Last month, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director Richard Cordray proposed a new, unified way of thinking about several of the agency's biggest issues. He pointed out that U.S. consumers do not get to choose the company that services their mortgage, the collection firms for their debts, or the entity that compiles their credit files. "When a consumer does not pay back a debt, the creditor may decide to sell it to or contract with a debt collector to secure payment of what is still owed," the official noted in his speech before the bureau's Consumer Advisory Board. "Once this occurs, the paying business relationship has shifted; it now lies between the debt collector and the creditor, not the consumer and the creditor. This can lead to mistreatment of the consumer, who becomes, in effect, a kind of 'bystander' to the new business relationship. In this situation, creditors may have little reason to ensure that debt collectors treat consumers fairly and appropriately or that they maintain and use accurate information." Experts interpreted the speech as a sign that the bureau will begin to pay closer attention to the business relationships that tie consumers to specific companies. While Cordray never said that consumers should have a voice in choosing who banks do business with, some banking attorneys suggest that the CFPB could be moving in that direction.
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