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The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that adverse action notices include any credit score used in taking adverse action on a credit application. May the credit score notices be sent in separate envelopes to the same mailing address even if the joint applicants reside at different addresses?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that adverse action notices include any credit score used in taking adverse action on a credit application. My understanding is that for joint applications, the credit score notices must be in separate envelopes. May the credit score notices be sent in separate envelopes to the same mailing address even if the joint applicants reside at different addresses? To illustrate, if applicant A is the primary applicant and lives at address A, and applicant B lives at address B, may the bank provide the credit score notices in separate envelopes to address A, or must the bank send the notice to each applicant at his or her own address?

The bank should send the notice to each applicant at his or her address.

For technical reasons related to limitations on rulemaking authority, neither Regulation B (Equal Credit Opportunity Act) nor Regulation V (FCRA) addresses this directly. However, Section 1022.75 of Regulation V offers direction. It addresses “risk-based pricing” notice requirements, which include an option of providing credit scores. Section 1022.75(c) requires sending “a separate notice” if a notice includes a credit score, “whether the consumers have the same address or not.” This suggests that the bank should send separate notices to each consumer at his or her address unless the applicants have otherwise instructed. If the applicants live at the same address, the bank may insert notices into separate envelopes addressed to each applicant and then send them in an envelope mailed to their joint address.

If a credit score is not used and the consumers have the same address, the bank may send a joint notice. The reason for the distinction is that, for whatever reason, credit scores are considered more personal and confidential than the reasons for a loan rejection. (December, 2020)

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