Consumer bureau makes complaints against banks public
The agency posts a database of 7,700 grievances filed by disgruntled customers.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released thousands of complaints Thursday from disgruntled customers of banks, credit card companies and other providers of f inancial services.
The consumer bureau posted a database of the grievances on its website over vehement protests from the f inancial industry. The database contains 7,700 complaints f iled online by people who agreed to air their complaints publicly.
The bureau offers a disclaimer that it does not investigate the substance of the complaints before posting them. It hopes that the compilation of the grievances will point both it and the general public to the personal f inancial trouble spots of the day.
The targets of the complaints vary widely, and include small debt- collection companies as well as Wall Street giants. Among the complaints: U. S. Bank supposedly gave a Wisconsin parent’s young son a credit card with a $ 4,500 limit that he didn’t request, and a Cali- fornia couple reported f inally catching up on mortgage payments to M& T bank, only to be told that they were still a month in arrears.
The database represents a small fraction of the 627,000 total complaints the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has received in the four years it has been operating. The bureau began offering the option of allowing people to publicly share their complaints in March.
“We believe the disclosure of this information is one of the best tools government agencies can use to improve the operation of the marketplace,” said Richard Cordray, the bureau’s director.
The individual grievances and the public database were created despite repeated protests from the financial services industry.
In a response to the bureau’s proposal to begin publishing the complaints, the American Bankers Assn. declared in September that the database would be “a purveyor of at best unsubstantiated, and potentially false, information.”
Credit reporting giant Experian, which has just over 21,000 complaints in the bureau’s overall database, argued that the complaints probably would contain “inaccurate, misleading, or even derogatory or offensive statements.”