[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 143 (Tuesday, July 26, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 44462-44463]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-18688]



16 CFR Part 600

Statement of General Policy or Interpretation; Commentary on the 
Fair Credit Reporting Act

AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission.

ACTION: Final rule; rescission of commentary.


SUMMARY: The Federal Trade Commission (``FTC'' or ``Commission'') is 
rescinding its Statements of General Policy or Interpretations Under 
the Fair Credit Reporting Act (``FCRA''). Recent legislation 
transferred authority to issue interpretive guidance under the FCRA to 
the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (``CFPB'').

DATES: Effective Date: July 26, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Copies of this document are available from: Public Reference 
Branch, Room 130, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, 
NW., Washington, DC 20580. Copies of this document are also available 
on the Internet at the Commission's Web site: http://www.ftc.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anthony Rodriguez, (202) 326-2757, 
Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, Bureau of Consumer 
Protection, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., 
Washington, DC 20580.


I. Background

    The FCRA \1\ governs the collection, assembly, and use of consumer 
report information and provides the framework for the credit reporting 
system in the United States. The FTC has played a key role in the 
implementation, oversight, enforcement, and interpretation of the FCRA 
since its enactment in 1970. In May 1990, the Commission issued its 
Statement of General Policy or Interpretations under the FCRA, which 
included a comprehensive Commentary on the FCRA (the ``1990

[[Page 44463]]

Commentary'').\2\ The 1990 Commentary provided broad guidance on the 
Commission's interpretation of the provisions of the FCRA, but 
specified that the interpretations were not trade regulation rules or 
regulations and did not have the force or effect of statutory 

    \1\ 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.
    \2\ 55 FR 18804 (May 4, 1990). The 1990 Commentary followed a 
proposal published in August 1988. 53 FR 29696 (Aug. 8, 1988). It 
included eight interpretations that the Commission had issued in the 
1970s (former 16 CFR 600.1 through 600.8).
    \3\ 16 CFR 600.2, citing 16 CFR 1.73.

II. Basis for Removal of the 1990 Commentary

    Since the publication of the 1990 Commentary, the FCRA has been 
amended several times in the ensuing years. The two most extensive 
amendments were the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996 (the 
``1996 amendments'') \4\ and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions 
Act of 2003 (``FACT Act'').\5\

    \4\ Title II, Subtitle D, Chapter 1, of the Omnibus Consolidated 
Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1997, Public Law 104-208 (Sept. 
30, 1996).
    \5\ Public Law 108-159 (Dec. 4, 2003).

    The 1996 Amendments expanded the duties of consumer reporting 
agencies (``CRAs''), and also increased the obligations of users of 
consumer reports, particularly employers. Most significantly, the 1996 
Amendments imposed duties on a class of entities not previously treated 
by the FCRA--furnishers of information to CRAs--by including 
requirements related to accuracy and the handling of disputes by the 
entities that provided information to CRAs.
    In 2003, the FACT Act \6\ further expanded the FCRA.\7\ It added 
several sections to assist consumers and businesses in combating 
identity theft and reducing the damage to consumers when that crime 
occurred, including granting consumers the right to request free annual 
reports from nationwide CRAs. The Commission, often in conjunction with 
the Federal financial agencies, issued numerous rules to implement the 
various FACT Act provisions.\8\

    \6\ Id.
    \7\ During the seven years between the 1996 Amendments and the 
FACT Act, there were a number of more modest revisions, the most 
significant of which was a 1999 amendment that specifically 
authorized the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Comptroller of 
the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision, and National Credit 
Union Administration to promulgate regulations under the FCRA for 
the banks and other entities subject to their jurisdiction. Section 
506 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (Pub. L. 106-102 (Nov. 12, 1999); 
FCRA Sec.  621(e)).
    \8\ The Commission's FACT Act rules are listed on the agency Web 
site at http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcrajump.htm.

    As a result of these significant changes in the FCRA, as well as 
the passage of time, the 1990 Commentary has become partially obsolete.
    In addition, on July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the 
Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (``CFPA'').\9\ Under the 
CFPA, much of the authority of the Commission and the Federal financial 
agencies to publish rules, regulations, or guidelines under the FCRA 
transfers to the CFPB. Although the CFPA provides for the transfer of 
existing regulations and guidelines to the CFPB, the Commission does 
not believe that it is appropriate to transfer the Commentary given its 
staleness. Indeed, in some respects, the Commentary is in conflict with 
the law as it has been amended. Accordingly, the Commission is 
rescinding 16 CFR 600.1, 600.2, and the Appendix to Part 600--
Commentary on the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

    \9\ Title X, Public Law 111-203 (Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform 
and Consumer Protection Act).

    Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A), the requirement to provide prior notice 
and an opportunity for public comment does not apply to interpretative 
rules, general statements of policy, or rules of agency organization, 
procedure, or practice. Further, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(2), the 
rescission may take effect immediately upon publication of this 
document in the Federal Register. Accordingly, the Commission rescinds 
16 CFR 600.1, 600.2, and the Appendix to Part 600--Commentary on the 
Fair Credit Reporting Act, effective immediately.

III. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Because these statements of general policy and interpretations are 
not ``rules'' subject to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, see 5 U.S.C. 
601(2), the Commission is not required to publish any initial or final 
regulatory flexibility analysis under the Regulatory Flexibility Act as 
part of such action. See 5 U.S.C. 603(a), 604(b).

List of Subjects in 16 CFR Part 600

    Credit, Trade practices.

Accordingly, for the reasons set forth above, under the authority of 16 
U.S.C. 1681s, the Commission amends Title 16, Chapter I, Code of 
Federal Regulations, by removing and reserving part 600.

    By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
[FR Doc. 2011-18688 Filed 7-25-11; 8:45 am]