Are Banks Allowed to Give Credit Reports to Applicants?

When you apply for credit the lender involved normally reviews your credit report as part of the application review process. A lender can use information contained in your report to approve or decline your application. Technically, lenders can share your credit report with you but most lenders do not share credit report information with credit applicants.

Credit Reporting

The credit reporting bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion have to comply with strict state and federal laws that govern the way consumer credit reports are compiled and how the bureaus share information contained in those reports. Banks are not consumer reporting agencies and bank employees are not trained to understand the way each bureau compiles its credit reports. Therefore, to avoid liability issues relating to misinformation, or the misuse of accurate information, most banks do not allow employees to talk to loan applicants about their credit reports.

Credit Reports

The credit bureaus gather information from your creditors as well as other businesses and vendors that submit reports pertaining to late payments and debts that you have failed to payoff. Credit bureaus also keep records of any individuals and entities that request copies of your credit report. If you and your lender both request copies of your credit report, you and the lender both receive different versions of the report. The report you receive does not show your credit score while the report the lender receives does not contain details of all the entities that have checked your credit. Therefore, to avoid confusion related to the different ways credit bureaus provide information to vendors and consumers, lenders do not normally allow loan officers to even discuss credit reports in depth.

Declined Applications

When you have a credit application declined by a lender due to information contained in your credit report, you are legally entitled to a copy of that report. However, you do not obtain that report from your lender. Instead, your lender must send you an adverse action notice that lists the reason the application was declined and the contact information of the credit bureau that provided the report. You have 60 days from the date of the declination in which to contact the credit bureau in question and obtain a free copy of your credit report.

Credit Reporting Services

Some banks offer credit monitoring services that are usually operated in conjunction with third party vendors. These services enable you to see your credit score once a month and send you notification emails whenever your credit report changes. You can view the information through your bank's Internet banking website. However, banks buy data for these reports on your behalf from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Consequently, your bank are acting as an intermediary between your and the credit bureau and you can obtain the same information regardless of your particular bank. Do not confuse your bank allowing you to access information from the credit bureaus with your bank actually providing you with that information.