By Nancy Wilberg Ricks, Senior Policy Communications Strategist, NCLR
Since it opened its doors in 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has achieved tangible results while handling nearly 270,000 consumer complaints from everyday Americans. The CFPB is helping to make companies accountable to their customers and counteract the types of irresponsible corporate behavior that led to the financial crisis.
Created to protect consumers from illegal and unsavory business practices employed by big banks and financial institutions, the CFPB was designed to be an advocate for consumers. It works to end harmful practices used by mortgage companies, credit card companies, and others.
Through an innovative online complaint portal, consumers who encounter problems with financial products can submit their concerns to the CFPB, which then follows up with the company in question. This can facilitate the difficult process of dealing with unresponsive or unhelpful customer service departments or worse.
We asked our supporters throughout the country to share experiences they have had with the CFPB and how the online complaint portal has helped them. Here’s what some had to say.
Realizing someone had set up bank accounts in his name in another state, David turned to the CFPB for help:
Shortly after CFPB was established, someone unknown to me set up a series of bogus accounts in a credit union in a faraway state. CFPB offered advice on how to resolve the problem, which was timely and effective. –David, Springfield, Ill.
After making an online purchase, Albert in Kansas noticed that he was charged triple the amount he should have paid. He got in touch with CFPB and was able to get advice on how to deal with the situation.
Although I didn’t have to file a complaint, I was given some tips on how to interact, keep copies. –Albert, Topeka, Kan.
Despite these dramatic improvements made to a financial system that all but entirely ignored consumers’ rights in the past, some opponents in the House of Representatives are vying to weaken the CFPB’s leadership yet again. This month, the House is considering another vote to fracture the CFPB’s authority. This is a symbolic and cynical gesture that puts partisan ideology above consumer welfare.
Beyond the CFPB’s proven success with consumers, it has earned approval from industry members, Senate members on both sides of the aisle, the president, and the American public. Since its inception, the CFPB has proven popular and productive among all types of voters. It has kept its ambitious calendar of creating new and clarified rules to bring greater transparency and accountability to the market. And it works very closely with industry and community members to ensure they are following good lending practices.
The CFPB’s voice is crucial for today’s consumers and for a healthy marketplace. Attempts to excite baseless opposition to a well-functioning and needed institution such as the CFPB are bewildering and tone-deaf. It shows just how truly disconnected Washington is to Americans’ needs.