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A Look Back at the NCRA’s 23rd Annual Conference

Terry W. Clemans
Mar 22, 2016
Members of the NCRA Board with CFPB Director Richard Cordray

The National Consumer Reporting Association (NCRA) recently held its 23rd Annual Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. More than two-thirds of the mortgage credit reporting industry was represented during the four-day event that included more than 30 speakers, highlighted by two Presidential appointees, Richard Cordray, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB Director, and Terrell McSweeny, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner; and two members of Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA). Some of the other notable speakers included: Tim Richardson, keynote speaker; David Tyree and Robert Shearer, senior representatives at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); Patricia McClung, Assistant Director at the CFPB; Timothy Lambert, CFPB Senior Counsel of the Fair Lending Division, Department of Housing & Urban Development; Timothy Smyth, director of Systemic Investigations; Greg Brown, senior vice president of Legislative Affairs at the National Apartment Association; Nicole Upano, manager of State and Local Government Affairs at the National Apartment Association; Barrett Burns, VantageScore CEO and Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) director; Edward Mierzwinski, program director at US PIRG; Chi Chi Wu, senior counsel at the National Consumer Law Center; Pam Dixon, executive director at the World Privacy Forum; and many other industry representatives from Experian, TransUnion and several of the nation’s leading Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) legal counsel.

Of course you can only handle so much compliance, legal and industry education before you need some networking opportunities and a little fun. The kickoff welcome reception provided some of the networking, along with the sessions sponsored by the technology partners MeridianLink, CreditXpert, Sharper Lending and Tazworks. NCRA’s feature event this year, sponsored by MeridianLink, was a private candlelit tour of George Washington’s Mount Vernon, with a reception and dinner at the Mount Vernon Inn. The fare was representative of recipes of George Washington’s time and the evening was made complete with colonial music from David and Ginger Hildebrand. Walking through the rooms in the home of America’s first President in the muted lights that would have been similar to what he experienced provided a special evening, despite Mother Nature’s untimely rain.

On the final day of the conference, we took our message to Capitol Hill, starting the day with breakfast in the Rayburn House Office Building and a briefing on the bipartisan effort to amend the FCRA via HR 3035, The Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2015. The briefing was provided by the bill’s co-sponsors, Reps. Ellison and Fitzpatrick. NCRA is supporting HR 3035, which could help up to 50 million Americans build or rebuild their credit histories so they can obtain credit scores without having to get additional credit cards or high cost loans. The Credit Access and Inclusion Act clears the way for utility, telecom companies and rental histories to be reported for on-time payments to the national credit reporting agencies. The addition of just one or two accounts can have a very positive impact on a consumer’s credit score. If passed, HR 3035 would help Americans obtain that extra account to improve their credit history based on payments they have been making every month.

Following the briefing, 40 NCRA members participated in more than 60 congressional meetings booked by NCRA’s lobby team Maureen Thompson and Leah Noonan of the Hastings Group in Arlington, Va.

A truly unique experience this year was coverage of the event by Mortgage News Network. Viewers are able to access interviews and coverage of some of the events from our conference via broadcast on their Web site,

While this was NCRA’s 23rd Annual National Conference, it was our first in Washington, D.C. It will not be our last trip to our nation’s capital, as 94 percent of the attendees approved NCRA hosting the Annual Conference in D.C. every other year. Next year, and on future election years, we will host our event at a western destination, with all non-election year conferences to be held back in D.C.

Terry W. Clemans is executive director of the National Consumer Reporting Association (NCRA). He may be reached by phone at (630) 539-1525 or e-mail

This article originally appeared in the December 2015 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.


Capitol Hill breakfast in the Rayburn House Office Building and final preparations by Maureen Thompson of the Hastings Group


Carol Wayman, legislative director for Congressman Keith Ellison, addresses NCRA members during the 23rd Annual Conference


Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), co-sponsor of HR 3035, The Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2015, pauses for a photo with Dan Firestone


Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), co-sponsor of HR 3035, explains The Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2015


NCRA Executive Director Terry Clemans presents a gavel of leadership to NCRA President Bill Bower


Tim Richardson delivers his keynote presentation


Barrett Burns, VantageScore CEO and Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) director, welcomes attendees to the NCRA’s Annual Conference


FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny welcomes attendees to Washington, D.C.


Chi Chi Wu, senior counsel at the National Consumer Law Center; Edward Mierzwinski, program director at US PIRG; and Pam Dixon, executive director at the World Privacy Forum, take part in the panel discussion


Timothy Smyth, director of Systemic Investigations, addresses attendees


Members of the NCRA mingle at the Welcome Reception at the association’s 23rd Annual Conference


NCRA members visit Capitol Hill during their Annual Conference

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