This piece, “Let the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continue to do its job,” originally appeared as an op-ed on ConsumerReports.org. Read the full opinion.
On July 21, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will mark its fourth anniversary. The consumer financial watchdog, created by Congress in the during the financial crisis caused by shady mortgage lenders and Wall Street abuses, has done a lot for consumers in just a few years, having tackled important issues such as credit cards, mortgages, student loans, credit reports, and abusive payday lending.
One of the CFPB’s first initiatives was the creation of a consumer complaint database to help consumers resolve complaints about unfair and abusive financial practices, products, and services. The bureau’s complaint system has received more than 330,000 complaints since its inception. Just this week, the CFPB made public a proposal to give consumers the option to share their account of what happened and publicly express their complaint through the database.
Debt collectors and credit reports
The financial watchdog is putting a leash on debt collectors and the industry’s anti-consumer practices that have largely gone unchecked. The bureau is also shedding light on how credit-reporting agencies operate to make sure that what they are reporting is accurate and mistakes are fixed quickly, while urging banks and credit card companies to offer free credit scores.
Even with all those wins for consumers, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the consumer-protection agency. Opponents have continually tried to weaken the bureau or delay it from being able to carry out its mission. In fact, a package of bills pending in Congress would make it harder for the CFPB to issue guidance on federal regulations and law, eliminate the bureau’s civil-penalty fund that provides refunds to defrauded consumers, and repeal the agency’s authority to regulate the use of arbitration provisions in contracts for consumer financial products and services.
Acknolwedge the CFPB’s birthday and, most important, its accomplishments by taking our action today and tell Congress not to weaken the CFPB.
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