Equifax CEO Rick Smith

Equifax posts strong gains, welcomes Dodd-Frank redo

Equifax’s top executive said he expects President Donald Trump’s ideas about cutting corporate taxes and financial regulations to boost the economy and the fortunes of the Atlanta-based company and its customers.

“If the Trump administration moves along the path of moderating regulation, that’s good for our customers and us,” Equifax CEO Richard Smith said.

Smith commented in an interview after Equifax, one of the nation’s big three consumer credit reporting firms, released strong quarterly financial results.

Revenue jumped 20 percent during the fourth quarter from a year ago, to $801 million, on growth in most product lines and new business from its purchase of Veda, a large credit-reporting player in Australia and New Zealand.

Net profit rose 10 percent, to $123 million. Equifax said its “adjusted” income — which leaves out certain costs related to the Veda deal — rose 25 percent, to $172 million.

Smith said the results reflect years-long efforts to transform the company to a “fintech” company with wide-ranging products aimed at businesses and consumers in the U.S. and overseas.

Smith said he would welcome lawmakers’ recent proposals to cut the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 or 20 percent. Smith also said Trump-backed efforts to revise Dodd-Frank, the financial regulatory overhaul enacted after the 2008 financial meltdown, would help Equifax and its lending customers.

One regulation affecting Equifax’ business clients, said Smith, is the “ability to pay” rule requiring certain lenders to be able to show that borrowers can afford to pay back loans.

Smith also praised proposals to overhaul the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, another creation of Dodd-Frank, by creating a multi-person commission to head the agency. Such a change “would be good for us,” said Smith.

Under Richard Cordray, the CFPB has aggressively gone after banks, lenders, debt collectors and credit agencies for alleged abuses. In a settlement with the CFPB last month, Equifax agreed to pay $6.3 million in civil fines and restitution after the agency accused the company of misleading customers on credit score services it was selling. Equifax didn’t admit or deny the allegations.

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