CLEVELAND, Ohio -- At a time when one out of five Americans has serious errors on a credit report, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is urging federal regulators to crack down on banks and credit bureaus whose files can have a huge impact on people's wallets.

Brown, of Ohio, said in an interview this week that thousands of Ohioans are hurt by errors on their credit reports. These errors include debts that were paid or discharged in bankruptcy, but still show up on reports. And the errors in some cases stem from identity theft or fraud.

Brown, a Democrat, is the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Banks and the credit bureaus, Equifax, Transunion and Experian, need to be more accountable for the damage they sometimes inflict on people, Brown said.

Credit report errors can cause people to be denied for loans or credit accounts, or  they are charged higher rates on auto or property insurance, or even rejected for jobs or apartment rentals when employers or landlords do a credit check.

In some cases, Brown said, "these are downright errors." Brown said his office regularly hears from people whose lives are in disarray because of errors on their credit reports.

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