The CFPB has praised an announcement by FICO that it will make credit scores available to financially struggling consumers through nonprofit credit and financial counseling organizations as “a step in the right direction” that will allow “millions of consumers…to receive the credit scores and credit reports that nonprofit credit counselors purchase on their behalf.”  In its announcement, FICO stated that it will allow eligible nonprofit counseling organizations to participate in its existing program that allows business customers to share credit scores they purchase with consumers at no additional cost.

According to the CFPB, FICO’s announcement signals a change in the “no-sharing policy” commonly found in contracts signed by business users of credit reports and scores that prohibits the user from sharing the report or score with any entity, including the consumer.  However, the CFPB observes that even with FICO’s policy change on credit scores, counseling organizations typically continue to be prohibited from giving a credit report to the consumer under their contracts with the credit reporting agencies.

In its announcement, FICO indicated that Experian “has agreed to allow qualified credit counselors to share Experian credit reports with their clients.”  The CFPB comments that it is  “encouraged” by Experian’s action and “urge[s] the other credit reporting agencies to take steps to make this credit information available as well.”