How the CFPB’s Data Keeps Getting Better and Better

By Mike Litt
Consumer Campaigns Director, U.S. PIRG

America’s watchdog for financial consumers is turning 4 next Tuesday! Here’s the CFPB's own blog post: 4 years working for you.

 In a lead up to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s birthday, we released our new report about mortgage complaints in the CFPB’s public consumer complaint database. Some highlights from our report include:

  • Mortgages are the most complained about financial product in the database
  • Bank of America is the most complained about mortgage company.

You can check out more from the report here.

The Consumer Complaint Database is one of the powerful tools the CFPB uses to make financial markets work better for consumers. It allows consumers to submit complaints and receive responses back from financial companies they feel they were wronged by.

Yesterday, Ed Mierzwinski and I were psyched to present a copy of our report to CFPB Director Richard Cordray at an Americans for Financial Reform CFPB birthday event, Dodd Frank at 5, The Consumer Bureau at 4. In prepared and oral remarks, Director Cordray discussed the power of the database (and gave us a shout out!):

“If we can help spur competition based on consumer satisfaction, this has the potential to improve the functioning, transparency, and efficiency of the financial marketplace. We have seen how PIRG and others are already beginning to “scorecard” companies based on this data, and we want to encourage more of that.”

At this event, Director Cordray and Darian Dorsey, Chief of Staff for the CFPB’s Office of Consumer Response, also announced that the bureau was launching a new monthly report of their own summarizing the number of complaints and the worst companies in the database.

Ms. Dorsey’s (at left) announcement was the second big improvement this year by the CFPB based on our recommendations. In June, the CFPB began publishing the written descriptions of consumer complaints in the database. Having access to these stories will make future analysis of the data more robust, as explained further in our news release last month.

Following the presentations by Director Cordray and Darian Dorsey, an expert panel o

f AFR members discussed the work of the CFPB. It included Nancy Zirkin of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Lauren Saunders of the National Consumer Law Center, Mike Calhoun of the Center for Responsible Lending, Pam Banks of Consumers Union and Ruth Susswein of Consumer Action. Watch the AFR website ("Events" tab at top). A video of the "CFPB at 4" event should be posted soon.



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