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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, March 14, 2013

CFPB can assist with many consumer complaints



By Clark Howard


If your credit card issuer is mistreating you, or if you're having trouble with your mortgage lender, you've got a new place to turn for help.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is now taking consumer complaints about credit cards, consumer loans, student loans, mortgages and more.

When you file a complaint with CFPB, they do two things. First, they catalog and code it and use a database management system to figure out if there's a pattern of problems that call for further investigation.

Second, they send the complaint on to the bank or lender or whoever you're questioning. The bank is allowed to contract the consumer and try to solve the problem. If they think they've solved it, the bank will tell the CFPB, acknowledging that it's been taking care of. (The consumer may see it differently at this point, but time will tell how well this system works overall. So far, it's been a great system.)

In my book, this is a very useful process. The opportunity to fix problems and have the feds look for patterns is great. I'm not certain why some Republicans seem to have it out for the CFPB. After all, we taxpayers spent $7.4 trillion to save the banks. Wouldn't it be nice if they followed the laws of the land?

That's the goal of the CFPB, to bring them to accountability.