 million adults identify as nonbinary, according to the Williams Institute report, “Nonbinary LGBTQ Adults in the United States”.
- As evidence that transgender and gender nonconforming adults are vulnerable to discrimination, harassment, and abuse based on their gender identity and expression, in its 2016 report “Injustice at Every Turn”, the National Center for Transgender Equality found that transgender adults experienced unemployment at twice the rate of the general population, and 90 percent reported experiencing harassment, discrimination, or mistreatment in the workplace. The report further found that one in five transgender adults reported having been refused a home or apartment because of their gender identity.
- Transgender and gender nonconforming consumers face a myriad of problems in terms of consumer reporting problems after they change their names, including that their credit report fragments into two or more unconnected files upon their name change and that their name change and any credit actions that follow are never reflected in their report at all. Many consumers report that credit reporting problems have a negative impact on their financial and personal lives, including credit score decreases of 100 points or more, which can be a barrier to accessing banking services, mortgages, auto financing, employment, and rental housing.
- Transgender consumers face severe adverse effects from having their former name reflected on their credit report. The disclosure of a transgender person’s prior name in a consumer report to a creditor, employer, or lessor can expose those consumers to unlawful discrimination on the basis of that consumer’s gender identity.
The Name Accuracy in Credit Reporting Act is supported by the following organizations: MassEquality, American Civil Liberties Union, California Employment Lawyers Association, Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, CR (formerly Consumer Reports), Equality California, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Consumer Law Center, National LGBTQ Task Force, Transgender Law Center, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, and UC Berkeley School of Law, Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice.
“The transgender community faces many economic hurdles, and we are appreciative that Representative Pressley has taken action in this matter. The inadvertent deadnaming of transgender consumers on a credit file can have grave consequences for those seeking employment and housing which impact financial stability. While we acknowledge that there are many additional and intersectional economic hurdles facing transgender consumers, we are hopeful that this legislation will help to remove some of these barriers,” said Tanya Neslusan, Executive Director, MassEquality.
“As a whole, transgender and nonbinary people in the US are significantly more likely to face economic insecurity and financial discrimination versus their cisgender peers. At its core, this bill ensures that legal name changes do not contribute to this insecurity by erasing valuable credit reporting history. Additionally, it provides important guidance that trans and nonbinary people must receive the same level of respect and access as cisgender individuals from financial and credit reporting institutions. We are grateful for Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s leadership and continued support in uplifting the humanity and authenticity of trans and nonbinary people in our society,” said Tre’Andre Valentine, Executive Director, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.
“The Name Accuracy in Credit Reporting Act is critically important to transgender/nonbinary people who experience a higher risk of discrimination, harassment, and violence, especially transgender women of color. Using a person’s former name adds to this risk. Using the correct name and pronouns is not only a matter of politeness or personal preference but also a matter of respecting an individual’s safety and basic human rights. We thank Representative Pressley for her leadership on this important legislation,” said Nina Selvaggio, Executive Director, Greater Boston PFLAG.
“Being able to have a name that reflects who you are is essential to ensuring one’s safety and dignity. The Name Accuracy in Credit Reporting Act of 2023 is critical, common sense legislation that will protect transgender and nonbinary people from being denied a financially secure future just because they’ve changed their name. We are grateful to Rep. Ayanna Pressley for her leadership on this important legislation,” said David Brown, Legal Director, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF).
“This bill addresses yet another problem with the credit reporting system – the serious and unique problems faced by transgender and nonbinary consumers after a name change. We commend Representative Pressley for introducing the bill and for her ongoing efforts to dismantle the credit bureau oligopoly,” said Chi Chi Wu, Attorney, National Consumer Law Center.
“The Name Accuracy in Credit Reporting will go far to protect transgender and nonbinary people who have gone through all the required steps when they legally changed their name, only to find themselves outed when their former names are reflected in their credit reports. We appreciate Rep. Presley’s leadership on this bill which also urges the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to use its existing statutory authority to direct the credit bureaus to resolve other identity-matching problems commonly encountered by trans and nonbinary consumers,” said Valerie Ploumpis, National Policy Director, Equality California.
“We applaud Representative Pressley for re-introducing this much-needed legislation to improve credit reporting accuracy after a name change and remove discriminatory obstacles to jobs, housing, insurance, and credit for trans and nonbinary people. More access to these essentials will empower trans and nonbinary households and enable them to build financial security and a better future for themselves and their communities,” said Spencer Watson, Executive Director of the Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research (CLEAR).
“Transgender people often experience discrimination in areas critical to economic security such as employment and housing. Facing additional financial barriers including in something as essential and commonplace as credit reporting can further compound economic instability. We’re grateful to Representative Pressley and other House leaders for working to address harmful obstacles such as loss of credit history and involuntary outing that transgender individuals may experience when dealing with credit agencies following a legal name change,” said Michael Johnson, Chief Legal Strategist, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).
“Updating a person’s name on their credit report should be simple, and credit bureaus have already been doing this for decades to accommodate married or divorced consumers. Credit Bureaus are choosing to fail transgender and nonbinary consumers by creating careless and unnecessary hurdles to accessing accurate and complete credit information—which can lead to unfair denial of credit, housing, or employment. We commend Representative Pressley for introducing this legislation and urge the CFPB to direct the credit bureaus to address this critical issue,” said Stephanie Landry, Strategic Lead, Digital Finance, Consumer Reports.
Rep. Pressley initially introduced the bill in July 2022, and it was passed by the House Financial Services Committee shortly thereafter.
Throughout her time in Congress, Rep. Pressley has been a staunch advocate for consumer protections and addressing the deep flaws in America’s credit reporting system.
- Housing Emergencies Lifeline Program (HELP) Act, which would prohibit credit reporting of evictions and rent and utility debt, fund legal representation for those at risk of eviction, crack down on illegal evictions, and more.
- Comprehensive CREDIT Act, a bold legislative package to protect consumers from unfair credit reporting practices and affirm the right of all Americans to an equitable and transparent credit reporting process.
- Student Borrower Credit Improvement Act, which establishes protections for private student loan borrowers similar to those that already exist for borrowers with federal student loans.
- discussed the need to remove barriers LGBTQIA+ people face to securing credit and housing.