In a speech at the Consumer Bankers Association, CFPB Deputy Director Steve Antonakes discussed the nonbank segments of the financial services industry where the CFPB recently has expanded its supervision, including debt collection, student loan servicing, and large nonbank auto lenders.
Antonakes cited the receipt of more than 20,000 consumer complaints in March 2014 as evidence that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the CFPB’s system for receiving and handling complaints from the public about the range of markets and financial services within the CFPB’s supervision, including mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, student loans, bank accounts, payday loans, debt collection, credit reporting, money transfers, and other consumer loans. To date, the CFPB has received over 300,000 complaints.
Antonakes also discussed the CFPB’s “ongoing initiative in the credit card industry to make credit scoring information more easily and regularly available to credit card customers at no cost.” He noted several credit card issuers already have introduced programs that promise to increase the number of consumers who routinely see their credit information, including providing customers directly with the same credit scores these issuers already obtain in their normal course of business (as well as educational materials) in order to help consumers understand the significance of their credit scores. The CFPB has determined this is a “best practice” for credit card companies and is trying to persuade all credit card companies to make credit scores and educational content freely available to their customers on a regular basis.
The Deputy Director also made clear it is the CFPB’s belief that this credit disclosure and education model should be “replicated with customers across other product lines as well” in which institutions use credit scores, such as mortgages, auto loans, and even basic bank accounts.
According to the Deputy Director, the CFPB’s “supervision and enforcement teams are not interested simply in assuring that all the right boxes have been checked, but are asking more fundamental questions. These questions are about whether these institutions are in compliance with federal consumer financial law, whether adequate compliance management systems are in place, and whether consumers are being subjected to unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices. [The CFPB is] focusing on the activities of third-party service providers as well as the institutions they serve.”