The CFPB will help many people: young adults, seniors, rural households, women, etc. Find out more about what's at stake and take our quiz on Americans' "financial fitness" here.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
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Over 5,000,000 consumers turn to CFPB
Since opening its doors in 2011, CFPB has heard from more than 5,000,000 consumers seeking information and advice. The Bureau handles questions and complaints on mortgages, credit cards, student loans and more. CFPB also has taken important enforcement actions. In three actions against credit card companies, the CFPB won refunds and restitution for customers of $425 million and assessed civil penalties of $46.1 million.
When consumer complaints are filed, businesses are responding at a rate of 90 percent. Over one in four consumers filing complaints received monetary relief.
A key cause of our nation’s economic meltdown was unsustainable mortgage lending, where subprime lenders put many families (most already homeowners) into expensive and unnecessarily risky home loans.
But that’s not the whole story. Federal regulators—who should have been policing the marketplace--ignored the risky lending practices. Instead, they chose to watch over banks’ short-term profitability and ignore consumer protection concerns. The result? An economic crisis that has lasted for years, millions of home foreclosures, and billions in bank bailouts paid for by consumers.
In response to this economic crisis, the enactment of Dodd-Frank Financial Reform includes a key and independent consumer watchdog agency with the sole purpose of ensuring that financial transactions are fair and transparent. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is empowered to set and enforce rules for both banks and non-banks such as payday and auto title lenders. Additionally, CFPB encourages consumers and whistleblowers to share their concerns directly.
CFPB recognizes that serving the American public also means adapting programs to effectively address specialized needs. Already, programs are up and running to better protect our military families, senior citizens and consumers who have been denied equal credit opportunities.
Military Members and their Families
While America’s military men and women preserve our freedoms at home and around the world, their financial needs are often at risk as much as their own lives. Thanks to the CFPB, there is a new initiative. The sole focus of CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs (OSA), led by Holly Petreaus, is to ensure that military members and their families have the support they need to withstand economic hardships – especially during times of deployment.
Already this division of CFPB has entered into productive working relationships with the Department of Defense (DoD) to better inform, empower and protect our military and their families. A written joint statement of principles has been endorsed by DoD and the Judge Adjutant Generals of every military branch.
Americans who gave their best and most productive years to the workplace, should not have their golden ones tarnished by predatory lenders. Moreover, when living on fixed incomes, every dime and dollar contributes to a well-deserved quality of life in later years.
The CFPB has tips for seniors on making good use of financial resources.
Equal Access to Credit is the Law
Federal laws guaranteeing every American equal credit opportunity and fair housing provide penalties to those who violate these protections. When it comes to credit, CFPB is an enforcement agency ready to work with other federal agencies to uphold these laws.
If you suspect you may have been victim to a violation, you can contact CFPB to share your story.
By a 3 to 1 margin Americans want financial firms held accountable and financial reforms to take effect as soon as possible. And they want the CFPB—created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010—to be up and running as planned, not diluted by industry’s current attempts to weaken its funding and structure.
Early reactions echo the nation’s desire for real reform
"The CFPB has definitely come out with guns glazing, demonstrating that they are planning to use their enforcement powers aggressively to try and carry out their mission."
Michael Mallow, Loeb & Loeb Partner
“We needed a pit bull-type agency to protect consumers. In its inaugural year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is doing a pretty good job of doing just that.”
Michelle Singletary, Washington-Post columnist, July 10, 2012
During the financial crisis, too many older Americans lost their savings due to the failure of an outdated and compromised financial regulatory system. That’s why most Americans say they want clear, accurate information so they can make the best financial decisions for their families, and a watchdog that will protect them from financial abuse.
Nancy Leamond, Executive Vice-President, AARP
Communities of color have always been targets of predatory lenders who created a financial mess that resulted in losses of $194 billion in the African-American community and $177 billion in the Latino community, the largest exodus of wealth ever recorded for these groups. . . We are ready to work with Director Cordray to ensure that no community is ever victim to these practices again.
Wade Henderson, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Cordray’s appointment is a new day for America’s consumers. Having such a strong leader at the helm of the CFPB will not only protect our community from predatory lending practices, it will also help provide Latino consumers with the necessary information and services needed to make the best financial decisions for themselves and their families.
Janet Murguía, President and CEO, National Conference of LaRaza
With Richard Cordray’s appointment, the CFPB now has the full authority and the necessary tools to protect consumers from predatory financial practices. This is a critical step in restoring our faith in the financial marketplace and ensuring that millions of consumers have an effective federal watchdog that is looking out for their best interests.
Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director, National CAPACD
“When consumers have upfront, honest information about financial product fees and terms, they are able to make better financial decisions.”
U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (IL), February 22, 2012
“It is reassuring that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created after the fallout to regulate consumer lending transactions, has made it a first priority to bring greater clarity to the home mortgage market.”
Akron Beacon-Journal editorial, July 11, 2012