As this year comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the many actions the CFPB has taken to defend your rights as a consumer of financial services and products. The CFPB has a tough job, as we all know, and they’ve done it well. They are an indispensable cop on the beat and have made a significant difference for consumers. The CFPB has been instrumental in moving our nation forward with a better functioning financial services marketplace. We look forward to seeing what the CFPB has in store for 2015, and for pushing for your rights as financial services consumers. If you need help from the CFPB, here is our one-stop resource list for how to get the help you need.
Here are some highlights of what the CFPB has done for you in 2014, thirty-five things in 12 months, with links to our blog posts discussing the items in more detail.
In January, the CFPB:
- Gave consumers tips we can use on how to protect ourselves in the wake of the Target data breach.
- Put into effect new mortgage rules to protect consumers from mortgage servicing abuses.
In February, the CFPB:
- Received Consumers Union’s comments on proposed rules to rein in the debt collection industry.
- Challenged credit card companies to provide consumers with free access to credit scores.
In March, the CFPB:
- Called out the debt collection industry in a new report that found that more than one-third of consumers reported they were being hounded by a debt collection company for a debt they did not owe.
In April, the CFPB:
- Alerted consumers to a serious problem where student loan co-signers can unknowingly cause automatic defaults on the loans they co-signed.
- Confirmed the payday loan debt trap in a new CFPB report and held a field hearing in Nashville, TN on the topic.
In May, the CFPB:
- Called out debt collectors and credit bureaus for abusive practices.
- Received Consumers Union’s call for more protections for credit card consumers on the 5th anniversary of the CARD Act.
- Highlighted the unfair reporting of medical debt and its negative impact on consumers.
In June, the CFPB:
- Announced it would be looking out for consumers’ digital financial assets, such as those held in Bitcoin.
In July, the CFPB:
- Along with 13 Attorneys General, the CFPB took action against Rome Finance for tricking service members and others into signing up for expensive loans.
- Solicited complaints about pawn lenders and pre-paid card products to learn about and address problems consumers are having in the marketplace.
- Affirmed its commitment to help homeowners struggling with their lenders for loan modifications or other accommodations to avoid a mortgage foreclosure.
- Explained how they help consumers who are being pursued for credit card debt they do not owe.
- On its third birthday, shared stories of how it helps consumers with credit reporting and student debt repayment problems.
- Issued a manual for senior care providers to help stop financial exploitation of elders.
In August, the CFPB:
- Published resources for parents on how to help their kids to be savvy with their finances.
- Targeted an auto lender for false reports to credit bureaus that harmed borrowers’ credit worthiness.
- Highlighted the outrageous costs of overdraft fees, akin to loan with a 17,000 percent APR, and noted that consumers with overdraft coverage pay an average of $250 per year in overdraft fees.
- Warned consumers about Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
- Empowered low-income consumers and their service providers with a new tool kit to help consumers manage debt, deal with credit reports and save.
In September, the CFPB:
- Cracked down on U.S. Bank and ordered it to return $48 million to 420,000 customers the bank had enrolled in identity theft and credit monitoring services without customer authorization.
- Stood up for soldiers to prevent them from financial harm and to get help if they are not treated fairly by a financial service company, including credit reporting bureaus.
- Called on businesses to improve their employees’ financial wellness and to promote on-the-job financial education.
In October, the CFPB:
- Created informational guides to demystify student loan repayment for America’s volunteers, such as college grads who join the Peace Corps.
- Documented the perils of private student loans for borrowers in a new report and called for reforms that echoed Consumers Union’s recommendations.
In November, the CFPB:
- Issued proposed rules to regulate prepaid cards which contain important protections.
- Issued helpful tips for seniors to avoid shady debt collection practices.
In December, the CFPB:
- Sued a company to stop them from duping consumers with a sham credit card offer.
- Sued Sprint for illegally billing wireless customers tens of millions of dollars, also known as “mobile cramming.”
- Issued a report finding that college credit card agreements are declining in number but public disclosure of card issuers’ arrangements with schools is lacking.
- Issued a report chronicling how one in five consumers’ credit reports are scarred by medical debt.
- Took action to shut down illegal and predatory “debt relief” scams which target student loan borrowers.
- Received and is considering our comments urging the CFPB to make sure auto finance companies don’t take advantage of consumers.
As you can see, it’s been quite a year. We at Consumers Union will continue to bring you updates of CFPB activities and our work to defend your dollars. Check back with us often for the latest news in 2015.
Have a complaint about any of these topics? Contact the CFPB with information from our resource list.