ABA Recommends Changes to CFPB’s Complaint Handling Process

In a comment letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today — the twelfth and final one that the association will submit as part of the bureau’s ongoing feedback initiative — the American Bankers Association urged the bureau to encourage consumers to contact their bank directly to express a concern with a product or service prior to filing a formal complaint with the CFPB.  ABA noted, however, that it is the responsibility of the bureau to respond to consumer inquiries as part of its statutory mission to promote consumer financial education.

“Most concerns can be resolved quickly by the institution, resulting in a faster resolution for the customer than through the process of a submission of a formal complaint to the Bureau,” ABA said.  “Unfortunately, the Bureau’s former leadership directed consumers to use the [Consumer Complaint] Portal to register a concern, without suggesting that customers first contact their institution directly.”

ABA also encouraged the CFPB to establish a process for institutions to notify the bureau that a complaint concerns another institution’s product or service, and clarify for consumers that the CFPB’s role in the complaint resolution process is to facilitate an institution’s response to the consumer’s complaint, not to require the institution to provide a particular form of relief.