A government agency that works? Yep. According to a recent Time Magazine article, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a rare thing — a government regulator that actually gets things done and protects those it’s supposed to protect. No wonder banks fought against it as hard as they did.
A Bureau with Teeth
The thing that makes the CFPB unique is that it is not dependent on Congress, whose members are dependent on campaign contributions, for funding. It’s money comes right off the top of the Federal Reserve’s budget. According to its Web site, thousands of consumers file complains each week about problems with financial services, from mortgages to credit card payments to overdrafts, and so far, companies have responded to 437,641 complaints, and they have done so reasonably quickly 98 percent o the time.
Why are companies so much more responsive to customers who complain to the CFPB? Because it scares the bejesus out of them This agency has incredible powers to impose hefty fines and other sanctions, and it has wielded that power with a heavy hand. If you’ve ever just sucked up mistreatment from your financial institution because complaining is too much hassle and “never works anyway,” you don’t have to any more.
Mortgage Lending Complaints
Mortgage lending is a contentious industry. Of the 400,000+ complaints resolved so far, nearly 160,000 were mortgage-related. The graphic below illustrates the breakdown by issue. The highest number of complaints involved foreclosure, collection and modification issues, followed by loan servicing / payment processing problems.
How to File a Complaint
Filing a complaint with the CFPB is actually really easy. You can get started by clicking HERE. Then, select “Mortgage,” and you’ll be on your way. You can describe what happened and what you want done about it. You can attach files, and you can choose to make your complain public (kind of like a government-sanctioned Yelp) to alert others about the problem and the institution that caused it. Now can you see why lenders fear the CFPB? The Bureau verifies that the complainant (that would be you) has an account with the company, and gives the institution just 15 days to respond. That means things moves along quickly and most issues are quickly resolved.
The next time you catch yourself saying, “Someone should do something” about a company offering financial services, stop talking and start clicking. The person who can do something about your issue is YOU.