The right to be informed; an idea that many consumers enjoy and one that supports transparency from Industry. Government agencies, like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), are intended to increase transparency in malicious business practices and to help consumers make better informed choices. However, as of late, many prominent government agents are contradicting this narrative, creating a lack of trust with consumers and a lack of accountability with poor business conduct.

Recently, the acting director of the CFPB, Mick Mulvaney, stated that he was interested in shutting down public access to the CFPB consumer complaint database. In an American Bankers Association conference, he claimed “I don’t see anything [that says] I have to run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government.” Created in 2011, the CFPB’s purpose is to regulate the financial industry by holding financial institutions accountable for malice business practices. The consumer complaint database is one entity of the agency that is intended to better inform consumers of creditors (i.e. banks) to avoid and ones to do business with. This augmentation of transparency has frustrated Industry, with one executive from Fortis Private Bank in Denver arguing that “there are a lot of comments on [the database] that are just people’s feelings about something without any substantiated facts or actual complaints around a specific issue.”

Although there is some merit in the Industry’s argument for keeping consumer related complaints against the financial industry confidential, consumers should have the right to be as fully informed as possible when making decisions on who to do banking with. Maintaining transparency in the financial industry holds creditors accountable for wrongdoing and prevents future harm against consumers. For these reasons, it should be a fiduciary responsible for the CFPB to provide this service to consumers, regardless if some complaints do not hold merit.

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1 Comment

    • Are you serious? Have you read the Consumer Bill of Rights and the stated purpose of the CFPB? While I understand that your organization’s purpose is antithetical to many of the businesses your clients have issues with, let’s at least be forthright with what you have to say, and not sound like a first year law student, let alone a first year attorney.

      The purpose of the CFPB is:
      The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) is an independent bureau within the Federal Reserve System that empowers consumers with the information they need to make financial decisions in the best interests of them and their families. The CFPB was created under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act).

      The purpose of the CFPB is to promote fairness and transparency for mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer financial products and services. The CFPB will set and enforce clear, consistent rules that allow banks and other consumer financial services providers to compete on a level playing field and that let consumers see clearly the costs and features of products and services.

      The functions of the CFPB to assist people in borrowing money or using other financial services include: implementing and enforcing Federal consumer financial laws; reviewing business practices to ensure that financial services providers are following the law; monitoring the marketplace and taking appropriate action to make sure markets work as transparently as they can for consumers; and establishing a toll-free consumer hotline and website for complaints and questions about consumer financial products and services.

      Thus the CFPB’s “responsibility” is not of a fiduciary, but more along the lines of a referee. A fiduciary has a relationship of another person and acts in their best interest on said person’s behalf. If the CFPB were a fiduciary as you claim, then they would lose all objectivity and not be able to play the role of an enforcement and compliance agency.

      Just Another Attorney
      May 23, 2018, @ 1:03 pm