Should The Complaint Box Close?

Credit unions are skeptical that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new complaint policy will prove valuable.


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just launched its public database of consumers’ complaints about their credit cards. That means anyone who wants individual-level information doesn’t need to fill out a Freedom of Information Act form – they can just hop online.

While credit card holders may be anxious for their frustrations to be heard by more people, financial institutions, including credit unions, are not as eager for the new, searchable tool.

Credit unions fear that making consumer complaints public could lead to the spread of misinformation, as Fred R. Becker Jr., president of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, said, according to CNN. They’d likely be just as skeptical about databases of the other complaints that the bureau’s been collecting, including for mortgages, student loans and other financial products and services.

"Disclosing every complaint, without any indication of the veracity of the complaint, is inherently misleading," Becker wrote to the CFPB.

So far, the CFPB has collected more than 16,000 complaints about credit cards since it launched the program about a year ago. Its new database includes only the complaints it’s received since June 1, which includes about 100 complaints, but the goal is to eventually include all complaints from the past year.

The database, which won’t include personal information about the consumer, will be searchable by company, product, complaint type, or ZIP code and will reveal how the company resolved the complaint. The CFPB will only process and include information on companies with more than $10 billion in assests, which includes only four credit unions. None of those four credit unions –  Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Navy Federal Credit Union, BECU, and State Employees Credit Union –  were  in the database as of Wednesday.


June 21, 2012



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