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CFPB Launches Database Making 90K Consumer Complaints Available
WASHINGTON (3/29/13)--Details on more than 90,000 consumer complaints regarding financial products and services are now publicly available, courtesy of a new database launched Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"The database is good for consumers and it is also good for honest businesses. We believe the marketplace of ideas can do great things with this data," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said at the unveiling. The bureau said its new consumer database is the nation's largest for such complaints.

The CFPB encouraged citizens to analyze, augment, and build on the database information, and find ways to make the information more useful to consumers. One suggestion offered in a CFPB release was mixing the data with other public data sets to reveal potential trends.

"By sharing these complaints with the public, we are creating greater transparency in consumer financial products and services," Cordray added.

The database features consumer complaints on a wide range of financial products, including mortgages, student loans, bank accounts and services, other consumer loans, credit cards, and sub-categories of many products. Company responses to the consumer complaints are also included, and the database will be updated daily, the CFPB noted.

In total, the bureau  has received 130,000 consumer complaints as of March 1--90,000 of which have already been entered into the database.  CFPB's review of all 130,000 complaints show that:

  • The majority of the complaints involve mortgage loans: Consumers reported 63,700 mortgage issues to the CFPB;
  • Credit card issues accounted for 30,600 of the complaints filed;
  • 19,800 were account and services complaints;
  • 4,600 were private student loan complaints;
  • 4,100 were consumer loan complaints; and
  • 6,700 were credit reporting complaints.
More than 83% of the complaints have been sent on to companies for review and response, and companies have already responded to 95% of these forwarded complaints, the CFPB said.

While credit unions will not likely be the subject of a sizable number of consumer complaints, the Credit Union National Association said the database could have unintended consequences. CUNA has warned that sensitive or confidential business or consumer information could be inadvertently disclosed when consumer complaints are filed in the database. "The bureau should take steps to minimize privacy risks and other unintended consequences," CUNA has said in a series of comment letters.

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