The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is asking banks to voluntarily provide their customers with credit scores used to make lending decisions.

In a Feb. 10 letter, Richard Cordray, the agency's director, said that knowing credit scores would "prompt busy Americans" to investigate why their score might be lower than it should be.

"I strongly encourage you to make the credit scores on which you rely available to your customers regularly and freely, along with educational content to help them make use of this information,"Cordray wrote.

Consumers are already entitled under U.S. law to a copy of their credit report. That document doesn't include the specific scores assigned to them by consumer reporting agencies that monitor credit usage.

The letter was sent to at least six large banks, according to a person briefed on the matter, who requested anonymity because the letter was private. Sam Gilford, a spokesman for the CFPB, declined to comment on the letter.

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