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Bill Takes Aim at CFPB’s Complaint Database

Complaint BHRep. Matt Salmon (R-Arizona) has introduced a bill that proposes to provide more context and clarity to the complaints received by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in its controversial Consumer Complaint Database.

The bill, known as the CFPB Data Accountability Act, would require the CFPB to verify and put into context the consumer complaints they are presenting.

“Under current law, the CFPB launched a Consumer Complaint Database that serves as a mechanism to inform the consumer about potentially troublesome institutions,” Salmon said. “We owe it to the American people to make this information as accurate and as clear as possible. Unfortunately, the current database is disorganized and does little to provide the American people with important information to inform their decision-making. My bill would improve the current database by requiring the CFPB to verify the facts of each complaint and present this information in an aggregated format so that consumers have better access to CFPB-collected data and can make better decisions about their financial futures.”

The CFPB launched its Consumer Complaint Database in 2012, a year after the Bureau opened its doors, as a way to help consumers make informed and responsible decisions about financial transactions, and to ensure the transparent and efficient operations of markets for consumer financial products. In June 2015, the Bureau began publishing consumers' narratives of complaints; some analysts and stakeholders in financial markets say that since the CFPB does not verify the allegations made in the complaints, in some cases the Bureau may just be offering up the biased opinions of disgruntled individuals for everyone to see.

In April 2015, the Five Star Institute and Black Knight Financial Services collaborated on a white paper titled “Analysis and Study of CFPB Consumer Complaint Data Related to Mortgage Servicing Activities,” seeking to provide context and insight to complaints received by the CFPB by comparing the Bureau's two predominant mortgage complaint categories, servicing and default, with loan trends.

Editor’s note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of DS News and DSNews.com.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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