The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday posted more than 90,000 complaints on its website.
The launch expands the CFPB’s complaint database beyond the 19,000 credit card-related complaints previously posted to now include complaints on mortgages, student loans, bank accounts and services, other consumer loans, and credit cards.
“By sharing these complaints with the public, we are creating greater transparency in consumer financial products and services,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray at a field hearing in Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday, where he announced the expansion.
“The database is good for consumers and it is also good for honest businesses. We believe the marketplace of ideas can do great things with this data,” Cordray said.
The CFPB refers complaints it receives against banks and credit unions with fewer than $10 billion assets to their own regulators, and does not include them in the database. Four credit unions have more than $10 billion in assets and are regulated by the CFPB.
Three were listed on the database: the $52.4 billion Navy FCU, the $25.5 billion State Employees’ Credit Union and the $15.5 billion Pentagon FCU. The Vienna, Va.-based Navy had the most complaints, with 264 reported on the database. The Alexandria, Va.-based PenFed had 93 complaints, and the Raleigh, N.C.-based SECU had four.
The $11 billion BECU in Tukwila, Wash., came under the CFPB’s supervision in January and did not have any complaints listed. By contrast, 20,490 of the complaints were against one institution: Bank of America.
The CFPB also released Thursday an aggregate report that said 130,000 complaints have been submitted to the bureau as of March 1, 2013. That figure, larger than the 90,000 complaints in the public database, includes complaints that have been referred to other regulatory agencies, found to be incomplete, are still being confirmed by the company, or are pending with the consumer or the CFPB.
The database reveals type of complaint, the date of submission, the consumer’s ZIP code, and the company that the complaint concerns. The database also includes information about the actions taken on a complaint by those companies – whether the company’s response was timely, how the company responded, and whether the consumer disputed the company’s response.
The CFPB also expanded the complaint database to organize some products by sub-category; for example, mortgage complaints can be broken down by reverse mortgages, conventional fixed mortgages, conventional adjustable mortgages, and home equity loans or lines of credit.
The live database updates daily, the CFPB said. Complaints are listed in the database only after the company responds to the complaint or after they have had the complaint for 15 days, whichever comes first.
The CFPB stressed that while the allegations in the complaint are not verified, a commercial relationship between the consumer and the company is substantiated before the complaint is added to the database.
Response to complaints that financial services providers can submit include monetary relief, closed with non-monetary relief, closed with explanation and closed without relief or explanation.
Consumers are given the option to review and dispute company responses. The CFPB then reviews that feedback. The CFPB uses this along with other information, such as the timeliness of the company’s response, in a variety of ways, for example, to help prioritize complaints for investigation.
The expanded database can be viewed on the CFPB’s website.