Credit Bureau Investigations Get Nasty: “I Can’t Fix Stupid”

by Brian Riley 0

Now, comes Equifax’ Richard F. Smith, in front of a Congressional investigation committee, on the same day Wells Fargo sits in another committee to dive deeper into last year’s west coast scandal.  Mr. Smith points to the failure of a single Equifax employee who failed to followthrough on a Department of Homeland Security warning about a software flaw. Representative Greg Walden (R-OR) says:

  • “How does this happen when so much is at stake?”

  • “I don’t know if we can pass a law that, excuse me for saying this, fixes stupid. I can’t fix stupid.”

Pitty the poor guy at the center of this mess.  Can we believe one person is behind the Equifax credit file mess?

  • On multiple occassions, Mr. Smith referred to an “individual” in Equifax’s technology department who failed to heed security warnings and did not ensure the implementation of software fixes that would have prevented the breach.

One thing I learned long ago as a child.  If you mess up, raise your hand and tell everyone quickly.  And, don’t point to someone else and say “he did it”. The best action is to take responsibility for the problem, admit your short comings, and don’t forget the mea culpas.

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) added her two cents:

  • “At best, you are incompetent at worst; at worst you were complicit”. She continues: “Either way, you should be fired”

This issue is far from over.  A concern here is how will this mess affect the entire US payments industry.  Data breach aside, will enough consumers begin locking files so that the industry will soon find pre-approved direct mail solicitations a bad bet?  I haven’t locked mine yet, but when you think about Equifax, Sonic, and now Whole Foods (Amazon), we certainly have a problem.

Overview by Brian Riley, Director, Credit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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