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CFPB / RegulatoryPolitics & MoneyMortgage

CFPB complaint database: An insiders look for servicing competitors?

The latest from Rob Chrisman’s Mortgage Daily News:

Want to see how many complaints your competitor is receiving? The CFPB is here for you! Actually, the complaint site is meant to help consumers. Proponents call it wonderful; critics say it is just another step toward Big Brother running society. Regardless of your take, here is how to find the list of consumer complaints against financial institutions handling credit cards, mortgages, bank deposit products and services, and student loans: You Need a Computer. For example, Bank of America, which handles customer service on about 15% of U.S. home loans, has accounted for 30% of the mortgage complaints logged by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

While we’re complaining, the Federal Trade Commission recently released their 2012 complaints report (TwoMillion). The Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book cites over 2 million official instances of consumer complaints. Last year saw an increase of 10% over the FTC’s 2011 report, with instances of identity theft (18% of the total), debt collection (10% of the total), and banks and lenders (6% of the total) topping the list. While the report relies heavily on unsubstantiated reports by consumers, it is extremely important to lenders on every level to be aware of the implications of such formal complaints. The report is a reminder that originators should have in place procedures and practices in dealing with consumer ire, as the CFPB’s examination procedures instruct examiners to assess the quality of a company’s system for handling consumer complaints.

Yes, the cost of compliance has increased – just ask the owner of any lender, and especially ask those who have merged with banks or other lenders because of it. Despite the objections of the ABA and the CBA, the CFPB’s request to collect compliance costs data was approved by OMB. It is a noble goal, as the costs of compliance are indeed passed on to borrowers either in the form of fees or in the form of lenders exiting the business due to overhead. (Most believe we can expect more of that this year.) As a quick aside, many industry watchers, however, are disappointed the CFPB seems not to have focused on the costs associated with the compliance steps recommended in its new guidance on auto dealer participation. Why not? I don’t know – ask your local CFPB staff. In the auto industry, compliance overhead will result in increased costs for both indirect auto finance companies and auto dealers that will inevitably be passed along to consumers, just as it is in residential lending. In its announcement, the CFPB said that it hopes “to become better and smarter regulators” through its cost research. Critics say it is another way of intruding on their business, and recommend it pays attention to the ABA’s and CBA’s comments and takes steps to ensure that the data it collects captures all costs and other impacts of its regulations and accurately reflects industry experience.

Question: In 1987, this person won $45,303 on the TV game show Jeopardy, which they used to pay law school debt, to pay taxes and to buy a used car.

Answer: Who is CFPBs Appointed Director Richard Cordray.

After being appointed by President Obama in 2011, Cordray is serving through this year under a temporary presidential appointment, and the Senate Banking Committee had a hearing on Cordray’s nomination to be CFPB Director. Last week, a Senate committee approved the nomination of Richard Cordray, 12-0, to head the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Now the full Senate, including its “obstructionist” GOP minority, needs to confirm Mr. Cordray for the permanent post. It seems that no one disputes that the former Ohio attorney general is well qualified, and Republicans concede he has been fair and effective in his role. The battle is over the bureau itself. Republicans think its powers are too sweeping. They don’t want it to be an independent agency. Basically, they dislike its scope of activities which can, in theory, involve any transaction with a consumer. And which ones don’t?

Check out the complete Chrisman report here.


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