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Natural disaster assistance is reported on a minority of credit records among potentially affected consumers

Today the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) released the latest quarterly consumer credit trends report, this time focusing on the reporting of natural disasters in credit reports.

This report explores how financial institutions furnish natural disaster assistance to credit reporting agencies, and summarizes trends in natural disaster reporting for consumers in the Greater Houston area affected by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Key findings include:

  • About 8 percent of tradelines contained a special comment code indicating being affected by a natural disaster in 2017. The natural disaster comment code was on a tradeline for an average of two months.
  • Nearly 40 percent of consumers with a credit report in the Greater Houston area received the natural disaster comment code on at least one of their credit tradelines after Hurricane Harvey.
  • Mortgage accounts were the most common type of tradeline to receive the natural disaster comment code.
  • Accounts that received the natural disaster comment code are associated with higher median balances and higher rates of delinquency prior to the hurricane.

The data used in this report are derived from the Bureau’s Consumer Credit Panel, a longitudinal, nationally-representative sample of approximately five million de-identified credit records maintained by one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies.

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