The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB announced Wednesday that it will continue to maintain its consumer complaint database while making “enhancements” to the information available to users.
These enhancements include providing financial information and details into the complaint process to better address questions and inform consumers before they issue a complaint and adding materials to help consumers who seek answers to specific questions from financial companies.
“This announcement is a victory for both consumers and the marketplace,” said Ed Mierzwinski, senior director, Federal Consumer Programs for U.S. PIRG. “Over the years, U.S. PIRG, in comments and public statements, has championed the need to maintain a public CFPB consumer complaint database because it’s common sense that markets work better for consumers and companies when both sides have full information.”
Mierzwinski said the series of U.S. PIRG reports using the database have clearly shown that the it serves as a powerful tool to help consumers make choices and also gives watchdog groups, academics, and the private sector a way to analyze and highlight problems.
“Equally as important, this window into the marketplace plays a key role in holding financial services firms accountable and reminding them that they are at their best when they’re focused on serving their customers,” he said. “It is reassuring to know that the public database will continue to be a win for everyone except the corporate wrongdoers who want to hide their practices.”
The finance industry fought to have the database discontinued, a move that consumer advocates worried Trump appointee Kathleen L. Kraninger, director of the CFPB, would carry out.
Kraninger said in a statement that the database was controversial, but after considering 26,000 comments, the publication of complaints, along with enhanced data and context, will be allowed.
She said the continued publication of the database, along with the enhancements, empowers consumers and informs the public.
The CFPB has handled more than 1.9 million complaints since the database was launched. More than 5,000 financial companies have responded through this process, providing responses to 97 percent of the more than 1.3 million complaints sent to them for response.
The database is available at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/consumer-complaints/.