Since its inception, the CFPB has covered mortgages, bank accounts and services, private student loans, auto and other consumer loans, credit reporting, debt collection, payday loans, and money transfers. On July 21, it announced the addition of other areas tasked to it by Dodd-Frank, namely prepaid card, debt settlement and credit repair companies as well as pawn shops and title loan companies.
Finally, Director Cordray recently announced that the CFPB will expand the agency’s public-facing Consumer Complaint Database to feature full stories from consumers about their negative experiences with the companies the bureau oversees. Before this upgrade, the disclosures had been limited to the name of the company, type of product, date of submission, ZIP code associated with the complaint and what the response was. Its usefulness to consumers was limited. Now, consumers will have a better platform to get their stories out there.
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In a CFPB blog post, Director Cordray said, “The consumer experience shared in the narrative is the heart and soul of the complaint. By publicly voicing their complaint, consumers can stand up for themselves and others who have experienced the same problem. There is power in their stories, and that power can be put in service to strengthen the foundation for consumers, responsible providers, and our economy as a whole.”
Needless to say, the news was greeted with mixed reactions.
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Elizabeth Warren’s brainchild has become people-powered, just like the campaign that propelled her into the U.S. Senate. The narrative complaint database creates a major cog in the endlessly complex machinery of a regulatory agency that revolves around the very interests of the people it serves. It is a fitting milestone for an organization that has accomplished a great deal over the past three years, but whose biggest achievements are yet to come.
Adam Levin is chairman and co-founder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.