When my kids were teenagers going out with their friends, I used to tell them, as all moms did, to “Be careful”.  But I have sons, and I quickly learned that wasn’t likely, so I changed to “Be smart”.  Well, they were teenagers, so I again had to change my thinking. The household motto became “Be safe”.

While I certainly don’t mean to imply that my boys were not intelligent (they absolutely are) as teenagers they were not always cognizant of the difference between what they could do, and what they should do. Just because you are able to ride a unicycle down the steps at the park, and just because you are careful enough to wear a helmet, does not mean that this should be done.  Reading a consumer report is not entirely different.

With advances in technology, instant credit reports and detailed criminal and eviction background searches are minimalistic routines. But just because you have the information, should you use it against an applicant? Sometimes, of course! After all, as a consumer reporting agency (CRA) compiling and distributing the information is how we service our clients. As a property manager, the information is vital to protect the investment property and provide residents a peaceful place to live. safe access for creditWe are smart enough to know the reasons, but we need to be SAFC. (This is not a typo)

Safe Access for Credit (SAFC) certification is essential to those who utilize consumer credit reports. Whether a provider of consumer reports or a user, you must be cognizant of the difference between what you know, and what is SAFC.

certification for multifamily

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) created a legal backbone for the use of consumer credit, civil and criminal information. This legislation dictates who may access the information, the purposes the information can be used for, what information may be used and for how long the information remains accessible. It also specifies what to do before and after any adverse action may be taken.

The federal government spends millions of dollars annually to enforce the FCRA.  As demonstrated by numerous recent fines in excess of ten million dollars, non compliance may result in severe consequences.

Government regulatory fines are scary, but SAFC can help! This educational tool was designed to assist the staff members of consumer reporting agencies and the end users of consumer reports to have a solid foundation of the legislation.

SAFC is a suite of study guides and exams designed for various target groups: for multifamily housing professionals (SAFC-MHP) or mortgage lender certification exams focus on key topics such as consumer disclosures, Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) requirements and policies set by the national credit repositories (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion).

The end user’s exams focus on key topics such as proper storage and disposal of consumer reports, adverse action requirements and time limitations for information contained in a consumer file. A printable study guide provides a handy reference when questions arise.

Subscribers of Contemporary Information Corp., have free access to the program! Certify yourself and certify your staff.

Processing a consumer report is being careful, in doing so, be SAFC!

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About the Author

Author Caryn BennettCaryn Bennett has been working in the Multifamily Housing Industry since 1990 with experience ranging from onsite property manager to the current position as Compliance Manager for CIC. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from University of the Pacific in Stockton, Ca. and has numerous FCRA and Experian course certifications. Caryn also serves as the chair of the tenant screening committees for the NCRA and NAPBS, and is a Notary Public of the State of California. When not working, she spends time with her husband, children and grandchildren. She enjoys reading and rock music.

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