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Strange Series of US Bank Soft Inquiries

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About half a year ago I noticed an AR soft by US Bank on my EQ and it struck me as odd since I do not have, nor have I ever applied for, any credit product underwritten by US Bank.  I do have a checking account with them in good standing though.  I called US Bank and reached their credit bureau specialists and they were equally perplexed.  I just shrugged it off.

 

A couple of months ago, I noticed the first one disappeared replaced by a current one.  Another call and still they had no idea.  Shrugged it off again.

 

Now last week there is a new one.  Called and they are clueless.  Called EQ and even more clueless.  
 

The inquiries are market AR.  They aren't pre-qual inquiries -- never get offers from US Bank.  Their pre-qual site has been down for months so not like someone could be putting my details in and playing games.  
 

WTF do they get permissible purpose to view my credit report?  WTF does EQ give them access when it is clear there is no PP?  This has to be a FCRA violation.  I think the statutory minimum for this per the FCRA is $1k, but more importantly WTF is accessing my EQ and why?  

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5 hours ago, shifter said:

I would imagine that the checking account gives them PP. You'd have to review the disclosures you signed when you opened the account. 


That was my first thought, too.  I checked the T&C and confirmed with US Bank.  They don't check the CRAs unless you have an LOC facility.  
 

I'll wait the results of the CFPB inquiry. 

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24 minutes ago, hegemony said:

do you have over draft "protection"

No.  Not at all.  I ride US Skank bareback.  

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On 10/15/2019 at 3:17 PM, shifter said:

I would imagine that the checking account gives them PP. You'd have to review the disclosures you signed when you opened the account. 

Since soft inquiries are only visible to you, and not other creditors, and do not impact your score/credit I do not think they fall under the FCRA/CFPB umbrella for protection - unless lending institutions advertise the use of soft pulls and then ultimately have a hard pull (bait and switch).  However, I may be mistaken and someone can certainly point me to information that dispels that if that’s the case.

 

With that said, having any existing relationship with the instituting in question, or their affiliate, or subsidiary, can trigger soft pulls even if their uniformed rep states otherwise - I once worked for a company that did soft inquiries on all customers quarterly and most of our employees was not aware of it.  Our marketing department used it to generate solicitation offers and often times for affiliation purposes (ie: bundling and selling the data).  

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53 minutes ago, gerray said:

Since soft inquiries are only visible to you, and not other creditors, and do not impact your score/credit I do not think they fall under the FCRA/CFPB umbrella for protection - unless lending institutions advertise the use of soft pulls and then ultimately have a hard pull (bait and switch).  However, I may be mistaken and someone can certainly point me to information that dispels that if that’s the case.

 

With that said, having any existing relationship with the instituting in question, or their affiliate, or subsidiary, can trigger soft pulls even if their uniformed rep states otherwise - I once worked for a company that did soft inquiries on all customers quarterly and most of our employees was not aware of it.  Our marketing department used it to generate solicitation offers and often times for affiliation purposes (ie: bundling and selling the data).  


The FCRA clearly states what constitutes permissible purpose and there is no distinction between hard and soft inquiries.  Without permissible purpose, your credit reports cannot be accessed.  Ever.  

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54 minutes ago, gerray said:

Since soft inquiries are only visible to you, and not other creditors, and do not impact your score/credit I do not think they fall under the FCRA/CFPB umbrella for protection - unless lending institutions advertise the use of soft pulls and then ultimately have a hard pull (bait and switch).  However, I may be mistaken and someone can certainly point me to information that dispels that if that’s the case.

 

 

note the FCRA does not distinguish between "soft and hard" only those that are disclosed to third parties. therefore, even softs are subject to PP stipulations

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8 hours ago, PotO said:


The FCRA clearly states what constitutes permissible purpose and there is no distinction between hard and soft inquiries.  Without permissible purpose, your credit reports cannot be accessed.  Ever.  

 

8 hours ago, hegemony said:

note the FCRA does not distinguish between "soft and hard" only those that are disclosed to third parties. therefore, even softs are subject to PP stipulations

I stand corrected!   

 

Honestly, I very rarely even check my soft inquiries, but this morning I reviewed my paper copy of my EQ report from September and noticed I had one in August of 2019 from Navy Federal, yet I do not have any credit products with them.  My only account with them is a savings account that has never seen any activity - other than depositing the initial sign-up bonus they gave me and depositing an additional promotional check they sent me to "encourage account activity".   Both deposits are still sitting in the savings.  Perhaps AR reviews is common on checking/savings accounts?  I wonder if others have had similar experiences.

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54 minutes ago, gerray said:

 

I stand corrected!   

 

Honestly, I very rarely even check my soft inquiries, but this morning I reviewed my paper copy of my EQ report from September and noticed I had one in August of 2019 from Navy Federal, yet I do not have any credit products with them.  My only account with them is a savings account that has never seen any activity - other than depositing the initial sign-up bonus they gave me and depositing an additional promotional check they sent me to "encourage account activity".   Both deposits are still sitting in the savings.  Perhaps AR reviews is common on checking/savings accounts?  I wonder if others have had similar experiences.

 

My opinion -- which may or may not be correct -- is that unless you have a credit product, they do not have permissible purpose to access your credit files.  As previously pointed out, if you have a credit facility such as, for example, NavCheck, or an overdraft LOC, that would enable them to peek.  

 

Another possibility is that the date of the soft inquiry coincides with your account opening.  It's customary for banks to use data on your credit reports for ID verification.  You know, those stupid five questions they ask for ID verification such as, where did you first get laid or in what year was your great-great-great grandfather's brother's dog born.  

 

If there was no ID verification event or credit product involved, I think they have no permissible purpose and, depending on how much you value your relationship with the offender, they should get FITA.

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17 minutes ago, PotO said:

 

My opinion -- which may or may not be correct -- is that unless you have a credit product, they do not have permissible purpose to access your credit files.  As previously pointed out, if you have a credit facility such as, for example, NavCheck, or an overdraft LOC, that would enable them to peek.  

 

Another possibility is that the date of the soft inquiry coincides with your account opening.  It's customary for banks to use data on your credit reports for ID verification.  You know, those stupid five questions they ask for ID verification such as, where did you first get laid or in what year was your great-great-great grandfather's brother's dog born.  

 

If there was no ID verification event or credit product involved, I think they have no permissible purpose and, depending on how much you value your relationship with the offender, they should get FITA.

I have checking and savings accounts with a local CU. No credit products. When I was looking for an auto loan about a year ago I stopped in to see what they were offering. The banker looked up my account and said that based on my Fico score at the time I qualified for their lowest rate. She even told me my score. I hadn’t filled out an application. When I asked how she had my Fico score she said they do a soft pull every month. Sounds like a similar situation to yours. But it didn’t bother me so I didn’t do anything about it. 
 

It seems this may be a common practice in the industry. I’m not saying it’s permissible under law since I never looked into it.

 

I have a file with the paperwork from every bank account I have opened. I’ll have to check some of the account disclosures, but my guess is there is some fine print that allows them to do this. 

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21 minutes ago, DPB said:

I have checking and savings accounts with a local CU. No credit products. When I was looking for an auto loan about a year ago I stopped in to see what they were offering. The banker looked up my account and said that based on my Fico score at the time I qualified for their lowest rate. She even told me my score. I hadn’t filled out an application. When I asked how she had my Fico score she said they do a soft pull every month. Sounds like a similar situation to yours. But it didn’t bother me so I didn’t do anything about it. 
 

It seems this may be a common practice in the industry. I’m not saying it’s permissible under law since I never looked into it.

 

I have a file with the paperwork from every bank account I have opened. I’ll have to check some of the account disclosures, but my guess is there is some fine print that allows them to do this. 

 

I have dozens of bank accounts and none but US Bank have accessed my credit bureau reports.

 

When you look at the FCRA, it is clear that it deals only with credit accounts when it comes to permissible purposes.

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12 minutes ago, PotO said:

 

I have dozens of bank accounts and none but US Bank have accessed my credit bureau reports.

 

When you look at the FCRA, it is clear that it deals only with credit accounts when it comes to permissible purposes.

I’m not saying that all banks do it. 
Also, if the bank puts it in the fine print that they are going to do a SP when they want, and you sign the agreement when you open the account, it would probably be considered permissible. I’m not saying that’s definitely what happened, but it wouldn’t be surprising. 

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19 minutes ago, DPB said:

I’m not saying that all banks do it. 
Also, if the bank puts it in the fine print that they are going to do a SP when they want, and you sign the agreement when you open the account, it would probably be considered permissible. I’m not saying that’s definitely what happened, but it wouldn’t be surprising. 

 

Yes, if specifically authorized, they they should have PP.  I'm looking at my US Bank T&C now and see nothing.  I'll check my Navy T&C later.

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12 hours ago, PotO said:

 

Yes, if specifically authorized, they they should have PP.  I'm looking at my US Bank T&C now and see nothing.  I'll check my Navy T&C later.

I checked both my Chase and BofA checking account disclosures. Both privacy notice disclosures contained the exact same wording.
 

Quote

How does [Bank of America/Chase] collect my personal information?

...

We also collect your personal information from others, such as credit bureaus, affiliates, or other companies


So it would appear that just having a bank account allows them to do a soft pull with the CRAs. I don’t show any INQs from either BofA or Chase on my latest reports, but there are monthly pulls from the CU where I have both checking and savings accounts. 

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19 minutes ago, DPB said:

I checked both my Chase and BofA checking account disclosures. Both privacy notice disclosures contained the exact same wording.
 


So it would appear that just having a bank account allows them to do a soft pull with the CRAs. I don’t show any INQs from either BofA or Chase on my latest reports, but there are monthly pulls from the CU where I have both checking and savings accounts. 

 

That doesn't relate to continual account review inquiries.  That's for when you open the account and they need to verify your identity.  

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US Bank T&C:

 

"CREDIT REVIEW We may periodically review your creditworthiness. In doing so, we may review your credit reports and any other credit information that we believe to be relevant. We may request, and you agree to provide, any information regarding your financial condition that we believe appropriate for purposes of this review. We reserve the right to periodically re-evaluate your account and, based on our credit criteria for determining the likelihood of repayment, increase or decrease your credit limit or terminate or suspend your right to further advances under this Reserve Line Agreement."

 

There are various subsections of the T&C that apply to different account types.  Under checking / savings, there is nothing.  If -- and only if -- you have a Reserve Line of Credit, the above paragraph applies.  I do not have a Reserve Line of Credit.  

 

 

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This appears in the Navy FCU T&C for savings / checking accounts:

 

"Consumer Reports

The owner and joint owner, if any, authorize Navy Federal to obtain consumer reports about them during their membership to consider them for offers of or related to Navy Federal products and services. They also authorize Navy Federal to obtain consumer reports to evaluate membership applications and review any Navy Federal accounts they open. They understand these reports may be used in decisions to deny account applications, close accounts, and/or restrict accounts or services."

 

This is crystal clear in that you grant them pp to access your credit reports.  US Bank, no.

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1 hour ago, PotO said:

 

That doesn't relate to continual account review inquiries.  That's for when you open the account and they need to verify your identity.  

Both disclosures say something to the effect of this being for everyday business use. Quite vague, but they can probably use it for ongoing review inquiries. 
 

Sounds like from your post above that US Bank doesn’t have any such clause though. I don’t know what is involved with a FCRA complaint. But if it’s simple enough to file, why not give it a shot? If they have some clause buried in a disclosure somewhere they’ll produce it and the case would be closed. If they can’t provide said documentation you probably have grounds to request the compensation you specified in the first post plus an order barring them from this practice. If they weren’t smart enough to add a simple clause allowing them to check your credit they deserve whatever fines are imposed.

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This is what the FCRA has to say:

 

§ 604. Permissible purposes of consumer reports

(a) In general. Subject to subsection (c), any consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report under the following circumstances and no other:

 

     (2)  In accordance with the written instructions of the consumer to whom it relates.

 

     (3)  To a person which it has reason to believe

          (A)  intends to use the information in connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer on whom the information is to be furnished and involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of, the consumer; or

 

          (F)  otherwise has a legitimate business need for the information

               (i)  in connection with a business transaction that is initiated by the consumer; or

               (ii)  to review an account to determine whether the consumer continues to meet the terms of the account.

 

(a)(3)(F) might apply, but it seems pretty weak.  After all, it's the Fair Credit Reporting Act and not the Fair Checking Account Reporting Act.  People with poor credit get checking accounts every day.  The way it seems, (F) can be used to justify McDonald's checking your credit reports when you go through the drive-thru or when you are a Happy Meals Club member.

 

I already filed a CFPB complaint so hopefully we'll see an informative response soon. 

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15 minutes ago, PotO said:

This is what the FCRA has to say:

 

§ 604. Permissible purposes of consumer reports

(a) In general. Subject to subsection (c), any consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report under the following circumstances and no other:

 

     (2)  In accordance with the written instructions of the consumer to whom it relates.

 

     (3)  To a person which it has reason to believe

          (A)  intends to use the information in connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer on whom the information is to be furnished and involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of, the consumer; or

 

          (F)  otherwise has a legitimate business need for the information

               (i)  in connection with a business transaction that is initiated by the consumer; or

               (ii)  to review an account to determine whether the consumer continues to meet the terms of the account.

 

(a)(3)(F) might apply, but it seems pretty weak.  After all, it's the Fair Credit Reporting Act and not the Fair Checking Account Reporting Act.  People with poor credit get checking accounts every day.  The way it seems, (F) can be used to justify McDonald's checking your credit reports when you go through the drive-thru or when you are a Happy Meals Club member.

 

I already filed a CFPB complaint so hopefully we'll see an informative response soon. 

I agree that it seems weak. (a)(3)(f)(ii) is what probably applies, but that’s only if their terms state that they are going to check your reports or say that you have to maintain some specific level of creditworthiness. 
 

I’m curious what the CFPB complaint outcome will be. US Bank is not a small local bank. Their attorneys that draft their disclosures should have been smart enough to cover them for this, and basically every other, scenario. If they weren’t, opening up a US Bank checking account will give a nice SUB (via complaints) without any deposit requirements until they patch the hole in their disclosures. 

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15 minutes ago, DPB said:

I agree that it seems weak. (a)(3)(f)(ii) is what probably applies, but that’s only if their terms state that they are going to check your reports or say that you have to maintain some specific level of creditworthiness. 
 

I’m curious what the CFPB complaint outcome will be. US Bank is not a small local bank. Their attorneys that draft their disclosures should have been smart enough to cover them for this, and basically every other, scenario. If they weren’t, opening up a US Bank checking account will give a nice SUB (via complaints) without any deposit requirements until they patch the hole in their disclosures. 

 

If they come up with an acceptable story about why they access my reports, fine.  Live and learn.

 

If, however, they do not, yet they have a decent attitude about things, I'll take $100.  Otherwise, I'll get $1k from them.  

 

On a related note, I got $4k out of OCCU for accessing our (DW & I) credit reports 7 months after closing their credit card.  They were richards about it and it felt sooooooo good seeing them FITA.  I regret not getting more, though.   I wonder what they would do if I apply for a new account or a new card with them.  🤣

 

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16 minutes ago, PotO said:

 

If they come up with an acceptable story about why they access my reports, fine.  Live and learn.

 

If, however, they do not, yet they have a decent attitude about things, I'll take $100.  Otherwise, I'll get $1k from them.  

 

On a related note, I got $4k out of OCCU for accessing our (DW & I) credit reports 7 months after closing their credit card.  They were richards about it and it felt sooooooo good seeing them FITA.  I regret not getting more, though.   I wonder what they would do if I apply for a new account or a new card with them.  🤣

 

You’re going to start a new trend. Instead of people churning account SUBs it’ll be churning CFPB & FCRA violation fines. 
With as many data breaches as we’ve seen in recent years combined with the minor penalties handed out, I’m all for these banks having to pay up for their stupidity. 

Edited by DPB

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23 minutes ago, DPB said:

You’re going to start a new trend. Instead of people churning account SUBs it’ll be churning CFPB & FCRA violation fines. 
With as many data breaches as we’ve seen in recent years combined with the minor penalties handed out, I’m all for these banks having to pay up for their stupidity. 

 

A while back here on CB someone recommended a lawyer named Agruss.  He's gotten me about $3.2k for FDCPA violations.  Can you imagine -- richardheads call you and harass you for a debt that never existed, you wind them up by insulting the bejesus out of them AND you get paid!  Life just doesn't get any better than that!  😂  

 

LegalBeagle (my apologies if I got his CB name wrong) introduced a novel way to use arbitration to extract $$ from richardheads.  I'm just waiting to try it.  :)  

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