They’ve been hinting it was coming and today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced it would be accepting complaints about credit reports and the credit reporting agencies. Over the past year, the bureau has added mortgages, bank accounts, student loans, automobile loans and credit card complaints to its ever-growing complaint database – and the results have been remarkable.
Many had wondered what the bureau would do during election season since it appears a Romney win would all but shut the entire bureau down. Romney has said he intends to do away with the Dodd Frank financial overhaul rules that were signed into law by President Obama. After all, it would appear the rest of the federal government agencies are laying low and getting very little done, especially Congress (the fiscal cliff they’re not talking about being the primary example). Instead, the bureau’s employees and its director Richard Cordray are doing anything but resting on their laurels, as evidenced by today’s announcement.
Per the bureau:
Credit reporting touches the financial lives of nearly each and every American. Credit reports affect whether or not you are able to get a credit card, a home loan, an auto loan, or a student loan, the ability to rent an apartment or get hired, and even tasks as simple as getting a cell phone or electricity for your home. Starting today, we can help consumers with individual-level complaint assistance on issues with their credit report.
On the Hunt
The complaints the agency is focusing on at this time include incorrect information found in credit reports, any type of investigations that are showing up on one’s credit report, suspicions of improper use of a consumer’s credit report, not being able to get a copy of a credit report and file and finally, complaints or problems associated with credit monitoring or identity protection services.
The bureau also issued a few considerations for those wishing to file a complaint. First, consumers are encouraged to contact the credit reporting agency and attempt to work it out through them. If they refuse to do so or if they don’t complete the investigation in a way that appears above board, consumers are then encouraged to contact CFPB. This keeps the process streamlined and allows for faster remedy on the part of CFPB.
Understanding the Challenges
Scott Pluta, the Assistant Director for the Office of Consumer Response at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said in his blog today,
Every complaint we receive helps us understand the challenges facing consumers, and they inform and shape our priorities. Reading your complaints about credit reporting will complement work we have already started in this area, including conducting a study comparing credit scores sold to creditors and those sold to consumers and beginning to supervise of consumer reporting agencies.
Last week, the bureau made public the extensive list of credit card complaints dating back to December 2011 – and the information found in this database is astounding. It details the types of complaints, the credit card companies themselves, the time it took to address the complaints and the general outcome. The bureau received tens of thousands of complaints.
The financial sector as a whole is hoping Dodd Frank and the CARD Act that were signed into law soon after President Obama went into office will be repealed; naturally, many in this sector are supporting the Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan ticket. Some of the biggest names in the industry have been vocal in their disapproval of new regulations, including JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
Dimon continues to insist that over regulation is inhibiting business and that political stalemates are the biggest threats to the American economy. Dimon also continues to shout from the rooftops the “favor” it did the federal government when it bought out Bear Stearns. He’s been especially critical of the lawsuit that’s coming to a slow boil over actions conducted before Bear failed miserable – and ultimately resulted in the recession. Those effects are still being felt today. Dimon, for his part, is incensed that this so called favor he did for the government has come back to bite him,
No, we did them a favor. Let’s get this one exactly right,
he snapped. When he was asked if he would do it again, he was slightly vague,
It’s real close, it’s really close. My board wouldn’t allow me.
Meanwhile, CFPB continues to move forward in its efforts of remaining a transparent agency for consumers. Citing a loss of faith in the financial sector as a whole, Director Cordray has said in the past he and his team aim to rebuilt some of that faith. Indeed, they are well on their way.
What do you think about the job CFPB has done to date? Have you ever filed a complaint with the watchdog group? Share your story with us.