WASHINGTON (11/19/15)--According to current and former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials interviewed by American Banker, the agency's consumer complaints portal may be riddled with errors and distrusted even by some CFPB employees.
A Nov. 18 article noted that some of the problems in the system are an "unintentional byproduct of the CFPB's internal policies regarding complaints." For instance, complaints are filed by consumers as narratives. When the CFPB reviews the complaint, it creates a separate entry for any entity named in the consumer's filing, even though some can be mentioned as incidental or uninvolved players in the complaint.
In one example cited, a single complaint was counted as 35 different ones. In another, the agency noted a complaint against a bank when the consumer was in fact complaining about an unrelated payday lender.
And duplication of complaints, the article alleged, is also a problem. A current bureau employee was quoted as saying that the agency relies on companies to determine whether a complaint is a duplication and that the agency" has very stringent requirements that would justify removing a complaints."
CUNA has warned that making complaints against financial companies public places financial institutions in danger of "severe reputational harm" by potentially inaccurate information.