WASHINGTON (5/11/11)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to take steps to ensure that “the number of non-substantive and meritless complaints does not increase” as that agency seeks to streamline the methods through which consumers can alert regulators to improper business practices at various financial institutions. The letter noted that credit unions, due to their member-owned, cooperative structure, are not expecting a sizeable number of complaints to be filed by their members with the CFPB. However, CUNA said, “each complaint a credit union receives—regardless of merit—has a cost to the credit union and in turn its members.” CUNA suggested the CFPB help filter complaints by considering an “answer choice” format for questions in its complaint form, rather than blank text boxes only. The CFPB should also include language on the form encouraging the consumer to first attempt to resolve the issue with the financial institution directly before filing a formal CFPB complaint. Doing so will likely increase the quality of information provided and “save time for all parties involved,” CUNA added. In the event that a credit union receives a complaint, CUNA suggested that they be permitted to respond directly to the member in question rather than having the response filtered through the CFPB. Allowing this modification would reflect the cooperative nature of credit unions “and the fact that many members have direct relationships with the staff of their local credit union and would prefer to receive a response directly from them than from the federal government,” CUNA said. “The option of permitting the credit union to respond directly to the member also allows the credit union to ensure the issue is resolved in a satisfactory manner,” the letter added. For the full letter, use the resource link.