Senator to former Equifax CEO: Don’t repeat Wells Fargo’s mistakes


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(CNN Money) — A top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee warned former Equifax CEO Richard Smith not to hide anything from lawmakers after exposing as many as 145 million Americans’ sensitive data.

“Equifax has forfeited its right to corporate secrets,” said Senator Sherrod Brown at a hearing. “So please do not make the same mistakes Wells Fargo did — now is the time to give this committee the whole story.”

At the outset of the hearing, both Republican and Democratic senators expressed deep concern over a number of key unanswered questions by Equifax, including why it took the free credit reporting service company so long to disclose what happened.

Related: Equifax breach impacted 2.5 million more people than originally stated

“There is an intrinsic vulnerability in collecting and storing personal financial information, and we need to have a meaningful discussion on how to protect and limit access to it,” said Senator Mike Crapo, the committee chairman.

Federal agencies, state officials and members of Congress are currently probing Equifax over its data security practices, customer service response and the possibility of insider trading from executives.

The breach compromised some of our most sensitive personal information, including Social Security numbers, addresses, and driver’s license numbers.

“This is not a company that deserves to be trusted with Americans’ personal data,” said Brown.

The former CEO’s appearance Wednesday marks the second in a series of Equifax hearings in Washington. Smith will also testify later at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on privacy. And on Thursday he will appear before the House Financial Services committee.

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