Tester Calls on Credit Agencies to Protect Workers Hurt by Shutdown

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today called on the three major credit reporting agencies to protect workers whose credit scores may have been harmed by last month’s partial government shutdown.

In a letter to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, Tester and seven of his colleagues urged the agencies to remove negative information that could damage federal workers’ credit scores. Specifically, the letter encourages the credit reporting agencies to remove information related to late and missed payments for the period in which the government shutdown occurred.

“By no fault of their own, more than 800,000 federal employees and federal contractors missed two paychecks, placing them in serious danger of missing payments on their mortgages, student loans, car loans, credit cards, and other debt,” the Senators wrote. “If reported late or missed payments as a result of the shutdown remain on the credit reports of impacted workers, we are concerned this information will undermine the accuracy of their credit reports and result in serious financial consequences.”

The Senators also noted that the agencies have an obligation to make sure the information they release is as accurate as possible, and that by including information associated with the shutdown they aren’t giving an accurate representation of a person’s creditworthiness.

“Workers’ credit reports and scores should not be ruined for reasons entirely outside of their control,” the Senators wrote. “We hope that your companies will take this opportunity to correct information related to the people impacted by the shutdown as soon as possible.”

With over 7,000 affected workers, numerous Tribal Nations, and two of the busiest National Parks in the country, Montana was one of the states hit hardest by the 35-day long shutdown—the longest in American history.

U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-NJ.), and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) joined Tester in signing the letter.

Read a copy of the Senators’ letter HERE.