Senate Bill Meant To Punish Equifax Might Actually Reward It

The Equifax data breach affected around 148 million Americans. As the Washington Post reported, the affected people’s compromised information includes even partial driver’s license data.

According to Bloomberg, this has made Equifax somewhat of a pariah in Washington. Ironically, however, the Senate bill designed to punish the consumer credit reporting agency might actually reward it. A last-minute change, an amendment to the bill offered by its author Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, might help Equifax make millions of dollars in revenue.

The amendment directs government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, not to rely on FICO scores provided by Fair Isaac Corp. Instead, these mortgage finance enterprises are directed to use credit assessments offered by rival companies.

VantageScore Solutions LLC is Fair Isaac’s main competitor, and Equifax co-owns VantageScore. Apart from that, Mike Crapo’s legislation requires Equifax to provide free credit monitoring to military service members. This, according to Bloomberg, could also make Equifax millions in revenue.

The entire saga has made Equifax one of the most universally hated companies in the United States. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released Consumer Complaint Database data for 2017, as the Observer noted in January, showing Equifax had received the most complaints in 49 states. Of the 235.094 total grievances, 30.576 of them were about Equifax.

What many consider to be the most significant security breach ever has not yet reached its epilogue. The outraged public criticized Equifax for how they have been handling the issue. As the Business Insider reported in September 2017, many Americans were furious about the website Equifax had set up for its clients, calling it useless and unresponsive.

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s investigation suggested that consumers’ passport numbers had also been stolen. Equifax denied these claims. Senator Warren recently talked to Marketplace about the investigation. According to Warren, Equifax will indeed make money off their own breach.

“Equifax may actually make money off this breach because it sells all these credit-protection devices, and even consumers who say, ‘Hey, I’m never doing business with Equifax again,’ well, good for you, but you go buy credit protection from someone else, they very well may be using Equifax to do the back office part. So Equifax is still making money off their own breach.”

Republican Mike Crapo is a senior United States Senator from the state of Idaho, and Democrat Elizabeth Warren is a senior United States Senator from Massachusetts. Crapo’s bill, on the other hand, has bipartisan support. Crapo’s bill has support from at least a dozen Democrats, Bloomberg‘s Elizabeth Dexheimer noted, and it is expected to clear the Senate soon.

Thanks to last-minute changes in legislation designed to discipline Equifax, the agency might end up making money off its own breach.