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CFPB / RegulatoryPolitics & MoneyMortgage

CFPB enhances transparency with consumer complaint database

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched the nation’s largest public database of consumer financial complaints Thursday. The move gives the public-at-large a first-hand look at how mortgage servicers and lenders handle various complaints from customers.

The database will give consumers a chance to review and analyze 90,000 individual complaints on financial products and services.

“By sharing these complaints with the public, we are creating greater transparency in consumer financial products and services,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

The launch will grow the Consumer Complaint Database from 19,000 credit card complaints to more than 90,000 complaints on everything from mortgages to student loans to bank accounts and services.

Approximately 450 companies will be covered in this database. Information provided includes the type of complaint, the date of submission, the ZIP code of the consumer and the company that the complaint concerns. The identity of the consumer is not included in the data.

“We don’t verify all the facts alleged in these complaints but we do take steps to confirm a commercial relationship between the consumer and company,” the CFPB website states.

Greater transparency will be created with the database, which allows the public to view what consumers complained about and why. Additionally, the response of the company in question will be made public.

The data will also be made available via an application programming interface, which lets developers build applications, conduct analyses and perform various research.

Consumers will have the ability to create their own visualizations, charts and graphs, as well as embed data on other websites or share via social media.

The database updates daily, though complaints are listed in the database only after the company responds to the complaint or the complaint has been in for 15 days. 

Consumers do have the option to dispute company responses so the CFPB can review the feedback. According to a press release, the CFPB will use this along with other information, such as the timeliness of the company’s response, in a variety of ways, for example, to help prioritize complaints for investigation.

“We believe the marketplace of ideas can do great things with this data,” added Cordray.

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