Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Report Card
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Report Card
UPDATE Since the CFPB started investigating credit card practices in July of 2011 new categories that have been added include mortgages, bank accounts and services, private student loans, auto and other consumer loans, credit reporting, debt collecting, payday loans and money transfer services. The CFPB has recently announced even further expansion. Jurisdiction will now include prepaid cards including gift cards and general purpose reloadable cards as well as non bank products such as debt settlement services, credit repair services and pawn and title loans.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been with us for a while now. It arrived with great fanfare promising to streamline government oversight of important consumer financial concerns. Paramount among those financial concerns is the unchecked power of credit reporting agencies to control our financial future on what sometimes seems like a whim. Is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau living up to its promise?
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Brief History and Mission Purpose
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began hearing credit card complaints as well as complaints involving bank accounts and services, private student loans as well as vehicle and other consumer loans in July of 2011. On October 22, 2012 it began accepting individual level complaints from consumers on issues with their credit reports. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau web site these issues include:
- Incorrect information on a credit report
- Complaints regarding consumer reporting agency’s investigations
- Improper use of a credit report
- Being unable to get a copy of a credit score or file
- Problems with credit monitoring or ID protection services
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Recommends that you…
Start your dispute with the Credit Reporting Agency first. You can appeal an unfavorable decision from them with a request for re-investigation if you lose the first round. By doing this you ensure that all your legal rights are preserved. You also give yourself a better chance of winning. If and when you are then dissatisfied with their resolution of your case it is time to file a new case with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which is in effect a Court of Appeals. You can file your case on their web site. Meticulous preservation of the steps you have taken with the credit reporting agency will go a long way towards a win. I know this careful preparation and documentation seems like a waste of time since it all gets run through the e-Oscar system reducing it to a simple code. The purpose of the painstaking preparation is to prepare for the final rounds with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can follow the progress of your case in real time on their web site. After your complaint is forwarded the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requires and answer within 15 days. You may review the response and give feedback. They expect all but the most complicated complaints to be resolved within 60 days. Their web site is very user friendly.
If you are wondering whether it is worth all the work. If your pessimistic voice is telling you “they” always win in the long run…what’s the use I offer these words of encouragement. I have won every dispute I have filed with the CFPB achieving a deletion in every case.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Wants Free Credit Scores Furnished by Credit Card Issuers
In late February of 2014 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s director Richard Cordray called on credit card companies to furnish consumers with copies of credit reports along with their monthly statements. “Making consumers credit scores freely available on their monthly statement or online makes it easier for them to spot problems” said Mr. Cordray with characteristic understatement. Top credit card executives were asked to do this in a recent letter but it’s not required…at least not yet.
FICO recently made it easier for lenders to provide free scores to consumers through its “open access” program. The credit scoring giant claims to be negotiating with several credit card issuers to do just that. “Basically any organization that is purchasing FICO scores can make them available to consumers.” according to Anthony Sprauve, senior consumer credit specialist at FICO.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also issued a bulletin warning companies that provide information to Credit Reporting agencies “not to avoid investigating disputes.” Pressure from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has led to the implementation of a new function at the credit reporting agencies. Supporting documents such as paid bills, police reports, proof of ID info and correspondence can now be uploaded or faxed directly as well as mailed. The credit reporting agencies are then legally required to forward this evidence to the original creditor.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Garnering Some Criticism for It’s Lavish Budget
The Washington Examinerreports that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requested and received $145 Million for re-decoration of its Washington DC headquarters. It is now being reported that the entire cost has spiraled upward to $215 Million Dollars! That’s more than it cost to build the Trump tower. I hope those hard working federal overseers don’t get too separated from the gritty realities facing the common people as they work in their new luxurious surroundings. This report also claims that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is collecting epic amounts of personal financial data on consumers.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Rivals NSA in Scope of Information Collected
The goal of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “market monitoring” program is to monitor 80 per cent of all credit card transactions between 2013-2017. Last year it monitored 42 billion transactions involving 933 million credit cards. They monitor an incredible 95 per cent of all mortgage transactions. The Dodd-Frank Act that created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau bars it from collecting personally identifying information. Many wonder if it is regularly operating outside of the boundaries of its legal authority. There seem to be few effective checks and balances on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau power.