NU Online News Service, Nov. 21, 2003, 2:10 p.m. — Washington [@@]

House and Senate conferees have reached agreement on legislation to reauthorize permanently the Fair Credit Reporting Act, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley, R-Ohio, says.[@@]

“This is the most significant consumer protection and financial literacy legislation passed by Congress in decades,” Oxley says.

The legislation establishes national rules on the use of credit information and preempts state laws that are inconsistent with the federal standard.

The insurance industry strongly supported FCRA reauthorization, but it appears that the bill, H.R. 2622, contains at least one provision about which the industry has voiced concern.

Final legislative language was not available at this writing, but according to a statement from the Financial Services Committee, the final bill provides a simplified way for consumers to limit unsolicited marketing offers.

This appears to reflect language that was in the Senate version of the legislation, but not the House version, which would require financial institutions to notify their customers of any information-sharing among institution affiliates and to let them opt out of marketing and solicitation efforts based on such shared information.

Industry groups are trying either to eliminate or modify this provision in the final bill, but it is uncertain at this writing whether the language w4as changed.