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Credit bureaus

Because of the crucial role that they play in a loan process that helps consumers achieve their goals and lenders stay profitable, Experian® and the other major national credit reporting agencies recognize that they need to collect, assemble and distribute accurate, timely assessments of a consumer's financial reliability.

The result of this exacting effort is the credit report, the instrument that makes possible this nation's ready access to credit. Without such a finely tuned national system, consumers would find that their freedom to move about would be curtailed because they could only borrow from local lenders.

In addition to Experian (formerly TRW), Equifax® and TransUnion®, the country is served by hundreds of affiliate credit bureaus, which assemble credit information in particular areas and are affiliated with one of the major organizations.

This timeline shows the development of Experian:

1897 Dallas lawyer James Chilton collects customer credit information from local merchants in a notebook he called "The Red Book"; TRW will acquire the Chilton Corporation 92 years later.
1932 Michigan Merchants Company-later Credit Data Corporation-is created 37 years before it will be acquired by TRW.
Early 1960s Si Ramo, an engineer who had helped form Space Technology Laboratory (STL), champions a "cashless" system, envisioning a business that offered credit and financial information.
1976 TRW (the former STL) produces its business credit report in collaboration with the National Association of Credit Managers.
1980s TRW Information Systems and Services (IS&S) expands through acquisitions into direct marketing/target marketing, and real estate information and loan services.
Mid-1990s IS&S is sold by TRW, renamed Experian and eventually merges with CCN, Europe's largest credit reference agency and one of the world's major providers of information solutions.
2000 Experian continues to serve customers with products and services that include consumer and business credit information, automotive information, database marketing, list processing and mail distribution. Although our interests are diverse, Experian directs immense resources toward our credit reports because consumers and businesses depend on their credibility.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
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