Removing Barriers Blog

CFPB Publishes Consumer Complaint Narratives
Posted June 26, 2015 by CUNA Advocacy

On Thursday, June 25 the CFPB published more than 7,700 consumer complaints against financial companies. CUNA has filed several comments with the CFPB concerning the complaint database and continues to urge the Bureau to make any necessary adjustments to minimize potentially misleading implications that can result from the database.

CUNA previously raised concerns about the release of complaint narratives last fall. In a letter CUNA stated, “We are very concerned that some consumer complaints will include inaccuracies, exaggerations, or even intentionally false information. It is our understanding that, other than verifying that the customer has a relationship with the institution that is the subject of the complaint, the CFPB will not attempt to verify the legitimacy and/or accuracy of a consumer’s narrative description of the complaint asserted against the institution.”

An example of mischaracterized reporting of complaints occurred in the CFPB’s most recent Semi Annual Report. In the report the CFPB stated, “Another common type of complaint relates to problems caused by a consumer’s funds being low, including overdraft fees, bounced checks, charged-off accounts, and negative reporting to credit reporting agencies.” Yet, as recently reported in CU Today less than one of five complaints on checking deal with overdrafts, and, overall, less than one out of 62 complaints is on overdrafts.

The CFPB also published a request for comment on other issues related to the complaint database including the boarding forms for the portal used by state and federal agencies and Congress. They specifically published a request for information seeking best practices for “normalizing” relevant data. CUNA is currently reviewing these requests for information.

We continue to closely follow all developments related to the complaint database and continue to advocate on our members behalf.