Trades Question CFPB’s Credit Card Complaint Proposal
Credit unions could suffer unfair risks to their reputation and consumers might have confidential data released.
Those are among the concerns raised by CUNA and NAFCU in comment letters to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about the bureau’s proposed rule on disclosing information about consumers’ complaints against credit card issuers.
The CFPB’s proposed rule would apply to financial institutions with assets of more than $10 billion assets but would be a model for other regulators. It would allow the CFPB to release the following information: the type of complaint; the name of the card issuer; the consumer’s ZIP code; the date of the complaint; and whether and how the issuer responds.
The rule explicitly states that the bureau will not “publish credit card complaint information that could enable the consumer to be identified by any party other than the issuer of the credit card in question.’’ Those assurances aren’t enough for the trade associations.
CUNA Regulatory Counsel Dennis Tsang urged the CFPB to adjust the released data so it takes into account differences among issuers and credit card products, such as the size of the issuer and the relative size of the credit card portfolio.
He also said the agency should ensure complainant privacy by only listing the state, not the ZIP code. In addition, He also recommended that card issuers be given up to 60 calendar days to respond to complaints. Under the proposed rule, the CFPB can release information 30 days after a complaint has been filed.
NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker wrote that “blanket disclosure of all complaints, regardless of their veracity, raises safety and soundness concerns.’’ And these disclosures “unduly place a financial institution’s reputation at risk given contemporary viral media.’’
He added that while NAFCU and all credit unions favor the CFPB investigating legitimate credit card complaints, the system shouldn’t penalize “penalize institutions that may be the occasional victim of unwarranted complaints.’’
The trades have had similar disagreements with the NCUA about its policies for disclosing consumer complaints.