WASHINGTON (12/1/11)—The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Wednesday said it will soon begin accepting consumer complaints and inquiries regarding mortgage loans and, in fact, said that process could begin as soon as today.
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn said CUNA will be urging the bureau to focus on egregious complaints against nonregulated entities in the financial marketplace. The bureau indicated in a blog posting that it would be accepting complaints about home-secured loans, as well as mortgages.
The CFPB said it plans to work with consumers on "a majority of consumer financial product complaints and inquires by the end of 2012," the agency said.
Dunn noted that the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has a complaint procedure already in place that credit union members can use if there are material issues and CUNA will be making sure the CFPB is mindful of that when it moves forward with its complaint program.
The CFPB also on Wednesday released a report on consumer credit card complaints it has received since late July. Acting CFPB leader Raj Date said the complaints received by the CFPB show "there is a lot of consumer confusion about credit card terms."
CUNA will be following up with the CFPB as it has on a number of other issues already to ensure the agency is well informed about the range of consumer education credit unions provide their members, in addition to meeting regulatory disclosure requirements, Dunn noted Wednesday.
The CFPB has received more than 5,000 credit card complaints from consumers. The report does not provide a break down of the entities that are the subject of the complaints. However, Dunn noted that only 249 appear to involve financial institutions with $10 billion and less in assets and those complaints were directed to the appropriate prudential financial regulators.
According to the CFPB report, credit card companies have resolved 3,100 of 5,000 complaints, with only 400 consumers disputing the credit companies' response.
Slightly more than over 13% of the consumer complaints were billing disputes, and nearly 11% were tied to instances of fraud, identity theft or embezzlement. Another 11% of the complaints related to annual percentage rate issues, the CFPB said.
"We will continue to work with consumers, credit card companies, government agencies, and others to improve consumer education and ensure CFPB's regulation, supervision, and enforcement efforts are effective," Date said.
The agency has proposed creating a searchable public database that would provide relevant data on each financial product complaint while avoiding the release of private personal information. A database of credit card complaints would be developed first, with databases of mortgage complaints and other complaints set to follow, the CFPB said.
The CFPB is accepting public comment on the credit card complaint database proposal through early 2012.
In addition to meeting with CFPB officials, CUNA will be working with leagues, CUNA subcommittees and credit unions to develop a response to the agency.
For the full CFPB release, use the resource link.