CFPB’s Cordray discusses plan to allow complaint narratives

Richard Cordray

Richard Cordray

During a field hearing held in El Paso, Texas, last week, CFPB Director Richard Cordray discussed the agency’s complaint system and plans to allow consumer stories to be shown in the public database.

The CFPB said in a press release last Wednesday that the plan would “provide important context to the complaint, help the public to detect specific trends in the market, aid consumer decision-making and drive improved consumer service.”

Some financial services trade groups, however, have voiced concern about the potential impact of publishing unverified information on reputational risk.

“Credit unions take great care to address their members’ complaints directly and foster ongoing relationships,” NAFCU Director of Regulatory Affairs Mike Coleman said. “At first blush, the risks of unwarranted reputational harm to good actors far outweigh any benefits this proposal would create to assist the CFPB to resolve legitimate complaints.“

Before a panel discussion with industry participants and stakeholders, CFPB staff showed a video of consumers describing their complaints. Cordray said the CFPB does verify that a relationship exists between the consumer and the company noted in the complaint.

Currently, the database shows anonymous information about the complaint, such as the consumer’s zip code. The CFPB said it would offer companies the chance to publish their responses alongside the complaint narrative.

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