Fannie Mae did not become a consumer reporting agency within the meaning of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act by releasing its electronic Desktop Underwriter software. To be a consumer reporting agency under 15 USC 16681a(f), a person must regularly engage in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information and do so for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties. Fannie Mae fit neither part of this definition. It only created and updated its Desktop Underwriter software. Lenders used that software to assemble and evaluate consumer credit information, but Fannie Mae, itself, did not. Creating the tool for others to use to assemble and evaluate does not bring one within the statutory definition. Furthermore, Fannie Mae did not act for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to others. Instead, the Desktop Underwriter simply allows lenders to determine whether a prospective loan meets Fannie Mae’s requirements, allowing it to purchase the loan.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Wallace, J.; Lasnik, J., sitting by designation, dissenting); January 9, 2019; 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 642