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Lopez Bill to Make Credit Reports Available in Spanish and Other Languages Clears Assembly Panel

To ensure non-English speaking residents in New Jersey are able to access and understand their credit reports, a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez to require consumer reporting agencies to make credit reports available in Spanish and other languages was approved Monday by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

“Most credit reporting agencies provide reports in English only,” said Lopez (D-Middlesex). “This makes it more difficult for people who speak primarily Spanish or another language to assess their credit reports and see if they are accurate. With nearly one third of New Jersey residents speaking languages other than English at home, credit reporting agencies must make sure they can accommodate all consumers.”

The bill (A-5055) would require that information subject to disclosure pursuant to the current credit reporting law be made available to consumers upon request in Spanish and any other language determined by the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs to be the first language of a significant number of consumers in the State. This determination is to be, at the discretion of the director, based on the numerical percentages of all consumers in the State for whom English or Spanish is not a first language or in a manner consistent with any regulations promulgated by the director for this purpose.

“It’s so important for everyone to keep track of their credit history,” said Lopez. “This bill will lift a barrier for non-English speaking New Jerseyans who would otherwise have to seek out a translator to review their reports. The process would be far more simple and accessible to all, just as it should be.”

The bill now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.