ABA Urges CFPB to Abandon Public Complaint Database

In a comment letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today — the sixth of 12 the association will submit as part of the bureau’s ongoing feedback initiative — ABA urged the bureau to stop publishing individual consumer complaints and complaint narratives. The association pointed out that the practice of publishing individual complaints — which began under the bureau’s previous leadership — was not authorized by Congress in the Dodd-Frank Act, and that the CFPB does not verify the factual allegations contained in each complaint prior to publication

“Instead of fostering informed and responsible consumer choice, the bureau has introduced unreliable, misleading, and potentially false information into the market, under the imprimatur of ‘an official website of the United States government’ emblazoned at the top of every page of the Bureau’s website,” ABA said, adding that the bureau’s action “has erode customer privacy, impaired the confidential nature of the exchange between customer and banker, compromised the supervisory process, and introduced unreliable and misleading information into the market.

While noting that its member bankers are committed to the prompt resolution of consumer complaints, the association urged the bureau to focus on its statutory mandate of overseeing the individual responses to consumer complaints, analyzing complaint data for supervisory oversight and policy-making purposes and providing aggregate reporting to Congress. For more information, contact ABA’s Jonathan Thessin.


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