The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will center consumer voices, wrote Acting Director Dave Uejio in a blog post outlining priorities for the agency’s Division of Consumer Education and External Affairs.
Among other priorities, Uejio committed to a focus on consumer complaints and companies’ responses to those complaints, as well as “disparities in some companies’ responses to Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.” He promised a report on the issues and “senior leadership of these companies can expect to be hearing” from the CFPB, Uejio said.
Among other responses, Uejio promised educational efforts around struggling home-owners’ and renters’ rights and resources. He also promised improved user experience and a more active social media presence.
“Consumer complaints are our lifeblood; our direct connection to consumers in distress, and they are at an all-time high right now,” he said. “I understand that some companies have been lax in meeting their obligation to respond to complaints.”
According to a recent CFPB report, the agency received approximately 467,200 consumer complaints from Oct. 1, 2019, through Sep. 30, 2020, a 26 percent increase from the prior reporting period. About 84 percent of those complaints were forwarded to companies for response, of which 97 percent had been responded to by the time of the report. Almost all complaints received a timely response, the bureau said. Just over half of those complaints concerned credit reporting issues, with debt collection a distant second at 17 percent.
In a January blog post, Uejio already outlined plans to focus on pandemic-related issues, especially the delivery of relief from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, and racial discrimination.
“Elevating the voices of those consumers who are suffering due to the pandemic and from racial inequity is the most important way to ensure that the CFPB is doing the best we can for those who need our help the most at this moment in history,” Uejio said.