What’s the difference between a mortgage lender and a servicer? I can’t pay my mortgage loan – what do I do? What is the difference between a fixed APR and a variable APR?
These are just a few of the questions – and answers – available through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new online, interactive “Ask CFPB” tool, www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb.
Consumers can scroll through a list of questions, organized into categories, or can ask a new question. Ask CFPB is launching with 350-plus questions and answers, with more to come.
Ask CFPB features three types of Q&As.
- Definitions: Questions include, “What is a credit report?” or “What is a reverse mortgage?”
- Explanations: Examples include, “What happens after I apply for a loan?” and “My lender offered me a home equity line of credit (HELOC). What is a HELOC?”
- Situations: These may include questions such as, “What if my lender quoted me one rate at application but raised it at closing?”
Under each answer are links to related questions. In addition, users are asked to rate responses as helpful, too long, confusing or incorrect.
“Financial markets can be complex and confusing, and consumers need information they can count on,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. “Ask CFPB gives consumers answers in plain language so they can make sound financial decisions.”
Banks could use the Q&As, with attribution, in a customer newsletter or email, or could link to a specific question via Facebook or Twitter.
Consumers can also use the CFPB web site to submit a complaint about mortgages, credit cards, bank accounts or services, vehicle or consumer loans, or student loans.
The answers to all of the questions in the Ask CFPB database will be coordinated with the answers consumers receive when they use the CFPB’s Consumer Response complaint system.
The Bureau reports that about 40 percent of all Consumer Response interactions with the CFPB are from people looking for clarification about terms or processes, rather than lodging a complaint.