The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced today a settlement with Santander bank over credit reporting violations related to the bank’s auto loans.
The consent order was issued in connection with Santander providing erroneous consumer loan data to consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). Santander, a subsidiary of Banco Santander S.A., is a leading originator and servicer of nonprime auto loans and leases. Santander furnishes credit information on the auto loans it services by sending monthly data files to CRAs. The Bureau found that the consumer loan data Santander furnished to CRAs between January 2016 and August 2019 contained many systemic errors that in many instances, could have negatively impacted consumers’ credit scores and access to credit. The consent order requires Santander to take certain steps to prevent future violations and imposes a $4,750,000 civil money penalty.
Under the terms of the consent order, Santander must correct all inaccuracies and errors that the Bureau identified and take certain steps to improve and ensure the accuracy of the consumer information it provides to CRAs. These steps include conducting monthly reviews of account information to assess the accuracy and integrity of information Santander furnishes. Santander must also establish and implement reasonable policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of information it furnishes to CRAs.
These types of violations have real impacts on consumers. What’s worse, unless they investigate, consumers just don’t know they’ve been wronged. This settlement sends a message: Banks MUST take care to attend to the best interests of their consumers. While the fine is not large, it does send a message and a reminder that Santander has a consumer obligation. The announcement should also serve as a warning to consumers that banks may NOT be looking out for a consumer’s best interests.
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