After 8 months of unsuccessfully trying to get these two HARD inquiries recoded to soft inquiries, Crystal filed suit in Maryland small claims court.
To my amazement, bank counsel Kenneth H. Edwards wrote on 12/22/03 that they have a permissible purpose to obtain the credit after the discharge. It appears that he claims that a notification of a former customer's bankruptcy filing provides FNANB with a permissible purpose. Apparently FNANB subscribes to a service that notifies it of all filings and FNANB then runs the credit for all accounts even when they were previously closed or discharged and no monies are owed to FNANB.
Crystal's only account with FNANB was discharged in 1996. It may well be that FNANB continued to report the outstanding balance and never closed the account thoughout all those years. That's not unusual as you'll see when you read Randy's suit against First USA/Bank One. Very often this incorrect credit reporting causes the exploitation of consumers by predotory lenders as the credit scores are destroyed by this practice. Discharged accounts not reported as closed no later than the discharge date and with NO balance prevent consumers from obtaining market rate financing even with perfect payment history many years after the bankruptcy.
FNANB counsel Edwards also repeatedly refers to "credit bureau" instead of "credit report" and apparently is lacking the most basic understanding of credit reporting concepts.
A class action might also be appropriate, as apparently there were and will be other consumers subjected to inquiries without permissible purpose.
If FNANB isn't willing to pay the $2,000 in statutory damages within the next couple of weeks, Crystal should retain an attorney to seek statutory, actual and punitive damages. After all, she has been trying to get a mortgage and she wasted a tremendous amount of time on FNANB prior to filing suit.
1/21/04: Settled for $2,000 and deletion of the hard inquiries.